Well, the semester is in full swing.
Meaning I spend countless hours in my studio doing work yet still have mountains left to do.
First up, printmaking.
I really enjoyed my last printmaking class and was really excited to be able to try out some new techniques and stuff. Our first assignment is a woodcut, but on a much larger than usual scale. We were each given a 4′ X 4′ piece of plywood to basically do with as we pleased.
I, being the dumbly ambitious student that I am, wanted to do 8 different print matrices. I have a passion for creepy old medical illustrations so I chose to do images of an arm and a leg, each split into 4 layers: skin, muscular, skeletal, and vascular. My intention was to print them on rice paper and have them overlap but I’ll probably do other prints of them individually or as collage.
But I underestimated how difficult it was to carve into plywood.
I intend to print only the outline of the arm (ie-cut out the background too) but my prof suggested I try printing first with the background. Results weren’t spectacular and brought with them lots of annoyance though.
And this is the skeletal arm in progress. Since I have to carve out the background anyway I think I’m going to do some reductive prints of each (meaning I would print this as is, then cut out the insides of the design and print it again on the same print).
I need a better method though. Just cutting that skeleton arm probably took me a good 5 hours on Thursday. I do not have that kind of time.
And some painting.
If this semester has taught me anything it is that I am a mediocre painter at best.
(Really, at best)
But I do try and I’m hoping that hard work will somehow translate to skill.
This is the continuation of the figure painting from two weeks ago. (It looks like no improvement though, I just keep re-painting the same parts hoping that eventually they will be perfect. They never are though).
This past week our model was sick so we spent the two classes taking turns painting other students.
My poor friend Shawn was my victim. This looks nothing like him.
I’ve never liked painting or drawing portraits of people I know. the problem is I never feel like I can really capture them properly and then I end up obsessively painting and repainting over the same work.
One of my professors said once that if you can’t capture a basic likeness in an hour the best thing to do is to start over. Unfortunately that wasn’t really a possibility in a 3 hour figure class.
Maybe next time.
Shawn, though, does not have that problem.
(He is clearly a more skilled painter than I).
Also, more dumb decision making of the week, I decided to swap my photo class for a painting studio class.
The first assignment (which I am two weeks behind on is sort of a vague idea about creating a narrative with non-human subjects. I wanted to do portraits of broken toys for mine and have started the paintings but haven’t really gotten very far.
(Right now they just feel embarrassingly bad).
And, of course, there’s always ceramics.
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks playing around with different ideas with pottery. I made a whole bunch of bowls two weeks back and have been thinking about what to do with them. I was just messing around one day and thought about trying to convey a narrative through carving into the clay surface and made up two bowls with a little scene in each that led into the other, kind of like panels in a comic. The one that I did wasn’t horribly interesting but I want to try and play with that more (If I have time).
I was also thinking about trying out different ways that people interact with functional pottery and, on a whim, came up with this mug.
The hope is that when you hold the mug you can intertwine your fingers with its (so you can hold hands with your mug).
Overall, though, things have been rough.
This week has been particularly busy, making me all the more stressed about not getting enough done. Add on top of that the feeling of crippling failure and discouragement whenever I try to paint and you’ve got my week.
In the past I have really enjoyed painting. Last semester especially painting was my fun class, the one I really didn’t have to worry about. Now it feels like a chore. Trying to make up for lost time has been stressful and I feel like I didn’t really have enough time to think about what I wanted to do with lighting and composition and don’t have the source material to paint from life (which I find is always more successful than from reference photos).
I just need a fucking breather. I work so hard during the week to try and get work done, forcing myself to stay in the studio later and get there earlier. Friday is my only day without classes and I try to cram all of the work that, in previous semesters, I would normally have gotten done over the course of the weekend because now I work on the weekends at a job that is slowly gnawing away at my soul.
I really need a vacation.