Friday, January 30, 2009


It was hot in the classroom. The air conditioning had been out for about an hour, but they weren't planning on cancelling class because it was the last few periods of the thirteenth day of school. They said it would be fixed by the time school started the next morning. 

Shellie sat in her back row seat, pissed as hell at the boy who'd just ripped her heart out two days ago. He was up in the second row, flirting with the girl next to him. Sean had simply walked up to her locker on Tuesday, said he didn't want to date her anymore, handed her the watch, chain, and book she had bought him for his birthday a mere month ago, and walked away. She stared after him, not crying in the least, but rather stunned that 5 months had ended just that abruptly. 

The next day, she was still in a kind of denial, but she was obviously anoyed and went out of her way to blatently avoid him wherever he happened to be. He didn't notice, but a few other geeks and busybodies did. They gossiped amongst themselves and came to their own conclusions, deciding that Sean had dumped her for one of the prettiest girls in the high school; Ashley Coleman. 

That's who he was flirting with now. She sat there in her little white skirt, tan legs emerging right below the upper thigh length hem. The back of her baby blue sleeveless shirt seemed ironed. Her light brown hair with dirty blonde highlights hung neatly to her shoulders and a little below. 

Shellie couldn't see from the back, but she knew her face by heart. Perfectly pouty pink lips, always smothered in the newest Bonnie Bell fruity gloss... eyes lined in a thin line of dark grey, mascara to match... pale blue eyeshadow with maybe a bit of glitter to bring out those big, dull, dim-witted brown eyes. Even her nose was petite and "cute".

Shellie loathed how she was such a girl. Everything about her just screamed "cheerleader!" Of course, she was a cheerleader. Co-captain this year and probably Captain next year, her senior year. That was how they'd met. This was his first year playing varsity sports, but he'd picked football up quickly and became one of the best players on the team.

Shellie's face darkened as she looked up at them. They were passing notes back and forth in US History class, hers on pretty little pink paper and his on torn college ruled notebook paper. 

Shellie looked down, trying to avoid the anger that was kindling in her chest. She spotted her hardbound black sketchbook peeking out of her bookbag and reached for it, ignoring the teacher and whatever he had to say about the pilgrims and the new colony development.

Her right hand held a regular Bic mechanical pencil and she allowed her hand to draw the curve of a face, a chin, cheeks, the forehead. Her hand took charge and hair appeared, two ears, a nose. The lips came into view after about five minutes of working on the project, and Shellie stopped rather abruptly, looking at her creation. It was him. Dammit! Could she never get him out of her thoughts?

She looked at the picture curiously. It was missing eyes and she was tempted to go on. Her hand slid along the paper, to and from the spot where the missing eyes were, deciding whether or not it wanted to keep going. It did, creating the almond shapes, the pupils, the irises... eyelashes, eyebrows, and even that faint glimmer of light reflecting of the moisture.

Glancing up, she saw them, still flirting. He kept looking at her and she could see his profile, the one she had traced with her fingers so many times before. She looked down sharply, closing her eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath, and then opening them slowly. There was her favorite black skirt, long and satiny, hanging to literally the floor. The burgandy shirt hung lightly off her shoulders. She'd almost gotten in trouble for showing "too much" skin, but she managed to get out of it, being her sweet and intelligent self. 

She looked back up at the drawing, her greenish eyes tracing over every contour line. The eyes looked so real. She hated them. After a mere second of watching them, sarcastically seeing if they would move, she turned the pencil over and erased one eye, followed by the next. Blank holes now gaped up from where the realistic eyes had once been and Shellie smiled, about to close her notebook and planning on adding in magazine pictures of eyes when she got home.

Just as the notebook closed, her heart almost stopped as a wailing scream rose up from a familiar voice. A couple rows in front, Sean had jumped from his seat, knocking the desk over in the process. He stood there, his hands poised mere inches from his face and he was screaming at the epitome of his lungs. He turned back and forth as if searching for something and Shellie nearly fell out of her chair as she saw that he had no eyes. There were no eye holes... no beautiful blue irises... no pupils... no lashes.. just eyebrows hanging mockingly over circular eyesockets covered in soft, newborn skin. 

His screaming went on and on in her head, the class was rowdy and running for the door, some gaping at the freak of nature. Ashley was now screaming as well, her voice rising in perfect unison with his as she jumped from her seat and cringed away from his outstretched, searching arms.

Shellie sat there, shocked, but not willing to move. For a mere instant, she wondered what would happen if she erased the rest of his face.

On Art: Drawing

In Intermediate Drawing, we have been discussing Line; what it is, how it works, and the like. So far, we have experimented with contour line drawings and gesture drawings. Now I am certainly no expert on drawing and the use of line; however, I am finding that there is no level at which one has "perfected the line" per say. As the blog is titled "I am never done with looking", so it is with anything pertaining to art. As long as there is more to see, there is more to translate, and to transfer from one world to the next: from the literal world, to the imagined, to the created.

I am finding that drawing is like a river; it is endless and always leads to something much greater. But what is it that I am aspiring to through drawing? Do I do it so that one day I'll be famous? to understand it better? for kicks? Or maybe I simply find it essential to my own understanding of the world around me. Maybe, it brings clarity, broadens my horizons, and opens doors to worlds I'd never dreamed of. Maybe it's all of the above. As I stated previously; it is like a river. There is no end and a beginning is debatable.

Drawing and the techniques in drawing can tell alot about the subject and the artist alike; what they saw, how they saw it, what they want the viewer to see and gather from it. What I will learn myself, I am not quite sure. I'm still looking.

one begins
with a single stroke

do not lift
see where it leads you

down a river
or dark alley

a surge of emotion
sorrow and elation

a face
a mother
a friend
a soul

only the line will tell

Broken Strings are still strings

My works are usually aimed at unveiling a certain truth I find to be meaningful and evident in my life. My art also tries to depict life the way I see it and all of the beauty and tragedy I've discovered through time.
Over Winter break I made two pieces of art. I gave them both away as a Christmas and a birthday present purely because I don't have all the money in the world. One piece was entitled "Broken strings are still strings." This work was a portrait of one of my best friends. He was playing guitar and one of the E strings was broken. For the strings and part of the body of the guitar I wrote lyrics to a song called "You stay here" by Richard Shindell.

You stay here
And I'll go look for wood
Do not fear
I'll be back soon enough
Do not let the fire die
Neither let it burn too bright

You stay here
And I'll go look for bread
And if I can
Some sugar for the kids
Dry your eyes - I'll be alright
I know where they've laid the mines

You stay here
And I'll go look for coats
There may still be
Some out on the road
We'll wash them clean with melted snow
The kids don't ever have to know

You stay here
And I'll go look for guns
I think I know
Where they've hidden some
Cause if the Tiger comes one night
We won't go without a fight

You stay here
And I'll go look for God
Not so hard
Cause I know where he's not
I will bring him back with me
Make him listen - make him see

You stay here
And I'll go look for wood

This piece represents the everyday trials and the kinds of things that can truly break us and smother our sense of self and understanding. The kinds of things that can stifle our fire. I wanted this gift to be a declaration of not only who my friend is in my eyes but also to be a sentiment and piece of advice to my friend. If ever he feels to the point that he cannot overcome his struggle I want him to persevere and continue playing his guitar even if his string is broken; when everything is bitter and cold I want him to search for things that are sweet and warm; to protect his identity within himself and what he holds dear; to make the most out of his disposition. He believes in being completely truthful with himself and others but when he is broken, it is hard for him to be stable and a source of happiness and inspiration for himself. This piece was to encourage him to continue playing his song even when the fire is almost completely drawn away. It is also a sentiment to allow him to see that entrusting himself with his beliefs is something he must do in order to keep his flame alive. "You stay here, and I'll go look for wood." Even when the struggle seems insurmountable, continue to feed your fire, continue to learn, continue to feel, continue to ignite inspiration. Take the darkness you feel and empower it. Take the darkness and enlighten it. Delve into and find your self and see your struggles as a part of yourself, not something to extinguish, but to embellish and enthrall you.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

art is love

Love and Art by sheispretty

Art is your emotions flowing in a river of imagination. ~Unknown

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. ~Eckhart Tolle

Whenever I look at a person's work of art the first thing that comes to mind is, "what was the inspiration behind the piece?" It is so easy to think that art comes from the mind alone, through our creative thoughts. Although what I've come to realize is that out of all the things in the world that could inspire us, we fail to see that one of the greatest influence in our work is our emotions. It is how/what we feel about things that influence most of our ideas.

I think many will agree that art alone is not just meant for aesthetic appeal, but most importantly, it is a means to convey a message. This message may not always be something themed or obvious. The impact that a drawing could have on a person could simply be an emotional reaction or relation to the work. Therefore an artist's feelings can be the source of inspiration for a piece or what is to be transpired by the viewer. Our feelings could be as broad and external as life, the universe, and everything. Or as specific and internal as what we personally feel....happy, sad, angry, etc. Regardless of all this, it is necessary to note that as artists, we should be aware of our emotions, embrace them, and apply them to our work. Perhaps by doing so, our passions will be apparent through whatever we create and will give our work more depth.

I for one like to use a lot of colors in my work to represent what I feel about the subject matter. All the colors in the world inspire me. In relation to the theme of this blog, I am never done with the sky. The blues (and other colors) of the sky, make me feel infinite. It is this feeling of being a part of this world as well as the vast universe that brings me the most inspiration. It is for this reason, that I want to become an art/graphic designer. There is a satisfaction and closeness to humanity that makes me want to share and express what I feel with others visually. What we love is art. And art is love.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I am currently taking IAR 321, Design Perspectives, and we are talking about the broad sense of design and how it corresponds to EVERY other discipline; which definitely includes drawing. We discussed the movie "Powers of Ten"

At first I thought it was just a scientific movie- just a look at the universe and atoms. But then I started to think about the design of it all. How the smallest things make up the whole universe and how one little change can create a whole different substance. My teacher is big on patterns, and the rythm of the world is quite fascinating when thought of out of normal context. We also related to Philosophy- how do we know we are the only life forms and how could all this specific design be created by one all-knowing being. The biggest impact this film brings is that there is a vastness and we harldy fill up a fraction of a percent of it-so even though in the grand scheme of things our decisions won't impact the universe-but why not still try to change the world?

I think that drawing, for me, is like dissecting this short film: it's very easy for me to derive the basic meaning of a piece, but I need to spend more time at the deeper meanings and the drive behind the work. I think everyone could benefit if they just slowed down and contemplated drawing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Very cool drawing blog....

Check out An Open Sketchbook--a blog written by a prof in Iarc. AND to top off its interest (to me at least) today's post features the back of my head--always a thrill to find oneself unwittingly the subject of another person's drawing--especially when said person can draw really, really well.

You might also get some ideas for your posts from An Open Sketchbook--Prof. Suzanne Buchanan Cabrera fits drawing into her daily life beautifully.

Have a great weekend!!

(No homework, and bring all the materials we were to use today to class on Tuesday.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Contour line drawing (and Gaston Bachelard)

A great quote by Gaston Bachelard from his book The Poetics of Space:
Immensity is within ourselves. It is attached to a sort of expansion of being that life curbs and caution arrests, but which starts when we are alone. As soon as we become motionless, we are elsewhere; we are dreaming in a world that is immense. Indeed, immensity is the movement of motionless man.

Do not underestimate the significance of just sitting still--something this assignment forces you to do for a time.

Some things to think about contour line drawing, while drawing:

Contour line drawing is deceptively simple.

To make a contour line drawing, one really only needs a piece of paper and virtually ANY writing or drawing implement.

Sit, look, draw what you see with a line.

But to really make a contour line drawing, one needs some other things too, and this is where the process, if really tackled with eyes wide open, becomes a challenge.

One needs time. (Are you willing to sit for a good long while?--in silence perhaps, or not, but in either case, are you willing to focus only on what is in front of you. Phone turned off or at least away. No texting. Perhaps the question should really be, are you ABLE to sit for a time, an hour?, and just draw. A whole hour. Drawing. Staying put.)

One has to look. (Are you willing to really look at your subject--at every facet, detail, texture, element, part. Can you?)

One has to head into the drawing believing it is nearly impossible to record it all, but determined to try nonetheless. (Or maybe that knowledge comes more slowly, when the huge chasm between our eye and our hand become more apparent--and poignant.)

Are you willing to let mistakes remain. No erasing--invariably there will be mistakes in proportion. Can you allow those "mistakes" to exist, to meld into the greater overall project of exercising SEEING? Can you privilege the process more than the product? Will you try?

Can you settle your internal critic for the duration of this drawing? Perhaps begin by hearing that critical voice--can you then move on, ignoring it--hard yes, but it is possible.

Can you trust that growth might happen in doing something simple, something you don't fully understand, or even something that infuriates you?

When you are through, tell me about your experience in as much detail as possible. Thanks!!!

Obsessive Contour Line Drawing of an Intensely Complicated Subject:

For Thursday, you are to make a contour line drawing of a subject you would characterize as "intensely complicated." Examples: a patch of grass, tree bark, a close of view of leaves on trees, a wall of bookshelves, wood grain....Your drawing must come from life--and not from a photograph.

Remember, a contour line drawing is a drawing comprised of a LINE--NO value, no shading, no stippling, no shadowing, etc.

Materials: Ball point pen or felt-tipped marker, 18"x24" white drawing paper

Follow these guidelines when drawing:
1. Use a singular, non-hairy, confident, SLOW line.
2. PAINFULLY SLOW (so slow you can't believe how slow you are drawing): I am asking you to draw slowly because this is a drawing about looking, and you can only really look if you slow yourself down and force yourself to look at everything, however minute or seemingly unimportant.
3. Connected to #2 is that I want you to have NO hierarchy of imagery; for example, if you were to draw a wall, or a floor, the smudges on the wall or floor are just as important as say, a painting hanging on the wall, or a chair sitting on the floor. If you were drawing a face, the freckles, moles or blemishes are just as important as the features. Draw EVERYTHING, even things you don't typically characterize as valuable, or worthwhile.
4. Fill the entire page--top to bottom, corner to corner, edge to edge.
5. Record as much detail as possible. Be obsessive with your RECORDING of information. It might be helpful to imagine that you are recording something incredibly important for someone who will never actually see your subject matter; instead they must rely on how well you record what you see.
6. No erasing.
7. Use a ball-point pen or a felt-tipped marker. If you make a "mistake," leave it and move on.
8. This is not a drawing about proportion. This is a drawing about looking and recording--about pushing yourself to SEE more than you do initially. ASSUME you are missing information, and push yourself to always record more.
9. Don't think too much--LOOK, LOOK, LOOK!!

On the first day of our class....

The university had a 2 hour delay--still, a lovely beginning really.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Drawings hits (Fall 2008, Variable Topics in Drawing)

Some in progress shots of work in Art 322:Variable Topics in Drawings. These students are superstars--worked nearly 6 weeks on collages that were 4'x6' and endlessly layered.

From the top: Misty Knowles, Cassidy Wayant, Corey Erba and Craig Shannon (drawing, no Craig in sight)

Drawings hits (Fall 2008, Intermediate Drawing)

Some fantastic images by Annaleigha Wilke (bottom pic and two images on the right of the top pic) and Sam Saatzer.

Directives: Using accumulated line, describe the volume of your own face. Keep the word "search" in mind. Medium: Acrylic paint and charcoal

Some thoughts on drawing by Richard Tuttle (do you know who he is, if not google him. NOW! QUICK!)

1. Drawing is absolutely quintessential to knowing the self.

2. Have to see to draw? What about making drawings of those places you can't see?