Jessica's Blog

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Paper-Cut Reflection

In this particular project, students were asked to convey personal stories and were given the option of incorporating fairytale stories that influenced each of one’s childhood through cutting on black or white paper. Since we had to work only with black or white paper, this was a project to really focus on utilizing the values and the movement to tell a story. Moreover, creating contrast between the positive and negative space was also a huge takeaway from this paper-cutting project.

The process of making this art was fairly straight forward; it looked something like this:

First, everyone developed a final plan, keeping in mind that what’s on the final plan is what goes on the black people which is being cut. In this stage, it was very important to notify the parts that are being cut and parts that are being left by shading them. Then, we copied our final plan on to the black paper. After the drawing was complete on the black paper, we finally started cutting.

Eventually, my actual studio piece ended up looking differently than you had envisioned in my final plan. This was because showing emphasis or making a clear focal point was harder than I thought it would be without the usage of color. The emphasis in my piece was Alice throughout the whole planning process. First, I tried to show emphasis, using only the scale in my final plan; however, I realized that the emphasis was not very clearly conveyed only by differentiating the scale of Alice not long after. This was what prompted me to incorporate other elements such as contrast of negative and positive space (black and white) and movement. To make Alice stand out, everything else had to have a lot of details in them while Alice was the only one shown as a silhouette.

I definitely challenged myself to try out new ideas and techniques in this project. One of the most apparent difference between this paper-cut piece and my previous art work is that this particular piece is asymmetrical—the diagonal line, or the tunnel, breaks the repetition and balance on both sides of the walls—while the artwork I have done before were all symmetrical. I have also applied myself fully to making my best possible work. This can be seen in the idea development process and my final plan. I carefully planned the composition, imagery and the symbolism used in the piece. Furthermore, I developed several final plans, trying to make my best possible work. I was very focused in all the classes, and I stayed after school very frequently to finish up my cutting. Looking at my completed work, I think I have grown and matured as an artist because I am now able to show contrast and emphasis without using any color, and only with black and white. Moreover, I am now more comfortable with making mistakes. Since it was very easy to make irrevocable changes in this artwork, I had to get used to making mistakes and trying not to make those mistakes seem like mistakes.

 

ENGAGE AND PERSIST

In this particular project, I did pretty well in engaging and persisting. I acknowledged the importance of personal stories and how it can really evoke special moods in the audience, making a strong connection between the story told in the artwork and themselves. Furthermore, the sharing of personal stories through art made me more comfortable about talking about myself and the stories of my life. It was very embarrassing for me to share how I was confused and I didn’t fit in as well I thought I would have fit when I first came to China—when I was in elementary school. However, it was always something I wanted to tell other people who are having a hard time getting used to a new life in a new place. Recalling the memories of my childhood, I decided I would share my story through this particular project. The first thing that instantly came in to my mind when I tried to find a connection between my story and a fairytale story was Alice in Wonderland. It was one of my favorite stories when I was young. This is why I decided to incorporate Alice in Wonderland and my personal story to create “Alice in China”. I worked very hard during classes to stay focused and stayed after school very frequently to finish my piece.

EXPRESS

Express was also a very big part of this paper-cutting project. Since we had to use personal and original ideas or stories, we had to learn how to express ourselves. As stated above, my piece was about the first time I came to China. It contains my confusion and my fears of going in to a Wonderland of my own, China. Everything was very puzzling and explicable, especially because I was young and I didn’t know much about China and my identity. A lot of symbolism was used, Alice represented myself, Wonderland being China, the rabbit being my parents who led me to China because of their jobs and finally, the surrounding traditional fans and commonly seen flowers that represent China—lotuses. I was able to extend and make sure every element I am using was necessary in the piece.

Final Reflection–Portrait Party

In this project, we were required to paint either ourselves or a close person we knew personally —could be a good friend, family member or relatives. The first step was interviewing the person you chose to paint and deciding which intangible aspect of the person we would like to convey in the painting. Before we got to the painting process, we researched on several different artists, learning about their distinct styles and techniques. I believe learning how to convey the intangible was the biggest take-away from the research process. We started planning for our paintings after going over the rubric, which provided us details for a better understanding of the task. The planning process included more research and peer-critiques and we were finally able to start painting after sketching our final plan on the canvas.

Through this project, I was able really get out of my comfort zone and take risks. I tried telling the story of my mom through a face-less portrait. This was a very big challenge not only because I have never tried a face-less portrait but also because it was definitely harder to tell a story only by a certain body part—in this case, only the hands. Thus, I had to put in a lot more effort in planning than other projects I have done previously. I made sure I had three very different plans I can choose from, and spent a lot of time developing the plan so that it would really convey the story I was trying to tell. Also, there were a lot of changes I had to make throughout the art making process because sometimes things didn’t look the way I wanted it to look. For example, the flower in my painting wasn’t supposed to have a water-colory look, but now that my painting is done, I think it gives the painting a more delicate and fragile mood, which helps tell my intention better. Through this, I was able to assure myself that it is perfectly fine to make changes to the original plans and that unintended mistakes are not always something that ruins your painting.

As mentioned above, I painted my hand (of when I was a baby) holding on to my mom’s hand. The intangible aspect I was aiming to convey through this piece was how my mom was willing to give up a huge part of her life for me, which also reveals her personality—generosity, forgivingness and the comfort provides to me. I purposely painted a carnation symbolizing motherhood on the top of the two hands. My mom’s hand is facing upwards, as if she is trying to catch the falling petals. This represents how she was willing to give up a lot of things for us. Also, my hand is covered up by my mom’s hand, indicating that she always comforts me when I am down. At the same time, it also suggests that she is very forgiving when I make a mistake. The dark background emphasizes the magenta-red flower, the symbol of motherhood. This came from what my mom always says to me: “The best thing I have ever done was giving birth to you, my life would be so much darker without you”. The other meaning of the flower is thankfulness; it is showing how much I appreciate her and how thankful I am for everything. As the flower and its petals brings so much life and movement to my dark painting, my mom brought life to me and she is truly someone I cannot live without.

 

 

Artist Habits

 

In this project, I engaged in developing craft by using medias such as oil and acrylic. Although I have already tried acrylic before, I learned a lot of new things such as the fact that it is harder to do the facial values just because it dries too fast, and that it can also have a very water-color kind of look if you work with a lot of water. I also learned that you should always use oil over acrylic, and never acrylic over oil because it takes very long for oil paint to dry—a month at the shortest—and if not, the acrylic will start to peel. It was my first time working with oil paint, and it was very nice because since it takes a long time for oil paint to dry, it was easier to blend and go over the previous layer if you don’t like how it looks.

Another trait I performed in this project was engage and persist. I encountered a lot of problems and had to make a lot of changes to my original plan. First of all, the color scheme didn’t help convey my story, so I had to find a completely different color for my background that would bring out the mood I wanted to show and finally decided that gray would help emphasize the flower and create a more serious mood. I also had to simplify my sketch a little bit because there was a little too much going on with the flower petals with different colors falling and stacked in the bottom, so I took the stack of flower petals out to bring out a focal point. Lastly, I also had to work with a different ratio on the canvas. Even though I had to spend a little more time than others by staying after school and working on it during lunch, I eventually learned how to overcome the problems in my piece.

I also stretched and explored in this project by challenging myself to use only a limited number of colors—charcoal, gray and magenta red. Most of my works included quite a lot of colors, so I decided to try using a minimum of colors to convey a story. I also tried a water color effect using acrylic even though it was unintended. I was planning to have a very smooth and acrylic-like colors; however, I made a mistake of adding too much water. I could have just gone over it, but I decided to stretch and explore and eventually, it turned out pretty well.

 

Artwork Investigations

Acrylic and Oil Media Testing

For this media testing, we explored painting portraits with two mediums, oil and acrylic. Both of the media testing were done on a cardboard that had a layer of gesso on top.

We tried out the grid method—drawing a grid with the same dimension on both the photo reference and the cardboard—and using the grid on the photo reference to sketch a more accurate ratio of the face.

In the acrylic painting, we glued using gesso our photos to on the cardboard and then painted directly onto the photo. The gluing process included covering it with matte medium once the gesso was dry.

Through this media testing we hoped to become more comfortable in our painting skills and drawing portraits, learning the pros and cons of each of the medias. For example, with oil paint, we were able to do a better job on blending because it took very long for oil paint to dry, while as with acrylic, it was harder to do the blending, but it was easier to exaggerate the values. Another take-away from the media testing was deciding on which photos to use for portraits. The intensity of the contrast and having direct light played a very big role in distinguishing if it’s a good photo to use or not. Further more, we also learned how tools such Adobe Kuler can assist in color mixing and eventually aid you to painting a more interesting portrait.

I think both of the paintings are fairly successful; however, I feel like I did better on the acrylic, especially showing the values of the face. This maybe because it was the second piece, but can also be because since it was so easy to blend with oil, I just kept blending parts in, eventually resulting less-extreme values in my oil paint piece. Also, I discovered that it was helpful to have the strokes follow the contours on the face in my second trial, which might be another reason my acrylic piece is better. However, I still think the ratio of the oil paint was pretty accurate, and I am also satisfied with my oil painted piece. Moreover, I think both of my paintings could have been better by using a table easel. This is because my hand kept shaking since I was using only one hand to hold the cardboard while painting.

Artist Habits of Mind

Engage and Persist

In this particular project, I did pretty well in engaging and persisting. I acknowledged the importance of personal stories and how it can really evoke special moods in the audience, making a strong connection between the story told in the artwork and themselves. Furthermore, the sharing of personal stories through art made me more comfortable about talking about myself and the stories of my life. It was very embarrassing for me to share how I was confused and I didn’t fit in as well I thought I would have fit when I first came to China—when I was in elementary school. However, it was always something I wanted to tell other people who are having a hard time getting used to a new life in a new place. Recalling the memories of my childhood, I decided I would share my story through this particular project. The first thing that instantly came in to my mind when I tried to find a connection between my story and a fairytale story was Alice in Wonderland. It was one of my favorite stories when I was young. This is why I decided to incorporate Alice in Wonderland and my personal story to create “Alice in China”. I worked very hard during classes to stay focused and stayed after school very frequently to finish my piece.

Express

Express was also a very big part of this paper-cutting project. Since we had to use personal and original ideas or stories, we had to learn how to express ourselves. As stated above, my piece was about the first time I came to China. It contains my confusion and my fears of going in to a Wonderland of my own, China. Everything was very puzzling and explicable, especially because I was young and I didn’t know much about China and my identity. A lot of symbolism was used, Alice represented myself, Wonderland being China, the rabbit being my parents who led me to China because of their jobs and finally, the surrounding traditional fans and commonly seen flowers that represent China—lotuses. I was able to extend and make sure every element I am using was necessary in the piece.

Stretch and Explore

I definitely challenged myself to try out new ideas and techniques in this project. One of the most apparent difference between this paper-cut piece and my previous art work is that this particular piece is asymmetrical—the diagonal line, or the tunnel, breaks the repetition and balance on both sides of the walls—while the artwork I have done before were all symmetrical. I have also applied myself fully to making my best possible work. This can be seen in the idea development process and my final plan. I carefully planned the composition, imagery and the symbolism used in the piece. Furthermore, I developed several final plans, trying to make my best possible work. I was very focused in all the classes, and I stayed after school very frequently to finish up my cutting. Looking at my completed work, I think I have grown and matured as an artist because I am now able to show contrast and emphasis without using any color, and only with black and white. Moreover, I am now more comfortable with making mistakes. Since it was very easy to make irrevocable changes in this artwork, I had to get used to making mistakes and trying not to make those mistakes seem like mistakes.

Paper-cut Reflection

In this particular project, students were asked to convey personal stories and were given the option of incorporating fairytale stories that influenced each of one’s childhood through cutting on black or white paper. Since we had to work only with black or white paper, this was a project to really focus on utilizing the values and the movement to tell a story. Moreover, creating contrast between the positive and negative space was also a huge takeaway from this paper-cutting project.

The process of making this art was fairly straight forward; it looked something like this:

First, everyone developed a final plan, keeping in mind that what’s on the final plan is what goes on the black people which is being cut. In this stage, it was very important to notify the parts that are being cut and parts that are being left by shading them. Then, we copied our final plan on to the black paper. After the drawing was complete on the black paper, we finally started cutting.

Eventually, my actual studio piece ended up looking differently than you had envisioned in my final plan. This was because showing emphasis or making a clear focal point was harder than I thought it would be without the usage of color. The emphasis in my piece was Alice throughout the whole planning process. First, I tried to show emphasis, using only the scale in my final plan; however, I realized that the emphasis was not very clearly conveyed only by differentiating the scale of Alice not long after. This was what prompted me to incorporate other elements such as contrast of negative and positive space (black and white) and movement. To make Alice stand out, everything else had to have a lot of details in them while Alice was the only one shown as a silhouette.

I definitely challenged myself to try out new ideas and techniques in this project. One of the most apparent difference between this paper-cut piece and my previous art work is that this particular piece is asymmetrical—the diagonal line, or the tunnel, breaks the repetition and balance on both sides of the walls—while the artwork I have done before were all symmetrical. I have also applied myself fully to making my best possible work. This can be seen in the idea development process and my final plan. I carefully planned the composition, imagery and the symbolism used in the piece. Furthermore, I developed several final plans, trying to make my best possible work. I was very focused in all the classes, and I stayed after school very frequently to finish up my cutting. Looking at my completed work, I think I have grown and matured as an artist because I am now able to show contrast and emphasis without using any color, and only with black and white. Moreover, I am now more comfortable with making mistakes. Since it was very easy to make irrevocable changes in this artwork, I had to get used to making mistakes and trying not to make those mistakes seem like mistakes.

 

Valentines Card

This card is intended for my friend, Janice in grade 10. She is very special to me because we used to be neighbors back in Guangzhou. We knew each other from then, but since my family moved to Korea and she moved to Beijing, we didn’t see each other in a while. After about five years, I met her again in ISB, Beijing. It was really nice to meet her in an unexpected place!

I didn’t want my card to be cheesy since it was dedicated to a friend I knew from elementary school, and I wanted it to have a sense of humor or at least make Janice smile when she got it. I was very impressed when our teacher showed us the valentines card examples, especially the card using a pun. I got the “hogs” ideas from one of the examples she showed us. The first thing that got to my mind of the “kisses” part was the chocolate, so I drew a hog with chocolate.

The intention of the card was to celebrate valentine’s day and to hope Janice got a lot of chocolate and had a wonderful day. I was creative because I used the chocolate idea and also drew an original piggy, or hog. I was very proud of using pun in my card.

As explained above, a sense of humor was involved in my design. I know it wasn’t enough for a big laughter, but I am sure that the person receiving the card will at least smile when she sees the design.

Paper-Cut Media Testing

The aim for this particular media testing was to get the students ready for the summative paper-cutting project in the future. We were told not to make islands—anything detached to the original body of paper and to keep a balance of negative and positive space.

This media-testing certainly prepared me for the final paper-cutting project because I was able to take away a lot of things from this practice. To list some of the many things I learned through this media-testing: first, I realized that a lot of pressure had to be put in for sharp and clean edges. Second, I learned that personally, it was way easier to hold a knife like I hold my pencil. That way, I could cut more naturally. Finally, I also learned that when working with small pieces, especially the circles, it was best to turn the paper and leave the knife still.

Cutting itself was a huge challenge for me, as I am very clumsy and careless. I had to be very careful not to cut myself, rip the paper or make unnecessary, unintended cuts. Moreover, even with the shading, it was hard to distinguish or envision which part I would have to cut out and which part I had to leave. However, as I got used to it, it naturally came to me!

I really enjoyed seeing the balance of positive and negative space (black and white) really stand out in this piece. Further more, it was really enjoyable that I could really play with contrast, focal points and scale.

Fast-Slow Bycicle

The fast-slow bicycle drawing was an assignment where students used their observation skills and practiced drawing it quickly the first time–with water color–and going slow and in to detail the second time.

For this exercise, you need preferably a thick brush, one watercolor color, a thin black (or any color, actually) fine-tip pen, and finally, a complex object to observe and draw. First, you will have to use a thick brush, dip it in the watercolor and draw the basic shape or outline, using thick and quick strokes, of the object you have in front of you.  It is best to time yourself for a minute and make sure you are not spending too much time on this first inaccurate outline. Next, wait for the watercolor to dry and use the fine-tip pen and try and draw all the details you can see from the object.

This was a very interesting and unique activity to really notice the outside shape and the extreme details. Furthermore, I was able to develop both my observation and observational drawing skills. What was notable in my quick watercolor drawing in the first layer was that the proportions are very imprecise. On the other hand, when I was taking my time and drawing small, small details, I was able to get the proportions right and really draw exactly what I saw without adding or removing anything.

Shoes vs. Bare-footed

0200_001

This photo taken by Dorothea Lange takes place in approximately the 1930s, during the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic downturn, which resulted about 13 million unemployed workers and about two million homeless migrants just in the United States.

Dorothea Lange utilizes framing, dominant element, contrast and visual weight to reveal the appalling conditions during the Great Depression and gives hope to people. The primary source is a photo most likely of a homeless migrant. To emphasize the poor conditions, Lange uses the framing with the mattress and some leading lines such as the blankets and establishes the dominant element in the middle ground. She also uses other objects such as the tinned cup, shoes, and feet of kids and encloses the dominant element. The simplicity of the mise-en-scene, a girl lying on a mattress with a tinned cup in front of her, draws all the attention to the dominant element. It is evident that Lange had put more visual weight on the girl and her face. The migrant’s child’s face reveals a lot of emotion such as pain, hopelessness and desperation. Further more, the tinned-cup placed in front of the girl also discloses some facts about the poverty happening in the time period. Tinned-cans that are similar to the one seen in the photo are usually used for begging money. It is possible that the girl is asking for other migrants’ help or donation. In the background, bare-footed kids are playing with a tire of a car. This also shows the poor conditions of the time period: many people including children could not afford shoes. However, in contrast, the man in the middle ground is wearing a pair of decent shoes, symbolizing richness. Lange has intentionally placed the girl in between the two subordinate elements—the man with shoes and kids without shoes—and gives hope to people by telling a story of her belief: even though a lot of people start bare-footed and poor, they can end up having decent shoes or in other words, they can be successful in the future, also known as the American Dream. Dorothea Lange not only discloses the poor conditions of the Great Depression, but also encourages the migrants of a bright future.

« Older posts

© 2018 Jessica's Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑