Acrylic Painting Media Testing

 

Original PhotoMedia Testing

Just like the oil paint media testing procedure, we first took a close-up photo of our face for this media testing, which included areas of different values. This photo, however, is in full color, and instead of lowering the hue, we edited the photo to make the hues even brighter so we can more clearly see the contrasts. Next, we used matte medium, a glue that could also serve as a base. Rather than gridding the canvas like for the oil media testing, we used this material to glue the image onto the cardboard and then used it to cover the surface of the image (partially because paper is not a waterproof material, and acrylic paint will use water).  Next, we left the canvas so the matte medium could dry, and started painting over the image with acrylic paint when we got back. I first started with one section and moved to the next when it is relatively finished, because unlike oil paint, acrylic paint dries fast, and it is almost impossible to blend when the paint is dry.

Caring for acrylic paint brushes is much easier than for oil paint brushes— you just have to carefully wash the paint out of the brush, use some soap when needed, and that’s about it. But the paint tells another story. As previously mentioned, acrylic paint dries very fast, so if you leave the brush sitting soaked in paint for a long time, you’ll end up with a hard and dead brush. It is also very important to not take a lot of paint at one time, because you can’t leave acrylic paint sitting around like oil paint, as it will be dried very soon. Another thing about the ‘fast-drying paint’ that I learned from this media testing is that it is hard to use a tissue to wipe the paint (which is a style of mine), and instead of working, the tissue will just stick onto the canvas and the drying paint. Personally, I prefer oil paint more than acrylic, and one reason would be this stylistic problem. However, the fast drying quality can also be quite enjoyable, as you can go over the paint and fix layers right after if you made a mistake (unlike for oil paint). In addition, acrylic paint is also easier to clean, on clothes and in terms of brushes, which is another quality that I like about it.

The concept of ‘fast-drying paint’ was quite frustrating and very much stood out to me. It taught me a good lesson to work fast (and to not be too perfect). In the attempt of blending a not-so-good area, I destroyed another that was already looking well. From this, I learned the importance and reason for a messy style when working with acrylic— because it dries too fast for careful blending and perfection. With this being said, it is important to be ‘not perfect’ when using acrylic paint, and to focus on completing one area at a time, rather than the overall composition.

In terms of improvement, I think I would like to learn about using water when doing acrylic paint. When working with acrylic paint, I find it really hard to use just the ‘right amount’ of water (as acrylic paint can become very transparent with water, but this could be good for the dribbly technique of Hung Liu).

Oil Painting Media Testing

Reference PhotoMy Work
During the process of this media testing, we first took a close-up photo of our face (to make sure it will successfully work there must be high exposures and contrasts, and preferably well-defined lines), which we then edited in Photoshop to make it black and white. Then, rather than starting freehand on our cardboard base, we used the technique of gridding, which is to grid the canvas and the reference photo into a collection of tiny cubes using a ruler, in order to make the composition process easier and more effective, while also allows the composition itself to be more exact. Next, we started drawing lightly on the canvas with an HB pencil, going bit by bit by the grids we just made. Then we started the oil painting process (using only black and white paint and some paint thinner); I first worked with the white regions, and only started to add-in the hint of grey afterward.

Oil paint is fun, yet also harmful to the brush, especially when not well cleaned-out. To properly care for the brush, you must first use a piece of tissue to squeeze out the excess paint hiding in the brush, and then wash it in paint thinner to take care of the oil and excess paint. The next step is to carefully wash it with soap and water, and you could check if the goal is achieved by checking the brush as you dry it with a piece of tissue. In terms of other materials such as oil paint, there are also many important things to remember, such as the fact that oil paint drys slow and therefore could be used for a long time. Also, oil paint should not be washed down a drain as it could clog the sink, instead it should be squeezed onto a piece of oil paper if not a paint palette, and thrown away into the trash after they’re used up or too dried. In terms of tips of working with oil, I would say that it is important to put in the lighter values first, since adding layers in oil paint is very difficult to do when the paint is not yet dry; it is also important to consider the usage of paint thinner, which can result the paint being translucent if too much is put, or the paint being dry and hard to blend if not enough is used.

It is very satisfying how oil paint, a slow drying media, is easy to blend, especially compared to acrylic. Not only did this quality gave me the chance to slow down and take some time to revise my piece, but also allowed facial features and shadows to look more smooth and neat. While drying slow makes it good for blending, this also proved to be a problem when I wanted to add an extra layer. Because the drying time for oil paint to dry is  so long time that it outruns my patience, I usually added the next layer before the previous is fully dried. Sometimes, this makes it very hard to achieve the wanted value, resulting in my composition being lighter than the original photo. In the future, to give the paint more time to dry, I should first paint the overall composition first before going into the details and contrasting areas.
In addition, I am curious if tools such as the hair blower could help speed up the rate of oil paint drying, and how do oil painters deal with this drying problem. I am wanting to learn about the dripping effect of oil paint (like what artist Hung Liu does in her paintings), as the paint must drip in a certain way with certain widths and lengths to actually look natural.

Converging Cultures: Fading the Border

 Title: Fading the Border

How might two cultures conflict with each other? In what ways can they be unified? In this project of ‘Converging Cultures,’ we were challenged to use Adobe Photoshop to create a composition (or a series of them) to poetically display two cultures that importantly connect with us.

To me, a Chinese girl who lived in Vietnam for almost 3 years, the two Asian countries seem to have some similar cultures that could be expressively blended. With this idea in mind, I created this composition with a fading border to convey the message that there really aren’t any distinguished borders between the two cultures, and they can be coherent as a whole.

When I first planned out this piece, I was inspired by Victoria Seamer (Witchoria)’s cup compositions, as they seemed really creative and well-done. In my mind pictured to have a teapot pouring out everything (things of China and Vietnam) into a cup, but to make it not plagiaristic, I decided to change the perspective the cup is viewed from. However, throughout the development of the piece, I noticed that having a cup border does not seem to unify with the composition, which was baffling and challenging for me as I have just lost my ‘work-guide’. Coincidentally, that is when I found my work unintentionally inspired by the transparency works of Rene Magritte, so the final piece developed into something more Magritte-like than Witchoria-inspired. Additionally, it was very frustrating and challenging for me, someone who has a huge ‘database’ of ideas, to keep the composition consistent. In act of trying to problem-solve, I made a lot of rough sketches to plan them, and also kept my photos and layers organized so it will be easier for me to change ideas.

[THE FINAL PIECE]

In this project, I was constantly challenged to learn and use new tools/techniques, such as the “feathering” technique when it comes to refining the edges, different selection tools when I have to select parts of an image with unclear borders and seemingly simple skills such as adjusting the colors and values of a picture. In act of trying to achieve certain effects, I watched tutorial videos on effects, such as the dispersion effect for the bamboo border. The dispersion might’ve turned out better if I had a larger variety of brushes, but because I didn’t, creating this effect was rather challenging. To try to problem-solve this issue, I founded dispersed dots on the internet and changed their colors with the gradient overlays, which helped to the dispersed border to look more natural. Knowing that Photoshop might not always be ‘friendly’ sometimes, I took full advantage of all the time I have to work on my piece. During this project, my growth as an artist came from being patient and trying to not overthink things. As previously mentioned, working with Photoshop can sometimes be stressful and difficult; but as I work more on the project, I was able to sit down and reflect upon it more patiently and for a longer time without being distracted. Skills-wise, from this project I familiarized new tools such as the “layer masks”, the “brush tool”, and even the “magic eraser tool”; all are tools that I did not know how to do beforehand.

Untitled (The Process of my Work)

Develop Craft

In my opinion, trying to figure out how to create certain effects and how the tools work can sometimes be quite time-consuming and difficult. To help achieve effects such as the dispersed border, I looked up online tutorials that are very handy to learn from. From these tutorials, I learned about how to create the dispersion effect and the disintegration effect, which helped me to create the fading photo frame and draw focus to it. There are also additional helpful tutorials such as tutorials on creating fogs, brushes, and borders, which I media tested but did not include in my final piece to avoid visual confusion resulted by complexity. Not only were we introduced to Adobe Photoshop in this unit, we also learned about the process of how photoshop artists make their artworks, as well as the art form of surrealism and its surreal devices through taking away key ideas from videos and images. Using this artistic knowledge, I am able to think more like an artist in terms of the usage of these devices and the awareness of color schemes and unity.

[MEDIA TESTING E.G.: LEARNING HOW TO MAKE CLOUDY FOGS]

[NOTES TAKEN WHEN LEARNING ABOUT SURREAL DEVICES & THE PROCESSES OF MAKING PHOTOSHOPED ART]

Stretch & Explore

I was stretching myself and embracing challenges in this unit as I have to deal with the new tool Photoshop, and because I did not have a fully planned-out idea before I started working. Although I had prototyped a collection of compositions in my sketchbook, I am also aware of the fact that the availability of raw materials, time, and limitation of skill are all related to the feasibility of what I planned the piece to be. I did not limit myself down to the following everything as planned, but rather to use the plan as a guide and explore creatively onwards. For example, the inclusion of the fading photo frame was never thought of when I was planning but just appeared in my mind as the project became more-and-more put together. If I have followed everything in my plan and limited myself down to it, I might never have been able to learn about the dispersion of an object, and nor might’ve played around with the surreal device of transparency. I was also aware of the accident where I changed/erased a layer but later regretted the decision yet the original is already long gone. Instead of crying over this accident, I took it as a lesson and made hidden backup layers for images that are difficult to crop, remake, or are of relatively higher importance, which actually proved to be quite useful.

 [SCREEN SHOT OF NAMED BACKUP LAYERS]

Understand the art world

Surrealism is a rather interesting form of art, and sometimes the stories behind its scenes can be quite intriguing. As the unit progressed, we were able to learn more and more about the development of surrealism (from Salvador Dali to modern artists like Victoria Seamer)and each creative and unique styles of the surreal artist. Although we did not have a guest artist in this unit like the previous ‘In-a-Box’ unit, we had more chances to seek feedback and ideas from our artistic peers in the classroom. These art critiques allowed me to step back from my work and think: what is the actual message I am aiming to convey? And how can I express it in a more clearer yet poetic way that could appeal to the diversity? By both giving suggestions and receiving feedbacks, I am able to think more critically and open-mindedly in thought for symbols, unity, and many other parts of an artwork. In my perspective, feedback is very important in not just the art world but the larger world. By watching how the surreal artist Maggie Taylor received and benefited the feedback from another artist (Jerry Uelsmann ), I now understand that artists do not work alone, but rather seeks for feedback to improve their work like any one of us. I would like to say that I found the suggestions from my peers very useful when it comes to picturing and developing my work. Without the suggestions, I might’ve been troubled for a long time just to think on how should I fill up my background, and without the bits of help received from the interactions, I might also have struggled as I tried to use new tools.

[SKETCHBOOK NOTES & RECORDED FEEDBACK]

[WORK COMPARISON: TRANSPARENCY,  INSPIRED FROM ARTIST RENE MAGRITTE]

Sky Ladder (Documentary of Artist Cai Guo Qiang)

Sky Ladder is an art documentary which captures the amazing firework-based works of the Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang, who (in this documentary) is working on a mission-impossible type of project— a propellant-based, half-kilometer tall ladder that ‘leads up to the sky.’ More out-of-the-ordinary, this project of his was launched not to earn money, but to achieve a decade dream of his.

To me, it is really surprising that something so short-lasting could be regarded as art, and that art could come from the act of destroying another art— in Cai Guo Qiang’s projects, he spends a long time building the pathways for the propellants (and some, like the sky ladder, are by themselves already things of beauty), but then destroys them for a just a ‘second of glory’.
It is true that political views could affect an artist, artists, or more than artists. For helping to “add modernity” to the Olympics held in China, Cai Guo Qiang was questioned for why he was helping the government to run political-related activities (such as the Olympics and APAC). Though to him, this act of brightness is the ‘door that could help the world see the beauty and development of his country,’ and there is nothing wrong or shameful about it. Despite his rebuttal, some still find his actions ununderstandable, and this is rather depressing for Cai.

As long as you have the passion, the bravery, and the persistence for something, then “what you can imagine is what you can create” (Erik Johansson). This positive message is one of the key takeaways from this documentary, and one should never flinch from their dreams but to step up to achieve them.

Valentine’s Day Card

Card 1; Audience: Mom

This first Valentine’s day card is dedicated to ‘thank’ my mom for caring for me so much in a not-so-cheesy manner. Elements of art/principals of design in this poster-like card include color, shape, and proportion. It is inspired by an Emily McDowell card that gives the message “you are the most important thing in my life,” but I had a play with the scales to have my intended audience seem like the least important thing of my life, which was used for humor.

Card 2 & 3; Audience: Younger Cousin

These 2 cards are made for my cousin who is 3-and-a-half years younger than me, to show my appreciation for her (since I have no siblings, being able to have someone to play with and talk to was quite important to me when I was young). The first design includes the usage of colors, line, and contrast; while the second had same but a more open sense of space.

The first card especially was light-voiced and simple. Because her English name is ‘Princess,’ I wrote my message very straightforward:“you are a sweet yet messy princess” to show how she looked like to me. The word “princess” is also a unique play on words that could only have a double meaning towards no one but her.

The second card was inspired by the anaphoras from the book trilogy Daughter of Smoke and Bone of “Once upon a time… a… and a… ….(did something) ….(the outcome)” The sentence:“They made a great pear” in my card was a pun to show our friendship and her importance to me.

Holiday Book Read: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE (Author: Lain Taylor)

“Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. But angles burned the doorways to their world and she was all alone.”

Written in third person limited perspective, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a fantasy fiction mostly narrated in the eyes of the protagonist, a seventeen-year-old art student named Karou, who lives in the human world but is also attached to the ‘inhuman’ world of Eretz (also known as ‘Elsewhere’). Karou, a blue-haired, multilingual girl, is different in both of her worlds. Confused but unable to solve the mystery behind her identity, Karou tries her best to balance her life in Prague while running secret errands for Brimstone, a ‘chimera’ sorcerer who makes wishes and deals with teeth; yet Karou’s world, the planned life she was supposed to live, is beginning to fall apart.

When mysterious black handprints were scorched on the doorways to Eretz, it is the when the seraphs (six-winged angles of high orders) burnt the portal between the human world and the chimeras’ world. From then on, “the way to Elsewhere had been severed, and [Karou] was cast adrift” (Taylor, 138).

Karou, the daughter of a chimera sorcerer, and Akiva, a beautiful seraph who had “fire-colored eyes with a charge like sparks” (Taylor, 93), they were born to be enemies. Destined to destroy each other. But when Akiva finds himself unexplainably attracted to the girl who had just been recently isolated from her chimera family, it is when things changed, when they “dared imagine a new way of living” (Taylor, 310). And when great secrets came out of the mist, like a tattered piece of paper, started to unfold.

“Once upon a time, an angle lay dying in the mist. And a devil knelt over him and smiled.”

Taking a step back to see the book overall, this book reminds me of the tragic story of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ who fell in love with each other but were heavily conflicted due to being born into two opposing families (in this content, forces). Akiva and Karou is a silhouette of the couple, but “once upon a time, an angle and a devil fell in love. It did not end well” (Taylor, 0).

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”

Throughout the book, love and identity were two of the big themes the characters explore through. Additionally, the characters also challenge the idea of belief and the motif of good and evil. “You tell me that battling with monsters has made me a monster? Doing business with devils, what has that made you?” (Taylor, 123). Light and darkness are black and white dots on a color plate, one cannot say which is which from a far or biased distance.

In a Box- The Promise

Title: The Promise

Theme: Society

Thesis: The balance and equilibrium of privilege are in many ways lacking in current society. The freedom and rights of the ones with lower social status are in many ways limited compared to those at the top, who, despite their power, oftentimes make empty promises to the powerless.

How could a box be used to uncover a theme? How do people’s interpretations of themes and symbols differ or change through time? In this studio challenge, our task was to use creative media and a box as our base to display a poetic interpretation of a different theme (which we all drew randomly from a hat). The theme I got was ‘society,’ and for a while, I wondered on a seemingly absurdly simple, but complicated question: “What is society?”

I first brainstormed on the things/concepts that first pops into my mind when I first think of the word society, and picked the most interesting or broad ones to further brainstorm. One of the first things I thought of in reaction to the word ‘society’ was Animal Farm written by the famous author George Orwell, which was interesting but also unfortunately limited to the certain book. I then made a few initial design ideas, and something in common about them was that I wanted to incorporate a bottle to show danger lurking in the society. However, later in my 2nd final plan, I decided to take it out because my message about society has gone from drugs and their dangers to another idea: hierarchies. Because in my initial plans, the bottle was supposed to be put on towards the end, I left it in my collection of items and started by covering the box with newspaper and initially planned pictures by applying matte media. When this was finished, the box turned out to be much more ‘cluttered’ by newspapers than I had envisioned, and I soon discovered that the bottle had become not very unified with this background. This was the time when I was extremely conflicted in my mind, having to decide if I will keep the bottle and repaint the box or vise versa. After all, since news and propaganda seemed a better description of society than drugs, my focus point shifted to the promises and hierarchies in society. My final piece did turn out to be different in many parts, but not by drastically. In summary, making the choices of what to keep and what to take out was the biggest challenge I had to face —there were so much media that I wanted to use and so many things I wanted to incorporate, but such a small space— this forced me to make my choices carefully and reflectively.

In this project, I worked with many different items as well as new tools like the matte media. I also used the glue guns stylistically to achieve interesting details, for example, the droplets on the matches which created a sense of pacing in the piece, and the holes on the net were purposefully made by using the heat of the glue gun. Since I had many ideas to include and knew time passes by fast, I made an effective use of the class time so that my piece will look fully finished and well-polished when we meet the final deadline for the exhibition. I did apply my best workmanship in making this piece, and although some of the paper cranes in the net were barely evident to see, I still folded each one carefully. The same goes for the newspaper background, every section was covered by small pieces instead of massive sheets of newspaper to created the overwhelmingness of propaganda. Throughout this project, I have grown as an artist by working to avoid literary and obvious symbols. By way of illustration, I once had and planned to have wire-made people working in the box to show contrast between the rich and poor, but working figures have become over populated and due to that not very unique; for an alternative, I made paper cranes and trapped them in the net, which also shows limitations to power and trapped freedom, but now in a more poetic way.

Final Piece

⬆️<Click on the above link for a better quality Image>

Observe

In this project, I’ve observed symbolic details in others’ work, for example, the contrast and depth the choice of colors   creates in a box of Joseph Cornell’s, as well as the clothing of the silhouettes in Kara Walker’s work (who was another initial artist for inspiration) and what they might have related to the American Civil war. From viewing works of artists, I learned that details could create strong emphasis on the theme and mood if carefully applied and repeated. This takes away from making observations taught me to be careful and thoughtful when adding details to unify the piece. In my final piece, a majority of the writing on the newspaper prints read words related to wealth, and other details such as the cracks on the coverages of the radio and images allowed the piece seem more sophisticated and real than compared to abstract.

Reflect

Viewing and reflecting in this project allowed me to benefit from both the pros and cons of a piece, whether it is mine or someone else’s. As a starter of this project, we looked at precedents from artists such as Joseph Cornell and formed a detailed analysis on his use of design elements (such as the Elements of Art and Principals of Design) for one of his pieces. When I was making my piece, I constantly took a step back from the box to see what had worked and what seemed unfitting, then made adjustments upon the critiques. In the attempt make the most effective decisions, I sought to get feedback from my peers, and also documented my changes so that I could remember and learn from why I removed a certain part from the box. I also listed the pros and cons of some of my ideas in my sketchbook for comparisons when I was making choices, by doing so, I could make sure I’ll be able to put the best ideas in use instead of the weak ones.

Critique

Final Plan (2)

Faces

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Engage and Persist

I was always engaged and on task during this project. Even though sometimes things might not turn out as I’ve expected them to, I always persisted to settle these issues. The droplets on the matches might seem a minor detail, but I had to persist through many trials and errors before getting hold of the trick of making them with glue guns, as did the wire-people which I later removed to avoid visual cliche. My engagement and persistence of trying through different ideas can also be observed from the constant changes I make to my project plan, which are documented in my sketchbook. In my opinion, engagement and persistence are two very important concepts: without being engagement, the details in my piece would’ve already fallen apart and likely have never even existed; without persistence which was driven by engagement, I never would’ve folded so many paper cranes which are some key symbols in my artwork. Securing the cranes onto the net using the hot glue gun is especially difficult for the net melts to heat (which is how I made the holes), and has tiny holes in its weaving. Despite the challenge, I did not give up on the paper cranes instead managed to glue all of them on. As a ‘reward’ I was especially complimented by my peers on the usage of the cranes.

 

 ⬆️<Click on the above link for a better quality Image of the Process Photos>

A Hero’s Journey

In “Oggy Magnon” of the cartoon TV series Oggy and the Cockroaches by Xilam, the major dramatic question wonders: will Oggy (the protagonist) find and bring fire back to his village? The exposition of the story starts with the cockroaches (antagonists of the story) destroying the fire, which sets the protagonist in conflict with his society. In result, the protagonist’s goal, conscious and concrete, is to achieve the expectations of the villagers and bring back fire. The protagonist mainly goes through a man vs. nature type conflict in the story when he encounters numerous dangers along his way to find the fire. Unsurprisingly, his journey is difficult with many obstacles, by way of illustration, survival, and danger on the way and the protagonist’s fear of fire. The conflict was resolved with the protagonist conquering his fear, and bring back not only fire but also the way of making fire. Throughout the whole story, the protagonist had to work his way on his own (with some help from his two friends), and neither nature nor god served to help him meet his desire.

If Only the Price

Does being a billionaire make a person happier or more unfortunate? Is a price always necessarily the money?

 

Interpretation Overview 

In my version of Wuther Crue’s “Ordeal by Cheque”, the story starts off with the birth of young Lawrence Exeter, Jr., who was born into the family of a billionaire. The rising action takes off with the father giving his checkbook to young Lawrence, in hope to lure away his attention. The Climax is set when young Lawrence encounters his ‘Grim Reaper’, Tony Spagoni, and falls with young Lawrence’s two marriages. The story ends [SPOILER ALERT] with young Larence dead in attempt to protect his pride and destroy his nightmare.

【If Only the Price】

The rich sunshine, shone warmly to greet the birth of the child. He was born sometime in autumn, 1903, when exactly was a question — even old Lawrence Exeter was too unconscious to remember that. He was titled Lawrence Exeter, Jr, after his father, and held a key to the golden lock the very second he was born. The toys he demanded, the everything he longed, all given to him with a little point; top bikes, top cars, top educations, top everything, for heavy prices were not the matter, nor ever concerned.

It was not until the first day of June 1923, that his father, Lawrence Exeter, Sr. found himself captivated by the beauty of Miss Daisy Windsor, after and proposed to her on a French tour. The fancy trip was soon followed by another to Hawaii, but Lawrence Exeter, Sr., was afraid that his son would disapprove his choice. Gingerly, he sent his son his checkbook along with a letter, allowing him to use the checkbook however freely.

How surprised and shocked young Lawrence was when he received the checkbook. He wondered for a while of what his father was up to and carefully bought some expansive treats for his girlfriend. When the checkbook seemed not anymore suspicious, the gowns and salons followed, with countless more material goods.

***

Of all unfortunate, a morning sun does not last long. It was August 23rd that year when Lawrence Exeter, Jr. was confronted by Tony Spagoni on the dark outskirts of town. Crows encircled around them, and dead darkness began to fall as Spagoni drew a butcher knife from his pocket.

“No! Good sir, you mustn’t mean to kill me,” young Lawrence begged, “please! My family is rich, let me go, and I promise you a hundred-twenty dollar check if only you’d spare me!”

Spagoni was sinking the blade into the young man’s throat when he heard the bargain. The stinky odor and dust on Spagoni’s clothes had indeed suggested something, and he cursed himself for not hiding it well. But if truth be told, he is short on money, and had barely eaten anything good for the past several weeks.

Studying over the young man carefully, Spagoni lowered his knife, only to bring it back up again to young man’s relieved gasp.

“Please, good sir! My family always pays its debt, and —”

“A hundo ‘n twenty-six,” Spagoni cut him off briskly.

“As you say, good sir!”

Lawrence Exeter, Jr. did not question as to why the extra six, and nods without any protest. He was more than grateful to be allowed to live.

Checks, he decided, was no more than signing a tiny card.

The Grim Reaper dropped his knife and hid it back into his pocket before walking away. The cold wind scuffed young Lawrence’s cheeks as it carried Spagoni’s voice, “don’tcha think to cheat on me, son, I’ll know if ya do, ‘n ya’ll be stone dead before ya even try.”

A week later, while driving down the same road when the sky was black, young Lawrence found the Grim Reaper waiting again. Young Lawrence was threatened to write a second check, and when he found his nerves to look up, he noticed Spagoni’s face painted in ruthless. Striped by the night’s shadows, Spagoni held a new weapon, a revolver, which was surprisingly colder than the knife.

***

Never did young Lawrence go near the road again, and soon the shadows faded from his world of golden suns. He married a fair woman a year later, but soon after decided that he was happier off having Marie Wharton as his wife, and once more regretted the choice of marriage. He was to pay a lot more for the second divorce, but, alas! Heavy prices were not the matter, nor ever concerned, by the holder of a golden key.

However, walking out from Court young Lawrence sensed something atypical, something mystifying, almost like… Yes! The sensation he had when the Grim Reaper was near! Lawrence Exeter, Jr. fell back almost immediately, eyes wide in fear. He rushed home in a haste to contact the Walker brothers, who were the top students back in his military school. He offered an irresistible amount of money to hire them, wishing for them to seek out and destroy the Grim Reaper. However, still feeling that there wasn’t enough agency, young Lawrence spent a huge sum of money to pay for the top-level security cameras to scan the area around his home.

But money failed to buy him what he desired for this time, and the Grim Reaper showed up his front door not long after, in the dark shadowy night.

“Think’n to cheat on me huh?” Tony Spagoni demanded, eyes red like flames, but this time young Lawrence was more surprised than petrified. This Tony Spagoni was not the Tony Spagoni he had seen two years ago— this Tony Spagoni was not in a mess, but in fine leather coat and in fine leather boots; this Tony Spagoni was not alone, but accompanied by accomplices. This Tony Spagoni… didn’t even need to point at him with a knife or a gun. Shivering, young Lawrence wrote a hundred-bill check and heard the doors and windows slam shut. He flinched, the windows were locked from the outside.

When young Lawrence opened his eyes the next morning, Tony Spagoni was standing over him, demanding another check. Young Lawrence refused at first, trying to make a run for the door, only to end up with a wounded leg.

***

Spagoni unlocked the door of the villa again the third morning, humming to himself a cheerful song rhythm. He steps into the villa rubbing his fists when suddenly a shadow started enlarged around him. Just then hysterical laughter boomed from the floor above him, and before he even knew it or had the chance to look up or run, a thousand-pound grand piano, falling from nowhere, slammed the consciences right out of him!

Young Lawrence was in hysterics on the second floor, tears of relief welling in his manic eyes. He does not know, and does not care about the outcomes— all he knew or cared was that he had killed the Grim Reaper, the nightmare, who haunted him for two long years. Young Lawrence does not cry of agony when the accomplices beat him bloody; does not make a sound when the accomplices escaped the villa when the newspaper boy came by. He laughed as he signed another check, with all the strength left in him, for the boy to deliver a ready-wrote letter to his loving father, Lawrence Exeter, Sr..

When the father rushed back, petrified and shocked by the news, young Lawrence Exeter had been half-dead for two days. He immediately brought him to the Hollywood Hospital, but after ten days of rescuing, even the most skillful doctors couldn’t help but shake their heads. Lawrence Exeter, Sr. cursed himself for spoiling his young son so much since the day he was born, tears of regret pouring like rain. But dead is dead, and even being a billionaire could not change this fact.

Upon young Lawrence’s grave in the Hollywood Mortuary, engraved the words broken but clear: IF ONLY HEAVY PRICES WERE CONSIDERED.

From that day on, once again, there lived one, and only one Lawrence Exeter.

The Eighth Night

Original Text: The Tell-Tale Heart

Passage: The’Eighth Night’

Narrator: 3rd Person Limited POV

Compared to the above original passage of ‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’ written by Edgar Alan Poe in first person POV, this imitation was narrated in third person limited POV. The emotions and inner thoughts of the protagonist that were told directly in the original were alternated to be told indirectly in the imitation.

【THE IMITATION】

A young man was sidling up the stairs very slowly, dawdling on his way to catch the glimpse of the howling wind and exploding thunder sounding from outside the window. As he crept up the rusty stairs, his murky shadow drew long and dark, and shadows from elsewhere emerged out from the crevices of the wall immediately to greet him with dark murmurs. He was soundless all the way, a lantern with just a thin ray of light shooting out held firmly in his long, white, heatless fingers. A watch’s minute hand was moving faster than his, and just the hint of a dark smile slid across his face as he sneaked a glance at it. He took a long, deep breath, and trembling fingers came upon the doorknob of the room on the top floor, so slowly the hand didn’t seem to have moved a muscle. He paused for a while before pressing on, the smile he had worn was gone when the lantern was upon his face, and his eyebrows, so thick that they covered both his eyes, twitched for once. Still he had not drawn back, instead pushed gently to open the door without any hesitation. The room he confronted was darker and gloomier than even his shadows, in fact so dark his shadows were devoured in the very instant. The room, black as pitch with the thick darkness, had strong-looking shutters on small, fragile windows that were heavily closed. Those shutters of cold iron, were without a single trace of damage, unlike the rest of the house. He smiled wickedly as he looked at them, and kept on pushing the door.

He peered into the room with his head examining around in search for something. He moved a finger towards the thick, coarse fabric covering the lantern. His thumb suddenly slipped upon the tin fastening. An old man sprang from the bed to the sound almost at once, sweat covered his neck and his breathing was heavier than the shutter bars. His wide-open, vulture-like eyes reflected the cold light of the dark night. He yelled a startled cry to its second blink—“Who goes there?”

The young man did not move and nor did he reply to the demand. For a whole hour the watch twitched quietly, and there he stood, still and unmoving, as a figure without a life. The old man was sitting up in the bed and did not move a muscle either.

Then the young man’s ears twitched to a sound. A just loud enough to be slightly heard sounded ghostly in the dark room. The sound of a groan, a groan that sounded like a petrified shriek…

I Am What I Wear

Introduction

In this studio challenge of “You are What You Wear” our task is to create a large piece of charcoal drawing of cloth or other daily wears (such as shoes or watches), that defines or relates to us in someway or another.

Final

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The first step was to pick four items of clothing that are special to us, but to me it’s not necessarily the easiest step, since every piece of clothing in my closet appears special to me in someway. The second step was to set them up in a creative/meaningful way and take a picture; then to make some quick but interesting composition sketches of different sections or angles of them in the sketchbooks. Afterwards, the task is to pick a sketch idea as final and compose it on a larger piece of paper with charcoal. In order to create a thoroughly composed drawing, I first used rulers and pencils to make out guidelines on the paper and printed copy of the actual image, which divides them into smaller sections. Using those guidelines, the next steps are solid, which are to outline and shade in based on the image printed. My actual studio piece ended up with both similarities and differences to what I had envisioned, and the biggest difference is the mixed-valued patterns on the shirt, which I had envisioned to look almost the same as in the picture. Out of all the challenges, time-management and perfection were the two biggest ones, because certain areas could take up more or less time than planned, and for charcoal it’s almost impossible to keep everywhere clean and perfect. I overcame the first challenge by taking my art home to work on during the October break, this way I can make sure the project can be fully completed on time; and I used ignorance to overcome the second challenge by not focusing on certain spots until the end.

I challenged myself in this project through ways such as using the side of vine and compressed charcoal to create texture, for example when attempting the patterns on the shirt. Focusing on details and completing my steps with care, I believe I have applied myself to make the best work possible, and also took advantaged to use class time reasonably. When I look at my artwork, I am sure I have grown and matured as an artist by taking risks that might be out of my comfort zone when doing this project (such as going dark in areas and adding highlights). I am also sure though, that there are still more room for growth and improvements.

Express

I expressed a personal connection with my artwork through the pieces of cloth articles I chose to draw of and their arrangements. Every article I chose has a relevant personal connection to me, and I used values and focus points in my art to further address them. For example, I chose to arrange the watch and the black cat on of the rule-of-thirds focus points, this way they could draw more attention and express how time is  important to me, and suggest my love towards cats.

 

Articles 

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Envision

Planning several of perspectives by doing compositional sketches in my sketchbook before creating my final artwork helped me to picture what scale or angle are reasonable to use for my artwork. Although the final piece was not composed out of any of the 4 composition sketches, I had a better understanding on focus point and is more aware of how the rule-of-thirds can be highly impactful when creating a composition.

 

Compositions

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Develop Craft

Throughout this project I learned how to handle and correctly use different types of charcoal materials, and was able to reflect on each’s pros and cons based off from my art process. It is especially interesting for me to see and experiment with the different effects and texture a piece of material is able to create just by using its many different angles, surface (e.g. tip of the vine charcoal vs. its sides), or its pressure on the paper.

 

Art Materials

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Rickshaw Drawing (Fast&Slow)

In this fast-and-slow drawing project, I made an A3 drawing of the rickshaw using water color and pens, incorporating gestural lines and continuous contour lines.

Gestural drawings are quick drawings or even sketches created to capture and present the basic shape and form of an object or figure. In a gestural drawing, the media  can be lifted off from the paper as many times as the artist likes, putting all focus on not the details but the overall shape. On the other hand, continuous contour line drawings are unbroken line drawings made of a figure, which focuses on its details and drawn as precisely as possible, which is the complete opposite to a gestural drawing. It is also important that the drawing instrument only leave the paper when essentially needed and as minimum as possible.

For this project, 3 small portions of different water color paint (which were of analogous colors on the color wheel) were my media for the gestural drawing; and pigma micron pens of different sizes were the other media, which is used for the continues contour line drawing. My sequence overall is watercolor/gestural, then pen/contour, and at last even smaller but non-continuous details. More specifically, the first thing to do (after finding a suitable drawing level and perspective), is to create the gestural drawing with the water color. Before starting, add a suitable amount of water to the paint, so that they won’t be too dark nor light on the paper (in my opinion, having lighter water colors actually works better than having too much paint). As an approximate 1 minute timer is set, quickly outline the figure with the paint. I found that it also works the best if the 3 colors were mixed and water added to the colors temporarily, to create a sense of dimension and values. Once the colors dries, I used the pens to make more proportional outlines and to add in the details. I also adjusted the thickness (when need, to add the sense of value) to indicate shadow and value. In my work, I spent most time looking up at the rickshaw and observing it, rather than at my paper, which is another thing that should be included in a continuous contour drawing.

For ones who might be interested in doing a fast & slow drawing similar to this project, several of pointers for this project includes things such as the focus point, timing, and other reminders. When doing the fast drawing, it is possible to look at the object, and just follow the outline with the brush to draw a quick outline out with a lighter color. Then, still going fast, go over some parts of the former color, add in values and mix the colors to represent how dark or light one place might be compared to another. After that for the continuous contour lines, always remember the outline of the gestural drawing may be completely out of scale and different to the real figure. It is important to recognize that the contour line drawing may turn out into something completely different than the gestural drawing, but always remember to look up at the object often and check if the lines are going correctly. Finally, don’t be afraid to draw the lines with a single move, just take your time to go slow and accurately.

For me, not being able to use pencil is the biggest challenge I faced in this project. As we all know, pen is thick and not erasable, and I always found it hard to use without having an outline to trace over or reference. I did have the lines from the gestural drawing, but they actually caused more confusions than help or reference, because it is sometimes hard to determine if they are right and make choices between looking at them or the actual object. The temptation to shade also caught me as a challenge, and I did shade the cover layer of the rickshaw when I first started with confusion and frustration, but in the end I managed to force myself out of the habit (as shown by the right section of my piece).

From this assignment, I learned how to calm and work myself through when faced with an enormous project without pencil and erasers, this takeaway could possibly help me with my charcoal drawing in Art class. I also learned/improved on using pens of different thicknesses to add value to my drawing and make them more stand out. If I were to do this project again, I would defiantly pay more attention to the wires of the wheels (which I found hard to analyze which goes where) along with its details.

Changed and Different

#Found Poem By Chang & Nefertiti

Have you ever found yourself isolated without a chance to turn back? Or got faith in something that would contradict and change your life? The thought of regret and helplessness are experiences that everyone goes through, but we must face them despite anything.

In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie utilized conflicts, feelings and emotions which occurred in the daily life of the protagonist, Junior Arnold Spirit, to develop him into a round character. The changes of Junior are gradual, but they are what makes him so different and what makes him stronger. In the exposition, Junior’s internal wish is revealed when he said,  “‘I want to talk to the world” and “want the world to pay attention to me'”. But that is nothing more than only a wish, a want, of a helpless and ‘sick’ child who is picked on in school and everywhere else. Being like that, Junior felt nothing but “lonely” and “depressed”and “afraid” and “horrible”. He believed in nothing but the idea: “Somebody shoved me into a rocket ship, blasted me into a new plane. I was a freaky alien, and there was absolutely no way to get home.” But after his dog Oscar died in suffering and almost everything in his life went against him, he eventually understood that this is his home, and falling back with complains won’t help with anything. Junior knew that no matter what happens to him today, he still “had to stand eventually” and in the end, decided with courage to be “the first one to ever leave the rez.” Once, Junior, “weak, scared, and helpless”, would run and leave his friend Rowdy behind, because he “was scared of getting throw in jail for vandalism”. However overtime, Junior began to feel that he has more responsibility for not only himself but also the community, and that is, when Sherman Alexie wrote, “It feels good to help people”.

Surrealizesm

In the world right now, many people are unaware of the issues around them, and one of the issues greatly ignored is how animals are being mistreated and harmed. Surrealism is a type of art that incorporates many items, which sometimes make the real a virtual environment. In this project, I used pencils and colored pencils as my media, surrealism as my style, and revealed how animals are being harmed through the beauty of art to raise awareness.
Throughout the process, I improved my skills to create and draw, and if I was to do this again, I’d only make my topics relate more to myself.