Portrait Project Reflection: Diphylleia grayi (Skeleton Flower)

For this art project, we were asked to paint a portrait of a figure to either make a broader social statement, represent the intangible, or let a figure convey authority through our paintings. I decided to paint a Korean singer called Jong Hyun using both oil and acrylic color paint. Oil paint was used to paint the face of the portrait and acrylic paint was used to paint the background.


Formal Analysis/Message:

As mentioned above, for my project, I chose to paint Jong Hyun, a singer of a famous idol group called SHINee. Regrettably, this figure had an arduous time enduring his stress as a celebrity, and had committed suicide on the 18th of December, 2017. I was very hesitant to make this decision as it is a topic to be very prudent and careful about; however, I wanted to express my condolence for the tragedy and make a social statement revealing my ideas of criticism. To start off with, I’d like to explain what the title “Diphylleia grayi (Skeleton Flower)” means. The skeleton flower is a type of flower than turns transparent when it has contact with water. I chose to use this as a symbol for the intangible emotions Jong Hyun might have felt. In addition to this, I also wanted to connect to Jong Hyun’s song with the same title, which he wrote himself as an artist. By presenting the Diphylleia grayi, I intended to indirectly express the depressing and painful emotions Jong Hyun would’ve felt due to the discourteous words and views of the public and the people. The completely transparent flower petals represent the unpredictable amount tears he would have poured, distressed by his harsh experiences. Also, the flower being detached from the stem implies that the people had cut the flower which symbolizes Jong Hyun himself. I had also attempted to communicate a similar message through the contrasting colors of the background. As perceptible, the background surrounding Jong Hyun is orange while the rest of the background is a deep blue. While orange is a color of warmth, dark blue is a cold color which often illustrates a gloomy mood. In the painting, it seems like the blue overwhelms the orange which I wanted to make clear that the world was too cold for Jong Hyun to live in. This is like an analogy to the skeleton flower which is from a warm habitat and dies in the winter, unable to bear the cold environment. Through this art work, I would like to daringly advice people that although they can criticize others, they do not have the right to harass and attack any individual.


Artist Influence:

The artist that influenced and inspired my painting is a portrait artist called Jen Mann. What I incorporated from her art work was her painting style and use of color. The analogous color scheme and the smooth blending of paint was what appealed to me most about her art.


Creative Process:

Particularly for this project, I developed the piece through the most steps than I took for any other painting. For the very first step, I found a reference picture and Photoshop-ed with the composition that I wanted my painting to look like. Then I used a projector to trace a simple outline of my person on the canvas.After that, I did an underpainting, which is to lightly paint in the values using one color. During the process of the under painting, I had also painted a bit of my orange background so that it would be easy to paint the face on it. Then it was just a continuous, tedious process of layering and layering paint over paint. This process was really hard and tiring because it was very hard to move on from one section that I was unsatisfied with. Because of that, you can really see my painting change a lot after I’m finally done with those detailed parts. When I was eventually done with the face, I then started with the background. The original orange background that I’d started with was way too dark, so I covered it all up with white, so that the next layer of paint would have a bright and vibrant color. I first let the blue dry, and then worked on the orange. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t really turn out like the blue was overwhelming the orange (which was an effect I was looking for), so I slightly regretted working on the blue first. After all the painting part was done, I worked on the “transparent” flower (the skeleton flower). When I first planned my painting, I wanted to use resin to illustrate the transparent effect however, I wasn’t able to find a way to create the shape of the flower with resin so I investigated a different way to show a similar effect. I eventually came up with the idea to make the flower with plastic wrapping. It came out to look better than I thought and I was quite satisfied with how it looked. Overall, the composition of the flower did change a bit compared to my original final plan. It was due to the limitation of media, but it still conveyed the same meaning so I’m rather more pleased than disappointed.




Effort and Artistic Growth:

I am proud to say that I have challenged myself to try out a lot of new ideas and techniques in this project. First of all, it was my first experience of using oil paint in general and although we had already invested with oil paint through our media testing, it was also my very first time to use color oil paint for my final project. Because oil paint was a new medium for me, I put in extra effort to bring the best out of myself. Not only did I take advantage of class time, but I had also spent approximately 11-12hours outside of class to finalize my project. Looking at my completed piece, I am extremely happy to notice that I have grown as an artist, now knowing how to use a new media in art. I also stretched creatively and matured as an artist by expressing a message through indirect symbolism and even incorporating daily-life materials (plastic wrap) in my art work.


Artist Habits of Mind: 

Develop Craft

Like already mentioned, there were numerous steps to this project. Although I have explained all the process steps of the actual final project, I hadn’t 

mentioned the media testing we did beforehand. Before we started with our planning, we took approximately 4-5 classes to learn how to use various mediums. During this process, I was able to learn the techniques of using oil paint. In addition to this, I took the time outside of class to invest in using plastic wrap to create different shapes of flowers which looked aesthetically pleasing. 


Because one of the aspects of the guiding questions that I covered was conveying the intangible in my painting, I was able to learn how to express a non-visible feeling and message through symbolism. I did a lot of idea planning and sketching in order to reach to the final plan that I developed. The final symbols I eventually came up with was the skeleton flower and the contrasting colors (like mentioned above).


Along with the charcoal project, this project was one which required the most observing to complete the piece. Because a person’s face is so detailed and unique, the painting would look so different even if I missed a small detail. In order to capture all the features with precision, I zoomed into every small part of Jong Hyun’s face and took hours to draw each section. The part that most challenged me was the lips which I approximately spent almost 4hours fixing

Media Testing (Oil & Acrylic)

For this media testing, we had to first draw our faces on the cardboard before we actually began the painting process. We gridded both the printed black & white selfie and gesso-ed cardboard with small squares in order to make it easier for us to get the proportions right. We numbered each squares on both articles to make it easy to compare the correct squares. Then, we started copying the shapes and lines in the same box of the photo, to the same box of the cardboard. We only drew a simple outline, and started painting to fill the values. The long-lasting and smooth quality of oil paint was extremely fun and nice to paint with as it allowed me to work on the painting for a long time without it drying up. The specific quality also made it easy for me to naturally blend the values on my face. However, on the other hand, I also struggled using oil paint because of the same exact quality. Once I made a mistake with a dark color, I couldn’t cover it up with a light color as it mixed with the dark. Through that experience, I learned to always work with light shades first with oil paint. Although this media testing was very fruitful and exciting, I also want to try using color oil paint in the future!


In this media testing, we glued a photo of our own face on to a piece of cardboard and painted over it with a different composition of color of our choice. Through this practice, I was able to learn how to properly use the qualities of acrylic paint to create texture, which is contrasting from the paint style of oil paint. It was fun being able to exaggerate values and colors through the fast-drying paint (did not mix), however, it was also frustrating because of the same quality. The paint dried too fast that I often ran out of colors that I was satisfied with. Although Idid experience a lot through this activity, I still want to learn how to coherently use vibrant colors in a portrait painting.


Spring Fair Logo Design

Portrait Analysis

portrait analysis

Spring Break: Korean Public Art Museum




Reflective Blog Post #3

The previous two weeks of Tutor Training has been heavily based on just tutoring students. Although there were a few sessions that I was not needed, I was able to attend classes with the eighth grade students for several important sessions. I had worked with students as they were introduced to new concepts, as they independently studied such concepts, and as they worked on a new project to assess their knowledge. My help became extremely needed and essential at times as the students did have trouble following the steps of learning independently. I had, once again, helped out in such situations using the methods I’ve learned for the past semester of Tutor Training with the online courses.


Contrasting with my concerns from the first session, I am glad to say that I’ve grown quite close with the students that I’ve now been tutoring for two weeks. This word “close” does not mean that I’ve become great friends with the students, but it means that the students are now comfortable with asking questions to me and I no longer feel awkward around the students. Over the course of training, so far, I have noticed that it was mostly one group of students that has always eagerly asked me questions, even before I had to approach them. I wasn’t surprised that they were a group of enthusiastic girls. Although I am currently having a lot of fun and building great experiences in tutoring, I wish that in the near future, maybe a greater number of boys would also trust me to answer their questions. I am not exactly sure at this moment what to do to achieve that goal, but I think it would help for me to carefully approach them and give them some time to get comfortable around me.

Converging Cultures- Alien


1–Introduce the project:

This studio assignment, the Converging Cultures project, challenged us to create a digital art piece on our cultural backgrounds using Photoshop. We were asked to weave together the two cultures that we grew up experiencing, using the surreal devices that we had investigated in previous classes. It was a difficult task for many students as we were forced to avoid using clichéd and literal symbolisms such as flags to represent the cultures and countries.

2–Formal analysis/Message:

At the developing stage of this project, I, as always, had way too many ideas and was extremely indecisive of all of the potential themes that the ideas could be. However, I personally think that this work ended up being one of the pieces that I had most effectively and successfully incorporated my initial ideas into, despite the many technical difficulties I had faced with the new media. When I first started brainstorming on the concept of culture, I simply listed out the various cultural fundaments of the two countries that I associate with, Korea and America. Unconsciously, I tended to seek for the differences of the two cultures as I continued writing. But then I’d realized, that it actually should’ve been the first task to find a similarity between the two, as our project directed us to entwine a culture with another. It was then when the story Cinderella had struck my mind. Cinderella is a folk tale that is most well-known through the remake of the storyline into a movie directed by Disney. After listening to the initial plot of this movie, anyone from the US would immediately think of the Disney princess Cinderella; however, as an American-Born-Korean, I think back to both Cinderella and Kongjui Patjui. Kongjui Patjui is a Korean folk tale that has an extremely similar storyline with Cinderella, except the setting being in early Korea. Both stories where in books that I had read in the similar times of my childhood. So I chose these two stories to be the basis of my art work, as well as the main commonality of where the two cultures meet each other. And then, I started to build up ideas for my personal experiences and connections to include in the piece. I decided to change the main characters of the two stories; juxtaposing the two girls into contrasting settings, each into a scene of the other story. A Korean lady in a beautiful traditional Korean dress (Han-Bok) is placed into the background of a Western ballroom while an American girl wearing a western-style dress is put into the scene of Kongjui doing her chores in an old Korean-styled house. This represents my experience of being a “foreigner” in both a Korean environment and an American environment. Within the two years that I had lived in Korea, I had experienced the amused expressions of many people as they got to know me. My peers were interested and surprised by my background as it wasn’t so common for a new student to be from a different country, with a different passport. Most of the times in Korea, the majority considered me as a foreigner. This actually wasn’t so different in an American environment either. Also growing up being educated in an international school of an American base, people still considered me as a foreigner (in an American perspective) despite the large portion of my life spent in the same environment as them. I was a foreigner who biologically originated from a different country and was much exposed to the culture of that “different country”. This is how the two images in the book of my piece reflects on my personal experience in different cultures. In addition, the time differences of the two scenes (Konjui Patjui-> day, Cinderella -> night) show how one experience remains in the past while the other is still in its present-tense. The person pushing a page over to flip to the next scene, symbolizes myself transitioning from one environment/culture to another. Because the actual storybook Cinderella ends with the character being a princess, I wanted to illustrate that my future would also continue to associate with the setting/culture of the second page, where the Korean Cinderella is involved with the western environment. I’ve emphasized the Korean Cinderella with a focal point for the same reason.

-Surreal Devices:


Juxtaposition has been used in many ways in this piece:

Characters- As previously explained, the juxtaposition of the characters in contrasting environments represent my personal experiences with different cultures. You wouldn’t normally expect a western character to be in an Asian environment and an Asian character to be in a western environment.

Crown- The crown on the “Korean Cinderella’s” head is a western style crown which doesn’t match up with her traditional Korean outfit. This juxtaposition displays the “converging” of the two cultures, symbolizing myself getting used to the American culture and environment.


Words- The page with the western Cinderella is described with the lines of the western book but with the Korean Cinderella’s name (Kongjui). On the other hand, the page with the Korean Cinderella has words from the Korean book but with the name Cinderella pronounced in Korean (신데렐라).


Background & 2nd page of book- The background of the whole piece and the second page of the book shares the same setting and seems as if the book is just a filtered version of an actual scene. This was another way to express that the 2nd page was the “present-tense” of my life (as previously explained).


Small person/Cinderella & Hand- If, referring back to “transparency”, Cinderella was the scale of a real life scene, the hand holding the book is strangely large and the person pushing the page over is strangely small. This adds an surreal effect to the whole piece, making it a more figurative display of my view.

-Artist influence: 
I was really inspired by the work of Erik Johansson. I borrowed his style in the use of scale and transparency of his work which made his piece look both surreal and realistic at the same time.

3–Summarize the creative process


I think that most of the creative thinking and imagination took place in the planning and drawing of my idea. I came up with and finalized my sketch after an intense process of brainstorming. The creating in Photoshop really just had to follow what I envisioned in the planning process. Overall, the general image of my final piece matched up with my initial plan except for the reducing of a few details that seemed too complex and disorganized with the piece. However, there were so many difficulties on the way to achieving the improvement in my skills and successful completion of my art work. When we were first told that we had to work with Photoshop, I was very anxious and terrified because I was aware that I was awful at working with digital devices. I am a type of person who hardly understands how to use the easiest functions of daily electronic devices. Through the media testing process that we followed as a class, I was able to get a little bit familiar with Photoshop. But this still didn’t mean that I was skillful enough to put together an art piece of my imagination, as I was struggling to even follow simple instructions from tutorials. But without having a choice, I just faced the problem and tested with the media multiple times. When things would look awkward, I just tried out all of the functions to see what could amend the problem. At times, I would often draw on essential parts or details myself. Although this was an extremely tedious process, I believe it was a fruitful one and the most effective one to bring out the best of my abilities. I developed my skills as I worked on my piece. However, if I had to choose the biggest challenge that I had with this media, it actually wouldn’t be my unfamiliarity with the media (although it was extremely severe), but the technical difficulties. This was mainly because my Photoshop was fooling around with me. I had lost a whole weekends worth of work due to having problems with my Photoshop. This was the biggest challenge out of the whole process not in the aspect of skills, but in the matter of time constraints. I dealt with this problem by simply staying up many nights to make up for the work that I’d lost 🙁


​4–Effort and Artistic Growth:

I believe that this definitely was a project that I’ve put a lot of effort into. Not only was this because I was unfamiliar with the media itself, but I also really pushed myself into creating a complex piece, way above my abilities. I spent a massive amount of time outside of class investigating this new media and incorporating such new skills into actually creating my piece. I’ve watched several YouTube tutorials that weren’t introduced to us in class, and also repeated the process of self-experimenting (a lot of failing) to expand my abilities within this new media. Although it was not the most pleasant process, I cannot deny that it allowed me to greatly grow and mature as an artist. This is because, by being introduced to a new media and developing the skills for it, I now have a wider range to express my artistic perspectives.



Artist Habits of Mind


Because our project required us to involve numerous surreal devices in our art piece, we definitely had to be able to imagine our own concepts into an illustration as they were not visible through any media but our thoughts. The whole process of brainstorming, planning, and sketching my ideas was a work of envision itself. I had to first come up with a whole picture in my head and then push myself to the next step of literally illustrating the picture in real life.

Engage and Persist:

As previously mentioned, this project necessitated me to engage with the learning of new skills and persist with the challenges that I faced during the learning. I wouldn’t elaborate further as it seems extremely repeated, but I would like to emphasize my effort put into the piece.


Stretch and Explore:

In this project, I really forced myself to stretch beyond my limits and explore the newly introduced media. Once again, I will not further elaborate as this topic was also repeated numerous times in paragraphs “3–Summarize the creative process” and “4–Effort and Artistic Growth”.

The Banksy Documentary Reflection

Give us a brief synopsis of the documentary you chose to watch IN YOUR OWN WORDS.

The Banksy documentary was mainly about the concept of preservation and selling of street art. Different people had different opinions about this, most of the times it being dependent on their jobs. All street artists introduced in the documentary strongly objected the selling of their artwork whereas art dealers still thought it was a good idea to take the action without any approval. Artists stated that they acknowledge the fact that their art would disappear soon but they still paint on the walls for the sake of it, and are not willing for anyone to buy it to hang it on their house walls. They were happy with only their studio work being sold or displayed in the museum and didn’t like their street art being treated the same way. On the other hand, Mr. Kesler, an art dealer, was confident that he was doing a favor to the street artists whose art work he sold. Despite the fact that the artist actually didn’t even get a penny of the profit, he was still proud that he made their art work more popular. In this documentary, there was an additional figure, Mr. Brian, who decided to cut off a part of the wall Banksy had worked on, to preserve the work. This was because any street art or graffiti was strictly restricted by law and was painted over or tagged very shortly after the completion of it. Mr. Brian wasn’t like one of the sellers who wished to profit off the Banksy, but in fact, he personally spent a lot his money to manage the conservation of the Banksy. He wished to donate it to a museum for the public to see for free, like its original purpose. However, ironically, public museums refused to take the offer while there were people willing to buy this art work for half a million dollars. Mr. Brian turned down all the people that contacted him with the prices reaching up to 700,000 dollars and is still looking for a museum to take his Banksy for free. Artists’ view on his actions vaguely splits into two opinions. Some artists believe that it wasn’t a good idea to take down the Banksy in the first place, even if it was going to be painted over and even if no one profited from it. However, most of the artists seemed to praise Mr. Brian’s upstanding actions which’s intention wasn’t to earn money. They believed that it was beneficial if the art work was both preserved and still available to the public. Banksy, himself, who absolutely condemned the auctions and selling of his pieces, was optimistic towards Mr. Brian’s idea. The art work still remains unsold and preserved in great condition and artists believe that this was a story where the “good guys” won.

What new ideas or understandings did this documentary shed light on for you in terms of the workings of the contemporary art world?  Please explain in detail.

I think that this documentary really let me rethink the border of art. I personally agree that street art is a form of art that should be respected and shared with the public. I also believe that the location and building/structure the art is painted on adds meaning to the piece and is almost a part of it. However, through watching this documentary, I was able to know that street art was very strictly restricted and removed by the government that it was hard for any street art to last for longer than a month. This made me rethink the society’s standard of art. It would be really strange if you imagined an art piece like the Mona Lisa being treated this way, but eventually street art and framed paintings are both a form of art. Also, what’s really ironic is that the government wouldn’t approve graffiti on the street as art; however, once someone buys a piece of that and frames it to display it on their front door, it will then be considered as art. Although there are diverging opinions, many people and artist have a negative view on this. But if you put yourself into the situation of an owner of a building, someone spraying paint all over the wall of your property, could really be frustrating. Just as complicated and disorganized this paragraph sounds, I was extremely confused after watching that documentary, but couldn’t come up with a clear conclusion that made sense to me. So I just decided to think that all of this is the beauty of street art, and there will always be someone who disapproves of it, just like any topic to be debated on.

What is an issue brought up in the documentary that you STRONGLY AGREE OR DISAGREE with? Explain the issue and give us reasoning as to why you agree or disagree with it.

The major issue brought up in this documentary was the preservation and the selling of street art. I strongly disagree with art dealers who think selling street art without the permission of the artists is okay. How does it even make sense that the art dealers are earning millions of dollars doing this while the artists themselves don’t even receive a penny? However, I think preserving street art and displaying them at a museum is absolutely fine, or even beneficial, if the artists agree. It means that the people can enjoy the art for a longer period of time and the artist can share their art with more people.

What’s the most important takeaway from watching this documentary? What will you remember about it moving forward?

I was most amazed by how someone could be so influential and well known when they were never physically exposed to the society. It was really interesting how one person was entirely represented by and judged through their art work only.

Personal Statement

Personal Statement
Jamie Jeong

I would say that I have personally experienced quite a few tutoring sessions as I grew up. The total number of subjects that I had learned through such sessions may not be so big (three to four), but I have experienced sessions with a total of seven different tutors until now. Although I had to inevitably change tutors every time our family moved locations, I think it was also a great learning, experiencing the various teaching styles of different tutors. However, one big thing that I discovered was that every tutor that I’ve worked with, all seemed to have a similar system/basis of tutoring despite their own distinct teaching style. These basic skills and ideas that all tutors had acquired was what I was to learn and practice in the Tutor Training course.

When I was first introduced to the courses and electives of the high school curriculum, Tutor Training was the first thing that caught my attention. It makes more sense when knowing about my aspiration to become a teacher in the future, as it explains why this course was so appealing to me. In my perspective, the concept of learning and training how to teach seemed truly valuable and exciting. Like expected, this course has been extremely beneficial for me so far, although it wasn’t only full of highlights. It definitely required hard work and challenges to process all the learning I have achieved. All of the learning was done through an online course called Crossroads where we were able to read articles about the different aspects of tutoring and complete tasks to test our knowledge on each unit. In the Crossroads courses, I was able to master and acquire the knowledge of the numerous units on tutoring over a five weeks-time period. These units included the history and philosophy of tutoring, characteristics of a model tutor, benefits of a tutoring program, Socratic questioning, pedagogy and andragogy, ethics and etiquette, culture shock, critical thinking, et cetera. However, this training course was neither the only nor the key component of Tutor Training. Just because I have gained a lot of background information on tutoring, it does not mean that I have become a good tutor. The Tutor Training course allows us to interact with student and help them out in classes. This process would let me actually practice and apply the knowledge I have learned in real tutoring situations. So far, I have only been able to meet up with the students once, but I already find the sessions extremely enjoyable and exciting as it was essentially the part of Tutor Training that I was most looking forward to. In the future, I hope to develop a lot of experience and skills through these sessions. My final goal of this course is to possess the skills of effective communication and the ability to adequately explain and guide students to achieve the knowledge or goals they aim for.

Reflective Blog Post #2

  1. The third and fourth week of tutor training had been a bit chaotic for me. Essentially, I had been slower in my progression of the online courses compared to others throughout the past few weeks. Making things worse, at the end of the third week, I had to miss a class of tutor training along with some other classes due to a basketball tournament hosted outside of our school. Although it was a “homework free weekend”, I still did have work to catch up for the classes that I was absent in. Therefore, I wasn’t able to get much work done outside of class for the first half of the fourth week. This meant that I had to catch up with a lot of my online courses for the time remaining of the same week (4th) and the next week (5th). Fortunately, I did eventually manage to finish the courses after some additional hard work and effort. I feel both relieved and proud about this.
  2. There was also quite a big event during the fifth week of tutor training. I finally had my first session with the eighth grade science class that I have longed for since the second week. I had a chance to meet with Ms. Filder the week before this, so that we were able to share our expectations and goals. When I first walked in to the class, I felt extremely awkward. It could’ve just been an inferiority complex caused due to myself being nervous, but I felt like the students of the class didn’t really trust me and weren’t willing to ask me questions. Then, I decided that it wouldn’t be the best experience if I just stood there watching the students, so I approached them first and asked them how they were doing. This actually helped me out a bit and allowed myself to be more confident as more and more students asked me questions. I felt very accomplished when the students were able to gain a full understanding of a concept after my guidance and help! The online courses did help me indeed, as I incorporated the methods I’d learned to communicate with the students. I am looking forward to even more of such exciting and successful sessions!
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