Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Final Thoughts

The first highlight of this art class was my imaginative self portrait. Not only did I love the end result, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. From picking out symbols, to mapping out my profile, and finally drawing patterns and outlines with a pen, there was not a step that I enjoyed more than another. My end result was a very powerful drawing in which every component can be tied back to my character, my personality, and my life. Secondly, another highlight from this semester was the Unsung Hero project. I not only shared Alice Seeley Harris's story to the class, but I also learned about an amazing woman that I would not have heard of were it not for this art class. I will always remember her story and the Congolese lives she saved. Lastly, the watercolor unit was one of my all time favorites. It had very little boundaries and standards by which we had to abide by. Once we were taught the techniques, the class was on our own to paint patterns and landscapes of our choice. Water color was a very relaxing medium that was perfect for drawing outdoor settings, and I hope to continue using water color in future art class and during my free time. 

Work of Art that I am the most proud of

The work of art that I am the most proud of is my imaginative self portrait. My imaginative self portrait impacted my learning by teaching me balance and composition, contrast between light and dark, symbolism, and it was an artistic outlet for representing who I am. First, I learned that to make a balanced piece of work, it's important to balance your light and dark values to create a appealing perspective. I also learned the importance of symbolism and how much more meaningful a piece of artwork becomes when you can tie it to yourself, a place you've been, or a person you love. Lastly, I am the most proud of is how every single component of this work represents a small part of me. Using a small piece of white paper and a simple black pen, I never knew that I would be able stretch my creative thinking skills to create something so meaningful. 




Watercolor Techniques

Purpose: to experiment, explore, and learn a variety of ways to paint with watercolor.



First, one of the most important concepts I learned was that you can always darken your values using water color, but you can never make them lighter. This was very important to know, especially while creating a landscape with a sky. The value of your sky is darkest at the highest point and gradually becomes lighter and brighter. Using a variety of darks and lights allows you to create depth and perspective when you work your way from background to foreground. On that note, working from background to foreground was also a very important concept. By working this way, you have the ability to layer and blend which gives your work a realistic appearance.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Unsung Hero, Alice Seeley Harris

The story of Alice Seeley who was one of the first to use photography to launch a human rights campaign really stood out to me. She was positioned in Congo as a missionary during the time of the Belgian colonial occupation. She witnessed firsthand the cruelty of the Belgian colonists who whipped, raped, murdered, and severed the limbs of natives to exploit them for the use of manufacturing rubber. Using her Bodak Brownie camera, she documented these atrocities to raise awareness all over the world. This particular story motivates me because it truly represents how a single can picture can enact widespread change. It is also motivating because Alice Seeley risked her life pursuing what she thought was right by standing up for the voiceless people of the Congo. Alice Seeley also inspires me visually as the images she captured are extremely moving and will provide a basis for ideas that I will incorporate in my painting. Ten million innocent Congolese were massacred during the rule of King Leopold II, and Alice Seeley was among the handful of people who stood up against the inhumane treatment. This is something that must be known.
My work expresses Alice Seeley Harris’s heroic acts in many symbolic ways. First off, the the green acrylic paint that composes the majority of the background symbolizes the Congolese fauna and gives the viewer an idea of the setting in which Alice Seeley Harris took her photographs. Secondly, the film that runs down the side of my artwork is actual film which exemplifies the way Alice took and produced her life- changing photographs. The actual photograph between the two strands of film is a picture of Alice among her Congolese companions. It is crinkled to portray how much time has passed since the Belgian colonization but also serves as a reminder that this event will never be forgotten. Alice Seeley’s pale, white dress contrasts sharply with the clothing of the Congolese and directs the attention of the photograph towards Alice. This photograph really stood out to me while conducting my research because it depicts Alice Seeley Harris directly in the center of the people she cared for and saved. The hands breaking free of the chains show the power of her Brownie Bodak camera and its ability to break the chains of slavery among the Congolese. Finally, freedom is written in bright red between the breaking chains. The color is symbolic of a red carpet upon which a native man from the Congo dropped sticks to represent each death that occurred in his village due to the colonists.
Creating a piece of art in response to the process caused me to dig deep to find symbolic items that tied back to Alice Seeley Harris’s life. I think the fact that I chose not to paint a portrait of Alice Seeley ties back to her story because she was never the center of attention. Alice Seeley Harris was the woman behind the camera, and the pictures she took captured her real passion and care for humanity. Her story deserves to be told loud and clear, but I chose to center my attention in my painting on the Congolese rather than her physical appearance because that is what Alice would have wanted.
Lastly, the process of creating art changed my outlook on life because it opened my eyes to an amazing person who not only changed lives, but saved lives. Her art of photography empowered people around the world to take action in a huge humanitarian crisis and evoked widespread change. I hope that my artwork can arouse a similar change to what Alice Seeley Harris evoked in her photographs.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Vegetable/ Fruit Painting

The most prominent thing I learned about color and technique is that there are a variety of painting techniques that you can create using a single tool. You can simply use a solid color, layer many colors on top of one another using a dry brush technique, use an excessive amount of paint to create a three- dimensional appearance, or create intricate shapes using the back side of your paintbrush. Secondly, I learned that painting with acrylics is very time consuming due to the layering of the colors. One coat of acrylic paint is almost never enough. To create a realistic still life, I had to use more than three layers of paint to make sure I matched the colors the best I possibly could. Lastly, it's important to always start with background objects and to work your way to the foreground. If you do so, you will not have to paint between small spaces of objects, and this also easier and more logical to do when painting with a medium that requires so much layering.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

LMC Unsung Hero Planning


The story of Alice Seeley who was one of the first to use photography to launch a human rights campaign really stood out to me. She was positioned in Congo as a missionary during the time of the Belgian colonial occupation. She witnessed firsthand the cruelty of the Belgian colonists who whipped, raped, murdered, and severed the limbs of natives to exploit them for the use of manufacturing rubber. Using her Bodak Brownie camera, she documented these atrocities to raise awareness all over the world. This particular story motivates me because it truly represents how a single can picture can enact widespread change. It is also motivating because Alice Seeley risked her life pursuing what she thought was right by standing up for the voiceless people of the Congo. Alice Seeley also inspires me visually as the images she captured are extremely moving and will provide a basis for ideas that I will incorporate in my painting. Ten million innocent Congolese were massacred during the rule of Kind Leopold II, and Alice Seeley was among the handful of people who stood up against the inhumane treatment. This is something that must be known.

A map that could be included is a map of the Congo. In my painting I could also include the fauna and flora of this specific country- plants, trees, lush forests, etc. Some visuals I could include are the eye- opening images that Alice Seeley took of the atrocities in the Congo. Significant objects are her Bodak Brownie camera, a book to represent how she educated many in the Congolese villages, and trees to represent the rubber sap that Congolese men were forced to collect. Lastly, I would include a package wrapped in banana leaves symbolizing the man Alice encountered who carried the severed hand and foot of his daughter in this package. This event sparked her commitment to enacting change and fighting for the people of Congo. I believe with all the different photographic aspects of Alice's story, a figurative portrait would be the best way to visually represent her brave life and the suffering of the Congolese.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Imaginative Self-Portrait




The first symbol that I incorporated in my drawing is the book which shows my love for learning and reading. Embedded in the book are piano keys and a music note which symbolize my love for music and playing the piano- something I have been doing since second grade. The quotes flowing out of the book are from songs (mostly Coldplay) that I play on the piano, and there are also a few Buddhist quotes that I really admire. The hand centered in the trunk of the tree is called a “Hamsa” and resembles very closely to a necklace I wear every day. My grandparents gave it to me as a gift, and it reminds me of the different cultures that make up my family. The world that is being held by the tree symbolizes my love for traveling and exploring different cultures. Additionally, my father comes from Germany and my mother's side of the family is from the Middle East and France. Although they all come from different places on the globe, we still are one family. The mountains represent Lech, Austria, and how my family has been visiting this ski town ever since I was five years old. The shooting star that is soaring above the mountains reminds me of last summer during a meteorite shower when I saw my first shooting star with my mother and how special of a night that was. The butterflies on the right side of my profile represent an event when I was very young where I raised caterpillars and they transformed into butterflies. My brothers and I let the butterflies free in awe and this memory has stayed with me ever since. The bicycle winding down a road with lyrics to one of my favorite songs represents the part of me that loves the outdoors and also symbolizes how a bike to school and practice very often. Lastly, the flower that opens out of the music note represents not only my love for flowers but also my mother’s and my grandmother’s and our anticipation for the spring time

The use of value can mainly be seen at the top of my profile that is made up of clouds and curved lines that represent the wind. I created an ombré-like effect where the value was very dark towards the top of my head and gradually grew lighter. The proximity of the lines played a big role in creating the effect as the closer the lines were together, the darker the value was. The use of value is also exhibited in my shading of the tree.  The dark areas allowed me to give the outer tree trunk a rounded appearance that contrasted sharply with the white background of my profile. The tree trunk was also windy and I was able to make it appear so by shading the outer sections very darkly and the inner sections in a lighter manner.

One strength that I found while completing this drawing is my ability to create a piece of artwork that truly represents some very important aspects of who I am. In a small drawing of my profile, I incorporated so many symbols that play a big part in my personality, and the values I admire in myself. Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised by my attention to detail and how I was able to create a piece of artwork that I am very proud of using only two mediums: black and white. One challenge was that I began drawing and placed my tree directly in the center of my profile. It would have been much easier had I placed it at the bottom of my neck. It appeared as if the tree was floating, but I was able to overcome this challenge by incorporating quotes from the book around the roots of the tree. Lastly, the biggest challenge for me was pacing myself and not getting too carried away with finding the perfect design and the ideal placement within my profile. I found that it was much simpler to work around a design once it was already drawn, rather than planning out every symbol I would incorporate in my drawing.