Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Thoughts?

As I expected, the finality has finally hit me. Only it didn’t happen after the vernissage like I thought it would but rather on Saturday morning when I didn’t hear my alarm go off. It was a weird thing to sleep in until 10 for a change instead of getting up at 8:30 to make it to class for 10. I almost thought it was Sunday and I ended up practicing for the most of the early afternoon to fill the emptiness of the missing class!

What I wanted to do in this post was to tie together all my thoughts and feelings regarding the past 10 Saturdays. So I thought it was only necessary to go back and re-read all my posts leading up to last Saturday. Upon reading I saw a lot of growth in both my drawings and in my confidence, I saw hesitation, and I saw qualities that linger still.

I remember that going into this class I had a set of expectations I wanted to meet by the end but having arrived at the end I find that not many of them were actually met. But I think that’s a good thing. I think if all my expectations had been met I might not have grown, or at least not as much as I did. I had expected to fail… miserably, but I didn’t. I expected to judged, but I wasn’t. I expected to learn too much at once, but I hadn’t, I learned exactly what I needed.

I didn’t expect to come out as the next DaVinci but I didn’t expect to learn or advance as much as I did either. I mean 10 classes of 2 hours each? How much could you really pack into such a short amount of time? (A lot apparently.) In the end I did learn to draw properly, and then some! It’s strange to draw more simply now because I can feel a shift in how I approach a drawing compared to how I did in the past. Only ten classes and I already feel what I learned working in my subconscious and coming out in something as simple as line art.

I can’t say it was all sunshine and daisies because I did have a small hiccup of confidence about midway through the semester and got flooded with a large amount of discouragement. I think I came out of it only slightly wounded but I learned from it and really that’s the best thing when you falter.

I still see that I strive for perfection and hesitate, yet at the same time I’m less intimidated about showing my work to people and no longer fear critique as much as I once did. I came to firmly realize that everyone has their own style and I will never be like my classmates and they will never be like me.

Walking through the vernissage last Friday was another kicker for me in that I saw so many pieces and no where could I find two pieces exactly the same. Even looking at my own piece I came to realize that I too had my own style. I think for the first time in a long time I was okay with that idea. I became more inspired and found myself wanting to be just like a lot of the advanced students.

If this class has taught me anything it’s confidence. Confidence in myself and what I’m capable of. I find it funny that it took something I used to hate to help me find this piece. Not only am I able to look at my art and find good aspects but I’m also able to apply this to parts of my life and find good aspects. I can find what needs to be improved and what needs fixing and I can honestly say this might be the happiest I’ve been in a long time. (Is this how the everyday happy people do it?) When it comes to art I still hesitate, I still have a lot more to learn, and I’m still at the beginning. That’s okay though, I know where I want to be and I know that with time and practice I will get there.

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Day 10

Boy, time flies! Saturday was our last class of the spring semester and I don’t think it has sunk in yet. Consciously I know I won’t be going back this weekend but a small part of me still feels like I will be. I think it will sink in more after the vernissage on Friday which is when I plan to do a wrap up post about the class and my feelings.

Saturday was exactly what I have been wanting from these classes. Our teacher had put out a display of pieces and instructed us to draw whatever part or object from the setup. And if we  felt really adventurous then we could try for the whole display (but I don’t think anyone did in the end). A two hours well spent in my opinion!

The point of the last class was to tie everything we had learned together into one piece. The main focus of the class (as I’m sure you could tell if you have been keeping up with this series) was the human figure and so the majority of the pieces in front of us were human figures. I could only assume he was hoping we would choose those to draw… I drew the bottle.

I have got to say though I’m quite proud of it. I had ambitiously set out to draw the bottle as a side thing next to the female statue but struggled too much with the outline for the bottle that I didn’t have time for her in the end. All the same, I (with a little help) managed to produce a pretty stellar looking bottle!

I wish I could have included it in this post but it was taken from me so that it could be showcased in the vernissage. A somewhat nerve wracking idea for me since I’m utterly terrified of showing my art to anyone but I think it’s also an exciting idea.

When I was done  I sat there looking at it and I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself. “I did that!” is what I thought to myself. A feat I never thought I would be able to accomplish. In that final image alone I could feel these 9 weeks of learning and it made me happy. This class allowed me to see that as long as I keep pushing myself I’m capable of a lot more than what I give myself credit for.

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Day 9

It was the second to last class yesterday and I’m going to be honest and say that I have been slacking in the practicing department and I definitely felt it. I spent most of the class beating myself up for it which probably didn’t help because I started hesitating again and trying too hard to make up for lost practice. I definitely see why so many artists tell me that the only way to get better is not to stop otherwise you lose everything you have worked up to.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself for slacking considering I’m nearing the end of the course and I wanted to make use of all the time I have to continue to improve. In the end I’m a little nervous because we are expected to bring everything we have learned throughout the class together into one final drawing. I want to put everything I have into it and make it my best work but I’m scared that my slacking will set me back.

I’m trying not to be too discouraged and have simply vouched to practice every day starting yesterday. I know it will come back to me again in due time and I’ll continue to improve again I just find myself quickly getting frustrated when things don’t look right. I know doing that just makes things worse but when I’m under pressure (no matter what it is) I always expect more out of myself than what I’m (probably) capable of. I need to remember that I am still learning and that I am doing a lot better than when I first started so it’s not as if I’m not improving. Everything with time.

See you Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Day 8

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Yesterday’s class was one I found to be a calm and relaxing one. Normally I feel nervous upon applying something newly learned to paper as I’m sure you might have noticed if you have read my other posts but yesterday I barely felt the time passing. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we have all finally sunk into the swing of the class and it has become more routine now. Teacher talks, model gets into position, draw. I’m by no means saying it has become boring but more that we have found our flow and are settling into it. It probably has to do with the fact that we are nearing the end of our “semester” so I think now we are just tying up the final ends.

It makes me sad to know it’s almost over and even sadder to know I might not be able to take another class at the school this summer but I’m looking forward to seeing what I’m capable of at the end of it. Even just yesterday I could feel a slight difference in my drawing particularly in my speed. We were to focus on shadowing our figure and I found myself not spending as much time on the building of the outline of the body as I used to. I think this is because I realized that, although it’s still relatively new to me, shadowing helps to give the mass of your figure and you can fill in its shape later.

It’s tempting to look back to the beginning now to see how much I have improved but I really want to save that for the last class. For now, I will try and focus on the pointers I have been given in order to improve because there’s always room for more improvement. For me it’s to stop hesitating and to stop thinking so much as well as not using so many lines! If I can just improve on these points then I’m sure I will feel even more of an improvement by the end of it.

With this new feeling of improvement I do plan on continuing practicing, new class or not. Like I previously mentioned I hardly felt the time passing and was shocked when I found out it was 12 o’clock and the class was over. It’s been a while since I have had this feeling and I can honestly say that it’s refreshing. You don’t realize how much you miss something until it happens again.

See you next Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Day 7

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I’m finding that every time something new is introduced in the class I get somewhat nervous because I feel like I won’t catch on as fast with things as my classmates. When I look around I always feel like they get it from the first time but I feel like it takes me longer. I’m excited when we move on to the next new thing but at the same time it feels a little fast for me and I feel like I fall behind.

Saturday was learning how to apply shadows and at first I was excited but as we actually started doing it I started to feel more and more unsure of myself again. I don’t really know what it is exactly, maybe it’s the perfection in me, maybe it’s afraid of being laughed at for trying, either way I hate how much it comes between me and being able to try. I want to stop being afraid of trying, I mean that’s part of the reason I decided to take the class in the first place; to try something new. I only have 3 more classes left and I sure as hell do not want to let them go to waste.

When I think back to it and try my hand again at what I learned on Saturday, it doesn’t seem that difficult or that intimidating. I’m not saying I got it down pat but I’m slowing getting the hang of it more than I felt I was when it was introduced on Saturday. I know that everyone learns things at different speeds so sure photography came to me quickly but maybe art is something I have to spend more time on. If that’s all it is I can manage that maybe I won’t like it too much, but I’m not one who is willing to give up on things.

See you on Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Day 6

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There was more live model drawing on Saturday and I think it’s safe to say that I think I’m improving. I like the progression of this class in that every class is a “one step at a time” approach and if we have any hope at getting better than it is up to us to bring it home and practice. Which I am proud to say that I have been doing and I like the results I’m seeing so far.

I would be lying if I said that I feel a lot better with my drawings but I will say that I do see an improvement. On Saturday I often found myself looking around at my classmate’s drawings and comparing them to mine which I probably should not have done. One thing I seem to forget is that not everyone’s drawings are going to look the same because everyone is unique and have their own style and this class tends to be rather free in that department. When I looked I saw that the girl next to me had very rigid and solid lines, the man in front of me chose a more detailed and almost clean-line approach. As for me, I refrained from immediately saying “horribleness” and looked for the positive aspects and discovered I have a softer and slightly scratchy style with excess amounts of lines in the details (which I should calm down on apparently).

I think that this class has been good not only in teaching me something new but also in teaching me how to like what I am capable of producing. Too many times I put myself down and tell myself I’m no good at something and either give up or just not show it to anyone. With this class I have had to show things to my teacher in order to be able to improve and I also choose to show my boyfriend because he’s the one who encouraged me to take the class in the first place and always want to see how I’m growing. I have taken the criticism I normally take to heart and turned it into improvements and thrown it into my work. I listen and constantly remind myself of the pointers my teacher gives me about not hesitating and to stop thinking and I feel like for once I’m doing something right. I’m really sad that this class is almost over and I’m very much inclined to sign up for another one of the classes they have to offer no matter the cost.

See you on Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist- Day 5

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I’m actually getting around to writing this post on the day it happened (barely) instead of 3-4 days later. Part of the reason being because I want to be sure to bring out the emotions I’m feeling about today’s class as well as write a post on time for once. My boyfriend also might have been an influence and had encouraged me to at least try and write it this weekend being that he’s seen how much I beat myself up over constantly putting writing off.

We had a live model come in today seeing as we have now learned the basics of sketching it was time to apply what we’ve learned to actual poses. This was a first for me and I definitely ran into several problems in class today. I think this was partly due with my mood when I woke up this morning. I had had a hard time waking up this morning and found myself not wanting to go but I managed to convince myself that I wanted to. I’m paying for it after all, there are only ten classes, I want to improve, and I know afterwards I always come out happy. In all honesty I’m glad I went because I did learn more but I don’t think my head was in the right place for it today.

I’m still struggling with proportions and the basic outline of a figure and today I was getting frustrated with it. We had 5 minutes for each pose and I never ended up finishing just the outline and by the third pose I started slowing down on the sketching hoping that I wouldn’t get past the torso before the 5 minutes was up. Bad, I know. When it came the 10 minute poses I tried to get back into it and it kind of worked but reverted back into frustration and trudged through the 15 minute pose.

When my teacher was making his rounds I was really thankful (although very embarrassed at my lack of effort) for his pointers. One thing he told me was that I need to stop thinking and hesitating and just draw. This is a bit of a weird concept to me seeing as I always seek perfection when I draw and I have to stop that. The notion of just drawing what I see is some-what foreign to me, I’m too used to seeing every detail.

I’m not going to let today discourage me, although I can feel how easy it is for me to let that happen. To help this I went out and bought a fresh new sketch book that I’m going to dedicate solely to sketching and try and practice as much as I can!

See you next Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist- Day 4

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Apparently we have finally entered in what the main focus of this course is designed for. Drawing the human form! Last week was the face and now we have moved on to basic figure drawing but only in rough sketch and outline. No details, no shading and no specifics, just basics. I’m relatively excited to finally be getting into drawing the human form because my people always come out looking small headed, long torsoed and long legged. I kind of like that about the people I draw because it’s my own personal style but I think it’s also good to be able to properly draw a human figure in general.

Having just begun I still find myself struggling with the same problem of a long torso and long legs and my teacher had to show me how to fix it. The thing I have found is that I understand the method shown to us by measuring an object with our pencil and applying it to our drawing but I think I could really do for more practice. The thing about practicing is that I still struggle no matter how much I try and practice. Things don’t look right and I’m not too sure how to fix it.

I really enjoy this class and want to improve but I find myself not wanting to practice out of fear of being faced with the same struggle and getting disappointed. What I want to do is find a way to work around this struggle. So instead of sitting around and sulking about it I’m deciding to make use of the resources given to us. I will go on my teacher’s website and replay his tutorial videos over and over and do the exercises from class and draw the same thing 15 times if I have to. But I am not going to give up or else I’m going to feel as though this was a waste of time and I don’t want it to have been!

See you on Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist- Day 3

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Portraits!

Yes, Saturday’s class was what normally remains to be a dark side of drawing to me. I’m not terrible at drawing the human figure but I honestly think that when I put my mind to it I can make a really cute cartoon character. In terms of realistic figures however, I just never knew how or where to start and tended to just avoid it all together.

Saturday’s class though was really helpful in that we were shown how and where to start (in two different ways as well so we could choose which ever felt more comfortable for us). I’m still a little disproportionate and seem to favor what my teacher calls the “Egyptian Eyes” when I draw eyes but I think I just need to exercise the muscle.

I’m coming to realize that that’s all that this really is is exercising the muscles in the hand to become accustomed to moving in a way of creating an image. I have had artists tell me this before “just practice!”, “do exercises”, or “just draw!”. Practice what? Do what exercises? I don’t know what to draw though! I can fear no longer now though because I have exercises to practice and I know what to draw because I know what I need to work on.

My teacher had even instructed us to bring in the exercises we had been working on at home so as to see what needed to be worked. I have always been afraid of feedback because I often used to think that the person who was looking at my work thought that I sucked or that I was silly for trying. I’m not going to lie, the first few times my teacher made his rounds in previous classes I could feel my heart skipping beats and my legs bouncing but I’m slowly becoming more okay with showing him. I want that feedback so that I know how to fix it and what areas need to be improved because how else would I expect to get better?

See you on Saturday!

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist- Day 2

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I wasn’t too sure how many basics would be covered when I first started this class. It is the basic level of the school but I wasn’t too sure how basic they meant, which kind of scared me. I wanted the kind of starter class where you learn everything from shading to perspectives, to dimension drawings. I wanted to learn from square one. I was afraid they would just give the class a refresher and then go straight into drawing models and accurate representations of still life. I can happily say that I worried for nothing!

Last class we were taught the basics of shading and touched on how to measure an object to try and draw it as accurately as possible. Yesterday was continuing on practicing “accurately” measuring objects of still life and I think I’m struggling with it a little. I know how to measure the object but when it comes time to put it to paper it looks wonky and disproportionate. If it were it not for my teacher giving me a quick one on one when he was making his rounds I think I would still be left in the dark. I’m sure with practice I’ll improve it’s just a little frustrating at the moment if I’m going to be honest. One of my biggest challenges I struggle with is perfection and I think I’m going to run into this all throughout this class. I’m just going to have to constantly remind myself that perfection doesn’t exist and that everything takes time and practice.

I absolutely love art and I would definitely classify visiting the art museum as one of my all time favorite pass-times. There’s just so much to look at and appreciate when looking at a piece. All the details and little things you can find, not to mention the appreciation for how much time and hard work goes into creating it. I always wished I could draw anything I wanted but often struggled with details and often got discouraged. I’m excited for this class because I feel like I’m finally chasing a goal that I’ve wanted for as long as I remember instead of just sitting around wishing for things to happen.