Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Blog?

So, what gives? Why do people blog? You send out a post into that huge blogisphere, only to hear silence in return.
One of the quotes I have been thinking of (and apparently many other people, since it can be found on bumper stickers and coasters) is "The world is run by the people who show up".

So, I'm showing up in this world of the ever-complicated blog.
Not that I'm looking to run it or anything....

I had a blog for a little over a year. I put it down to rest on my 29th birthday. It was a bit personal. I've decided since then that blogs can be a good thing... a place for thoughts and, hopefully, information sharing.
This blog is going to be a lot more about the things I am learning, and sharing.

So here goes.

I teach as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Last semester I taught figure painting (many people thought I said finger painting), and this semester I teach Drawing II. I have a great class.
One of the things I am having to do is recall my freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design. This is a little bit of a stretch for me, since most of my artistic training is really traditional. I am having to read a lot of drawing books at the moment, and this is proving to be better for me than probably the students.
Scale is something that has been the focus of most of our critiques, besides the obvious mark-making, value and proportion conversations. Scale is definitely another aspect to painting and drawing that, in my humble opinion, classically-trained artists take for granted.
Even seeing some of the students work double as big got me thinking.
I'm starting a painting that is 7 feet by 5 feet, as practice for a larger canvas of 8 feet by 8 feet. On the flip side, I've been accepted by a large portrait brokerage house to sell 8 inch by 10 inch portrait oil sketches. Both scales have their own set of problems.
For one thing, stretching a large canvas is more time-consuming, and you have to get pretty creative in your methods. Mine is actually pinned to my studio walls, instead of stretched on stretcher bars.
Besides the materials, scale also makes a difference in portraying the characteristic of what you are painting. The painting I hope to paint in 8ft x 8ft can only be painted in this size. Why? It is about grandiose gestures of movement. It is of a modern dancer. I am using a series of transparencies to show her movements, and the opaque parts of her are where she moves very little. These huge gestures would look HORRIBLY confined if she was any less than life-size (I tried painting her on a 5 ft canvas, and the entire idea was lost).
As a difference, the small oil portraits I am painting are also very tied to their scale. Being so small, I wanted people to have to move closer to the piece. They are intimate, a quality I enjoy in portraiture.
Something to think about. If you have never worked REALLY big, it is something to consider, given the right piece. If you have a tendency to be overly-dramatic, very small pieces can be quite soothing.
Ok, this is probably common knowledge for a lot of you, but for me it is somewhat new.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mia,
    I hope you get to meet Quang Ho sometime. You are on the same page as Quang and would have much to talk about. He is a big fan of Diebenkorn and many of the other artists that you admire.