Three courses completed and still cheering

I have just finished my third online class with the Academy of Art University, and despite my woes about it being expensive, more difficult than a traditional art class, and missing the close interaction with instructors and students, I am very happy to say that my skills are improving.  Even if I only had these three classes and could take no more, I have improved as an artist.  And that’s what going to art school is all about.

So I just completed the dreaded Chiaroscuro class where everything had to be done in charcoal, which is not my medium.  I am a painter, but my last drawing looked pretty good and proves that I can learn how to do something I don’t like with good instruction.  I can only imagine what being in a traditional onsite classroom  at the Academy of Art University must be like.  It must be a wonderful experience.

So here are my last couple of projects for the class.

Plaster head form that was used for the assignment.  These plaster pieces are very expensive.  I am thinking about keeping mine in case I decide to teach.

A plaster head form that was used for the assignment. These plaster pieces are very expensive. I am thinking about keeping mine in case I decide to teach.

After working with the Human torso shape, we then started work on the plaster head form as a model for our project.  I have always liked drawing people, most especially portraits so I found this to be a useful and interesting project.  The one thing that did bother me about this picture was the fact that our busts had no eyes.  It looks so creepy and vacant to me lacking soul and personality.  Perhaps that is why people who do the make up for horror movies like the contact lenses that are all white or all black.  Removing the iris and pupil from the equation certainly changes the feeling of the face.

Not my best work, but at least I look Human.  :)

Not my best work, but at least I look Human. 🙂

The next project was fraught with angst and anxiety.  First we had to get a picture of ourselves that followed the prescribed formula, and then worst of all, I had to take a picture that I didn’t absolutely hate.  I was in a car accident in 2002 or so and I ended up with a condition referred to as TMJ, which affects the Human jaw.  It aches and hurts, so one must do things to manage that pain and keep it under control.  I think I must have lost my ability to smile normally during the time after the accident.  We must have taken about 50 pictures and none of them looked right.  My husband kept saying to smile, and I was smiling!  At least I thought I was giving a broad smile, but instead I looked pissed or miserable in every photo.  So finally, I got one picture where I seem to be looking somewhat friendly.

Then the project itself was problematic since I drew one of the eyes too big and I thought I was going to have to start the whole drawing over, and the teacher suggested that I take my chamois and simply wipe the eye away.  I was skeptical.  Very skeptical.  This was evil charcoal that smears and smudges all over the place.  Well, guess what, it worked.  I guess those instructors really do know what they are talking about, so I was able to fix the eye and keep the same drawing.  It sorta looks like me.  It’s not my best work, but hey, at least I don’t look like a Picasso!

I am really proud of this piece and once I move someplace where I have more room, I might frame it.

I am really proud of this piece, and once I move someplace where I have more room, I think I might frame it.

Then came the last project and I was bound and determined that I had to do well on this one to get at least a B in the class.  I personally, always want an A, but I have been repeatedly told that a B from the AAU is a respectable grade.  So this is my still life project in charcoal.  Had you told me at the beginning of the class that I could make something that looked this believable in charcoal, I would have thought you were being overly optimistic, yet here it is.  I am pretty happy with it, and that is a nice feeling.  I did improve after 15 weeks of hard work.

I am still not sure what grade I got in the class, but I am happy with the fact that my abilities are improving and I hope to put those skills to use in the future paintings and drawings that I do.  Don’t let people tell you that you can’t get better or learn something new.  It is possible.

G. Winkler ©2013

Gretchen Winkler is a Writer, Artist, Radio Show Co-Host on User Friendly 2.0, Cosplayer/Designer, and ordered Knight. She is currently working on several Star Wars novel projects and does editing and proof reading for Bill Sikkens & KPAM the Answer Portland radio. For the past 20 years she has authored several informational websites, started several technical companies, and has been an avid student of art, literature, history, technology.

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Posted in Art, Education, Goals, Inspiration
One comment on “Three courses completed and still cheering
  1. hindsightpictures says:

    If you don’t get a decent grade, i’ll eat my tin helmet : ))))


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