The Straw that might Break the Artist’s Back

Color Theory is an important class for any artist to study and understand.  I don’t have a problem with being required to learn about Color Theory.  It’s just like being a composer and learning about music theory, it is an important aspect of truly understanding music.  Same goes with color.

So what is the straw that is threatening to break my back?  ….There are several things concerning this semester’s online class that I find disturbing, and once again it is making me seriously reconsider going back to school.  Is this a good idea?  Will I get anything out of this?  Can I slog through this class to attend another one that might be better?  Or will they continue to get worse?  I think it is the last one that scares me the most.  What if the classes don’t get better, but get worse.

Value Scale

Painted in Gouache, which I have never used before and the white paint was lumpy, and the instructor complained that the strip was not cut good enough and that the value scale also was wrong. This didn’t help with all the stupid ID photo breaks that we had to take. I wanted to tear my hair out, and I wasn’t the only upset student.

I posted my feelings on facebook and got several responses from fellow artists that are and have attended the same school doing the online program.  The one that used to attend did not graduate but left because she felt like the school was draining her of her creativity, and well that’s the last thing that any artist wants.  No creativity. No art.  Nothing.  Zippo.  Ziltch.  Nada.  Nicht.

I wonder is it the online part or the school in general that is the problem.  I never felt drained by my undergraduate school, but I also did not feel all that challenged by it either.  There was also an ideological difference in that they were more about abstract and impressionism and I was more interested in a realistic approach, so I was not considered a rising star.  So I was happy with my new graduate school because they seemed to appreciate all approaches.  But this class is making me feel drained and this is why.

I suspect the drained part is all the new rules that are somewhat insulting and annoying.  How are they annoying?  Well,  one has to stop in the middle of a project to take a progress photo and if you don’t take it in the halfway point, then it’s bad somehow.  But when one is working on a project and it is going well, who wants to stop in the middle of it and take a break?  I want to keep working!  Things are going well, and it is not time to take a break!  This is not only for art but other professional work areas as well.  A programmer on a hot streak does not want to stop in the middle of coding, they lose their flow of thought.  The same thing happens to writers who are busy with words and ideas coming forth.  Do Not Interrupt the Creative Process.  I can think of all kinds of people who would not want to stop in the middle of a good creative or working process:  athletes, musicians, builders, wood workers, web designers, researchers, scientists,  mathematicians, teachers, and anyone who requires an organized thought process to produce good work.  This is not professional behavior.  I am going to school to become more professional.  I want to be a better painter.

And on the less annoying side is that I feel like the class is not geared towards me being a better fine artist but that the class is geared for non fine art students that are required to make presentation pieces such as architects, commercial artists, fashion designers, illustrators, and so forth…  There should be a color theory geared for people who are to become fine artists.  This is a master’s level course, right?  It certainly is expensive.

So that is the annoying part.  The insulting part is that all these photos have to include multiple pictures of ourselves with us holding our artwork like children with our faces clearly in view like some kind of happy mug shot, and that makes the assumption that we are all cheaters and liars because we are taking the class online.  Somehow we are not to be trusted.  It’s insulting.

So with these feelings in my heart and mind, I am left with a quandary.  Will I survive this class to take another and will that one be better or worse?

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, Online Study
One comment on “The Straw that might Break the Artist’s Back
  1. I totally hear you about the problem with stopping in the middle of the creative process. I’ve had that happen with my poetry and it just goes – and never comes back : ( Again great article


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