Category Archives: Artsy Fartsy

it’s the end of the Semester and I’m running on 3 hours of sleep .. . . urgh

It’s that time again, yes you know what time I’m talking about! . . . No, not finals and summer, what are you thinking about? I’m talking about Studio clean up day and crits!

While all you other college students took finals at the end of the semester (never cramming I’m sure) and there was a standard week of hell, all us little art majors forgot what the sun looked like, having donned our welding hoods or locked ourselves into the photolitho room in the back of the print studio. In my case, I’m got to do both!

I’ve chugging away at my next sculpture and have almost no time to complete it. YIKES. assembly go go go! but Print making has been the thorn in my side all semester.  Now I love scheduling and planning so I have all my prints worked out and planned out to be finished on time. . .  except I didn’t really remember how to make a Lithograph.  Oh dear.  So I have to wait until my lovely friend had the time in her busy painting schedule to come help me.
Off we trotted at 9PM on Wednesday night. Into bed I climbed at 5AM Thursday morning and out again for art history at 8.  I love it when I get a full nights sleep of 3 hours! [/sarcasm] The only thing that made it tolerable was that the ceramics grad student with the rainbow hair (I love art students.  our grads totally top the others) had an awesome presentation.  She did her presentation of William Wegman.  To quote her “you probably don’t know his name but I’m sure you’ll know him when you see his work.”  I was skeptical but now I’m going to make the same claim.
The first video she showed us was . . . well, this.

Now I’m sorry, but no matter how tired I am a man with a talking stomach will make me laugh.  At this point I run out of tea but no matter, I’m interested. So on she moved to the works that are his current style. My favorite being this one.
but you probably know him best for these (unless you had no childhood)

Yeah, you know who I’m talking about now, right?  The guy behind the dogs on sesame street!

Well, these dogs get me reared and ready to head back over to Printmaking after class to finish my Photolitho.  Yes, because even though I was there from 9-5 the litho press was never free so I could only prep my plates.  URGH. Instead I helped my friend finish up all her plates and get at least her etching printed.  Then clean up began.  Printmaking clean up alone is almost enough to make me never want to take it again.

Now cleaning that studio I run into many of the same problems I do with my dorm kitchen. I clean as I go, make sure I’m polite to those around me and leave counter spaces and at least rinse things that I can’t get to right away.  The others in the studio did the last minute rush and wrecked the place last night in addition to their caked on mess.  URGH.  A lot of it was general maintenance though, like cleaning the parts washer and sweeping up the rolly-pollies. (which we had an infestation of).  Now I’m pooped from no sleep and working all day and night on really only a mug of tea and a sandwich at 5 AM, but to top it all off I was already exhausted before I began from studio clean up in sculpture the other day. True, cleaning up metal side really just consists of a lot of sweeping for the most part but then you need to clear the dock too.  Sometimes you even have to get rid of all the scrap metal and junk that’s been accumulating for years.  Lifting = not my speciality.  I was SO SORE all afternoon!

Well, all that’s left now is to study for my exams (since I decided to do liberal arts instead of art school.  Woo! physics and history! [/sarcasm again] At least there’s no english of philosophy this semester.) and finish my art projects.  Alright I can do this . . .  maybe? I have paint, epoxy, wire and still access to the power tools.  just take a deep breath! My prints just need to be matted.  The BANE of my existence, I swear. My future roomie and I are getting BLACK matt boards for our last few prints (as opposed to the tragic white ones we can buy from the professor.  So hard to keep clean!) Then make sure to call about an interview for my summer job and fly home! (this’ll be my first time flying home with 2 suitcases.  I’m Looking forward to a light carry on so bad!)

Hopefully I’ll get around to posting up some pictures of my studio and prints next!

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If I never see another fish it’ll be too soon

So my show was a few weeks ago now, so my hatred of fish is waning but still burning pretty well
I finally “finished” my paper mache fish, by which I got them completed but not perfected.  they still have a bunch of problems: namely the tails which I practically forgot and didn’t get to spend too much time on making the way I wanted to look.

If you were curious how they turned out, here’s some pictures! only took me way too long.



As you can see I had to construct a trellis for them to hang from and it was a little last minute stressful.  I also failed to realize the difficulty with hanging pieces and how nice it would be to have hooks on pre-measured string for hanging them. yeah, learning experience. The fish line (oh the irony) showed up so much less in the gallery, which was awesome.  Something to think about when using fish line, the lighting. There’s also one little fishie who didn’t make it to the party since he’s still hanging up in the sculpture building. he would have helped get my idea across, as well as 10 more fish and a veiling I could drill into. It’d hard to tell from the pictures, but they have a minor V formation going too (like geese, which strikes my funny bone in ways to long to explain now)

My friends also showed in out tiny intermediate 1 week show (but they’re both painters, so we won’t judge them too hard c; )

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My contemplations on Art History over the last decade

Sitting in my contemporary art class some of the most interesting thoughts come to mind.  Does this mean the artists works are a success, since they’re making me think this much? Well, I don’t like to think of it that way.  I prefer that it’s just my dear little professor who’s so great at making even bullcrud look like the platonic ideal. (As I type this a million references pop into my mind that all surround Plato, Aristotle. Milton, and every classical artist you could think about.  I suppose one has to face the harsh reality that they’re become a by product of University of Dallas when they start popping up in your casual thoughts.  Yesterday Plato was used to explain some juicy gossip.  Somehow I don’t feel that’s how he intended his work.)

As I stare up into the vast expanses of abstract expressionist paintings and eventually the large red colour field of Lovely Mr. Newman my brain just kinda freezes time for a minute and turns to me, asking, “Miss. Alex, What on earth are you looking at?”

“Art.” I reply to it, preparing my explanation of the great philosophical transcendence of the zips.

“Seriously?” my brain asks, its little voice laced with mockery.


My brain doesn’t allow me to continue. “I mean look at that mess of unorganized shapes? Do you really think that’s art?” my brain asks, pointing it’s little ethereal finger at Painting by DeKooning.

            As I stare into the work I can’t help but to note that my brain has a point.  It’s probably the ugliest thing to be made. It’s black forms neither have order or any sense of fluid automatism.  It’s as if someone with no eye for design just thought it’d be fun to slap some shapes down on the canvas, add some drips for the movement, and call it fine art. “Well,” not willing to give up yet I continue trying to argue. “DeKooning didn’t really ever consider it done. They had to wretch it from his studio, the paint still wet, remember? Think of your own work.”

My brain would have rolled its eyes, had it any at this comment. “That’s a cop out argument.” It flatly tells me. “What about Rothko?”

“Alright,” I take up the gauntlet and flip through he images in my notes, settling upon Slow Swirl by the edge of the sea. “What do you have to say about this one?”

My mind doesn’t even have to respond.  I know as well as it does that neither of think much more of it than we did De Kooning.  Sure, many of the shapes hold beauty for us-me, but there’s no composition.  There’s no balance, it doesn’t look purposeful. You have to own your space and show a skillful ability to manipulate it, no matter if it’s a sculpture on a pedestal or a painting confined in it’s little square canvas (which De Kooning’s Excavation tried to escape from with humorous means.  If only they had spilled over onto the wall too. A canvas painting that flows down its sides and becomes a wall drawing as well? Doesn’t it sound spectacular?)

My mind finally convinces me that the artistic-ness of their works is severely flawed so I sigh and wave them goodbye and move along in art history. Past Pollak (who my mind and I have to perform this little dance over all over again), to Barnett Newman (who my mind and I never had to argue about no matter how much my little professor explained),  and onward to Rauchenberg until Neo-Dada srung it’s nasty little head.

I hated Dada with a passion when I first encountered it and now NEO DADA? It’s like vomiting up a poorly cooked dinner.  It did’t taste good the first time and it sure doesn’t taste good the second time. As I stared at giant 10 foot projections of a taxidermy goat on a plank of wood and listened to Jasper Johns try to explain how painting a flag was any different that rendering an artistic version of a poster (for those people who think posters are only for college students. That’s what Frames are for dearie.) I find myself wanting to go back to the logic and emotions of Abstract expressionism.

“WAIT- WHAT?” my mind asks, taking several steps back.  It’s face would have been most humorous at this thought, had it one contort.

“Well, I think what they were onto was still art.  Look at De Kooning’s seated woman.  Yeah it’s weird and half finished, and doesn’t look that hard or anything else you sometimes use to judge art with but it harkens to all your senses.  I find it beautiful, emotional, and thought provoking.  Then on top of all that it has all its significance that the professor tells me about.  I could put it in my home, or on a museum wall and enjoy staring at it imagining the implied movement in her thrice placed limbs.  It’s descriptive of his emotions and the woman’s emotions.  A taxidermy chicken on top of a box with some porn is just tacky and made by someone who thinks they should be in philosophy.”

“Well I can’t argue with your second point,” my mind tells me, “but what about something a little bit more on the abstract side.  What about Jackson Pollak?”

“Even there, he’s got something.  I used to scoff at him when he said he would get disconnected with the painting and give up when all he was doing was splatter painting but I’ve done the same thing now.  When hanging up picture of doing layout jobs I may have 30 images but if I loose my vision of where they’re going I can’t finish.  How many unfinished sketches and works do I have that I gave up on not because they got too hard or took to long but because I just lost the vision of where I was going? Stories that I love and reread wishing against anything that I’d continued but had lost the vision of the story as a whole? It reminds me of the story where one day the Pope came to visit Michelangelo in his studio while he as sculpting his David. The Pope marveled at the partially completed work, and asked, “How do you know what to cut away?” Michelangelo’s response was, “It’s simple. I just remove everything that doesn’t look like David.” Well how did Michael Angelo know what was part of David and what wasn’t? If he sculpted a wrong turn and it didn’t fit his vision he wouldn’t have made the same statue, right?”

“You’re asking me to take a mighty leap . . .” my brain said slowly, thinking over what I was trying to convey.

“If this is so bad, with no artistic elements then why, as a child, where you obsessed with it?”

My brain thought back to the days in which it was still just a wee little mind and wore overall shorts and princess braids while struggling over basic arithmetic.  IT did indeed love what it deemed to be called “squiggle paintings”.  It loved looking for the images in the shapes, navigating them like a maze, searching for something personal and exciting.  Following the pattern of the lines, trying to decipher how the artist painted them. Did they just squeeze the tube and let their mind make the squiggle? Or maybe they took the brush and just made shapes that spoke to their inner idea of beauty.  I loved slanty hearts, maybe he loved loopty loops? There was something there, emotionally, that my young brain grappled onto and loved so much that I fell in love with the torpedo factory and indeed decided to purchase my own canvas painting from the art market it Yerevan that now hangs on my brother wall that he loves too.  And he’s not even as mamby pamby as I was, he’s strictly a math and engineering sort of kid. “I suppose there’s something they were getting at.” My mind conceded, “something beautiful and thought provoking that does take skill, just like Gentileschi and Caravaggio’s works did.  It just takes a different sort of skill.”

“Exactly!” I said, thrilled we’d finally agreed without one of us mowing over the other.

“But very few managed to find it.  Too many big name artists that tried to continue the idea took the wrong direction.  Instead of grasping that innate human-ness that the works depicted that took some strange psycologial, philosophical, and emotionless undertone that have to be there by the nature of the work itself and tried to glorify that as the meaning of art.”

I couldn’t agree more at this comment but my opinions are still growing and changing just as my opinions of the abstract expressionists changed as my art history knowledge grew.  I’ve just reached conceptual art in my studies and let me tell you, I feel like I’m looking at writing prompts for Artists.  There has been very little museum art I’ve thought as fine art at all since 1950, but maybe this will help me solidify my idea of what art is anymore.

Just as we look back at the past and laugh at their stupidity I’ve quite curious to see what the future will think about these past decades since the dawn of photography.  Forced to redefine studio art we’re just making a mess of all our ideas, desperately trying to beat out a solution to that infernal question: “What is Art?”.

You got a guest speaker in . . . art? Do I still go to the same college?

My College likes to pretend they don’t have an art department, unless you talk to the people in charge of helping you with graduation and degree planning and then they’re the first to inform you that your major has the most work of any of them.  But the other week I was down checking my mail when I saw this piece of paper taped over the water fountain.


It read.  I rubbed my eyes and looked again.  Could this be true? Was there a guest speaker at University of Dallas that was to do with art? Usually any visiting artists are only advertised in the art village and they’re the sort that mom really doesn’t want you to be.  You know, the sort that make traditional art and live off it. This was a Legit artist in society working a job in the business world! Well I assumed I could plug it into my phone sometime when the mail room staff weren’t behind my back staring as I stood with my eyes glued to a piece of paper. Lo and Behold though, I COULDN’T FIND THE FLYER ANYWHERE ELSE ON CAMPUS. What is this dark magic that the only flyer is down in the mail room?
I corralled my  other art major friends (because this is texas after all, we can’t just gather them) and told them about this and they were eager to see this one lone sign above the water fountain.  Leading them to the spot we all 3 stood and stared.  It was true, not an illusion.  There really was a visiting illustrator!

Well, a week passed and the day for his visit came.  So marching out of Art History we ventured down to the basement of Braniff (the building were everything except science and Drama is.  English, Theology, Philosophy, History, Education; all squeezed into one big building that always smells of skunk.  Delightful.  but down tot he basement we went never the less! Down to the media center room; a tiny little room with computers, a smart board, and a large industrial sized double ceramic sink.  Chairs were all lined up in rows and my fear was that they weren’t going to get enough people to fill them.

As my friend Haley and I sat there more people slowly came in, much to my surprise and filled up almost the entire room! Somehow many of the other art majors had managed to see that one little sign in the mail room too and I saw 3-4 of them sitting behind me.  The others I found out were all students in Children’s Lit and this was their normally scheduled class time. Figures, now it all made sense why he was here.

Well as I sat through his presentation I realized I couldn’t be an illustrator for the same reason I couldn’t become a  story boarder.  He drew many many images and ditched some and cut up others and just kept doodling it up.  I’ve always been a one good final sort of gal.  I love sketching but I haven’t ever been able to just sit down and doodle out 50 million people in a week.  Yes, I know I need to get better about that but I enjoy making 50 million little tack welds in that same time so much more.  At the moment though my sketch book’s suffering because in the spare time I used to use drawing in it I’ve taken to crocheting.  I wish I had four hands sometimes so I could keep them busy with multiple activities and well has never need someone to help me hold something up. I wonder if my brain could keep up with them all?

Regardless! Back to my point.  The Illustrator was Don Tate, probably nice to mention that, right?

After realizing what I probably wasn’t cut out to do my idea of what I could do were reenforced. The techie side was totally up my alley and layout is definitely my scene.  My little pre-fabricated blog here isn’t much of a testament to my skills, I know, but I’ve only taught myself a teeny tiny little bit of website stuff.  I made my profile on Gaia Online in BBC and amped up my Neopets’ page as a kid as well as chugging through some confusing HTML during the last week of my computer problem problem solving (*cough*learntousegoogleandexcel*cough*) class.  I genuinely feel that if given access to the right programs and some actual instruction I should be able to get it all down pat so that it all looks as snazzy as my 7th grade science fair poster. aw, yeah, green ribbon.  But I’m getting totally off topic!

What actually stuck in my head the most was when he mentioned that you don’t have to have your own signature style.  My art always evolves with what I’ve been looking at recently.  A turn towards realism during human figure, bold angles and shapes while watching justice league, detailed hair when obsessing over Mucha.  I was thinking this was a problem.  All the artists I love on DA have a distinctive style and every artist I see on TV or in books like Tim Burton and Erik Carl seems to have a style that’s distinctly their own. I was thinking I need to tucker down and decide how my brains works. Then he mentioned that that really only works some of the time.  Big name artists seem to have that but having multiple styles allows you to appeal to more buyers.  Certain book companies ask for a particular style that you’ve developed and wouldn’t have looked at you if you only drew in a different one.  It makes sense if you think about it.

     He also spoke about writing which actually peaked my interest most of all. I know, I know, I’m an artist.  I don’t actually consider myself a writer in any capacity except for enjoyment.  I’m far to undisciplined. But Last year I wrote a short story for Literary Traditions IV and my teacher mentioned I should tidy it up and submit it for the school’s publication.  I thought that sounded like a lovely idea but I never got around to it.  Well, he mentioned children’s books are only around 500 words.  I sit down and write things that short every day for fun.  What if I just decided on some coherent story line in a magical realism environment and started collecting some child friendly- themed stories that I could do something with? This idea sounded like so much fun to me.  If I ever wanted to go somewhere with that it would also be pretty nice for my resume to have my short story in the school publication.  I could also brag about it. [/humility].  But the Long and short of it is his talk inspired me to dredge up my short story from my external hard drive and finally revise it.  My roommie even mentioned she reads over her friend’s screen plays.  I sure I might be able to convince her to give me some constructive criticism.
     I leave you with a quote that I feel speaks well for me when I’m trying to convince my Dostoevsky reading Miltonian friends the value of my obsession with crazy things that don’t exist and aren’t a stand in for a biblical allusion.

“Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. Of course, I could be wrong.”

-Terry Pratchett

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Fastest and slowest semester already!

It’s Midterms in just a two weeks now and I really can’t believe it.

It feels like just yesterday i met my new roommate Gabriella and I can still remember last semester so clearly.  I decided to try being a vegetarian this semester and I really can’t believe I’ve managed it without a hitch this long. The worst part of the fast semester though is as far as Art goes.  I only have 1 piece in sculpture! and it’s still not finished!
I’m still chugging away at those fish. I’ve got their masks and bodies lined up to be fin-ed but I wish I had double.  Not sure how it’ll turn out.

Then I’ve got to cut and colour them which shouldn’t be too hard except I plan on giving up the internet for Lent so I’ll have to watch something I have on DVD while I cut them.  Yeah, I’m not going to cut that many holes without something to distract my brain.

finally comes their tails which I’m still working on at least 5 different prototypes but I feel clothe will still be fastest.  Crochet might look cool but it’d take way too long.

Once I’m done with that I still have a my Junior review in front of everyone only a week or two into next month! YIKES! I better drudge up all my old pieces!
 Time also flew as far as Printmaking goes, and frankly I’m ashamed of myself. After my Astronomy quiz tonight I need to go cut my paper and make all the registration marks so that I can start printing my green plate tomorrow.
I mixed up my ink yesterday and let me tell you  I went through hell getting it right.  The colour was fine but getting the transparency and then understanding that printing inks’ transparencies don’t work like photoshop threw me for a real loop.  urgh
Isn’t my green so pretty though?

I’m starting with one of my simpler plates though and I’ll probably do my brown one last. I’ve always loved how the cuts look on the plate~
I’ve got the plans for my next two prints finished, which is good and they’re going to be a lot simpler.  I’ve got a etching in ancient egyptian hieroglyphs of a cat silhouette and some grains that I plan to have kinda messy looking with a combination of etching lines and woodblock flat colour sections.  I’ve still got to run them by the professor but they should fly.
So in that respect the semester has flown but it’s also stagnated in several respects.
Our garbage disposal has broken at least 3 times.  It feels like it’s been broken all semester.  The roach problem feels like it’s been an eternity.  My nightmares about the nasty little bugs from the first week feels like a million years ago. Astronomy feels like a never ending class with horrendous painful labs and too much math.  I guess I did to astronomy what non-art majors do to ceramics: underestimated it.  Only difference, Ceramics doesn’t make you do anything you’re not expecting.  Astronomy is a deceptive little booger.

Regardless, Midterms are coming. Tomorrow’s ash Wednesday and Lent’s beginning which means it’s almost Easter.  Last Easter feels like an eternity ago.  The Easter Before that is almost out of my mind! I think I finallly beat Final Fantasy XII two easters ago! I almost fainted in mass that year, I remember that much. Last easter I was human figure drawing class and-well.  Art supplies aren’t coming with my on break anymore.  just my sketchbook. (no, I didn’t bring naked people with me, if that thought crossed your mind.  It would have been epic to see people’s faces if I had done that)

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is it karma that my roommates always out when I watch something scary?

Oh dear goodness time has just FLOWN by.  It seemed just last week that I was procrastinating buying textbooks and now its almost midterms.  Which speaking of which, is making my day horrendous. Today marked my first tests of the semester.  Both non art classes have their tests today: American Civilization II and Astronomy (I don’t dislike being at a liberal arts school at all sometimes [/sarcasm])
Lets walk through my least favorite weekend to date.
I wake up around 10 and start cooking my beans.  I bought black beans and had them soaking over night and I’m super excited.  I’ve never made beans before! I don’t think I’ve even bought them canned before.  I’m not a bean virgin though.  So the question calls to be asked, “how have I never made beans before?!”.  I still haven’t solved this problem but  here’s what i learned about beans, well black beans to be specific:

1. I like them alot

2. They make a really nice indigo cloth dye.  I used my boiled bean water to dye some white hot pads and they just need to be washed proper now to see how well it stains.
3.  The insides are white and crunchy like radishes before they’re cooked. Apparently they’re dangerous in this state though . . .  so why do we use beans in preschool craft projects? I mean, I stuck a pebble up my nose during reading time in Pre-K, so what’s to keep a kid from gulping down beans? My solution is not to take the beans away though, but to make the classes smaller.  I never stuck pebbles up my nose when my mom was watching me.  Only during reading time.
4. Beans do nothing.   I keep waiting for them to blow up or grow or something fun like that but they just sit there and dye their water until you can’t see them at the bottom of the pot.  This realization really depressed me.

5. There’s a sweet spot to boil them to.  Mine are best for mushing in refried beans, but they’re still okay for freezing and eating with pasta.
6. don’t freeze in a tubber ware tub.  Yeah, this is a duh, but I wanted to rush off to the art villiage and just froze the suckers. Now I’ve got a large bean cube that I just sculpt off a chunk cook.

Well, concluding my bean episode I rush on over to the art village to finally make some prints.  I mix up my inks and work hard to get the texture I want and then slowly figure out the thickness I actually need.  Well when all this is done and figured out I’m too tired to cut my paper and make everything for ensuring it lines up with the other plates.  So I wrap up my ink in some plastic wrap and put it away for another day.
 My ink is kind of this colour
Now I LOVE LOVE LOVE this colour, but It’s wrong.
>:| I need this colour
see my problem? Well I’m going to make some tweaks to it when I get the chance, but I might just ha

ve to sacrifice for the colour I love more.  No loss really.  I’m not much of a stickler on this project, or most 2D works I’ve ever made.  Except for my Dragon mosaic.  I was annoyingly anal about that.

Well, I walk out of the studio, totally pooped and ready to curl up (in the fetal position) with my Astronomy notes back in my apt.


I bolt through the rain to the painting building


running through the art village my shoes get muddy and soaked, as well as the rest of me.  But I made it. From the main building I dart across campus back to my apartment that’s conveniently located on the furthest possible end of campus from the art village. They rationalize that this is the better location for housing because it’s closer to the church and the Science and English buildings.  Meanwhile all the housing on the other side of campus where the cool people hang out is getting closed down.  I’d rather live next to the theatre than the science building any day of the week.

I open the door to my apartment and  there’s a tea party going on.  My roommate Hannah notices me coming in and promptly informs me I will be unable to sit as every chair in the apartment is crowded around the coloring table. Well what’s a girl to do? Put her wet stuff down and pick up some crayons, that’s what!

I made ariel blonde! It was fun, I colored for and hour, hour and a half, give or take.  Once all the girls had gone i decided it was aptly time to start studying.

I compiled all my notes and all the quizzes and study guides into a condensed 11 page  study guide! It took me until 1:30 to finish it and I totally didn’t get distracted at all by my friend Matt Bryan when he came to study with me.  Well, I go to sleep sunday morning and wake up around 10:30 ish?
but we’ve gotten to sunday!


So, 10:30, yeah, too late to be going to 11:00 mass so I decide to go to the Snoozers, Boozers, Losers mass at 7 . . . forgetting there’s a night sky review session then. FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUU-

Well I start studying for History.  Luckily all I have to do is refresh myself with the terms because once I remember exactly what Plessy vs Fergeson was about all the rest of the affiliated info came flowing into my head.  This is why I strive for perfect attendance and take anal notes during class.  If I remember it al then and work hard every day studying is a breeze. Unfortunately it still takes time.  And I totally didn’t watch 2 movies at the same time and distract myself with some cheesy bean and corn pasta. (just imagine Winnie the Poo with his honey here)

Now maybe it was a gut reaction to using 11 pages for the astronomy review but I squeezed my entire history review on one page. See? Just-don’t.  I have no idea why it made sense to me to do this. (just ignore the crappy drawing.  it looks a lot better if you lay on the ground and look at it from an angle)


around 5 in the afternoon I finish up this list and laydown to relax for a moment.  Alright, relaxing time done.  Time to get ready for mass! Shower, makeup (oh no, running out of eyeliner! time to find a girlfriend who wants to go out shopping!), hair, humidity, clothes, shoes! Well I make it there only to find my friend who normally goes to mass at 9:15 is doing snoozers boozers with me! I have a mass friend today! Lovely~
I skip the liquid nitrogen ice cream social due to MASSIVE lines.  It’s kind of pathetic the number of people who sit by the exit so they can book it out for ice cream every sunday.  Always reminds me about what father said the other sunday about how Catholics love to eat. But it’s true.  Almost every church I’ve gone to has doughnuts after mass for everyone to congregate around and talk and then everyone I know either has or goes to brunch afterwards without fail. (waiting for the sausages to cook sunday morning is torture when you’re starving because you’ve fasted an hour before mass already! MAn cannot live on a cup of tea alone!).  That’s probably why we have so many times to fast.

Interesting fact.  Spaniards tried to get the pope to declare the capybara fish so they could eat it on Fridays way back when.  This made me laugh so much when I heard it.  Some men are just desperate for meat.

Well to get to my title, I decided to conclude the night with this movie called “The Roommate”.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  The freaky psycho roommate killed the cute little kitten! I couldn’t watch! I had to skip ahead! That night no one seemed to come home.  3 roommates and no one was home.  I went to bed at 1! you’d think someone would be in the apt somewhere on a sunday night at 1, but no.  This always happens to me that when I watch something scary my roommate is gone. Last semester it was when I re-watched  season 1 of supernatural (yeah I’m a coward) and freshmen year I was in my mirror clad dorm room after watching something about bloody mary.  This luck of mine sucks.

Hand study: Then and Now

My first time sculpting a hand was junior year of high School.  I made a metal frame that I built up with clay.  After getting the hand how I wanted it I asked the teacher if I could kiln it, well surprise surprise . . .  no.  Because there was metal in it she said it wasn’t possible to bisque it.  Plus I’m pretty sure that with the knowledge I have now it wouldn’t have worked out being and solid and thick as it was. So I covered in in plaster instead and painted it up.  My experience with this project and a few others in those years as inspired me to try and teach art in the future maybe and impart as much knowledge about as vast a number of techniques as I possibly can. because as much fun as learning on your own is, learning and making something properly and well is even better.

Well that hand has been sitting in my parent’s house for a few years now, scaring the neighbors (since my mom has it sitting half in a bowl of popuri).  Now, three years later I decided to try again.  I was thinking about going into animation with modeling so I told my sculpture professor I wanted to try the craft out.  He hands me a big box of plasticine and a plaster cast of someone’s hand.  “Alex,” he tells me, “you make a big ball like this, roll out some fingers and stick them on, smooth it out and add the details.  use calipers to gauge the thickness.” Well . . .  I never got any calipers but I did have a stick and some string. After some off and on toiling for a week or two out pops a nice brown plasticine hand like the one below.  I make a mould of that and cast a few resin copies, which the one below is one of.

alright so it was a long time between hand one and hand 2 but there’s a big difference.  I’m actually kinda shocked that I managed to improve that much without actually practicing any modeling between the 2 studies.  I chalk it up to a few things.

1. a better understanding of anatomy in general.  When I sculpted that first hand I drew people like the picture on the left, and I could tell that I was stretching a few things out but not even half as much as I actually saw I was.  I thought the neck was just a little long, not giraffe levels.  And that was one of my few drawings that looked person-like.  When I made the second hand my people sketches had evolved to something more like the drawing on the right.











Now part of that improvement is practice but half of it is from my classes at college.  For the first time in my life I’ve had formal drawing lessons.  More than human figure class, what actually helped most was Basic Drawing I.  Meaning still lives, boxes and tedious studies of sticks and laundry baskets.  That class taught me how to sight measure with my pencil and thumb.  THE MOST HELPFUL SKILL I’VE EVER LEARNED. I swear, thus I put it in caps. 4srs.  When I actually got to human figure I really really really wish we did more with muscles.  We did so much skeleton! And sure, skeleton is important for proportions but without a muscle study I saw on the internet my people would all have straight line arms unless they’re from DBZ. (if which case they’ll look like a poorly drawn Bane from Batman)

2. the ability to see something wrong.  Seriously you don’t realize this until you gain it but you just can’t see things.  They just look right.  Just like how I didn’t realize my stained glass woman’s hands were . . . wrong.
Oh the horror. it was a bad year for hands. (oh yeah and, look, no muscles)
 Alright well I just realized what angle is missing from the second hand collage.  The side shot.  The wrist on the first was was flat and not rounded and that carried over to the back of the hand being too flat.  I just couldn’t see it. I think I saw something was wrong but couldn’t figure out what. That was one of the last things i fixed on my second hand.  I think the professor thought I couldn’t see it because I didn’t fix it for so long until, surprise! I did!

3.  Materials. Not so much, but plasticine: much easier to work with than clay. Not sculpy clay or something but the legit stuff that drys out and breaks and has to be put in a 1600 degree kiln to bisque.  Yeah, that’s what I was working with. I didn’t risk the fingers falling off with the plasticine since it was such a flexible medium.

4. Practice.  Speaks for itself.  Drawing hands regularly helped me to understand how they work much better so that I remember more when  sculpting it the second time.

5. I don’t know how legit it is but when I get frustrated with a boss battle I’ve lost 7 times I put down the controller and turn off the console and do something else for a month. (yeah I deal with it well).  When I pick it back up easily peazy! I don’t understand this phenomena but it holds true for so many other things.  Sometimes I need one of two warm up sketches but the next one’s always better. It bewilders me.

Curious about my older works, well I re-found them all on my old art blog!

I said it before but I’ll say it again, seeing your improvement is awesome.  Even when you’re intimidated by Mucha or Da Vinci and think you’ll never get that good, you look back to what you were doing just a little while ago and you know as long as you keep working at it’s a total possibility.  You just need patience and can’t give up~ <3

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Its time overdue to make a 2011 improvement sheet

While I still need to work on compiling my work from the past year into 12 pretty good examples of my progress I finished up a progress meme that’s pretty telling.  Nothing makes you feel better when you’re sitting in art history staring up at amazing classics than looking back at your own work and realizing how much better you’ve gotten and how much better you’re going to get.

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It’s that stressful time of Year Again, New Art Projects

The semester starts and you need a new Project in every class, but fear not! I already have an Idea for sculpture

After some preliminary sketches over the Christmas Break I think I’m going to go with my fish idea from last semester.  Now the trick is, once I’ve got the idea all panned out to make them big enough that they have a presence but not take so long to make that I can only have 3.  The first hurtle I have to gap is the body, which I’d really like to be made out of metal.  After some pounding on a thin piece of aluminum I jumped on the internet to see how other people have made spheres and the like.  I found this!

Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to try out this, it’s almost exactly what I was doing, but the shapes and extra pieces that weld together are eye opening enough to help me go “Derp! you don’t need 50 triangles or one piece of metal that’s a perfect fit!”  Funny how it’s hard to get your mind out of that silly little box, eh?

I also just started my first print in Print making.  He said Bring in an image so I brought in a revamp of my DA ID

Fingers crossed it turns out well!

I got the resin sand off my metal poured crochet pieces finally too <3  Still have to figure out what to do with them too.

On the not class related front, I started my new Afghan and it’s coming along smashingly! I finally picked out all my own colours and they’re all some of my favorites! Once I’m further in on this and have worked some on my knit cable scarf I’ll make some sunflowers to hang up in my app.  I need to make a tutorial for them too since of the few sunflower patterns I found on Ravelry no one made one like mine, which is pretty exciting!

oh, and if you’re interested, my yarn collection is getting pretty Dreamy <3 There’s just a few more colours I’d love to have in stock if I need them but I haven’t frogged anything yet so maybe that’ll be my next venture~

and there appears to be a sneak afghan bit in that pile. I’m not sure what to do with him.  My mom made him but she doesn’t have enough yarn for me to finish it, plus it’s super itchy. >_o
I don’t really want to unravel it since she made it.  Maybe it’ll just be a strange zig zag scarf? or I can hang it above my App window?

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Afghans . . . FINISHED!

My First Finished Piece! A rather small baby blanket made of hexagons.  I finished it this past summer but just got around to taking pictures of it now.  I was wondering what I was going to do with it but I was informed it was given to my cousin Elizabeth who just had a baby. I’m so glad it has a home! The hexagons where so much fun to start with since the pattern was simple but difficult enough that my first attempts crocheting I learned about single, double, bobble, and corners.  I still wish I had had more than 2 colours, but what can you do when you’ve stranded in a dormitory complex in the middle of a texas summer?

Second afghan! Smaller than I wished, but I’d originally started it as a baby blanket then changed my mind.  So it’s like a narrow full size blanket.  Totally snuggle-up-in-able though~ I wanted to do a zig zag stitch but I couldn’t understand what the pattern was telling me! Off I went to Attic24 and used her ripple pattern instead.  Well, her pattern taught my exactly what I was doing wrong in the zig zag.  I hope to make a lovely little cliche old school zig zag some time soon!

Third  afghan! This time a classic granny square! Once again, I didn’t pick out the colours. >:\ Why have I not picked out the colours of any of my projects? Well, working with my three colours I went traditional and had a blast! until I got to rows 9 and 10 at which I kinda never wanted to see another granny square as long as I lived.  I absolutely must have at least 2 running projects to switch between when one technique starts getting monotonous.

It took me 3 days of organizing my yarn collection ROYGBIV, but I finally came up with what I wanted to do for my next afghan and it’s coming along lovely~ but I’ll save that for next post.  I’m off to make sweet and sour shrimp to some Jedward!