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I often find that my freshmen are afraid of doing it wrong – when you find yourself at college really chasing your dream every mark seems fraught and laden and dangerous. I spend some time at the beginning of the year trying to encourage them to loosen up and let go – and remember how to play. In 2D design last week we did some very large scale experimental drawings using all the materials we could round up. First each student made a large drawing individually, pushing the materials, and then we tried to amalgamate the whole group of drawings as a single piece by reworking areas. It ended up being so enormous we couldn’t even hang it up!! As a complete work it was not entirely successful, but parts of the drawing were really quite beautiful, and even if it didn’t encourage my students to play, it reminded me how much I enjoy drawing and I have been making crazy big experimental messes and loving it!

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so the term ends, and both my drawing and 2D classes created self portraits incorporating ephemera. For the 2D students especially it is finally a chance to make something that is not a technical exercise. Here are some selections of their work.

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I am looking forward to winter break, especially as the lake effect snow machine has cranked up, and holing up in the studio with my own work!

when first learning value in drawing I found it helpful to draw the light itself through erasing a charcoal field before attempting to draw the shadows using a more traditional technique, plus getting really messy with charcoal is fun!! Here are some images from class…

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My drawing class is working on composition and proportion tools. I think that the positive/negative spaces of an image can function both ways. Because we have had an unexpected run of great weather we worked on the initial drawings outside until it got too dark to see, then came inside to activate the negative spaces by filling them with textures, real and imagined. Here are a couple of students at work in class. I’ll share more images with you when they are all finished!

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I have had a really difficult time connecting to my evening drawing class this semester, evening is not my best time of day, and it is a very large and young class. This past week we had a mid-term of sorts, I asked them to take an autumn leaf and make the best drawing they could without any assistance from me, and then to compare that image to the very first drawing they made seven weeks ago and give themselves a fair grade. Because they were working independently it gave me a chance to work alongside them, and make a drawing of my own, which I enjoyed immensely, in my busy life I rarely have 5 hours just to draw in! working with them let me chat a bit with students I hadn’t had a chance to really get to know, and their self evaluations were for the most part pretty accurate. Here a few of their finished images

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Thank heavens that out spring break has finally arrived, even amidst a sudden flurry of snow, I am as burnt out as my students and ready to unravel a little for the next few days before I settle in to marking drawings.

As a reward for actually attending class today I watched DVD’s in both my classes. In 3D we watched an excellent documentary about the work of Andy Goldsworthy, whose work absolutely makes my heart sing with joy, and whose work my students will be trying to emulate for the last three weeks of the semester! Hopefully spring will have really arrived by then!!

In drawing I settled for a part of a BBC documentary “how art made the world”, operating on the premise that art is a defining characteristic of humanity it takes sweeping looks across time at facets of art and representation. We watched an episode “more human than human” about representation of the figure, as we are currently working on self portraits.

And now it is time for a well earned break!! Relax and enjoy everyone and come back refreshed!

Seems my 3D class has been getting all the glory, so here is an update for my drawing class. We FINALLY finished the co-operative scaling project, and here it is…cooperative-whole

And here is a selection of images from the “Self as Still Life” project….christinabjjesslisashawntraci

I think tonight my drawing class has spring fever, they couldn’t settle, we didn’t accomplish very much! Almost all the pieces of our collaborative project are in and then I can post a picture!

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I’ve never been a reporter. And if I have a romance with the
objects that I’m drawing, it’s more important that I have a
romance with the mark that I am making.
::: Jim Dine :::