Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weirdest. Portrait. Ever.

Has anyone ever made a picture that just looks so ridiculous you can't believe it's art? That was basically our last project, the blind contour drawing page. You have to draw yourself as best you can, but here's the catch: you can't look at what you're drawing and you can't pick up your pen. It's one continuous line. For those of you who think it's easy, I'm giving you a look of disapproval. It was most certainly NOT easy and took me at least twelve tries before I got a drawing I actually liked. After I got done gracing the page with my incredible likeness (not) I decorated the final drawing with stuff about me. And not just, "I like the color blue." No, it's more like things about your personality and all that. I learned stuff about myself during the course of this project that I would have never thought just by digging deep enough, which was fun and scary. You're probably saying, "Wow, you get to make a strange squiggly drawing of yourself AND reveal all your flaws and fears all in one project? What fun!" Haha, yes and no.

Bowls, Bowls, Bowls

It's that time of year again! The Empty Bowls dinner! Can I get a what-what? .... this is the part where you give me a what-what. .... oh come on, was the rude look necessary? Anyways, the Empty Bowls dinner is basically a gigantic potluck dinner where you can buy a bowl to eat out of then keep it. The local resteraunts and parents donate the food for the dinner. All the proceeds benefit the food banks of our town and some surrounding counties, which I think is superbly awesome! The bowls were made by les élèves et moi (the students and me) and our blood, sweat, and tears went into them, so everyone had better have a good time or so help me I will go to any of the killjoys' house and replace ALL their bowls with ours. Anyone want to join my crusade? No? Aw, stop it with the rude looks.

I Burn Down the School (And Other Lantern-y Things)

Well, here we are again folks: more projects. This time, we did a really cool and slightly terrifying project with paper lanterns. It was really cool in the sense that you get to use a different medium then you'd generally go for to make something really beautiful based on a season. It's terrifying because in the process I almost sheared several fingers off with an exacter knife and also knowing me, the moment I light it I'm going to pull a Seamus Finnigan and burn my eyebrows off.  Mine was based off the season fall and has three branches with leaves on them and leaves in the air, and wind curling and weaving around them, carrying them off. It looks really cool and I'm so happy with the outcome! It's a bit larger then I thought, though...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Monet-Meister

Monet was his name, Impressionism was his game. For my artist research project, I chose to do the great Claude Monet. Most of you have heard him, but do you really know about him? First of all, he was born on November 14th, 1840. I thought he was much older then that! He lived in Paris and his full baptized name was Oscar-Claude Monet. He went to Le Havre Secondary School of the Arts and in his spare time he sold charcoal drawings for 10-20 francs each. His first drawing lessons came from Jacques-Francois Ochard and he learned how to use oil paints from Eugene Bodin. Also, Bodin taught him how to paint "en plein air", or outdoor techniques, and became his mentor. When his mother died in 1857, he went to live with his widowed, childless aunt. He actually joined the First Regiment of Light Cavalry (part of the French army) for two years, but contracted typhoid and was withdrawn by his aunt. (Would have never guessed.) He later married Camille Doncieux, who became the model for many of his paintings. She died in 1879 though, and while she was sickly they went to live with Alice Hoschede. She became his second wife, and they all moved to Giverny. He died of lung cancer on December 5th, 1926, and a total of about 50 people attended his funeral because he wished it to be small and formal.

Right off the bat I knew that I would love Monet's work. He painted what he saw, exactly how he saw it, and that often required still life. He loved painting pictures of his beautiful garden towards the end of his life, and I have a weird obsession with flowers. I love his work because it's real, but his style is rougher and sometimes he goes about catching the scene with erratic strokes that begin to form a figure as it goes along. For example, his Pheasant painting is very lifelike, while Camille Monet on her Deathbed was harder to make out. 

I especially live his series of paintings done in his famous garden, like the Water Lilies and Nympheas series.   These are comprised of many paintings, but my favorites are Water-Lily Pond and Water Lilies (1903). They capture the image and detail of the flowers and the reflections on the ponds while keeping it simplistic. I also really, really love Lady with a Parasol which was painted using Monet's son and wife as models. I find myself concentrating less on their faces and more on the fabrics of their clothes and how the sunlight hits Camille's dress just so. The lack of detail in some areas and the concentration of it in others really made the piece beautiful. Below are three beautiful paintings by him: One from the Nympheas series, Lady with a Parisol, and La Rue Montorgueil.   

So, now you have some new information to cram in your brain. If you get the chance, look Monet up! If you read in more detail, his life was really interesting. Unfortunately, I tend to drabble, and I don't want to give you a complete synopsis of every little detail of his life. That would take a while. Well, I hope I didn't bore you to tears. I try, people, I try, but not a lot of people find this as interesting as I do. Ciao for now :)