5/15/20- I took a bit of a break in order to study for the upcoming AP exams however with the deadline for the senior show quickly approaching cough cough it may have been today ... I needed to finish this piece if I intended it on being in the show. I essentially had to print, cut, and paint all of the test today which took several hours, but I completed it within the deadline! Overall, I am happy with how much I accomplished and am pleased with my growth from the beginning of this year to now. I am a bit irked by how some of the text is a bit wonky/crooked which, despite having used a ruler and measuring out where I wanted the lines of text to go, still made its presence known. I like all of the elements of the painting individually, the skull, the text, and the background shading/shadow; however, I think it is all a bit too much/too busy when all on one canvas. I think the font is too dark and the red hazy effect in the background is a bit too distracting. I think if I had gone with a black background and lighter text it may not read as busy? But it's hard to say. Again, overall it is one of my better pieces and I like it purely from the growth demonstrated in the painting and content but there are a few things that could definitely be improved. As the last piece of the school year, I am happy with how it turned out.
5/6/20- So I'm gonna go ahead and say I'm done w the skull and overall, am content with how it turned out. I am a bit frustrated with the brow bone specifically because it is a bit too extreme (left) in terms of curvature and maybe a bit too intense with the red/brown color. I also think the skill is a bit too yellow and the forehead area is reading a bit too 2D but what can ya do. I'm struggling a bit to figure out what I want the background to be. I was originally going to go with just straight white, but I'm now considering the red/brown color I used on the skull or maybe a mix of the two where the red/brown is like an under-layer situation, or maybe like a slight yellow to make the skull seem less yellow? But then would it all just read too yellow? I'm not sure... Hopefully I will get some feedback in the upcoming critique!
5/5-6/20- So after far too much planning (seriously, I have like four sb pages of ideas, most of them muy mal), I have decided on my next piece. I am attempting to paint a skull of one of the first Homo sapiens and am pairing it with text from the Bible saying that God created life, to return to the debate between evolution and biblical origins. Currently, I am a bit brain fried as I have painted for four hours straight in very bright lighting from my computer screen and am currently dealing with slight blurred vision and a headache from my hair being in a too-tight bun. BUT aside from that, I am relatively pleased with how the skull is turning out. I think it might be a bit too yellow and some of the proportions/relative placement of things is just a tinyyy bit off, even though I tried with a grid, but overall fairly pleased I guess. The bottom title from the slideshow is kinda covering the teeth area which is annoying because I worked a bit to get them to appear semi-acceptable. I ended on the eye sockets for tonight so everything below is probably not gonna change a whole lot.
I am currently in a Photojournalism seminar class and one of our assignments was to create a page that represents confinement, and this is something I made and I thought I would share.
I have one page with all of the places I would love to see or be right now but due to the pandemic, am restricted to my house and neighborhood. The sun and colorful images represent brighter times and the joy and happiness I find with hanging out with friends. This is meant to contrast with the page on the right of emptiness and blankness with only the word “imagine". This is because at the moment, I feel very confined in my house with little excitement or energy, and the word “imagine” is supposed to conjure the idea that the life and joy on the left can only be imagined due to the restrictions put in place.
4/2/20- So after the group critique over zoom haha I increased the saturation and opacity of the letters and blended out the woman in the bottom left corner so she isn't as distracting. I also tried to erase the pencil marks around the letters but I think due to the water and paint mixture that went on top of it, it wouldn't come off so there is a slight outline around all of the letters. Overall I am pretty pleased with my finished piece; it was one of the larger and more complex paintings I have done and as a starting point, I am not mad at it. I think more could have been done to make the couple pop out a bit more and I could have added a bit more definition because it is all reading a bit flat and 2D. However, I like the direction where this is headed.
3/31/20- Sorry it's been a sec since I last worked on my painting. I finished the Bible quote and tried to do the glazing method but just with watered down acrylic paint which didn't go...great. It was a bit hard to control the paint because what I was doing was essentially watercoloring with acrylic paint on top of acrylic paint. I also didn't make the letters large enough so that isn't helping the legibility.
3/23/20- So I mixed a light shade for the sky and filled that in as well as do a few little touch ups here and there. I also painted the edges in the general forms/shades on the canvas. Overall I am content with what I have created however, I still have a long way to go. I still need to sketch and paint in the Bible verse which might take a sec if I plan on color matching to the image. The issue is- I forgot to bring home the glazing medium and seeing as how we are never returning to school, that's a bit of an issue.
3/20/19- I filled in most of the background and I really like the shapes of the people to the right because they give a sense of depth and form without taking away from the main focal point. I don't love the left side as much because the woman looks a bit... interesting- I might just add more to the bangs.
3/19/20- I think I need to push the values more with the faces/people because right now, they are reading a little flat, especially when compared to the flag. I am overall not mad with how everything has turned out, I just think it could be elevated a bit. I've realized that I forgot to bring home glaze/translucent medium from art for an indirect painting method and because we are on "coronacation", I don't know if I will be able to do the letters. I might switch to my home project and hope that I we will be back in school before I need to return to the glazing.
3/18/20- So far I like where I am I didn't sketch as much as I normally do, just laid out general forms and I think that worked to my advantage because I felt less worried about making everything perfect (which was good because some of the forms were NOT in the right places/proportions).
Today's lunchtime lecture was presented by Twyla Kitts, an educator from the VMFA, who came to talk about the Fabergé Eggs and the History of Russia. We traced the path of one egg in particular, the egg with a Vacheron Constantin watch inside (pictured left), in order to find about the relative price of an egg and how it shifted as time passed. We learned about the egg made its way from Russia/the tsar's family, to being taken by the government after their exile, and to this egg and many others being sold to people in the United States by the Soviet government. After being purchased by Armand Hammer for $2,000, it was sold to a Mr. Schaffer, and then a Mrs. Pratt, wife of one of the richest men at the time in the automobile industry, for $16,500. Years later, a man in the midwest purchased the egg at a flea market for $14,000 simply in interest to sell it for the gold and gems. However, after looking it up on the internet to find a general price estimate for the clock, he found that it was one of the 8 missing Fabergé eggs and was worth substantially more. After consulting an auction house that specialized in the eggs, he ended up selling it for about $33 million to an anonymous buyer.
I found this path really interesting as I had learned about the eggs from elementary school, but had assumed that they had always been treasured and rotated to museums or something. To learn that one of the eggs was nearly melted down for parts was very surprising and almost startling. If something so beautiful and intricate was so close to being destroyed and lost forever, it makes you wonder how others perceive your art, whether as a precious commodity or simply a canvas with some liquified pigment applied as a paste. A little existentialist (?- Max help), I guess, but still, it is something to think about. It also shows how subjective the world is in terms of people's taste because the Soviet government clearly thought that the money that could be gained from the egg was worth more than the craftsmanship and history of the egg- this was years ago and I doubt that they would do the same today but the fact that they were willing to back then... The history of this egg alone demonstrates the accuracy of the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" and it goes to show that art that you like to make/like the look of WILL NOT please everyone- ya just gotta do what feels right for you!!!
learn more about the egg from the flea market: www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-26/faberge-egg-with-vacheron-constantin-watch-found-at-flea-market
3/9/20- One month later and I am finally done!! I'm a lil upset that I forgot that I split the bottom two lines into three so there's a random gap in between lines and the bottom two are really smooshed but it's ok. This was a good learning opportunity for me- after my critique w Coach I realized I should have been a bit more intentional with the text in general, either by using stencils and making it all uniform or by intentionally making it more messy, and thus, harder to interpret. I am impressed that I was able to mix the same colors over and over agin and not have any noticeable difference between one day's paint and another's. I like the content I have settled on as well as how I've chosen to convey it through a juxtaposition of text and imagery. We are getting closer to senior showcase so I need to make a series of cohesive works now that could all work well together in a gallery setting.
3/4/20- I made some progress today by finishing most of the green and light blue text. I did some of the dark blue but I will probably need a couple more class periods to finish up. I am a little worried about fitting all of the text onto the canvas but I think I spaced it out enough that it should be ok.
3/2/20- Today I didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked to. I spent about half of class mixing my paints to match what I had already painted and so only painted about half of the green and blue letters. I also ran out of my paint about fifteen mins before the end of class which contributed to my lack of progress. Next class I have my solo critique which is definitely going to be a process critique! I have also randomly brainstormed an idea for a future piece? My idea is to have Bible verses displayed in some way to parts that very religious people use to justify anti-LGBTQ/abortion legislation paired with other verses that say things about unconditional love and other things that show the selective nature of the church to focus on only certain parts of the Bible. I'm not sure if this is 100% in line w my current content; it goes more with my content from last semester on hypocrisy, but the idea of belief and interpretation is also still very present.
2/26/20- I lightly sketched out the words with charcoal to generally space things out; however, I may have messed a lil up earlier and so some of the words might be a bit scrunched in there. I did the words that went over the red and yellow areas and I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. Next class I'm planning on doing the green and light blue and then I will likely be doing the dark blue over the weekend or finishing it up early next week depending on the time that I have.
2/24/20- So today I went in with the black and painted the state lines but they were a lil thick so I went in with another coat of green to clean them up a bit. Coach brought up the point that the black was such a contrast to the green that it could take attention away from the hurricane but that depended on what I wanted the viewer to focus on (note: this was before I made them thinner). I am going to keep the black because I think that they help bring the eye of the viewer to the text in the work and also a bit due to time constraints. I still need to go in with the text over everything else which is going to take a sec because I am going to have to remix all of the colors and try and sketch out the words to make sure everything will fit.
2/21/20- After looking back on my work from last class, I realized that I didn't really like it at all because it just looked more like a giant rainbow blob instead of a hurricane. Because of this, I spent the majority of the class going back and adding definition to each color and also added another coat of blue to the background to make it more opaque. I also began adding state lines which I plan on going back and refining by matching the color already down (gonna be a lil annoying but it's fine) and then going in with the light molding paste again to finish the words.
2/19/20- Today I spent my time going back over everything and blending the hurricane more as well as doing a second coat of blue. However, I think that I may have blended a lil too aggressively and kinda made it look more like a clump instead of more of a swirl. I still need to go in with black and paint the state lines, probably add another coat of blue, and then redraw the words and do those. I thought that I would be done soon but considering everything I still have to do, I might have to take it home for a weekend.
2/12/20- Sooo I think I may have messed up the order of my application a lil bit. I was originally thinking that I would paint like a base layer, then go in with the textured medium (light molding paste), and then paint over it all again, BUT I really like the texture of the words and I'm afraid that by painting over it, I might ruin the texture it has and I don't want that to happen. Because of this, I'm probably going to go ahead and paint the final coats of paint of the hurricane and the ocean, and maybe also the map, before finishing the Bible verse. Besides this rather egregious error, I am still content with both the progress I've made as well as with how it is turning out.
2/10/20- I have finished my base coat of paint. I am so far content with how it's turning out? Some of the hurricane needs to be blended out more but considering how I'm only about halfway done, I would say it is good enough. Next class I plan on going in with the medium and layering my text down.
2/5/20- I began painting today and I am content with the progress I have made thus far. I was going to use some Sory of plastic material to cut out words to place on top of the painting for the Bible verse but after consulting with Coach who said that it was probably going to be a pain in the butt, I decided to use a thicker medium to create a thicker surface to give it letters. I'm not sure how effective this will be but this piece is about experimentation for me so I'm gonna give it a whirl and see how it goes. I am going to finish doing a quick base coat of color before going over with my medium with the letter, and then painting over the letters and the underpainting for a more finished look.
2/3/20- Today we began our first Q3 project. After the last critique, I'm going to shift my content a bit from hypocrisy to the idea of fate and chance. My idea for this piece is to paint a hurricane (like on a weather map), and then have a bible verse incorporated in some way. I had an interesting discussion today when trying to figure out which verse I should use because originally, I was thinking of using verses that had to do with divine retribution and how natural disasters could be interpreted as acts from god. After talking with Eileen, who is more devoted to the Catholic faith than I am, and thus is more knowledgable, I found that the concepts that I was talking about aren't among the more widely believed ideas. Because of this, I dug a bit deeper and found that I what I was really trying to get down to was people's beliefs and how some believe in a pre-determined path for them in life, one made by God or maybe just generally that God has a plan, while others, more like myself, believe that stuff happens just to happen and that's just life. I want the viewer to take their beliefs and interpret the hurricane the way that they believe it is and so I am not painting per say people's reactions to a natural disaster, but the people are reacting in real time in response to my art and in concurrence with their belief system. As for the physical art, I still need to figure out the composition of the words, or even if I want words at all??? Nah I think I do want words bc without them, there would be no guidance for the viewer to reach the conclusion that I want to talk about the idea of fate or a path in life.
1/30/20- (This is my reflection for 1/20/20) I'm still not super pleased with the wonkiness of the perspective and the shapes of the dots. It feels like it's trying to be both realistic and semi Cezanne-ish as the perspective isn't quite there. I'm also a little upset as the die I photographed and was going to use in my display was stolen and now I must go find/buy a new one. I wasn't super sold on the content when focusing on the hypocrisy of the art world; however, when I started thinking more on fate and chance/luck, I found that I was more interested and that my audience was more intrigued. I want to focus on this content for a little bit and see where that takes me, talking about how random is fate and how religion plays into the idea of a predetermined destination as well as maybe the scientific idea of a parallel universe or infinite universes that could have resulted in a different life based on your decisions/choices. It's a lot to think about but hopefully it will lead me to a place with deeper meaning and content.
1/15/20- I didn't get a whole lot painted today as I was also busy photographing previous work so I only finished the values within the divots of the dots. I am still struggling a lil bit with how to paint the background and I got some feedback (thanks Raina!) on how to proceed. She suggested keeping an off white tone in the background and using medium to add texture. This gave me an idea for the background because instead of keeping it a plain, flat surface, I'm now considering the idea to add words in charcoal or just black paint asking "why is this art?" going behind the die. I'm gonna ask coach before I proceed but I think that would be more visually interesting than just a flat color. Also after looking at the picture vs the painting, I think I might need to rework some of the dots, particularly on the left side (five dots) bc the perspective makes them appear more oval and the ones I painted are still too circular. I also got feedback that I should work on blending the values for the three and five dot sides to make them appear a bit more finished and artist-y vs just messy painting.
1/13/20- Today I tried to finish the die and while I didn't quite reach this goal, I still focused on making sure the die was visually interesting through the use of various values and visual brushstrokes to get that effect. I need to redefine some of the lines to make the die appear more rounded and three-dimensional rather than caving inwards on itself. I also still need to go in and add the values to the dark circles; this will hopefully assist in giving the die a more 3D feel rather than just a painting of one. As I get closer to finishing the die itself, I need to start thinking about what I want to do with the background. This is stumping me because while I don't really want to stay in the b&w because I think it might read too monochromatic, I am not sure what color would fit. Maybe red because that color typically goes along with die but not sure yet...
1/8/20- So after a bit of thinking I decided on painting a die and to display it next to a die in order to expose the hypocrisy in the art world and how more elitist critiques would call a painting art but regard the ready-made art as worthless just because it isn't seen as having to do with showing any artist ability. I decided on painting a die because it symbolizes chance and luck, and I feel that with art, it is all a game of chance to see how your art is received by the public and if you will become successful. I definitely need to go in and make it appear more rounded but I kinda like the more abstracted values of the paint.
Minerva Cuervas was born in 1975 in Mexico City, Mexico where she currently lives and works. She received a BA in visual arts from Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (National School of Plastic/Visual Arts), located in Mexico City, as well as the Grant for Media Art of the Foundation of Lower Saxony at theEdith-Russ-Haus. She has had many solo and group exhibitions all over the world, from the Americas to Europe and Asia.
Cuervas' art explores how politics and a capitalist economy impacts not only product marketing but also society. She uses a wide range of mediums in order to convey her content about and oftentimes utilizes irony and humor to make the viewer reflect about the social implications of the message.
I personally really like her art because the content is fairly straightforward and on serious topics, but she is able to present it to the viewer as an almost comical image, until the message really sinks in to reveal something much darker. I really like how she is also able to tie in so many different materials and presentations of her content while remaining in the same broad theme. The content I am trying to get into this year is hypocrisy and after looking at her work, I want to try and branch out with my materials and experiment a bit more with how I show my content. I really want to try out sculpture at least once and see how that goes.
So I realized that I didn't have quite enough for my mom for Christmas and bc she is OBSESSED with our dog, a chiweenie that goes by the name of Vinny, I decided to paint a picture of him. So because I did this from 12-3 am morning of, I didn't have a whole lot of process to comment on. I decided to do a grid to make it as proportional as possible, and then I just kinda painted until I thought it looked ok. I struggled a bit with the background bc I didn't like what it was in the background of the pic, but I also didn't want to just do a plain color so I kinda did this brown, abstract, thingy. Aside from the paint being a bit too transparent, I think it turned out good enough for the project that this was.
Today was this year's first Lunchtime Lecture! We heard from the perspectives of six students who already graduated from Maggie Walker, and some even from college, and who are majoring in art or the general art field. We had one student from MICA, four from VCU Arts, and one from UVA Architecture and I found it really interesting to hear their take on the experiences they've had. I found it funny how while some people went directly into art, others kinda wandered their way into the field such as Bailey, who had intended on pursuing politics, and Alex, who originally went to two community colleges before deciding to go to art school.
A common lesson that I heard that could be applied to not just the art world was that something that they all found most annoying was complaining from other people that was referred to at one point as "studio culture". Unfortunately, I think I would fall into this category of people as I have a tendency to express discontent with assignments and grades among other things. They stressed the importance of being grateful for what you have available to you as well as working hard instead of sitting back and making excuses for why something didn't turn out and I liked that attitude and approach to being faced with less-than-ideal circumstances. For example, instead of complaining about a grade a teacher gave you, avenging yourself by doing super well on the next assignment.
Something else that stood out was that art stretched and challenged them in different ways and how that may have shifted their views on art in general. They shared frustrations with prompts as well as with classes and peers and how that has impacted their art and what they are able to make. I found it disappointing how about half of them mentioned that they felt restricted in such an institutionalized setting and I think that while the purpose of the school is to push you and force you to interact with thinks and people you might not normally, it shouldn't put you in a situation where you are so frustrated that you are no longer excited by art, as seems to be the case with Eli, who talked about how he was upset with the structure of the classes available.
I was most interested by Bailey's experience at UVA Architecture for a few reasons: 1) I will be attending UVA next year, 2) my best friend is also going and will be doing UVA Architecture, and 3) he talked about how he like the creative outlet but how there were rules and guidelines that he had to cater towards. This appealed to me because the concept of art is so expansive that it can cover anything from a banana duct taped to a wall, to a massive monument installation that uses the history of the city in order to contribute to it's content and it seems almost overwhelming when being let loose to make and define whatever you want as art. I like the idea of having a form of creative expression but also having some foundation or footing of which to go off. I might consider this when going in the general direction of business. I had been thinking about being an advertising and marketing manager for a while but I think I would maybe want to be on the more analytical side? Actually, I'm not sure I kinda have a negative disposition towards math so not sure that would work out very well but I guess I would have to see the options available when studying at UVA and see the job market and pay as well as if I would enjoy doing it.
Overall, I really liked this lecture as it gave different experiences from people who all essentially began in the same program I am currently in and it is just interesting to see where everyone ends up in life.
Here are a couple links to art sites of a couple of the students who talked to us today:
12/12/19- Finally done! This took a lot longer than I had thought it would. I took some of my practice prints and collaged them into one piece with newspaper. I also asked my classmates what composition I should display them all as and this was the final consensus. i might mess with it a lil bit once they are all matted but for th emost part, I am happy with how it looks.
12/2/19- At this point, I am getting a little frustrated as I had imagined that at this point I would be printing and I am still arranging the stencils on the screen. I'm a little stressed because the project is to be finished for the next week and I technically still don't have a product to show for the amount of work I have been putting into this. The process itself is also not going great as the contact paper was stored as a roll and so it's shape makes it difficult to work with. I also put the contact paper on the wrong side of the screen at first so that the design would have read as backwards. This took a little time to correct and was not super fun to have to redo. I hope that I will actually get to printing next class!!
11/13/19- I received my laser-cut stencils from Coach today but unfortunately, the laser wasn't able to cut through all of the layers so I had to use an exact-o knife and manually cut through the outlines. I was hoping to start printing today so this was a little bit of a disappointment but there is at least a physical something that I can work with.
11/11/19- Today was spent planning more specific designs and different patterns I am hoping to try out by layering different stencils and different colors.
11/1/19- The start of a new project! Coach and Mr. Carter wanted me to start trying out other materials, one of which being screen printing. I'm going to essentially be doing the poor-man's version of this by using contact paper stencils instead of doing the whole emulsion and burning process that uses more expensive machinery. Here is my planning page of things that fit my general theme of hypocrisy. I think I'm leaning towards doing the Chick-fil-A logo because it is a more common statement I've heard recently and is kinda something I've been paying more attention to in general.
Natalie Kim is a senior at MLWGS who likes to do art, take pics, and pet puppers.