I cannot believe yesterday was our last critique EVER in Art 160. Sad day…
Our class did a fantastic job with their self-portraits. I have to say that I have played witness to everyone’s personal growth throughout the semester. I may have not been able to say what I wanted to during critiques, but I will say that when I delivered my photography project presentation yesterday, I felt much more calm and confident discussing my photographs. I usually over-prepare, talk too much, and end up reading what I typed out. This time, I came into class with notes but I actually didn’t end up using them (or I only used them to make sure I had covered everything about those photographs before moving on to the next slide). I owe that sense of confidence to this class. I’m serious… it may sound silly to some but I feel like I’ve overcome so many fears by taking this class. I think most in our class have. And our self-portraits are a great testament to our growth. The very first day of class, Nell told us how this class would become a community. This scared me because I’m ten years older than most in our class and I tend to be very reserved. But I came out of my shell and really grew to respect and enjoy each of my classmates and what they brought to the class.
Final Critique of Our Self-Portraits:
So… this final critique wasn’t as nerve racking as the others have been. Perhaps this is because I finally feel comfortable in this classroom (and it’s the end 😦 ). I loved this project the best because I think most were unsure if they could do it or not. Nell told us if we spent a lot of time on it, we were pretty much guaranteed results. I probably spent as about 26 hours or so on mine and I could have spent more time on it. There are things I’m still not satisfied with. I know I need to blend my cheeks in more. I came to the studio on Thursday and worked for three hours, but I didn’t blog about it because I did not like the state of my self-portrait at this moment. I had to present my photography project right before this critique and ended up only having about 30 minutes to work on it before class.
What I loved most about this project is that it forced me to think differently than I am used to. I’m used to drawing in a more linear style and erasing forced us to look at what we were seeing, rather than symbolizing. Every time I found myself not looking in the mirror while erasing, either Nell would tell me she didn’t believe me (or something looked “forced”) or it would look completely flat. Erasing our faces was similar to the blind contour drawings because you couldn’t control the lines you were making… you had to let your eye reveal significance and reveal values in relation to one another. My cheeks still look flat and I wish I had more time to work on them. I also think my nose looks rather falsely rectangular if I must say so. Ahh the things you notice in critiques that you wish you could fix… Oh, well. I’m still proud of mine, but I’m going to have to do some more work on it before I hang it on my wall.
One of the main things students wished had been a part of this project was more peer discussion. I agreed because I’m kinda shy and was scared to ask people for help most times. If I had been forced to do this, it probably would have helped me see more clearly. Nell also agreed and said that “discussion helps with the void;” meaning, having someone respond to your work helps you get unstuck from whatever you are struggling with. It was cool to see everyone’s style come to life through these self-portraits. There were some that were not as realistic as others, but the style in which they were rendered really brought out their spirits. Anahita’s, for instance, was fabulous because it was all these chunky line marks that really angled her jawbone and highlighted her features. On her blog she was cracking me up with her comments about how embarrassed she was because she couldn’t’ figure out how to render her nose at first. Welp, I say she succeeded! I loved it! Rose’s was also so different because she had been forced to wear a mask due to her charcoal dust allergy. I loved her sense of humor throughout the whole process and she should be proud because it’s awesome. I also loved Kristein’s because it looked so much like her! I watched hers evolve over the past few weeks and I was so amazed with what she was doing with her face. They were all so different. My favorite was Latashia’s and I wish that she had been there to know how everyone felt about her work. Her nose popped out from that page like it was three-dimensional. It was fantastic!! You can see everyone’s self-portraits below in the slideshow. And I think every single one resembles the student that drew it.
The comments that were made about mine were that they loved the contrasts of light and dark. Somebody also said they loved how white it became and how many tones of whiteness ended up being in my rendering. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to add my eyes at the top because, at least to me, it makes me look like I’m stoned or something. Or maybe even like my eyes are rolling back into my head. But that is only because of the way they were cropped in order to fit on the page. Haha. Nell said, however, that she was glad I decided to render my eyes because it made my face even more fleshy looking. Cee Cee also said I made my drawing appear like it was in color. I thought that was a really cool comment. 🙂
For the last part of the critique, we had to each say one thing we didn’t like about our drawings. I could have said 5 million different things (yes five million, you heard right) but I said I didn’t like the area under my eyes. Nell looked at me like I was crazy. Haha. She said that part was great and she disagreed but that the pocket on my nose needed some work because the dark shadow made it look like it was receding. I couldn’t agree more because the shadows on my nose were the areas I was working on right before the critique. I knew they didn’t look right but didn’t have time (nor energy) to fix it. I was also struggling with that and it was one of those moments I wish Nell could have been floating around the room… but I feel like I know how to fix it now… or at least how to begin. This class has been my favorite class at Agnes so far. I’m glad I majored in art history because I feel like it has helped me understand art on a higher level but I wish i had taken this class much sooner. I do, however, intend on taking Nell’s advice to attend courses at Georgia State and continue my education within the studio art world. I was sad to leave class yesterday. I think we should have had a party or something… but the critique was great also 🙂
Signing off for now… it has been a fantastic semester. Hope you don’t mind getting emails from me now and again, Nell! Ha! Oh, and this class definitely enhanced the art history major and made me incredibly more comfortable talking in class about art. I feel like I’m being less superficial because I know more about the process! I wish every student in this class the best of luck in the future and please befriend me on facebook!! (I’m Polly Nance on facebook in case you get confused and can’t find me 🙂 )