Art Study: Expressionist to Contemporary Selfie

Here's my expressive self-portrait done from memory. #selfie #drawing #blue

Here’s my expressive self-portrait done from memory. #selfie #drawing #blue

SelfiePastel on paper12x18 inchesOctober 2016Our final studio session for the art retreat was to do a self-portrait in the now, to find the thin line of quiet between the art that pushes and the art that pulls (according to James Joyce, this is where proper art resides). Using a photo reference as an initial guide, I just let myself play and this came out. It's like an amalgam of all the recent art periods in one, with the 21st century felt in the selfie pose. The nagging questions that I still carry with me: what is contemporary art? Even modern art is old already! And how do we, as artists, create art that is future-oriented?#selfie #contemporary #art #artph #drawing

Selfie
Pastel on paper
12×18 inches
October 2016

Our final studio session for the art retreat was to do a self-portrait in the now, to find the thin line of quiet between the art that pushes and the art that pulls (according to James Joyce, this is where proper art resides). Using a photo reference as an initial guide, I just let myself play and this came out. It’s like an amalgam of all the recent art periods in one, with the 21st century felt in the selfie pose. The nagging questions that I still carry with me: what is contemporary art? Even modern art is old already! And how do we, as artists, create art that is future-oriented?

#selfie #contemporary #art #artph #drawing

Art study: Renaissance to Expressionism

Started off this weekend transported to the Renaissance, putting on the hat of an apprentice eager to learn the old ways from drawing a work of the great Masters.#arthistory #transformativepowerofart #renaissance #drawing

Started off this weekend transported to the Renaissance, putting on the hat of an apprentice eager to learn the old ways from drawing a work of the great Masters.

#arthistory #transformativepowerofart #renaissance #drawing

After a half hour break, we moved on to copying a Rembrandt, which was an exercise in light and shadows. Rembrandt did over 90 self-portraits in his life (wow!), experimenting extensively with light.  During this period, portraits took a departure from the classic and perfect images of the Greeks to these soulful, maybe more human pictures.#arthistory #transformativepowerofart #rembrandt #portrait #oldman

After a half hour break, we moved on to copying a Rembrandt, which was an exercise in light and shadows. Rembrandt did over 90 self-portraits in his life (wow!), experimenting extensively with light. During this period, portraits took a departure from the classic and perfect images of the Greeks to these soulful, maybe more human pictures.

#arthistory #transformativepowerofart #rembrandt #portrait #oldman

Here are the other Rembrandts from last weekend's art retreat. We had a gifted facilitator, Van James, an artist-teacher from Hawaii who led us through the changes in the visual arts over time. Other participants shared how they felt so melancholic doing these drawings. Beginning artists usually shy away from shadows--we like to show the face in its full glory... but we eventually learn that it is in bringing in the shadows that the best light comes out. Interesting metaphor for life. ????#light #shadows #darkness #rembrandt #portrait #arthistory #transformativepowerofart #vanjames

Here are the other Rembrandts from last weekend’s art retreat. We had a gifted facilitator, Van James, an artist-teacher from Hawaii who led us through the changes in the visual arts over time. Other participants shared how they felt so melancholic doing these drawings. Beginning artists usually shy away from shadows–we like to show the face in its full glory… but we eventually learn that it is in bringing in the shadows that the best light comes out. Interesting metaphor for life. ????

#light #shadows #darkness #rembrandt #portrait #arthistory #transformativepowerofart #vanjames

William Turner was an English painter known for his landscapes that captured light in a new way. From the detail-oriented art of the Renaissance we moved on to copying these loose renderings of the outdoors, done in nice, gestural strokes. I've always been a fan of Turner, who liked to experience raw nature as inspiration for his works. He painted this piece after a train ride during a rainstorm, where he put his head out the window to take it all in.#turner #train #storm #light #arthistory #transformativepowerofart

William Turner was an English painter known for his landscapes that captured light in a new way. From the detail-oriented art of the Renaissance we moved on to copying these loose renderings of the outdoors, done in nice, gestural strokes. I’ve always been a fan of Turner, who liked to experience raw nature as inspiration for his works. He painted this piece after a train ride during a rainstorm, where he put his head out the window to take it all in.

#turner #train #storm #light #arthistory #transformativepowerofart

Here's my #wip rendition of an impressionist landscape, done hurriedly (I took too much time taking in nature!). I picked a spot under a tree, facing a lily pond and pool.  Impressionism grew from a group of young Parisian artists, inspired in part by Turner's fascination with light. They painted with loose gestures, later on called impressions. This style was such a departure from the Canon of art in those days, but these impressionist works are the most popular and widely viewed in museums all over the world today. #landscape #drawing #impressionism #arthistory #transformativepowerofart

Here’s my #wip rendition of an impressionist landscape, done hurriedly (I took too much time taking in nature!). I picked a spot under a tree, facing a lily pond and pool. Impressionism grew from a group of young Parisian artists, inspired in part by Turner’s fascination with light. They painted with loose gestures, later on called impressions. This style was such a departure from the Canon of art in those days, but these impressionist works are the most popular and widely viewed in museums all over the world today.

#landscape #drawing #impressionism #arthistory #transformativepowerofart

From drawing impressions of the outside world, we moved on to doing expressionist landscapes. I think this one is by the Russian painter, Kandinsky. It was physically tiring to draw with expressive strokes, but this was a very enjoyable drawing for me! Look at all those colors!#expressionist #landscape #color #drawing #arthistory #transformativepowerofart

From drawing impressions of the outside world, we moved on to doing expressionist landscapes. I think this one is by the Russian painter, Kandinsky. It was physically tiring to draw with expressive strokes, but this was a very enjoyable drawing for me! Look at all those colors!

#expressionist #landscape #color #drawing #arthistory #transformativepowerofart

Expressionism gave artists free reign over color, and as expected, it was also a freeing art period to draw through. I loved, loved, loved the range of colors in my classmates' works! #arthistory #transformativepowerofart #expressionism #landscape #drawing

Expressionism gave artists free reign over color, and as expected, it was also a freeing art period to draw through. I loved, loved, loved the range of colors in my classmates’ works! #arthistory #transformativepowerofart #expressionism #landscape #drawing

Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 3: Abstract Paintings)

I loved waking up to a painting day everyday at the Art Students League.  My schedule ran from 1:00pm-9:30pm, which now seems long and exhausting, but I especially enjoyed staying late nights at the studio, working on Abstract Paintings under Frank O’Cain.

Here’s my very first output from his class:
I am still; I am moving. Acrylic on canvas paper 18x24 inches July 2, 2014 My first completed work under Frank O'Cain, abstracted from a doodle I made in January. Frank was my top choice for a teacher at the League. I really wanted to find creative dir

I am still; I am moving.
Acrylic on canvas paper
18×24 inches
July 2, 2014

My first completed work under Frank O’Cain, abstracted from a doodle I made in January. Frank was my top choice for a teacher at the League. I really wanted to find creative direction in abstract painting, and I resonated with his works and statements when I first saw them online. I met him last week — he’s a jolly old man with a sense of flow about him. The class I’m taking is Painting, Composition and Abstraction, and he kept reminding everyone to be aware of movement and balance in our work. He told me to come back today with a painting to show him. I came up with three works. He liked two of them. It was a happy moment when he smiled and said, “You’re good. You’ve got it!” I still have so much to learn and I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, so I will just let loose and be as playful as I can be. Frank said I can be bolder or surer of my strokes (as opposed to having wishy washy and “safe” strokes). His parting words were very encouraging though: “You’re going to have a lot of fun here!”

#painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #sea #alone #stillness #quiet #flow

Process pics:
Montalut NYC 2014 (11)

Montalut NYC 2014 (12)

On my second week, Frank did a demo, abstracting from still life:
Montalut NYC 2014 (18)

He went from this…
Montalut NYC 2014 (20)

…to this:
Montalut NYC 2014 (21)

…in 1.5 hours. The overall spirit of the demo was lighthearted and cheerful, and Frank was indulgent with our questions and excited interruptions. It’s always a pleasure to watch an artist get in the zone and have his way with his medium, but when a teacher is doing it to deliberately share his creative process, it’s even more rewarding, for everyone.

Here’s the aftermath of his palette:
Montalut NYC 2014 (22)

 

Looks straightforward and honest.  I like that about acrylics.

Other works I did under his watch:
Brooklyn Bridge Acrylic on gesso board 12x16 inches July 2, 2014 #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #brooklyn #bridge

Brooklyn Bridge
Acrylic on gesso board
12×16 inches
July 2, 2014

#painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #brooklyn #bridge

Black squirrel 16x20 inches Acrylic on canvas paper July 3, 2014 Just playing! Learned to use bigger brushes today -- enjoyed my strokes here. This one is for that nice day I saw a black squirrel at the park. #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #goodvibe

Black squirrel
16×20 inches
Acrylic on canvas paper
July 3, 2014

Just playing! Learned to use bigger brushes today — enjoyed my strokes here. This one is for that nice day I saw a black squirrel at the park. #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #goodvibe

Abstracting the black squirrel…
Montalut NYC 2014 (23)

Remember the Black Squirrel painting from last week? This is how it looks now. I've been going deeper into abstract painting, which for me is an even more demanding process than realism. You can't do abstract work if you're not centered. The piece may be

Remember the Black Squirrel painting from last week? This is how it looks now. I’ve been going deeper into abstract painting, which for me is an even more demanding process than realism. You can’t do abstract work if you’re not centered. The piece may be overworked as it is, but I feel as if something else still wants to pop out. My teacher says that with every abstract work, you come out with either something insane or something that works. Let’s see where this leads. 🙂 #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #wip #workinprogress #justplaying

Here's another one I'm working on, inspired by that lovely Sunday bike ride in Governor's Island. #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #wip #workinprogress #justplaying #biking #governorsisland

Here’s another one I’m working on, inspired by that lovely Sunday bike ride in Governor’s Island.

#painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #wip #workinprogress #justplaying #biking #governorsisland

Montalut NYC 2014 (16)

Here’s my favorite output from Abstract Painting class, an image from a dream I had.  What do you see in the work?

 

 

Dream I Acrylic on canvas 18x24 inches July 16, 2014 #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #sea

Dream I
Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
July 16, 2014

#painting #acrylic #abstract #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #sea

Below is the last work I completed in class, done the day before I left NYC.

The Night of Many Firsts 18x24 inches Acrylic on canvas July 23, 2014 I'm at the tailend of unpacking from NYC and now going through the works that I actually want to hang on my walls. I love staring at this one. I'll keep it up until a new stirring come

The Night of Many Firsts
18×24 inches
Acrylic on canvas
July 23, 2014

#nyc #art #abstract #acrylic

Also documenting unfinished attempts:
Montalut NYC 2014 (5)

Montalut NYC 2014 (9)

Montalut NYC 2014 (30)

Work in progress Inspired by those bright orange lilies in Tita Bebot's garden 16x20 inches Acrylic on canvas paper #painting #acrylic #abstract #art #lilies #orange #yellow #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Work in progress
Inspired by those bright orange lilies in Tita Bebot’s garden
16×20 inches
Acrylic on canvas paper

#painting #acrylic #abstract #art #lilies #orange #yellow #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Process:
Montalut NYC 2014 (7)

Montalut NYC 2014 (8)

Montalut NYC 2014 (10)

Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 1: Large-Scale Drawings)

I’ve been dreaming of taking classes at the Art Students League for years. Imagine my glee when I finally arrived in New York last summer, and more so after signing up for my first official class: Large-Scale Drawing under Mary Beth McKenzie. I bought my large-format paper, metal clips, charcoal, Hake brushes, and ink, and like a giddy schoolgirl knocked on the 4th floor studio of the League. I attended two afternoon sessions in this class, each one lasting about 3.5 hours. Below are the drawings I came up with, captioned with thoughts for each day. Unfortunately, these were too large to fit into my suitcase and I had to leave them behind in New York.

* * *

My many firsts: first nude in over 3 months (di na sanay!), first in large-scale format, and first work at the Art Students League. I don't think I'll get to take this home, so if you're in New York and have lots of wall space, wink me (yes, wink me). ;)

My many firsts: first nude in over 3 months (di na sanay!), first in large-scale format, and first work at the Art Students League. I don’t think I’ll get to take this home, so if you’re in New York and have lots of wall space, wink me (yes, wink me). 😉

Male Nude
Vine charcoal on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc

Female Nude Vine charcoal on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc

Female Nude
Vine charcoal on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc

Male Nude II Vine charcoal on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  I had a harder time with the long pose (more time = better work, more details). Must learn not to put pressure on myself.   #drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #nude #

Male Nude II
Vine charcoal on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

I had a harder time with the long pose (more time = better work, more details). Must learn not to put pressure on myself.
#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc

Female Nude II Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  My first attempt at Sumi ink drawing/painting. I just had two wide Hake brushes and couldn't get thin strokes in so I just went with it and played. It was so much fun. I was surpri

Female Nude II
Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

My first attempt at Sumi ink drawing/painting. I just had two wide Hake brushes and couldn’t get thin strokes in so I just went with it and played. It was so much fun. I was surprised that people in my class really liked this work. Malakas daw siya.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Female Nude II and III Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  The one on my left is my favorite from yesterday. I rushed to the Art shop downstairs during the 5-minute break and bought a smaller Chinese brush that let me do proper det

Female Nude II and III
Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

The one on my left is my favorite from yesterday. I rushed to the Art shop downstairs during the 5-minute break and bought a smaller Chinese brush that let me do proper detailing. I think I’m going to enjoy Sumi ink!
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #40minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Here’s a closer look, also at my drawing process:

Montalut NYC 2014 (2)

Montalut NYC 2014 (1)

Seated Female Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  First drawing today. I decided to play with both charcoal and ink in one work-- I think the layers came out nice.    This particular model was fussy about the c

Seated Female Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

First drawing today. I decided to play with both charcoal and ink in one work– I think the layers came out nice. This particular model was fussy about the cold. The class monitor had to turn off the airconditioner many times even if she already had a heater dedicated for her. Made me wonder how nude models manage during winter.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

The same work before being inked:
Montalut NYC 2014 (4)

Reclined Female Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  No fuss, fluid drawing that was just so playful.  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Reclined Female Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

No fuss, fluid drawing that was just so playful.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Reclined Female Nude II Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  Quick, looser version of the same pose. Drawn in under 10 minutes. Still large-scale.   #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstude

Reclined Female Nude II
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

Quick, looser version of the same pose. Drawn in under 10 minutes. Still large-scale.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Female Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  This was a longer pose so I decided to do measurements to get proportions right. Still something I struggle with (I spent 20 minutes just measuring!), and you c

Seated Female Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

This was a longer pose so I decided to do measurements to get proportions right. Still something I struggle with (I spent 20 minutes just measuring!), and you can see my mistakes in the finished work. I like how it turned out and think it’s even better with the layers of drawings visibly there.
#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Work-in-progress:
Montalut NYC 2014 (3)

Seated Male Nude  Charcoal on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 26, 2014  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Male Nude
Charcoal on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Male Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 26, 2014  Just playing around with the male figure and face.  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Male Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

Just playing around with the male figure and face. #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Reclined Male and Female Nude  Charcoal on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 26, 2014  We always have 2 models posing side by side in class and this was the first time I drew them together. Each was a challenging pose to do on its own -- I wish I ha

Reclined Male and Female Nude
Charcoal on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

We always have 2 models posing side by side in class and this was the first time I drew them together. Each was a challenging pose to do on its own — I wish I had more time to detail the woman, but even the male model gave me a thumbs up when he saw my drawing. Heehee.

#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

I document my process to help keep track of mistakes and triumphs.  Choosing to zoom in on the models in this work and do a back-to-back pose was new for me. Lesson learned: experiment! With 40 minutes to set up, compose, sketch and detail a piece, it's n

I document my process to help keep track of mistakes and triumphs. Choosing to zoom in on the models in this work and do a back-to-back pose was new for me. Lesson learned: experiment! With 40 minutes to set up, compose, sketch and detail a piece, it’s natural to draw in default mode. For me that meant doing sight size (you put your paper next to the model and copy your subject “as is”– in the same size from where you’re standing). Scaling up or down requires extra effort and in my case, leaves room for mistakes in proportion. But!!! I really am proud I pushed myself a little in this drawing. If I were to keep this I’d probably cut out the woman and display it this way. Starting next week I’ll explore classes that will let me paint longer poses. Some models keep the same pose for 4 weeks to let artists work without having to rush. Amazing possibilities!

Reclined Male and Female Nude (detail)
Charcoal on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

I’m a sophomore!

Happy days.  Pen on paper Journal series 2013  #doodle

Such a big sigh of relief now that school is officially over — and that in four months (yes, we have a loooong summer break this year), I will come back as a sophomore, hopefully with my hands, heart and art spirit renewed and ready for another round of deadlines and art-making.

Here’s a distillation of the past few months, taken from a portfolio I prepared for sculpture class:

The second semester…was a roller coaster ride that brought intense moments of work followed by extended lull periods. I learned, from finding my way through it, that this cycle of bursts and lulls is not healthy for the creative spirit. The most critical reality check I got this semester was that managing creative energy is also a skill that one builds up alongside the techniques of art making. To always be ready and inspired takes as much discipline as it does to paint, draw or sculpt.

*     *     *

Today we saw applicants being interviewed for the next school year, eyes wide open in both fear and excitement.  Someone teasingly suggested that we all walk by and flash our IDs to rattle them.  I’ll leave it to the kids to play pranks but I’m glad to be out of that boat of uncertainty.  I have my ID, and I made it through year one.

I’m thankful for the year that was.

Tonight it will sink in what it means to be free again.  I can have a bit of my old life back:  slow days with no schedules and with balance as the overarching theme — balanced socials (I shall see my friends again), balanced health (diet and sports, yay!), balanced play (I can read! Play video games! Marathon movies and shows! and best of all TRAVEL!) and balanced work (I can focus on production with monetary gain).

I’m roaring with the quiet energy to distill, then pounce. Everyday.

Ayayayay.  Must remind myself to manage this energy.

But for now, let me just shout it out loud again, “I’m a sophomore!”

Thank you. xx

Lifecasting my hands and feet

Our feet have many stories to tell. Every new story begins with a prodding, a yes, a step — but who tells us where to go? And who tells us when to stop?


“Go, go over there, then stop.”
Lifecasts using two-piece molds
Material used: Plaster
Date completed: January 30, 2014

Meditation piece on repetition, variety, and rhythm. Still part of the sculpture series on flow.

Flow is a theme I keep coming back to, as a reminder both for myself and others.  For this plate, I chose to do a piece on feet — our body part most associated with movement.  Walking, next to breathing, is one bodily function we do everyday that we can be more mindful about.  The way we walk says so much about our inner state.  How aware (or not) we are about the rhythm of our physical step translates to how aware (or not) we are about our inner rhythm.    I also decided to add in elements of direction — the next step after awareness — shown through the hands, in the positions of go and stop.  More than being in constant motion, to flow is really to vacillate between moments of movement and rest.  We stop and we go.  Everyday.

Class instructions for the plate were as follows:

PLATE #2: Repetition, Variety, Rhythm

After acquiring beginning skills in three dimensional art making through the various basic materials available, this plate aims to illustrate the application of the principles of design through three dimensional art making, specifically, the principles of repetition, variety, and rhythm…This plate is also a venue to continue skills building in the substitution process of three dimensional art, i.e. molding and casting.

Guideline:

  • At least three objects in a series (you can do more):
    • three identical objects
    • three similar objects in the similar orientation
    • or three objects in a theme
  • The subject/theme is body part/s, hence, body casting or life casting
    • you can submit casts of your extremities and/or your bust
  • Composition is significant. Using the principles of design is all about composition, so before you cast, plan how you will present/exhibit hour pieces first and execute accordingly.

Process documentation:

All in all I made 6 lifecasting attempts for this plate:

  • Right foot  — successful on first try
  • Left foot —  successful on first try
  • Left foot #2 — lower mold survived the first cast so tried to make a new upper mold, but failed; mold cracked
  • Hand with palm open — four fingers broke off; tried to reattach them with PVA glue, but needs a more lasting solution
  • Hand with pointed fingers — parts of nails broke off; repaired them with PVA glue
  • Hand in a cupping position — complete fail; the two molds didn’t fit together properly during casting

Bulk of the process was experimenting and figuring out what works by just jumping in and doing it.

Below are day-by-day glimpses:

Attempt#1 at casting my foot using a two-piece mold. Excited to find out if it worked! #plaster #wastemold #foot #cast #wip

Voila, my first foot sculpture. Could be better but with a little more cleaning and sanding will be happy with it. Will try to do my hand next. #plaster #sculpture #foot #body #twopiecemold

Foot casting the left.  Better outcome than the right foot– details of nails preserved. Cracks on sole were filled in with second batch of plaster before the mold was removed.

Trying to salvage the left foot mold with cast#2. Didn’t work– lower mold cracked from weight of my foot and upper mold just altogether crumbled.

Hand casting fail. I still don’t understand what an undercut is 🙁 Wide open to suggestions. #sculpture #plaster #twopiecemold #wastemold

Hand casting attempt#2. Was quite ambitious and wanted to do a pointed finger…so played around with hand positions with the least undercuts (tried to keep the fingers as leveled as possible).

Hand casting attempt #3. Teacher suggested keeping hand in a cupping position for easier casting. Lower mold crumbled. Tried to salvage it with clay to keep it together. Would’ve worked if only we got to lock the two molds properly when we put them together.

Repairing broken fingers using white PVA glue and tissue. Soaked the castings in water, then primed with diluted glue before applying thick glue. Worked for repairing thin parts that got chipped off, but not for whole fingers. Need to redo with wire and plaster.

Textual documentation and lessons learned:

  • Don’t be scared to just jump in.  You learn more from doing the work than from reading about it.
  • Try and try until you are happy with your work.  Lifecasting is not easy but it’s also not an impossible task.
  • Clean as you go.  Working with plaster is a messy business and the dust piles up.  Best to wipe away asap to avoid waste build up and allergies.

Self-portrait by points

Self-portrait. Pen on board, 10x10. June 2013
Self-portrait
Pen on board
10″ x 10″
June 2013

Pointillism

This was our first plate for Visual Perception class.

We used a photo reference that we divided into 64 squares to form a grid, for transferring point by point onto an illustration board.

Pointillism Self-portrait 2013 (1)

The points were no joke to make, and one blackout grid would take me over an hour to do.
Pointillism Self-portrait 2013 (3)

Our teacher, Sir Jamel Obnamia, warned us of aching wrists but also kept telling us to persevere — a fine arts student does not give up so easily.
Pointillism Self-portrait 2013 (4)

Tricky part was using a pen, which meant no erasing and no double takes. I made some mistakes with hair (too dark, too thick) but over-all I was happy with what I came up with. 🙂

I passed the initiation, so sugod lang. Bring it, let’s do this for 4 more years of school!

Documenting: the first months of school

I started this blog to deposit all my art, writings and ideas in one place, but been such a delinquent for the past four months.  It’s easy to say that school got in the way, but I hope I can build up the habit of documenting on-the-go (and do it soon! the new semester starts in 3 days).

Have tons of backposts to do, but to get the ball rolling, here’s an excerpt from a Portfolio I submitted for Introduction to Sculpture class in October 2013.  Although it was just for one subject, insights apply for the semester as a whole:

It was always a joy to come to class on presentation day, with my work in tow, ready to share the output of weeks worth of dedicated energy and labor. More importantly, I found joy in sharing my creative process out loud – there is merit in verbalizing one’s struggles and their attendant solutions: the choices we made, whether big or small, in order to proceed with the work. The greatest joy, however, came from being wowed by my classmates’ works and listening to their own processes. There was always so much to be learned during these debriefing moments and I found them essential to the gift of the class: the discovery of one’s creative logic.

Creativity is indeed problem-solving, and to be bombarded with this task everyday – to keep finding solutions and exploring possibilities – is both a blessing and responsibility that every artist learns to nurture and carry with a smile.

Working with three-dimensional forms has opened me up to the world of in-the-round – appreciating art from different viewpoints. This is a vital mindset to cultivate as an artist, even if one decides to pursue the path of flat or decorative art, because it reminds us to always think of the viewer or receiver of our art: they are varied and their interpretation of our art is always based on their context.

Documentation and presentation are also vital lessons learned this first semester, and I hope to develop them as healthy habits in the creative process.

Plan to blog the rest of that portfolio in bite-size posts, but if you want a peep into what a semester in UP Fine Arts is like and are up for a read (it’s 60 pages long!), sharing the rest of it below:

Portfolio PILAR JOHANNA Oct2013.pdf

Taking a breather: thank you 1st sem!

Quiet time #sembreak #dagat

What a sight for sore eyes! Or in my case, sore everything–thumbs, fingers, aching back and legs– all from too much creative pounding for the past five months.

Art school has definitely arrived, and in a fury at that.  I never expected an art course to be so demanding: 3-hour sleep cycles in between non-stop creative work and deadline after deadline.

Still holding up the banner of No regrets, though.  Everything is preparation and it is true: I am exactly where I need to be.  So many lessons learned in one semester, and I will have to make sense of them to clear the space and make way for fresh energy for the next one.

Right now, though,  midway through semestral break, my place is by the beach.  On happy hour.  With no pencils or sketchbooks or a visual problem that needs solving.

Rest is good.

Thank You. 🙂