Friday, March 12, 2010
looking out looking in
I am excited to be part of a group show: Looking Out Looking in at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. Curated by Madeline Sorel, it is a tribute to both Women's History Month and the art of portraiture by 25 women artists ranging in age from eight to eighty.
My pastel of Amelia Earhart was done for a textbook story.
She's one of those heroines I can't shake. I should see the movie, but not sure I want to. She can still keep flying in the clouds of my imagination.
I did this drawing of Johnny Cash as a personal project. Ring of Fire plays in my head way too often.
Madeline asked for a self-portrait. I used to do them continually back in school, but this was done a few years ago, for a contributors page alternative in a magazine. Here I look serious yet dotty at the same time.
Madeline and I were classmates in illustration at RISD decades ago. Now that we are both teaching, I've been thinking about those heady days of art school. How did I learn?
I recently found some slides from my freshman drawing class with Lorraine Shemesh, an amazing teacher, full of energy and good example. I remember working on this self-portrait in layers.
During the first year of school, everyone's trying to discover their identity, finally apart from family and adolescent peer pressure. It's a new kind of pressure for the art student, but drawing from the self is a best practice. Nothing like contemplating your own skull.
And then, there's foreshortening. And feet. Two big challenges.
We also did a life size self portrait, a project I've assigned to my own class. This took me hours. I think I was trying to say I was a swimmer and a skier, without being too naked.
The motel pool where I spent much of my youth became a learning curve in perspective studies. I did this drawing for a sophomore illustration class, trying to combine real reference and the imagined, with 3 vanishing points.
Both my father and that motel are long gone. This drawing is my tether to that point in time, when I was growing and changing. It also serves as a reminder that I learned by looking out and looking in. Soon spring break will be over, and I'll be back in the classroom, hoping to encourage students to do the same.