Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Artist of the Week -- Selkie Bishop

Full of Grace (acrylic)

Art is a from of expression, but it can come in different forms. Different artists work with different mediums and in different styles. Personally, I consider myself as an analyst with a preference for acrylic paints. I think of myself in this way because I tend to paint exactly what I see and strive for it to be as realistic as possible.

Practice sessions are extremely important in art because quick rough drawings act as a dry run or trial leading up to a finished piece. If I'm unsure how to do something or not confident on the model's pose, I try it in my sketchbook. The practice sessions are there to get all your idease out and mess around with materials to see what would look best. Gesture drawing in particular provides excellent practice in drawing a subject quickly and sketching out ideas.

Light can be utilized in art to create depth in a picture. The light bouncing off an object gives the subject it's three-dimensional appearance in an artwork. In my candle painting I utilized light bouncing off the glass to create its 3D look.  The firelight was particularly hard to replicate, but by using watered down acrylic paint, I was able to accomplish the warm glow in the picture.

Light sources also provide an interesting contrast between the darks and lights of a picture. In a photograph I took of my friend Cameron the shadow contrast with the highlights on his face, creating depth and texture.  My plan was to turn this pictur into a painting and to expand my artistic ability by tackling this unique piece.

In order to keep drawing as accurately as possible, an artist must use proportions. There are occasions when an artist is purposely distorting proportion, but otherwise, keeping things in correct proportion ensure a higher quality of work. In my own sketches I have been practicing the proportions of the human face in order to learn how to better draw portraits.  I've found that after you draw the basic head shape and separate the face into different sections, the rest of the details come easily.

My friends will often ask me, "Can you teach me how to draw this?" They want to learn to draw something and think that it is a muscle memory trick you can learn. This could not be more wrong. The most common misconception in art is thinking that all you have to do is force your hand to make a shape. The truth is art is about learning to see. It is all about perspective and truly seeing what is in front of you. Honestly, I have always struggled with putting what is truly in front of me on paper. Our minds change the shapes and colors we see to what we think we know.  I've learned from my painting Full of Grace that atmosphere is the hardest thing to convey in a work.  I am proud of the hours I put into that painting and ended up submitting it to Scholastics.

Once I submitted Full of Grace, I started on a quick second piece to submit. I had never painted a portrait before, so thinking it would be easy, I used a dark picture of my friend to paint. I quickly realized I was in over my head! Matching the skin tones and the fur collar in particular gave me some grief. I managed to pump out the painting just in time to also submit to Scholastic, and I enjoy the idea of competing against other artist, and definitely want to enter more competitions. Even though I did n ot win anything, I got to push myself to make deadlines and work under some pressure. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned about composition in picture as well. There may have been too much darkness in my portrait, unbalancing the painting. Although I am fiercely proud of the technique I used in my paintings, perhaps the focal point was not clear. Overall I do think it was a successful experience because I can learn from it and continue to grow as an artist.

In class we discussed how "success differs from person to person". For example, I consider a work a success if I learned something from it, and can enhance my own skill. While some might feel successful by sales of their work or recognition, I define success as personal and relational. What's most important to me is what the art means to me personally.  It's relational because I like painting things that my friends and family come up with. In general, I do art because I enjoy it. I'm not looking for fame or money. I simply do it for the sake of making myself and others happy.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Students Recognized at 2018 Scholastic Art Awards

Many Athens Area High School students have been participating in regional and state competitive art programs.  The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12..  Since 1923, this program has recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated.  Since its founding, the Awards have established an amazing track record for identifying the early promise of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders. A noteworthy roster of past winners includes Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, John Updike, and more.

The results of this year's competition have been released and several AAHS students were recognized at the regional level, which includes several counties from New York and Pennsylvania. 

The program is very competitive.  Art teachers from our region send their best student work to be judged at the Arnot Art Museum.  From over 900 entries, they choose the best 120 works.  Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

Students from AAHS who were recognized include Ariana Gambrell who received a Silver Key award in Drawing for her colored pencil drawing Dad.  
Dad (colored pencil) by Ariana Gambrell

Students who received Honorable Mention in Drawing include Jeffrey Reagan for his charcoal drawing Ariana and Matt Nowacoski for his pencil drawing The Lifter and his pen and ink drawing Beside Himself.
Ariana (charcoal) by Jeff Reagan

The Lifter (pencil) by Matt Nowacoski

Beside Himself (pen and ink) by Matt Nowacoski

Students who received Honorable Mention in Painting include Raegen Millard for her watercolor Fallen, Rayleigh Blemle for her watercolor Freedom of Art and Summer Eldridge for her watercolor Modern Day Rosie.

Fallen (watercolor) by Raegen Millard

Freedom of Art (watercolor) by Rayleigh Blemle

Modern Day Rosie (watercolor) by Summer Eldridge

Students who received Honorable Mention in Printmaking include Summer Eldridge for her linocut print Ducks in a Row and Allyson Rockwell for her linocut print Sparrow.

Ducks in a Row (linocut print) by Summer Eldridge

Sparrow (linocut print) by Allyson Rockwell

Sophia Ellis received an Honorable Mention in Ceramics for her  Mug, Bowl, and Plate Set. 

Mug, Bow, and Plate Set (ceramics) by Sophia Ellis

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Artist of the Week -- Carlie Simpson

 Final drawing

                                                     Rocky  the Doggo
One day my dog was laying on the ground, and I decided I take a picture, and during the picture, I’m surprised he didn’t bite my face off, because he likes personal space. Some techniques I used was was loosely drawing, instead of just being tight and stiff. I was inspired to  this drawing because my dog is so unique and cheers me up when I’m down and upset. My  goals for my art work was to not give up and get stressed… and that did not work. My overall thoughts were, that it is turning our really good and better than I thought.                    

                              Behind the Scenes of Milking
As I was finishing my barn chores, I had one more task to do. That was to bottle feed the calf. As I finished that I decided to take a picture of her. Because she is the calmest calf I have ever fed. This picture symbolizes calmness. Calves and the barn are my happy place and it’s just so calm to work in there. The colors in this print are: orange, yellow, black, white, and brown. Orange symbolizes creativity and energy. Yellow represents, hope and joy. Black may symbolize death, but not in this picture. Brown means, warmth, healing, home, and honesty. The technique I used was printmaking and used brayers to put the ink on and transfer it.

Ink print

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Oath of Dr. Wales

Today we reenacted the famous painting the Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David. 

The original painting depicts a scene from a Roman legend about a dispute between two warring cities, Rome and Alba Longa. Instead of the two cities sending their armies to war, they agree to choose three men from each city; the victor in that fight will be the victorious city. From Rome, three brothers from a Roman family, the Horatii, agree to end the war by fighting three brothers from a family of Alba Longa, the Curiatii. The three brothers, all of whom appear willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of Rome, are shown saluting their father who holds their swords out for them. Of the three Horatii brothers, only one shall survive the confrontation. However, it is the surviving brother who is able to kill the other three fighters from Alba Longa: he allows the three fighters to chase him, causing them to separate from each other, and then, in turn, kills each Curiatii brother. Aside from the three brothers depicted, David also represents, in the bottom right corner, a woman crying whilst sitting down. She is Camilla, a sister of the Horatii brothers, who is also betrothed to one of the Curiatii fighters, and thus she weeps in the realisation that, in any case, she will lose someone she loves.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Artist of the Week -- Lauren Nevill

Pencil drawing finished product

For my pencil drawing I drew my crazy dog Luna. Luna is my one year old Westie puppy. I named this drawing “Tunes” because every time I get home from being away, Luna goes wild with excitement especially when I call her her nickname Looney Tunes. Then I’ll start talking in a shrill voice simply calling her “Tunes”. She’ll go into a frenzy of wagged tails and happy eyes. She’ll tuck her ears back so they’re flush against her head and stand on her hind legs and reach up for me to pet her. In this drawing she is doing just that. When creating this artwork I used different kinds of pencils for different shading. It was challenging  because she’s a very white dog and this was a black and white drawing. Capturing her fur and shading posed a challenge and took time to get right. I spent a lot of time with the blending stump trying to make the shading as realistic as possible. I wanted to capture the sweet, loving puppy Luna is. When I get to take this drawing home, my mom will love to have it in her house alongside a realistic portrait of my other, older dog Lucy. When executing this artwork I had a goal of making it look as much like Luna as possible. I want friends and family who know Luna personally to be able to tell in a heartbeat that this drawing is without a doubt our little Luna. Overall, I’m proud of the finished product. There are definitely areas of improvement but it’s the best drawing I’ve created so far. Getting the shadows and highlight looking right took the most time and had the most trial and error. From drawing this I learned that it takes time to create quality artwork and to be patient. I’ve learned new techniques for shading and blending that I’ll apply to future artworks.

          The painting I painted in my journal is able to portray emotion through the colors I used and lines. I used a mixture of blues, greens and white to show a picture of serenity. The entire page is painted to look like an abstract scene of water. The blue tones show calmness and peace mixed with green to show health. On top of the water-like backdrop I painted an array of swirled curvilinear lines in white. White is a color that can portray purity. The lines also look like a breeze which can help connect you to nature. The entire scene is like you’re at a quiet lake with a nice calm breeze. Overall this art piece shows an exaggerated scene of  serenity.


The  watercolor painting called “Geometric Neighborhood”  is a formalist artwork. Formalist art focuses on the design. It shows the element of shape with the geometric shaped structures that are the focus of the art. Another was color. Using a combination of masking and color bands it shows how the colors change when washes were put over others. It changes the value of the color. Then with the background I used wet on wet and color drops to show how colors of the same family interact. It emulates a colorful sunrise or sunset. It changed the colors and made every inch unique. The emphasis of the work are the structures. They stand out and have a sort of unity to them because they are all created the same but aren’t identical. There is also a pretty stark contrast between the structures and the background. The background is more fluid and blends together while the shapes have sharp lines and contrasting colors. Overall, when creating this watercolor painting I used wet on wet, color drops, color bands, masking, and wash.  

My S.M.A.R.T goal was to make at least two more entries into my artist’s journal so I could play around with different mediums and techniques by December 22. This goal is specific in saying that I will continue to use new techniques in my journal. It is measurable because I gave myself a date on when I would like to be done and I wanted at least two new entries. It is attainable because I have already been working on the journal before and I know I can make more. It is relevant because it is something I find fun and I like spending my time doing it.  Lastly is is time-based because I told myself I wanted it finished by December 22. I think I was successful in attaining my S.M.A.R.T goal because i was able to add more entries. I worked diligently and creatively to accomplish this goal.




Friday, December 8, 2017

Artist of the Week -- Mackenzie Stringham

I made this drawing of chickens.  It is based on a photograph that Dr. Wales took.  I chose it because I like chickens.  Behind the chicken is a barn and a barbecue grill!  Is the chicken about to get thrown on the grill?!  I sketched it out and used colored pencils to fill it in.  For the grass, I filled the area in with green and used a black colored pencil to make the texture of grass.  In most of the areas I blended together at least two different colors to get the right color.  My goals for this artwork was to try something different and more challenging.  I think I probably reached my goal.  After being successful in drawing chickens, I was confident to try a drawing of ducks next.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Artist of the Week -- Rayleigh Blemle

The Freedom of Art

For my watercolor painting, I decided to do the American flag, but I made it more abstract. I decided to make sure the colors of the flag caught people’s eyes. Instead of having just red stripes and a blue background for the stars, I decided to use the color that's beside the original on the color wheel (analogous colors), just to bring out the ability to catch others' eyes. But I still want the shapes to stand out, so I made the lines and stars very precise. Then for the rhythm of the flag, I wanted to make it look exactly like the original when it came to the shapes. They were all even and precise and each repeated in a nice way. Then I wanted to emphasize all the colors. The colors are what really gives the flag a meaning, and adding just a bit more can make it more of a “wow” to many. I decided to use the watercolor techniques:  wash, graded wash, color drops, flat wash, and wet on wet. For the color drops, I used it on the whole painting to show that colors can be put in any spot or color and they’ll still look great. And for wash, I used diluted color for the area that is originally suppose to be white, because I wanted the flag to be as colorful as possible and I wanted to show that white should have some color too, so that it can feel important in a way. 

Sunflower Print


I decided to carve a sunflower as my next project and to use it as a print. I enjoy sunflowers because yellow is such a bright color and it shows so much happiness. But the sunflower shows beauty even when it doesn't last a long time. So, when you see a flower, you'd want to stop and embrace its beauty before it ends. So I used bright paper for my prints to show the different colors of beauty and how the brightness can make your mood positive.  

The picture I drew is of my dog lying on our porch resting, as the day was hot. I titled it Resting with Energy because he still wanted to go out and play, but it was to hot to keep going. I created this artwork with pencil by creating different shades and using tools to create different techniques. I tried to show his emotions of him being completely awake but looking worn down at the same time. My goal was to attempt to make it look as realistic as possible. I think that the overall work came out great, but I wish it was more realistic in some spots.