Saturday, May 27, 2017

Artist of the Week -- Sarah Montrose

Before starting art class, I would have described my art as a cookie cutter of other peoples. I always used watercolor or pen and practically copied something I saw another artist do. However, since taking art class I have expanded my mediums and my style. I've started doing more realistic pieces and doing pictures that are more personal to my life. I wouldn't consider having any certain style yet, I'm mainly just experimenting to see what my true potential in every art medium is.
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    So far this year, I've done a charcoal piece to show the highlights and shadows of still life. I found I do not like this form of art, it allows no room for creativity and made me feel like I needed to be a perfectionist. Next, I did a pencil drawing. This medium took a very long time and sometimes made me angry. It was a drawing of my boyfriend and I, so it had relevance to my life and was something I cared about and wanted to look good. Although I am proud of my piece, I feel this medium is still not my style, for I can not seem to get shading down yet. After that, I did a more simple and creative piece, I made a mandala using watercolor, finally something I was comfortable with. What made this piece different than ones I used to do was that this was completely out of my imagination, I used no other image or anything to go off. I don't think I liked the result as much as other watercolors I've done, but I was more proud of myself because the design was my own and not a variation of another person's. As for my most recent project, I'm trying to challenge myself again. I've decided to use acrylic paints to paint my horse as a gift for my mom. I've found this is difficult yet very easy at the same time. It is hard for me to find and mix to get the correct colors, and also the brush strokes I haven't quite mastered. However, for being my first acrylic piece I don't think I'm doing too terribly.
    I have since finished my acrylic painting of my horse. The outcome was astounding, never had I imagined that my acrylic piece could look so realistic. To help fix my confusion about brush strokes and pigment of colors, I researched acrylic painting techniques and found scumbling and wash. Scumbling helped me get the furry look of the horses hair and wash allowed me to dilute the acrylic colors to better my color pallette. I also started another watercolor piece of my other horse which I also completed before Christmas. I have never done a realistic watercolor piece and so I had to again research techniques for watercoloring. This time I found the wood grain effect and dry brush. I used the wood grain effect to get the wooden door to look more realistic. The dry brush allowed me to get the horses fur to look most realistic.
    Also I made a goal to do a linoleum screen printing. Using linocut tools and screen printing ink, I made a collage of my brothers band. It was challenging to carve out the design because i’m not very strong, however the messiness of it really added to the final product. Instead of carving it out completely, I left some  ridges to add to the whole effect of the piece. Altogether, I am very impressed with the results of my work and wish to continue pursuing different art mediums.
    Starting from the third marking period, I started doing an abstract watercolor piece. Using a snapchat filter, I copied a picture of my friends and I and tried to imitate the abstract design the filter applied. The main purpose of the third marking period was to find artists who inspired you and expand your knowledge/work from there. Andrew Wyeth is one artist I found and was inspired by. His abstract watercolor pieces, that also seemed realistic in their own way, made me want to recreate that in my own watercolor piece. Edgar Degas, another artist I researched, tried capturing the gracefulness of woman by making them the focus with asymmetrical designs in the background. I’m going to research him more, and use his ideas to help me make my “Lady Justice” painting for my boss. The last artist I researched, and my personal favorite, is Janet Fish. Although I haven't used her work to inspire me in any way, the way she captures light on glass in her paintings is beautiful. Also what I like about her is that she started out confused as to what truly inspired her and through trial and error found that painting scenes with light reflections was her niche.
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    Since I’ve only completed my abstract watercolor piece this marking period, I went to a less stressful, more random piece. I took a previous art students canvas and am just adding abstract designs through pointillism (the creation of designs through dots). The reason for this painting is just to get me out of my artistic block so I can perfect my future Lady Justice piece.
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For both paintings I’ve been working on this past marking period, my creative process has been to keep things abstract since all my paintings during the second marking period were realistic. Although my first painting of me and my friends did not turn out exactly as I wanted, many peers thought it looked great which made me feel much better about the piece. Although I faced many challenges in the creation of that painting, I feel I executed the original idea as well as I could. I am continuing my pointillism piece and may add a design on top, but for now that is all I have completed within the third marking period.
    Nothing really seemed to pursue me to approach these projects the way I have. I mainly just decided I wanted to challenge myself, and after the positive feedback I've received, and the tips people have given me, it made all the work fun. It can be frustrating, but the satisfaction in the end of seeing what I can do with no prior experience is so rewarding and I guess that may be what inspires me to continue trying these different types of mediums.
    As for my goals, I mainly only have one, and it is to improve. I don't expect to go anywhere with my art, but to know I have experience is rewarding in itself. I just want to be good enough at everything that people will see my work and say ¨wow¨, and I guess that's what my main goal as an artist is. I am impressed with my work, not that I don't see room for improvement, but I definitely am impressed and happy with what I can do. Honestly, art makes me happy, and being able to share it with classmates and get feedback makes it all the better. I hope to one day be able to teach others what i've learned and hope they feel the same joy from art that I feel.
Throughout the year, as a class, we have covered many techniques to improve us as artists. One of the first techniques we learned was observational drawing. This technique of drawing allows us as an artist to notice shadows and light reflections better since it is an object in front of us. However, observational drawing is more complicated than photographic sources because lighting, outside surroundings, and even placement constantly change. However, even though it can be complicated, drawing from life has advantages that allow you as an artist to create more realistic pieces. Going from this type of drawing that taught me shading and highlighting techniques, I was able to do my drawing (below) based on a picture and easily pick out the shading and highlights I needed.


Another technique we learned was how to draw and paint what doesn’t exist based on photography of models in class. I recently used this technique to paint a modern Lady Justice. As pictured below, I used many poses of different classmates to capture details such as hair, pose, and body composition easier. These photos then led to the final product (also below.)5ad0b4b1-bc23-4d04-98e8-677a05258920.jpgIMG_20170216_104548844.jpg17 - 1 (1).jpg9d2df2ac-4d04-4afe-be23-b948fc1cc29e.jpgIMG_20170216_104523032.jpg

Goal-setting is another major technique we learned this year, I made a goal before Christmas to get 2 paintings, an acrylic and a watercolor of my horses,  a linoleum block of my brothers band, and a small acrylic of me and my (other) brother all done so I could give them as gifts. This goal-setting technique really helps an artist to pursue their goals because they have a set date and time to get things done by. Below are pictures of a couple of pieces I was able to finish by my goal of Christmas.
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Our class also made it a priority to provide feedback on every piece we’ve done. Artists use feedback to improve their work and get a non-biased suggestion/compliment/etc. in order to better their work. Throughout the year I've constantly asked for feedback - positive or negative - to help me continue my piece. Almost everything people have told me has been helpful and if it wasn’t I still respected their suggestion and tried to see their vision as they described it. However, the biggest support and person who gave me the best feedback was Dr.Wales. Whenever I had an artistic block, was confused, unsure, or doubting myself, he went out of his way to lead me in the right direction for what I was trying to accomplish. An example of feedback that helped me and my work was when Dr. Wales told me to add purple into my horses fur. At first I thought he was crazy, but after trying it and seeing the dimensions it added to the fur, I was incredibly pleased with what that little suggestion did to add to my piece.
One of the last requirements for us as students was to somehow come together and help make the Artsfest possible. Being such a large event, it took months of planning and executing and the outcome is always amazing. This event was made possible by dedicated faculty and sponsors who came together to make this weekend for the community. To help make this event possible, I went to local businesses and handed out flyers. I also worked at the face painting booth for 2 hours on Sunday. The outcome of Artsfest is amazing, it’s a great way for the community to come together and learn about art and get their own art out for the world to see and buy.
As for the future, since my high school art career has ended, I plan to continue to expand my art in college. I love art and this class has expanded my skills tremendously. Throughout the summer I am going to continue making art to decorate my dorm with and am hoping to take some form of art in college. Now that the year is over I want to say thank you for everything I’ve been taught and for your dedication to us as students. I’ll make sure to come back and visit - goodbye 4th period art class, I’ll miss you.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Senior Spotlight -- Lauren Galasso

Someone once said " family is like music, some high notes,  some low notes, but always a beautiful song".  Hi, my name is Lauren Galasso and I'm a senior at Athens Area High School.  I'm just your typical American art nerd with your classically insane family.  In my house there is rarely a moment where no one is screaming or bickering with each other, but when these peaceful moments occur you can tell that we love each other unconditionally.  These are the scenes I wanted to capture with my portfolio.  I wanted to explore the idea of innocence and experiment with portraits.  This portfolio is important to me because of how close my family is. I want people to get a feeling of how close we all are to one another.  What I hope people take away from my portfolio is that no matter how bad things get, no matter what happens you will always have your family.  
After my portfolio was completed I started a drawing of my grandpa as a present for my grandma. Now that her drawing is completed I have been experimenting with techniques and abstract drawings and paintings.  Going outside of my comfort zone and trying something less intricate will help me relax after the strenuous weeks I worked on my Scholastic portfolio.
Our very first project of the year was to draw from observation, and this project was definitely the most challenging yet most rewarding one we’ve done all year.  Drawing from observation gives you a better appreciation for art.  As soon as I heard the words “ drawing from observation” come from Dr. Wales’ mouth I automatically went into a melt down. In my mind I was thinking “ I can’t do that!’, “ Is he crazy?!”, “ I hate this!”. After working on it I realized it wasn’t so bad and made me stronger as an artist.

Our focus of study in the third marking period was art history, and how learning from the past can be beneficial. This quarter I began working on a 90’s themed mural with Breana and Alexis. We researched many artists such as Diego Rivera, Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol, to find inspiration for our mural.   The artist that inspired us the most was Rosenquist.  He started out as  a billboard painter in the 50’s-60’s and later made billboard sized paintings.  He was known for his pop-culture style, and we wanted to bring this element to our mural but use the 90’s as our time period. While brainstorming for our mural we made a list of things that stood out to us as staples from the 90’s, and create a rough sketch of what the wall would look like. By studying these master artists I was able to better prepare myself for the huge task of painting our mural.

All of my projects over the course of the year have involved goal setting.  By creating S.M.A.R.T. goals I was more organized and was able to make deadlines.  The idea of goal setting especially helped me during the race to scholastics because I knew if I didn’t meet the set deadline all of my time and hard work would have been wasted.  It also helps me with the portraits people pay me to draw for them, I set a realistic goal for myself and tell the person I’m drawing for when I will be done.  This helps me be accountable and follow through with my plans.
Another huge thing that helped me this year was feedback.  The person that helped me the most with giving me the most honest feedback was my mom, because she holds nothing back.  If my work looks like crap she’ll tell me, if it looks amazing she’ll freak out and show everyone.  One instance of her giving me feedback this year was when I was working on a portrait of my little brother Owen. Something was off, but I couldn’t figure out what.  I brought it home and was working on it in the living room.  My mom walked in, looked at the drawing, and gave me a funny look.  I asked her what the face was for and she replied with “ Lauren, why did you draw your brother with a lazy eye?”.  That was it!  I fixed the eye and the drawing looked perfect!

I definitely plan on continuing art making in the future.  At college I would love to be able to take art classes to make my skills even stronger.  Even when I graduate college I’m going to make for art.  Whenever I’m stressed I’ll just crack open a sketch book and go to town.  I could become more involved in the artistic community and participate in art shows and competitions.  I also plan on making art for my own house.  
I would describe my artistic style is messy yet realistic.  Over the year I have focused mainly on portraits and have become fairly good at them.  I have begun to make my drawings more and more realistic every project we have worked on.  I have very sloppy techniques that flow together once the piece is finished.  Sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing, I just wing it! And by just winging it that’s how I‘ve created some of my best works.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senior Spotlight -- Breanna Forrest

Ibn Battuta once said “Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Hello, I’m Breanna Forrest a senior at Athens Area High School. I’m just a 17 with a camera trying to tell my story. I love to travel to different places with my family and I like to capture those moments. My aunt and I like to go on random trips and we always try to capture that moment in time. I’m trying to tell my story by showing people what I see in my point of view. To some it might be a random railroad crossing sign, but to me it is part of my story. All of these pieces of artwork connect together. When I put all of them together I remember these moments with my family. The picture does not always have to take place where I traveled. Sometimes an object could bring back memories of my travels. The pineapple reminds me of the trips to the beach and the warm summer breeze. I want to show others what I see and how a random sign could mean something to you too.  I guess in someway you could call me a storyteller. My recent artwork has been a series of different things. I have recently started a mural with two of my friends/classmates Alexis and Lauren. We are graduating this year and wanted to leave our mark in the school. So what is better to do than a mural. The class of 2017 is the last class of the 90’s kids, so we came to an agreement and decided to do a 90’s mural. We have an array of different thingsfrom the 90’s. Now, I do not have any experience with painting murals, so I did my research I found a few mural artists. The three artists I studied was XAV, Rivera, and Rosenquist. All three are muralist but have different styles. XAV is a younger muralist that is very modern.  He is a tattoo artist, but he also does murals. He is influenced by Spanish graffiti and culture from today and he brings that style into his work. He also has no art education he is all self taught. I learned from him how to be more realistic. He does mostly realistic murals and tattoos. Rivera was influenced by Mexican art. He use vivid colors and basic shapes. I use that in my Bill Clinton pin I did. The basic shape was a circle then use bright pink and blue for the details. The last artist was Rosenquist. He has a pop-art style.  He use bright colors and he also did collages/mashups. That is basically what the mural is a mashup/collage of 90’s things. So that is what work I have done in the third quarter and there is much more to come.
           Well,  this is the end my last artist statement of my high school career. I have definitely grown as an artist since the beginning of the school year. I’ve faced many challenges as the year has gone by.  I’ve learned that my artistic style is almost realistic, but not the exact same as the picture. I try to follow the picture exactly, but end up going away from the picture. I use my own photographs as references. I tend to lean more towards outside nature or animals. I want to improve on my people drawing skills, but I have yet to achieve that. I use photographs I have taken myself either from my camera or my phone. My style has evolved that I’m not afraid to use more colors now. I use to only use pencil and all of my pictures would be in black and white. Now I have not done a pencil drawing since last September 2015.  I plan that after I graduate I will still put in time to do art. Even if it is just doodling in a sketchbook. I plan on setting aside time to do art. Over the summer I will try to finish one if not two projects by time August rolls around and I have to go to Bloomsburg. I might join a Facebook group that is a place where you can share your artwork and talk to other fellow artist that are not going into the art industry.
I use feedback most of the time when I am not so certain if the path I’m going down with my art is the best thing to do. I do ask others to give their feedback and do take their feedback into consideration I do not always listen to what their opinions are though. In the end it is still my art and I have full authority over it. One feedback I received was about my Chloe painting. Now this painting was not favorite because it was abstract. One of my fellow classmates said to add more texture to the one ear. I did agree that it could use more texture, but I decided that I did not want to add anything else because I never wanted to touch that painting again.  
I have made many goal settings. One of my goals was to finish eight pieces of artwork for the Scholastics competition. So I had ten weeks to finish eight pieces. It took me three months to finish a pen and ink drawing last year. Artists use goals to finish their projects in a set deadline so they do not take over a year to do one painting.
In the beginning of the year we did observational drawing. Now that was difficult! I am use to doing artwork from pictures. I drew an apple with flowers. It was difficult to remember how I had the props set up. The shadow would also change from day to day. So it was harder to do that when I have been so use to using photos. The advantages are you push your artistic limits and you improve your skills. So I guess that's it --my final artist statement.  These past four years have flown by. I am happy to say I’m that I took art classes. I would encourage others to take at least one art class in their high career.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Artist of the Week -- Brooke Warner


This year in Studio Art 2 I wanted to do something different, unique, and something more “me”. I looked in books, magazines, and online to try to give me a starting point on what to do. I started by just looking up quotes and jotting them all down because I knew I wanted to do something along that line. After a week or so of brainstorming I finally found something I would absolutely love to do. I decided to make a series of canvases. So far I have made three very unique and eye popping canvases. The first canvas I decided to name “What is a Life Without Coffee”. This canvas is all about coffee and my love for it. The second canvas I titled “Bright Colors, Happy Life”. This canvas is full with bright colors and designs and almost impossible not to grab everyone’s eye. The last canvas I decided to make was definitely my favorite that I hold close to my heart. This canvas is, “ Nothing but Memories and Good Times”. This canvas is all about my best friend and I, and just some of our many pictures and memories we have made together.
First I got used canvases and a bin full of crazy recycled materials that would just go to use if no one uses them. I then glued the whole entire canvas and picked about twenty things from the bin, or anything that looked interesting to me around the room, and started to collage randomly to fill the entire canvas. I picked random designs, wallpaper, 3D objects, etc. to fill my canvas, except for my last one which I used pictures I printed off of me and my best friend, Sarah. After I was done collaging I decided to use acrylic paint and just go crazy with the colors. I thought it would be really cool to have some designs show through the paint, so I used the paint with a mixture of water to make it very thin to make that possible. After my colors were down I then chose a quote that I thought would fit perfectly with the canvas. For my first one, “What is a Life Without Coffee” I used the quote, “Love a Latte”. For this canvas I drew a picture of a coffee cup which really made this canvas stick out. For my second canvas “Bright Colors, Happy Life” I used the quote, “Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You”. I made this canvas all rainbow colored. I think this quote fit perfectly with the colors I used. I then made the word “BRIGHT” in a neon yellow outlined with a green to really make that my focal point of this entire thing. My last canvas “Nothing but Memories and Good Times” I picked out the quote, “Friends are Like Four Leaf Clovers; Hard to Find, Lucky to Have”. The pictures I chose to collage on this canvas are some are my favorite pictures and ones that hold the best memories. I used her favorite colors to go over the pictures, but also made it so you could still see the pictures through the paint. My artwork expresses personal issues in every piece of art I do. Whether it’s just my love for coffee, the happiness in my life, or my best friend, they all mean something very special to me. Through my artwork I try to show nothing but happy emotions because despite the obstacles in life, I truly feel I have a perfect life and I hope other people can feel this way too by looking at my artwork.
While making these pieces of art I didn’t just make them to make them. I had goals I wanted to reach and achieve through them. My goal was to make sure when people looked at my art they pulled a main point from it. My goal was to have a focal point in every canvas that would really stand out to people as soon as they saw it and take something away with them. I think I reached my goals very successfully. In all three of my canvases I have a main focus to every one of them. The first one was coffee, which I then drew a coffee cup to really help bring it to life. My second one which was to just be happy, I really bolded the word “BRIGHT” and used nothing but bright colors to show anyone can have a happy life if you just be you and fill your life with nothing but the brightest things. My last one was you should always hold your friends close to your heart because they are hard to find now a days. I also made the word “FRIENDS” stick out from all the rest of the words to show that’s what it is truly about. After seeing how all of the pieces turned out I immediately just wanted to keep making more and more. While making these I learned to just let your mind roam free and use your imagination. I learned to not be scared to try new things and just let your thoughts out and your hand go free. When I first started making these I figured they’d be just another little project that I end up chucking in my drawer, but they turned out so much better than I ever imagined. I wanted something different, unique, and “me” and that is exactly what I got! I’m very pleased with how they all turned out individually, some more than the other, but all together I think they look great. I will definitely keep making these canvases and continuing a series, and I know they will get better and I will be more impressed canvas by canvas.
Three studio habits of mind that really helped me throughout the whole year was, Express, Stretch and Explore, and Understand the Art World. Express is when your artwork clearly conveys an idea, mood, or place that expresses some part of you. All of my artwork expresses a special part of me in some way, whether it’s an animal, a sport, a quote, etc., every piece of my art shows an awareness of other viewers. Stretch and Explore is when you take risks in your art making and learn from the mistakes you make and persuading your peers with new ways to make art. I took a lot of risks and tried so many new things with my art this year. I wasn’t scared of anything and just let my hand and mind go free. When one of my peers checked out my collages she immediately wanted to make one because it was really different and she thought it was unique. Last, Understand the Art World is when you discover aspects of artwork from other artists that you may have missed before. The three of my latest artworks were completely discovered recently when I was just flipping through a book to get ideas and found an artist that did something very unique and different. I never thought I’d be interested in art like that, but when I discovered it and looked more into it I became very interested. Discovering new art is really fun and can give you the greatest ideas. Studio habits of the mind are very important and useful when creating art and can help you reflect on yourself and your artwork.

Choose Happy (acrylic)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Artsfest Student Art Competition Winners

 Ankitha Pamula
 Matt Nowacoski
 Gracy Osborn

 Ashtyn Allen
 Brian Courtney
 Christina Bard
 Kaidon Winters
 Alyssa Liddane
 Breanna Kisner
 Alexis McDermott
 Lauren Galasso
 Raegen Millard
 Jeff Freeman
 Breanna Forrest
 Gabriella Zello
 Jeff Reagan
 Alexa Blackman
 Jovanni Volmar
 Zach Pruyne
 Hunter Post
 Jessi Bellows
 Sarah Montrose
 Emily Canavan
Thomas Bussom