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.

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