Art portfolio 2016-2017 Anna Sommers

This year, I took Intro to Art because art has been a hobby of mine for the past 5 years. So, I wanted to become a better artist myself, learn new techniques, and try new mediums. In this class, I was expecting to learn about color and the color wheel, tricks and techniques of drawing, and watercolors. I knew that I would experience other mediums but had no idea to what they might have been. No doubt thought, this class has exceeded my expectations.
Edges and Contours
Space - Positive and Negative
Relationships and Proportions
Lights and Shadows
I think I learned the most from the drawing strategy of "Edges and Contour" because while it may not have been my favorite strategy to learn, it was the most useful. Before this class I did not draw what I actually saw. It was more of the stored symbols that I pulled from my memory instead of putting on the paper what my eyes were taking in.
In looking back at my past artworks and my more recent artworks, I've noticed that as I progressed through the semester, so did my ability to see the shadows and to see where there fade or transition into a different value. On the hand, I estimated more of where the shadows and highlights might be instead of placing them where they are specifically.
Chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and dark to give the illusion of space, was used in all of my charcoal pieces. However, it was applied more effectively in some places than others. In this portrait, the eye, in my own opinion, is a better example of chiaroscuro than the mouth or nose. The eye seems to pop off the paper more than the either of the other features do.
My very first self-portrait pains me to look at because I have gained more knowledge on proportions and in seeing those unrealistic placements makes me want to never lay eyes on this piece again. However, while my proportions on the test run portrait improved greatly, there are still some noticeable flaws. For example, my eyes are too tall causing myself to look scared and the eyebrows which are not high enough on the forehead. On my finished portrait, there can still of course be places of improvment but I can tell I made advancements from my test run. The eye is more proportionate and the eyebrow is spaced more effectively above the eye.
I have two projects I wish I had more time on. The first was my self-portrait. When it came closer to the deadline, I rushed myself which caused me to become lazier with my shading and blending. Lazy shading and blending leads to a messier looking piece and that is one of the last thing I would want my art to come across as.
I also wish I had just one more day on the profile portrait because all this piece is lacking is the completion of the hair, the neck, and the collar. Which I believe I could have finished in another day. I just think it would have been nice to see the finished product if I were to have completed this piece.
Drawing Ability
One of the main areas I have seen improvement is in my drawing ability of not only myself, but in drawing other peers. While the left was from memory, there is still some major differences between the two. The right side, I used real proportions from my model whereas on the left I barely used any guidelines and drew what I knew at the time; symbols.
Technical Skills
Earlier I mentioned my improvements on seeing the shadows and change in value. Now, in these next charcoal pieces I can observe the advancements in controlling the charcoal and blending the transitions. The self-portrait has some areas where it is obvious which ways I was blending, to the point where it almost looks streaked. While on the fragmented piece, it appears more controlled and has softer edges to the transitions making the three papers come together more as a whole.
2nd Semester
The project I learned the most from was the heliographic watercolors. My great aunt paints and her main medium is watercolor, so she's given me books and sets for me to paint because she knows I enjoy art and take it now. However, I hadn't the slightest idea how to actually paint with watercolors and this project helped me in many ways. I had never know, before doing this project, that you are NOT supposed to use the paint directly from the container, but instead to mix your own blends and then add water to it. I also would have never come across the superimposed wash, nor would I have figured out the special effects such as splatter, wet-in-wet, or the salt effect.
Color Theory
The relief prints and ferrofluid oil pastel projects both added to my knowledge of the color theory. In the relief prints, we mainly worked on analogous colors and how they blend and make the smoothest gradations. Secondly, the ferrofluid oil pastel project focused on blending and using our artistic license to make the product better. However, in order to make the best decisions we needed to know which colors were analogous to another and which were complements. For example, the red and green in my ferrofluid piece blended to more of a dark blue almost because complements, in equal amounts, create a brown; whereas with the red and orange at the bottom, create a nicer and more pleasant transition because they are analogous.
Mastery & Non-mastery
In my opinion, I believe I was able to master chalk pastel while I lacked the mastery in the medium of oil pastel. In my chalk pastel piece, the gradations and transitions looks smoother and the placement of color looks planned. However, in my oil pastel piece, the gradations stick out are not the most subtle. Sometimes transitions aren't supposed to be subtle, but in this case, they were. The gradation from red to blue is not smooth at all nor is transition from green to red. On my techniques sheet, I feel as if I did better with the blending and in the end, it just didn't transfer over to the actual project.
1st Semester Projects
2nd Semester Project
Throughout this entire year, I know I've improved in my artistic abilities. Both of the first semester pieces above can be compared to my second semester chalk pastel piece, but in different ways. The contrast and placement of shadows and highlights, I think, has progressed over the semester. In my charcoal still life, the shadows, highlights, and crest shadows are all there but they have hard edges to them making it seem unfinished whereas in my chalk pastel still life, the shadows and highlights seem softer and intentional. Now, when comparing my crosshatching piece to my chalk pastel, I can also see that my ability to fill my paper and build a stronger composition has improved. From starting off with barley covering half the paper and it being noticeable, I ended with filling at leas half of the paper and making it seem well distributed and balanced.
In this one year of taking art, I have learned about myself that I enjoy creating art more than I thought. I've also learned that sometimes I need to slow down and take my time and other times, I need to pick up speed a little and quit trying to fix one small detail. Nonetheless, I know that with effort and the right attitude I can succeed. I have figured out that my creativity needs my patience and it will take as much time as I can spare.

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