The drawing strategy I learned the most from is probably edges and contours. I came into the class with hardly any real drawing experience. I was used to just drawing the stereotypical symbols for objects. But this drawing strategy of drawing the edges and focusing on what's really there taught me to draw things more realistically.
These two drawings show just how much my drawing has improved since the beginning of the year. Before this class, I hated drawing. I would only do it if I absolutely had to because I never thought anything I drew looked even remotely good. But by taking this class, I learned to draw things as they really are. I learned to look at negative space when I'm having trouble with something. I learned that in order to be an artist, you cannot give up. When you look at the the first hand I drew, it honestly looks like a little kid drew it. But my drawing skills have improved immensely throughout this year because I've learned to look at things and draw them the way they really are. My second hand drawing shows this improvement. You can see how the edges are much more accurate and how the proportions are way more accurate, too. And there's even a little bit of lights and shadows that shows improvement too.
An example of chiaroscuro in my artwork would be my nose in this piece. The way there are light spots and shadows make it seem more three- dimensional. Chiaroscuro is the use of light and dark to give an illusion of space, and that is exactly what I was trying to do when I shaded the nose.
There are definite improvements with my portrait drawings, too. In the first day drawing, you can totally see the stereotypical eyes and eyelashes. But in the second one, there's an obvious change in the shape that makes the eyes seem more like the way mine are truly shaped. ALso, on the first day, I totally just skipped the nose because I didn't even want to attempt it because I knew there was no way I would make it look even a tiny bit right. But the second one clearly shows a realistic nose. While the second one is so far from perfect, compared to the first one, I can barely believe they are done by the same person. I think the mouth in both of them is a little similar in shape, but I definitely improved in making them look realistic and not have as many outlines. I would say those are the parts I most improved on: the physical features like the eyes, nose, and mouth.
The project that we did with cross-hatching would be the one I would re-do if given the chance. I think I just need some more practice with cross-hatching because it just doesn't feel comfortable when I do it. It's definitely not something that comes naturally and it just feels sort of odd to do. I really don't like that you can't really erase when you're using this method. I just don't like how permanent each mark is. It makes me nervous and that seems to just mess me up even more.
I also learned it can be a lot more difficult to make smooth gradations depending on the medium you are using. After doing gradations many different times, I thought I had it down somewhat well. Once we started the oil pastels, I came to realize that the medium you use does affect the colors and their gradations. When I was mixing blue and red, the result should have been purple, but because of the oil pastels I used and the way that it blended, the color in between the two colors looked almost black. This helped me realize that the colors and gradations can vary greatly among different mediums.
One technique I feel that I was not quite able to master was the layering experiment with oil pastels. I feel like maybe if I had a lot more practice I might be able to get it, but it is evident that I did not feel comfortable with this technique when looking at our finished project with oil pastels. I did not use that method at all on the final project simply because I was not confident that if I tried it on the project, I would not mess it up and make the whole thing look bad.
One technique I feel that I was able to master was using the oil pastel stick to blend two colors together. You can see in the picture on the left how I did not quite have the hang of it when I first tried it. However, by looking at my final piece, I feel as though I can say that I learned more as I went and I got better and eventually mastered how to blend colors with the oil pastel stick itself.
One of the things I have seen the most improvement in myself is my positive attitude and the belief that I can do things even if they are a bit challenging. You can definitely see this improvement by looking at the two peppers above. The first one, the silver one we made in first semester, can be described as a pretty badly drawn pepper. When I realized I was going to have to draw the pepper, I was instantly disappointed because I truly believed that I could not capture how that pepper looked and copy it down onto paper. My drawing reflects my attitude. I did not believe I could draw it even remotely well and I didn't. However, during second semester when doing the chalk pastel project, we were given a choice of which still-life we wanted to draw. I ended up choosing one with a pepper - I had this idea in my head that maybe this time it would work out better, and it did. You can actually tell for the most part that the one drawn with chalk pastels is a pepper.