My Portfolio Maddie riesberg

I chose to take Intro to Art because I wanted to improve my drawing abilities and I thought it would be a really interesting and fun class. I've never been very confident with my artistic talents and I thought maybe this class would help me be more confident in my abilities.

Edges and Contours
Positive and Negative Space
Relationships and Proportions
Lights and Shadows

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 think the two areas I have improved the most in this year are drawing abilities and developing the attitude that I can be artistic. If you look at the first few drawings I did, you can easily tell my artistic abilities were very limited. This class has taught me that it's not impossible for me to be artistic. Before this class, I never would have thought I would be able to draw a portrait that even somewhat resembled myself. The two areas I see the most improvement in kind of go hand-in-hand. As my drawing abilities got better, so did my confidence in my own abilities. I look forward to this next semester where hopefully I can continue to improve my abilities and Really believE that I do have it in me to be artistic.

Second Semester

The project I learned the most from this semester is most definitely when we made our trivets. I had never made anything out of clay by myself before. I didn't know what it meant to wedge clay and I had no idea there was the possibliity of clay blowing up if you don't get all of the air bubbles out of the it before you put it in the kiln. I learned not only how to make the trivet correctly, although it did not turn out very neatly, but I also learned how to glaze the trivet. I learned about how you could layer different colors on top of each other to come up with a unique hue.

One thing I learned about color theory is that sometimes, in order to get a certain hue, you must layer color on top of color. As seen in the chalk pastel still-life, the colors have all been layered one on top of another. I never realized that sometimes, in order to get a certain red, you would have to mix tans and yellows and maybe some oranges and the actual red, too. The same things are true for the green pepper and the purple liquid. I was able to really learn about how certain colors work together and some colors don't cooperate quite as well as others

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.

The other thing I feel as though I have really improved on throughout this year is my technical skills and being able to use the mediums the correct way and in the cleanest way possible. If you look at my two top pieces from first semester, and compare them to the two bottom ones, I believe you can see quite a bit of improvement. The top two have quite a bit more smudges and little areas that got smeared. But looking at the second semester pieces, I don't see quite as many smears or smudges or things. I think I have really gotten better at figuring out what the best way to use each medium is and applying what I have learned from past experiences in order to help me to better every time.

This year I have discovered much more than I ever imagined i would about myself as an artist. I came into this class with an apprehensive attitude and i was a bit nervous. I have discovered that i am an artist and that i can do just about anything i set my mind to. I learned that i do have the determination and courage and persistence it takes to be creative. I have learned to be proud of the art that i create, even if i may think someone else's is better. I have discovered that i can even surprise myself when it comes to what i can achieve. I discovered that it is okay when i fail and make mistakes and it most definitely is not the end of the world. I have learned that sometimes those little mistakes that you make make your piece stand out. I have learned to view those mistakes as a sort of beautiful flaw rather than something to hide. This year has taught me to accept all the flaws and mistakes i make and to look past them and still see the beauty among those mistakes. This year i have learned how to See myself as a true artist.

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