Intro to Art Portfolio Emily erlbacher

(The background behind my title is my Impasto painting done in the first semester of Intro to Art.)

I decided to take Intro to Art because I was never really good at art before. I knew that this class would teach me many lessons and I would learn methods that I could take into my everyday life. I was expecting to learn basic drawing stategies and also about important artists.

Drawing Strategies

We studied all four of the drawing strategies. The first one was edges and contours.

This is a drawing using the edges and contours drawing strategy. It was a blind contour drawing of one of my classmates.
This is a drawing using the spaces drawing strategy. It is a bicycle wheel I drew using only negative space.
I drew this ceiling using the sighting strategy. This used the relationship and proportions drawing strategy.
This is a painting of vases where I really focused on getting the shadows right using the lights and shadows drawing strategy.

Out of these four drawing strategies, I learned the most from the edges and contour drawing strategy becasue I think it caused my drawings to improve the most. At the beginning of the year, while playing Pictionary, Mrs. Langenfeld said that I was the queen of using symbols to draw. I learned to draw what I actually see not what I think I see.

Improving my drawing strategies

In order: I drew the first picture on the first day of class and after studying art for awhile, I drew the second hand.

I think the two pictures above are an accurate representation of how my drawing skills have improved this year. They are both hands but the first picture sticks to the paper while the second hand seems to jump off and look three dimensional. Another way my drawing skills have improved is that I learned how to use charcoal so I am not always limited to regular pencil.

My fragmented self portrait, using chiaroscuro.

Chiaroscuro is an Italian term that means contrast of light and dark to give the illusion of space. I think that my fragmented self-portrait, the picture above, is a good example of chiaroscuro.

Portrait Drawings

In order: this is my first day drawing, my test run of my self portrait, and then my final fragmented self portrait.

In regards to my self portraits, I think that I most improved my nose. It looks more life-like towards the end. I also think that I improved when I got my features to look like me instead of just a basic human face. I know where everything should go, like my eyes go in the middle, instead of where they appear to be, which is more towards the top.


I wish that I could redo my cross- hatching picture. I think that I got better as I went but since you can't erase during cross hatching, I had to keep what I had, even though it was kind of bad. If I could start over, it would be a lot better because I know what I am doing. I also wish that I had more time on my test run self portrait because looking back at it I see many spots that I should have fixed.

Cross hatching!
Self portrait!

Areas with the most improvement

I have seen the most improvement in my color use and knowledge and through my attitude. Coming into Intro to Art, I didn't know anything about primary and secondary colors. I didn't know what a tone was either but now I know all about colors. I also so an improvement in my attitude because the first few days I did not look forward to coming to art class because I didn't like anything I drew but now it is one of my favorites.

Second semester!

Throughout the projects in second semester, I learned the most from the glass coasters. I never would have thought that I could manipulate glass in this way. I thought that when glass broke it splintered. While this was true some times, most of the glass I broke was a clean line exactly where I wanted. I also learned more about firing glass in kilns. I always knew that we could make color gradations using oil pastels and chalk pastels but all the information I learned about glass was new to me and I learned the most during this project.

This is my glass coaster!

Our class did a lot with color theory and I learned all about it. The top most rule I put into use involving color was to never mix complementary colors together. I learned that if two colors across the wheel from each other mixed, the outcome would be a gross brownish color. To avoid this I kept them separated or made sure there was a band of space between them. This color theory came into play many different times including the projects below.

No complementary colors touch in these projects!

Another part of the color theory that I learned and put into practice was the rule about analogous colors. Colors that are "neighbors" on the color wheel will look good next to each other. They will produce a nice color gradation and not create the gross brownish color.

During this relief print, I used analogous colors to produce color gradations and also add harmony. I avoided any gross brown color.

One of the areas I have seen the most improvement is my technical skills. Before this year, I didn't know anything about controlling watercolor or oil pastels. Now I not only know how to use them but how to control them to get the best results. I even learned how to take my artwork to the next level by adding color gradations and special effects.

The first picture is part of my technique board I practiced on. It was the first time that I have ever used chalk pastel. I improved by the time I finished my final Janet Fish inspired piece because I learned how to properly top layer blend and handle chalk pastel.

Using oil pastel, I was able to master the baby oil technique. I practiced this technique a few times on my technique board and finally caught onto it. Using the baby oil technique, I produced smooth gradations because I had mastered the technique.

These are two color gradations I produced using the baby oil technique. I feel like I mastered this technique.

Using watercolor, I never quite mastered the blotting technique. I tried twice on my technique board, yet never got the hang of it. The blotting technique is taking a paper towel and blotting the paper at exactly the right time. The watercolor can't be completely dry but it also can't be completley wet. I never mastered this technique.

As you can see, this technique is weak and not what is desired. I blotted at the wrong time. Since I couldn't do this one, I didn't use it on my final project.

A skill I developed was my design skills. For this area, I developed these skills than improved them. Before this class, I had no knowledge of how to build a strong composition and no design skills. I learned about negative space and harmony. I then used these newly discovered skills to build my glass pendant.

I used rhythm to build this glass pendant with a strong composition.

Another area that I improved has been my creativity. Once being known for my stereotypical images, I now am more creative and think outside the box. I was happy with how my reduction pieces turned out because it is colorful and creative. It was unique because I slowly took out pieces of the linoleum until there wasn't much left.

I discovered a lot about myself as an artist this year. I was so nervous to start this class in August but I quickly realized that it was one of my favorite classes of the day. I learned that I don't have to be the best in the class to still enjoy the subject. I discovered that I really like it even though I am not that good and don't know everything there is to know. I learned what types of mediums I like to use and what kinds of areas I like to work in. My attitude and belief that I can be an artist really improved. I now have a deeper appreciation for artwork because I realize the time and effort put into it and how the artist must be proud of themselves, because I have felt all of these things.

This is another project we did! It was my favorite!

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