1. My most successful project this year was the one we just recently finished which was my book carving, the Tardis. We had multiple themes we could choose from but decided what we wanted to actually carve ourselves, so I came up with the idea of carving the Tardis from one of my favorite television shows, Doctor Who. We had to do an outline/sketch that would fit into a random book we had, and carve out different layers into the book to make the picture look 3-dimensional; after we finished carving, we had to paint the book as well. The materials I chose, such as the small doll-sized light bulb I used, definitely enhanced my project and made it come to life. When it came to painting, a lot of people used watercolor paints, but I decided to use acrylic so the blue would really pop and be more noticeable. However, I realized using acrylics also meant any mess ups I made would be more noticeable as well so I had to be very careful. I also had to be very careful when it came to carving because if I slipped, I could totally ruin a layer and I would have to rethink my design. The whole project required tedious work and being delicate with an Xacto knife, but in all I thought it was a lot of fun and the piece turned out great.
2. The project where I felt I overcame the most obstacles has to be the mixed media project What Goes Around Comes Around. I missed a few days when we first learned about this topic so I had a bit more difficulty with my piece. I did a Ferris wheel for my project and kept changing my mind on how to decorate the piece and put things together so I covered up parts of what I had with new things. One of the biggest obstacles with this project was covering up a fabric I had glued on already with a piece of paper. The fabric soaked up the glue pretty quick so I put thick layers on and rushed to make it stick, but finally succeeded after a few tries. I also had to cover up pieces of colorful tissue paper with pictures of different black and white Ferris Wheel baskets, which proved to be harder than I thought because the tissue paper dye leaks off really easily. Things worked out in my favor and I covered up the colors which made everything a lot easier. It took a lot of determination to cover the mistakes, but I kept telling myself I needed to power through which helped a lot in the end. I wish I had some more time to add a little something extra to the piece, but I'm glad with how it turned out and my favorite parts were the grass at the bottom and the quote around the wheel.
3. The two pieces I thought best showed my growth as an artist were Worth 1,000 Words and Feline Focus. The first one is a charcoal pencil on white paper sketch of a Polaroid camera with a bunch of white pencil zentangle patterns on black paper coming out the film slot. This was also one of my favorite projects this year, and taught me a lot about good techniques when handling charcoal and shading. I was very inexperienced when it came to shading before doing this project and only knew how to shade properly with acrylic paints. Because charcoal is very soft and comes off onto the paper easily, I had to be careful not to smudge the picture with my hand and made sure not to apply too much pressure to certain places so I could erase if needed while planning. This piece required a lot of attention to detail, but I actually enjoyed doing it, and working with the white pencil on half of it was different but a lot of fun to work with. When I started on the second piece, I had never used pastels before but was excited to learn how to use them and experiment a bit. Shading and blending with different colored oil pastels is a bit tricky compared to shading with a charcoal pencil so it was hard to adjust and not blend colors too much to where they looked like multicolored blobs. Once I practiced a bit, I tried making the fur on the cat's nose and blending while keeping the texture which took a few tries. I finally managed to finish it and even added some purple and white to contrast the neutral/dark colors. The last thing left to do was the cat's iris and pupil; the texture in the iris of a cat is really weird, but I attempted to rub the pastel on it's side and it mimicked the look of the eye perfectly and the pupil was easily drawn on top. Both these pieces taught me a great deal about how to control colors and to be patient when learning new techniques, which I enjoyed a lot.
4. I loved the new system for teaching and learning in this class this year. Since we had more freedom with what we created, the class was a lot more relaxed and we had a chance to be more creative with our ideas. I feel like I had more fun throwing around ideas with my classmates and we were able to collaborate and figure out ways to improve our pieces without a lot of restrictions. This style of teaching was much more effective when it came to getting students to open up and explore new types of art they had never tried. One of the themes we had during the year was called "sticky situations" and I came up with the idea of doing mac&cheese while including real macaroni noodles and named it Macaroni Mayhem. I had a lot of fun creating one giant noodle out of a bunch of little ones and painting it so it would look 3-dimensional. I added some painted noodles in the background and scattered individual noodles around it as well to liven up the piece. It was a fun and different way to add texture to the piece and helped me step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.