I have struggled with making art because I did not have a direction. I think part of the issues that I am seeing is that my art school only taught me how to do art a certain way. There really wasn’t a lot of room for experimentation. It was more about teaching me how to use certain techniques or principles and not about finding my voice or style as artist. Also, I was hindered by the school I went too. I had a few great teachers is that school but for the most part I left school feeling like there was still more that I needed to learn.
My sketchbook is me experimenting with a few styles, techniques, and media. This sketchbook was a note pad given to me by a former colleague in Beijing. Because it was the perfect travel size I turned it into a sketchbook for experimenting with. I started sketching in it back in May. It was at this point I had finished taking a class with Future in studio crafts. I became inspired to work on fine art drawings, again. I love working with the human body and portraits. For a while, I had wanted to become a physical therapist because I was interested in how the human body looked, moved, and worked. Most of the sketches in here are me working on drawing different proportions of the body and faces. I am also looking to find my own style in figure and portrait drawing.
I was also just drawing things that interested me or I struggled with. One thing I took from some of the readings that Helen sent me about travel sketchbooks, was that they are for experimenting. The drawings don’t have to be finished or refined. It’s a sketchbook for quick drawings and making mistakes. For me this went against a lot of what I was taught as a student. I still think about going into the sketchbook and perfecting or refining some of my sketches. I even left some pages blank in the book and I feel like I need to go into it and put something down on those pages. That note pad/ sketchbook might just be an ongoing sketchbook that I just use to practice in. In my mind, I don’t feel that it’s a finished or competed sketchbook.
A lot of what I drew in this travel sketchbook are things that interested me. I have ways been interested in science fiction fantasy and fairytale stories and books. I also have a huge interest in Greek mythology and monsters. That’s why you see the mermaids drawn a few times here. I plan on working on more creatures in the future. Also, I was inspired to do a few Inktober sketches but with job constraints, traveling, and grad school I fell behind.
Next, I am moving on to a new sketchbook with thicker pages that I can use watercolor and different medias in. I actually bought a A5 Moleskine sketchbook that will be my new travel sketchbook. I wanted something that would hold up better and I can throw into a backpack and not worry that it will fall apart, like this first one. I plan to keep experimenting in this one. I also bought a large travel watercolor sketchbook that I plan to use as my private sketchbook where I will work on more nude figures, watercolor, and more personal art that I don’t plan on showing anyone.
The thing that I have taken away from this class is to look at what art is differently and experiment with ideas and medias. I never really thought of fiber as art. I plan on working more with my knitting and embroidering on it, work on embroidery art, and start hand weaving tapestries also. I am also looking at perfecting my own style of art. I want to work on a more illustrative style that relies more on-line quality versus shading to give the drawing the feeling of three dimensionality. I am also looking to get into metal and jewelry design and leather working once I return to the US and have my own place or classroom.
I am also planning to return to teaching art next year. I have been away for the last two years and wasn’t looking to go home anytime soon and only when I got to the point that I needed to finish the MAE program. But, I started think about what I want to do as an artist and the type of art that I want to create and I realized that I needed to be stationary for a while and to also get back into teaching a subject that I am passionate about. Because my dream/ future goal is to teach art abroad at an international school in Asia or Europe. I know that finishing my MAE degree and getting more experience will go along way in helping me secure a position at an international school. I still want to travel and see more of the world and be inspired by people, places, and things that I see along the way.
If I am lucky enough to find a job in the same district or in Texas again I plan on incorporating more fiber art into my crafts classes. I will make the semester long project be works that revolve around knitting, weaving, and embroidery. I think it would be great to get the students to knit scarves for a homeless shelter or maybe an elderly care center. I also think it would be great to get teach them a skill that they can take with them. I feel that knitting is like riding a bike. Once you learn it, it never goes away.
I am still thinking and processing how I would incorporate what I’ve learned into more fine art classes. One thing I feel that would help, is to make the outcome of the artwork be more student based. One thing that annoyed me about teaching art in my first year, was how you had to sometimes make art based on the upcoming art show or contest. I will work with the guidelines they give, but make the art more personal for the students, than it just being about creating art for a show.