Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SmART School Week 5

This was a kind of frustrating one.

I had spent the previous week running headlong at a deadline and Rebecca had told me not to worry about the stuff I was doing for Belle Dame, but back before that commission had hit she'd asked me to pull up one of Waterhouse's multi-figure paintings to key off of, and I had enough time to do that.

In class, I got some final critique from Rebecca on my cover, and then mentioned that I'd also put this into the folder. "This is the one I'd been thinking of!" she said. "I want you to use it like a map."

As I sat down to do just that, I'll admit that there was frustration even as I understood why this was important to do. This was like nothing like I'd been shooting for in my studies - beyond the fact that I'd been going for a different palette, this was so much more chromatic, and had much more contrast, than anything I'd pictured for the piece. This was, in my thinking at that moment, a left turn from image that had been forming in my head.

My frustration turned the 'map' study into a gross muddy mess, which in turn only furthered my frustration. I knew why Rebecca was having me key off of Waterhouse so directly - we'd discussed how he was a master of limited palettes and using contrast and chroma like scalpels, all if which I aspired to - but all I could see was a horrible color study. (It's dumb, looking at it now and seeing how I was pulling down my chroma in really gross ways, paying no actual attention to value... congrats on setting yourself up for failure, Jenna.) So I did another one, more in-line with the mood I was fixated on and the colors I was comfortable with, and sent them off.

Rebecca returned a color study with the actual clear separation of values and handing of color that I'd missed in my stew of 'but it's not working ): ): ):'. She told me to do a study off of hers (with the Waterhouse nearby), and then go to paint.

Which is, of course, when I got sick. So I'm bringing in the study and not really anything else today to class, which is a bad feeling in and of itself, but at least I know I'm just shy of actually getting to paint.

But man, I forgot how hard it is to break out of comfort zones. It's a gross, uncomfortable process. I like to think that I push myself in my art, but there's always that edge that I shy away from before I even get close, and in doing so it's easy to forget it's there at all. I've been out of school for a couple of years now, and the IMC is more about flying by the seat of your pants past your own limits than about methodically working on your ruts and comfortable old ways of thinking.

This is the first real block I've encountered in Rebecca's class thus far, which kinda gives me something to judge myself against: where I am in the steps leading up to this is clearly something to be proud of, because she is absolutely nailing me to the wall over my color and value and let everything previous by with varyingly minor degrees of critique.

So, alright. This is where I set my shoulders and work, then.

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