So, I’m trying to enjoy a good chunk of home before I leave for Florence in a mon- a month???? Oh geez, that’s coming up quickly.
I’ve been doing a lot of hiking this summer, but today was my first day doing hiking by myself. My boyfriend was supposed to come with, but he got sick. I decided to use this opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for years: go to a waterfall and make a painting then and there. Kind of like in the tradition of the Impressionists.
My plan was to go to Fairy Falls, which is close to Bridal Veil Falls, but… I was dumb, and made the plan to do so around noon, and ended up getting stuck in traffic (by people wanting to go to Multnomah Falls, which I tried to avoid as much as I could) for thirty minutes longer than I planned, missed my trailhead due to the lack of parking, and finally found somewhere to park my car and just go on an adventure.
I ended up not going to Fairy Falls, but I will try to do so before I leave. Instead, I ended up at the Horsetail trailhead instead. I hiked for what felt like an hour or two. It was a more difficult terrain, which was fortunate because there weren’t as many people. I passed Lower Oneonta Falls, but I couldn’t get a good angle to paint, so I hiked on. I ended up at Pony Tail falls, so that’s where I decided to sit down and paint.
I’m used to painting in small increments with some time in between. I didn’t have the luxery. Sitting down and painting in a shorter amount of time was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I didn’t have the time to, for example, if something about the painting wasn’t working right for me, I couldn’t sleep on it and come back to it later. I had to do it all in one sitting. I don’t think it’s bad. Definitely not my best, but for what it was, I’m pretty happy with it. I might go back and add details or something. I definitely still need to sign it.
So during my undergrad life, I had one goal: to get an art history degree to pursue a career in art restoration. Depending on who you talk to, this is can be a very science heavy career, and while I did struggle in the maths and sciences quite a bit. I found I still found it a hell of a lot more interesting than the heavily politicized art and art history classes from my time at university.
I went to two different art schools. One art school was the university where I was getting my degree, and the other one was a technical school that taught art the way the Old Masters did it. I learned two very different philosophies from both of them, and I think by dancing in both worlds, I learned some very bizarre things that resulted in much head-scratchery.
Shut up. Conform. And Be Sad.
Art, the way it was taught by the university, was basically that all art was propaganda until the magical time of the early 20th century or something. Basically, if you had a dissenting opinion from the teacher, and had the incapability of keeping your mouth shut, the bastard would sic the other students on you verbally. It was fun (not being sarcastic either, I did feel legitimate rushes of excitement from stirring up my teachers and classmates). The teacher generally had a political opinion that they were trying to push on the other students.
I had this one favorite teacher who actually proudly fancied herself a Marxist, and the first day of class I just kept sitting there pushing her buttons. I kept saying why modern films and pop culture actually should be in fact considered art and while artists like Norman Rockwell did make art solely with the process of being mass produced and sold, he still exposed the public to beautiful art.
To my surprise, the next day before class, I bumped into one of my classmates. She thanked me for stating my opinion and she too had similar viewpoints, but was afraid to speak up. I told to her to basically not be afraid. That’s what we as artists are supposed to do, right? Stir things up? Break the status quo?
No joke, the last thing we had to do in class was give a ten minute speech of what we thought of the class. I thought my finishing statement was savage. Oh boy was I wrong. The girl I bumped into? Who was afraid of making her voice heard the first day? She showed up with slides. She tore into the school system and the way art history and criticism was being taught.
The other thing I learned at the university was that you weren’t supposed to enjoy art. As much as I loved my trip to Rome in 2015, the one complaint I had was my teacher was determined to ruin everything. We couldn’t just sit there and enjoy the engineering, architecture, use of color, and genius these artists had. Oooooh no. Constantly it was “And this was funded by this corrupted Catholic jerk. And this was funded by THIS Catholic jerk. And oh look at this Catholic jerk for having his family be used as models in this ceiling mural. I am not anti-Catholic or anything but…” Dude, shut the fuck up! We get it! The Catholic church is bad and responsible for all the wars in the world and probably slept with your mom. Now let me just sit down and try to figure out how this art was made and send pictures to my old art conservation internship supervisors for their input since you obviously don’t know a damned thing except for how to complain!
Marxism would be great for art!
I took a 20th century art class and learned about the Avante-Garde artists in Russia. They were known for challenging the norms of art. While I’m not a huge fan of deconstructionism, which is the point in history where this kind of art flourished, this was the documented birthplace of Surrealism, which it’s one of my favorite art styles. Still, though, when you have a culture where the government has enough power to pay for everyone’s food, housing, and livelihoods, that means they have enough power to define “art” and censor or put away any artist who deviated from said definition.
I swear, the very next term, I took an art criticism class, and the professor (different professor) kept going on and on about how Marxism would be great for art because people wouldn’t be coming home after 8 hours workdays and be sitting in front of the TV instead of making art and going to art shows. My thinking on this is, even if by some miracle a pure Marxist country wouldn’t be ruled by a power-hungry megalomaniac, do you really want to live in a government that controls what art is and isn’t?
I have mixed feelings about government’s role in art, but given our history, I really don’t think going to the socialist extreme is the best way to go about it.
Learning art (painting and drawing) as a SKILL limits you
I was taking an art criticism class, and Now, this wasn’t something that anybody officially taught, but one of my classmates stated this and everyone else (including the teacher) simply nodded in agreement. He referred to artists like Picasso and how he supposedly said that he wished he could unlearn everything he was taught about painting since children can paint purely what’s from their minds without the interference of anyone else’s instruction.
From a quick internet search, I found that Picasso did say something similar, “It took four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” It’s a very nice quote, but there could be many interpretations to it. I particularly liked what Lucy Chen had to say about it, which was that it didn’t necessarily mean that Picasso wished he could unlearn everything, but that as an artist, you shouldn’t ever stop being creative, curious, or full of wonder.
Another reason why I don’t think this is true is that, in my own personal experience, NOT having the skills I learned from the Old Master school limited me.
Personal experience isn’t always the best rebuttal to any argument, but I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Creating art was very frustrating to me. I drew a lot of anime in high school, but that was all I ever could draw. If I did draw something impressive for the really critical people in my life, it was entirely on accident, and I couldn’t really duplicate it. I never felt like I was improving no matter how many art classes I took, and the worst part was I couldn’t figure out WHY.
Going to the Old Master school taught me to see things differently, it taught me perspective, composition, color theory, a bit of art psychology. Suddenly, it was like all these obstacles I had in creating art were broken through. Making art I was proud of was no longer an accident for me.
So… okay… great… I knew how to draw more realistically, and I knew how to make colors work together, but what about art that means something? That has a compelling message?
…wait? Why does art need a message?
This is the part I’m particularly excited about. Now that I’ve learned the basics of how to draw and paint better, the message came later. Now that I wasn’t so worried about making something look good, I could focus on using the tools I picked up to create a compelling, new thing.
My biggest pride and joy right now is my chemistry art. That’s pretty much my message. I think art should be beautiful. I also find the idea of chemistry so beautiful, particularly this idea that there is so much going on that you can’t see because it’s so tiny, but just because it’s tiny, doesn’t mean that it’s meaningless, there’s still so much going on. I wanted to create this smallness on a larger, and more beautiful level that everyone can appreciate, whether they’re science-oriented, art-oriented, or neither.
At least, that was my message, but if you couldn’t interpret it, or don’t care about that message, and you just like the subject matter (flowers), the color harmony, and that bizarre geometrical shape that looks like a chemistry thing, then that’s fine too.
But, honestly, I don’t think I could’ve ever been able to artistically articulate this message, or lackthereof, without having learned the artistic drawing and painting skills.
Art is talent. You either have it, or you don’t.
That’s not true! I think drawing and painting are skills ANYONE can learn if they want to! I don’t think Michelangelo or Bernini came into the world already knowing how to paint and draw. They had some talent, sure, but they still learned from master artists.
Here are just a few YouTube channels that have pretty easy to follow instructions to make some really lovely things!
Drawing Art Academy These guys have bits and pieces of instruction on their videos, but their one time $300 fee for their entire lessons might be worth looking into.
If you don’t understand abstract/postmodern/conceptual art, it means you’re stupid/closed minded.
Or maybe postmodern is really bad at conveying why it should be understood. It seems like every professor I’ve had that taught about postmodern art seemed to think art was only meant for the truly “educated” or “open-minded,” or, as I like to call them, “elite.”
The difference between Expressionist, Abstract, Postmodern, and Conceptual art.
Remember how you looked at any art made after the 1910’s, and thought it all looked the same to you? I now know the difference between Expressionist, Abstract, Minimalist, Postmodern, and Conceptual art… yay?
I’m not sure what I can do with this information either.
In the end, it’s only about money.
Did anyone else notice that celebrity modern artists like Andres Serrano and Tracey Emin are generally first to say that art “it should be about art, and not the money” and yet in 2007, a bunch of vandals destroyed Serrano’s History of Sex series that was reported by the NY Times as worth over $200,000, and Tracey Emin’s net worth is $5 million dollars. I mean, good for them and all, but their genre of art isn’t the kind I want to aspire to, but it seems as though Higher Art Education gears their curriculum towards trying to be “deep” and “edgy” and, my personal favorite, “dystopian.”
I heard from students and teachers alike the unfairness of the fact that the art world is controlled by a niche of upper class wealthy people that get to decide what is and isn’t art. It seemed really interesting because edgy art like what the artists I just mentioned were what the wealthy elite liked to make and study, but no, it still wasn’t fair.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. This was actually a blog post I’ve wanted to post for a very long time, and only just now do I have the courage (or stupidity) to post it. There’s something seriously wrong with the art world and culture, and I only wish I could have spoke out more. I’m done being scared. I’m done catering to this idea that all artists have to have one political viewpoint. And if you agree with me, or hell, don’t agree with me, but at least disagree with how messed up the art world is,
I encourage you to do the same.
This frame here was a great thing to have fallen into my lap.
I have a couple friends who will be moving to Germany in just a few days, they handed me their cats.
They also had this frame that was given to them that they couldn’t find a use for. “Here, Ashley, you’re an artist, you can find a use for it,” they said.
Actually, it’s a really beautiful frame that I believe would be perfect for my newest project; the painting commemorating my grandfather who passed away a month ago.
As luck would have it, the frame turned out to be exactly 24×36 inches. Blick just so happened to make canvases in that size.
I couldn’t wait to get started already. I’m really happy with how it’s looking so far. I got started on the sky and the water, I’ll give that a few days to dry, then I’ll work on the trees.
My younger sisters have started watching Bob Ross, or, as I like to call him, Sarge, on Netflix. They claimed they only saw a couple episodes as a joke, but the fact that I saw that they were on episode 17 seems to prove otherwise.
Welp. That’s all the energy I have to write tonight. One of these days, I’ll get on a better blogging schedule.
Happy Mother’s Day! I’m sure many of you think your mothers are the best, but you’re all wrong. Mine is. No questions. Not up for debate. Thank you very much…
…is what I would’ve said had Mary had not already held that spot, sorry, Jesus.
I very much dread to think what my life would have been if it hadn’t been for her strength, her intelligence, and her wisdom.
Such wisdom including, but not limited to:
Do not let perfect be the enemy of good.
Be brave like a lion. Lions are mighty. They’re right. They have nothing to fear except for perhaps people with guns. They are not like the gazelles cowering in the grass or the wild dogs attacking everything in sight.
Her hard work and sacrifice being the mother of a large family is something that I will always admire.
She taught me the importance of being kind, understanding, and tolerant of others. She taught me that I never needed to be afraid. Not of other people, other faiths, and most importantly, not afraid to follow my dreams even though it required a field of study I greatly struggled in high school (chemistry) and the great distances I will travel to achieve them.
But most importantly, she taught me that I must always strive to a better me. She never looked at me and said, “Why can’t you be more like ____.” She always accepted me for who I was, and encouraged me to grow accordingly.
Now, some of you may remember that I tried to do a project for Lent. Well, I got a good head start on it. I’ve been spending about an hour every day on it, but my grandfather past away the last week of Lent, and I wasn’t able to finish it then. I did, however, get it finished in time for Mother’s Day.
So, in about an hour, I’m going to be driving over to Mom’s to do a big reveal of this painting and place it in the niche in the house (hence the shape of the painting).
Please follow this amazing woman’s blog, Simply Catholic.
It’s customary for religious painters to put their hometown/monastery/family members, etc in their paintings. I’m no exception:
Hey, everyone! For those of you who’ve been following my conservation-related blogs, I just got the go-ahead to count my volunteer work at the Art Museum as internship credit! As long as I blog about it!
So, here’s a little preliminary pre-blog about what I’ve been doing:
I’ve been making boxes and envelopes for archival materials for the museums print vault!
Getting this volunteer job at the art museum was a huge honor for me. I was already enjoying my position as a Rental Sales gallery representative where I was already being exposed to so much beautiful local art in my state, but this was the real position I want: Working with Samantha Springer, the museum’s official art conservator, and Anne Crouchley, the museum registrar, to help preserve historical art.
I got to see the vault where they keep the artworks, which was kept cold to slow any degradation the materials would suffer (you know, basic chemistry and all).
I would be charged with putting the historical books, prints, and all paper materials into protective coverings.
The materials used to wrap the books are from Gaylord Archival. The reason why conservators use archival papers and cardboard is because they’re acid-free and generally not going to make any degrading reactions to the historical pieces being protected.
Woo! One term down, one more to go!
In theory… hopefully I passed all of my classes. I didn’t feel %100 confidant about that last final there.
I’ve also turned in my Art Conservation portfolio for the Florence program! Woo! One less thing to worry about!
I’m a little bummed because OF COURSE my Wacom tablet decided to pick the beginning of Christmas break to stop working. T_T This is particularly sad because I really wanted to work so much on the Adobe Creative Suite, but programs like Adobe Animate, Photoshop, and others are going to be harder to work on and not as pretty without it.
I was able to finish a couple of things, for example, this painting:
And I’ll just have to dedicate more time to the “Traditional mediums.” That’s okay! Maybe instead of dedicating 15 minutes a day to my newest series of paintings (Which is going to be called my “Secret Project” until I’m farther along) maybe I’ll dedicate 30 or 45 until I get my tablet fixed or get a new one!
I hope I don’t have to get a new one though… I’ve only had this one since summer…
…Okay… just on hunch, I decided to plug my tablet back in, and it seems to be working now… weird… I’m going to be a little skeptical though because because I’m not sure what caused it to stop working in the first place…
Alright! I’m gonna get away from my computer and spend some time on my Secret Project… I think I’ve been spending too much time on the computer and it’s starting to get to me.