In Art class, we have recently finished our last unit of the year entitled, What is the Big Idea. This unit was designed to give us a taste of what we would be doing next year in IB. We started out exploring with doodling and rough sketches, discussing where creativity comes from. In our class we talked about what is creativity, and what isn’t. We also took some time to think about where good ideas come from.
Then we started out choosing two themes from a list provided by our teacher, and brainstormed. Our brainstorm consisted of whatever the theme had connections to, or brought to mind. We wrote down nouns, verbs, adjectives, events, emotions, people etc.
Afterwards, we moved into research. We chose which theme we wanted to focus on, and then started investigating different artists that have done similar work, and those whose styles we might want to work in. I quickly found that friendship is a hard theme to find artwork on. Artists of course, don’t explicitly write, “This represents friendship”. Many art pieces might have underlying themes of friendship, but it is hard to find. So then I realized I had to go more into depth. I chose symbols that represented friendship and looked for art that contained these. I chose the standard symbols of friendship: holding hands, pinky promise, friends laughing and playing together. Most of what I found was the type of photography one can find on tumblr.
I did not feel like focusing my project and photography just yet, so I decided to move away from that, and instead look for artists whose work that interested me. After I surfed the web a bit, I was attracted to pointillism. I did a lot of research on artists like Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Henri Edmond Cross and analyzed famous paintings by them. However after that, I did more research on watercolor, which I had been curious about from the beginning. I investigated different artists, watercolor techniques and different paintings. I decided that I wanted to go for more of a simple colorful style, like the art seen in children’s books.
I moved onto rough sketches of what I envisioned in my head. For my first piece, I was at first thinking of showing two friends laughing and chatting over two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. The hot chocolate symbolizes the warmth, and conveyed feelings of content and comfortableness, which is the side of friendship that I wanted to portray. Hot chocolate on a cold day seems to fill you with heat and makes you feel cozy inside. Just like a good friend comforting you in times when you are feeling down makes you feel better again. When I started on my final version, I came across difficulties and was frustrated with the decision I had made of making the two girls bleed of the page – as in they would be half cut off because I wanted to focus on the hot chocolate. In the end I decided to not include them.
I then ran across even more problems with the hot chocolate. If you look at my final piece, you wouldn’t even be able to tell it is hot chocolate since I covered the top with cream. I was inspired by http://www.etsy.com/listing/53045963/angelina-paris-hot-chocolate. The first mug that I did (the right one) turned out pretty well in my opinion. The bright colors blended well together, and overall it gives a nice glowing, cheerful effect. However the other mug (on the left) was terrible. I wanted to save some white spots, so I used my white crayon in spaces. However then when I put my watercolor over it, it would act funny, and when I changed my mind and wanted to remove the crayon, I couldn’t. I ended up resulting to extreme means of scraping it off with my scissors – but this ended up damaging the paper. So the hues and colors are not as bright or diverse as the mug on the left. By this time I had gotten tired with the entire composition and my will to finish it off was gone. So I put it to the side and decided to advance onto my next piece. I am not satisfied with the outcome, but I think it helped me realize the need for further planning in advance, and further experimenting with the medium.
My second piece consisted of two girls sitting in grass, smiling whilst leaning onto each other. It may not seem to have a deep meaning for viewers, but I can argue otherwise. Friendship is not supposed to a complicated thing. Friendship consists of trust and love. So simple. It’s just that people nowadays make it so complicated, adding in hate, envy, jealousy and whatnot. So I wanted to represent friendship in its true and raw form.
I am happy with the way it turned out. I think that just by looking at it, it makes the onlooker feel happy inside. I am very proud of my experimenting with a dry watercolor brush to create shadows and convey size and roundness. Looking at it now, perhaps I should have made more areas darker, but I am still very happy with it. I took time to investigate different skin color tones and watched videos on how to create a beautiful blue sky. I must also point out the grass, which I am very proud of. I used thin, quick, vertical brush strokes, with different greens and browns. Then at the end I added a quote in black ink which reads “Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest, it’s about who came and never left”. When one reads it, one can’t help but go “aaaw”.
My third and final piece was three paper lanterns, with little figures carved out on the sides. Through the lanterns, I wanted to convey how true friendship shines like a light in the darkness. A good friend is like a light. At first when I carved the paper, it turned left really rough edges. The three lanterns depict two girls in different moments of their time spent together. I also included pattern at the top and bottom. When one lights a candle and puts it in the lantern, I creates a beautiful effect.
I had many difficulties and unsatisfactory attempts during this unit, however I feel that it has helped me realize that I need to
- Really take time to understand what it is that I want to convey
- Remember to think about color schemes
- Experiment a lot before the final piece
- Keep focused and motivated at all times.