Drawing Experiment: Layered Drawings

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by Clara Lieu

This afternoon was an extremely rare event for me:  6 continuous hours of uninterrupted time in the studio. I worked on a second drawing, knowing that my plan would be to layer this new drawing on top of the drawing I did previously.

The hardest part of working on this second drawing (see below) is that I knew that the vast majority of work I did on it would eventually be ripped to shreds. It can be painful to throw out work that you spent a lot of time on, but I strongly believe that being too precious about your artwork can be a severe limitation in your progress. Especially in an early stage in a project, it’s critical to be able to throw things out.  You never know what you might gain in the process.

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I can see that my marks with the woodless pencil are becoming much less picky and more confident. I’ve never really used woodless pencils this intensively before, but I can tell that my strokes are bolder now. Even my physical movements when I’m drawing feel much more efficient and assertive.  I think part of this is gaining familiarity with this tool, but also I’m feel a lot less rusty now that I’ve been drawing for a few weeks.

 

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Once I finished the second drawing, I placed it on top of the first drawing. (see above) Placing these two drawings together was really surprising.  I started seeing the drawings as three-dimensional sculptures and thinking about how they balanced with each other. I had some major structural problems with the top drawing nearly falling to pieces, so I started using Scotch tape on the back of the drawings to make sure they didn’t rip in important points.

I actually ended up using lots of Scotch tape throughout the entire piece.  It occurred to me that it wouldn’t be practical if the piece had to be re-constructed every time I wanted to hang it up on a wall. So I put Scotch tape to attach the two drawings together at key points, so that the piece would be able to hold it’s shape.

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I really enjoyed the entire process, because there were two layers of tissue paper, I was able to make the piece much more sculptural.  Looking at the final piece, (see above) I do think that the two drawings are fighting each other quite a bit, and that they look too similar.  I realized a better way to balance the drawings would be to have one drawing be more dark and concrete, and for the other to be lighter and more ethereal. When I created the two drawings, I thought about them as separate entities, which is why they ultimately didn’t work together very well.

Still, this was a really exciting experiment. In the next sketch, I’m going to try making one drawing visibly darker and more concrete, while the other drawing will be much lighter and more ethereal.  Hopefully that advance thinking on the construction of the piece will allow for a more effective relationship between the two drawings.

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Related Articles
My Poisonous Checklist
One Simple Purpose
A Burst of Artistic Inspiration for the First Time in 2 Years
Anticipating a New Drawing Project
Drawing Again After a Two Year Drought
Drawing Experiments
Teaching Through My Artwork


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Teaching Through My Artwork

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by Clara Lieu

Even though I started this new series of drawings just 2 weeks ago, I can already see that my drawing style has changed quite a bit since the first drawing. These beginning stages of a project are always quite exhilarating because the progress feels so fast and immediate.  I’m not committed to anything at this point in the project, so there’s no pressure to produce to achieve specific results.

My drawing materials have stayed the same since I started this series:  graphite powder, woodless pencils, drawing pencils, eraser stick, and kneaded eraser.  In this recent drawing experiment, (see below) the plan is to create 2 or 3 drawings and layer them on top of each other. I’ll tear each drawing so that the drawing underneath will be visible through the rips of the drawing on top. I’m anticipating that with the multiple layers of drawings, the image will likely be too busy. However, at this point, I’ll learn more when I do too much.  Scaling back and removing things is always much easier than having to reinvent new aspects every time.

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I’ve continued shooting 1 minute process videos which I’ve been posting on my Instagram. (the longer versions I post on the Art Prof Youtube channel.) Usually when I’m teaching in a classroom, I intentionally don’t discuss my personal artwork with my students. I don’t want students to think that I want them to make artwork that looks like mine, or for them to think that I prefer artwork that looks a certain way. (In fact, sometimes I’m more likely to like a piece when it’s not at all similar to my own artwork.  Sometimes it’s the artworks that are so completely different from mine that I’m most attracted to, simply because I can’t wrap my head around making work like that) Instead, I wait until the last day of class to do a slideshow about my work.  At that point, the students know me well enough that I feel comfortable discussing my own work with them.

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Recently though, I’ve been thinking about how teaching online is a completely different story.  The context is not remotely the same as an academic classroom in a degree program.  I have no control over how people will find my work, or in what order they will see my content in. I had never considered this, but perhaps the way I need to approach teaching online is through both 1) teaching tutorials, and 2) process videos of my own artwork.

When I think about it, these 2 types of videos really have the potential to complement each other well. One of my inherent concerns with the teaching tutorials is that the demo piece that is created in the tutorial tends to have a more generic look. In a teaching tutorial, I’m trying to show universal skills that are applicable across the board to all artists, so I purposely try to leave out my own drawing style. The process videos of my own artwork show a level of specificity and focus that the teaching tutorials will never have. On the other hand, the process videos show techniques that won’t be relevant to everyone because of how specific they are, and many fundamentals aren’t addressed.  The teaching tutorials really do provide the core basics, which everyone studying visual arts needs to know.

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I like this idea of pairing the teaching tutorials and the process videos of my artwork to teach online.  I can imagine that in areas where one format is insufficient, the other can fill in the blanks.  I have always thought of my studio practice as being related to my teaching.  However, this is the first time that I have ever thought about my studio practice as being a literal teaching tool. Not sure whether this pairing will work out, but I’m excited about this new initiative, and willing to give it a shot.


Related Articles
My Poisonous Checklist
One Simple Purpose
A Burst of Artistic Inspiration for the First Time in 2 Years
Anticipating a New Drawing Project
Drawing Again After a Two Year Drought
Drawing Experiments


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Professional Artist Portfolio Critique #2

Video critique of professional artist Traci Turner’s portfolio


by Clara Lieu

Many people think that being an artist is only about creating the artwork.  Actually, there are several other aspects of being an artist that can carry almost as much weight. Critique is a huge part of the creative process for artists.  The opportunity to get advice on your artwork is critical towards an artist’s growth and progress. Inherently, all artists are stuck in their own heads when they produce their artwork. No artist ever gets to a point where they no longer need feedback on their artwork.  For this reason, it’s impossible to see your work objectively, which is why it’s so important to get a fresh set of eyes to look at your work and evaluate where it’s going.

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Even though I’ve logged over a decade as a professional artist, I still have to take initiative to seek out my artist friends and colleagues to critique my work. Frequently, they’ll point out some aspect of the work that I hadn’t even thought of, or was super obvious to them, but that I was oblivious to.

Unfortunately, unless you are enrolled in a studio art degree program, there are very few opportunities to get trusted, professional feedback on your artwork.  From my research, I’ve seen that there is a lot of content on Youtube about people talking about how to speak at a critique, and describing how a critique works, but the problem with this approach is that it only goes so far. Ultimately, one needs to see a critique to truly understand what a critique entails. If someone explained to you verbally how soccer was played, you would understand technically what the game involves.  However, until you actually got on a soccer field and physically kicked a ball yourself in a real soccer game, your understanding of soccer would remain superficial.

Student Artwork, Drawing Foundations, Clara Lieu, RISD Pre-College

Group critique at RISD Pre-College


Currently, there is almost no content online which shows an actual art critique.The content that I did find was either completely out of context, or so poorly put together that it was basically useless. The other places I’ve seen art critiques is in online forums, but the problem with this context is that 1) the critiques are typed which is inefficient and not as impactful, and 2) the feedback is coming from sources you can’t necessarily trust and 3) people rarely want to critique the artwork of others-the vast majority of these forums are flooded with artists begging for a critique, but no one is responding.

This is why here at Art Prof one of our initiatives as an educational platform is to show audio and video critiques of artwork submitted by you, our audience. Sometimes artists will think that a critique is only useful if it’s their work being reviewed.  On the contrary, my students at RISD are always commenting how much they learn and gain from watching and listening to a critique of another student’s artwork.  In some ways, it can be easier to watch someone else’s critique because you’re removed from the process and can see the critique more objectively.

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Painting by Traci Turner

Above you can see a portfolio critique I did for professional artist Traci Turner.  Stayed tuned for more critiques!  Prior to our launch, we’ll continue releasing Crit Quickies, 4 Artist Critiques, Interactive Video Critiques, Art School Admissions Portfolio Critiques, and Professional Artist Portfolio Critiques. Get more information about our critiques and how to submit your artwork here.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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RISD Pre-College, Drawing Foundations course, Summer 2016

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Clara Lieu teaching her Drawing Foundations course at the RISD Pre-College Program


by Clara Lieu

RISD Pre-College ended a week and a half ago, and already, the program feels so far away. Teaching RISD Pre-College is like stepping into a time warp which exists in a different universe than the rest of my life.  During the school year, I generally teach at RISD only 1-2 days a week, whereas for RISD Pre-College I teach studio classes 5 days a week. The schedule is really intense, especially since I commute 1 hour each way from Boston, but I always find the program to be incredibly rewarding.  I attended RISD Pre-College in 1993, and it was a life changing experience that still continues to impact my life today.  You wouldn’t think that a 6 week program could affect your life so deeply, but the intensity of the experience and tremendous growth one experiences is simply remarkable.

Now that I’m a teacher, I experience the program from a completely different point of view: the 6 week length of the program is challenging because it’s so short compared to a usual college semester. For each Pre-College studio class, I only see each class six times, which is nowhere near enough time to truly master any technique. (during the school year, I see students for 12 times-double the length of a Pre-College course) Since I know there are limits to what I can teach in just six weeks, I focus my efforts on getting students to grasp fundamental ideas that they can then further apply in any future context. I remind students that they have the rest of their lives to learn how to handle a brush well, and that ultimately, what I’m most concerned about is to teach them how to think about their artwork.

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Most students who attend RISD Pre-College are not prepared for the rigorous work load and the mental challenges that come with brainstorming and thinking through the complex stages of each project. It’s a huge adjustment during the first few weeks which is tough for everyone. However, in the third and fourth week, you begin to see some fundamental concepts start to really sink in.  By the last week, it’s amazing to see those concepts take root in the students’minds and flourish.

Speaking to one of the students the last week, they told me that the most important lesson they learned at Pre-College was that every action they take in their artwork should have intent. This student explained to me that before coming to Pre-College, they never took the time to think the art making process as being a series of deliberate decisions.  Generally speaking, they didn’t think at all while creating their artwork, it was almost a mindless technical exercise. Most of the process was random and had no specific motivation or rationale behind it. Knowing that this student grasped this concept, I knew I had done my job.

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The close bonds I develop with my classes and students is very poignant. The first week of class, you are complete strangers who work quietly in the same room.  The last day of class, you’re hugging, laughing hysterically, taking silly selfies, drooling over hot celebrities together, and bawling your eyes out.  The emotions as just as intense for me as they are for the students. I have never found it easy to say goodbye the last week.  As a teacher, I feel that I am just starting to really know the students in that 6th week, and then all of the sudden, we’re gone. We leave campus and return to our “normal” lives.

Thank you 2016 RISD Pre-College students, for keeping my life exciting and fun, and for inspiring me with your tremendous passion and energy!  I miss all of you and will treasure those precious weeks we spent going to hell and back together.

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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New Video Critique: Art School Admissions Portfolio by Rachel He

For those you applying to art school or college this year, this new video critique of Rachel He’s portfolio for college admission will be a useful resource! Preparing a portfolio for art school or college admission is a huge undertaking, and it’s really helpful to see another student’s portfolio and hear constructive comments on their pieces. We are frequently amazed that many high school students have little help, or are completely on their own when preparing their portfolios,  so these video critiques are one way to get help. Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing your college portfolio, it’s a time consuming task that can take months to complete, start now!

Below are more resources on our blog that will help you with the college admissions process.  For more information on how to purchase a 30 min. video critique on 8-20 artworks from RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu, click here.

Playlist of video critiques of college admissions portfolios
“Ask the Art Prof: What should you include in an art portfolio for art school or college?”
“Ask the Art Prof: What are common mistakes in college portfolio submissions?”


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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THANK YOU for Your Support!


THANK YOU to all our incredible supporters from Art Prof for helping us reach our $30k goal on Kickstarter!! I was so excited that I actually DANCED on video. (although, I think I am going to seriously regret this later…) You know your work is meaningful when you are willing to subject yourself to endless humiliation on behalf of your project.

Building a project like Art Prof from scratch truly takes a village. Art Prof would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the scores of people who posted, tweeted, and spoke about Art Prof on our behalf during our campaign.  What truly took me by surprise was the many people, some of whom I have never met before in person, and several who I barely knew at the time, who went out of their way to help us.  Here are some comments from our audience:


“I’m an art teacher working in Argentina and I find your videos and posts really useful. I’m so glad I’ve found your site. I love learning from other teachers, and you’ve become my new (far away) teacher. “

“Clara, this audio critique was great for someone like me — I’m not in school and I haven’t really found a way to get thoughtful input on my art. And mostly when I’ve found someone who I trust to give input, it’s been about the actual painting process — while much of the input here was about concepts. So that was new/surprising/interesting to me. Many of the critique comments highlight things I hadn’t explicitly thought about, so I am excited that pursuing these ideas may lead me to some interesting development. Thanks to all four of you!”

“I just wanted to thank you for the resources that you have created and put online. Since graduating from college, I have had a hard time making art. A year ago, I stumbled upon your blog and it has encouraged me to start make work again. It has been incredibly helpful to me to read and hear the questions of other young artists.”

“You are like my guru. I can’t wait to use your awesome Crit Quickies as class starter discussions in my AP Studio Art classes in the fall. Thank you for continuing to post it’s keeping my interest levels high during summer break so that I can build an even stronger program next school year!”

Artist Monika Hedman

Coming soon: Interactive video critiques with student Monika Hedman


Preparing for our launch is going to take a few months, but we will continue to generate new content in the months prior to our launch.  Give us a few more days to recharge our batteries, and keep an eye out for brand new Crit Quickies on our Instagram, interactive video critiques, and an upcoming gesture drawing tutorial!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email

Art Prof LIVES!!!!

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I had no idea when I wrote a blog post back in October 2014 about an idea that floated through my head for a few minutes that I would be here today. Our Kickstarter campaign was a real nail biter…. but we hit our goal this morning!!!

I am overwhelmed with the phenomenal support and enthusiasm that my partner Thomas Lerra and I, and our extraordinary staff of Teaching Assistants and Interns experienced over the past several weeks. We were all blown away by the amazing support we received from people from all different parts of our lives, it was truly incredible to see the way people came out to support us.  I was surprised by the large number of people who I have never met in person before, or people who I barely knew, but who went out of their way to help us! Running a campaign like this was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, (this coming from someone who usually salivates at the idea of a challenge)  but with the outcome we had, I have renewed faith in the universe. Knowing how intensely skeptical I generally am about everything, that says a lot.

It will take me many hours at my laptop to properly thank everyone who helped us, and that will all come over the next few weeks.  For now, I have to express my immense gratitude to my exceptional staff, who are seriously my favorite group of people I have ever worked with.


Interns

Anna   Makoto   Annelise   Enrico   Julia
crit_Vuthy   Tatiana Florival, Intern   Olivia Hunter, Intern   Jordan McCracken-Foster, Intern   Janice
Julia Orenstein • Vuthy LayTatiana Florival
Anna Campbell• Makoto Kumasaka• Annelise Yee• Enrico Giori

Olivia HunterJordan McCracken-Foster Janice Chun

I would like to thank all of our Interns, who joined Art Prof this summer by basically diving into an ocean in the pitch dark, (metaphorically) who bailed me out when there were more than a few fires to put out, who pointed out every stupid mistake I made, (of which there were many) who inspired me with their innovative ideas, and who made me feel way older than I would like to feel by explaining to me how Snapchat worked.


Teaching Assistants

square_Sara   square_Casey   square_Anniesquare_Lauryn   square_yves   square_Alex
Sara BloemCasey Roonan  •  Annie Irwin
Lauryn Welch •  Yves-Olivier Mandereau  •  Alex Rowe

When I first contacted our Teaching Assistants over a year ago, I am sure that they had absolutely no idea what they were getting into when they said yes to my email-I didn’t either at the time. Thank goodness they were all crazy enough to jump on board, or Art Prof would not be what it is today. I had no idea what a tremendous role the TAs would play a year ago, but as Art Prof grew, I realized more and more how critical the TAs were to Art Prof.  Example: I KNOW I am not the reason someone told me recently that Art Prof looks so “youthful.”

Beyond looks though, I am completely floored by the unwavering commitment of our TAs. Their enthusiasm, energy, and drive truly gave Art Prof the electrifying fuel we needed to take off.  The TAs brought diverse voices and opinions to the table.  We discussed everything from the most minute concern to the deepest fundamental premise of Art Prof. They were just as good at discussing what precise shade of yellow the top menu bar on the prototype should be, to talking about fundamental philosophical questions concerning Art Prof’s mission and goals. The TAs put up with my constant questioning, pushing, and yes, my occasional whining (okay, maybe it was more than occasional) with a smile and warmth. The balance of camaraderie, seriousness, motivation, sense of humor, and sarcasm (a requirement if you want to work with me) is one I believe will never exist anywhere else, at any other time.

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Thomas Lerra

I am still in utter disbelief that I ever found Thomas Lerra, my partner in crime. It took three degrees of separation and many months of searching and waiting in agony for me to find him, but boy, was it worth the wait. I like to joke that Tom and I were “dating” for several months before we made Art Prof official.  In our early meetings that go all the way back to February 2015, I kept thinking after every meeting, that our meeting that day would be our last.  But it never was, and so here we are today, jumping off the cliff every day with each other.

I hear many people talk big about taking risks, but so few actually take concrete actions to make things happen.   Tom is one of the rare people I know who really does relish experimentation and risk, and I love the dynamic quality of our conversations, where we push and pull together at the task at hand. Having been micro-managed in the past by more than a few people at various jobs, I cannot express how immensely appreciative of I am of Tom’s trust in me as a teacher and professional. I know how lucky I am!  If it weren’t for Tom, Art Prof would not exist.

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Alex Hart

Finally, there is one person who has logged more uncredited hours on Art Prof than probably anyone else in the history of video production.  My husband, Alex Hart, who was always hidden behind the scenes, where his labor was seen by none.  Alex saw the bloodiest side of Art Prof, that I never let anyone else see.

Alex was there at 3am when I was panicking because I couldn’t figure out how to do the sound mix in Premiere.  He threw together a film shoot on 2 weeks notice to create my “audition” tape to show Tom. He sat patiently and watched me fall on my face left and right trying to learn Premiere. He fixed tiny glitches in the prototype. He scrounged up equipment, consulted on every piece of hardware and supply I needed for video shoots. He has been practically a single parent for the past 2 months; and altered his schedule on a moment’s notice on several occasions when video shoots ran far past when they should have.  (there’s even a story of him forgetting that he didn’t have a car, and ended up strapping 2 kids’ bikes to his bike and then rode a mile like that to my kids’ school) He was there to calm me down when I had meltdowns, when I was convinced that Art Prof was going nowhere, and when I needed to vent for hours on end.  Through all of that, Alex kept telling me that he believed in me.

All of this, which for most people would be grounds for divorce within 48 hours.  And hardly a single complaint the whole time through. Thank you Alex, for believing in us.

I’ll leave you with our second preview video, which I will admit makes me just a little choked up every time I watch it.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email