Art 2 Final Portfolio

Which project was your most successful? Describe the theme and or topic and the process you went through to complete the project. Were the choices you made regarding material, size, technique, etc beneficial to enhancing this project. Please explain.
This is a portrait of one of my pet cats, Juneau.  The medium is pine needles, which were broken up and glued down piece by piece.  The idea was "Non-traditional portrait".  'What do I have tons of?'  I thought.  In my backyard, there are tons and tons of pine needles all over the place.  That's what was chosen.  Wouldn't run out of materials, at least.  My first plan was to use footprints to make a portrait of my father or my cat.  Footprints would have had to been on too large of a scale, so it had to be toned down.  There wasn't supposed to be a background, but had given more time the body might have appeared.  Pine needles are a great choice for a cat due to their fluffy fur.  Don't touch this, though.  It's spiky and may hurt.  The clustering of needles gave contrast.  Coupled with different directions the pine needles, the image of fur was enhanced.  I believe that all of the ideas tweaked in this project were helpful.

Discuss one project where you felt you overcame the most obstacles. What were those obstacles and how to work through them? Explain how taking risks or challenging yourself made you a better artist.
The theme for this piece is "Sticky Situation".  Most people were doing candy or food-related issues, so I didn't want to go that way.  Taking it from a more literal approach; a pencil with two tips and no eraser.  Someone  walking down steps and encountering a tack.  It took a really long time to measure out the railing and decide on which colors should be used.  That ended up with a quick glance at a reference picture for the staircase and Mrs. Rossi's help on the colors.  I wanted the legs and the tack to be emphasized, but you can't really see the tack at first glance.  Taking a quick glance at the color wheel, blue and orange are complimentary colors, so I maybe should have done an orange tack and a red staircase.  Working with foreground and background was a new encounter in painting to me, and proved to be a little difficult.  There were definitely mistakes there.  Anatomy is not a strong point of mine either so the legs are not picture perfect.  A lot of editing was done on the contrast.  The balusters (brown) were lacking shading and brightness originally, and the tack not visible.  The orange part of the banister had a lot of renditions as it's color did not work well with the others.

Look at your body of work over the semester and choose 2 pieces that show your growth as an artist. Discuss each piece and how you grew in the following areas: application of materials, techniques and skills, artistic vision, use of the principles and elements, creativity, intuition and subject matter.  
The theme is "What's the point".  Migration for birds, all pointing the same direction.  This is the first piece I created in Visual Art 2.  The medium was pencil, and that was used fairly well..  To an extent.  The best contrast in this picture is in the feathers and the foreground hand.  The contour lines in this are not very good, and I have to admit that I got sick of drawing hands.  I'm not exactly asking what the point of migration is, just..  It was a more abstract idea.  The main focus in this were the two front birds and that one hand.  The background parts were not worked on as well as the front ones were, so the components don't add up very well.  It's mismatched, but the creativeness of it is high.
The theme is "Fears and Phobias".  Snakes in general.  This is the last piece I created in Visual Art 2.  The medium was a book and an X-acto blade.  The contrast in this piece would've been the grass to the snake, sun, tree and background sky.  Perspective of this is from the front, with the snake slithering up.  There are a ton of layers on the middle ground - the body of the snake - and you can see how the body lies easily.  The anatomy is better in this piece than the "What's the Point" creation.  I believe this has better design.  Everything is easier to understand, and this almost "pops" at you, though that's the premise of making book art..  It really would be simpler to compare two pencil art pieces.  There is expansion in the thought process of the pieces and the general art.  The snake artwork appears to be more organic and has flow.  I'm not very experienced in flow, but this piece fits together well, and I enjoy it.  Improvement between the two of these creations is not very wide, but it's there.

This semester we introduced a new way of teaching and learning. Students had choices in subject matter and materials. Explain your thoughts on how effective this was (or if it was not) to your learning experience in this course. Provide examples through your art projects so we can see evidence of your learning.

I felt like a child dropped into the deep end of a pool for the first time.  You have the general feel of things, but not the rules you are used to.  The contrast between these two moments is shocking and takes a bit for you to either adjust, or fail.  Possibly fail then adjust.  This is a good method for some people, but not so much for others.  I think it worked nicely for me.
"What's the Point"
 I like this piece and spent a long time on it, however, the foreground is the only good thing to look at (being the focal point) in my opinion.  The background is sloppy and there was not as much effort put into it.  There is too much negative space in this, which was covered by hasty scribbling.  The idea was rather vague, and if there was more emphasis, it would look much better. 
"Up Close and Personal"
Some shading would have been nice.  Or, at least, more defined shading.  The fur on the rabbit is very nice (although it is not as visible in this picture). The ground at the front was an attempt at crosshatching.  The effort on every part of the picture seems to have stayed about the same, if not a little better.  However, the angle of the light on the eggs doesn't match up very well to their shadows.  It was supposed to be an Easter Bunny concept.
"Sticky Situation"
The shading is improving, along with perspective and the different grounds (foreground, middle ground, background).  In this picture the contrast and use of different colors makes it look nice.  If you don't know what it's supposed to be, you might think it's something else...  I've been told the balusters look somewhat like trees.  I can't deny it.  This picture doesn't show a clear plan of what's happening, but it's more vibrant and flowing than the others so far.
"Non-Traditional Portrait"
This needed a lot of effort.  Breaking up every pine needle and gluing the tiny pieces to the paper.  Even so, it came out looking very good.  The contrast is shown just by grouping and spacing out the needles, and at the same time it doubles as fur.   On the muzzle it could use a little fixing.
"Amusement"  + Mixed Media
Lacking in some aspects of the mixed media.  You can't see where some of it is.  The mediums are; pen, watercolor pencils, photo transferring, and tissue paper.  There was supposed to be fabric for some of the toys, but that risk was not taken.  Mixed media is not my strong suit.  The background coloring is sloppy, but the polka dots are worse.  The smearing couldn't have been avoided, and it looks kind of good this way.  Had the cat actually been holding the fabric toy I had designed, it might not look as open..  I regret not taking the chance.  Having gone through the thought process many times now, it has a feel of being better or making more sense.  Cats playing with toys?  Funny.  The color yellow and dots are also happy things.
"Fears and Phobias" + Book Art
This has very good contouring and balance.  The negative space in the top left would be cancelled out by the tree meant to be there (given the chance to cut it out more), and along with painting, it would look superb.  Even though it is unfinished, this very well might be the piece I like the best.  Progression between my pieces is easier to see in this chain of them, and it is great.

In the end, everyone learns a valuable lesson from encountering new things.  All of us came out better than we started.  This method works, and it works well. 

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