Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Finish: A Vision Grid

Our last assignment for Claudine’s Composition Workshop was to construct a collage in the grid format. I’ve never done this before because creating each section to work on its own as well as in the overall group is a big challenge. It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, a pastime I’ve never had much patience with, I’m afraid (although gluing individual jigsaw pieces to something is always fun).
I’m sure that an artist with a more spontaneous temperament than mine would find this project easier to do, and when you think about it: what does it really matter if the sections don’t work well as a group? I finally got to this point after being overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The plus of Photoshop is also its minus …you can keep undoing and altering until you’re in the it-will-never-be-finished zone. Of course that’s the advantage of an assignment. You feel you must complete it no matter how it turns out. If there hadn’t been a deadline, I would have deep-sixed this project a few hours in. As it is, I don’t know how much I learned but at least I know that I’m capable of producing something complicated if I have to.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 3: A Vignette Composition

One of the things I’ve appreciated about taking Claudine Hellmuth’s online class is the opportunity to think about what I’m doing creativity. Most of the time I don’t analyze what I make as I go along, but when you gain some new tools (or refresh what you already know), it makes it easier to solve the problems that come up.
Perhaps this is an unromantic way to view making art, but I do believe that much of the process is about problem solving. Because you have a gut feeling you want things a certain way, it’s all about experimenting until you get things “right” …in other words, until you achieve something that allows you to move on.*
I played a lot with this composition in Photoshop. It’s the first time I’ve consciously tried to make a vignette (usually it just evolves), and I liked the challenge of having boundaries and trying to do as much as I could within them. Of course the beauty of Photoshop is that you can keep doing and undoing to your heart’s content, although I had promised myself that I would use some of my collage stash to do at least one of Claudine’s projects. Oh well, maybe next time…

*It’s not so much that you want things to look a certain way, you’re after a certain feeling which you might not understand until you actually start working on a piece—and then when you get it, you get it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Week 2: Composition with Claudine

Our challenge this week was to experiment with the horizon line. If you go to Sharon Ginzberg’s blog you can see her hands-on approach to the assignment, which I think works really well.
I decided to stick with Photoshop myself, and even though I liked what I did, I got off track pretty quickly. For some reason, when I’m working on an assignment, I usually forget why I signed up for the class in the first place. But I had fun with it.
The game piece is from a handout Claudine included with the lesson, and the digital scrapbooking paper is from a line Christina Lazar Schuler designed a few years ago. As for the hat and diagram background, I used some images from my own line of digital stamps.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Claudine & Composition

I’m glad I signed up for Claudine Hellmuth’s new online class: Composition for Collage. It’s not only helping me to take my mind off losing Lily while I’m doing it, but I’m also gaining some much needed focus.
Both Martha and Marissa have written on their blogs about how they enjoy online classes, so I’ve been wanting to experience one myself. I thought I’d start with Claudine’s because I’ve taken a couple of real time classes with her, and she always gives you 100 per cent, plus you come away a better artist. One of the things I admire about Claudine’s work is her sense of composition, and it’s great the way she explains how she makes decisions regarding the placement of her picture elements.
Our first assignment was Asymmetry (see above), which I did in Photoshop using (mainly) elements that Claudine provides as part of the class materials. I was surprised how challenging this was and how much I learned. Because I worked for years as a layout artist, composition isn’t usually a challenge for me. However, I do think that a large part of creativity is self-correcting in order to make your work better, and I really appreciate the tools and vocabulary Claudine is giving us to do just this that.
P.S. I think today is the last day to sign up if you’d like to.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

My Fair Lily: 1995 to 2011

I know there must be worse things than losing your beloved dog, but right now I can’t imagine what those things could be.
On Tuesday afternoon I got a bad feeling about Lily, so I left work early and rushed home. When I looked through the door I saw her lying there waiting for me. Her eyes were open and she looked very relaxed, but I knew immediately that she had passed away. Her little body was still warm and I tried to revive her, but it was too late.
Even though I am grateful that we had her love, joy and companionship for fifteen and a half years, there’s a hole in my heart that keeps filling up with tears. Goodbye sweet girl. Your joy and innocence will always be with us.