It’s not bad, to start where you are

Before I got into the Library Science program, I was an Art Student at a local Community College. Well — two Community Colleges, to be precise. On the advice of the employment agency I was working with, I stopped these classes to preserve my GPA before applying to the LIS program.

That…was a mistake. Had I been able to recognize how incredibly good the Art program was — particularly at one College, further from my home (let’s call it College B) — I may have opted to stay. But I saw no future in Art.

Graphite rendition of an upside-down Acorn Squash on a napkin.

After Withdrawing after my first semester in the LIS program (should the culture shock have been a warning?), I decided to go back to the Art programs at these Community Colleges. However, it seems that whoever was organizing the Degree programs at College B…were they still in charge? I never pursued the question. What I got when I went back, wasn’t the same as what I had experienced, the first time.

At College B, the first time around, the Art Department seemed actually to have been coordinated. They taught classes on Drawing through Painting, Ceramics. This is likely due to the fact that there are a lot of Art Schools in the area…and this Community College program, apparently, was nationally- and internationally-known (judging from the students in my classes).

Coordination means that some skills are foundational, and taught before other skills. It makes sense, then, to teach Drawing before Painting, and within Drawing, to teach monochrome before color. I left off of this program, just as we were beginning to break into the use of color, in Drawing. This included hard pastel used in tandem with charcoal and White Charcoal, Conté crayon, etc.

Consequently, even though I did take a class exclusively on color, I did it early enough that it was, in effect, out of sequence. I wasn’t meant to take it before or without taking a Painting class. Painting, in turn, would seem best approached in tandem with, or after, taking Drawing…but I did not seek advising at College B, so I’m not precisely sure of that latter point.

Even for someone who could not afford Art School — I could not, at the time, and at this moment it feels as though it would be an overly extravagant luxury — at least College B’s program was foundational. It was enough to get one of my friends into a local Art College (although, as always, finding ways to metamorphose Art skills into life-sustaining employment, especially given the extravagant costs of Art School and the risk of graduating in debt, is the real problem).

Also consequently: I never got to the point of knowing how to move from value studies (i.e., greyscale), to color. How to Paint Fast, Loose, and Bold: Simple Techniques for Expressive Painting, by Patti Mollica, goes over this, but…is one book, enough? (Maybe I should try working with the book before seeking another.) The gist of it seems to be that it doesn’t matter what color is used, so long as it’s the right value (degree of light or dark) — but I haven’t started seriously reading this book, yet.

The above, I drew last night. Because I didn’t have to worry about the light shifting (I worked this at night), I could take my time. I’m re-learning appreciation of graphite, as a medium: I used four pencils, from 2B to 8B, and a couple of stick erasers. For a while, I had withdrawn from powdery media (i.e. pastels, chalks, graphite, charcoal), in favor of inks — or other things that made direct marks, which couldn’t be erased.

For some reason, I didn’t put, “colored pencil,” into the latter category.

Anyhow…I can see that I have skill with pencil, even though I had wanted to move away from erasing. Granted, it is really nice to be able to erase! Also, when you get into the really soft leads — say, 8B to 10B — erasers don’t come into the equation as much, either. (That is, they don’t work.)

Now, I can work on trying to see what happens when I swap out a value for a hue + value pair…

One response to “It’s not bad, to start where you are”

%d bloggers like this: