Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hiatus, vacation, whatever you wanna call it

This is day 12 of my Christmas vacation from teaching and I have four left and I am so happy to report that (for the most part) I have actually been taking this time off for exactly what it was intended for - a much needed break from all of the workWorkWORK that I have been doing.

Come January when I'm back to work, I won't just be doing my usual of teaching and photography work but I'll also finally be starting graduate studies for a Masters in Arts of Teaching for secondary education (subject endorsement will be be studio art, of course).

For as much as I love teaching and art, I can't tell you I've been doing anything less than relishing this much needed sabbatical. I've been spending copious amounts of time with my sweet family despite the fact that we (and everyone it seems in this region) have been hit with horrible cases of pink eye and colds/coughs. Oh well.   It's never a bad thing when the doctors orders end up being for us to stay home and just take it easy for a change.

See you all in the New Year! Thanks for all of the hits to this blog that just keep on coming. I'll try and be fresh as a daisy with updated student work samples as well as lesson plans when I see you next in 2012! Take care and see you next year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lesson idea: Tilt-shift with Photoshop (Artwork) - Digital

These pieces are a continuation of the collective I started to show you when I introduced the lesson plan idea here.

The difference with the sampling of these images from the others is that these are not photographic and fall in the category of being more classically studio art. They are paintings and drawings/illustrations. It was both interesting and challenging for the students to render this type of work in tilt-shift as compared to the photographs because it really forced them to envision what the rendering might look like before they even applied it. In a lot of cases they had to start over with their renderings OR select new images of artwork because the tilt-shift effect didn't work as it needed to adhere to the classic style of tilt-shift stylings that utilized a linear gradient, and required a boost in saturation and contrast.

The students who were most successful with their finished pieces also ended up being students who have felt most challenged in previous projects that some of the more advanced students did really well while some of the advanced students struggled and produced pieces that weren't as well tilt-shifted.  I really like the idea of this project regardless of the way most of them turned out though because it draws in the fantastic idea (that sometimes exists of visual art) that a piece of art can be so compelling that you want to get right into it and surround yourself with it. One of my favorite movies ever is "What Dreams May Come" and this project as it applies to artwork rendered in tilt-shift style definitely indulges my own ideas of "what if" with regard to the idea of the movie.

WiPs: Junkmail portraits

I am in the process of culling finished student pieces of a recently finished lesson plan idea (for the Broken Window Painting) but here are some more images of my students working on their latest project that will be finished (hopefully!) the day before we break for Christmas vacation.

The project is called the Junkmail portrait and it's been one that has been mentally bookmarked in my swirl of ideas that I sometimes get from my blogroll. I originally saw featured on Craftzine and the artist who created them is Sandhi Schimmel. Obviously her works are incredibly impressive and indicative of years of experience and refined technique but I love taking inspiration from art/artists found via the interwebs because it forces my students to consider and sometimes become active fans and follow noteworthy artists of today. Years ago the 2D students did a take on this idea so I have some old student samples of collage portraits in a similar fashion but for this project I really just kind of showed them a handful of finished pieces of work, encouraged some light discussion about ways to go about it and then just pushed them in the direction to get started in whatever way they felt their piece needed.

Here are some of the beginnings of what I am certain will be some pretty remarkable student artwork samples...

I opted to let the students pick individuals of whomever they might like as a way of encouraging their greatest investment in their work from the get-go and also allowed them to try out transfer paper as a way of getting the layout and placement of the face/details of the face in the most accurate way possible. They've been free-hand drawing and thumbnailing for the whole semester and the transfer paper was a tool they have been excited to use as way to work "smarter not harder."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lesson idea: Tilt-shift with Photoshop - Digital

I've always been a fan of tilt-shift photography but never been able to able to execute it in actuality because of the expense of a real tilt-shift lens or even a lensbaby.  As with so many types of specialized visual art, it can be very cost prohibitive UNLESS you realize that you can skirt around the challenge if you only employ the wonder that is Photoshop.

This project idea is a bit of a back-pocket-shoot-from-the-hip type thing only because it's a bit of a quickie to do the rendering. I prefer doing projects that require at least a week's worth of class time but the tutorial (I used one found online) for the tilt-shifting can be done in less than a class period for two images at least.  The biggest challenge for the students has been picking an image that would be able to be tilt-shifted well enough. I didn't require them to use their own images and instead allowed them to use third party sources with the understanding that the integrity of this project was more within the creative process than the finished product despite the fact that the product is indeed "very cool" to look at.

The students were required to complete two sets of images  - one pair that is photographic in nature and the other pair that was of classic art media (painting, drawing, etc.)  My goal with this project was to inspire such enthusiasm and enjoyment for the creative process alone that they would do more than the requirements for a grade. I'm happy to report that this indeed has happened and many of them have done almost as many as ten renderings already with lots more momentum to keep doing more.

Here are some of the most well-done tilt-shift renderings that have been turned in thus far. They aren't required to turn in all of their work until next Tuesday so I will try to post more student pieces next week. (Please note: I do not have the sources for these images and they are of third party sources. The students do not claim these images for their own and if one of them belongs to you, I am more than happy to credit you for the image or remove it from being published here. Thank you!)

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