Sunday, February 3, 2013

to begin with the end

so last week i got my pinhole camera pictures done! super happy with my prints and so was the professor. she also made us make up the 'rules of engagement' for grades and class critiques. one of the punishments we came up with "miss a critique, you do one on your own the next class and must bring in a snack to share".. our professor liked that. one of my friends from last semster's class looked at me and said "don't be offended, but i hope you miss one... your food is awesome". no offense taken!! but really, all she had of my 'food' is rice krispie treats and cake.

but here is my problem. i need to order my supplies and i still don't have my refund. i checked the website that would tell me what i owe or get back.... it says what my refund will be, which means the grants came through and it's only a matter of days that i get my refund (i hope). my supply list isn't very long, but the professor said "those are minimums for the amount of film". DANG! well, my friend just might get her wish and i'll miss a critique. thank heavens we won't have them every week like in the intro class.

my art-lecture class was fine. i thought we were going to have a 'slide quiz' on monday so i really studied for it. turns out the test was wednesday. for the quiz, the professor shows us ten slides... we have to give two facts about the piece she is showing us. if all we knew was the title and the artist, BAM! there's our two facts. if we didn't know them... any fact that we discussed about the piece would do. for example: in the marriage of arnoldfini... what's the significance of the one lite candle, or the dog, or why they are not wearing any shoes. stuff like that. i knew the title of all and the artist name for all but 1. but for good measure, on the off change i got one of them wrong, i threw in a third fact for each.

we also had another paper to write. this time it was on our favorite color. we had to tell how it was made, why it was significant, why an artist chose that specific color for a piece of work... lots of stuff. i chose blue, i found a ton of info on it. did you know, at one point, to get the color... you would have to saok the leaves of the woad plant in human urine for three days? ICK! and not just any urine, but that from men who have been drinking alcohol! ya know, i think i'll send crayola a thank you card for making it possible to get our colors without the work. i'll keep ya posted on my grade, cause as of today, still lacking the grades for those things.

soooooo, hot professors class is slowly becoming my least favorite. had i known all the drawing that was gonna be done.... i would have totally skipped out. well, too late now to drop it. so here is what i turned in for our project two:

 up close of my sneaker, cut paper (pain in the a--), watercolor pencils.

my professor liked this one better "texture is there, we know what it is, and we always see a stop sign with running shoes..." i don't! i used the treadmill.... not stop sign present. ANYWHO
he would have liked this one more if the colors were more vivid (just used the watercolor pencils).... or in other words... done with cut paper like the other. if i had a bit more time (aka, not procrastinated) and had more patience (i really wanted to curse out loud for the difficulties i was having with the other)... i would have. i might still later.

so this next project has us taking pictures of animals and simplifying them. think of sports teams logos, or the WWF logo with the panda... stuff like that. again.... I CAN'T DRAW, at least very well. so i went with three that i think i can do. i chose a peacock, two elephants together, and a white tiger. since the finals have to be in black and white, how hard could the tiger be, right? well, the prof seems to think it will be difficult. i got the peacock done in class and just now finished the elephants. i had to trace them because i was just having a hard time getting the lines right. and since i don't have a working black ink felt pen or sharpie... i used charcoal. not exactly the same effect, but i gotta make do with what i have until that refund comes through. i'll probably have to trace the tiger....  scratch that. i KNOW i will have to trace the tiger. i'll post them when i get all three done.

phew.... still with me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

couldn't wait

so you know i made that pinhole camera.... well today was a photo work day. YEA!! i got a few (well, two) prints done and thought it was amazing! i was afraid it would turn out since the sun decided to play peek-a-boo in the clouds.... without much 'peek'. when i took the first photo and brought it in to develop the 'negative', i have to admit a little surprise curse came out my mouth. sorry, but it was just so shocking that it worked. i had to go get another!!! thank heavens the temperature wasn't so cold, that exposure time was a very long minute and a half (for both). the second picture, i went to the little creek by the photo building. i set the camera on my knee (not wise) so it's more blurry than i wanted it to be, but it came out too. i waited for the prints to dry and then made the positive prints from them. so amazing!! mostly cause i sandwiched the prints together (print side to blank side) and exposed the printed negative from behind. if this makes no sense to you, sorry.... one day you could come with me to the lab and see it all done. so here are my pinhole prints

negative.... i think i like it better
 positive! this is the entrance to the baseball fields. i love the 'fish-eye' look that the rounded canister gives the photos.
 positive. this is the creek by the building. i know, you can't really tell because of the blur and fish-eye.. i still like it. i may just stick with pinhole stuff for my final project. (i know, fourth week in and i'm already thinkin final)

i did make prints of my nighttime rolls. only three were worth the time. but i'm only putting up the two i like the most.

got up close to a tree with a million lights. turned the speed down to 'bulb', held the camera still for a few seconds, then moved it around.... i kinda like it.
 i liked the effect of the reflecting pool with the lights, so i took a few pictures. this is the only one to turn out, and it's a bit dark. i still like it. how cool would this be in color! next semester i'm doing digital, for sure hitting the temple up at christmas time!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

week 3 recap

what an odd week! i didn't have my one class thursday of last week because my professor lives in richmond (2 hour drive) and with the threat of snow... he didn't want to be stuck here. did we get the snow, NO! oh well. monday was a holiday, so no classes for me or the kids. i think my mom enjoyed her 4 day break from my kids. so the rest of the week i had my classes as usual and the kids got a snow day thursday and came home early friday (we barely got a dusting of the stuff).

photography was fun. not because i took awesome pictures, but because i made a camera! yes! you heard me!! it's not hard at all, my dad even said "we did that with the cub scouts"... scuse me for being behind the times. anyways, wednesday i got to class early enough that i made a contact sheet of my photos taken over the break.... soooooo not happy that they are so dark. but, it was night time photography and i haven't mastered that at all. there are a few potentials. when i get more photo paper i just might print them.

so on to the camera. super easy! but it did take us almost the entire class period to make them. thank heavens my mom had a canister that i could use, the soda can wasn't hard to come by (thank you grandma jones for the mt dew).... what?! you didn't know that you could use an ordinary (but light tight) canister and a soda can...? why yes, yes you can! let me show you

 my container... wasn't totally light tight, i needed to put black electrical tape all over the lid. i also painted the inside black, didn't have to be perfect, but mostly covered.

see that black tape? i wasn't covering up vital nutritional info, that tape is my 'shutter'. i cut a hole in the side for my 'lens' so peek through.

and here is where the soda can comes in. you make the tiniest hole possible in the can, then place it in the larger container, glue/tape it down and you have your lens. you can't see it, but the arrow is pointing to it. the smaller the hole, the sharper your image. all i gotta do is put my photo paper in the container (in the darkroom of course) then go out where it's sunny, and then 'take a picture'.

i was hoping to make some pictures this weekend... didn't happen. i need paper, money is a bit tight and i had all the kids with me. i think monday will be a work day for us anyways... i'll show ya what i come up with.

so my easy-a art class.... i got a b on my first paper. a page on a controversial artist. my professor's comments explained that i didn't really write enough on why he was so controversial (i chose paul mccarthy). i'm ok with that. if i want i could rewrite the paper... don't think so. i really don't like the guy and don't want to get in too deep with his nasty stuff. we have a new assignment to write about a color. i'm choosing blue, my favorite, and have begun the research. due friday, so i have time... and it's only a one page piece again.

design class! so our first big assignment was to draw an object 52 times in black and white, then another 52 times in color. well, because we missed a class, i wasn't aware until after all 104 drawings were done that i didn't chose a good enough object. i decided to draw my necklace.... i get his reasoning behind why he didn't like what i did. he said "i appreciate your effort"... which in art terms means "uhhh, try again". so i decided to draw my sneaker... he was fine with that. thankfully, i didn't have to draw it 104 times, this time only 6. (this all is an example of think-tank type work... lots of ideas, then you pick the best of those and work on them some more, then you pick the best one of the last pick and run with it). i really liked my stuff and found it to be much easier to find different ways of seeing my shoe. now i need to pick one (but i'm gonna do two) and really refine it and make it a final. i hit my mom's craft stash for papers of various colors and patterns.... when i finish, i'll let ya know what the professor thinks.

not a great artist... but i really liked some of these. if i could have done them in charcoal as a final... woo-hoo!
 i think i just was trying to get the project done, so i didn't really enhance or change anything (like the prof was hoping). really didn't like theses in color... in a way (very small way) i'm glad he wasn't a fan of the work.
top left and middle right are the ones i will be finalizing. i like all but the middle left and bottom right... wasn't feelin them. but i needed 6 drawings. the top left reminds me of roads though the apple orchards at a distance; the middle right is like a city seen from above....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a new semester

sooo... my first two weeks of classes have been the most uneventful ever! maybe it's because i'm used to everything, nothing really seems new... except for the fact that two of my classes take place in the old hospital. JMU bought the old place a few years ago, i think last semester was the first time it was in use. it is really weird for me to walk around in there... instead of nurses stations and patients rooms... lounge areas and offices or classrooms. some offices are just sad... no windows.

anyways. so my first class isn't until 10:45 in the morning, so no rushing around this semester. photography is the class, or more specifically "experimental photography". NOT THAT! get your mind out of the gutter! in this class we use non traditional cameras, a variety of development methods, and a variety or print paper. i do still have supplies to buy that will drain my grant refund... but not nearly as bad as last semester. well, the first two days we were just getting to know each other, look at our past work, and then talk about our visiting photographer that came the next week (this past one).

so Phil Nesmith was the visiting photographer. ( ) he does some awesome work while using cameras and methods from the early time of photography. he "lectured" one day and the next was our demo day... we got to see his process from start (almost) to finish. the only thing we didn't see was how he mixed the chemicals. but it was very interesting. not something i would do, too dangerous for my kids to be around. i was the uber-goober and asked for his autograph in my photo journal. i figured it would give my professor a chuckle. we have monday off for MLKjr. day... so only one day... not much time for much of anything.

the other m/w class i'm in is 'art in general culture'. i was told it is an "Easy a" kind of class.... but i didn't care. i figured anything that can help me view art differently, appreciate even the nasty stuff, and help me get a better eye for my art would be worth it. this is not a class where you raise your hand, mostly cause the lights are off and the professor is walking around so much she just won't see you. i give a lot of answers because no one else will. i did get a great ego boost on monday. a kid who sits in the row next to me, but one seat back, was "whispering" to his friend and pointing at me.... i heard "art major... super hot". at the time i was looking off to the right (his side) and so i could see and hear him. i wanted to say "just because i'm a seat ahead doesn't mean i'm deaf". i decided to just accept the compliment as if i didn't hear it and just bask in the glory that i am still found to be attractive to the younger guys.

i have a night class this semester!!! t/th from 7 to 9:30!! thank heavens the professor isn't one to watch the clock... the first day we were done by 7:30, the next 8. i have already been assigned a project (due the second day) and now i'm working on the next. he doesn't shy away from starting early. did i mention that my professor is insanely hot!? i'm not the only one to think that. a friend from my photo class last semester is in this class.... she agrees with me. so this second project is drawing an object of our choosing 52 times! but not in just one position, we have to change perspectives, values, shapes... you know, be creative. the problem is that i can't draw very well. but i was able to get the 52 done on time, but class was cancelled due to the potential snow that we never got. the second half of the assignment is to do the 52 drawings over in color, tweaking, enhancing, or changing the originals as we see fit. not a big fan of this part.... i really like mine in the 'black and white'. oh, i'm half done with that part.

ok, i think that is about it. like i said, not much happening right now. but it still early....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

well hello.... my name is terri.... how have you been? oh wait! you do remember me?! i know, i know.... been waaaaaaaaaaaaay too long since i wrote last. don't blame me. if anyone/thing is to get the blame, i'd say go for my photography class and physics.

so physics! for those of you who don't follow me on facebook, i actually passed the bane of my existence with a B! and i got an A- in the lab. this is the result of many hours trying to figure out those blankety-blank-blank physics problems in homework, passing the only exam (before the final) with enough bonus points to give me a C. i would love to see my final.... i really want to know how i did. my lab partner got a C in the class, and she did better than i did on the first test. go figure... i ain't gonna argue. if you remember (or not) i had to build a functioning robot in the lab. lab only met once a week for an hour... challenge to say the least. well, at the 11th hour we got our robot working!! to celebrate, i was introduced to a new burger joint (very yummy and cheap) by my lab partner... and then we studied together for the final. mostly i tried to help her complete her homework, which helped me remember all those dang equations that i just hate so much. one of my brothers and his wife had asked me why i was taking physics... i have no idea what possessed me, but i passed and now i am done with GenEds!!!

this is "artie" the arduino.... this isn't the completed version, but pretty darn close. this was taken right before thanksgiving break. he worked then.... it took every minute of every lab time after break to get him finished!

not much to say about my "methods of art criticism" class. not exactly an easy A... i ended with an A-... but it was fun. i had to write gallery reviews, abstracts about the most boring chapter readings ever. i had made the mistake of looking up some of the work by the various artists... i was curious as to what i was reading about (most of them i have never heard of). BIG MISTAKE!!! i had seen some of the most vile and disturbing pieces ever. i know art is subjective and not everyone will like everything... but some of the stuff we had to discuss just made me ill. but, the whole point of the class was to figure out what art is and why we call some things are and other stuff "junk".

my photography class was a blast!!!! expensive! it took a few weeks to put up some work that the prof really liked, praised more than anything... but so worth the wait. about two weeks before thanksgiving break i put up 15 pictures... she was impressed with the numbers AND said that they were all final print/project quality. i loved hearing that. at midterms i knew what my final project would be about, so i started taking pictures right away. spent every saturday at the lab developing prints, making reprints... by the weekend before the break i had enough pictures. the task next was to figure which picture and where to place it in the book (shutterfly,com was my friend). i was done with my final the monday of break, it was delivered by black friday, and i could just vegg the rest of the semester in that class. i did have to work on our collabrative project. as a class we were to each take turns wearing a bear costume and then take a picture of us doing something crazy or normal... so out of my comfort zone. well, i went around with a group, so my courage level was up a little. i wound up sitting in a chair right next to someone who was sound asleep... i just made an "oh my" kind of face and someone snapped the picture. the guy woke up then and was really confused, oh well. we then had to turn our pictures into stickers... fun! so.. easy A for me! and done early... so out of character for me.

 on of my professor's favorites! and this was a fluke. i tried to make my own version of "the three white dresses".... but the lighting wasn't on my side. but this close-up of my wedding dress did. it was even one of my pieces hung up in my first 'real' art show...
i love this picture.... and so did my prof. she said that it was so much more than a picture of the sky...

so if you're still with me.... i'll post again (i promise) about the first two weeks of this semester... not much has happened... but still....

Saturday, September 29, 2012

the kid-lets

i figured you would probably want to know how the kids are doing.... it's been a while since i wrote about them, and not just as the subject of my pictures.

erica is loving 4th grade. her teacher is fantastic and is so willing to help her. she stayed after school one day to help erica with math, and it was just erica. i had a nice little chat with her teacher at the parent-teacher night and was assured that erica is doing fine in everything.... just maybe a little shy at saying 'i don't understand'. we're working on that. she has the cutie-pie teacher for her language arts/reading time. he just loves having erica in his class, she is one of only a few girls. he has told me that every once in a while he has to get her to stay on task... she likes to day dream, nothing wrong with that. but, he too said that she is doing great. friday she had a plant project due. the class has been studying the different parts of the plants and were to make a picture of a plant and label all it's parts. i told her that i had just studied this in my biology class last semester and that this would be fun. we love art projects for school. we enlisted the help of grandma for the supplies (have you seen her insane craft room?!)... fabric from my bridesmade dresses, feathers, raffia, beads.... lots of stuff. it took two days to complete, we did the pollen  thingy (shush, i just can't recall the exact term) in glue and glitter and needed to give it time to dry. it turned out great! unfortunately, i did not get a picture of it before she turned it in.

aidan is just a super star in his class.... but i'm so biased. his PALS test scores do prove that he is doing fan-friggin-tastic. the benchmark score for the fall is 39... he got a 68! he's a fantastic reader, great speller, and can even tell you what an exoskeleton is. aidan hasn't had any special projects yet, but they will come soon. just like his sister, he comes home having stayed on 'green' all week for behavior, which is a very good thing. his teacher wrote on his progress report that he follows directions well and is always willing to help anyone who needs it. got to admit... he's had a great example in his sister!

sofia wishes she could go to school with her brother and sister, but i think she likes having the tv to herself (unless grandpa is home) and being able to have all the attention. she spends monday, wednesday, and part of friday at my mom's while i'm in school. there, she gets a big yard to play in and a variety of tv shows to watch when the weather isn't as agreeable. she hasn't been big on the nap thing all summer, but so far this year she gets one almost every day. most are not that long, but just enough to take the edge off.

yesterday was a BIG day for them. i took them up to their other grandparents for the weekend, which you're probably thinking 'so what'. well this trip was special because uncle sam was home from deployment and visiting with his wife laura, great grandma waliser was out for a visit (whom they have never met before), aunt amy came up with her kids (uncle nick is still out on his deployment), and aunt robyn (grandpa's sister, another relative they hadn't met) was out visiting with her husband steve. whew! that's a lot of people! so many that the family dinner was held at the chapel. i hadn't met robyn before either, so i was not going to let my kids miss this opportunity. my kids weren't too receptive to great grandma, but they at least acknowledged her.... except sofia, she really didn't want anything to do with her. i think it's all those old ladies at walmart that mean well, but scare the crap out of my child. well, the kids spent most of the time with their cousins playing in the gym while i visited with all of jeff's family, jeff had to work. i also got the rest of my pictures taken while i was there (i was going for the theme 'reflection in/of time'). i left the kids around 9 last night and had a very quiet saturday.

as a bonus to my day.... my pretty pretty sparkly necklace came today. i had sent a friend, who is in the custom jewelry business, my old wedding bands and my grandma's engagement ring. i asked if he could make something happy out of them. after a few chats with him and his designer, i was sent the computer mock-up. BEAUTIFUL!!!!! i was really excited to get my necklace. due to circumstances beyond my control, and my friend's as well, it took longer than anticipated to make. no matter in the end, because i got it and i love it! it's so light that i have to remind myself that i am wearing it. it sparkles and is just so beautiful. i even got a little teary eyed as i put it on. i showed it to my family, they think it's beautiful as well. so, now i have my diamond and my grandma's always with me.... creating happy thoughts! (pictures to come soon)

busy busy busy!

this week was insanely busy. i was all over the burg resulting in buying more gas (before my weekly tank refill curtsey of my grandparents). but, the ending has been wonderful, so let me fill you in.

physics.... how i kind of get you! thank heavens for the book and good notes. actually, my professor tells us all sorts of info, we write the notes, then he says "well, you don't really need to worry about this..." well shoot! one day, the guy next to me forgot his notebook. i took pity and gave him some paper; he wrote one line of notes and the rest of the class was just us staring at the white board. friday was an impromptu biology lesson... he was trying to get us to understand how our senses work because we need to give our robots sensors when we get around to building them. anywho, we had homework due friday and i got mine done by wednesday!!! the few problems i had left were explained to me by the other students who 'got them', well, all but one. i wound up going to the homework help session wednesday night and finished my work with a little help from the professor. now for the next set.

for the lab, i think my partner and i are gonna be the 'teacher's pets'. NOT because we are super smart when it comes to physics, we're just not afraid to say "we don't get it" and we actually follow the diagram directions, so our arduino (mini robot) works. we got all our LEDs to light up, blink, and then fade. we were gonna be the ambitious one's and get a LED with three lights in one.... no time though. lab is only an hour and our professor talks for most of it. my partner and i did attempt to help two other groups with their circuit set up, but like i said, not much time to do anything.

photography has been a blast this week. last weeks assignment to print was 'edges'. i took most of the pictures at my parent's house, a few didn't come out (not enough light). monday was the day to have the professor pick our the prints to make, she picked her two and then i picked two more, the one's i like the best. i cut it really really close, but i got all four printed within the hour and a half i had left of class. the assignment for this week is 'reflection'. as always, the topic is open to interpretation. i decided to do a roll of 'traditional' reflection and the other, not -so-traditional. i got about 10 pictures done and then took another15 wednesday afternoon right before class started. BUT, class was cancelled (no idea why), so i had plenty of time to get more pictures done. i asked my brother, who works at lowes, if i would get in trouble if i took pictures there (remember walmart). he checked with the powers-that-be and said it wasn't a problem. on my way there i decided to get him a 'thank you ' gift at walmart. as i was leaving i noticed my mother in the parking lot looking rather pissed. i drove over to ask why, before i got the whole question out i realized that she locked her keys in the car... the car that i didn't have the spare to in my own car. i stayed with her and waited for my brother to come over to see if he could get the car open, he couldn't. so it was decided that since photography was cancelled, and my next class didn't start for another hour or so, i would take mom home to get the spare and bring her back (this is where the more gas came in). after i helped mom, i went to lowes and took my pictures. finished roll one and started on roll two. i got some great pictures of my daughter reading a magazine, and you can clearly see the magazine reflected in her sunglasses. i also got one of her holding a picture of a younger version of me. but my favorite pictures that i took were of my son looking at a painting of his great-great grandfather in his military best. i was so happy when i developed the film that those pictures came out! so today was spent at the lab developing the film, making contact sheets, and then my filter 'test'. the filters just aid in making the picture have distinct black and white and every shade of gray you can get. i had some fun with this! now i'm completely caught up with this class.

still with me....? cause i still need to tell you about my criticism class. remember when i said that i cut my photo printing close? it was so close that i had to run to my car to get my books for the next class then run to make it to class on time. i was late enough that i got the dreaded seat behind the pillar. i was sweaty, out of breath, and developed a headache. well, it was a good class, good discussions, and the lights were eventually turned off (much to my headache's happiness) for a demonstration in aesthetic scanning, not as hard as it sounds. OH! one of my reading response papers was given back with only one point. when i saw why, the professor changed a word i had intentionally used to another. i wrote him an email explaining why i used the word i did and he responded back with "you have your full 2 points", well, not those exact words, but the exact meaning. wednesday i had my first gallery review due, i sure hope i did it right, and another reading response. it was a light class and we had more good discussions, but i was happy to be done with it for another week.

another week done and i do believe 7 more until thanksgiving break. i think the next post i'll put up some pictures that i'm proud of.... stay tuned!