The one class that is doing the most personal good is Advanced Illustration. Jacob opted to give us an oil painting project for the first 6-7 weeks and I lost myself in it.
Currently the class project is not finished, but I am gaining so much from it that I am not willing to rush the process. I am trying all sorts of new techniques and exploring my paradigms – only that I might break them. It is a painful, yet thrilling prospect!
Project: A poster for a musical band or singer.
My Choice: Fernando Ortega
Jacob pushed me to stick with my own style and work within it so that I am not fighting the issue of “style”. I can play with style once I master the art.
He taught this class on a very individual basis (a philosophy I wholeheartedly embrace), working with the needs of each student. We, as his students, are soaking up the experience he has garnered through years at various universities around the country. I don’t know about the others, but I feel very blessed when I get a teacher like that and I just want to be a sponge!
We identified my particular need to be to get back into my creative groove… to feel it… to allow it to flow. Jacob explained that he did not want me fighting “style” as I was learning a new technique and finding my comfort zone. I consciously placed my training into his experienced artist’s hands and went into a free-fall. Like going backwards off a building and trusting the ropes to catch you.
I ended up choosing a simple visual of a guitar player. Fernando is a gospel-folk singer and I once saw him on stage in Muncie. He sat on a stool strumming his guitar and talking with us on an almost personal level. I loved it.
My brother, Ron, was a willing model (I am very grateful to my family!!!), and after a couple of photo shoots, I found the right pose that pleased both Jacob and I.
Jacob then had us prep a masonite board (18×24) with gesso and paint a background wash in raw umber.
At one point I realized (and was told by Jacob) that I had a section out of perspective. The trick was to look at it in a mirror and immediately the gaffe was obvious. I then discovered that sandpaper can do interesting things to the underpainting… so I began playing with that as well as scratching off paint with my pallet knife. Who knows what is going to happen by the time this is finished! It became fun to see what could be produced with that technique.
Painting is the one place that is all my own. It is personal and private and I have found that place once again. It has been a bit scary because I can sometimes lose myself in its vast loneliness… but then I find myself once again, in a space so full and persistent it can be overwhelming. I am once again walking those hallowed halls of my inner being that belongs to only myself and my God. It is intense.
Sometimes I pause at the threshold and can go no further for fear of what is there, then I realize that fear is not an option I want to entertain. I gird up my courage and take that step, overcoming my own trepidation and embracing a willingness to lose myself. I can only enter if there is a willingness to allow something bigger than my left brain to consume me and to trust that it won’t annihilate me in the process.
It is not a place of comfort, nor of ease, as boundaries are stretched and perceptions challenged; yet within that space there is a comfort beyond explaining. The world disappears and I am somewhere raw and open, in a space where there is no hiding. An honest place.