Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Field Trippin' - Georgeson Botannical Gardens (not)

You know, it figures: week after week of absolutely amazing weather and it turns to shit the only two days I schedule field trips to sketch landscapes. Never left the visitor center for one, and flirted with mutiny here at the gardens. Frustrating considering the main selling point of teaching during the summer sessions is taking advantage of the all-too brief Alaskan season and get outdoors. Did manage to sketch out a little spot illustration demo piece under a pavilion overlooking some foliage, then bailed out to a warm, dry classroom to study pine cones and bird and hornet nests.

So much for the Great Outdoors - would have rescheduled were it not for the fact there's only a few more days of instruction left and we have yet to squeeze in figure drawing with a model. Consequently I've modified the assignments/critique dates to allow for us getting weathered out on the reference sketching. My homey anecdote about how "art is like fishing - you gotta get up early and endure the elements to land the big one" went over about as great as a wet blanket. Fortunately it's still a while before handing out the Instructional Assessment forms...

But one really cool score was a chance to finally sneak into the UAF Experimental Farm's barn. Me personally, I got a thing for barns, and thought it was pretty cool to explore inside of the structure. Old buildings are so much fun to poke around to look for interesting items and scenes to sketch. Such evocative surroundings tend to bring out just as wonderful and surprising ideas as staring at a blank sheet of paper back in a room does.

And many times I remind students that one of the roles an artist can play is to call attention back to the overlooked, to spend a few minutes more examining and observing subject matter that doesn't seem to matter much anymore to most people. But there are those who aren't terribly enthused at the idea of smelling manure and mincing across rickety lofts. Guess I'll just have to wait another week until I hit the hay fields of Western New York to satisfy my obsession. But there are always an intrepid few who risk injury and death to follow their muse, or at least their instructor, into new and challenging situations. I suppose everyone (some folks more than others)should count their blessings that I don't teach closer to Denali National Park or some other wilderness area...
There's the tenuous balance between sticking to it in the face of adversity and aborting the mission when reality keeps raining on your artsy parade.
End of lesson.

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