Friday, January 3, 2014

Beginning Drawing: 2013 in Review + "Best Of" Imgur Portfolio

Image: T. Swenson

I had to make the tough call to completely delete and/or severely edit the remaining Imgur portfolios associated with my UAF Drawing courses: but this was a necessary evil on account of needing space to provide images for another upcoming on-line project. So here's a "new" mix of student works all created over the past year: direct link here.
More musings below the fold...

Image: M. Jewkes

Though it’s not exactly a “Best Of” since if that were the case I’d just load the folio top-heavy with mostly selections from just a few of the more outstanding students (see here for one in particular)… but this sampling is more inclusive and representational of the general level of talent and skill across the board, or easel as it were. There are still a scattering of leftovers remaining in the archive that show a little bit more of the in-class exercises including various studies and roughs. As always, the single-most differentiating factor in determining the quality of work is directly correlated with  the requisite time + energy invested in the work: it's a simple cause and effect relationship that is as self-evident as the level of craftsmanship in any piece.

Image: S. Day

To be sure, the collection leaves off the vast majority of early, initial efforts, such as preliminary in-class exercises experimenting with concepts and new/different mediums etc., and so it in turn offers a somewhat distorted view since it’s weighted towards the later portion of the semester when (ideally) folks have grown and (hopefully) have a better handle on creating works with more aesthetic elements in place, such as compositional concerns, and higher degree of control with rendering skills with respective media (ex: smooth gradations from darks > lights so as to emphasize volume using charcoal).

Image: B. Milles

Also keep in mind this folio is culled from five Beginning level classes overall, so that's from around seventy-ish students, which equals fifty out of maybe around a thousand images total throughout the entire year. That said, the majority - 36 outta the final 50 images - posted in the "Best Of" folio are all from only two awesome classes taught this fall semester, as are all of these posted samples here. Not to mention they collectively rocked the annual student art show again,with a commanding presence in the gallery that accounted for well over 90% of the works on display in the Drawing category, and by far the best presentation of pieces as well (ie framed as opposed to just tacked up on the wall).

Image: B. Lando

Another obvious bias is the preponderance of pen + ink  pieces, which could be chalked up to evidence of "teaching to your strengths," or at the very least my students will definitely know their chops better than anyone else in the Art Department or university when it comes to using it. Regrettably material from their sketchbooks and gestures are left out here, as one of the more sublime insights afforded an instructor is to see firsthand the evolution of ability and conceptual development, and those are two arenas where the cumulative effort and subsequent improvement are evident.

Image: H. Holland

In fact, none of the images appearing here on this post appear in the sampler on Imgur, so these are all bonus shots: wish I could upload 'em all, as I'm particularly proud of the output from this semester's students (yes, I do suspect I say that after each one, but I really do mean it every time). It's a real privilege to be able to see so much art being made, a personal perspective that never wears off on me, year after year, class after class. Seeing it all come together for someone, having it click into place, the proverbial light bulb going off, or finding a particularly effective or newfound favorite tool and/or technique... that is equal to achieving anything on my end.

Image: K. Puckett

Here's hoping they keep on drawing... it sure inspires me to do the same, and for that they all have my sincere thanks and admiration for a job well done.

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