Sunday, September 02, 2007

Art School Freak Out

Well, if you're keeping up with me, I started my very first "real" Art class last week. (So, I guess I'm officially not an "outsider artist" anymore). I was so excited that I got all giggly and smiley just going over the syllabus!

Of course, once I got home and attempted to complete my first homework assignment--a series painting with the theme, "Design is about Relationships" the smiles were all gone. I spent a good 2 hours drawing/sketching and measuring and trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the project...all of which had to fit neatly inside the rubric that the teacher gave us.

The "rules" for the project stated what 3 colors we could chose to use (and, no, we couldn't mix them together to make new colors--I asked), what shape we had to begin with, etc. Following those rules was/is very frustrating, especially as someone who has been sort of doing art my own way for awhile. I kept thinking to myself, "You have to know the rules in order to break them." I repeated to myself things about how the limits of the assignment were to draw out all my creativity. To really bring out anything I could think of. To use my imagination to stretch beyond the limits while still staying inside the lines. But that didn't help.

Then, competition set in. I know, like yoga, Art Class should not be/is not about what your fellow classmates are doing....but with Art, well, I'm just so curious about what other people are creating that it's hard for me not to compare my work. While we were working on our projects I couldn't help but look over at what others were creating and wonder if what I was doing was "right." I know I shouldn't. (I've taken pottery and stained glass classes where this wasn't the case though and I don't know why). Maybe the fact that I'm being graded is "holding me back." Maybe it's that we have a class critique and god only knows what people will say about my work...ah!

So, welcome to my first Art School Freak Out. I knew I wanted to do something that (honestly) wouldn't take me forever (as it is the first assignment) but also something that was sleek, simple, (empty almost, something about those components gave me this vision of some kind of Japanese design) floating, and a bit 70s retro. After hours of sketching and measuring and double-measuring and practice painting, I went to work on my final canvas.

Then it happened....I smeared the paint. Red paint. Wow. That sucks. I took a break and went back to it, and this time I accidentally put my hand in the paint. Then that paint-y hand onto the paper. That sucks too. Then I realized that perhaps my design was not for Bekki the novice painter. I tossed that idea (figuratively) and over the next few hours began working on a new design.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. The class. The painting. The rules. But, I'm putting it out there. Here. I'm releasing it to the strangers (friends I haven't met yet) of the Universe before I have to be critiqued by the strangers in my art class. Art can make you vulnerable. I am vulnerable. And, I'm OK with all of this. I'm usually like, "whatever!!" or "C'est La Vie" about most things. So, why not this too? Am I trying to prove myself? And, to who? This is not the art project that will break me. Maybe this (art) is so personal that it's not personal. It's homework.