Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Work of Art that I am most proud of

The work of art that I am most proud of is my self-portrait. Although I am very proud of the result, I am most proud of all the time I spent, in school and after, working to make it as accurate and lifelike as I could. The contour drawing was probably one of the most frustrating artistic things I had every done. A lot of the time I felt like what I was drawing was nowhere near what my face actually looked like. I knew how to draw my features, but I didn't know where to place them relative to each other and what size to make them. After many hours, I finally got it right, but even after I had transferred I didn't stop making alterations if I saw something that looked wrong. As a result, I spent extensive periods of time, working to get every part right. The likeness and detail of the final result is a testamite to this.

Through working on this project, I also learned many things about the human face and its features. The eyes, nose, and mouth study taught me the basics of what our facial features are physically like. For instance, an important thing to keep in mind when drawing a face is the need to show that the eyeball itself as round and that it is overlapped by the eyelid on the top and bottom. Another important thing to know is that the darkest part of the mouth should always be the line between the two lips. I hope to remember instructions like these when drawing in the future .

Revisiting my Goals for the Semester

My main goal for this semester was to expand my abilities in drawing and painting, which I think I have done. For one, I have gotten better at seeing 3D shapes and objects and recreating those objects on paper. Projects like the still life and the self-portrait have taught me to do this. Looking back on my still life in art fundamentals there are many things, that if I had the chance, I would now change. The difference in the quality of this still life to the still life I did in drawing and painting shows how I have improved. Another marker of my improvement is my pre-instructional portrait compared to my actual portrait. Although we only had a class for our pre-instructional portrait, the level of detail and accuracy of the final is so superior that my amelioration is very visible. In my goals, I also expressed interest about wanting to learn about other cultures. I think we have done this through doing blog posts on Buddhism and the Mandala.

Watercolor Techniques


  • To experiment, explore, and learn a variety of ways to paint watercolor.
The most important concepts I learned from painting watercolor are that there is a variety of marks at your disposal and the importance of having good materials.  I had tried watercolor a few times before but it had been unsuccessful because I had used regular printing paper. The printing paper could not absorb as much water, so I was left with a soggy, undeveloped landscape. The paper we used for these activities was nice because you could go back in with more watercolor paint, creating layers which gave a sense of depth. The brush we used also was important because it was better at holding water than the brushes I had used in the past. Another important thing I learned about watercolor was the many marks you can make by adjusting the amount of water on your brush and the way you hold it. Before, when I thought of watercolor, I pictured a fuzzy scene where the main aspects are barely distinguishable from the swirly, diluted, background. I didn't know that by twisting the tip of your brush together and not using too much water, you could create tiny blades of grass or cracks in rocks. It is the ability of watercolors to capture this fine detail, but at the same time be able to create beautiful flowing shapes that makes it so fun to work with.

Sketchbook Assignments

Imitation Drawing: Still Life


  • To gain a basic understanding about the Realism Art Movement and to identify Artists who work(ed) in this style;
  • To practice drawing in the realist style by "imitating" a profession, realistic work of art.

Still Life Drawing


  • To practice creating a still-life drawing that demonstrates understanding of drawing in perspective, along with using a variety of mark-making techniques to describe form;
  • To understand value by creating a good range between black and white;
  • To demonstrate quality craftsmanship and good composition skills in a drawing.
Imitation Drawing: Portrait


  • To become familiar with past and contemporary portrait artists;
  • To use critical thinking skills to analyze artwork;
  • To understand how and why artists create portraits;
  • To practice drawing in a portrait by "imitating" a professional work of art.
Half Portrait Drawing


  • To look closely at half of a portrait and complete the portrait by drawing similar features; 
  • To practice drawing facial features: eyes, nose, and mouth.
Autobiographical Collage


  • To create and autobiographical collage that tells the story of an experience(s) that took place in the artist's life. It lets the artist express his or her thoughts and feelings about any aspect of his/her life.
Imitation Drawing: Still Life


  • To become familiar with Mandala designs and its meanings;
  • To create your own, original Mandala

Unsung Hero Artist Statement

For my unsung hero painting, I decided to focus on Eugene Laskowski. My reason for choosing him was twofold: my interest in science and how intriguing I found his story. Eugene Lazowski was a Polish Red Cross Worker and scientist who was able to save the lives of 8,000 Polish Jews during World War II. He, with the help of his colleagues, discovered a strain of typhus that was dead but still produced the same test result. Using this strain, Lazowski was able to play on the Nazi phobia about hygiene by administering a false outbreak. 12 Polish villages were quarantined as a result and the Jews within them were never taken to concentration camps. Although each and every unsung hero’s story is extraordinary in its own way, Eugene Lazowski’s was unlike anything I had ever heard before. It sounded more like the topic of a sci-fi novel than an actual event that had taken place in history. I admired how he was able to use his cleverness to outsmart the Nazis, hiding Jews in plain sight. He also did all this knowing he would be executed if caught.
The complexity of Eugene Lazowski story proved to be a challenge while working on my design for the Unsung Hero Painting. There were many aspects that had to be included in the correct context to capture the essence of Lazowski and his heroic acts. I brainstormed lots of ideas for the design, but most of them ended up not fully representing the story. I finally landed on one that I felt was unique, true, and took up the entire space meaningfully. In this design, Lazowski is in profile, holding a syringe. The syringe shoots up a liquid which covers most of the area around the top right corner. Inside this area are people in humble clothing, symbolizing the Jews he saved. Around them are signs that say Typhus. This suggests to the onlooker the Jews pictured in the top corner were infected with Typhus, but the way the liquid surrounds them also says that they were protected by it. Across from Lazowski is a Nazi soldier. He is smaller than the scientist and looks up at him with an expression.of fear and respect, indicating that Lazowski and his typhus strain protected the Jews from these Nazis, and through his acts, he proved himself superior to them. I think I not only did a good job including all the important aspects but connecting them in my composition in a way that helps explain the story even more to the viewer.
While planning the design and painting, I had to make many artistic decisions about color, detail, and placement. The background I chose to be a very neutralized green. This was both because I wanted a color that would coexist with my color scheme, and I wanted to include the color green, which can convey hope. On Lazowski you can see Polish Red Cross badge which I added to enforce his hero status. The liquid shooting out of the syringe I decided to make a dark blue, a color which is related to intelligence. The Jews inside this area I decided to make faceless, to communicate the fact that Laskowski saved many, many lives. One of these figures has a gold star on her clothes, replicating the patches the Nazis made the Jews wear during World War II.
When you think about a hero, you picture a strong man or woman carrying somebody on their back or fighting on the battlefield. Eugene Lazowski story is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind. This project has taught me that there are an infinite number of ways an individual can take action change lives, rewrite history, and make the world a better place. Eugene Lazowski used his most valuable asset, his intelligence, and by doing this he saved 4,000 lives. He thought outside the box of what we normally perceive heroes to do and just simply did whatever he could to make a difference.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Landscape Perspective Painting

My painting had a lot of perspective strategies that were present in the composition of the original photograph, all I had to do was replicate them in the painting. For example, in the mountains the farthest away you could see the presence of atmospheric perspective. Atmospheric perspective refers to the phenomenon that as objects move farther back we see them as grayer and bluer. The gray is because of the dust particles and pollutants in the air and the blue comes from those particles reflecting the sky. Another very prominent perspective strategy in my painting which again, I took from the photograph, was the use of very vivid colors in the foreground. This grabs the onlookers attention and contrasts with the colors in the middleground and background. Working on this painting taught me a lot of basic painting techniques. One of these was atmospheric perspective which I used in the mountains in the back of the painting. Similar to atmospheric perspective, I also learned that as you add the primary colors to a hue it neutralizes. These tricks have the same purpose; they help create a sense of depth. Another important thing I learned is how to do an underpainting. An underpainting is the layer of paint you put on a canvas before anything else. It establishes a certain mood and unifies the entire composition by determining an underlying color. I made my underpainting yellow because the photograph was very bright and sunny and I wanted to convey this feeling. The last thing I learned is the process of blocking out important shapes and eventually narrowing into work on the smaller details. This made the painting more manageable.

One of the biggest challenges I faced during this painting was mixing the right colors. The photo I used mainly consisted of greens. Mixing these was fairly straightforward but every now and then I’d have to mix a mix a trickier color, like the greenish brown that makes up the reflection of the trees. Looking back on it, I wish I had used more paints that people had already mixed. If I could go back and change my process I would first check to see if the color I wanted had already been mixed before trying to mix it myself. Another challenge I came across was mark-making. Little ways into the painting I realized I was always making the same mark. This was making some areas look flat such as the pine trees. Then I decided to try dry-brushing, and it made a huge difference. I also used a horizontal brushstroke as opposed to my vertical one.

Monday, May 22, 2017

LMC Unsung Hero Planning

Eugene Lazowski

I am motivated by the story of Eugene Lazowski. This man was able to save the lives of 8,000 Polish Jews during World War II by generating a phony outbreak of Typhus. During the height of the Holocaust, a bacterial disease called typhus was responsible for hundreds of deaths per day. Originally, Nazis would expedite the executions of Jews who had this sickness, but eventually, they decided to prevent any Jews with typhus from being taken to concentration camps for the purpose of keeping their soldiers from contracting this disease. While working for the Polish Red Cross, Eugene Lazowski and his colleagues discovered a strain of typhus that was dead but still produced the same test result. He began distributing this vaccine knowing it could save many people. Within a few months, enough "cases" had arisen that Lazowski was able to convince his Nazi supervisor that there had been an outbreak. 12 Polish villages were quarantined and the Jewish inhabitants inside them were given a safe haven.

This story inspires me because it is not your typical hero story. Lazowski was not smuggling people out of the country nor was he taking part in a resistance group. Instead, he was keeping Jews safe in plain sight, using his cleverness and bravery to outsmart the Nazis. Lazowski is inspiring because he decided to take action in the best way he could and ended up saving thousands of lives in the process.

Possible visuals for the story
  • Lazowski
  • syringe
  • Typhus signs
  • jews
  • nazis
  • map of Poland