Friday, July 23, 2010

Week 6 Journal

Here is the guidance offered for our last weekly journal:

You're coming to the conclusion of this course! Please reflect on "highlights" and "lowlights:" what have you enjoyed the most, learned the most, and which aspects of the course have assisted this process for you? On the other hand, where does the course most need improvement in helping you along toward your goal of drawing the plant world?

My journal:

It wasn't that long ago that a drew up a commitment to study botanical artistry. As I reflect back upon my process of learning, the Cornell courses weekly bite-sized lessons stand out as reinforcers for my confidence. My shining highlight is confidence; it is building my will to improve.

I recognize that learning is a process. It's not just the myriad skills that need to come together—perspective, shading, light, color, brush and water control, etc... Emotional skills to handle procrastination, unsureness, and fear build slowly. All this can happen at seemingly so glacial a rate as to be imperceptible.

To that, I find it is important to be able to step back and see the process over time, and blogging is my wonderful tool to aid that need. Having weeks and months (and soon years!) of material available in an online journal reminds me of my journey and lets me share it with others of like mind. (Please feel free to link up my watercolor posts for Cornell's use.)

I do have two suggestions where I think the courses could be enhanced:

Video is a wonderful medium that I think could be better exploited. I do understand that not everyone has the luxury of high-speed internet but it is a good deal more common these days. And for folks without fast downloads, a DVD could be offered. Regarding the watercolor videos specifically, I think that camera angles could be improved—the artist's hand often blocks the view of brush and paper. I found myself twisting my head to try to see around her hand. I wanted to see the paint being applied to the paper.

My watercolor class was unfortunately small—a group of three soon slipped to two—so it's probably not relevant there, but I'd suggest that the instructor seed the forums with starter subjects. Another option might be to actually place some of the instructional material as forum posts. I believe there is much to be learned with the exchange of ideas and images, and that some folks do need coaxing to come out into the open. I was particularly pleased that Marcia recognized my methods of initiating and encouraging forum participation, as that spurred me on to more exchanges.

Marcia, thanks for all your support and guidance. I am going to miss you and our conversations. I am surely not the first to say that I wish there were more courses or that each course extended out further than six weeks.

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