Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cornell Week 6 Review

Here is the capsulized version on my 6th and final week in Cornell's online course:

Throughout the course we have learned a range of techniques with different types of art media. We have also learned about illustrating different types of plants and their parts.

For the final illustration you will create a finalized botanical illustration. You can select the type of art medium and plant subject.

For this warm up I would like you to submit your ideas for your final project. What type of plants are you considering illustrating? Which medium would you like to use? Please give this thought -- and remember that more is not always more.


John, you've mastered this medium, you truly have. Everything about it says mountain laurel, not graphite -- that is, you don't see lines and shading and such, you see the plant. Your use in the leaves is soft, muted and beautifully blended, and your work in the unopened blossoms is crisp, calling your attention to the detail.
Honestly, my hat is off to you.

I wish that I had your first drawing ever -- from the first assignment in the first course. Do you still have it? If you do, could we use it for a before and after....?


. . .

Exercise 1.4: Portfolio Development

You will prepare an electronic or hard copy portfolio of six completed and mounted plant studies in a range of media studied during the course.

Please consider the following guidelines when building your portfolio: the degree of botanical detail, accurate color-matching, use of the medium, placement of the specimen on the page, and overall design.

Just a brief note here to describe my portfolio thoughts. I have the resources—Bluehost web hosting and Adobe tools—to put together an online portfolio. I've been through various tests and failed starts and figure that this exercise is the perfect push I need to get started. I will journal the progress.

Rather excited to finally get something out there.

If you hadn't written this very thing, I would have wondered about it! Of course, with your comfort level, I think this is an excellent approach to follow. Glad it's giving you the impetus.

Exercise 4.5: Portfolio Development

We are already half way through the course and this exercise is to simply remind you to be working on your portfolio. How is it going?

This is the perfect chance to post to others in the forum or post a message to the instructor with any questions or concerns you may have with your portfolio. By now you should have decided what type of portfolio, either hand or electronic (or both). Your portfolio presentation should be a reflection of your work and style! Be creative with this process. Again, feel free to share your ideas with me or ask me any questions.

I have a simple test site that illustrates how I could set up an online gallery.
This is an HTML-based gallery created with Lightroom 3. You'll notice that I have my own domain name and host my online presence using BlueHost. (I mentioned some of this in a forum post.) This setup is really just simply about viewing. Not sure where I'd go for online sales or perhaps try to wire my own in.

And regarding sales, at this time I'm really more interested in honing my skills and finding my voice. I am very lucky to have a couple of mentors—professional artists who offer serious advice on my work and future. I've planted my stake in the sand, that I am committed to becoming a good painter, probably in oils and perhaps in egg tempera. My mentors remind me that at this point that that commitment is more about working hard than trying to sell. So, I will have online galleries but not sales oriented. But what is important to me at this time is to spin the display of finished pieces away from my blog only. The blog can present all the details and explorations that lead to my work and that will be freely available to all but need that clean place for those who only want to experience the final work.

First, thank you for sharing your resources with others! I appreciate the support and camaraderie that has developed among the 3rd level participants.

Yes, you're on the right track, and I appreciate the perspective you offer here. Sounds as if you're on a great path.

And again -- I can't say enough simply about the value of documentation. I have long sold, or given pieces that I am grateful for having captured in a high quality image -- and a bit sad for never having done so with some of them. It's an important habit to get into, one that you seem to have natural leanings toward, given your dedication to the process.

Portfolio Review

You should have prepared a finalized electronic or hand portfolio of six completed and mounted plant studies in a range of media examined and rendered during the course.

Your portfolio should provide viewers with a clear idea as to what your vision is. It should be organized by subjects or different styles. Horizontal and vertical images, as well as different size prints should be organized and grouped separately. Keep in mind, portfolios are never actually complete. There are always new samples to add, new skills to highlight, and less effective samples to remove or replace.

Here is the link to my draft portfolio. It's a Flash gallery created with Lightroom 3 and uploaded to my web host. The images are merely a display for easily selecting final images.

I fear this is all rather simple, missing goals on creativity? In an online presentation, what would you expect to see?

My own thoughts, kind of my wish list...

Artist statement: Where I am and where I'm going.

Individual text for each image: How and why was this piece created?

Entry page: A main menu with links to blog, artist info, contact info, links to galleries. I realize my web look might be a bit spartan. I'd like to background with the slightest hint of bare canvas but I opt for a simple look that keeps my work foreground. Curiously, I see that clean look much more with photography than with fine art. Wonder why...

All this is familiar territory. Building a better web presence can been on my mind. The above ideas aren't really new, just never developed properly.

I'm feeling a bit on spongy ground here. Hence an early start, giving me time to reshape as needed.

I read through your pdf and looked at your slideshow. Much of this is so personal, in terms of taste, don't you think? So, personally -- I find something nearly akin to relief in seeing something more spare, simple. It completely calls attention to your work. Sometimes extensive artist statements are just so over the top.

Yes, I think a simple statement, along with titles and media, spare main menu would be lovely. But don't lose the lovely, simply quality that calls attention to the work, not how cleverly worded it all is.

Take this, or leave it, John: I don't know that I would include the pastel -- it seems evident that you're newly learning that medium, and in this venue, I believe you want to highlight your mastery.

Does this help?

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