Art School: Semester 4, Week 9

Greetings once again from disease central here in Vancouver. I seem to be on my third cold of the season (so far) and I am getting really tired of this run of luck. This one isn’t crippling, but there is a cough that comes and goes, and I’d really like to lose that.

We’ve had a lot of rain this past week, and traffic has been exciting as a result. Thankfully that mostly matters to the bus drivers, whom I am happy to see paid to do that for me.

Tinkerbelle update: She’s still here, and improving. It’s quite amazing, actually. She still needs the sling, and her hips don’t work nearly as well as they did before the disease, but she’s definitely trying to do things on her own, and succeeding most of the time. No clue if it’s the drug she’s on or her natural resilience, but whatever it is, it’s working.

Also, no one has commented yet, but it seems that Anne and I spell her name differently. I add the trailing ‘e’ but Anne doesn’t (I think). The Mouse spells it as two words, I believe, so we’re well outside copyright concern regardless of that extra ‘e’ or not.

Anyway, let’s get to the important stuff: chocolate!

No, wait. School. Yeah… school. Definitely school.

Professional Practice

But this week we got a new surprise. It’s always been on the syllabus that we are going to hang a group show at the end of the semester, but it finally came up and it turns out there are some criteria that were not previously expanded upon:

  • All work must hang on the wall
  • All work must be 12" wide or less

So, I already have nothing. In theory I might have something from one of my earlier drawing classes I could crop down, but realistically, probably not.

But it gets a bit weirder. We were told we had the option of having a theme. Then the instructor offered to let the entire thing slide another week, at which point we’d have exactly one week left to create a new artwork to match the theme if we picked one. (If no theme was wanted, then the show would be a mishmash of whatever. You know, the typical artist run gallery show. :) There was some push back on this front, and as a result we selected a theme in class so we’d have two weeks to prepare a work to hang. So now we have a third criteria:

  • Work should be on the theme: “High Contrast”

I left that class muttering to myself. As a professional, if offered the chance to participate in a show with only two weeks notice, and given all the rest I have going on, I would politely decline. That’s what a pro would do, rather than scramble to create something in so little time. Alas that is not an option when one is a student.

As an aside, does anyone else note that it was clearly possible to deal with this much earlier — weeks ago, even? Ask the class to create a new work meeting all of those criteria on the first day of class, so we all have plenty of time to get it done before the show. That would have been the nice (and professional) thing to do, but it didn’t happen. So, as I say, we all have two weeks to bang together a work on the theme and that is wall hung and no more than 12" wide, along with everything else we have going at the end of the semester. Whee!

Anyway, I have concocted a cunning plan, and it’s the instructor’s own fault. She told us to have fun with the theme. As a result I have a new 12" x 24" canvas, and on it I am going to paint a single, large, black check mark on a brilliant white background. Plenty of snark in there for me, and I am certain the instructor will pick up on that. Such is life.

So, here’s what’s left to do in this class, I think:

  • Turn in submission assignment (done and ready to go)
  • Create the “High Contrast” work
  • Participate in hanging the group show
  • Figure out and deliver an artist talk about my own work to the class

I hope that’s it, and it is important to point out that I have no details about that last one at all.


I did grab another photo of the lamp, this one shows the revised top with the ventilation holes:

Yeah, sorry it’s blurry. I didn’t know that until days after I took it, and there is no time to get another right now.

Remaining work in this class:

  • Finish creating the laser cut sheets. Cut at least 2 sets.
  • Build a final lamp for display. (The one above is a mess if you could see it close up.)
  • Do something about sketches for the final display.
  • Create the assembly instructions. (This is barely started.)

Gobs to do before the end. I will go mad.

Aboriginal Carving

actual size… that’s the wood to be carved on the left

Now, there are already some changes.

  1. The glasses are gone. That wood simply won’t hold that level of detail.
  2. The picture is missing the eyebrow, which is actually there in the sketch and layout work I did for this in Photoshop.’
  3. That eyebrow will probably get connected to the cheek line and form the eye socket in the process.
  4. The eye is being simplified quite a bit. Once again mostly because Red Cedar just can’t hold onto that kind of detail.

I have started carving. The profile is done already, and the flamingo is started. That all happened in class, but I didn’t manage to get a picture. I will. I promise.

I may do some painting on this as well. I am toying with adding some stars to the background to the left of the profile, and painting that background black and the stars white. And of course the flamingo gets painted pink. Not sure after that. Maybe that’s it.

I had a very good carving day in class in terms of sharpening. My knife didn’t need it all day. Not once. Amazing. It will need sharpening again before I do more work, I believe, but it held an edge for a long, long time. Very nice.

The only other news in this class is that next semester there will be a follow on, 3D carving class. Essentially a second course in the series. This is great news for me, as I will get to spend more time carving. In fact, I am going to put off a required class for another semester to make sure I get into this new carving class.

So, work still to do here:

  • Finish “final” carving, paint it as desired
  • Carve other stuff as assigned


Yes that is a piano keyboard there. Dunno why. It’s not part of the sculpture.

Note the feet. I am told they are “sassy” by a fellow student.

The flamingo stands on two bases so he can be disassembled relatively easily. The head slips off, and the legs slip out of the body. Much easier to transport that way.

Then there’s this status pic:

About to get fat

I took this just before I started in on the foam filler. I’m glad I did because it’s the only thing I have that shows the rest of the armature that defined the size and shape of the beastie.

Note that the foot/head is on the floor in the lower left, wrapped up and ready to get foam of it’s own. That’s to extend the foot from where it broke off in the casting process.

And as of today, it looks like this:


The foam is not done — the far side is still a bit thin — but it is getting close. I hope to finish adding the foam tomorrow, and start carving it down to the final(ish) shape on Sunday. Then I can start covering it with hydrostone soaked burlap to really make it durable and get closer to a paintable surface.

In any case, it’s progress.

I did very well on my stone sculpture. got a very nice mark. Oh, and speaking of that, I also photographed it for real:

Echoes Of Danno, Italian Alabaster on Oak Base

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Here’s the list of the remaining work in this class:

  • Finish the big sculpture
  • Final crit

Don’t kid yourself. There’s a TON of work in that first bullet point.


Art School Post Index. Because Medium didn’t get the ordering right when I imported posts from somewhere else, and I can’t figure out how to fix it.


And In Conclusion

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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