Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pafa MFA 1: week 16--The Final Warp

Whew! That about sums it up the last whirl wind week of classes for me as both teacher and Student. The semester ended in both my MFA 1 at PAFA and in my Illustration class I teach in the High School program at PAFA--- and it was the final review for the Storyboard Class at Uarts , the students hand to show their animatics for their Junior films which they will animate next semester. Add in an extra meeting to deal with struggling Uarts students, my final research paper and the comic strip and it was a crazy, crazy week. I would some days sleep in shifts, get up and work on a project then dash off to either teach or attend the last week of classes or try and sit in on the final reviews of my fellow MFA students at PAFA. The 24th issue of Draw! Magazine has also gone to press, so in a few short weeks it will be hitting the streets with a lot of great interviews and how-to's, but more on that in a separate post.

I had my final review on Friday at 3:15, I went the last day to have more time to work, but maybe next time I will go early. the final reviews are spread out over 3 days but I can see that maybe going later was a poor choice as people tire of seeing art after a few days.  I came in a lined my work up along the wall and then took a seat. You could show a max of six pieces and I brought 5 including these last two drawings, the first one is a memory drawing of my basement in my old house in Detroit, the second is based on some pictures I took at another one of those abandoned houses off of Route 1.

Dan Miller lead the review which was fielded  by Michael Gallagher,  Jan Baltzell, Neysa Grassi, Marc Blavat, Eileen Neff.

I got some compliments from Dan and Mike who is my critic along with Jan, but I don't think half of the critics got or liked what I did, and I expected that, and I expect that they try and knock you a bit on your first review of your first semester as well. My fellow MFA students as well as many undergrads buddies came to support me and that was cool. Afterwards I got a lot of kudos and made Dan laugh when i told him he made me cry.


 The crits lasted into the early evening when a lot of the students were up for heading out to the bars for some drinks---me, I headed home to sleep the sleep of the dead!

 Wenxing did a great job doing her presentation in Dr. Richards class, I am really impressed that she gave it in English--since its her second language we were all really proud and impressed!

I'm sure I will have some more thoughts on my first semester over the break after the dust settles and the holiday haze settles over the next few weeks. I was both happy and disappointed in my first MFA semester and my final review. I was disappointed in the tone of my review and that a lot of teachers were not there and specifically certain teachers I have worked with in the past. I honestly expected the "negative" comments,  so that wasn't a surprise, but I''ll wait till I get my final reviews in my mailbox before I render the final judgement. I base the value of a critique on one thing; if I can use anything from it to make my process better. Can I walk away with a new idea, or tool, a new way to attack something--if not-well you bundle it with all the other opinions you get that serve you no purpose and toss them over the wall of the studio.

I was pretty happy with my work, or the direction and progress I made, and that's the most important thing and I am hot to get back in and get back to painting after a few days of sleep to catch up. I ended up doing more drawing than painting and working on unplanned ideas like working from memory as opposed to working from life or photos. This is an area I will continue to explore but I want to work to bring some of teh drawing process back into my painting.

Michael Moore's class was fun, kinda' light in spots--but Mike is such a nice guy and my classmates were fun. I got to make some new friends from the class which is good since the MFA 1's don't mix as much as the undergrads do.  Christina did a bunch of fun caricatures of everyone for the last class, you can see my "breaking bad" at the bottom right.


The High School Illustration class was a lot of fun to teach. Both of my fellow student teachers Ashley and Joel were a lot of help and I think mixed well with the students. It was really great to see students like Abby really grow week to week and finish a long term project. Students like that are the reason I love to teach, it makes you feel that the torch is being past or being lit in the eyes of another artist.

  After Abby did that great watercolor she worked on this great composition in pencil to practice values.

 Abby works on her drawing above and Mr. Joel mugs for the camera!

                          Ashley helping a student figure out an approach to one of his ideas.

 We had the annual Holiday lunch hosted ny the Women's Board at PAFA and they had a great spread of food this year. Everybody piled into the auditorium to gobble up some goodies--which i did abefore i had to rush off to have my final critiques at Uarts.

 Everybody lines up to load their work on the computer so we can watch the animatics--and of course we had a huge hassle with the tech that day--quick-time just deciding to suddenly not work properly---the ghost in the machine! I brought some donuts in to help easy the pain.

It was a mixed bag as it always seems to be--some really good work and some students just flame out--which is sad. Time management is a huge, huge issue for students and the one thing that chops many an student from a strong young tree into a pile of sticks by the end. I look forward to seeing the final films in the spring show to see how they all managed to come through their junior year.

For myself now its a few days to clean up, well clean up a lot and get the final holiday shopping done. This has certainly been a busy year, some very good things and some really sad and terrible things which I am sure I will reflect more on a process over the coming weeks. But for now the studio door is shut.


mama said...

Relief. I'm with you. I enjoy reading your take on our semester. See you next semester.


Michael Manley said...

Thanks Melissa, have a great break if I don't see you!

Mike said...

Hey Mike,
Im a long time reader and rare commenter, but I have to ask who's work is this http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5MoX_ev7KW0/UNAZ_vNCOOI/AAAAAAAAIMA/2W9yUIcVUr0/s1600/pafa-crit-9.jpg

I swear I had seen his or her work while in a gallery or at uarts or something. All i know is something is striking me as very familier about it.