Saturday, May 03, 2008


Friday was the final critique for me this semester at PAFA--so now I am done. Whew! I can certainly use the break to catch up on all of the things one leaves to the side while in school and busy with work. Like yard work, laundry and taxes, which I filed an extension on.

Here I am with my still life teacher, Jill Rupinski. Jill's a great teacher and I learned some good points from her this semester. Sometimes it would just be a little thing she would say that could improve what I was working on.
This was the last painting I did in Still Life, I wanted to do something completely different that what I did before, which were much more complicated paintings. this isn't done, it still needs many little tweaks, but the still lifes came down, so it's one for the history book now.
the final sculpture project I did in Stephen Nochella's ended up being much more problematic than I thought. The fun part was sculpting the brain, which took four boxes of super sculpy. First I build a foundation out of tin foil in the general shape of the brain, then layered on a 1/8th inch thick covering. Then I sculpted and shaped the brain noodles using some photos and drawing from the web. In the oven it went to cook away!

Then I welded the window frame in school. that caused me a headache as the welding warped the frame a bit so that made it harder to fit the wood framing for the "canvas' part.
Using a piece of massonite, I cut up some old comics I drew and layers the board with old word balloons that have fallen off the comic pages over the years, some page layouts and pens, brushes etc. It was like a mosaic of my working process, the brain standing in for me. I suspended the brain from screws and wires, but then tragedy struck as the weight of the brain coupled with the stress of the bowed metal frame popped the screws out so the whole thing wanted to lean over and collapse. Transporting the piece to school the crit dat was a pain-in-the-ass. i had to go and shore up the whole piece with lots of extra wood bracing. The particle board, or whatever this 'fake wood" is made of splits too easily, it's almost better glued. Anyway, I drilled and shored up the thing enough to hang the brain, then using fishing line and super glue I anded tendrils coming down, hung an old pair of my glasses and in the last minutes at lunch before the crit added the red acrylic paint, doing a very controlled "Jackson Pollack" type flinging and spotting of the paint.

I was done 10 minutes before the class---whew! People seemed to really like my sculp on "personal space". I would have love to make it even more detailed by we just didn't have the time since we only had a few weeks to do this assignment along with the other 5 plates I had to keep spinning.

All-in-all this has really been a great experience for me returning to school, and I am so glad I chose to do it at PAFA. I didn't love everything, but I loved 90%, and that's pretty good. Some classes could be eliminated or really reworked. I think many of the basic sculpture classes are too much like high school art classes and I would have enjoyed a lot more hard core crits and "old school' type instruction. That flies in the face of some in that dept., but I think that's what makes PAFA so much better than most bullshit art schools, and that's certainly the type of instruction I know I want. I have one class to take over the summer, Intaglio, then next fall I finish up the last straggling art classes I need for the first semester, so come January I'll be a second semester student.


william wray said...

Despite breaking the rulke of compsition 101 by dead centering the vase, I like it for just that reason as it makes the painting defiantly modern.

Brian said...

Mike -

i just did a quick google search for still life images and i was impressed with the strength of your composition. I am giving my Drawing I students a crash course in Sighting and your painting is a great example for my demo. With your permission (and printed credit on the image, of course), i would love to use your piece as something they can all do thier first Sighting practice on. i think that having them all reproducing the same image will getting everyone on level ground to start. i have a projector hooked up to the computer in my classroom, so it is very easy to grap a jpeg and put it up on the screen.

of course all other onservational drawings will be done from life. i realize that it is very low level to have all your students reproducing the exact same image.

anyways, thank you for your time -