Lifebook 2013 is a year long online course with lessons from over 20 instructors. I signed up for it for several reasons… I want to sketch more and I want to commit to doing some art that is not directly for the classroom or customer orders. I am also going to need some PLU’s in a few years when I renew my teaching certificate so I thought I would get a leg up and apply for credit with this course. I don’t always have time to learn about and try out new materials and techniques for my personal art or the classroom; reading about the materials list and lessons from last year’s Lifebook was especially exciting!
I often have a problem with following instructions (don’t tell my students!). Actually, I guess I should say that I have a problem staying in the defined box. I do it with recipes; I have to change something! I do it with Zumba for any dances choreographed by someone else; I have to change something. Art is especially that way for me whether it is a lesson plan for the classroom or a personal art course. I actually fell into painting dogs because I rebelled during a figure drawing class I was not enjoying and had a photo of a dog on me which I chose to work on instead.
For the first few weeks of the Lifebook course I have enjoyed seeing the artwork posted by others in the course; there are some artistic “rebels” but many are doing the lessons just like the instructor does them. There is nothing wrong in the least with that in this setting! Many people who taking the course that need the comfort zone of being able to do the projects just as the instructors do and I respect that greatly. The instructors’ projects are quite beautiful. I have not yet posted my projects for all other 1,000+ people taking the course to see. Critiques and dialogue can be extremely fun (and time consuming) but I might need to restrict myself to art production and the occasional blog or facebook post for this class.
First assignment: we are to create a “fairy art mother” who encourages us along the way. My elementary art teacher split personality got excited over that. The instructor did a cutesy one. Most in the class did one just like hers or very similar. I did Tacoma. I wasn’t in the mood to draw a person (cutesy or any other way); Tacoma always makes me feel good and in so many ways she has been an angel in my life. I wanted to be lighthearted as is the nature of the assignment so it feels a bit caricature-ish. Her right eye is especially tilted. I wanted to draw her and woke her up so that she would look at me. She gives a better “eat crap and die” look than any teenager I’ve encountered. That is what her eyes do when she is woken up for anything other than food or a stranger at the door; she glares. It’s hilarious. She refused to pose any longer so I resorted to drawing the rest of her half from memory and half from one of her first photos after I picked her up from the shelter. I felt like I accomplished the goals of the lesson. I played with a new material (water soluble graphite crayons are AMAZING) and I have my “fairy art dog” to accomplish the role of “fairy art mother.”
The next assignment is our journey with our goals and blessings written out. It is a lesson of playing with new materials and collage, too. The instructor does a great job walking through trial and errors as well as showing many possibilities with the materials. We were to put ourselves in a vehicle or other method of transportation for our journey. True to my diverting character, I am just behind my dogs for my journey. I don’t list my goals or blessings but I did put one of my favorite quotes on there to remind me to let go. I first had a forest on there with trees. Then I painted over it with gesso (I never thought of using gesso on paper; novel idea from our instructor!) and did what you see to the left.
The next picture is my completely different variation of another soul-searcher art task. I’m pleased with my coffee cups of life.
I am excited about the possibilities of this course. I will not post all of my projects but you might see a little something from time to time throughout this year… enjoy! And if you think it looks fun, I am sure there will be a Lifebook 2014! Of course, it’s never too early for anyone to start sketching, so go for it…