30 September 2008

muscle assignment

1. spinal erectors

-cervicis, vol. 1: pp. 94-95
note the space here between the spinous processes and the transverse processes--the muscle is on the spinous processes, far back on the dorsal surface

-capitis, vol. 1: pp. 96-97
note this muscle's relation to the nuchal ligament and remember that ligament on your maniken is already there (the plastic behind the cervical vertebrae on your manikens)

-thoracis, vol. 1: pp. 98-100
same as the cervicis--look at the space between this muscle and the surface of the rib cage. keep the muscle away from the surface of the rib cage.

look at how all these sections twist together, like three pieces of a rope

-capitis, vol. 1: pp. 106-107

-cervicis, vol. 1: pp. 108-109

-thoracis, vol.1: pp. 110-111
look here at how rounded out the thoracis is from side to side, also how there is space behind it, how it doesn't glue itself to the rib cage. also make sure to build the lumbodorsal fascia.

this muscle is similar to longissimus in how its pieces twist

-cervicis, vol. 1: pp. 116-117
this segment appears to come out quite far. this appears this way because it is wrapping next to the longissimus, not really sticking out in space.

-thoracis, vol. 1: pp. 118-119

-lumborum, vol. 5: pp. 62-63
remember this is in book number five. it will also connect to the lumbodorsal fascia.

2. abdominals

quadratus lumborum,
vol. 5: pp. 60-61
make sure you build both triangles of this muscle

external obliques,
vol. 5: pp. 78-79

rectus abdominis,
vol. 5: pp. 72-73
indicate navel and tendinous inscriptions

assignment for tuesday, october 7

1. post to your blog images of the following points of view of your maniken. do this after you have finished building the spinal erectors, quadratus lumborum, external obliques, and rectus abs.
  • straight on front
  • straight on back
  • 3/4 front
  • 3/4 back
2. describe your process of building the muscles, which muscle are in which photo--use their anatomical names. describe the attachments and actions of each muscle.

3. write about what you learned while building the muscles in clay.

4. how did you use your frustration with a new process to learn something?

5. what was frustrating and how did you move beyond that frustration?

6. what problems did you solve?

7. what will you do different next clay assignment?

8. what tips can you share with your blog group members to help them with their clay building?

9. how will you use your new understanding when you draw the figure again?

10. what anatomical resource[s], besides the atlases, did you find helpful?

remember when writing about frustrations or problems to frame them in a professional format. no one (your future boss included) wants to hear whining. we want to know how you worked through the problem.

29 September 2008

muscle memory

here is another excerpt from the athlete's way by christopher bergland.

this information deals with purkinje cells, microtubules, muscle memory, and the benefits stretching has on the nervous system (bergland cites these benefits as primary to stretching's benefits for the muscles and tendons)

since we are beginning the work on building muscles and tendons in life drawing one and continuing work on sensing our muscles in yoga, i thought this would be another excellent text to help you understand the relationship between figure drawing and yoga.

also, and just as importantly, this text touches how we learn through repetition, through practice, through creating muscle memories. this applies to the physical process of drawing the figure just as it does to yoga and sporting events. for example, every time you begin a drawing by establishing the long axis of the torso, you are creating a muscle memory. the second time you do this, you strengthen the pathways in your brain that help you do that.

part of my job in life drawing is to assist you in creating new habits for yourself--for understanding the body, for making drawings that have a sense of life, for refining your skill with line.

creating new muscle memories also applies to 1) holding your drawing tool with a drawing grasp rather than a handwriting grasp, 2) standing with enough space between you and your easel, and 3) keeping your eye and hand moving together as you study the form of the figure.

it is also why i have you build the muscles on the maniken. if you can create a muscle memory with your hands and fingers moving from one attachment to the next, you will have access to that memory as you look at the model and remember what that muscle is like as you draw.

this works best when you pay attention to the maniken and clay as you build rather than treating it as busy work while really paying attention to something else while you build. it also means that building a muscle more than once increases your understanding and memory of that muscle--so, if i ask you to re-build a muscle, view it as an opportunity to learn the muscle better.

the excerpt:

more from the athlete’s way: sweat and the biology of bliss
by christopher bergland
st. martin’s press
new york, ny

*for more information on pukinje cells and microtubules, see below

stretch your neurons from head to toe
de-stress the web of body snatchers

the human body is not a thing of given substance, but a continuous creation. the human body is an energy system . . . which is never a complete structure; never static; is in perpetual inner self-construction and self-destruction; we destroy in order to make new. [norman o. brown, american philosopher]

this chapter is going to focus on flexibility and balance. the athlete’s way is about the process of linking up body, mind, brain, and human spirit. the focus of stretching in this chapter is as much about stretching the cables of your nervous system, improving your state of mind, and getting touch/with your human spirit as it is about the flexibility of muscles and tendons. stretching, and breathing deeply, is a great way to relax and decompress. it gets the kinks out of your nervous system. think of stretching as a way to take a time-out from the hectic world and get yourself centered.

the focus of balance is on the cerebellum and plumping up your purkinje cells.* balance is a ue-it-or-lose-it system. this chapter will tell you how to practice using your balance system. you want to stretch a little bit every day, and get in the habit of discreetly balancing on one foot throughout the day, in line at the bank or waiting for the bus. (226-227)

stretching engages the network of neurons that is your nervous system and invigorates it--like a massage from the inside out. neurons stretch from the back of your head to the tips of your fingers down your legs to the/ends of your toes. when you bend over to touch your toes you are lengthening axons, elongating microtubules,* and opening up the synaptic gaps that are the junctions of the billions of neurons woven throughout your entire body. make waking up the nervous system and the benefits on mind, brain, and spirit your number one reason to stretch.

when you stretch your arms as wide as you can, you are elongating the axons that go from the base of your brain to your fingertips. feel the electricity going through each neuron and in the synapses. the circuitry explodes when you stretch, because you are getting the electrochemicals and blood flowing into the nooks and crannies of the nervous system, which wakes it up. breathe deeply and imagine sending oxygen and blood flow to those areas that feel tight.

neurons need the nutrients delivered by blood flow and oxygen that stretching sends there. visualize this when you stretch. imagine every breath sending more blood flow and oxygen to the tight area. feel the stretch as you hold it and breathe. imagine that you are flooding that area with fresh nutrients and washing away the old stale toxins. this is a simple visualization that has worked for me every day for twenty years.

your brain alone has enough energy to light a twenty-watt lightbulb, but there is much more energy than that in your entire nervous system. your ability to tap the collective pool of energy in the universe is infinite. imagine the kilowatts pumping through your nervous system and plug into it. light up your spinal column. (228)

transport tubes of bliss molecules

over time, with continuous daily practice, exercise strengthens--plumps up--the microtubules to transport more effectively the neurochemicals associated with bliss. the improved delivery system can result in more amplified feelings of bliss because the pipes run faster and cleaner.

these waterproof pipelines can transport a substance from the body of a cell to its synapse end-terminal up to three feet away. inside each axon are about a hundred microtubules that lie flaccid like a flat fire hose. with a neurotransmitter cargo inside, they become rigid and stiff. these pipelines will swell within 1/10,000 of a second when a neuron springs to life and begins to communicate using the chemicals pumped through millions of neurons like wildfire, each linking at the tips of these microscopic channels to create an engram, a neural net. within each axon, there are actually a hundred separate delivery systems squirting messages into the synaptic gap in milliseconds. this is how all the neurotransmitters transport chemical messages and deliver cargo to pleasure and pain centers.

when you exercise, microtubules pump serotonin into the frontal lobes--this makes you happier and smarter. researchers at johns hopkins have recently discovered that the strengthening of axons in the frontal cor-/tex because of more serotonin is probably what makes SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like prozac work. although it is too early to say, the real power in antidepressants may actually lie in the microtubules becoming a better delivery system because of serotonin, which also occurs with exercise.

breaking a sweat makes your microtubules bigger, stronger, and more efficient. my dad says, “people like you and lance armstrong who do a lot of exercise have bigger microtubules than the rest of us.” you need microtubules to be able to deliver large quantities of cargo quickly. they get stronger and bigger when you overload them. this cutting-edge concept is just beginning to be studies by other neuroscientist. (118-119)

purkinje cells
the key to muscle memory

learn by practice. --martha graham

number of purkinje cells = 15 to 25 million (relatively small number)
number of synapses made on a purkinje cell = up to 200,000 (relatively huge number)

muscle memory is stored in the purkinje cells of the cerebellum. purkinje cells are named after johannes purkinje, who first identified these neurons in 1837. dr. purkinje was also the first person to identify the individuality of the human fingerprint. he had a figt for discovering relatively obvious things everyone else had overlooked. purkinje cells are the most distinctive neurons in the brain; their dendrites fan out into chinese fans. dendrites are arranged at right angles to the parallel fibers other molecular layers, forming tens of millions of synapses. but they never touch.

you could think of one thousand purkinje cell dendrites as a “receiving dish” from many wide and varied places in your body. the single pukinje cell axon could be seen as one outgoing wire sending signals from all over the place through a consolidated pipeline. the dendrites of purkinje cells are parallel but never touch. they oscillate like fishtails and push signals up the axon, out of the cerebellum, and up into the cerebrum. the power of these “fishtails” oscillating in unison could also be seen as a car engine with thousands of cylinders (the dendrites) channeling information into a single drive shaft (the axon).

the synaptic plasticity of purkinje cells is in your hands. they are reshaped daily through practice and repetition. the purkinje cells work at a quantum speed. the amplification of more than two hundred thousand incoming signals through one axon offers parallel processing capability from the cerebellum up into the cerebrum.

this lightning-fast processing in a goalie’s cerebellum allows him to leap for a soccer ball while reaching out his hands, keeping his eyes locked on the target. his cerebellum monitors postural control, muscle tensions, velocity, and gravity before he grabs the ball and rolls as he hits the grass. the final output of any given purkinje cell is via a single axon, but all the purkinje cells are working autonomously, but simultaneously. they oscillate together and march in lockstep. these cells take sensory information from all parts of the body and send it to the cerebrum. (119-120)

24 September 2008

rib cage posts

here are some of the posts on the rib cage that i find well done (completing the assignment correctly--including supplying identifying information on the original drawings and writing a summary paragraph about your process learning about the structure of the rib cage):

this is not an all-inclusive list. i just picked a few so you could all see examples of what i thought constituted a thorough, reflective post.

Katie Lewandowski

Ryan Smith (this one needs the originals in the post, but otherwise has nice tracings with labels of the rib cage anatomy and a good summary of his process)

art & science

as you can figure out from my approach to teaching life drawing, i believe art and science are like peanut butter & chocolate (they need each other!). this post is basically a link to the new york academy of sciences--which has lots of information (and conferences) about the links between art and science, including this one on mirror neurons.

link here to the article abstracted in the previous post.

"mirror neurons control the universe"

abstract of the article (found in Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume 11, Issue 5, May 2007, Pages 197-203):

Motion, emotion and empathy in esthetic experience

David Freedberg1 and Vittorio Gallese2,

1Department of Art History and Archeology, Columbia University, 826 Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue, New York 10027, USA 2Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Via Volturno 39, I-43100 Parma, Italy

The implications of the discovery of mirroring mechanisms and embodied simulation for empathetic responses to images in general, and to works of visual art in particular, have not yet been assessed. Here, we address this issue and we challenge the primacy of cognition in responses to art. We propose that a crucial element of esthetic response consists of the activation of embodied mechanisms encompassing the simulation of actions, emotions and corporeal sensation, and that these mechanisms are universal. This basic level of reaction to images is essential to understanding the effectiveness both of everyday images and of works of art. Historical, cultural and other contextual factors do not preclude the importance of considering the neural processes that arise in the empathetic understanding of visual artworks.
find more of this article here

sweat & the biology of bliss

click here for some reading on proprioception and mirror neurons. It is an excerpt from the book The Athlete's Way: Sweat and the Biology of Bliss by Christopher Bergland (left) and provides a good explanation of how our bodies and brains help us understand each other's movements, increasing our sense of muscular empathy (our ability to sense how and what others are feeling). This information is helpful for learning yoga itself as well as for understanding why Dr. Bland and I work at putting fitness yoga and life drawing together.

The more you become aware of how your body feels in all kinds of movements and situations, the more aware you become while observing others' movments. In turn, you get better and more refined with your movements, yoga poses, gestures--and ability to see the model; turn his/her poses into felt responses on the paper; draw with your whole body not just your fingers; and choreograph your hand and eye movements to occur nearly simultaneously.

How to make use of this information is simply to 1) pay attention to how your body feels, 2) when you are watching others in a yoga pose or looking at the model in a pose, imagine in your mind/body what that pose feels like.

When you imagine making a particular movement for yourself, you shift the pose/gesture from being an external, removed, "seen" image to an internal, connected, "felt" sensation. The latter is what gives you the ability to refine yoga poses, get better at life drawing, and become more sensitive and empathic to what is happening in and around you.

23 September 2008

assignment for thursday, september 25

do the assignment that was due today (tuesday, september 23), only this time find three different old master drawings that highlight the pelvis or have particularly rich information about the pelvis.

find a 1) straight-on, 2) 3/4, and 3) a moderately to extremely foreshortened point of view.

using tracing paper and a colored pencil or pen, trace this information.

post the original copied/scanned images to your blog along with your tracings. write a paragraph about the structure of the pelvis in the drawings.

make sure you find and label these landmarks on your tracing paper (depending, of course, on whether the point of view of the drawing includes these (e.g., sacrum for the back views):
  • iliac crest
  • anterior superior iliac spine[s] (primary pelvic point[s])
  • anterior inferior iliac spine[s] (secondary pelvic point[s]) if you can see them, or the top of the quadriceps
  • symphysis pubis, or spines of pubic bone[s]
  • inguinal ligament
  • posterior superior iliac spine[s]
  • sacrum
  • gluteal cleft (line between glutes)
  • gluteal fold (line under the glutes)

assignment for tuesday, september 23

  1. find three old master drawings (in a book) that show a lot of information regarding the structure of the rib cage. make a copy or scan of each image and then, using tracing paper and a colored pencil/pen, trace this information.

  2. the three drawings should include one each from the following points of view:
  • straight-on (front or back)
  • 3/4 view (front or back)
  • moderate/extreme foreshortening

3. include in your tracing:
  • egg shape of rib cage
  • form of sternum (including three parts and angles)
  • cartilage of rib cage (especially its convexity if seen in the drawing)
  • thoracic curve
  • first pair of ribs

4. post these three old master images to your blog, noting the artist, date, medium, size, etc. cite your sources. also post your three tracings.

5. write a short paragraph describing the rib cage's structure in each of the drawings.

17 September 2008

check out...

... the updates to the syllabus post. the complete, official version is now on the blog! you'll want to read the whole thing. let me know if you have any questions about it.

quick link here

16 September 2008

assignment for thursday, september 18

1) post images of your 30-minute drawings (the ones done at the end of class) from:
  • tuesday, september 9
  • thursday, september 11
  • tuesday, september 16 (this one is slightly shorter than 30 minutes)
2) post at least one image of each of the above drawings. include detail shots as well, if you wish.

3) describe what you have learned about gesture drawing and the figure so far in class. use these three drawings as evidence to illustrate what you've learned. refer to the images in your written description. (200 words minimum)

fig drawing

fig drawing
here's a great figure drawing blog with beautiful examples. you'll want to come back to this one. from the profile info: the blog's creator is chris muller, teaching on fig(ure) drawing at new york university's tisch school of the arts, in the design for theater and film department.

12 September 2008

drawing assignment

for tuesday, september 16:

100 gesture drawings of people in everyday activities
  • divide your 24" x 36" newsprint or your 18" x 24" paper into four picture planes--just like we do in class--and capture the movement and overall structure of a figure
  • you can also use your sketchbook--but keep each drawing at least 8 1/2" x 11" or so--not too small
  • continue using the long axis lines like we did in class on tuesday
  • resist the urge to use outlines--if you start adding these in, just stop!
  • each drawing should be about 30 seconds
  • up to 60 seconds is fine, too
  • you don't have to time yourself exactly, just get an approximate feel for a quick gesture drawing and go with that
  • draw and observe people in everyday activities--don't have them "pose" for you or sit still for 30 seconds. capture them alive and moving.


assignment for tuesday, before class: read your group members' blog posts and respond by leaving a comment on their blogs.

here are a few ideas as you respond to your group members' blog posts:
  • look at their work and read their writing carefully, taking time
  • as you begin to respond, write what you notice about the images/text, what sticks out in your mind, what you appreciate, what you've learned
  • avoid giving advice
  • instead of giving advice, ask questions: what do you still wonder about after looking at their post? what would you like to know more about?
  • while you are responding, think about how you would like to have your images seen and your writing read. what would you want people to ask you about? or notice about your work? what questions would you like them to ask? then use those thoughts to guide your response to others.
  • as i have mentioned a few times, these blogs are yours. individually, and in small groups, and for the larger class. take ownership of this space by being an active, supportive, questioning, thoughtful responder in your small group.

art 3o1-oo1 blog groups (t.th.2:30-5:35)

group 1
layne bolden
nicole harvieux
erik theissen
ben wuest

group 2
scott christoffel
christa kunkel
cassie schneider
caleb summers

group 3
nathan dean
katie lewandowski
marta peterson
corey rice

group 4
erik gannon
melissa mantzke
nathan strauss
reuben balsis

group 5
amanda greene (greene design)
joshua kohlhepp (j.a.k.)
angel troxler
jordan ewert

group 6
derek hageness
jess moran
lance schott (the cage)

11 September 2008

art 3o1-oo2 blog groups (t.th.11:15-2:20)

group 1
shelley clark
nate koehler
jesse lindhorst
amy schmitz

group 2
marc anderson
ryan leynse (life drawing-ryan)
jake olson (frankalivedrawing)
chelsey schock
erin maurer

group 3
jonathan colbert (still needs a blog! group 3 get on his tail.)
matt pugmire (matty p)
briana zontelli (briana's mind)
michelle denomme

group 4
jennifer ekstrand (hello.)
leah olsen (a latte' leah)
briana roesler
ryan smith

group 5
crystal hagmann (process and pencil)
joshua jankowski(Life drawing Blog)
matt stauffer
kristina westberg

group 6
channa halverson
jerod husar
jim lucas
steph truax

10 September 2008


your assignment for tomorrow, thursday, september 11:

create a blog post in which you present yourself to me, the other life drawing students, other art majors and faculty, and even outside art & design professionals who may now or in the future see your blog. present yourself as the artist you are now, at the beginning of the fall semseter 2008.

start by introducing yourself (remembering this is a professional space). where are you from? what concentration/year are you at stout? how did you choose your concentration? where do you hope to go after stout? what does your ideal life as an artist/designer look like?

include at least three images. ideally, these images will be of your best artwork or designs you have produced as a student at stout. if you do not have access to those artworks, present the best that you have.

write at least one paragraph for each image: describe your process of creating it, what problem you were trying to solve, what course it was for, what you trying to achieve, why you think it is a successful work, etc. you do not have to follow these questions exactly. they are examples of questions to ask yourself as you write about your work.

basically, show and tell us who you are as an artist through texts and images. begin your story of this semester in life drawing.

tomorrow during class, i will assign small groups so you will each have three (+/- depending on the class numbers) students to respond to over the weekend.


A Breathing Exercise (3:11)
How simple attention to breath enhances our awareness and enjoyment of the present moment. Courtesy of Sounds True.

Calm Waters (3:22)
Using the metaphor of a mountain lake, this meditation focuses on calming turbulent feelings. Courtesy of Sounds True.

click here to listen

more about thich nhat hanh

if you haven't created your blog yet...

...you're falling behind!

jon colbert
michaela e.
crystal hagmann
matt pugmire
angel troxler

also, all of you please check for your blog in the lists to the side and let me know if your blog is in the wrong class section. this organizing of names and sections is hairier than i thought it would be.

p.s. is anyone's blog titled "the cage"? it is in my "blogs i'm following" list, but there are no posts on it yet and i can't figure out who it belongs to. let me know!

let me know if you need help creating your blog, sending me the url, or posting your first assignment. or if i have somehow missed what you sent me.

09 September 2008

art 301 (oo1 & oo2) syllabus

life drawing one • syllabus

"the true artist is after the problem. the false artist wants it solved (by somebody else)."
--jeannette winterson
art objects

*save all your drawings from the semester.

students must have completed drawing one (art 100) and drawing two (art 200) before participating in life drawing one (art 301)

through participation in life drawing one, you will:
• understand and use a structural approach to drawing
perceive three-dimensional form and translate this form to the two-dimensional picture plane
➢ comprehend a subject’s planar make-up and correctly prioritize primary and secondary planes

➢ use a linear, as opposed to painterly, approach to drawing the figure, including value
• develop a working knowledge of artistic anatomy through lectures, drawings, and clay modeling
➢ draw a structural representation of the human figure utilizing long axis, cross contour, and muscle attachment lines
• practice gesture drawing and contour drawing separately, in order to, ultimately, achieve a synthesis of the two

• become aware of your own kinesthetic sense and its ability to teach yourself about the body and about drawing

• refine your line quality and mark-making skills

• be responsible to yourself and the other students in the class for having meaningful class discussions and becoming better artists through those discussions

• keep a class blog that will serve as space for posting images, text, responding to other students, and reflecting upon your learning in the course

evaluations & expectations:
• i expect you to complete:
➢ in-class drawings

➢ assigned clay building on your Maniken, both in-class and for homework. maniken assignments will be graded on the quality of clay building, accuracy of form and attachments, and completeness of work.

➢ homework drawings. homework will be graded on the quality of the drawing and the demonstrated understanding of the topics covered in that particular assignment.

➢ blog assignments: posting images, writing, and responding to your small group members’ blogs.

we will meet during the following final exam times:

art 3o1-oo2 (t/th 11:15 – 2:20): wed, dec 17, 2:00 - 3:50 pm

art 3o1-oo1 (t/th 2:30 – 5:35): thurs, dec 18, 2:00 - 3:50 pm

it’s important that you are in class—for access to the model, to hear comments i make, and to experience drawing in a studio setting. the class happens because all of you are here working together.

let me know via e-mail if you can’t make it to class.

rely on your classmates to show you drawings and notes you may have missed.

grading policy

• your grade will be based primarily on your final e-portfolio in which you showcase your learning over the semester and best examples from the class. this e-portfolio will include gesture drawings, long-pose drawings, maniken work, and blog summaries.

• a mid-term e-portfolio will be graded to give you an idea of your standing in the class at that point, but may be overridden by the quality of your final portfolio. in other words, the two grades will not be “averaged” for your final grade.

• your grade will also be affected by such “subjective” qualities as these:
1. are you present?
2. in mind as well as body?
3. open to suggestions?
4. helpful in class discussions?
5. awake during lecture time?

it is part of my job—my responsibility—to give you a grade that lets you and other art “authorities” (other professors, employers, grad schools, gallery owners, etc.) know how your final portfolio and overall attitude during class measure up to given standards.

one useful way to think about grades is to consider them guides as to how other art professionals (besides me) would view your portfolio. how would a design firm see your work? a graduate school acceptance committee? other professors in the Art & design department? gallery owners?

if i imagine i am an employer of designers, an A would mean you could start right away, a B would mean you might get hired if you get some more experience and refine your portfolio, a C would mean you are not ready for the job.

likewise, if you are considering graduate school, an A would mean your work is of the quality that would get you accepted into a grad program, a B would indicate that you might get accepted if you worked on your portfolio some more, a C would mean you are not ready to apply for graduate studies (in drawing/life drawing, anyway).

atlas of human musculature in clay (volumes 1 – 5), jon zahourek, ed. kenneth morgareidge, zahourek systems, inc., 1994.

in addition to the texts, you will check out a half-maniken for your use during the semester. the manikens are property of uw-stout instructional resources services. you are responsible for the maniken checked out to you.if any part of the maniken is missing, lost, damaged, etc., you will be responsible for replacing it.

world famous lectures on artistic anatomy & figure drawing
robert beverly hale

lecture 1. rib cage 78 Minutes
lecture 2. pelvis 81 minutes
lecture 3. leg 74 minutes
lecture 4. foot 72 minutes
lecture 5. shoulder girdle I 77 minutes
lecture 6. shoulder girdle ll 68 minutes
lecture 7. arm 76 minutes
lecture 8. hand 80 minutes
lecture 9. head/skull 80 minutes
lecture 10. head and features 97 minutes

these are available for checkout in the library.

art education artifacts
the course objectives of this course meet:
• wisconsin standard 1: the teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches.
• uw-stout school of education domain 1a: demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy.
• wisconsin standard 9: the teacher is a reflective practitioner.

portfolio artifact: in-class drawing of whole portrait
• art education students will be required to reflect in writing on this artifact.
• art education students will be required to upload papers and digital images of their studio works into their e-portfolios.

06 September 2008


for a wonderful story of a small town in wisconsin (new auburn, an hour north of here).

michael perry is a writer who embodies both the guy from the small-town (supposedly "uncultured") with the meditative story-telling, acute observations, and careful language of an artist.

he writes the story from the perspective of a volunteer fire fighter--so you can imagine how he gets into the realities of life and death, even from chapter one.

as a visual artist (who grew up in small-town iowa myself and now call wisconsin home) i really appreciated perry's observations, his humor, and the way he weaves together the characters and events of his hometown to tell the story of his life, and how he found his place in a community.

this is the book we read this year at stout for into the book. the library has a web page on it, too. here

find an excerpt here:
chapter one

an audio excerpt here:
harper collins

& perry's website:

04 September 2008

never underestimate...

...the power of life drawing

check out the article

by glen vilppu (who did the drawing at left)

first things first

the first assignment
for each of you is to:
  1. create your own blog for this course. you can do this at blogspot (where this blog is hosted) or any other blogging site.
  2. send a comment or link to this blog (www.lifedrawingtwo.blogspot.com) indicating your blog's title and url.
  3. your blog will be the place you upload images of your drawings, images of your classmates' drawings for comments, and create your own set of information relating to the course.
  4. your blog will serve as a type of electronic sketchbook--a public one, one that will be available to me and the other students in the course.
  5. it will also serve as a type of portfolio, or the beginning of a more formal e-portfolio that can build/merge into a professional tool as you move through your curriculum at stout and out into the art & design world.
  6. your blog will be a professional space for you to track your progress in life drawing 2, to reflect on your process and work, and to create/present your self as an artist who has particular interests (for one reason or another) in life drawing.
  7. your blog will offer images, links, and other information that will help other students in the course learn about you and life drawing--consider it a place to present ideas that you may not have time to in class, especially if you are the quiet type who has difficulty speaking up in class.
  8. your blog will be in-progress, just as a sketchbook.
  9. it will be graded to the extent that it lives up to the criteria i set for it, and sometimes i will give you specific assignments to due on your blog. i also expect you to work on it on your own, to have a certain number of posts that you create without my prompting.
  10. so... it is a professional space, an artist's space, and will have some criteria that will be graded in the end, but part of the criteria will be to be reflective in your blog, to write with language that is authentic, to be honest with yourself and your classmates. and to feel free to "express yourself" (though i hate the stereotyped meaning of that phrase, it can still mean something if you're serious about it) through your images, writing, links, and comments so that the viewer/reader of your blog can get a sense of who you are as an artist and how you are different than any other college student/emerging artist by what you choose to include in your blog.

sketchbook stack photo: http://www.fixpert.com/artwork/illustration-history/

villard sketchbook image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Villard_de_Honnecourt_-_Sketchbook_-_17.jpg
  • Author: Villard de Honnecourt
  • Source: Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt (about 1230)
  • MS. 19093 French Collection, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (No. 1104 Library of Saint-Germain-des Prés until c.1800)


life drawing one students,

welcome to a new semester! for class on tuesday (september 9) you will need basic drawing supplies. you can purchase all these @ penco. andy--the manager there--is very helpful, so if you have questions while you're there, ask!

  • one 26" x 38" drawing board
  • 24" x 36" sheets of newsprint (these are sold by the sheet--$0.10 per sheet. i'd suggest starting with 30 - 50 sheets and getting more as needed.)
  • one (for now) 18" x 24" pad of biggie drawing paper (red cover)
  • one 18" x 24" pad of good quality drawing paper (i think it is strathmore brand with a green cover)
  • one pad of 18" x 24" tracing paper

  • a few packages of vine charcoal (soft and medium)
  • a few packages of conté crayon (any color except white or grey. i prefer the black hb because it is the hardest--i have a naturally dark and heavy touch, so the harder conte helps me stay light)
  • 2-3 conté pencils--any color except white
  • 2-3 charcoal pencils--a variety of hardnesses
  • 2-3 sticks of compressed charcoal--a variety of hardnesses
  • pencil sharpener for pencil-type tools

  • x-acto knife
  • extra x-acto blades
  • sandpaper (i suggest getting big sheets of this from wal-mart or fleet farm, etc., but you can get the small sheets with the handle at penco)
  • white vinyl/plastic eraser--rectangular kind
  • white vinyl/plastic eraser--mechanical pencil kind
  • grey eraser that looks like a thick pencil (with holes along the sides)
  • refills for mechanical-pencil-style eraser

  • three wire clay tools: one large, two small (i'll show you these in class)
  • one clay roller
  • one plastic rolling/cutting board (clear or black)

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