Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why do I not feel like an artist anymore?

I haven't felt like an artist for months.
I've heard of writer's block; could it be that I have artist's block?
I don't know - is this what mild depression feels like?

I consulted the I-ching last night, with the question: What is the nature of right now? Why does everything seem so crazy? How is this leading to workshop?

The trigram was:
#20  50. Ting, p. 193 The Cauldron

The second trigram was #2   44. Kou,  p. 170 The Meeting

It was very accurate.

Here are some things I've been working on this week. I feel a lot of pressure to work on things before leaving for workshop. I realize this is self-imposed pressure. I have had mild panic attacks a few times a week for the last few months, and have to seriously talk myself off the proverbial ledge. I don't know what that represents...

And after reading the terrible headlines of Arctic drilling, refugees out at sea that no one wants, and worldwide rampant rape, I'm having trouble finding value in my work or its relevance in relation to all of this. In addition to being very turned off by the art market world - seems like an eternity away from the kind of work I believe in and propose to make...I feel like I'm in the Dark Ages. Maybe I'm in the wrong time, or the wrong location. I don't know why I feel so isolated in my beliefs and interests?

I was working with shifting my perspective slightly, and placing the two slightly different renderings next to each other.
Starting with my son, who never stays still, seemed like a fair place to begin. 
However, how is this idea not just like Roni Horn?

And then there is the following through with the combination of sculpture and painting like I started two years ago. I still don't really know how to continue with that work. I've lost so much connection to myself and my process. I feel lazy. I don't feel like an artist, and my work doesn't really bring me any joy. When I say I'm an artist I feel like I'm lying. The small amount of connections I make, if any, when I'm in studio disappear very quickly when I resume the rest of my life. I know this blog is called art, life no separation, but right now my life feels very separate - very fragmented, with little or no sense of artistic continuity. I feel like a lot of things are separated in my life. I feel separated from my life.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Syllabus (Thanks to Laura Mack's example)

Introduction to Art History/Art Appreciation

Tereza Swanda, Art Instructor

~Jiddu Krishnamurti, Think on These Things

~Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Course objectives
The class will provide an overview of art history from various perspectives. Art Appreciation introduces the importance of art in today’s world and the purposes art has served from prehistoric through modern eras in a variety of cultures both Western and non-Western. We will place art in context of the family, politics, religion, sexuality, social protest and entertainment. We will cover fundamental line, space, perspective, light and color, and practice drawing, painting, sculpture, photography as well as video for some. Progress will be made through exercises, slide lectures, demonstrations, discussions and homework assignments.

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
1.       To slow down, focus on what is in the moment.
2.       To recognize something, in oneself, from the process of another.
3.       Learn how to read, VISUALLY, when at times we are unable to express it in words.
4.       Learn to analyze and critique not just the art, but social constructs; political, social, economic, THE SELF.
5.       Learn to reconstruct, in a ‘natural’ way.

We will learn basic drawing skills.
We will develop visual literacy, recognizing brushstroke, line, gesture, color and the emotions that are applied to each.
We will see from a broader perspective- Use principles of linear perspective and atmospheric (aerial) perspective and foreshortening in the establishment of an illusionistic 2-D space. Distinguish light from dark in figure/ground relationships.
We will view all media and distinguish formal as well as psychological, ephemeral, political, spiritual elements of each artwork.
The course will enable students to gain an insight into the significance of creativity in its many physical manifestations
We will conceptualize and render light, shadow and volume through appropriate technique and by judgment of value and contrast.
We will distinguish between objective and subjective art.
We will use standard art vocabulary to critically analyze artwork at a fundamental level. 
The goals covered in 'Art Appreciation' are communication, critical thinking & problem solving, society & human behavior, science & technology, aesthetic perspective, historical perspective and information literacy.

Studio Rules
Respect the space and the space of learning. Think in these terms all the rest make perfect sense.
·         The classroom which at times will turn into a studio must be kept clean. This is a shared space. Leave it cleaner and tidier than found.

Suggested Reading
Henry M. Sayre. A World of Art. Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey, 2013, 2012, 2007.
Howard Zinn. People’s History of the United States. HarperCollins Publishers, NY, 1980, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2003.

1.     Participation is mandatory. All students are expected to contribute to classroom discussions and critiques. We learn a lot from each other, and ideas are generated from other ideas. Important components of participation include being on time and adding to the class discussion. A slide show and demonstration occurs at the start of many classes. (Also, check google drive daily as assignments will only be posted online.)
2.     Come to class prepared to work with all necessary supplies. Reminders are on the schedule.
3.     If a class is missed, find out what was missed, and what assignments were due.
4.     Homework is a component of this class. Expect 3-4 hours outside of class per week. Assignments must be complete, presentable, and on time. Extensions will be considered for unusual circumstances, but must be discussed in advance. If an absence happens on a due date, bring the assignment to the next class.

Academic Adjustment
If you feel you may need an academic adjustment for any type of disability, please see me before class.

Receive points for every in-class assignment and homework projects.  Evaluation will be based on the following criteria:
1.       Demonstrated grasp of key concepts, presentation, and creative solutions.
2.       Prompt completion of assignments.
3.       Class participation (see Requirements #1). Extra credit/make-up work is available.
4.       A reasonable sense of effort, wonder, and enthusiasm.
Final grading is based on accumulated points during the term. 90-100 =A, 80-90=B, etc.. Number 4 (above) will determine where you fall when you are hovering between two grades.

The following is an example of a prior grade sheet for this class:
Assessment criteria

Week 1
1. Identify slide (7)
Research the times and content of the artwork (2) Write about it’s relevance to you (3), How much can you read visually?(2),

2. Hand gesture, homework (7)
Direction lines (2), Contour(2), Shading and contrast (3)

3. Reading Krishnamurti (7)
On Love, (How we see) (2), Discussion (5)

4. Compare and Contrast Artwork(7)

Analyze 2 pieces of work (2), Identify each (1), What era/eras are they from? (1) How do they relate? (1) What is your interest? From what perspective are you writing? (2)

5. Zentangle/doodle (7)
Absorption(4), composition (1), variety and quality of line (2)

6.  Reading excerpts from People’s History (7)
Choose a struggle from History (1), Find and read about it in People’s History of the US (1), Present it in class in connection to an artwork- poster, drawing,  (5)

Week 3
7. Image and text (7)
Look through contemporary media, online, commercials or magazines (2), What is the message?(1), How are the advertisers/politicians portraying that message visually? (1), Who is the audience? (1) How would the image read in a different context, another time? (2)

8. Collage, Mixed Media (7)
Concept, Message (4), Use of color (2), Use of text (1),

9. Analyze an artwork that uses image and text – It can be as simple as the title of the work and the artwork (7)
What is the political, social, economic message of the piece? (2) Who is the audience, time and what is its impact? (2) Presentation (3)

Week 4
10. What is color? What is light? (7)
Color wheel, (1) Complements and  neutrals, charts (2) Observing the natural world (4).

11. Research Impressionists, Rothko (7)
How did various artists think of color? (1), What era did that thinking reflect?(1), Presentation/Discussion (5)

12. Readings on connections between spirituality, science and art  (7)
Choose an artwork that exemplifies what the Dalai Lama is talking about in the article (2) Present the image and justify the connection (4) Discussion (1)

Week 5
13. Goya’s Humanity (7)
Study the process of one artist (2) How did the process reflect the different developmental stages? (2) What were some conclusions after a lifetime of work, if any? (3)

Week 6
14. Self evaluation (7)
Use of visual vocabulary (2), writing and grammar (2), honest assessment (3)

15. Final- Trip to the Institute of Contemporary Art  (10)
Discussion (5), Presentation on one artist (3), Sketching (2)

Absences: After 2 absences, final grade will go down 5 pts for every missed class

Lates and early departures: Every two count as an absence

Extra credit
Attend gallery reception (2)

Total points/grade (108) Includes extra credits

If you want to know anything, ask. Use my email or see me in person. Please talk to me if experiencing difficulties in the class, if current grade status is needed or if a large amount of absence is expected.

Materials List, Cost
 $15.00 covers all material
Drawing paper/sketchbook- your choice but no smaller than 9 x 12 “

Pencils or woodless graphite pencils: 6B (softer pencil), 4B, 2B, HB, 2H (harder pencil)
Kneaded rubber eraser

Masking tape
Camera/mobile phone

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Study of the Son
In relation to Goya loosing many children in infancy/childhood and the softness he painted him in. 

Being with Children (Instead of just looking at.)

Seeing and showing what is there.

Difference in Light.

Disasters of War -

Order and Disorder (MFA) Preview-
What was chosen? What was not? For what audience? What do we have to learn from Goya now?


(One of) the books that changed my perspective, "Men, Masculinity and Love"

bell hook's "The Will to Change Men Masculinity and Love"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Principles of design

Friday, May 8, 2015

Post-mortem Document I

Capital Cleanse,
Capital Change

-Take current currency

-Sculpt out of soap, mold

-Melt old scraps/leftovers or create soap from scratch (Look at images in "more from the kitchen."

-Pour into molds, freeze and distribute in all public restrooms

-Pointing to any current discrepancy in wealth
(i.e. Whom do we support?
Who is left out?
Who holds most capital? Power?

-Point to those who do not, those who are disenfranchised. The other 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

more from the kitchen

The flesh of the soap reminds me so much of the flesh of the chicken carcass,

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Kitchen as studio

A lot more thinking, thinking more deeply
Yes! There is a fire under one’s a** to get on with it already
I am thinking of what exactly can I do every day, to point,
Point to something, someone who needs attention

Everything is work
Daily process with the self
Daily process with another
Daily process with/in the Earth

What I truly want is balance.

Uncertain, Caucasian Mix

Capital Cleanse in "Transformation" at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, MD
May 1, 2015 - May 31, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 2, 2015, 3 p.m. - 5 p.m., Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Second Floor Gallery

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lesson on Underpainting, (with DaVinci)

Sunset and Dr. King

Driving to class last night, I watched a beautiful sunset.
It had the edges of a Rothko with much more subdued colors. (I realized how important it is to continue his late work. There was a particularly peachy cloud with a very pale phthalo blue surrounding it. Perhaps the work for Gift of Time.

On the drive I was listening in on On Point talking about Baltimore. The drastic contrast between the horror of what I was listening to and the beauty that I was seeing was startling. At the end the two merged. The last five minutes of the program was dedicated to Dr. King. His vibrato voice had the same quality of the colors of the sunset. It was a profound 5 minutes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Art Meets Science and Spirituality in a Changing Economy

Rothko, color as a representative for tragedy, ecstasy and doom

"...only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point." -Rothko or Marko Rotkovich as he had to change his name due to American antisemitism around the time of the Second World War

Rothko formula:

1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death - intimations of mortality... Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death. 2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist. 3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire. 4. Irony, This is a modern ingredient - the self-effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else. 5. Wit and play... for the human element. 6. The ephemeral and chance... for the human element. 7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.

Class interruption

Sorry to use this platform for my class work. It is only through online format I can present my slide lectures. And the one way I have devised for showing the work as my google drive is inaccessible is through our blog.

I am finding the teaching fascinating. In the connections as well as the disconnect. While in it, I can only see the day to day. But I hope to have a period of reflection after the six weeks are over.

Students have been practicing drawing, painting, sculpture, etc. on resume paper. (A rich, textured, ivory colored surface.) I think appropriately these are their true 'diplomas' as they are a clear reflection of who they are and where they are at (in visual terms.) Will post this series over the weekend.

Sunday, April 26, 2015