Final: Reflection on Your Interests this Semester

I need two papers done. You can pick the images you want to use to make it easier for you. Each paper’s length should be at-least 500 words.


Final: Reflection on Your Interests this Semester

By this point in the semester you’ll have looked at and written about quite a lot of art work.  You may not realize it but you’ve started to develop interests and preferences in art.  You now have opinions about likes and dislikes, subjects, media, uses of color and the other elements of art, uses of the principles of art, and so on.  And you can probably give some reasons for your opinions.

The main thing to remember with this paper is that it’s about you as much as it’s about art.  Of course the paper is supposed to be on your interests and not an autobiography.  But you’re an extremely important part of the equation.  Remember the riddle; if a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there to hear it does it make a sound?  We can ask that about art too.  If an artist makes a painting and nobody sees it, does it have any significance?  I tend to think that without someone’s thoughts, feelings and opinions works of art are meaningless objects.  Their meaning comes from the viewer.  In this case that’s you.  We need to know a little about you in order to understand why you find these works meaningful or interesting.

What I’d like you to do first is go back and read through all of your weekly posts.  Take notes.  Pay attention to things that recur.  What we want to do here is get beyond things like “It looks like I enjoy red and cool cars.”  It’s easy enough to look for vocabulary words, but pay attention to the important parts of what you’ve said.  What ideas repeat?  What themes, subjects, uses of the elements or principles of art?  Why have you said these works have any value?  Or lack value?  Think about what you learned this semester.  By that I don’t mean something like “I learned about the elements and principles of art.”  I mean what did you learn about yourself?  Did you find out that you like things for reasons that surprise you, or at least that you had never thought about before?

One thing that you definitely should not do is to simply review all of the artwork that you’ve posted this semester.  You’ve already written about that work.  Now you’re writing about the things you said.  What we want to get to is something deeper and more thoughtful.  I have included an example below to illustrate what I mean by that.  This example is not meant to be an example of an entire paper.  Instead, it’s meant to help you understand how to think about this assignment.

By this point, it should be clear that you have a lot of individual agency in the way that you write about these things.  And in asking you to write about yourself it’s difficult to tell you exactly what to do.  All of you are different personalities and are writing about very different works of art.  So, there’s no best way to say you should go about this.  It might be best to simply write a paragraph about yourself as relates to the work you’re writing about.  Others of you might be better at making your personality come out in the writing and not need to make direct statements about yourself.  Maybe you’ve had an experience that relates to these works of art, you could write about that experience or that type of experience generally.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re in there in some way.

If I were going to write this paper I would structure it like this:

– Opening paragraph stating my interests and generally why they’re interesting.

– Two or more paragraphs critiquing a specific example work or two.  Include a pictures in this section and place them so we can see and read about them at the same time.

– Two or more paragraphs delving more deeply into the ideas brought up in your introduction and examples.  This section should probably include some close ups of things you’re referring to.

– Closing paragraph to sum it all up.

Your interests’ paper needs to be no less than 500 and shouldn’t be too much more than 1000 words.

It must contain at least one work of art that has not appeared on the discussion board this semester.

My example: (This is not an entire paper. Yours should be longer. This is just to give you an idea about how this should go.)

I like art work that betrays the way it was made, paintings having brushstrokes or sculptures having chisel marks.  Over time I’ve come across a few artists who make this idea an important part of their work and it has become an important part of my own art work.  I think this is important to me because our culture is dominated by mass produced objects.  I sometimes find it hard to imagine how a mass produced thing might have been made.  It can seem as if things just exist and it’s not really clear how, or sometimes even why, they exist.  In my life generally I find that I’m less and less interested in these kinds of objects and with works of art I tend to be less interested in work that has a similar look or feel to mass produced things.  Instead, when a thing is clearly hand made by a human being it’s much more compelling and relatable.  I can relate to the way it was made because I can clearly see the evidence of that making.  It’s impossible to look at it without also seeing how it was made.  And I can relate to the person who made it for the same reason.

In the above painting by Thrush Holmes I can clearly see how the work was done.  There are early layers of paint that have been laid on with loose brush strokes and some very wet washy application.  Over the top of that it looks like the artist has projected and traced images of foliage and mountain sides.  It looks like he then filled in the tracing with colors, sometimes randomly and sometimes in a loose relationship to what the natural colors might have been.  It looks like he did this more carefully, making an effort to stay within the lines.  That and his color choices give the paint in those ares a less dramatic flatness.  But, Holmes didn’t fill everything in, he let a lot of the first layer of paint show through.  So there’s an interesting contrast where the earlier brushy/washy paint shares an edge with the later flatter paint.  In some places it looks like they’re floating in front of and behind each other.  And then, in some areas he’s gone back again adding spray paint.  In some places he’s gone over that with the projected image and in other places he’s let the spray paint sit on top.  Finally, Holmes has taken a smaller brush with white paint and traced around some of the projected edges.  This both emphasizes those shapes and sort of cuts them off from the rest of the image.  In layering his projections on top of each other more or less arbitrarily and in his handling of the paint Holmes has made a painting that is as much about the way it was made as it is about its image content.


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