Monday, October 9, 2017

Another week gone

I didn't really mean to do these updates weekly, but it seems that is about the frequency at which I can manage them. And given that schedule, this one is a day late.

But, it's Canadian Thanksgiving today, that happy day when all the good Canadian children wake up early to see what presents were left under the Maple Tree by Hoppy the Moose, and then they all go eat waffles and ice cream for breakfast and go sit on a frozen lake and watch fireworks all day. (Note that in a recent update, the government changed the story, and now all the bad Canadian children are sent to America to work in call centres belonging to telephone companies instead of being given a lump of fossilized seal blubber. Apparently you really don't want to be a bad Canadian child.) At least, I think those are the traditions for most Canadians, but I might have it a bit off, still being new here and all.

As a result of this grand holiday - whatever the celebrations really are for most Canadians - we are getting together with friends for a vegetarian feast. It was almost a vegan feast, actually, but then down/up (depending on your POV) graded to just vegetarian for complicated reasons involving that fact that the vegans decided they were otherwise occupied today. (Hopefully not working for Verizon.)

But as it happens, the holiday isn't of much good to me in terms of giving me a break from the rigour of classes. That's because I have no classes on Monday. (Regular readers knew that already, and you can have an extra bite of ice cream this morning for being aware of it, and also because of the holiday.)

And yet, I have this pile of homework to do, so I have to work on it today, in addition to attending the vegetarian feast. So it's really not a day of rest for me.

Anyway, without further ado, let's do the week in review, shall we?

The attentive reader might recall that in ceramics we're doing a slab building project (called "Neo-Geo" for some reason). On Tuesday I rolled out my slabs and put them away for safe keeping. They need to be "leather hard" before you work them in this way, so you wrap them in plastic to keep them from drying out too fast. Well, I figured "Bad Things" (TM) would happen, so I checked them on Wednesday and some were already approaching too hard. I spritzed them with water and added damp newspaper to the mix, re-wrapped them, and crossed my fingers. Then on Thursday morning we got an email from the instructor saying her own slabs had been a bit too firm when she worked them in the demo, and it would be OK if we worked the project in advance, rather than waiting for this coming Tuesday (tomorrow). I took her up on that offer and stayed late on Thursday to create this:

We were told that our structure has to have a lid, so I made two:

It's kind of silly, I know, and it still needs some cleanup, but the only other guidance we were given was that it needs to be at least 12 inches in one dimension. And for some reason - probably having to do with US politics, which I still cannot avoid - I was thinking about rockets to Mars when I designed this. I have some slab left over, and if it isn't too dry I'll do something else with it in class. Maybe another one of these things, or one with a square cross section, rather than triangular.

Wednesday brought art history, where all we did was review and provide feedback on each other's draft papers for the class. My reviewers caught a couple of minor things in mine - and I thank them! - so I updated it at home on Wednesday night, finalized it on Friday, and emailed it to the instructor. We have no Art History class this week, as the instructor is off at a conference. And that turns out to be good because painting...

Painting class on Wednesday afternoon saw us doing life painting. In my case it saw me doing it very poorly. I am not happy with the results, and there are no pictures here as a result. For some reason I just wasn't feeling it much, and could not make the brush do what I wanted. This week's homework is a copy & enlargement project. The instructor gave us black & white copies of paintings and told us to grid them and then draw a similar grid on our canvas. Then we're to paint each little section separately to create a copy of the original. But, since the source is black & white, we're not worried about colour, just value. And he's hoping we learn about new ways to make marks on canvas with this. There weren't a lot of choices when I got to pick the painting I would copy, and what I have is incredibly complicated. I'm 7/16ths done with it now, and need to finish it by Wednesday afternoon. (That's more of my morning and evening, before and after the feast.) I'll probably share pictures of that in the next update. Maybe.

Design class on Thursday was interesting. This time around our assignment is to create a thing - we can loosely call it a sculpture - from wire that shows how an animal moves, but without showing the animal itself. We're given a supply of wire (used to tie rebar together in concrete structures) and a bit of MDF as a base, along with access to pliers and glue guns, and the shop to do a couple of things. Oh, we can use some bits of paper if desired, but he wants this to be an exercise in lines, not planes. Queue hand wringing on my part. Eventually I settled on something - a landing bird - and started working on it. I have no idea if I have done what he wants, but it is something. Oh, did I mention he also wants us to create and print an 11" by 17" idea sheet showing the images we used for inspiration in the creation of our work? In color? And that there are no printers I can find on campus capable of printing at that size without going to the print shop? And that I have never created anything like that before? Yeah. Well, Friday saw me finish the sculpture thing in the afternoon, and yesterday I spent all day at the computer, learning new tricks in The Gimp. Now I have a PDF of something that I hope will satisfy him, and I will ask the guy in the print shop to print it for me tomorrow, and we'll see what happens. Still no grades or pictures to share from this class. Maybe next week.

Finally there is drawing. Another session of life drawing this week (at which I was also bad) and a new homework assignment. This time we're drawing a mandala pattern (radially symmetric) of kitchen utensils on black paper, using chalk, but we're drawing the negative space, not the objects themselves. Despite my being unhappy with the ginger root drawing, I got another perfect score on it. (Alas I haven't photographed it yet. Maybe next week's update will include that.)

So, the homework this weekend includes (or included):
  • The copy painting - now 7/16ths done, and requiring something like 5-7 more hours at the current rate.
  • The design class idea sheet. Now done, and it took me about 8 hours. The sculpture was already done.
  • The kitchen utensil, negative space, drawing homework, which if it gets complicated could take 8 hours easily.
Yup. No shortage of things to do.

Oh, and I ran some errands and tried to get my haircut, but apparently another part of the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is for all the men & boys to get their hair cut on the weekend before the actual holiday, so there was no room to even sit down at any of the barber shops I visited. I gave up and will suffer with the shaggy look at our feast today. I'm not all that worried, though. Hoppy already knows I am a bad child - the long hair just adds to my failures - so my future call centre job is assured.

I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. Go enjoy your ice cream and fireworks!