Weekly Report 4/30/17 to 5/14/17
Oddly enough, it seems that despite finishing most of what needs to be completed for the Final Presentation Night, I am increasingly stressed. Maybe it is because I sort of just want the year to end or maybe I just have not been using my time wisely and I have become increasingly aware of it. I am finding it hard to be as excited for the FPN as I was before. I accepted responsibilities that increase the amount of pressure on me, which might be impacting my motivation and excitement. To be honest though, I believe all my stress stems from a lack of sleep.
The procrastination problem persists, but I believe, for the most part, I have been improving. I have gotten a great deal of work finished and am continuing to work on completing all the assignments I have until the end of the year. However, I have been sleeping later than usual (due to poor time management) and it has taken its toll. By the end of school I feel exhausted and my motivation almost completely vanishes. I still manage to complete my assignments, but with less passion than usual.
I do not want that to be the case; I dislike being stressed and ill-tempered. I want succeed in giving the three speeches I plan to give in the next two weeks. I want to thrive during the FPN. I want to succeed. I cannot do that if I am not at my best, and, and despite practicing as much as I possible, I cannot expect my best at this state. That is why I am taking measures to better my schedule. Even if these are not the root problems, finding ways to mitigate them will give me a boost of confidence and motivation that I believe will carry me to the finish line. Nonetheless, I feel as though I have set a high standard for myself. I want to and will do my best to meet these standards, regardless of the results.
Staying on Track
Weekly Report 4/24/17 to 4/30/17
I have always struggled to stay on track to the point where I occasionally find myself spending hours avoiding homework. My problem revolves around YouTube; I cannot stop watching videos. To give an idea how ridiculous the problem is: I found myself watching a Mr. Bean documentary last week. MR. BEAN! Who in their right mind would watch that instead of doing work? I, however, have been trying to work at it. I have been putting in effort to gain a better grasp of my time, in order to avoid wasting my time with YouTube.
It is not just annoying, but difficult to get rid of this habit. Despite wanting to find better ways to invest my time, I continuously fall back to the instant gratification YouTube brings. Nevertheless, I have devised a plan. If I limit myself to two hours of YouTube; it will force me to make better choices with the videos I watch. I will also be forced to find other things to do with the spare time I will be giving myself; I already have some ideas. I could spend my newly allotted time painting. I could actually paint daily if I manage my time accordingly, which will allow me to improve and develop my skills as a painter.
Ms. Vernon has taught me that consistency is the key to improvement. Of course this consistency has to be supported by a conscious effort to develop one’s self. Consistency, nonetheless, is arguably more demanding than conscious learning. That is why I have to do my absolute best to follow this plan, I mean, if I do not, I will find myself watching more Mr. Bean documentaries.
A New World
Weekly Report 4/17/17 to 4/23/17
This Thursday was the opening of the art show I was accepted to. I was able to experience a whole new side of the artistic world; one more geared towards socialization and networking. Although I was somewhat shy, it was a great experience and has given me the foundations to better prepare myself to similar events.
The show was held in a small church. All the paintings, from many local artists, hung on the wall. I distinctly remember a vertical painting depicting, on the left, a small beach surrounded by hills on both sides, and, on the right, a small island and a few boats followed the reflected light of the ocean. This path led directly towards the sun; to the artist it represented her journey through life, as she tries to follow the correct path. I also remember another vertical painting of red roses glittering in the light. It sort of looked like a wall of roses covered the painting. Every painting, including the ones I have not mentioned, looked distinct from one another, but all expressed a sort of admiration towards life in one way or another. I realized, from looking at the paintings, the infinite ways a single theme can be expresses. I felt motivated to add more meaning to my pieces.
This motivation was further propelled by my art teacher, Ms. Hamrick, who advised me to focus more on what I want to express in my paintings. She told me that to further improve my skills I need to stop painting for painting’s sake and begin adding meaning to my paintings. Admittedly, I am afraid of this. I struggle to come up with meaningful things to paint; usually my themes revolve around some random object I wanted to paint. This makes my paintings shallow, so, if I want to add depth, my paintings need to have more meaning behind them. I believe I will focus on expressing simple emotions at first. I do not know if that is the easiest thing to begin with, but at the very least it is a starting point, which, at the moment, is all I need.
The show also showed me the importance of networking. For most of the show I was afraid to talk to the other artists, instead I hung around a couple of friends I invited to come. There was a canvas that everyone could paint on; my friends and I could not decide what to paint, so I went over to one of the artists and asked for advice. The short conversation taught me about decisiveness and confidence. The painter told me to be bold and just paint something that would stand out against everything else. At that point I noticed how easy it was to talk to him. I should have just began a conversation with every artist around me and asked about their artwork. Now that I know this I will try to talk to as many people as I can in the next show. Networking will give me new opportunities and it will teach me a great deal about art, and because of this it is vital for me to become comfortable in settings like these.
Weekly Report 4/10/17 to 4/16/17
Rather than writing about my whole week in general or write about some thought that stuck with me throughout the week, I will touch on a lesson I learned from Ms. Vernon.
Details, the minutiae, it is what most people focus on when creating art. Most will draw the head completely before moving on with the body. They will dedicate themselves to one specific object instead of the whole image; this is why creating large painting is difficult for many. I am no different.
Although I like to think my drawings are not focused on the details as much, my paintings definitely are. I guess it is a sort of comfort zone that I want to work on; almost as if I am too afraid to tackle the whole image. Maybe it is because I become infatuated with an object. Mr. Vernon saw, in our class, a tendency to focus on these objects, or “things”, and she decided to put it to a stop. The best paintings are composed of “shapes” (organic and geometric), not “things”. By focusing on the shapes in an image, scenery, or whatever one is looking at, one is able to see the image as a whole. It becomes virtually impossible for someone to become lost in one object because it is not an object; it is a shape.
I found this somewhat annoying. I did not want to make a basic image; I wanted to paint what I saw. Ms. Vernon patiently explained that by creating this basic image with simple shapes, the artist not only gains an idea of the whole image, but also is given the foundations to build a realistic image off this basic outline created by the shapes. Once the artists creates the basic shapes that themselves compose the image, they can give detail to these shapes. Maybe the darker one should be darker in one area and lighter in another. Maybe this lighter rectangle has another rectangle inside it. Maybe this yellow-brown rectangle’s left edge should be tilted differently; in a more realistic way that fits into the perspective. That is the idea.
After spending a few hours painting “shapes”. I began to enjoy its merits. Ms. Vernon said it makes dealing with painting’s problems much easier, and I could not agree more. I will attempt to do this from now on. Although it initially seemed time consuming, I believe if I work at it, the process will become quicker and easier.
I understand that writing about this lesson does not necessarily explain what events unfolded throughout the week, but I still believe writing about it has its value. A painting is not a compilation of many detailed “things”; painting is a, single, detailed image made up of simple shapes. Learning this opens my world and it allows me to improve, which, as it should with anyone, motivates me to paint more. If I want to become a painter, I should develop my own style. The only way to do it is by exploring different techniques that I can use to develop my own unique style.
Weekly Report 4/3/17 to 4/9/17
A large focus of mine this past week was dedicated to my FPN (Final Presentation Night) speech. I was not able to rehearse or even work on it as much as I wanted to, but I still managed to present my best speech yet.
I began working on the speech on Wednesday. I wanted to begin earlier, but I was unable to manage my time correctly. Not because I had too much work, no, I spent a great deal of time doing nothing productive. Half the time I was sleeping or playing videogames. Part of me just wants the year to end; I am feeling impatient and less motivated to work. Maybe that has impacted my work ethic these past feel weeks. However, I managed to get back on track toward the end of the week.
I decided to completely redo my presentation. What I had before looked great, but it made it hard to showcase photos. Because of that I made one that used one of my paintings as a background. It had a perfect part that was entirely open to using as a presentation, which allowed me to upload photos. It took a while to change the layout and overall content of the presentation, yet I am proud of what I made. It feels personal and genuine, which was my goal. It was not too difficult, however. I simply relayed my thoughts into the presentation. The difficulty game when I began rehearsing it.
Each practice speech I made took around twenty minutes; this proved to be incredibly time consuming. Although it was somewhat annoying, it did not discourage me. The length of time made it easier to let loose; it allowed me to elaborate. In a way, it felt natural, and I began enjoying it by the end of my practice. I had no script, instead, I used the presentation as a form of outline. Each bullet point served as a talking point which I could elaborate on. The practice made the actual speech much easier to present.
I was not nervous, worried, or anxious. I was comfortable to speak to my peers. I did not care if I screwed up at some point; I was much more worried about relaying my message. This led to me completely bypassing any mistakes as if they had never happened. This mindset also eased the process. I was able to simply talk about my ISM journey without any worries. I did not care what everyone else thought. All I wanted to do was share my journey and my reflections regarding it.
All of this culminated to my best speech yet. I was exhilarated to have finally finished it, but that was not the best part. What was great about it, was that I felt comfortable doing it. I felt prepared and excited to share my journey, and this confidence allowed me to thrive during my presentation.