Sunday, November 7, 2010

One hour of sleep later

All right, first of all, I should apologize. I have not updated this thing in forever. It’s not because I’ve given up on it or have lost any interest. It’s just because I’ve been so unbelievably busy, which the rest of this post will certainly confirm. However, I am sorry.

So almost two weeks ago on a pleasant Monday evening, I was working in our art studio on campus. I was finishing my work for my figure drawing class and feeling unusually pleased by my dedication because I was actually working on a project that wasn’t due within the next two hours. I had a whole other day to finish it, yet here I was, finally acting like an adult, and getting it done beforehand. Amazing.

Around 9:45 pm I get a call from my good friend Heather who’s in my art class taught by Peter Everett. She explained that she was checking up on me since she was sure I must be so stressed and busy working on my stuff for my big group critique in Peter’s class tomorrow. I froze. What? I mean, WHAT? Shock. Then panic.

I checked the last updated syllabus Peter (art professors at BYU always go by their first name. I can’t think of a single exception) had sent, and sure enough, he had changed my group critique from November 8 to October 26. Trying to explain my predicament, I wrote Peter a quick email, and then, consigned to the worst, started to pack up all my stuff in preparation for an all-nighter.

I was bummed. First of all, I only had my one piece. I had started two other pieces, but they definitely weren’t far enough along to show in a critique. I could only present my self-portrait. Secondly, I hadn’t pulled an all-nighter in months, and I wasn’t sure if I was still capable. Sure, in the past I made my best artwork somewhere between the desperate hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am, but now I had become this strange individual who went to bed at 11:00 pm and woke up at 5:30 am. I didn’t know if I could do it.

Twelve hours after these self-doubts began berating my brain, I was sitting in class on one of those uncomfortable stools the art department insisted on buying, my work taped to the wall, with 15 other students and my professor staring at it while rapidly writing down their reactions. My hands resembled a five-year old’s glue bottle, and I was absentmindedly pulling off layers of glue and acrylic gel medium from off my fingertips. I was dead tired.

I was happy with certain parts of the piece. I liked how from a distance, the paper almost looked like paint. I loved certain areas where multiple layers of paper had been repeatedly built-up and where the charcoal lines couldn’t be more appropriate. I acknowledged to myself that the background was still way too noisy and confusing and that the composition wasn’t much of anything. There were still lots of things to fix, yet inside, I really did like it and felt that something good had happened to that weathered piece of butcher paper that formed the foundation of the collage.

The critique went well, and I admit I was surprised. Someone even wanted to trade some of his art for my piece. Peter felt it was undeniably successful, and for me Peter’s words are everything. I respect him most. He said that even though it was obviously autobiographical, he could put himself in it. He added that it avoided being gimmicky (my greatest fear) and just felt honest and sincere.

In other words, phew.

I came home and noticed that my room was a wreck. There was paper everywhere. I cleared off my bed, filled up a trash bag or two, and crashed.

So that’s the newest development. Right now I consider that piece half-finished. There’s still a lot to do, but I think it’s moving in the right direction. I’ve been working on my two other pieces and will be posting pictures of them soon. My goal is to end the semester with four complete collages, but we’ll see how things go. I’ve been approved to present them in a show around March, which should be really awesome for me. But yeah, there’s not much else to say ‘cept that I need to get to work.

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