Friday, October 28, 2011

Didja Notice Something?

I was just reading my e-mail when it came to me: The World Did Not End Last Friday.

Didn't end today, either. Unless all those cars on the road around me, ahead of me, and even behind me (the ones racing up to sneak in when a lane ends) while driving home tonight from Art Spa were headed to the place I had in mind for them. But as none of them disappeared, probably not.

And, believe it or not, it probably won't end next Friday, either. I hope not, because I am teaching a workshop on the following Sunday, and I would hate to have wasted all this time getting ready.

Direct-to-paper rubber stamping

The workshop is on making transfers, and though I have taught such workshops before, it's been awhile since it was polymer clay. So my samples all looked rather shopworn, not to say in tatters. Why is it, when you tell a class, "Please don't bend these samples, because that will destroy them," the very next person handling them flexes the sample and shatters it. Did they think I was lying to them? Or what?

Direct-to-paper rubber stamping with process colors (magenta, cyan and yellow)

Or what, indeed. Today, as I was making new samples, I thought about that, and the many other tips you send out in the course of teaching something. "If you do this, that will happen." And it does. "If the temperature is too hot, the clay will burn; not hot enough, the clay will not be very strong." And I am right; they are disappointed in their work, and I have to be careful not to start off with, "Did I not explain to you what would happen?" The folks in my upcoming workshop are mostly experienced enough in clay-ing, as we call it, that they will get it about the temperature. But the rest of it? who knows.

Another direct-to-paper stamping example

When I taught watercolor to rank beginners for a now defunct adult education school, I would start out telling them that artist quality paint was the only way to go. I gave them enough paint to get through the three weeks of class and beyond. I told them it was better to have three colors of artist quality (the primaries, of course) than a whole set of student quality paint. I gave them four colors--I added a green, because no matter what the theory says about mixing blue and yellow to make green, what you actually get is kind of dull. I also told them they would be happier with a paintbrush that was also artist quality, but if that was unaffordable, there were good student quality brushes to be had. I specified several kinds that were relatively inexpensive. I explained why one needed a "good" brush. I specified a good quality student grade paper that was inexpensive, and one sheet of the artist paper that they were to tear into smaller pieces for the last day of class when they would be painting a still life. Out of a class of ten, at least four would add to the colors I gave them with anything from Cotman (ok, but not artist quality) to an eight-color Prang school box. And the brushes were often not what I specified--really cheap brushes, like you get in a set of umpteen in the kid's section. The excuse was that they were not sure they would continue, and didn't want the investment. I could understand that--and I had some brushes they could borrow during class, but what about when they were home and trying to get color on a hopelessly limp brush? They were sure to be disappointed, and they probably wouldn't continue. And I used to wonder, Why won't they listen? Why can't they see it's more fun with good tools? I may have even gone overboard with the Having Fun part depending on Good Tools. May have? Hey, I acted like it was the End of the World if they didn't seem to agree with that concept.

Another dtp sample. All the stamps in these, except for the top example, were  molded foam

That's the idea, isn't it? To have fun? Otherwise, why do it?

Dtp again. Once you have the scans, you can make  other colors by manipulating them in Photoshop. None of these were done that way, though. This one was black, white, and copper stamp pad ink. All were pigment inks.

So maybe I should, as the teacher, have fun too--instead of despairing over ignored instructions. Well, I know the upcoming workshop will be fun, because there are very cool people taking it. And if they don't listen to every golden pearl of wisdom I cast before them, and even if my samples get rough treatment, it won't be the End of the World. That was supposed to be last week.

Cheers, Nan, who knows these pictures have nothing to do with the text, but is having fun using them.

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