June 10, 2015 by mamie
During my Drawing in Place class this spring term, my class met almost every day at a beautiful and historic Nature Camp in the George Washington National Forest where we sketched, discussed, and critiqued art. One day, my professor heard of a storm coming, so she decided to host us at her home out on a gorgeous piece of land in the Virginia countryside.
When we went over, I absolutely loved the beauty of it all. There were gorgeous gardens outside, a sweet little pond with a canoe on the bank, wagons and cute toys in the front yard, beautiful rolling hills, two rustic barns (one with a nice, little studio inside with two doors opening to an incredible view), and a sweet, welcoming home that looked like it came right out of a magazine– bouquets of fresh, beautiful, flowers in so many places with so much else. In the middle of one of our assignments, we even gathered in the kitchen to take a break and snack on her homemade bread that came right out of the oven, some fresh jam, and warm tea. It was such a perfect day! (The storm didn’t even come until right when we left.)
Anyway, one of our assignments was to walk around her yard and pick three small things from nature that interested us. Then, we all went back to my professor’s studio in the barn to doodle and create some abstract or more simplistic shapes from those natural things and then combine them into a pattern.
At first, I was getting frustrated with my messy doodles and not liking the assignment very much, but one thing that my professor kept telling us over and over throughout spring term was that “The art is all about the process, not the product.” When I first heard that, I was surprised because it was the opposite of what I had been hearing and thinking all my life. Usually my art teachers would explain the whole assignment before we planned it our projects out extensively to make the best product we could and to improve our technique. For this Drawing in Place, though, my professor explained the projects little by little along the way, so we couldn’t plan so much of the project. It was more about experimenting, exploring new ideas, and finding originality.
I realized that my professor focuses more on conceptual art, which I was just being introduced to, and by the end of the course, I learned so much more about another perspective of art that I didn’t know so much of. At this point, I am understanding more of what she told us. Also, by the time I went home and finished my patterns for this piece, I actually even liked my experimental product a little more with all the added color! (As you can see on the left of the whole piece, I planned some of that– shhh…)