My mixed media adventures began at Queens University. My professor Carl Heywood taught us how to "mark make". I didn't understand it at the time, and I couldn't really tell you what I learned from him, other then that he pushed us artistically, in some cases he pushed us hard. I wish I had made a blog about it at the time. It is difficult to remember now what the experience was like, but I tell you it was like no other learning experience I have ever had.
He presented us with three different tasks in an 8 to 10 week period (I think that's how long it lasted). At the time it felt like forever but once it was over his teaching method and motivation was greatly missed by most. But first we began with creating a collage from magazines, not just one collage, we made several, I mean several. We were told to not think about it just cut and paste, so I did. Once we found one to his liking (based on colour, value, contrast, and composition at least I think, that we will never know) we had to purchase coloured water based pencils and crayons based on the colour palette in our collage. See below for my collage. Actually he was so impressed with mine (I had no idea at the time why) that he made copies of it and shared it with his graduate class (year 4 BFA students). I was so proud, but so confused as to what was so special about it. I am sure he explained why, but I was so unclear about art language at the time that it flew over my head.
Once we had our colour palette made up of these excellent water based coloured pencils we began the three different tasks. First it was to draw still life. He was very particular about how we drew these pieces. As far as I remember we had to represent the different depths: foreground, mid-ground and background. Apart from that I cant really remember.
After doing several different still life drawings we moved onto abstract drawing. This was a huge leap for me. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't understand the elements and principles of design at the time and I don't believe he addressed them in the clearest manner, so it was extremely challenging for most. But once I got the hang of it, I fell in love. I wanted to create more. But our weeks were almost up.
The next step was to combined the two methods, creating representational abstract. This was also a lot of fun.
His course was by far one of the most difficult courses I have ever taken, and the most rewarding. At times we didn't understand him, and sometimes didn't like him, but boy we walked away from that course with a whole new perspective on creating our own art. Not the clearest perspective, but at least one that could never go back to its original form. Did I mention that in conjunction to this course already being challenging he would put all of our hard work on the floor in front of all, and grade it in the spot. If this wasn't motivation to push your artistic limits I don't know what else could motivate you. Because of this method in evaluating us I worked even harder each and every week and I thank him so much for that. I hope that if some day I have the opportunity to teach at this level that I to push my students the way he did me. Thank you Carl Heywood for pushing us and teaching us how to "mark make." One last thing, I will always remember one of his moto's- "You're first idea is always your worst idea."
Onto my Next chapter of mark making. See Mixed Media and Collage