A short report from a busy semester

My intention, as summer turned in to autumn, was to “expand & broaden” my creative skills – turning from urban- & botanical sketching into testing different kinds of artistic methods and materials.

Designing my own art education, I am free to choose my own path. Having a MA in literature & aesthetic theory (including art history, film & architecture), I believe I have my theoretical and historical foundation in place. And since I’m not interested in working in conceptual art, what I need to learn is the material & practical side of it all. I need to learn craft and to develop skills.

To push on, to learn more, I looked for suitable tutors. I found quite a few… I also set a strict timetable for myself, ensuring I got creative work done – EVERY DAY. This is a short “line up” of what I have been doing:

Semester summary (courses & classes etc.):

  1. Daily croquis of new dog.
  2. Followed Nelleke Verhoeff’s class Creating Simple Characters (drawing & collage)
  3. Participated in the online class: 7 Essentials with Anita Lehmann.
  4. Four (very busy but tremendously fun) weeks in Este MacLeod’s online class: Flower Collage.
  5. A weekend painting workshop.
  6. A weekend workshop in Cyanotype/Blueprints
  7. An intensive 3-day-workshop focusing on image/text relationship.
  8. Last but not least; a weekend workshop in linocut printing.

Preliminary review

I worked a lot with collage this autumn, I think the process is too messy, and I sometimes find collage art lacking a personal touch or being too cool & trendy. But things changed a lot when I started painting and printing my own paper (as I did in the Flower Collage class). Suddenly it was no longer about a clever way to use pre-made images and found stuff. Instead I started working with my own paper and, to a greater degree than before, with my own imagination, and everything felt much more like an original, intuitive process.

I might not like messy untidiness, but I do like unpredictability to play a part in my art making.  I really like to work with projects where some of the process is left to chance. And all kinds of printmaking have this quality to it, and so no wonder I really enjoyed both cyanotype and linocut.

I think collage and printmaking will follow me into next semester, and I already have a week painting workshop scheduled. What I am looking for is a really good printing-workshop … so if you know of any, please let me know!

I must admit I really enjoy designing my own education! I have given myself 3 more years to go, three more years to study, before I’ll decide what to do with the rest of my life …

It’s a grand privilege – I know!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. I find this post so inspiring! I love that you created a syllabus for a semester of art exploration. I look forward to hearing more about your education:)

    1. Sigrun says:

      Dear Cheryl, thank youl!
      I made a syllabus, and also “went public” with my plan to study art, because I found that stating my plans to friends and family made my project more real to me and forced me to take my own intentions seriously.

      I organise my days in such a way that I secure time for creative work, not at the same time every day, but sometime during each day. I keep a diary at my desk, so I don’t end up fooling myself, believing I have done my chores when in fact I haven’t … 🙂

  2. Rio says:

    Thanks for sharing this. You have inspired me, again. I was not going to go to the last writing workshop I signed up for so I could save bus fare. But I am going! One of the things I promised I would learn this next “semester” is to be able to speak in front of a group without zoning out or freezing and I met a young woman who said she would got to some poetry slams in town with me at the workshop but I didn’t get her contact information, so I will go!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Dear Rio,
      You definitively should go! Looking forward to reading the slam report (how fun to have a young companion!).

  3. pflanzwas says:

    I agree with the others, very inspiring what you do and what you write about! And taking your time to experiment is fantastic. I like printing and similar techniques for the same reason as you do! The unpredictability is so inspiring, surprising yourself and giving you new input. I do a class with mixed techniques right now and I love it .I do a lot of printing with the most simple things. There are lots of possibilities and I think I can try more and more. A never ending story if you want 🙂 I love your figures, so funny and fresh 🙂 Please go on!!!

  4. pflanzwas says:

    PS and I am impressed what you did so far, so many classes and workshops, wow!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you! This has been a great autumn for me! I wasn’t sure a summary would be of any interest to anybody but me – but since these classes have been really helpful and also important for my development, I chose to share it.

      Are you taking classes over a lenger time-period?

      I would love to try Japanese Watercolour Woodblock next, just have to find where to do it 😉

      1. pflanzwas says:

        I haven’t had the time to look at all your links yet, but I will catch up soon! Yes, I think it is very interesting to everyone who loves being creative or who loves to look at art and the creative process. It is always inspiring to substitute experience. – We have a good centre for creative education in town and I took a lot of classes the last years. Most of them are only for short time periods of 6 or 8 weeks, but they continue from term to term. – That sounds interesting! I will have a look at a video about it. – Do you have many classes nearby or are you travelling elsewhere to do workshops? There are so many fantastic things 🙂

      2. Sigrun says:

        We have a wonderful printing studio in town

  5. bluebrightly says:

    This is inspiring, Sigrun. Your discipline is admirable. I went to art school “way back when” and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It would not have worked for me back then to design my own art education, and besides, the relationships I formed with fellow students were a big part of the experience. But that’s not to say anything at all against the road you’re taking. I’m kind of far away from cities with art classes now but I still keep my eyes open, and one of these days I might find a class I can take in my area. It sounds like online classes have worked for you too – something else to consider. (Your animals are very expressive!)

    1. Sigrun says:

      I think this is a good way for me to study now, at 52 (having had important university experience as young). 😉

  6. I love the playful little characters of felt material! But also that you are designing your own art education. An autodidact after my own heart!

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