Integrated Learning

IntegratedLearningIn my attempts to get myself up to snuff as far making concept art goes I have been brushing up on various painting techniques. In the past I have had some experience with watercolors and acrylics. I dabbled in oil painting but was never really trained in it, but as I have started reading about some of the theory behind oil painting techniques I find myself getting more out of the lessons due to my lack of experience with oil paints. Let me explain. When you get a tutorial in some technique of another you may learn a trick as you follow the instructions, but when you are forced to take the advice and insights for one discipline and apply it to another, I think that you get more from it. You have to find what is important about the lesson, find what is most useful about what they are saying and apply it to a foreign practice.

I think that there is something there. As I move forward in my self education I plan to do this with more purpose. I want to find texts talking about photography and film, music and dance, and extract what I feel is relevant. To draw parallels between disparate fields of creativity to find common traits. One of the best ways to learn is to explore the very edge of your experience. Your go out to the limits of what you know, and take one more step, simple but powerful. Its the same way we conduct scientific discovery. We find a field of study the has a knowledge base, go out to the edge of our understanding of it and take a look, when you do this you are guaranteed to discover something in short order.

For example, I have been reading a book about using color in oil paints. The book cover everything from the basic color theory like what I discussed last week, to the more advanced methods of manipulating color. One of these techniques is using a continuity color to create harmony in your color palette. The way it works is by adding a little bit of the color in question to every color you mix as you paint, this ensures that the whole painting is harmonious and that none of the color clash. This technique is essentially replaced in the color balance feature in Photoshop, which finds the average color and brings all of the colors closer to that, creating greater harmony in the picture.

And that’s my take on integrated learning.

PS

I will be trying a shorter format, and going back to posting every day. So from now on the posts will be about half as long, but accompanied by a new painting every other day.

College

CollegeI want to start by saying that college… is not for everyone. By that I mean, college is not the only place to become prepared for the life that is ahead of you. And furthermore college in many respects is woefully ill suited at preparing most people for certain situations. That being said, college was truly one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life and played a huge role in shaping the kind of person I am today.

My application process was an interesting one for two reasons. First, I was and am pretty poor, like just this side of the poverty line. which meant that I was not in position to just take my pick of schools. But second, I went to The Met Center, which was and is an alternative school, basing its curriculum around practical experience and passion driven research. What that means is that I could tell you the ins and outs of kiln construction and maintenance but that I could barely do geometry and could not tell you where Hungry is. What it also means is that I didn’t have a real GPA and so there area h colleges that do not accept transcripts from the school. These two facts meant that my options were pretty limited, but I proceeded with optimism anyway, and when I found out that the College Crusaders would pay for four years of whatever RIC’s tuition was, it seemed obvious to me that I should just go there.

So that was it and it’s true that there may have been school better suited to my interests, but to be honest at that point I was pretty generally interested on learning whatever the subject. Plus for the first year you are mostly taking the general requirements; writing 101, math 101, western lot., drawing 101. So that was all great and I tried my best to adapt to a more traditionally learning situation and for the most part I think I did pretty well. The most important factor of that first however was not my classes it was my housing.

I can’t tell you how many people I know who we’re forced to live at home or in an apartment for part or all of their college career. They all either dropped out or if they managed to power through they were miserable. The added stress of commuting and working a full time job to pay rent more than made up for the freedom of live in your own place, not to mention the isolation. The best thing about going to college is the environment that is fostered there, where you are asked to condense a life time of trial and error in a given field into four years and in return you are allowed to screw around in your off hours with relative impunity. This is why people often talk about college as the time they most experimented; there is a built in safety net at a college to keep you out of jail and the hospital as much as possible while you ignite out who it is you want to be.

This is also why many reflect back on cell he as the best years of their life. You are finally old enough to do the fun stuff; buy porn, smoke cigarettes, drink booze, have sex. But you are in college so you are seldom asked to take responsibility for your actions. And, at most colleges, you always have food in your storage and a bed to sleep in, things not guaranteed in the real world.

It is for all these reasons and more that when asked the question I always recommend that a person go to college. Though it may not be the perfect place for you to be trained in every field, it is ideally suited for allowing a person to figure out what they want to do with their life. I know I would be different person than I am now if not for my years at RIC. And while I am not at all curtain of my future I am hopeful and that is one thing to be thankful of.

And that’s my take on college.