Un-multi-tasking

Report card- Crow Barn week 2

Some of the sketches I brought from home
If I had to grade myself on Nancy Crow's week long Spare Composition course here is what I think I earned:
Preparation: A+
Following directions D
Design skills C
Artistic merit D
Gets along with others B+
Shares with others A
Shows Confidence C-
Works hard A+
Focus D
Communication skills A

Lessons learned:
1. Prepare ahead of time but do not bring sketches to class. I did produce a lot of sketches prior to class and looked at lots of spare compositions as instructed. But I wasted so much time trying to replicate the studies instead of starting fresh with the design lessons I created at home.
I wasted time adapting previous sketches
instead of creating new configurations. 

An exercise in shrinking figure and ground. 
I know this part of composition pretty well 
so I was able to plow through it quickly. 
It was the only exercise I completed.
2. Follow directions- Nancy gave me a lot of latitude in which parts of exercises I wanted to do since I am fairly practiced at figure and ground compositions. But, I should have chosen to do the exercises in the order they were given. I wasted time flitting here and there instead of focusing on the task at hand.

3. Work hard and focus- I worked as hard as I usually do- opening the Barn in the morning and closing it at night. Short lunches, snacks and dinners.... But I did not focus on the steps in each exercise thinking that I already understood the concept. Big mistake. My focus was off, my work was clumsy, and I earned a poor grade in artistic merit.

4. Enjoy yourself- which I actually did. I spent time socializing and was not completely freaked out about my compositions until the last day. The good news is that I gave myself permission to deviate from the assigned task- the bad news is that I gave myself permission to deviate from the task.

5. Communicate and share- I think I earned good grades on this- I gave a solid presentation and I was willing to share my thoughts and techniques with anyone who asked. And I enjoyed this very much. It did eat up some time but at that point in class I had given up the idea that I would complete mush.

I loved this exercise and wish I had 
had more time to finish it. I learned so much about color.
6. Be realistic about your expectations- I find it much harder to work in a group- especially with many people I have not met before. I am spoiled by having solitude in my studio- free to make mistakes and correct those mistakes without pairs of eyes witnessing my trials and tribulations. And I like it that way. I never really expect to create anything of value but I come away with so many ideas. And this time was no different.

7. Do the work-  I will start going through each assignment and I will finish them in order since there is so much to learn. And I will do it at my own pace. I think having tight deadlines paralyzed me this time instead of energizing me. I was so on task that I stopped thinking once a deadline loomed. Not really characteristic of the way I normally work.

8. Do not default to what you know.  Boy was I guilty there. Instead of pushing myself to work through new problems and compositions I defaulted to the tried and true. I did want to test some different backgrounds so it was not a total waste- and I quickly assembled a figure and spent my time trying out three different grounds. But I should have tried to break through to something different. At this point- day 5 my confidence was shaky and I gave up.

9 Overall grade for the week: A+ I am actually growing up and being honest about what I can and can not do. I gave myself some bad grades but I made some wonderful connections with people that I did not know before- and there was absolutely no drama- which was wonderful.

I am going to take a year sabbatical from the Barn to work more intensely. I had decided that before i went to the Barn and I made this decision with a certain amount of sadness. I love the people, the place, Nancy, Margaret, John and Nathaniel. And I will miss that. But I am in a period of artistic transition and I need the time to focus- to make mistakes and accomplish my goals. So I will give myself and B for self-awareness and maturity...With room for improvement.