My first week of school has been quite an experience. It started out as an overwhelming rush of emotions and stress. I was not ready for the dynamics involved with going back to school. It has been awhile and it felt daunting.

The first day, I logged in to both my classes from the Art Institute Student Portal (the way we access class on school info). I found I had several assignments and much reading due over the next few days. I thought, how the heck am I going to do all all of that and stay on top of my obligations at work and at home. Thankfully, the online teachers and staff that I have been working with at The Art Institute helped make me feel a little better. So did friends of mine that are also going to school.

Once I got through the first few days, things started to settle into a manageable routine and my comfort and confidence level started to climb back up. At this point I can now say that I am feeling a lot more relaxed and ready to really dive in.

Both my classes have a pretty nice mix of talent and personalities. One of our first assignments was to write a short biography about ourselves so the rest of the class and the teacher would get to know a little more about us. I read some pretty good ones by the other students. There are definitely some diverse backgrounds, ages, interests and levels of natural talent. I tried my best to respond to each of their posts to say hello. It was hard to do so though based on the time restrictions I faced personally. I was up pretty late on the first day, trying to get a handle on reading assignments, lecture content and the assigned tasks. I realize now, that is my problem. I allowed myself to get overwhelmed. It really wasn’t as big of a deal as I made it into.

My two classes are both online and are only 5.5 weeks long. They are also pretty accelerated. Content that would usually span a quarter that is 11 weeks is compressed into under 6. Something is due just about every day; assignments and projects are due, discussions are needed and critiques need to be written.

My first class, Foundations of Design, is pretty nice. It is taught by a very talented instructor who makes pretty good use of technology for teaching. She did a group critique of one of our assignments in a YouTube video. She covered the critique of all of our work for that particular assignment. I thought that was a pretty nice touch especially since it was almost like sitting in the class and hearing in person. It was handled and done very well.

The project was a design assignment where we had to use only seven from an assortment of white and black shapes. From that set we created four designs that were comprised of the same shapes in each. Below is the sample that I made. I was going for geometric characters. It was not a requirement to follow a theme, but I did so anyways. All in all, my design went over pretty well. The instructor presented some really good suggestions for me. One of which was to move the characters off-center as to to create more interest. That was a very good suggestion and wish I had thought about that when I laid these out. The other students project were pretty great. I wish I could show some of them to you.

My First Design Assignment

My First Design Assignment

The assignment after that involved learning about composition and ground-figure fluctuation. That one was not only informative but it was really fun for me. The class put together some really good pieces. I was impressed with many of them. Here is mine, for Assignment 4.

Assignment 4 in Foundations of Design

Assignment 4 in Foundations of Design

The image on the right is supposed to use a distinct foreground (positive space) and background (negative space). The one on the right is made in a way that you cannot differentiate between positive and negative space. I think mine is just a blur! I saw examples by the other students that blew me away. They were really good.

My second class is Color Theory. This class is also really interesting and is taught by another really great instructor and artist. I saw several of his own works. Very impressive. In fact one of his art pieces and his name appear as am example in the text book we are using.

In this class, I have learned both, new things and reinforced information I forgot I knew. In fact one section of the text book I am reading for the class talks about what comprises a color (hue, value–dark or light shades and tints and saturation–tones) and what makes a color complimentary and the various attributes of color. I remember seeing samples of these in charts on the walls of a art class at the school a very close friend of mine taught photography and jewelry art at. I could not help but say, I remember that! when I saw that info in the text book.

So far, I find this class amazing. There is definitely a lot of content in the text book and I really wonder how I will get through all of it. But, the material is really engaging.

Below is a simple design I made applying monochromatic principles. Each color is the same hue of a color. It is labeled officially as a blue but looks so much more like a purple. The left image uses tints– white mixed in (known as High-key)–and the image on the left used shades of black (known as low-key). Each part of the picture is the same; it just utilizes a varied shade or tone.

Color Theory Class Monochromatic Colors Assignment

Color Theory Class Monochromatic Colors Assignment

Well, that wraps this up for now. I need to get back to my reading and getting ready for Week 2.