My third class at ArtFest was another one that had me kind of wary: The Art of Silliness, taught by Carla Sonheim. From the class description:
Here are the Top Five Reasons to take a Silly workshop: 5. You get to complete activity worksheets, third-grade style. 4. The drawings you create are meant to be silly, i.e. not perfect, i.e. not stressful, i.e. FUN! 3. You can mix metaphors all you want and pretend you did it on purpose. 2. You want to lighten up, in your artwork and your life. 1. The supply list is not a list. (fyi, the supply list was only one item: a black marker or pen) And also, there was this: "As a workshop teacher, I try to help adult students recover a more child-like approach to drawing and art-making. To loosen up… shed those fears, and just let the joy of creating be the primary focus: That’s what this workshop will be about."
I was wary because-- well, frankly, because I find it difficult to do that-- the whole "shed those fears, and loosen up" thing. It was a rewarding class, and it did made me think, about a lot of things-- but did it help me to loosen up in my artwork and in my life? To be perfectly honest, probably not much. (But that's not Carla's fault; that's all me-- it was still fun, though!)
Anyway, we did lots of fun (but kind of scary-to-me) things in that class, like drawing with our non-dominant hand, drawing without looking at the paper, drawing without lifting the pen / pencil from the paper, things like that. Below are some of the results:On the left is a drawing I copied from a book for one of the drawing exercises. The point of the exercise (if I remember right) was to draw the "shapes" and "bulk" of the object without drawing the "outline" of the object. On the right is one of my "one-liner" (draw very quickly, without lifting your pen off the paper) drawings. I actually quite like how that cat turned out... I think he gives off the "essence" of cat, and he makes me laugh when I look at him! (I think what makes me laugh is that he's sort of cross-eyed, and that his whiskers look more like a droopy mustache than whiskers).
We also got to fill out elementary-school-style handouts throughout the day... filling out a worksheet takes the pressure off, somehow-- it really does take you back to that elementary school feeling. (FYI, Carla also offers this periodically as an online class; she sends fun worksheets like this to your e-mail inbox, along with othr fun stuff like photos of sidewalk cracks, ideas for doodling, etc. For more information about her classes, you can check out her blog by clicking here. ) The ship on the left was an exercise in randomness and using your imagination-- we ripped sticky-back foam into random shapes, then arranged them into an "object" and used the resulting image as a printing block. (a bit messy, but fun!)
This is the afternoon's exercises: we also got to make a sculpture!! (To be perfectly honest, I was not enthusiastic about this at the start-- my brain works much better in 2D than 3D). We made the wire armatures, then "filled" them in by wrapping yarn and fabric scraps around them. My bird didn't want to stand up, unfortunately-- he's tired, I guess! Then, we sketched our sculptures, and used Pan pastels to shade them... I actually like how these drawings turned out-- much looser than I would normally do, but again, I think they give the "essence" of the bird (as odd as he is!).
These are sort of amusing-- I don't remember the exact exercise- it was either "draw with your non-dominant hand," "or draw with your non-dominant hand without looking at the paper," I don't remember which. Whichever it was, the results are pretty funny; I was really worried about not going off the edge of the paper on that scrunched-up one, I guess!!
I quite like how my drawing of him turned out! (see scrapbook page below)