I had one art class in college...Art 101. Actually, I had Humanities, too, which involved some art history and art appreciation, but I've only had one class in which I created art. The instructor, Paula Clendenin, was someone I admired right from the start. She had zero tolerance for anyone who cut up in class which, because it was a required course, was sort of often. Her response was either an icy stare or, the next time, a short but firm invitation to leave (which you could not turn down). But what I think Paula taught me for the first time was that everyone has some art inside them.
On and off since that class, I've felt the need to create something. It's rare that I've ever gotten, or maybe taken, the opportunity to do so. For about the past year, though, the need to express myself has gotten stronger, and has lately become sort of an obsession. I've been purposely open to inspiration, in that looking-but-not-looking sort of way (like you're supposed to do if you're "looking" for love).
And last year I took the plunge and bought a pretty decent digital SLR camera but I still haven't gotten to really even explore all of its functions. I think it does a good job, though, and if you've got the eye for subject matter and framing, you can create some decent pictures. Here are two I took at West Virginia's capitol back in January (or maybe it was February):
This one needs exposure adjustment here and there but I was really pleased with the overall look of it. Actually, when I look at it, the darkness conveys how I often feel about what's going on in there.
The dome inside the capitol is sometimes obscured with scaffolding for repairs or cleaning, but this time, on a Saturday, I was actually able to lay down on the floor and take this shot from below. I'm not that much of a clean lines/geometry-style person in real life but I love some good shapes and lines in photography.
So as far as I know, I can't draw or paint...but lately I've been wondering why I don't try and do more of this self-expression via the construction methods I've learned over time. I can use most any woodworking equipment (with the exception of maybe a lathe) and even probably most metalworking equipment. I can cut and work with glass which I really enjoyed during a stained glass class I took a few years ago. AND I can arc and gas weld...at least I used to be able to so I figure I could pick back up any information I've lost pretty easily.
I've got two things in mind right now. First, I've got six of those giant, metal 3D stars that people put on or around their houses. (Wait, would that be 3D or 2D?) Anyway, I'd like to rough-cut the interior out of them (I guess using a torch), leaving just the outline of the star, the inside lines, etc., then reinforce the back with a welded, star-shaped frame, then build and mount stained glass pieces in that interior space. Second, I want to put the lessons I learned building Brad's Scrabble board to use building boards for myself and for Martha. Here's the board I've already done:
For one thing, I learned a lot about working with the glass-like epoxy gloss coat which is one of my favorite parts about the whole thing. (It makes the paint underneath look like it goes all the way through.) I've also fabricated what I consider a pretty successful prototype of a Scrabble board grid. Before, getting your hands on a usable grid meant finding and ripping apart and old board with a good grid (because new ones have paper/plastic-like surfaces that are just impressed with the grid shape). My first try at the grid-making produced something that wasn't quite right but, much to my relief, needed adjustments I could discern and probably correct. And, since making Brad's board, I've had several strokes of inspiration for various designs and methods.
Part of me wishes I'd gone to RIT and gotten a degree in photography. A big part of me wishes I had the time to go to the much more local WV State University and get another degree...in art. Although I'd only need somewhere in the vicinity of 45 hours to do that, most art classes are actually 6 hours of class time per 3-hour credit. Assuming that, at least for now, I'm left with the skills and tools I've got (and perhaps a gas welder to borrow). Luckily, I've decided...if that's what I got, then that's what I got. So we'll see how all this desire to create goes. Right after the move, I'm on it.