Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!


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Art – projects on the go

Two weeks left in the Fall term and have final projects/assignments in progress for all classes.

I just submitted my Photo Essay for Photography class online. There is still one more assignment but it is just putting together a portfolio from existing work – we don’t have the details yet. The Photo Essay was a bit of a challenge but it is done! I took 282 photos and ended up with 16 usable ones! Mainly due to focus issues. I can’t see well enough when shooting manually to know if the focus is perfect or not. So I get them on the computer then look for ones that are in focus. Hard way to do it, but is what works to get my assignments done. Luckily I am pretty decent at composition, so the ones in focus are generally good enough.

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Working on a multi-media piece for my Digital Resources class. It is the final part of a two-stage project. The first part was called ADD – we had to choose some of our work (analogue – hand created work) and digitize it. Then produce a digital output – printed or projected, etc.

For part one I took photos/scans of nine of my watercolour paintings and ink drawings and made them into a collage in Word. Yes, Word – it is what I know really well. Impressed the professor with that. It was a bit tedious – I made the first collage with the full images on one page, then saved as a PDF, then converted to a JPG, then cropped the JPG into multiple pieces, then made another collage in Word using the pieces. Then repeated that process about a half-dozen times. The assignment said to make at least five prototypes and choose the best one to submit. So each stage was saved as I went along.

The final collage is what I submitted. I printed off five versions so I could have a look at them and the final one was the most processed and I liked it! So did the professor – he gave me 95% and commented “Outstanding!”

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Part two is called ADA. We need to take something from the first assignment that was digitized and then use it to create another analogue artwork. That is as specific as the assignment got. So, I took all my digitized printed collages, and made a collage of them by ripping and cutting them up, and using Modpodge to attach to a canvas. Then I took one of my ink drawings – decided to use the Chickadee – and scanned and printed off a dozen copies of that to create a paper tole, which was then mounted on the canvas collage. I’m still working on it – planning to use the 3D pen to create some interesting details.

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I’m really enjoying this assignment! I am not really a digital process artist, but finally, this is fun! Using the digital to create parts that then get used to create hands-on art is pretty cool.

In Painting I have my canvas stretched ready to start my final painting. I got the last one finished – I showed the work in progress in my last post. Here that one is in almost final form – I did go back to punch up the rock in the top right as it was a bit too flat looking, but haven’t taken a photo yet. I’m pretty happy with this!

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The final painting is big and I am still trying finalize WHAT I will be painting – it is supposed to be based on something out of the art journal we’ve been working on for this class. So… I’ve been sketching and doodling like crazy to have ideas in there I actually WANT to paint!

In 2D Design I am just getting the shooting done for a stop-motion animation. Had to create a “zombie” character (in the loosest sense) and a story board, then make a paper “puppet” to photograph. We need to create a 10 second GIF ultimately. I’ve got everything ready and the camera is on the tripod. Just need to set-up my light box and shoot. That’s my plan for tomorrow. Then editing of course!

For the Design Idea class we have to come up with a solution to the Bee problem. As bees are dying off and several species have been declared endangered we are supposed to be creative and produce a fix for it. We were just given the assignment on Thursday. I’ve got two pretty good ideas but which I go with will depend on timing. Due dates are how I prioritize and other projects come first. Once I get those done, I will know how much time I have left.

Drawing class doesn’t have homework assignments – everything is done live in class. I really enjoy that. This week we’ll be doing negative space and the last class the week after is a bonus class where you can increase your mark or make up for an absence. I go no mater what as I don’t miss classes unless I have medical appointments I can’t schedule otherwise.

I reached maximum hours on my work/study job as of last Wednesday so I get those 12 hours a week back to work on my projects so I should have no problems wrapping up the term. Back to work on January 2nd, and back to school for the winter term on January 7th.

Next term I will be taking Drawing (Contemporary), Painting, Web Development and “A Short History of the World” which is a general elective. I probably will be adding in another elective but have to see what is available when time-table additions/changes are permitted.

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Works in Progress

I suddenly realized this week that it is ALREADY mid-November. What the heck happened to October?? It is time to start sending off overseas Christmas cards and presents and I haven’t even started thinking about that!

I’ve been busy, and if you take into consideration how fast time seems to move as you get older, I’m almost living in the future! LOL

School is going great. There are only four weeks left of this semester which bums me out. I really enjoy the whole process.  But my next term starts on January 7th, so won’t be long till I’m going again!  I officially transferred into the Fine Arts – Advanced program this week so another two years here, then I’ll be off to Ireland (I hope!) to finish the BFA.

This semester I have had a chance to do some painting as well as design and drawing, photography and installation art. So it has been fun, and challenging at times.

For one class we had to do a Guerrilla Art Installation somewhere in the college, without permission. As this class would do this every term I’m sure the powers that be are complicit, but the professor made it out to be all black ops! LOL We could do anything we wanted, anywhere we wanted, in any media we wanted – we just couldn’t do it in stairwells for safety reasons nor deface or damage property.

I expropriated a locker and created this display – read the artist’s statement to see what I was illustrating…

For another project in the same class we had to illustrate levels of meaning. This is my completed assignment. I call it “End of Days”, micron pen and watercolour, 9×12″.

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This is the Artist’s Statement for this one:

My work entitled “End of Days” uses the imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as foretold in the Bible, Book of Revelation 6:1-8. The White Rider is Pestilence, the Red Rider is War, the Black Rider is Famine, and the Pale Rider is Death. In the Bible they are triggered by The Lamb of God opening the first four of the seven seals on the scroll held in God’s right hand.

The Horsemen are a metaphor for the end of humanity, or God’s Punishment, depending upon your point of view. They each represent one aspect of humankind’s mass destruction – disease, war, famine and death – any one of them can trigger the others, causing a cascade effect. Pestilence shoots arrows poisoned with disease, War causes humanity to kill each other, Famine starves those who aren’t killed by disease and war, and Death ultimately takes them all.

I added images of recent history that could be leading us towards the end, in my opinion: nuclear weapons, mass destruction of conventional weaponry and a few individuals in positions of power who have contributed to bringing us to this precipice.

In Drawing class we have been working on the basics (I started mid-year so my second semester is actually semester one of the program): perspective, texture, shadow, etc.

In Design class we’ve been doing a lot of things in Illustrator – using forms and grids, etc.  This image is the final submission for Project 2 called Exploring Point & Line. We had to cut out a bunch of circles and lines, the lay them down to express certain terms and relationships (like balance, contrast, chaos, etc.), photograph them (needed 25 different ones minimum), then edit in Illustrator, lay them out in the prescribed grid, correct white and black balances, print, mount on board with a cover… I got 100%.

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The final project in Design is creating an animated GIF using cutout drawings… ack! I’ll definitely be posting that when it is done!

In the Painting section we’ve been doing studies outside of the ground in the woods, then working on a painting based on those using colour theory to create earth tones, etc.

I’m still working on the main painting from that exercise, so this is a work in progress shot. It is done in acrylics but I am thinning them out quite a bit and building up the colour in washes. It is on a board, not canvas.

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Photography has been extremely challenging for me – issues with my vision make it really difficult to read and see the camera display and controls and I also have difficulty holding the DSLR (there is a reason I love my little point and shoot!) So when I get a good shot to meet the assignment I am really happy. This is one from the project using window light for portraits.

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In photos Pod (short for Prince of Darkness) usually appears as a black void, so I was really pleased with how the sunlight illuminated him – and he was a very good model!

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I know I keep saying it, but I am loving being in school and learning, and creating while I learn.


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What I did on my vacation…

On my vacation last month crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the Disney Magic I wasn’t too ambitious, it was a vacation after all!

We spent a total of seven days at sea and the ports we stopped at were Ponta Delgada in the Azores and Lisbon both of which are in Portugal, and Cadiz, Malaga and Ibiza in Spain, we disembarked in Barcelona and were taken straight to the airport.

Other than accumulating as many character photos as I could (I explained that in my previous post here) I took it pretty easy. I saw a bunch of movies – Infinity War, Solo (the premier!) A Wrinkle in Time, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and did some crafts and activities.

I went to several of the 3D craft sessions and made things – pre-printed paper and you cut it out and put it together.  One was Pascal from Rapunzel (I painted him with my watercolours) and another was a parrot I wore on Pirate Night (pinned him to my shoulder which worked pretty good – at least it did long enough for photos. He got a little floppy later!) Also built a VERY complicated paper Cinderella but never took a photo of her!

Played 80’s Music Trivia in one of the pubs teamed up with my sister and brother-in-law – we only missed one out of 50 (only thanks to Iain) but there were two teams with perfect scores.

Saw several live musical productions and shows – they were only 45 minutes each but very good. Their cast is very talented – obviously all the musicals were Disney themes!

Did some shopping on board – a couple of shirts and small things. I am not a big shopper on trips – my souvenirs from the ports were fridge magnets, some tea from the Azores (really nice tea) and a couple of postcards.

I did a few paintings and drawings. I had taken my pencils, ink liners, and watercolours. And did manage to do some work.

I went to the “Animation” drawing classes on board – they were fun BUT… the way they had us draw Stitch was wrong. My niece wasn’t impressed. The ears are wrong, the size and shapes are off… I tried to fix it later and coloured it, but it still doesn’t look like Stitch. I did it exactly as shown – so had no other reference at the time.

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I also drew several Disney characters on my own – Ed and Ursula were a couple of those.

As thank you gifts to our Concierge team I drew each of them and then added watercolour – they were all really pleased. I was too – turned out really nice in my own humble opinion!

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On Pirate Night they had fireworks at sea. It was a decent night to be out on the deck. I actually managed to get some decent shots, even with my little Sony Cybershot!

One day my brother-in-law booked us on a Galley tour which was interesting. It was actually a lot smaller than I thought it would be! There is one station with a dedicated chef for preparing food for people with allergies. I have to say they were extremely diligent about food allergies – they have your information on file and ALL the waiters would come and ask you questions. When you are seated in the restaurants – even at open seatings – they ask your cabin number and print off the notes they have on your dietary needs.

Deck 3 where two of the restaurants and most of the adult spaces (pub and clubs) had huge portholes – was fun to look out while waiting in lines! This is mid-Atlantic Ocean – just look at that sea! Like a mirror.

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I caught this little princess while we were in line for dinner.

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They also produced “deck dance parties” which were short shows on stage on deck with characters and extremely loud music. I only went to two – the first welcome one and the Pirate Night show. They also showed movies on that jumbo screen – mostly classic Disney and the newer Pixar stuff.

It was a very relaxing trip.

I will post about the port visits in my next blog – lots more photos to share!


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Making a Serpopard

Bet you are asking… What’s a Serpopard?

I didn’t know myself until about a month ago.  I was getting a bit of a head start on my final 3D Studio project by googling “mythological creatures” as we had to do a large sculpture – had to be four-legged and a “real” creature from any culture’s mythology.

I was looking for something unusual that would fit the parameters and a Serpopard or Serppard image came up in a search.  I thought that was pretty interesting. The image has been found in Ancient Egyptian artifacts and in Mesopotamia of a big cat and snake combination creature – long snake neck and lion or leopard head and body, with some variations in design among the images found.

There were photos of the artifacts and other ancient depictions, and also quite a few artists’ renderings on Deviant Art and other places too.

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According to what I read, experts aren’t sure exactly what it was meant for – the representations are old and there is no explanation accompanying them, so it is guesswork about the purpose of the creature.

I did some sketches to figure out my version and roughed-out the structure of the armature. It was to be done using Sculpey which is a polymer clay that you bake in the oven.

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I used steel wire to make a basic structure then wrapped it with about an entire roll of aluminium foil to bulk it up and get the basic shape built. It needed to be pretty close to actual size and shape as you don’t want to have very thick and/or uneven coverage of the clay. Optimum is about 1/4 inch thick.

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I started to think about how to do the details – I wanted to make scales. I looked at photos of cobras (very Egyptian!) and their scales look just like sunflower seeds! So I bought a bag of sunflower seeds and sorted through the entire bag, I looked at EVERY seed, to find the perfect one.  Then I made a mold by pressing it into a disk of air-drying clay. All my scales would now be perfectly uniform and the proper profile.

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When I was ready to sculpt I started with the basic creature shape getting the profile right and building up muscle. Then I did the leopard head. For the ears, to make sure I didn’t break them off later, I used small bits of flexible metal mesh, made them the exact shape I wanted then covered with a thin layer of clay.

Then I carried on with attaching the scales, ONE AT A TIME. It looked awesome and just like cobra scales! I did the initial patch on the back… later I went back and added more to chest, and patches on the tail and neck.

I also wanted to build the Ancient Egyptian jewelry separately and attach it to the finished animal, so that it looked worn instead of a solid part of the sculpture. I went and bought coloured Sculpey – turquoise, red, gold, blue and black.

I used the flexible metal mesh to build the collar and head-dress – they needed the interior structure and had to support the weight of the clay. One piece of mesh cut and then folded and/or twisted into shape that was then covered with the gold clay very thinly. Then I rolled and cut all the teeny tiny rectangles in the coloured clay to inlay, and create the designs. Oy, I do like to make things difficult for myself! I also used real beads and one small lapis disc to make a scarab on the collar.

I was using King Tut’s mask as my inspiration so… I wanted to do the crown of the combined kingdoms which has the Vulture and the Cobra on it.  Teeny tiny little Vulture and Cobra heads, on the forehead of the Serpopard. So I twisted up some craft wire as they needed to be reinforced to prevent breaking off later, then covered and shaped them.  My hands are not designed to work on this small a scale! But, I think they turned out pretty cool!

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I had bought a board to use as a base for it, so I rolled out all my leftover gold clay, and enough of the flesh coloured to fill the board. It looks quite cool, like sand, so I left it as is and didn’t paint it.

I attached the jewelry and checked it over for flaws, mounted on the board and then into the oven to bake!

I spent about 3 hours building the armature at home, 11 hours plus on it at school, then brought it home again and spent 16 more hours on it which included the baking time. After it cooled (and I ate dinner) I started the painting. I did a double layer of white as a primer over the creature’s body, and then mixed up a cat body colour base and a base colour for the scales and applied them. That was all I managed before heading to bed.

I had to take it back to school and finish the painting there, and handed it in after spending almost 4 more hours doing the final painting. It was graded (don’t know what I got yet) and I did the paperwork to enter it in the end of year Juried Art Show, and left it with the instructor.

I’m really REALLY pleased with how it turned out and I put it in the show marked For Sale.

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End of term is looming

Hard to believe that my first semester at college is over next Friday. It really went by fast!

I’ve only two works in progress left, everything else has been completed and/or already handed in and marked.

I completed my film editing yesterday for my Fundamentals of Video/Audio Production final project, and submitted it. We will view them in class on Monday, and be given a final quiz.  I will share it on my Facebook page once it has “premiered” in class! I am hoping for laughs… oh god, please be funny.

I finished all my Sociology course assignments ahead of time and it has all been marked, so I am just attending the last couple of classes to get the “participation” marks.

I’ve got everything finished for Digital Drawing. Final project is complete, printed and ready to present next Friday – this Friday I’ll be twiddling my thumbs, I guess, as I have it all done and the class was to be a work period. I will probably spend some time using Photoshop on work from my other classes and tweaking some images.

In 3D Studio Practice we are doing our final large sculpture and have 10 hours of class left to work on it. I am well ahead on my build and will start on fine details tomorrow. We are working in polymer clay so have to bake it when done, and then paint it, to have ready for the last Friday for marks. Last week we handed in our recycled book project and are waiting for the grades to be posted.

This was my “Exquisite Corpse” small sculpture – it is 4.5″ tall, for 3D Studio. It was drawn in three parts, by three different people who didn’t know what the others drew. I had to sculpt it by interpreting the drawing – it had to stand on its own. Luckily mine was pretty easy, lots of students ended up with mermaid tails or tentacles!

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This was also for 3D Studio – a relief mask sculpture of another student. This was done in an air-drying clay.

This is the one Taylor did of me…

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We traded – no point in keeping one of someone else!

We handed in our Portfolios today in Presentations & Portfolio Techniques, and our final project is due next Tuesday – a detailed drawing of footwear. I’m about 1/4 of the way on mine so will be working on it over the weekend.

In Presentation & Portfolio I did these two drawings for Projects 1 & 2. The first is a vulture wearing a gas mask – I altered the image (took out lettering) after marking. And the second was to draw our own hand holding something – I call it “I miss the Rain”(let me know if you get the reference!) These were both done in liners and water-colours.

We had to do hand studies before starting the hand… I really like the little red pinky finger! I did it all in pencil crayon (three colours) and I think I might finally be getting the hang of it.

We had our last class of Drawing II (Figurative) yesterday. I am sad about that, it was so much fun.

These are a few of my more recent sketches from Figure Drawing. The first is a two-minute sketch, the colour one is 20 minutes, and the group is of 30 second drawings.

I did this landscape while sitting in the hall between classes – was working on erosion and trying different colours in pencil crayons (still working on my technique with them.) My favourite is the big ridge in the back, I think I nailed that one.

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I am in the process of looking for a summer job – I’m able to apply for full-time summer jobs at the college and so far have four interviews out of ten applications (three were already filled, three I haven’t heard back from.) That makes me hopeful. I’m still applying for pretty much everything that I see as I need to work!

I’ll be back to school in September to finish my second semester of the program I am in, which is actually the first semester of the program. I was a January intake so I did semester two first so I’ll be with a new batch of students in the Fall.

I am really thrilled that I have been able to go back to school to study art! And, being mature, I value the opportunity and haven’t missed a class or assignment! Those marks are really important – I could get a scholarship to help with the costs to go on to more advanced arts education!

 

 


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Midterm Marks are in… Mom would have been proud.

I am really enjoying my art courses at college and am doing really well! Midterm marks were released this past week and I have five A+ and one A-. My overall average is 94%. My sister wants to know what happened to the other 6%. Um, well…

There are only six more weeks to go in the semester and there are a lot of projects required for final marks. In one class the current project is worth 50% of the entire grade and takes up the rest of the course. My Sociology class final research paper is worth 25% of the final grade. And the four other courses have major projects that are a bit less of the overall marks, but still need to be done well.

I completed one final project today – a presentation for my Figure Drawing course, so I don’t get jammed at the end. They are all due in April, so getting a head start is important.

Time management is a big deal and luckily I am pretty good at it.

Here are some gesture drawings from my Figure Drawing class with live models.

I find I can do these very quickly, and the 10 minute drawings are about as long as it takes. When we have 20 minutes or longer I get fussy and overwork things. All a learning process. Last week we worked on foreshortening. That is challenging.

In my 3D Studio class I am working on a small sculpture – an “exquisite corpse” which is something designed by three people – I drew the head, then it got passed around the class with two other people drawing the middle, and the legs. No one saw what the others drew. We had to build the armature for it, and then fill in with wire mesh and aluminium foil, so that the clay is a very thin covering. I actually got lucky with my end design, some of the others have real challenges to make their sculptures stand in a stable manner, which is one of the main goals of this project.

We have two more big projects after this in 3D Studio.  I really enjoy this class and will miss it. Once I start taking the Fabrication classes in semesters three through six, I can get back into building!

In our Presentation & Portfolio class our final project is to produce a portfolio – I’ve got to PROPERLY photograph the work I want to include. I probably have more to chose from than a lot of the students, but… some of the work I no longer actually have and the photos aren’t suitable. So… will have to pick things that are able to be done properly, and that were created within the last year. The fact that I have to do the photography is challenging. The instructor said something about “booking the studio”… I’m going to try to rig up something at home and see how it works.

For my Digital Drawing class we are supposed to have an online “sketchbook” of all the work done from rough ideas to finished piece – it isn’t necessary to post until the end of the semester for the instructor to review. I am really not a digital person and the work I have so far produced is basic. I did get a good grade but it was very stressful for me.

This was the Landscape I created for one assignment in Digital Drawing. I did it in Paint 3D. I was mid-pack as far as finished printed copy for class critique. I am hampered in that I started this program on the second semester, so don’t have the courses in digital programs that were taught in the first semester – I’ll be taking those in September.

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But, I got through it so far. Next project I should not have an issue with as it is not necessary to be digitized!

 

 

 


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I’m officially a starving art student… well, not really starving but…

Classes started on Monday for my first semester studying Art & Design. A full-time student for the first time since 1984!

My first class Monday morning was Figure Drawing which I really enjoyed. I actually impressed myself – it has been a very long time since I did the fast sketching/gesture drawings. Our instructor posed for one 10 minute drawing, then put up photos for the rest of the time.  I ended up with seven drawings which I am keeping to compare progress.  Starting next week we will have live models.  That will be a first for me.  We can use whatever medium we wish too.  I used pencils and charcoal this time – I like the charcoal.  I may try pastels next week.

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My afternoon class was Fundamentals of Digital Audio Visual Production.  On a Mac – I’ve never used a Mac, or any Apple product for that matter.  On top of that, the program we have to use is Adobe Premier Pro… teeny tiny white text on black background that doesn’t seem to be able to be sized to be legible.  I was completely lost.

I went and introduced myself to the instructor before class started (I’m the only January intake in my timetable group) and explained I have no idea about any of this topic.  He was very nice and helpful, and he tried to adjust the font size/magnification but in that program it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t see the monitor at all well and the lag time to focus on the overhead screen, then back to the desktop with my glasses which weren’t strong enough to help with the exceptionally tiny font… very frustrating and actually painful to my eyes.  I have an eye appointment next week – probably for another injection which might help.

I’m checking out the college services for “accommodation” for this vision/computer issue.  Hopefully there is someway they can help with that. I can go into the computer lab to go over things when there is available space and another student suggested I sit with them and they can help me with it, which is sweet.

Today’s class was Presentation and Portfolio Techniques. Which looks like lots of fun – much of what is being covered has to do with marketing and promotion which I do have experience in.  Will also be producing art and critiquing it to learn how to assess our own work. We had to brainstorm a specific idea, then create thumbnails to a set size/shape – homework is to complete the project and post photos… we have to carve the design on a banana.  Basically, this weekend I will be tattooing a banana with a design incorporating my name. Who knew fruit would come into it so soon? I’ll have to be careful – Brian likes bananas. Wonder if “the dog ate my homework” works in college?

Tomorrow is 3D Art & Design in the studio, and in the afternoon I have my general education elective of Introduction to Sociology.  Friday is Digital Drawing in the morning – and I fervently hope I don’t have the same issues with the computer screen – and the second class in 3D Art & Design (there are 5 hours a week total in the studio for that) in the afternoon.

Our supplies are included with our tuition! I was not aware of that so when I attended the program orientation last week I was stunned! We just had time to stash it all in our locker so on Monday I went in early to play, I mean, sort out, my supplies. I labelled it all and took home the small stuff to open and sort into containers. I have two lockers – I had rented a regular one online for myself, then at the program orientation last week we had to rent an art locker to hold our supplies and work. I kept the one I’d already rented and am glad I have it. It is where I stash my coat and non-art things. They are pretty close to each other and right next to the classrooms I will be in for five of my classes. So that’s convenient.

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Everything is online – you have to check your email constantly, check for class updates, get the assignments online, submit the completed work online, communicate online… bleh. This is overload to a borderline Luddite. People keep referring to apps to download to use for class or projects, um… no? And ALL the other students have their phones in front if their faces all the time! Walking the halls is like fighting off zombies – they walk right into you and block the hallway in packs.

I’ve spent time each day roaming around, trying new routes to places, seeing if I can find shortcuts, etc. I can find the main Tim Horton’s that takes the Tim card (the other little ones don’t take it), the computer services area, the security desk and several washrooms. I know where all my classrooms are and today realized there is a more direct route into the complex I need to end up in than I’ve been taking (which was through another building, then a courtyard.)

So far I’ve been getting a decent parking spot. Today was in the extreme far corner but it was a short walk to the path I take through campus. I’ve also been taking different routes to drive there and home again.  I think I’ve got figured out – left, right, left, right and I’m there. It is a 30 minute drive but on good roads – with one roundabout!  There are several alternate routes if I need them too. Luckily the days are getting longer rapidly so it is fairly light out for the drives.

So far a good week!