Late last year, I decided it was time to learn more about photography. So I signed up for classes at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. In early January I headed back to the classroom.
The Art Institute works on a quarter schedule, and each quarter is broken up into two sessions for the online program. Full time is two classes per session, but since I am still working full time as well I only signed up for one class. My first two classes were Fundamentals of Design and Survey of Modern Art. While neither were directly related to photography, they were both very interesting. (In case you’re curious, I am on spring break this week so I have time to write blog entries.)
In Design, I learned about the basic building blocks of design and how to use them to convey ideas. I enjoyed sketching up some very basic designs, mostly in black and white. The final project was a bit more involved and introduced the concept of color. My theme was Suffused with Light.
My instructor like the horizontal version better. I liked the symmetry of the vertical one. Either way it was a fun project.
In Art History, we learned about various movements starting with Neoclassicism during the Enlightenment in the 1700s. A lot of styles, artists, and paintings were covered during the six weeks of this class. I read a bunch and wrote a bunch, but my favorite part was probably the studio assignments every week. I copied a Klimt and painted in the style of the Fauvists, as well as digitally solarizing a photo in the style of Man Ray.
I jokingly said this was the first painting I had done since I used my fingers in elementary school. Sadly that might not be far from the truth.
Getting sick the penultimate week of class was pretty stressful. And I was concerned about finding time to finish my final paper—a 7-page paper on art as political statement—until I looked at my grades and realized I only needed a 50% to get an A in the class. I have a hard time not turning in my best work, but knowing I didn’t need my best work made the paper much easier to complete. Basically I turned in a first draft and called it good. I ended getting 38 out of 40 points.
The best part of these classes has been learning new skills and rekindling old ones. Writing is something that I enjoyed in college (not colloquial writing like this, but paper writing with research and citations), but have not done since then. I am definitely going to try to find an outlet for writing as I continue schooling and look to the future.
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