I have discovered many things about myself throughout this "Back to School Journey" and some of these things surprise me.
A few of my personal and educational discoveries are:
- From Point A to Point B, I like to finish things - I have a bit of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). You might have noticed that characteristic while reading my blogs. I like to number them... or alphabetize my entries. In my Design 220 class, we were required to blog on all of our projects (darcyclinedesign.blogspot.com). I felt compelled to tie in my blogs numerically in relationship to the assignment number.
Or maybe you noticed a rainbow colored headline series or the fact that I have sections in my library that are arranged by subject, alphabetically or that I am bothered if things don't line up for one reason or another? (The line-up issue can cause my husband to sigh and carry on.)
Another OCD sign for me is once I start a book, I feel I have to finish it. About ten years ago I was reading a novel and it was very poorly written. I threw it away. (I know, I haven't really let that go but I am prepared to throw another novel away if it is that bad. I just choose my reading more carefully now.)
The Completion compulsion worked very well for me, as it usually does. I finished school and now have an AA in Digital Design to add to my list of accomplishments. (Okay, I still have paperwork to do... I'll get there. Procrastination... yes I could have made this blog about that.)
- I didn't enjoy going back to school - This one was a shock for me. I love learning and enjoyed taking continuing ed classes, so when I was attending school full time again, I didn't relish it in the way I thought I would. This possibility never occurred to me. I just always thought it would be fun. As it turns out, it was difficult and oftentimes a very lonely experience. I spent so much time and energy on school, that I didn't socialize with my friends, family events suffered because homework deadlines loomed, I didn't reach out to other students and the stress of all of this made me sick. Going back to school was definitely one of the most difficult things I have done.
- My Invisibility Shield worked against me - Like a Hobbit in the presence of a Goblin, I have an uncanny ability to be
Martin Freeman in the Hobbit.
- I love painting - Drawing was something that came naturally to me and at times, I didn't value that talent. I thought of drawing as this skill I possessed that others wanted to see but that the emotional toll of drawing was pretty heavy and so over the years I have spent less and less time drawing to the point of almost forgetting how to do it. The attention to detail and need for perfection smothered me at times.
In the Fall of 2011, I enrolled late at Pierce College and the only classes available were a managing online classes class, a design guidelines course Beginning Digital Photography and Beginning Painting.
In Dave Roholt's painting class, I found a love of acrylic painting. I had no idea this would be true. I remember that first painting, the purple blue and yellow still life. I worried over the details so much that by the time I was ready to do my second painting, Still Life with Glass, I was so over-thinking that it would take me forever because I am a detail freak, that Dave suggested painting with the large brush and go in detail at the very end. That was brilliant! I didn't end up using any of the small brushes and I was happy with the results. It was freeing to be released from the pressure I felt when wielding a pencil. As a result of this discovery, my artwork has appeared in three Art Gallery shows and two publications. One of my paintings (actually three), The Blue Room Triptych, is hanging in the Pierce College Puyallup Library. I am happy to be a painter.
- Hate is too strong for Math - Weird, I know. I wouldn't go so far as to say I like math, but I don't hate it anymore. There were times in my math classes that I actually looked forward to some of the exercises. (Lining up all those numbers was a very OCD fix moment for me.)
When I took my college assessment test, I thought the results were amazing. I earned my usual good marks for the English and Writing and was not required to take more classes in these subjects, but when I looked at the notes from the test evaluator, I was shocked. I got a 54 in math? What? Half of the questions on the test, I didn't even understand. I checked D for many of the multiple choice and didn't answer some problems that I couldn't comprehend what the question was asking me to do. And I got a 54. Wow, I thought that test was so messed up.
Later when I was registering for classes, my adviser mentioned that I didn't have to take any math because I fulfilled that requirement with my BA in 1987. I thought, regardless of the test results, I should sign up for a math just so I know how to solve basic problems. So I said, "I got a 54 on my math test, but I still think I should enroll in a basic course so I can take the Business Math." I then showed him my Compass Test Results.
He laughed and said, "that is the class they are recommending you start with."
I qualified for math 54. What is that 5th Grade?
My siblings and me somewhere
between 1969-1972. (Possibly in
5th grade and I am not holding
a math book)
I made it through both 54 and 107, although my family might disagree with the fact that I don't hate it. There were a lot of tears and frustration when I thought I would never get it. But thanks to the patience and calm demeanor of my husband, Gerard-The-Amazing-Math-Tutor and the empathy and compassion of my son, Benjamin, also not a lover of math, I got most of it, and that is good enough for math, in my world.
- I am a Print-maker - This one is right up there with being a Painter. I enjoy printmaking to the point of wanting to have my own press... in my very own art studio. I would willingly give someone who donated a print press to my cause, a print from every run I made until that print press or I broke down. Any takers?
I didn't actually register for a printmaking class when I was introduced to the fine art of Printmaking. I was in the intermediate drawing class... yes, I took intermediate drawing to reconnect and make peace with my drawing skills.
Along the Roadside, Graphite, 2012
One of our assignments in this class was to create a solar print. This process required me to draw in order to have the design for the print. I came to print day completely unprepared and did a quick sketch, which turned out okay and gave me something to work with. I was thinking this printing process was a lot of work and that I wouldn't want to continue so whatever I came up with was fine.
A funny thing happened. I discovered I liked the process.
How many steps does it take to make one solar print?:
- Drawing. Check.
- Copy of art onto a transparency. Check.
- The image transparency is attached to the solar plate and then exposed to ultra-violet light. Check.
- Don protective vinyl gloves to wash the chemical emulsion off the plate until the image is apparent and the chemicals are gone. Check.
- Let the plate harden. Check.
- Soak the print paper. Check.
- Don different gloves. Check.
- Set up an inking station. Mix the ink with Easy Wipe to make it more pliable. This is called warming the ink. Check.
- Apply the ink to the etched plate. Check.
- Rub it into the etched areas with a wad of tulle. Check.
- Wipe the plate with a taffeta to achieve an even tone in the blank areas. Check.
- Clean up the plate edges and wipe away any stray ink on the back or sides of the solar plate.
- Check. Lay the plate on the print bed. Check.
- Remove gloves. Check.
- Pat dry a sheet of paper and lay it over the top of the plate, careful to center the paper over the plate. Check.
- Roll the print through the press. Check.
- Move the print to the drying rack to dry... for at least 24 hours. Check.
- Wipe the print bed clean. Check
- Begin the process again from step 6.
My first print ever, "Playa."I rarely vary my steps in these processes and do the same actions in the same order. (Reference my first discovery of this blog post.) It made sense and I really do like the results. Over my almost two year time at Pierce College I have made many prints.My last quarter, I finished nine different prints when my requirement was to do four. I do love it. You can view some of my latest prints and other artwork at darcyclinedesign.com.
- I prefer to connect with people - This is one I already knew. I do like
making connections and learning about the people I have interactions
with on a regular basis. By isolating myself at the beginning of this
educational journey, I denied myself something that I feel is essential
to my well-being.
"I am a people-person." I have heard folks say this over and over, but for me it is not a cliche. I am. I like knowing how people feel about any given subject. When a classmate says something, appropriate or not, I want to explore the comment and find out why they said it or what it means.
Winter quarter, my second to last quarter at Pierce, after returning from the Students of Color Conference and connecting with my co-workers, Megan and Arsenio, among many others,
Arsenio Lopez, III and Megan Hamilton giving me a hand.Whether studying with my classmates or chatting with my coworkers, this made my last few quarters so much better, despite continuing to feel overwhelmed. Live and learn... another cliche.
This was a huge learning experience for me and although I am finally done with school... I can't help but wonder if I should look into getting my Masters in Fine Art. Hmmm, being a student wasn't that hard....