May 23rd, 2009

pinhole camera

Teaching Life Drawing Online

In my role as online Life Drawing teacher I write the equivalent of about 5 blog posts and 5 comments every day.  Here's how I do it:

1 - find a problem or question
2 - discuss the source of the problem and solutions focusing on the needs of the asker of the question or poser of the problem.
3 - illustrate the answer by connecting to another source - for interconnections and for authority for the answer.
4 - engage the asker or problem-poser into the solution

Here's one I just did a few minutes ago:

-->  Student M posted a drawing and made this comment:

I first drew the muscle leg then moved to the bone leg. When completing my drawings I first drew the outlines to get the
proportions correct. After this I lightly drew in the muscle groups and shaded. At the end I put in the darks and blended them. I think
that this work didn't turn out quite as I would have liked, it seems to be a bit messy for my taste as far as the shading.

--> My response:

Class: M thinks the work is a bit messy. Some other artists might think this is a very neat and precise drawing. One thing that is
important is that we all move in our personal ways toward our goals. In this case your shared goal in this class is to create a great life
drawing at the end of the term to put into your portfolio.

If M thinks these drawings are messy, then his challenge is how to make them less messy. To find ways to keep down the mess it is
important to know what medium M used to create the image.

Soft media such as B pencils, vine and compressed charcoal, and conte are soft and smudgy materials. That smudginess is a positive thing in terms of getting gradation in blending for shading. However if you want it NOT to smudge in certain places there are a number of ways to keep it clean.

1 - Tape off the area you want clean.
2 - Lean on a piece of wax paper as you draw
3 - Put a raised platform over the drawing to rest your arm and hands

When you do have smudges clean up the area with a Magic Black Eraser.
This is a new kind of eraser that for some reason gets more erasing done with each stroke. It's really magic!

Another way to think about messy/clean is to consider the whole composition. A form on a clean white background has less volume than a
form on toned paper. You can use the smudges and messiness to actually incorporate a background into your drawing. Working on toned paper will give the forms more depth, especially if you tone the paper yourself.

In this drawing by Luis Espinoza, the artist used both white and dark in the background of this figure. Notice how the smudging and toning
around the figure contributes to the depth of the whole composition and to the volume of the figure himself.

M - What exactly do you think is messy in your drawing? What ideas do you have to make your future drawings more in line with your ideal

I usually respond to the class first instead of directly to a student because each answer is researched and applies to life drawing in
general as well as to the specific issue that the student brings up. Then I pose a question to the student bringing the whole conversation
back to the start and challenging the student to come up with a solution to their problem.

That's my day job and my night job:-)
pinhole camera

Faculty Lecture: Artist and Internet Citizen

Honoria Starbuck delivering Facult Lecture at the Art Institute of Austin
I volunteered to be the first faculty talk of the lecture season.    Three of my students, Chris Christyn and Josh, kindly served as human easels to display my work as I talked.  After the talk the audience came up to the student helpers and talked to them about the work they were holding and they felt happy to be the point of interaction.  Here are the notes for the talk.

Honoria Starbuck, Ph.D.
Artist and Internet Citizen
Art Institute of Austin Faculty teaching Anatomy and Drawing  Life Drawing and Gesture and Observational Drawing

I attend high-tech conferences as an artist and participate in the globally networked culture of web communications where I record dynamic thought-leadership in action. At first I was afraid I was too abstract for left-brained business people, but found home with thought leaders in the creative entrepreneurial Web.

As an artist I have attended the following conferences
The Singularity Summit 2007 in San Francisco
SXSW Interactive 2007, 08 and 09
Interactive Austin 2009
Smaller meetings such as the Futurists of Austin

Inspired by Modernism
I am inspired by non-objective art of modernism such as Kandinsky and Klee, as well as other abstract artists such as Miro and most recently Hilla Rebay is my inspiration.

New emerging shared aesthetics are growing on the web.
Patterns of flow and collectives of art creators,  appreciators and teachers gather at places such as,, and many blogs.

My work is about interactions and what results from interactions.
I find the conferences to be rich in abstract ideas and visions of the future.
My interpretations of the dynamics of the room and visions of outside the room are in ink, watercolor, and collage.

My art is digitized and posted on the web where panelists and keynote speakers can find it.
My drawings of the cloud computing panel at IA09 appear on Ynema Mangum's Cloud Computing blog at Sun Microsystems.

I record the shifting ideas in abstract forms and snippets of conversations. 
These collect in abstract and connected patterns of meaning that are distributed back onto the Web through Social Media venues where they collide with more ideas and creative projects.