Reflections on the final project: circus poster

13 Dec

There is so much to be said about the final project that I don’t really know where to begin. So, I think I’ll put it in bullet points. Hopefully, that will make it easy to read and follow my train of thought. So here goes.

  • The color: I like the rich, deep colors I was able to get. It took quite a few tries to get the exact ink wash I wanted for the background. ANd it took even more patience to decide what other colors to use on the piece. Of course I wanted red and gold somewhere. The two colors scream circus to me, so I wanted them represented in the piece. The balls and other letters I wanted to go well with the background and the red/gold lettering. But I didn’t want them to be too matchy or blend in to the background. So I chose a bold blue and a leafy green.
  • The subject matter: I wanted to create something that reflected my History major. I’ve always been interested in Russian history, especially the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union. So, it seemed a no brainer to create something that displayed my interests. At the same time, I wanted to create something playful. So I put my Soviet leaders into a circus and made them slightly cartoonish, especially the ringmaster Lenin with his oversized head.
  • The media: Because my project was a circus poster, I wanted to use media that would be smooth and allow me to create a graphic appearance. I also wanted to use the medium I had worked with the most this semester–watercolor. Watercolor is also the medium I had the most trouble with. Initially, I was impatient with them, getting frustrated easily. But as the semester progressed, I learned to work with them rather than fighting them. I took my time and made thoughtful decisions about what color I wanted where. In many ways, this project shows the growth I experienced through the year with watercolors.
  • My peers: Working in the classroom was a motivating experience. If not for the work steadily going on around me  in the classroom every week, I surely would have lost focus on my piece. Getting feedback from classmates and having their presence around me while I worked was encouraging and educating.

The final stages

13 Dec

Here are some photos as the final stages of the circus poster come together to form the finished piece.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A bit of research

13 Dec

For the final project, we had to do some research. When I first heard this news, I think groaned out loud a little. This semester I also had to complete a 20 page research paper for my History Senior Seminar class. This paper, let me tell you, involved quite a bit of research. But the research I did for this project was far more enjoyable. Instead of the 30 page articles my seminar paper required, I got to look primarily at images. Below is a slide show of the images I used in my final fluid media project. The slide show contains pictures of the Soviet leaders (Stalin, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev)  that I used to paint the juggling balls and the ringmaster (Lenin).


Well, apparently my computer and I do not get along. So instead of presenting these pictures in a slide show, my computer has made the executive decision to show them like this. Either way, you can see the direct link between these pictures and the images on my circus poster.

Work continues.

22 Nov

Work continues on the circus poster. Not much has happened since my last update. I installed a small border enhancement, which makes a big difference. I applied more ink wash, which gives the poster a more luxurious green-blue color. I also began peeling away the stop-out and adding color to the lettering. Well, I guess I did make some progress after all. There’s still a long way to go, but Thanksgiving calls and I must answer. I’ll be going home for a few days and won’t be able to take my poster with me. But here are some pictures of the poster now. You can see the additions to the border, the peeled off stop-out, and the gold letter outlining.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Circus poster: Another update

15 Nov

Work on the final project continues! Since my last update, I’ve stopped out a half-inch border all the way around my circus poster. I think it makes the piece feel more complete and unified with a border. In the “walk-about” yesterday, one of my classmates suggested I make the border more ornate or do something to spice it up. And I completely agree. Right now, it’s just a half-inch band. I think if I use some sort of geometric design on it, it will enhance the poster as a whole.

Applying the ink wash went much smother than I thought it would. I was worried that the ink would be splotchy and uneven, but spending this semester with fluid media is starting to pay off. I have a little (not much, but some) more patience with the materials and I’ve learned to act quickly when the media or the water isn’t going quite where I want it to. I’m not satisfied with the color of the wash yet. I think it needs to be more greenish so that the red letters really pop. AFter all, it’s a circus poster. It needs to grab your attention and hold onto it for dear life.

Up close shot of letters and border

I put the ink wash on the poster this past Sunday. When I came in for class Monday morning my poster had curved on the ends. Maybe I got too heavy-handed with the ink wash or the board isn’t built to hold so much water. Either way, my poster seems to have a mind of its own.

But I taped it to an art board and put the heaviest objects on my table on top of the curled edges.

Notice the tape around the edges, the pumpkin and the water jar. They're helping me tame the rogue circus poster

Next on my to-do list: decide how to enhance my border; finish the ink wash; get all the stop-out off my poster; begin painting the letters. I still have quite a bit of work left to do. Looks like a I’ll be spending a nice chuck of time in the art building this weekend.


14 Nov

Today in class, we did a “walk-about”. As a class we went around the studio to take a look at each others’ progress so far on the final project. What I found surprised me. Everyone’s pieces are so dramatically different. I know that may seem like an extremely obvious statement. Of course everyone’s work is different because every person is different. But the wide range of subject matter and approaches was refreshing after focusing so long on my project and my vision. From floating castles in the sky to an underwater circus, I felt like we traveled much further than just around the room. It seemed like we took a journey to other universes. I absolutely cannot wait to see everyone’s finished pieces.

More from the sketchpad

12 Nov

Here are a couple more images from my skecthpad. Both are watercolor and watercolor pencil. I really like the contrast between the fluid colors of the paint and the static lines of the pencil. Enjoy.