Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Busy Year

Well...it has been a long time since I used this site to post my thoughts, I need to be better about using such resources. I have to also revamp a bunch of things to better represent who I am as an artist and teacher. I have been working for a year at Kenneth Henderson Middle School in Garden City, Kansas and it has been very busy. I also need to collect all my resources in one spot and create a virtual portfolio of sorts.....I'd like to make my own website but the only place I don't have to spend huge amounts of money is Wix, and the design elements are kinda limited. It looks as if I'll be recommended for renewal which is awesome, I like working here and the city isn't bad overall. Unsure as to whether it will go longer than an extra year though. Trying to streamline my curriculum for the next year and still get everything into it that is needed for the kids to grow. Also need to work on using the technology more. Well, I'll be back shortly to update.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moving On

It is strange being out of school.....I am certainly not where I want to be right now, but I know I have the skills to do better, I just need to figure out how to go about doing that. I especially need to figure out how to stay motivated to draw and take pictures with the limited time available to me, last little while I have been so exhausted from working, mostly because it is physically demanding that even on my days off I don't seem to have enough energy to do much. When I do I spend it applying for teaching jobs, so I really don't have much time off....most days I just want to sleep and not wake up. So this is why motivation is difficult.....I need to find a way to not feel mired down, I'm trying some self-hypnosis stuff, but that doesn't seem to have any real lasting effect....but even extending the placebo effect would be better than nothing. Student loans are coming due and most of them don't want to grant forbearance even though I'm making squat, just enough to get by on....so I can understand the desire to just pull the covers over my head and say enough. Not much more to say at this point.....just that it feels like my creative energy has been sucked out of me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Final Stretch

Last three months of school.....my Concepts of Art wraps in two weeks and we have an art history comprehensive, then April I have another comprehensive that covers my major, which is due no later than the 16th (I only get 5 days to write about it though). I meet with my advisor the end of this week to select images, then I need to cut mats, do prints, order special prints frame everything and then have them ready to show on the 24th of April, that's when my MFA show starts, and we have an opening reception on the 27th of April from 6:30 to 9:30. This is the same night as the Spring Gallery Walk here in Hays, but my show is on campus at the Robbins Center, which is a little out of the way. I will also be displaying 15 Black and White high contrast images on the projection screen.

After this is done I have an Oral exam to discuss my work and show...*sigh*...and as soon as I get at least one more letter of reference I can resume my job hunt for teaching positions. Needless to say that despite all the work its taken to get here, the job hunt is both the scariest and most frustrating.

I discovered that I managed to win first place in the State of Kansas in Web Stories on a piece I did for News Reporting last semester on Habitat for Humanity. They will be putting the story up for the National awards...being as I didn't really expect to get something for writing and production, this is a nice surprise.

Got a new book I would recommend to anyone who uses a camera, especially those of you who like taking people pictures. It's called "Picture Perfect Practice", by Roberto Valenzuela. I have just started it and its already been very helpful, especially in the way its set up.

It might help me nudge my work just that little bit to get past the barrage of finalist positions and actually win more competitions, that would be awesome.

I wish I could shake this feeling of ennui though.....it has been a struggle to even get a few pieces finished, let alone try and do anything really outside the box.....ideas seem to solidify and just as I try and sketch them out they drift away like smoke.....and when I'm not beating my head in trying to make the creative energies swirl, I feel like I'm circling a huge drain and am going to get sucked in never to be seen again.....some call it the artists curse.....dunno what it is, but it can go away anytime now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The semester comes to an end....finally...

O.K. grades are back and I got the expected B's from the professor who decided he was no longer going to teach me my major, this was after I had already done my first grad committee revue and passed it (this is one of the three times the committee can decide to just turf you out of the program or put you on probation if they feel your work isn't up to snuff, the other two are Preliminary Orals and the Final Orals). If he had an issue with me this is when it should have come up, to top this off he never even let me know why, and to my knowledge he never spoke to the department head or the Dean or the department about any problems either, he just sent out an email that told me and my committee that he was done with me. The whole thing pretty much violated the code of conduct and I had to get the Dean of the graduate school and the President of the university involved before anything could be done about my continued education. The rest of the faculty and staff have been great about trying to find a solution, which I believe we have. Anyway, I go in to speak to the Dean of Arts & Sciences to arrange the rest of my Major classes around this professor so that I can finish my MFA because they seem to think that with the awards I have won and the credit I have received merits that I at least get the attempt to finish. All of this was under a huge shroud because we didn't want the professor who is pissed off at me for whatever reason (anyone who knows me can't believe he went off like he did, especially at me) to hit me with crap grades, I still didn't get the A's he had been giving me, but he also didn't flush them down the toilet either. This is something I am willing to live with for the long term gain, I hope. I crapped out on my Art History final because I was stressed out, but gratefully I got a B overall there as well, so hard work does pay off. This next semester is when I prepare for my Preliminary oral exam, and I hope that my work doesn't suffer for the stresses of late, I need to speak with who will be taking over my advisor duties and determine what will be expected of me.....anyway, there is liable to be more later.

Addendum: getting the classes squared away, just the paperwork that needs to go through and then I'll be working with someone else to get through the rest of MFA...Yay!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Changes, Changes, Changes....

Well, the worst two weeks of my current life have almost past me....I have a slightly new direction and new people to work with....well, I've worked with them before and respect their artistic ideas. The last three semesters are going to require a lot of work with the final semester possibly consisting of 18 credit hours just to get the last 6 hours for my journalism certification along with my MFA. Yes that is slightly insane, but I figure if it is worth it I should at least try. The biggest stress I have to deal with now is being able to afford to print at least two decent sized pieces a semester, and I don't mean 16x20 either, I'm looking at possibly 32x32 or even bigger. I want to see if getting a decent, but smaller inkjet and using some of the techniques I've seen for transferring images will help me reduce the overall costs. The professor I will be working with from now on thinks that my documentary work is my strongest, especially the stuff that seems to evoke emotions. She thinks that the mirrors are interesting, but that they lack a certain punch to them. So that is two professors that think they create interesting ideas, but may be too gimmicky for Thesis work. I find myself in complete agreement on this as I will be looking for work when I am finished, and don't really see that type of work getting me very far. My versatility is a key factor in my development, and I will keep experimenting with different ideas, but I will be focusing on people and places that seem to impact me on an emotional level. My professor and I will also be exploring the works of the best in the field, both from the past and present, and reviewing what we see as being the reason their work is so successful. I don't want to go into great detail about the circumstances behind the change, suffice to say that those involved in helping me make this transition did their very best to accommodate my needs as an artist and student, and that I am still somewhat in the dark as to the circumstances that propagated this need for a change. My next semester is my last one where I will be exploring my craft, then I have to present for my preliminary oral exam, which is where I present my work and discuss my ideas and direction. Then all my work is geared to my thesis, with a review at the end of each semester to discuss my work and assemble my thesis show. Lots of work ahead of me....sort of disappointed that things couldn't have progressed more smoothly, fighting with depression and spiking blood sugar doesn't help in feeling more positive I suppose, but I feel like all we do is work our butts off and don't get much to show for it and our lives are already half over, pretty much. I know we should have 40 or more years, and that people out there are worse off and still make do, so I guess that makes me a little selfish to want something nice to happen for a change.....I have enough character, thanks much.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Semester Creeps.......

Seems like everything has slowed down....majorly....trying to keep from feeling like I'm in a rut and only barely succeeding. Things are improving slightly with my daughter, so that is a plus. I am starting to print some of my pics for Problems:Photography and my grad committee review I would like to set up for around mid-term. Still need to send away for the pics I want done big....course that gets expensive.....16x20 prints are as big as I can afford right now though, and only a blessed few of those. No word from KC on whether I will get a show or not. Have to email the new library director about the March show here, then get with the other artist about setting stuff up. Deciding what I want to send in to Photographer's Forum, the Five State Show and R.O.A.R....need to set up my stuff to send in to CPOY (College Photographer of the Year) as well, but I feel slightly intimidated. Not sure if I have enough money for any other shows though, *sigh*.....on a regimen of St. John's Wort to stave off the worst of the anxiety and frustration. Homecoming is next week, so parade pics, bonfire pics etc., Nd I want to do some close up work using some of my older photos and possibly magazine layouts, course they will be all broken up so no one should recognize them much.....going to try and use silicon to help hold the mirrors together at the angles I need. Course I got into MOCA (Museum of Computer Art), and got third place and an honorable mention in one of the local contests I entered. I also received a letter from the president of the University congratulating me on all my achievements to date, feels kinda nice to get the recognition, but it is not something I'm really used to. Some days I wish I was done and had a decent job, others I wonder what I will wind up doing or where we'll be living, because I have no idea, and probably won't until I start looking near the end of my schooling. Anyway, here's to the possibility of a rosy outcome, despite our proven track record.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fall Semester 2010

looks like the new semester wil be on the interesting side, I expect that I will see a whole lot of new faces, especially in Art History. I have done my firstseries of documentary images and will be submitting to CPOY (College Photographer of the Year) soon, I will also be sending a proposal to the KCAC (Kansas City Artists Coalition) to see if I can get a show in Kansas City. I will also be checking out galleries in Denver, Oklahoma City and possibly Omaha as well. Look into their proposal process, mostly to build a decent show record outside Kansas if possible. If I make money as an artist that would be great, but I will be happy making my money teaching, either at the college level or K-12. Not sure if people will catch on to my ideas or not, and I still haven't seen anyone else doing the same thing as I am, though a number of fellow artists here think the idea is really cool. I want to try and do a couple of series, one using candles perhaps, one using the IR filter and possibly one doing portraits that are fractured. This will hopefully give me enough material over time to complete my thesis show and catalog. Then it is just a matter of finding cheap, but quality printing for 30 or so catalogs. I think I will choose one of the English professors to replace the person on my Grad committee that is leaving and I will likely be working more weekends and evenings than anything this semester, that allows me to practice sports photography and other forms of photojournalism. I am going to try and contact Kris Kuksi this semester sometime and see if he will let me document his creative process, that would be an interesting opportunity for documentary photography I think. I will continue to submit to Photographer's Forum and one or two other higher profile competitions as well as the local shows (5 state and ROAR, both around October). progress is being made with Rhiannon, though it is slow going....such is the nature of changing behavior issues. I think the things I have learned from conflict management through communication have been extremely helpful in how I approach many of the disruptions in our lives. truly a worthwhile experience for an elective. We lucked out and salvaged an awesome office chair from the school, it was destined for the garbage heap, but we rescued it and now with the simple replacement of the wheels it works great. Anyway, we'll see what the semester brings, after getting my macro lens (probably a Sigma 50mm and my IR filter and strap, I want to see if I can get a 2 TB external for storing pictures on....we'll see if the funds are there.