And so we’ve come to our final week in the oh so wonderful pan flat, burning Hellscape of Casa Grande, AZ, and our final week of high school classes. There could have been no more perfect way to finish it off, everyone scrambling to complete a final project before leaving for Santa Fe on Sunday.
Except for Maeve, she was basically done with hers Thursday evening. That being said it has been very satisfying to see these projects, a collection of books covering the history of western art, come together.
Even though all of the books cover the same art movements, they’re wildly different from each other. Each book is unique in its own way, and uses a different way to address the subject of art history.
From musicians and album covers, to architecture and propaganda posters, to my personal favorite, trees. Just in case you were ever curious about why the Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is the ideal symbol for Baroque art, or why the White Ash (Fraxinus americana) is the perfect representation of Cubism.
In addition to completing our term long project, we also concluded our lessons in oil painting, with our studio paintings on Monday and Wednesday, and our final plein air painting on Tuesday. For me, who had never touched oil paint before coming on Euro, or even taken a studio art class during my time at Proctor, learning to oil paint, and other skills like drawing with charcoal and drawing human features, has been a great adventure.
Early in the term a lot of things were kind of difficult. Getting colors right when mixing paint, and figuring out how to use paint thinner took a while to figure out. As time went on things got easier, and new skills began to become easier to pick up.
Drawing portraits in graphite was something I picked up in the last few weeks, and turned out to be better at than I thought I was. And although our group had some mixed feelings about oil painting in general, everyone improved tremendously from the first abstract color study we did back in the beginning of April, to the last bird we painted on Wednesday.
Saturday (today) was a weird day. Most of us slept in, and then at one o’clock we all got together and learned how to bind our books, but that really didn’t take that long, and afterwards everyone was just sitting around without anything pressing to take care of. It’s now after dinner (Chinese takeout) I’m sitting in the living room finishing up this blog.
The house is alive with the sounds of vacuum cleaners, aerosol cans, and laughter as we complete our weekly chores for the last time. I’m very excited to go to Santa Fe next week, and escape the heat, but also because of the experiences that await us there (Dave has informed us that Santa Fe has the third largest art industry in the county, behind only New York and Los Angeles).
Sitting at the dining room table where we’ve eaten dinner together for the last two months, I can’t really think of a good way to end this. We aren’t actually at the end of our time together yet, but I can see and feel the end coming. There will be things that I miss, and also definitely things that I will not miss, and while I’m not yet sure if I can say these last eight weeks were the experience of my lifetime, as I’m not sure how much longer that life will last, I can confidently say they were a life changing experience.
- Toby '21