Word, Image and Hyperactivity

Like any good story, a successful process log tells the viewer/reader about the progress of the artwork in a compelling way. Luckily the author of the electronic blog gets to spin the tale in words, pictures and the added bonus of hyperactivity. When I listen to a story, I am looking for more than a mere listing of events. I look for the story to transpire within some super flavor—a distinctive tone and a compelling and aesthetic peculiarity wrapped into one delicious waffle cone of wonder. I found an example of something like this in the work of Mercedez Hart, who weaves a consistent thought line throughout her blog. Whether she’s drawing a sketch, taking a photograph, painting, writing or designing/editing/selecting a website (or a blog), her color palette, organizational aesthetic, and specific point of view are consistent across media. Each piece of writing and visual expression share concern for organizational clarity, lightness of touch, care, warmth, and…well, yellow. I suspect the warmth comes from the yellow and from the empty spaces that appear everywhere, as if there were plenty of room and as if we had all the time in the world. Nothing is clunky, no one is taking up space just because the space is there. Mercedez values the open air. (and because she does, so do I!) (plus it makes me feel luxurious and rich!)

Careful thinking about the viewer/reader experience is clear in the example of her summative reflection on the mixed media painting project, which can be found in her blog for October 13, 2011

Mercedez begins her post with a still photograph of the finished painting, then goes on to carefully explain the process. Within the text she explains the project and her specific approach and experience in making her work. She includes synopses of developmental conversations with her peers, with live links to their sites. This verbal discussion is followed by a visual breakdown of the work in the form of an animated slide show comprising multiple images of the work during its execution. Each image carefully culled to present a sense of how the piece incrementally grew and transformed over time. The use of the slide show “widget” and peer links suggests that Mercedez researched her digital tool (WordpPress) in order to use the software to its greatest effect. This is a case where the choices Mercedez made in how she presents her reflections adds to a sense of holistic vision in what she is showing, and indeed gives me a sense of the kind of person she is. Because I know her (and you do too if you’re in the class), this sensibility is corroborated by her character. The things she makes reflect who she is.

Another wonderful blog is Mia Jones-Walker’s. Mia can write! Her words are well considered, flowing, funny and transportive. Her writing takes me into a delicious world of images and experiences. (Mia’s world, Mia’s world, party time, excellent). Some snippets:

Adding washes in huge decisive planes of color was much needed liberation after such stifling guidelines from representative drawing!! Whew!!

I wet my paper liberally by section, before applying ochre, red, green, blue and purple inks. Purple and green inks combined to create dark olive green for most of the foreground; blue-green bled into the darker green from the top of the page. The hand and the arm I painted a very diluted red mixed with yellow. The birdcage was ochre and green—SUPER fun to paint!! Here I let the water drip in different rivulets, then added ink with small brushes. It was sooo gorgeous to watch

I really enjoyed playing with water today! I’m slowly beginning to change my thinking about “right” and “wrong” approaches to art…

A third instance of individual voice in a process log is that of Gala Cude’s. Gala has taken the constrictive structure of the blog and reworked it so that it contains its own rhythmic reading–an innovative manipulation of image and text insertion. She is enacting a visual exploration (attributed to an artist referenced within the blog) while inside the “rules” of the blog template. Through exploring repetition and patterning to create a specific reader/visual experience she transforms the blog venue from mere reporting and documenting into a gallery of expressive capability.

So, in conclusion, a good process log is like a good anything: know your story, know your materials, know yourself. Have something specific and meaningful to say, craft it, put yourself into it. Voila.

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About Nell Ruby

Atlanta Artist Teacher Citizen
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