Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blue Plate Special of the Semester

I’ll take mine with a healthy serving of Rococo with a side of drafting and a double portion of symmetrical design.  If you’re lost by now, you are not alone....It’s week 3 of Q2 and the days are flying by in my classes.  This Thursday will bring my first Q2 test and it should prove to be a meaty one. 

As always, I’m enjoying using the different parts of my brain for this part of my educational voyage.  Sure beats school the first time around! (Why is it that we always appreciate something more as we age -- more on that topic another day...) So, what’s on the plate for this quarter?   Certainly not your typical corner diner classics.


For those faithful few that have been with my blog from the beginning, you might remember the first edition of this class from the previous quarter.  Architecture from Prehistoric times (and no..it’s not just about caves...) through the Early American period were the main emphasis Q1. Think Egyptian, Ancient Near East, Buddhist, Hindu,  Chinese, Japanese, American, African, Ancient Aegean, Ancient Grecian, Early Christian, Byzantine, Islamic,  Romanesque/Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, and Early American Colonial.  Whew!  Try to say that ten times fast.

Being that there was such a wide variety of styles presented, it’s hard to narrow down which one was my favorite.  They each hold such unique qualitites.  Take for instance the Baroque period.  This one is fascinating with it’s over the top gold gilt design everywhere --- inside and out.  A perfect example of the Baroque period on the outside is the palace of Versailles in France.  Notice the incredible gold details penetrating the edifice.  Amazing craftsmanship and artistry was involved in creating this masterpiece.  Yes, those are actual golden touches on the palace.  Not impressive by today’s standards but definitely knock your socks off at the time.

The Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris France.

In addition to keeping a pictorial notebook of the architecture as well as furniture of that time, we had to also discover corresponding modern day versions of its use.  Of course, I went to one of my favorite designers of all time for inspiration -- Kelly Wearstler.  In her Bergdorf Goodman restaurant, she pairs a distinctive Louis XV table with a modern sleek lamp in the same color scheme.  Perfect for my notebook!

Here’s my pictorial notebook inspiration for Baroque Period -- compliments of Kelly W.

Even though the class is a continuation of the previous quarter, there are some differences this time around.  For one, I have a new teacher.  The other is the material being covered in Q2: Victorian, Mid-Late 19th Century, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Early 20th Century Modernism, De Stijl, Bauhaus and International Style, Mid-Century Modern, Postwar American, Pop culture and anti-design/1970s, Minimalism, Post-modernism, Deconstructivism, Contemporary.  Other than that, there is still the standard notebook along with 5 tests over the periods.  Which brings us to continuation number two.


Last quarter found me practicing my lettering through weekly assignments and drawing my first floor plan -- complete with outside view, furniture placement and doors/windows.  All hand drawn!

Lettering is essential for designers as it makes your plans readable.  It represents your block writing and the instructors consider it highly important.  For assignment #1 in Drafting class, Dr. Fott (an architect from St.Louis) asked us to do a page of lettering and to study the Sunday comics.  He specifically zeroed in on Dennis the Menace and Beetle Bailey as well as Hi and Lois for study.  These are all solid examples of how our lettering should look.  Sure do wish I had spent more time paying attention in handwriting class...

My lettering should look just like this Beetle Bailey strip.

Along with lettering and drawing floor plans, we will also be learning about the electrical and plumbing as well as other details.  After this class, I will hope to be finished with my manual drawing.  I can only guess at how fired up some people were when this was all automated by computers via a software package called “CAD”!


Yes, I am taking a class on Saturdays.  Can you believe it?  My husband thought this would be a great idea since he could watch the kids all day for me.  I got off to a rough start on this first day as I threw him a surprise 40th birthday party the Friday night before and I’m not the spring chicken that I used to be.  This is an extremely interesting class.  This is a graphic design class and I really miss my design buddies.  I realize that at my age not a lot of people go back to school but I am convinced that the average age is 20 and there are no design majors.  Most of them are dudes studying to be gaming programmers.  You see my dilemma.

The teacher is good - he is an artist and you can tell he loves what he does.  And I know the material will be very interesting.  We are studying the creative process and the use of basic design elements and fundamental principles.  What does that all mean?  Well, we are looking at: drawings, photographs, artwork and ads that incorporate various elements.  These elements include: balance (where you can cut the ad in half and see the same design on both sides); negative space (where the majority of the ad is blank space); and domination (where one thing dominates the whole ad).  These are just a few of the elements we study.

Our first assignment was to find 10 advertisements that use one of these terms: symmetrical balance, anomaly, contract, concentration, negative space, repetition, dominance, gradation, line and direction.  I felt like I was playing a television game show trying to go through my list!  Below are a few of the examples that I came up with:
NEGATIVE SPACE – The black color takes up most of the space, except for the chairs which is the highlight.

BALANCE – If you draw a line down the middle, the left balances the right. 

My second assignment was to venture out and photograph things the represented the same categories.  My boys who were often along for the ride found this assignment very entertraining.  Two things I found:  
DIRECTION - The arrow draws your eye to the building.  And it's coming soon to Plano, just off the tollway by Cinemark!

CONTRAST - A comparision where by diifrences are used to create interest.  I think my boys are going to want to watch this movie too.

So as my journey continues, I am coming up on 3 more classes and 1 more quarter closer to my goal of being a designer.  The student in me is eager to see what the new adventure holds while the mom in me is ready for a pay check.  My plate is full but the morsels available to me are exciting and necessary to reach my dream.  Eat up!

Bon apetite -


No comments:

Post a Comment