In our final journal entry we were given the prompt to share the "highlights" and "lowlights" of our course experiences.
Here is my response:
In coming to a conclusion of our Botanical Illustration course I find myself somewhat feeling sad. Not that my sadness comes from lamenting over having signed up for this course, but that it is ending. I have really enjoyed the opportunity, after over 30 years, of being part of a college academic environment even if it has been a virtual one. This being said it still has presented me with a whole new set of challenges that when previously being a full time homemaker and home school teacher normally didn’t encounter. Some of them had to do with scheduling relaxing time to be able to create and complete my work, or finding subject matter that didn’t look wilted, since it is very hot and dry in Texas and many of my beautiful garden plants are under stress.
I am glad that I persisted, taking a firm stance that I was going to see this course work through even if it wasn’t easy. I needed to see that I could find a creative place in academia and be successful. It has been extremely helpful to me having a Professor/Instructor that is genuinely invested in her students work. She takes the time and effort to really look at what we as artist are trying to communicate and accomplish in the assignments we turn in for review; and is willing to give detailed instruction based on her observations and field experiences. Unfortunately in the area I live, the artists sometimes do not critique others work in a constructive, but competitive way. As a result you never know if what they are saying is to be taken seriously because there could be a hidden motive behind their words.
Also, not having my fellow students next to me in a classroom has its’ good and bad points. I do miss getting to know them in a more personal manner, but the introductions and student forum did give me a chance to connect on a basic level. I would have liked to have seen the work of my fellow students posted to a gallery site after each week’s assignments were sent in and reviewed. Not so much for comparison, but to give me an idea how each one of us completed the assignment, our individual approach and solutions.
One of the most fun exercises that I had to date was in week 5 and our final artwork project. I love mixing media, so the pen and ink drawing with the ink wash along with adding color was very gratifying and challenging. The reading resources gave me more food for thought, though I am sure I will have to review these readings over again to be able to process and understand more thoroughly the information presented. Only time will tell whether I advance as a Botanical Illustrator or use what I have learned to incorporate these methods as a painter of flowers and nature subjects, but one thing is for sure this course has been a stepping stone in my future as a artist.