Illustrative Journal


Observations of/Reactions to Book of Kells:

Deep reds, light/luminescent blue, gold yellow, bright yellow, plum

Keltic patterns (vines), circles (unity), crosses, angular lines, curved lines, thick square outlines, geometric shapes, figure with beard and book, sun-like shapes, repetitive patterns, zig-zags, symmetry, man facing opened-mouth creature, birds, snakes, dragons, peacocks/pheasants, thick and bold text (BIDERAT)

Irish gospel-book

Notes- bright hue of the yellow symbolizes light or the second coming of the Lord, circles represent the cycle of birth, death, life, and rebirth

Observations of/Reactions to Book of Hours:

Vibrant blue, green, red, yellow

Open space, bold text (Latin), flowers, dots, leaves, stems, suns, birds, shields, moon, angels, columns, scroll, perspective (looking down hallway), wheat-like plants

Christian book- Middle Ages

Notes- vibrant colors symbolize the happiness and hope the Christian faith brings to the people, open space leaves room for growth or improvement, nature is a creation of God and holds life

*Enjoyed these works most due to their bright color schemes and the complexity of the detail without crowding the drawing

Observations of/Reactions to Persian miniatures:

Dull colors

Arabic-like writing, zig zags, boxes, trees with detailed leaves, levels of different colors/background, many people, jagged mountains, plants, flowing lines of rocks, lack of expression in faces, long coats with buttons (battle-wear), horses, donkeys, lions, dark, heart-like shapes, very full spaces, Islamic tiles

Notes- horses and donkeys seem to appear often (unsure if this is due to the time period or if they hold any significance- strength, foolishness?), different levels of background and size of the human figures represents the social echelon of each character



Self-portrait; raw

My self-portrait depicts me to be shy or quiet. However, I am hiding a smile with my hand which shows that I am cheerful. I used shading techniques to give my face, eyes, and especially my hands dimension. The hardest things to draw realistically were the knuckles on my hands and the folds in the sweatshirt I was wearing, because they were so three-dimensional. The features I had the most fun drawing and shading were my eyes.

Graphite on Bristol Board



Name Metaphor/Points and Lines Project

I made this work for a metaphor/points and lines project for my Intro. to Visual Communications class. I crafted a friendship bracelet to symbolize my name, Dakota, which means “a friend”. This was my first creation using Adobe Illustrator and my professor was really pleased with how it came out. Most importantly, though, I loved it. It took approximately eight hours to learn my way around the program and then construct my piece, but I had fun choosing colors and patterns, bringing out textures, and finding a way to represent the light source in the background of the image.


Questions from Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Why does Emerson use a cynical tone at the beginning of the paper? Is this his way of trying to get his point across?
  2. What did Emerson go through that influenced him to write this?
  3. “To be great is to be misunderstood”. What is your interpretation of this (and why is it such a great and lasting quote)?


My boyfriend’s birthday recently passed, so I had made him a birthday card. I love making handmade cards–once I start them I usually finish them in only a couple of sittings. I like to use different patterns, papers, cutouts, and paint chips to make every card unique and eye-catching.  I pour any creative ideas or new methods I want to try into these cards. I have a lot of fun designing them and adding my own personal touch to birthday gifts. (I used card-stock, paint chips, gel pens, water color paints, and a fine pen for this one.)


I read the quote, “Don’t be afraid to start over. It’s a brand new opportunity to rebuild what you truly want.” I believe this is something every artist, aspiring or not, needs to hear. If you do not like how a piece of work is developing there is nothing wrong with starting over or trying again until you get the end result you desire. This was a crucial mindset I had to take when I was both re-doing my contemporary artwork and sketching the still-life in the studio. I tweaked things and made changes until I was either happy with what I had produced or was proud enough of it to present it to the class. Art is about taking chances, leaps, and bounds–you are almost never going to get anything right on the first try.


While I was looking at oil paintings online I came across the work of Marcia Baldwin. She uses oil pastels to experiment with different styles; one of her main subjects are horses. Her Batik paintings on canvas really interested me as well. The curving lines show a lot of movement and fluidity. The vivid colors create a beautiful, attention-grabbing piece. A lot of her artwork consists of colors that are abnormal to the subject she is portraying. I think this technique acts as her personal style and puts a unique spin on ordinary objects.

blue-angel-equine         img-thing


Notes regarding Golden Mean, Golden Ratio,  Fibonacci Sequence

-Golden mean is represented by Greek letter phi
-Decimal representation of phi is 1.6180339887499…
-Fibonacci Series: If you start with the numbers 0 and 1, and make a list in which each new number is the sum of the previous two, you get a list like this:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, … to infinity–>
-Phi possesses both arithmetic and geometric properties

image19  3044877-slide-i-4a-the-golden-ratio-designs-biggest-urban-legend

-Golden ratio: a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part
-Fibonacci Sequence ties directly into the Golden ratio because if you take any two successive Fibonacci numbers, their ratio is very close to the Golden ratio. As the numbers get higher, the ratio becomes even closer to 1.618. For example, the ratio of 3 to 5 is 1.666. But the ratio of 13 to 21 is 1.625
-These #s can be applied to the proportions of a rectangle, called the Golden rectangle. This is known as one of the most visually satisfying of all geometric forms – hence, the appearance of the Golden ratio in art
-Golden Ratio appears in nature and science, ex) Flower petals: The number of petals on some flowers follows the Fibonacci sequence. It is believed that in the Darwinian processes, each petal is placed to allow for the best possible exposure to sunlight and other factors.
Seed heads: The seeds of a flower are often produced at the center and migrate outward to fill the space.
-The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts.

the-rule-of-thirds-1-1   rule-of-thirds-still-life

-The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.


I have never created a portfolio; the closest I have come to doing so is making my WordPress blog. This contains some advice (some common sense) on what work to include and how to include it so it is most effective. Knowing how to professionally put together a portfolio will help me apply for a job in the future and hold the position I want to.


These photographs are amazing! I knew a person in high school who took long-exposure photographs of people spinning burning steel wool. They were similar to this, but didn’t reach the height that these do. Whoever came up with this method of light photography must have tried various ways of capturing the light’s movement. The quality of the photographs make me want to try this myself (some even use the rule of thirds)!


wp_20160926_11_39_21_pro wp_20160926_11_39_43_pro

Sandra took us on a mini tour of Alfred University’s art department and I got to visit the gallery that was in session. It showcased beautifully printed photographs and impossible-looking glass-blown sculptures. These were two of the glass sculptures that I enjoyed the most. The detail of the pattern in the first cylinder was admirable and the color made it look like it was glowing and about to change colors as if it was on a timer. The bubbles seem to defy gravity and the clarity makes them look realistic and pure. I had a very hard time not reaching out to touch them! If I have the space in my schedule to, I may consider taking a class like glass blowing at AU during my four years (maybe) here.


These paintings by Jen Mann show vulnerability and the connection between woman and wild. The different intensities of the colors of individual strokes held my eye and solidified my fascination with water color paintings. I think I may have also found a few new art blogs to visit…


Spending time with my parents and puppy on family weekend allowed me to relax and enjoy myself after a long and stressful week of classes and assignments. I think it is important to take time off from studies at times to unwind, so I can go back to classes refreshed and with a better attitude. I loved seeing my family and I plan on using the lesson behind this weekend in my Personal Survival Guide for First Year Seminar.


I am not confident in my ability to use Photoshop at all. I have never used it before and I have struggled to master it in a way that is realistic and conveys meaning. These works aren’t necessarily realistic but they are cohesive and powerful and I can learn from their composition.


Who knew I would encounter keltic-like knots on a walk in town?

v__7239 v__8333



I chose to include this Suprematism-inspired piece in my Illustrative Journal, because it is representative of a cause that I am passionate about. Pitt-bulls are discriminated against due to their powerful jaws and their use in dog fights. The stereotype that Pitt-bulls are dangerous and blood hungry animals is outdated and untrue. Breed does not solely determine a dog’s temperament;  training and the presence of neglect, or lack thereof, greatly influences their demeanor. I was shocked and angered to hear that recently the Canadian government passed a law banning owners of Pitt-bulls from walking their dogs without a muzzle. The law also states that any Pitt-bull or American Staffordshire Terrier found that is not claimed will be immediately euthanized instead of sheltered. My art work depicts the relationship between Pitt-bulls and their human families. The yellow circle encases a family and their loyal dog– they are interconnected to show their closeness.  They are secluded from the harsh opinions of the closed minds of society. Yellow, red, and gray are colors that are characteristic of the Suprematism movement. I used the red to try to show love amongst the family.



I am most proud of this charcoal piece out of the ones I have drawn. The shadows may need improving (better blending), but the form of the paper is accurate and the image is lifelike. I am learning to draw faster, but also to be patient with my work and to start over if needed. These exercises will help me to see objects as they really are and to notice more intricate details. This will, in turn, improve my artwork both on paper and on the computer.

Charcoal on Newsprint


I Am Not I: Philosopher Jacob Needleman on How We Become Who We Are and the Path to Self-Liberation

Questioning our existence and its meaning as humans is natural and expected to happen. “Who am I?” is among the most often questions asked by the heart. I was surprised at the intellectual level of Needleman and Barkhordian as young boys/preteens as they would discuss spirituality and astronomy in depth. Needleman believed that evaluating contradiction of choices and feelings was the beginning of true self-knowledge and the deepest kind of truthfulness. He said that you never knew what you would discover in your wonderment and search for new. In an intriguing sentiment, he pointed out that thinking about a question is the beginning of discovering its answer. You will find the answer not in a thought, but in an experience. This is the way of achieving self transcendence and liberation, qualities we as human strive to embody.

Walk Through Walls: Marina Abramovic on Art, Fear, Taking Risks, and Pain as a Focal Lens for Presence

Marina’s main mantra that she lived by was to make use of her sufferings. She believed in approaching pain with consent in order to gain a source of empowerment from it. Pain was inflicted upon her regularly as a child due to beatings by her mother, who was the director of the formidably named Museum of Art and Revolution. Marina’s happiest time as a child was the year she spent in the hospital away from her mother’s harsh beatings. She was at a low point throughout most of her childhood. The only thing her mother encouraged her about was her pursuance of art. She knew she wanted to be an artist and became the one se is today because of her hardships. Art changed her and gave her confidence; it was the one domain in which she had freedom of expression. She was admitted to a fine arts school where she found people who shared her passion and interests and made a name for herself. She felt small and vulnerable when she moved to the west and realized how small she was in the world. It is important to be humble but not afraid. She recognized her passion for performance art, which empowered her as a quiet woman. The first piece she performed was based on a drinking game where one must spread their fingers on a table and stab a knife quickly in between each finger. She revisited her pain through this performance and shed her own blood in a method of self-healing. She became thrilled by the unknown and taking risks; she was not fearless but was with her art. Marina realized that bravery was more intelligent than fear. She viewed art as a source of meaningful content and was so immersed in her performances that they became her life aside from art. Fear, risk-taking, and learning from our mistakes move us forward.

How Pioneering Physicist Lise Meitner Discovered Nuclear Fission, Paved the Way for Woman in Science, and Was Denied the Nobel Prize

The early 1900s were home to inequity in power between sexes. This meant that women, in science and everywhere, had to work twice as hard to be twice as brilliant in order to be recognized. Lise Meitner was an Australian physicist who helped discover nuclear fission but was excluded from receiving the Nobel Prize on such research. It was such an oppressive time for women that even some women themselves believed they were inferior to men. Meitner, however, made a name for herself in male-dominated science fields such as radioactivity, and was a pioneer for nuclear physics. She patiently broke through all the obstacles to pursue her passion. Meitner received a phD with only a handful of other women at the time and published many papers on her own even though she worked with many men on scientific research. As if she was not challenged enough for being a woman, she also found herself needing to escape from the Nazi regime as a Jew. She successfully fled Austria. Then she accomplished her greatest feat yet; she and Otto Hahn discovered nuclear fission. Hahn became jealous of Meitner’s ability to interpret his findings in an extraordinarily intelligent manner and published them alone out of spite and fear. Meitner was devastated but remains a trailblazer for women in science and a substantial contributor to world-changing research.



Drawing this chair was a challenge that required a lot of dedication, time, and patience. I was mentally invested in this piece and making it into something I was proud of. My composition was unique from many of my classmates’ pieces, because I chose to impose the chair on the viewer by depicting an intense and close-up rendering of it.



I made some playful gifs to practice making gifs in Photoshop. It was a mark of my progression, because I now know how to produce the short video clips that I have been watching online from other people for some time now. I have improved immensely my understanding and capability of working in Photoshop and other Adobe programs that were completely new to me when I came in as a Freshman. I have learned a lot in the short time that made up this semester.

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