Category Archives: Visual Arts

creativity using painting, drawing, etc.

Making a 3D Collage of Yourself

By Anna Rose Meeds

Who are you?

Meanings Writing utensils - major and education/school Cat - stuffed animals and cats Mask - theater Pompom person - treatment Roses - name and love of flowers Books - literature Jade dog - longing to travel especially to China Glass slipper - Cinderella Crown - love of princesses Earrings - my love of those too Trophy - public speaking Cross - faith Movies - Lord of the Rings Shell - river by house and nature
Writing utensils – major and education/school
Cat – stuffed animals and cats
Mask – theater
Pompom person – treatment
Roses – name and love of flowers
Books – literature
Jade dog – longing to travel 
Glass slipper – Cinderella
Crown – love of princesses
Earrings – my love of those too
Trophy – public speaking
Cross – faith
Movies – Lord of the Rings
Shell – river by house and nature

That seems like such a simple question, but when you think about it deeply, it can be difficult to answer. Who are we? What makes up what we are deep down? Personality, values, genetics, thoughts?

 Philosophers, psychologists, artists, and ordinary people have pondered this for years. Yet, everyone seems to have differing opinions. What we all can agree on is that people are unique and amazing creatures who are difficult to understand fully.

Continue reading Making a 3D Collage of Yourself

Right Side Up and Wrong Side Down

I spend a lot of time upside down. It increases the blood flow to the brain, so it really helps your creativity.

Daphne Guinness

We’ve already talked about photography in the mundane, but how about photography from another angle? What if you took pictures of the mundane and did it while being upside down? For example, it’s easy to photograph a table, but have you ever tried from being underneath it?

Continue reading Right Side Up and Wrong Side Down

5 Ways You Can Get Involved with Art Without Going Broke

Credit: Dale Chihuly
Credit: Dale Chihuly

We’ve been talking a lot about art you can do yourself. Sometimes, it’s just as rewarding to enjoy art that other people have created. This can get expensive (opera tickets aren’t cheap), so here are five ways you can experience art in the Minneapolis area without breaking your bank.

1. Visit an Art Museum

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a free museum where you can see jade sculptures from ancient China, portraits by nineteenth-century Romantic artists, and contemporary abstract paintings.

2. Hear a Concert at a Coffee Shop

The Coffee Grounds is a local coffee shop that brings in musicians ranging from folk to hip-hop on every Friday evening for a free concert. Sometimes they even have comedy troupes.

3. Watch a Ballet

The Landmark Center offers free ballet performances by members of the St. Paul City Ballet on Tuesdays at noon. They also have free classical music concerts and art exhibitions.

4. Listen to a Reading

The Loft Literary Center brings in local and national authors to read poetry and prose, sometimes from one author’s book, and sometimes from several authors’ works about to explore a theme or celebrate an award.

5. See a Film—Fifty’s Style

The Riverview Theatre still has the architecture, decorations, and furniture it did during the 1950s. While not completely free (tickets cost $2), this theatre makes you feel like you stepped backward in time.

Getting My Hands Dirty: Adventures with Ceramics

Even if we’re involved in art, we tend to stick to mediums that are familiar. For example, my college campus has a ceramics studio in their art building, but I have never been inside in all my three years at this school. Until now.

DSC08746This weekend, I strapped on an apron and got my

sister, who is an art minor, to give me a tour. She began with the bucket of wet, slimy clay (called “slip”). After this clay has the excess water removed, it’s usable for projects. Next, she took me to the wedging tables, where artists knead the clay until it’s solid enough to work with. When I tried wedging, I was surprised by how fast the clay dries out.

Then I got to try wheel-thrown pottery. First, my sister showed me how to center the clay by bracing my palms on the rapidly spinning wheel. I couldn’t get my lump centered. Then I pushed too hard and pulled it completely off the wheel. After a couple more tries, we decided I should just make my object by hand.

Continue reading Getting My Hands Dirty: Adventures with Ceramics

Abstract Art: Harder Than You Think

No. 61 (Rust and Blue) by Rothko

Some people naturally appreciate modern art. I am not one of them. Several times, I’ve found myself standing in an art gallery, staring at a painting called something like “Red Line on White Canvas,” and thinking, “I could do that.”

Today, I actually tried it. I got out my colored pencils . . .  and had absolutely no ideas. I hadn’t realized how hard it would be to create art that didn’t look like physical objects.

Onement 1 by Newman
Onement 1 by Newman

To give myself some inspiration, I browsed the work of two abstract expressionist painters, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Rothko’s paintings depict colored rectangles. Newman’s works feature bright colors with thin vertical lines running through them. I’m not a very good artist, but I decided to imitate both of these artists. How hard could it be to draw some lines and color blocks?

It was much harder than I thought. Drawing the shapes was fairly easy, but it was hard to create a picture that was visually pleasing. I couldn’t explain why, but my pictures were less interesting than the originals. My rectangles looked like random blobs. My lines weren’t very striking.

My imitation of Rothko
My imitation of Rothko

This reminded me of a conversation several of my friends who are art majors had about abstract art. They said that it was hard to create good composition with such limited subject matter.

While I still don’t understand modern art, I gained a new appreciation for artists who can make such a simple structure hold the viewers’ attention. It’s a deceptively simple art form.

My imitation of Newman
My imitation of Newman

Ukrainian Priests & Lunch-Break Photography

Last week, I came across this picture in my Facebook news feed:

Photo credit: Pinterest

It’s a photograph of priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church standing in between the peaceful protestors and the armed police forces in Kiev. When it was taken, they didn’t know if Ukraine would break out into a civil war, or even if it even survive as a country.

This image captures the priests’ bravery and poise during a time of nation-wide unrest. It reminded me of what draws me to photography—its ability to tell stories and communicate emotions.

Continue reading Ukrainian Priests & Lunch-Break Photography

Drawing Friendship or Love: The Harry and Hermione Dilemma in Art

By Anna Rose MeedsHermione and Harry

Just a few days ago, the famous author of Harry Potter admitted that she made a mistake.  According to J. K. Rowling, Harry and Hermione should have ended up together instead of the pairing of Ron and Hermione.

This change rocked the fans of the Potter universe.  Best friends suddenly in love?  Or were the deep feelings simply hidden to appease the high-tempered Weasley family?  Many questions are left floating around as readers contemplate this change in story.

Art can sometimes reflect questions that we are facing.  It can also come from emotions and experiences in our lives.  Thus, I decided to make a work of art centered on this literary couple with someone special.

Continue reading Drawing Friendship or Love: The Harry and Hermione Dilemma in Art

What If I Don’t Have Time?

I love going to the art gallery on my college campus and seeing what other students have created. I just don’t have time make anything myself.

But that’s not completely true. There’s always some lag time between my classes or while I’m waiting for the shuttle. I just tend to use these gaps to browse Facebook or Twitter. Although I’m never on for very long, these bits of time can add up.

For one day, I challenged myself to use these breaks to create something, specifically to draw. I’m not an art major—the last drawing class I took was in middle school. My confidence in my artistic ability maxes out slightly above stick figures.

How am I going to fill all those boxes?

Still, I carried a sheet of printer paper and a mechanical pencil with me all day yesterday. Instead of using my breaks between classes to check social media, I drew. I had no specific requirements for subjects, so sometimes I drew geometric shapes, sometimes I drew identifiable (though very cartoon-y) objects, and sometimes I just doodled.

Making progress

I’m sure that my results violate several artistic principles, but I had fun. At first, I had a hard time coming up with ideas, but it got easier the more I drew. I would love to try doing this again, maybe with more specific subject matter or more realistic drawings. This project made me wonder what else I could create in my schedule’s margins.


Want to learn more about drawing or try a challenge?

Book Art for the Rest of Us

By Brienna

Art can be intimidating for those of us without access to studios or even art supplies. For example, I recently visited the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the largest center dedicated to bookbinding and related crafts. MCBA’s gallery showcases the intricate, beautiful work of local artists.

I have always wanted to try making a book, but I have never taken any of MCBA’s bookbinding or papermaking classes. I don’t own any of the binding thread sold in their shop. It’s easy for me to look at the tiny, hand-cut pages spiraling out to form landscapes of European cities (complete with accurate depth perception) and give up. Continue reading Book Art for the Rest of Us

Photography: Finding the Creative in the Mundane

By Anna Rose Meeds

Pastry at the Cafe on campus

Today, I decided to use my new camera to take some photographs.  This creativity challenge might seem simple, but walking the halls of school trying to find interesting subjects filled my day. Every potential item intrigued me but then seemed like a lame choice.

In a world where anyone can snap a picture with their phone, I feel silly attempting to be a photographer. If the finished product does not look perfect, what is the point? That harsh philosophy has been my past belief.

Fall meets winter
Fall meets winter

Continue reading Photography: Finding the Creative in the Mundane