11:30am - 12:45am - ARTH2780 - History of Illustration
Perry Stewart paces back and forth in front of the classroom. We are packed into GT 516A, an art lab, not a lecture hall. The vents above us make a lot of noise, but we feel none of the cool air. I sit next to Ginny and we fan ourselves with some cardboard mailer envelopes.
I ran up from the outer LA parking lot. Ty walked next to me. "I'm going to be late," I said. "I know," he said. "That's what I told you a few minutes ago." I walked faster, "I can't be late." Tyler said, "It's fine. It's the first day of class." I said, "I know. But it's PERRY."
Here's my history with Perry. Actually, I don't need to expand on the history. Let's just say that he scares me. Of course, everyone who's taken a class from him tells me, "Perry is great! You'll love him." I'm sure I will. But I'm also sure that he will make me cry. At some point, in an art class, his critique will cause me to shed actual tears in class. I know this because I've heard it happen to others. Several others. And since I'm such a crybaby, I know it will happen to me.
(For those of you who don't know, I cry at the drop of a hat. When I'm happy, when I'm sad. I cry at Pixar movies, Hallmark commercials, Campbell's soup ads and just thinking about my kids. I cried when I heard Stewart was having a baby. I cried when I met Stewart's baby. I cry when I'm scared, when I'm anxious, when I'm tired and when I can't stop laughing. I cried once in Don's class. Kenna was there. It was the day we discovered we were average.)
So I've decided that I will take a HISTORY class with Perry first, to ease my way in. He calls roll. "Alisha VanNoy," he calls. "Present," I say. "And it's Lee." He marks his roll with a smile, "Yeah, I know sweetie." (HOW does he know?)
He tells us there will be a quiz every day, that there is an illustration project due at the end of the semester. (We can either do an illustration project or write a 30 page paper... hmm... which one will I do?)
A girl comes into class, sits down and then gets up again five minutes later and walks out. Perry gives the door a look that makes us laugh. Another girl opens the door and then shuts it again. "Sorry," she says. Perry calls after her, "You're gonna be." This gets another laugh. He tells us to look up the name of the guy who got credit for inventing movable type. I'm thinking, Gutenberg. He says, "You'll be quizzed on his middle name." I'm thinking, Gutenberg had a middle name? Turns out he does: Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg. (I looked it up later.)
Afterward, I tell Perry I'm looking forward to the class. He says, "This is the history class I always wanted to take." We talk about artists we like and those who inspired the illustration world. I tell Perry that I might miss classes for writing workshops. "Just let me know beforehand," he says. "I'm not worried about you ditching class. I know you'll work hard." (Again, HOW does he know?) It reminds me of the reputation I somehow built in the English department. Karin Anderson telling me, "I've been looking forward to working with you." WHAT?
We shake hands before we part. So far, so good.
2:30pm - 5:20pm - ART328R - Painting the Human Head
It's a funny title. When non-art people ask me what classes I'm taking and I say, "Painting the human head," they laugh. Like they think the fact that the head is human should be a given. I guess they don't think about all the other types of heads we have to paint as illustrators.
This class is being taught by Amy Davis. She seems busy, somewhat harried and serious. I don't know that she'll have an appreciation for my weird sense of humor. By the time we're done with the introductory lecture, I decide that I'm just going to keep my head down and paint as well as I can. I don't want to get on her bad side. I'll write more about her maybe once I get to know her better.
We will paint from a model every day in class. We will have 48 paintings due at the end of the semester. These 48 paintings will be painted outside of class. The paintings we create in class will have no effect on our grade. If we show improvement in the 48 paintings from beginning to end, we will get an A. The paintings are to be two hours each, in oils. Alla prima. That's four paintings a week, outside of class. *sigh* Oils are not my favorite, as Kenna will tell you.
Everyone in the class seems friendly enough.
So . . . 48 paintings outside of class, a painting for every day inside of class: that's 66 oil paintings. Plus the five for Will Terry's class, plus the 30ish paintings for Peter's class and Perry's illustration project. That 's a grand total of over 100 paintings to do this fall.
Whoa. Gotta run.