Art School… but online

2020 is finally heading on to its desperately awaited end, so I thought I would recap my year and more specifically, how it’s has been going with school. For those who aren’t aware, I started attending Vancouver Island University’s BA program so I can earn my BA in Visual Arts. I wrote a previous blog post about my first semester that you can read here on my website.

The second semester of my first year started at the beginning of 2020, and not long after we had transferred all our classes online. How does an art student attend classes, especially studio classes like a 3D design class, online you may ask? All but one of my classes were easy to do from home as they were history and media classes, but I did have one class which depended on being in the studio, my 3D sculpting class.

Since my professor could not have any students in the studio at any time, we had to create our final projects from home using recycled materials. The theme was something wing related, and I originally planned on creating a fairy out of metal but instead switched to a flamingo as I felt the shape would be more fun to play with. I created my sculpture out of old metal wires and empty ginger ale cans since my family became addicted to ginger ale during the beginning of the “incident.”

After that, I knew I had to go back to work during the summer. I was able to land a job at my local arts council where I ran art camps for kids with another art student, Taylor. Working with young kids during a pandemic sounded terrifying, and it was really hard to make sure the kids were safe and respectful, but overall the camps were a success, and I had a fun summer! I also took a summer course at VIU to lower the course load during my second year, so I also got some practise writing different scripts for different formats!

I have finished the first semester of my second year at VIU, and it’s been a wild ride! I took four classes, painting I which is the introduction to oil painting, intro to watercolour, digital photography I and film 101. The course load for this semester has been pretty hefty considering I had to create a lot of art. All my classes have been hosted through Zoom, ah yes, Zoom. Classes have been noticeably shorter, since students can only learn through a screen so much, as well as most of my class time has been independent. The biggest downside to having classes online honestly has to be the lack of communication with other students. It was so much fun to make new friends and try new things and get good advice but with online classes it’s just showing your art, receiving your critique, and starting to process over again. My classmates have tried their best to encourage social interaction through platforms such as discord and whatsapp, which has helped a lot! I also found these platforms helped some otherwise super shy students speak more with others and we got to show some of our personal art and get feedback in a safe environment.

Painting I has been a wild ride. I started to class determined to HATE oil painting as I always believed it to be a pain, expensive and a mess… but I would be lying if I didn’t say I’ve warmed up to the medium. After experimenting with the material, I’ve grown to like the feel and look oil paint has to offer over other mediums such as acrylic and gouache. Don’t get me wrong, the supplies are INSANELY expensive, but I did luck into getting most of my supplies second hand. The medium is quite versatile and I love how easy it is to work with. I do plan on continuing with oil painting outside of classtime!

My watercolour class has probably got to be my favourite class this semester. My poor professor struggles with technology, but she tries her best to give us the best experience we can receive over online in-class sessions. The biggest challenge with this class was working on giant 22 x 30 sheets of watercolour paper. Unlike all my other classes where we are given our assignments and told to go do them, she has prepared exercises for us to do in class to learn new techniques with her so she can give us feedback right away. I found this was really helpful for any students who struggled to learn something new, and even though I have been working with watercolour for a few years before taking this class, I really feel I have learned a lot.

I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about digital photography, especially since I didn’t have any equipment and didn’t want to drop any more money than I already have for other classes (paint is really friggen expensive!!!) so I was blessed by my wonderful older sister as she lent me all her fancy expensive photography equipment for the class. I am the kind of person who will take photos on my phone everywhere I go. I even have an Instagram account designated solely to photos of clouds that I have taken (@cowichanclouds) I was really intimidated by this class at first and had no clue what I was doing, but with the help from my classmates, I have learned a lot of new photo techniques and gained a new love for photography. This class is very open to experimenting. We even got to try different programs like 3.d light studio which helped us learn how to play with lighting. I am glad I enrolled in digital photography II and I cannot wait to see what projects we do next!

Film 101 was that class you take to try something different and fun. I have had a lot of fun with the class. The textbook is actually really fun to read and learn all the different aspects there is in a film, and how artistic it really is. We also get to watch a lot of amazing movies that I never would have watched otherwise and learn how to reflect on them thoughtfully. This class unfortunately has taken a lot of my time as I have to read a lot and spend time watching movies and writing various papers. Something that was really cool about the textbook was that we were asked to buy the online version, as it comes with instructional videos and online quizzes which really helped me learn the material!

Overall, 2020 has been a wild ride. There have been some really bad lows this year, but I have also had a lot of highs! (such as not having to drive to Nanaimo every day and going to class in my pyjamas haha) I am still making new friends, learning new art techniques and furthering my desire to become an artist!

If you have read this far I would really like to thank you. My loyal followers have helped me a lot, you have inspired me to pursue my passion and live my dream. I would have never gone to school for art if it weren’t for people like you! I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for you! Thank you so much for taking the time to support me, and I wish you luck in your own journey through life, and most importantly wish everyone luck for 2021!

2 thoughts on “Art School… but online”

  1. It’s fun getting to read what it’s like to be an art student. Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep up the great work.

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