February 17th, 2017

   I have spent the past three weeks discussing with my mentor about the theme of my pieces as well as beginning my visual journal and going over the content within it.

     During the last meeting with my mentor we discussed possible ideas for the theme.  I knew I wanted to incorporate social issues that I feel passionate about, but wasn’t sure how specific or broad it should be.  After some discussion I decided I want to base my project something along the lines of what it means to be alive.  This could branch into many different areas such as what it means to be a Canadian, what it means to be a woman, etc.  I think this theme fits well because it is broad, but can be refined into a very specific area or topic.  I think it would be super interesting to investigate many different aspect of my life in this manor and maybe even gain some insight on how the world works and how I live within it.  I think often about what my purpose is and if there is meaning to existence and I think I will be able to create some very interesting pieces based around this.  Its also easy to relate to my Human Ecology IDS next year, hopefully this can help me explore ideas and translate them into a visual medium. 

    I have also created my visual journal and have begun filling in pages.  I tend to get phrases or words stuck in my head over the day so I have been using these phrases to base what I do on the page.  I have found that the theme of most of the pages seem to revolve around the ideas identity and existence, which lend themselves quite nicely to my main theme.  Filling in pages in my visual journal was a little more difficult than I expected,  I was having trouble translating ideas onto the page, and was also being very critical about what was going into the visual journal.  Ms. Lightburn told me that I should be worried about what’s going into the journal because the whole point of it is to get all of my ideas into one place.  She also told me I shouldn’t be over thinking anything, if I try to refine and perfect my ideas too much it won’t be genuine and there would be no point in doing the visual journal in the first place.  I need to try to use the visual journal more often, I need to remember that the pages in my visual journal aren’t supposed to be finished pieces and are supposed to be messy and unfinished looking.

Here is a link to my Flickr where I will be posting photos of the pages of my visual journal.

     In de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind he lists seven steps on how to respond : clarification, support,  examples and stories, build upon, extend, carry forward and modify.  The step I found the most helpful was carry forward.  De Bono states that “Carrying something forward means looking at all the possible consequences and scenarios.  It is a genuine exploration-not just a search for aspects which support a point of view” (62).  I found this useful when I was pitching ideas for the theme of my pieces.  For every idea we looked into what kind of pieces could come out of the theme as well as the diversity of pieces.  We were then able to rule out the ideas that were too specific easily this way.  While we were discussing themes I kept in mind a quote from the how to respond summary.  De Bono states that “You may want to go further than just agreeing with a point that has been made.  You may want to build upon that point in order to take it further” (64).  Once we decided on a theme we explored the specifics of what that theme would mean.  Ms. Lightburn suggested that I incorporate social issues into my theme, and I took that idea and expanded it into different branches off of the main theme.  This way I could make some more specific themes that relate directly to the main theme.

In de Bono’s chapter on how to be interesting he emphasizes the importance of making connections.  I agree with this idea and make sure to make conversation about topics other than my project at the beginning and end of the meetings.  This way we can make more of a personal connection and are able to understand each others perspectives a little better by understanding their personal beliefs and experiences.  De Bono states that “finding and making connections links matters together and generates interest” (52).  De Bono also mentions the importance of saying the phrase “that is interesting”.  By doing so, you area able to draw attention to certain topics of discussion and verbally agree with ideas.  When Ms. Lightburn started talking about her process of developing I mentioned that I was interested in learning more about this and she went on to explain her process and how she scratches the still developing photos with a kitchen sponge to create a washed out effect.  I then told her that I would be interested in trying out this method and that I was looking forward to trying out many dark room techniques.

     Over the next couple of weeks I want to start getting into collage and photography and also possibly getting into the dark room to develop some film I’ve had for a couple months.  I would also like to start playing with water colors and water color pencils so I will be discussing this with my mentor over the next week.  I also need to start discussing creating actual pieces with my mentor, so we need to develop a process of creating, refining, and critiquing, which will take a little while to perfect.

     I’m very excited to continue working on my visual journal and begin creating full sized pieces.  I’m also very excited to spend more time with Ms. Lightburn and learn as much as I can from her!