Friday, April 17, 2009

The theoretical vs. the practical

Just finished another test in Spanish. I don't have a clue how I did; I just know some concepts are still a struggle. Theoretically I understand them (i.e., when to use preterite and when to use preterite imperfect) but when it comes to actual usage...whole 'nother ballgame!

Kinda like art. Theoretically I understand use of color and form, but trying to put into practice what I'm learning...not so easy. Yesterday we created paper collages. My art teacher told us to bring old magazines but since I don't have any I took bits and pieces of paper left over from various projects (remember, I don't throw anything away!). I ran into problems when I needed larger pieces because we were instructed to keep our designs simple, along the lines of modern cubist art.

Next week we'll be doing a similar project but in shades of gray -- back to the concept of light and shadow. Since I don't have much in the way of gray paper, I'm going to have to scrounge and ask friends if they have old magazines. Should be an interesting exercise, though.

This week she wanted us to play with color, to use muted shades for the most part with the occasional pop of brillente to keep it from being boring. It appears I like the color green since I had a LOT of many different shades in my bag of scraps. I also had a considerable amount of lavender (from when I was making bridal shower invitations).

One of my new words is boceto: sketch. After playing with pieces of paper, arranging and re-arranging them on my cardboard for over half an hour, the teacher suggested I draw a sketch of what I wanted my final project to look like. She said it would help. I think she was afraid I'd NEVER finish at the rate I was going ☺

[She was right. My boceto did help and I had covered 7/8 of my cardboard at the end of three hours. I'm really, really tempted to just cut off that final 1/8 section and call it good.]

Toward the end I was looking at my collage with a critical eye, knowing it lacked pizzazz but having no clue what to do about it. The teacher came along, I explained my feeling and she immediately grabbed a block of red, slapped it on near the center and voila! it was perfect. How did she do that?!

That's how I feel in a lot of cultural situations also. How do you KNOW what to do?! We'll have an "experience" and later we'll talk about it, wondering if we should have said or done something different. Often we have NO CLUE.

Spanish. Art. Adjusting to a new culture. All things I understand theoretically...

It will get better ☺ I just keep thinking about a year down the road...I'll be able to communicate more than I do now. I still may not get everything right, but I'll be able to say and understand more. My art is never going to hang on the walls of a museum but what I'm learning is enriching my life. And -- hopefully -- we won't be making as many cultural gaffes in a year's time either. Surely we'll have a better idea of what's expected and what NOT to do.



rita said...

I always warned my students that the Spanish verb system is more difficult than they expect, but it is wonderfully articulate! Often by changing one letter you mean something different. It has so many options.
You may not display your art on the wall but you could at least shows your 'brillante' touches.

JonMagic said...

Your tone in this post was a blessing to me this morning. It brought me hope, and encouragement.

Muchas Gracias

Lhoyt said...

I guess I'm too much of a simplist when it comes to culture. I understand what you're talking about, but cannot define the principles that govern it. But I am confident that I KNOW most of the time what I ought to do. My children tell me that my personality changes when I am around the Spanish culture. How does this happen? I don't know. I only know that it FITS.
The application to art is fascinating. In that area, I haven't a clue, either intuitively or theoretically.