My frustrations with my Visual Literacy class came to the surface last Tuesday.
1. I learnt at least 80% of the same things being taught in this class four to five years ago in my Interior Design classes.
2. I’m not a fan of Google SketchUp.
Why do these things bother me? So far I’ve felt a bit like I’m wasting my time listening to things I already know. I feel like my time right now could be better spent concentrating on my Historical Methods class; improving my research and writing abilities so that I can get as high a mark as possible. And yet, while I may be frustrated, a lot of the content has been a nice review. The fact that it IS a review makes me feel better about tests in this class. I already know the basics about time periods when it comes to art. So when he asks what Impressionism is, or when the Baroque period was, or how cubism affected Art Deco, I will be able to answer confidently that:
- Impressionism was developed in the 1860s most notably by Monet (one of my favourites), who brought out a new way of painting landscapes and everyday scenes by painting outdoors, and that it was a period where there was a greater awareness of light and colour, and where brushwork was rapid and broken. I’ve always loved Monet’s paintings of water lilies (who doesn’t?)
- The Baroque period began in the late 16th century, around the end of the Renaissance. (Highly emotional; Rome; sculpture and architecture; sepia tones, nudes (both colour and subject))
- Cubism gave Art Deco a more fragmented, geometric character. When I think of Art Deco I think of the roaring 20’s, and all of the colour and flapper styles worn during that time. A great example of Art Deco: The spire of the Chrysler Building in New York City.
There have been some new topics of course, such as “Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War” and the concept of Empiricism, and it has been especially interesting to learn about different people. I’ve never heard of certain people, such as Albrecht Durer, Johannes Gutenberg, and Voltaire to name a few (and now I feel like I should’ve known about them all this time).
While my past design education included the study architectural time periods, it did not focus on art history at all, so the lectures have been interesting when they touch more on art history as opposed to architectural history.
Secondly, at the beginning of today’s lecture, my professor mentioned a small project that was to be done in SketchUp. Now if you don’t know what SketchUp is, it is a low-grade former Google 3D modelling program (even Google didn’t like it enough to keep it! Doesn’t that tell you something?) that is super frustrating to manipulate. I first started using SketchUp six years ago. It was introduced to me in Interior Design school for obvious reasons, but the kicker is that it was introduced AFTER they introduced us to AutoCAD (which is a 2D modelling program) you will know how much easier it is to manipulate shapes (maybe not quite in 3D, but just in general) in AutoCAD. THEN, to top it all off, we were introduced to Revit. Revit is, in basic terms, a way to take AutoCAD from 2D to 3D. It is SO much easier than SketchUp, almost ridiculously so. Many of my former classmates use SketchUp in their jobs now and I just don’t understand it. Is it me? Am I just not “getting” SketchUp? Or are the others just not “getting” Revit? It’s hard to say. Their SketchUp drawings always look fabulous, whereas I open SketchUp, start drawing, get so frustrated I want to throw my computer across the room, open Revit, and complete the drawing in at least half the time it would’ve taken me in SketchUp. My professor made a good point though, SketchUp is quick and “easy” for impromptu meetings and presentations. Apparently my professor will be assigning the SketchUp project in the coming weeks, so I’m sure I’ll be venting my frustrations in the coming weeks.
I’m not saying SketchUp is a bad program, nor am I saying that I’m above the course in any way, I’m just frustrated with the content at the moment because I’ve heard a lot of it before. I get the impression that my classmates haven’t heard or used a lot of it though so it’ll be interesting to see how everyone does. We’ve already gone from 31 students to 26, so we’ll see if that number fluctuates any further.
All in all, at the end of the day, the Visual Literacy credit will look good on my transcript so I will stick it out and give it 120% as it’s a recommended (but not mandatory) pre-requisite to environmental design courses. If I want to upgrade my advanced diploma to the degree I’ll just have to suck it up!