Traditional Before Digital

Just the other day I was speaking to one of my colleges about figure drawing and how important it is for every visual artist to experience drawing from the figure. Some how we got onto the topic of college students learning how to figure draw using tablets. TABLETS!!!! That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I ever heard in my life. Yes tablets are very nifty tools that if you haven’t experienced working with one you should, because it really is amazing what you can do with one. But when a person learns how to draw they don’t go straight to the tablet. No, they use a piece of paper and a pencil.

If your starting to figure draw get the traditional materials that the old master used (well not the exact things, but close enough) a 18″ x 24″ newsprint pad and charcoal.  Using a tablet you don’t get the same feel or understanding of form as you would with the traditional materials. A bigger pad forces the student to think about the composition, the size of their figure and really use their whole arm movement. Charcoal is a great material to work with as well because it’s easily erasable with a needed eraser. You can also get different line weights (how dark the mark is) and different line sizes. Plus if you use the charcoal on its side, the beautiful shadow masses that could be created.

The most important reason why you should start traditionally before digitally is that you always have a basis to refer back to. Every year technology changes and computers and programs get more advanced. That means each year a professional digital artist has to upgrade to the latest software. If they don’t then their images over time would look out of date. Even if you are mainly a digital person your mind is still referring back to a time when you used a sheet of paper as your main/only medium. If you can master the basics then it makes the digital world much much easier to use and understand.


The Mind to Paint

Speaking from an artists perspective, it can be hard focusing on painting for 3 hours or more. For me, to paint I have to be in the right mind set. That means I can’t be a sleepless zombi or a six year old on a sugar rush. Some people don’t know this, but art takes a lot of intense brain power. For example, in one stroke you have to think about the brush your using, the color, the thickness of the paint, the pressure you put on the painting, what color your placing this stroke next to, and the texture of the stroke.

Many times during the morning many students walk into the class half a sleep. One of the reasons is that they were up late making bad decisions and getting less then four hours of sleep. The second reason is that they have not had breakfast. You need to have energy to do art.

I remember a few weeks ago during lunch time, my school was having a pie day. I had three slices of pie, cherry, blue berry, and pecan. Plus two cups of coffee. I was caught red handed by my teacher for my bad lunch. My brain was running a million miles an hour and it wouldn’t stop. The painting that I had worked on for two weeks was ruined by the end of the class and I was curled up on the side having a horrible migraine.

If you don’t have enough energy you can’t paint. If you have to much energy its hard to focus. For me to make art my mind needs enough energy to focus but slow enough that it can be patient.

The Rules For My Mind To Be In The Fine Art Zone:

1) Eat breakfast at home. This allows enough time for my food to turn into energy. Just in time for my morning class.
2) Eat healthy. Junk food doesn’t give the body enough energy it needs to last through the day. I make sure to pack my day with lots of proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. But I always make sure to give myself a little treat, like a cookie or bag of chips.
3) Don’t over eat. Food is very good for you and you should NEVER starve yourself. But over eating can make you feel tired and hut you stomach.
4) Sleep 6-8 hours a night (during the week). You need sleep! I try my best to get 8 hours, but I’m a college student and that barley ever happens. My average is 7 hours a night. Over sleeping can make you feel drowsy for the rest of the day. That means on the weekends I don’t ever go past 9 hours.
5) Get into a good routine. Having a routine is helpful. It’s good for time management and it helps tell your mind when to wake up, when to eat, and when to go to sleep. Remember routines take time to figure out, but when you find a good one make sure to stick to it!
6) Do something fun. I am addicted to doing art all day, but some time during the week I know that I have to do something non art related. This could mean hanging out with my friends, exploring the city, running, or going on long bike trips. But its nice to have those moments where my life doesn’t feel totally consumed by art. (Even though it totally is).

Gathered Leading


Tonight I watched the sunset at  Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. It was my second time experiencing a SkySpace created by James Turrell (My first time was at Moma PS1). A Turrell Skyspace is a specifically proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky. Skyspaces can be autonomous structures or integrated into existing architecture. My experience was much different then the first, because I didn’t know much about James Turrell, I was not in art school at the time and I did not look at it for an hour during sunset. Looking up at the SkySpace I was able to really think about the comparison of the sky to the colorful LED lights surrounding it. I noticed that Turrell at certain times changed the LED lights slow at first, fast in the middle, and then slowly at the end. Sometimes I would have my eye travel along the perimeter of the square and then widen my eyes to enhance the colors. Another thing I did  for a couple of minutes is close my eyes for ten seconds and then reopening them and think about how I could mix the color of the sky on on to my palette. The most interesting color of the sky for me was this bright green that I imagined mixing in my head cadmium yellow deep with cerulean blue and just a touch of mars black.

P.S. I highly suggest visiting at a SkySpace if you haven’t. There are dozes of them all over the world all you have to do is look for the closest one near you. Click here.


Learning to Read

Think back to when you were a little kid learning to read. The first thing that you needed to know was the alphabet, then the way each letter sounded, and then how you put those letters together to make words. Words become sentences, sentences become paragraphs, paragraphs become essays, essays become books and books become a library. If you only know how to read a book then books would be your only way of seeing the world. But what about paintings, or poetry, even architecture? How do you read those?

To read a painting, you should try to paint. You don’t start a painting by painting. No, you start a painting by drawing with the paint, mapping an image on to the canvas. The first 10 minutes of a painting are the most crucial, just as important as learning the alphabet. The more advanced you are as a painter the easier it is to read other paintings. Think about looking at the composition, the lighting, color, contrast, and texture. If you can understand all that then you can understand why an artist chose to paint like that. You can now see the world from a painters perspective.

To read a poem, write a poem. To read architecture than I highly suggest watching as many episodes as you can on HG TV or ask an architect.

One of my teachers in middle school said “When your a little kid you learn to read, but as you get older you read to learn.”

What is Your Life Purpose?

Who are you?
What do you do?
Who do you do it for?
What those people wanted or needed?
What they got out of it?

Who are you?
I am Emily Fujie Mair

What do you do?
I am an artist.

Who do you do it for?
I do it for anyone who is willing to learn more about what if really means to be an artist.

What those people wanted or needed?
I teach people to see differently, how to take a rock and make it a gem. To not just master something, but to learn it’s secrets.

What they got out of it?
To learn what makes me happy and apply it to themselves.


Last fall I was in this program called TRaC ( teen reviewing and critics) for high school students. I this program teen have the chance to go all over the city and see are shows like film, dance, photography, theater and more for free. I was in the new TRaC, the Media TRaC, where the idea was to understand how the public sees art and how they know about it. One thing that my teacher was really into was this thing called Zeega. Now at first I didn’t know what a Zeega was and still don’t know exactly how to explain it. So here I go, a Zeega is a series of over laying gifts with music and text that try to portray a message. Click here for the Zeega I created with my TRaC team. The second one and then the Mandel Zeega that is just so so good!!! (It’s my favorite)

Tim McHenry

tim mchenry 1

This week I met Tim McHenry the programmer of the Rubin museum. In my opinion he is one of the best programmers of today. He created sleep overs at the Rubin, interesting talks between two diffident people, acrobats on a spiral stair case with no net, ice Buddha, telephone on the high line, and many more events. Tim is one of the most exciting people to talk to. He is the kind of person who is not afraid to hide his emotions or thoughts. If he thinks that something is boring or uninteresting then he would share his opinion. He is so unique and his ideas are so bizarre He says don’t do the same thing other people do because that is boring and totally imaginable. Create something that no one has ever thought of because that is interesting.

To crest an amazing program to go to you have to think about why would you care? Why would you care to go to that program? How is it not like something I already been to? What makes it diffident from others? This is what you have to think about when you want the public to come. If you do the same thing as very one ells who would show up? If you want interesting and exciting people to come then this event has to be e extraordinary it has to be a 180 from every one ells.

Now this is harder then you would ever think possible in these modern days. Every thing is practically handed to us and we have no clue how things are created just that they are created for a purpose. I believe if people learn how something is constructed then they would learn how to be unique. Being unique doesn’t come from the sky but from what is normal. You take the normal and twist it into all shapes and forms until you have something you could say is unique.

Time MchHenry – “to create something unique you have to take to opposites and rub them together, it just depends on how you rub them.”

tim mchenry 2

sorry but I can not find anymore picture 😦