Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Years Eve in San Felipe... we come. Two weeks of beach combing, reading, shrimp tacos, margaritas, and NO FOHHGGGG!! Pinch me now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm thinking..

...that art education needs a new bent. I wonder how we can make it more relevant to global issues without it JUST being about social justice.. ...As if that isn't huge enough...

I'm just thinking...

Flag by Barbara Kruger
Tiger by Cai Guo-Qiang

I need to hurry. With everything.

I am amazed when I recollect how many colleagues and friends asked me if I was worried about retirement. "Won't you be bored?" "Aren't you going to miss teaching?" What are you going to do with ALL spare time?" Really.

Now that I have nothing but spare time (somewhere in this life of mine... haven't found it yet...), I find that I must HURRY. There is simply too much- to see, experience, accomplish, read. Too many friends to visit, articles to write, a thesis, (jeez), and art advocacy to get in a pickle about~

Places to go, a tan to get, a walk to take, a friend to visit with, movies to see, jewelry to make, paintings to finish, a show to prep for, a son to get through college!, those orange drop cappuccinos at Bidwell Perk to die for.

And I still don't know how to knit, speak Spanish, build rocking chairs, or navigate Adobe Photoshop.

I also MUST get back to writing on this art blog of mine, about some ART and ART ED! I don't know whatever happened... Yeah. I do...

Oh my God. I must hurry~

Friday, October 30, 2009

Christine's Crows

Christine tells me she MUST have a painting of her two crows. They visit every morning during coffee, search out their worms, wash them in the year round gutter puddle, and eat off their heads. Then her lovable pup finishes the worms off...
Funny story. Here's to Christine and her morning ritual. Love it.
Oh.. husband is a retired firefighter.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who thinks this stuff up!?!?!!

Have you been to Tag Galaxy?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A case of the "I wants."

A Vanmoof bicycle!

Meanwhile I tootle around town on my Bianchi. She is a blast.

Gotta add this bamboo baby....

have spent entirely too much time working on my thesis, and too little time snooping around and exploring arbitrary images and ideas. Be it said that I have a LOT to say about postmodernism, though, and when I quit the thesis process- reading reading reading and writing writing writing- I'll be back.
Be it also said that postmodernism is rocking my boat!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Holy Taco.

Yeah. My son sends me this stuff. But he also sent me one of the best compilations of Banksy's artwork.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I've been a terrible slug about submitting mind-bending material to this silly little blog. BUT I did just start my second year, and hopefully final year, of this Master's Program in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. SO I'll be back on the keyboard for hours... and I'll be profound once again. :o) (Like that guy!)

Wow, how lazy summer can make me. As a teacher I (we?) so relished that summer break, a break from multi-multi tasking, thinking, thinking, thinking, 180 kids a day; ok, I can't list them all. Never truly remember "resting" my mind; just knew it was nice to relax, ie not whirling through the all encompassing work of "teaching." Now I reflect on those first two weeks of school, returning to the glorious classroom chaos, and returning home each day utterly spent, both physically and mentally. Drained. Flailed. Simply? Done.

Yep, I'm retired, enrolled and already working on twelve units. Easy peasy. Congrats, thanks, and you are awesome! to all of you have made it through these first few weeks once again. I'm jealous. Sorta. ;o)

Thanks Erika Gamboa for the wonderful charcoal illustration for this entry!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Richard Gerstl

While I've long known about Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, and Oskar Kokoschka, I had never been introduced to Richard Gerstl . We stopped at the Belvedere Residence in Vienna on our recent trip.
This self portrait was an odd painting for which to stop consider. Although I thought it rather simple, I was chilled (what a surprise, hunh?) after reading about Richard Gerstl. This painting was completed in the last year of his short and tortured life. Upon a second glance, one must ask if he is happy, or if the smile is a cynical, last miserable laugh at his life as he saw it. Shortly after the this painting was done, Gerstl hung and stabbed himself in front of a mirror. He was 25.
More about Richard Gerstl, often lauded over Gustav Klimt, his biography, photographs and paintings.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So MUCH in the World...

Impossible and implausible to describe a European vacation. A list may suffice:
Teddy, cycling the Danube and vineyards, St. Pauls, British National Gallery, castles on hilltops, palaces, and residences, noise, Nuremburg rally grounds and trials, Salzburg, Dachau, the autobahn, Kehlstein Haus (Eagle's Nest), beer, beer, beer in Munich, the Alps, Sisi, every incredible church, marzipan pastries, Hundertwasser, Hallstatt, Kunst und die Kalten Krieg, the Tate Modern, Buckingham, the tube, Berchtesgarden, walled cities, Schneeballen...
Or from an art teacher's perspective (with a touch of stretch :-)
(and terrible layout! I give~ but click on pics and enlarge~ incredible stuff~)

Analogous Colors:

Complementary Colors:

Monochromatic Colors:









Atmospheric Perspective:


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Off to the Art World of Austria and Germany!!!!

Absolutely can't wait!
The largest collection of Egon Schiele! and Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl. I think I'll be in heaven.

Pity my husband.....

Okay, so we'll go to Munich with it's some 100,000 breweries, and the Porsche factory in Stuttgart, and the alps of Innsbruk. He'll survive.
And Prague!!

Yeee.... HA!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pjota from Brazil

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Duma Key by Stephen King

I must admit; I forget that, in spite of the content (grueling stories of despair and horror) Stephen King often writes rather magically. I read this last night, three times. It is the beginning of Duma Key.

How to Draw a Picture (1)

Start with a blank surface. It doesn't have to be paper or canvas, but I feel it should be white. We call it white because we need a word, but its true name is nothing. Black is the absence of light, but white is the absence of memory, the color of can't remember.

How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I’ve come to believe.

Imagine a little girl, hardly more than a baby. She fell from a carriage almost ninety years ago, struck her head on a stone, and forgot everything. Not just her name; everything! And then one day she recalled just enough to pick up a pencil and make that first hesitant mark across the white. A horizon-line, sure. But also a slot for blackness to pour through.

Still, imagine that small hand lifting the pencil... hesitating... and then marking the white. Imagine the courage of that first effort to re-establish the world by picturing it. I will always love that little girl, in spite of all she has cost me. I must. I have no choice. Pictures are magic, as you know.

Monday, June 22, 2009


"You paint a hundred chimpanzees and they call you a guerilla artist."

Adolescents today are displaying an obvious fascination for two contemporary (revisited), and youthful art forms: tattoo and graffiti. I won't dare to begin to count the number of kids, in my last years of teaching, who told me they were going on to study the arts- YAY!!!- so they could be tattoo artists. Many more wanted their class paintings to follow graffiti techniques. I encouraged them to learn more; I wish I had been introduced to the U.K.'s Banksy.
Fascinating to read about, he is second perhaps only to Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Learn more about him simply on Wikipedia, or visit this site for news and more images.
Curious the direction art is taking. New, but old, approaches are blossoming. Are we leaving the postmodern era today for... what?
Banksy himself says, "The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little."

So, is there nothing new in the world?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So Small and Yet SO Huge.

So often we feel, not just as teachers, but as humans sharing finite time in space, like we are so busy, so accomplished, so entitled to justifying our contributions. And then we come along a story such as Bob Hansman, New York architect.
I think I need to get to work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gustav Klimt

Been doing a lot of reading before heading off to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic this July. Ran into this fantastic slide show that includes history, paintings, drawings and life of Gustav Klimt. This is not a brief show; when you have a minute, I implore you to sit, listen and read, and envelope yourself in the incredible, daring art of this genius.

Be sure to click on this painting "Three Ages of Women" to view with detail.

Consider reading The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Discover Annie Poon

Following arbitrary links led me to Annie Poon. Her runaway bathtub excursions made me smile. (Follow this link to her second animation clip.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Essence of Art Education

"Art is perhaps humanity's most essential, most universal language. It is not a frill, but a necessary part of communication. The quality of a civilization can be measured by the breadth of symbols used. We need words, music, dance, and the visual arts to give expression to the profound urgings of the human spirit."
Well said, Dr. Elliot Eisner. Again and again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MoMA for Teens

I encourage my kids, all young people interested in art, to check out The Red Studio at Museum of Modern Art! What a FIND! OK. I lie. I love this site. But maybe then I will never grow up. . . .

Oil painting here: The Red Studio by Henri Matisse, 1911

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Day

I’m not naïve enough to think we all teach in the same school with the same demographics, the same funding, the same community support and the same needs. Regardless of these widely varying statistics, our children all deal with "stuff." As such, I follow this with a short blurb about today’s events.

I spent a school day with a first year teacher/friend of mine in her secondary art classroom. She teaches in the penultimate economic middle class, with a few lows and a few more highs (hate those words as classifications, but they work for my purposes here.) The school primarily services, in fairly equal numbers, white, black, Hispanic and Punjabi students. Today most students were moderately attentive to getting their work done; typical adolescent diligence. Sounds kind of boring and uneventful, doesn’t it?

During the course of this one school day, Ms B stepped outside the classroom three individual times to attend to crying students. They all settled enough to return to their projects after a few minutes. She briefly shared their stories with me, and it wasn’t until I came home that I realized the sum of them.

The first girl was in tears because she is two months pregnant and had just made the decision to abort.

The second was in tears because her boyfriend just ended their two week relationship. Turns out she drinks at parties and he doesn’t like that.

The third was in tears because her lesbian girlfriend just ended their relationship of indeterminate length.

Boring and uneventful?

I have SO much to say about this, as any high school teacher worth their salt would. But my most immediate simple and apparent observations are such:

Our public rarely understands the events of a school day.

Standardized test scores are NOT important to these students. (Does that shock us?) Our children deserve to be treated as people rather than number-bubble-input.

And finally, our children absolutely deserve to be treated with respect as they tackle mature problems.

Kids are kids. I don’t doubt that children of 35 years ago had problems that were different yet the same- all equally catastrophic. I pray we remember, in the quest of higher math, science and reading scores, that we are also striving to raise resourceful, empathetic and responsible young people. They are our future and we as teachers are instrumental in creating the solid ground they are and will be traveling upon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Wisdom of Kids

I'm embarrassed to say that after the many years of teaching, I have yet to include my students' artwork on this blog. And I will further admit that they had some of the most profound statements, both in standard English and visually in art.
Find here some work by my Katie P. She is an incredibly happy little girl, but who walked into my class with a daily high school lament: "Today is the WORST day EVER!!" Somehow that sentiment didn't make it into much of her work, hence... happy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Michelangelo's First Painting Ever?! At 12 years old.....

The Torment of St. Anthony.

So, what part of this is hard to believe? That these demons, dragons, and a saint are painted in oil by Michelangelo, that he painted it when he was 12 or 13, or that it has been acquired by the Kimbell Museum in TEXAS??

This is a must see slide show with details and story presented by the New York Times. Michelangelo rocks.

Left is the painting (be SURE to click on it for MUCH better detail); right is the original etching (preliminary sketch) documented as drawn by Michelangelo.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Exceptional Stolen Blog

Thanks to Daniel Pink and his blog; really you must check it out. But if you're in a rush (really? and you're reading this?), I am happy to supply a few tidbits, stolen straight from his space (yep- these are still there- DO go look! I made it SO easy for you!)
In the midst of my schoolwork, I'm spending time, way too much time, studying visual culture and literacy. So Pink's website struck a beautiful chord today. How can we as educators, in ALL content areas, not be infusing all curriuclum with a bit of visual literacy? With visual culture on the rise (is it yet possible?) and the need for our kids to employ inference and interpretation, that is called thinking in my book, we do a disservice to students when we so not explicitly address the potential meanings in images in our environments.
Not that these two images required a LOT of interpretation, but for fun anyway:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stolen Piece of Blog

The higher the nor-
malcy becomes, the more se-
vere the tragedy.

from the Clandestine Samurai.
worth stealing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bob Doll

So, how do you reconcile making fun art with working on a master's degree? Well....
Making this guy was a blast. I can see why there are books and websites galore about how to make sock dolls. Think I may have to make another. One.
If you're absolutely dying to know more, check out the making of Bob ...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Liu Yan

The New York Times published an amazingly compelling article about Liu Yan, China's most talented classical dancer. She was supposed to dance for the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics. She was, and still is, an amazing work of art. Her story is sad, but her dance ability lives on, even if in a small way, in the video provided (on the SECOND page) in this NYTimes article.
If you find yourself as enamored with Liu Yan as I am, consider visiting her blog (in Chinese!)