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.