Thursday, February 16, 2006

Local artists
The Americas


"special exhibit"-Photography



The Museum of Arts and sciences-

Today was the big day at the primary school- Museum day! I was asked by Karen Murary, the Music teacher, to be in charge of the art gallery and so I've spent weeks gathering and networking to get art for our gallery. Once we started to ask around, there was no hesitation of generous people who were willing to donate both time and their artworks for this to be successful.
It took many of us a full day to transform the music room into a museum. I discovered a friend, Ginny, Had an incredible sense of "merchandising". I don't think our exhibit would have looked nearly as wonderful without her help. I had a lot more anxiety about setting up than the actual day at the museum. Keep in mind, when you look at the photos, this was a classroom that was transformed and we can't perform absolute miracles in a day.
Today, I was the tour guide for 8 groups of kids, each group being made of up 2 classes. Each tour lasted 25 mins. And I was talking the entire time with a 5 min. Break between groups, and a long lunch in the middle. Typically, there's no shortage of parents who are willing to help with events like this, however, this room took a bit of specialized knowledge. My assistant was a very pregnant Mom who was not feeling well. She ended up leaving to go to the Dr.'s office, which I was all in favor of! That was much more important!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Basketball is over-

Ok, so My youngest daughter caught me at a weak moment and I allowed her to play intramural basketball in the 3/4th grade level. There's been almost two months of practices (once or twice a week) and games every Saturday morning. I did my part in taking her to these events. Last night was the final playoff game. They lost, which surprised no one, but they didn't get creamed like the last time they played them and second place is a fine place to be.
If you only knew the effort it took to be part of this whole Sport thing. I hate sports. No, I detest sports! I hate just about everything to do with them. So, the effort to be a supportive mom of my very cool daughter was done in the face of all I stand for and hold dear. Sitting there gave me a view into an alien landscape though.
I saw a coach (a Dad) who had fun with the girls and was always saying, "that's ok" with a smile. I saw parents who were already planning their daughter's sports participation with an eye to a college scholarship. I saw parents who were cheering all the kids, with a good idea their kid would never be a basketball star. I saw some coaches who yelled at their team angrily.
I saw parents I've known for years completely ignore me because their kids were on the other team.
Now, if I'm seeing all this at the 3rd grade level, it will only get magnified more as the years go by. By the time they are in HS, teachers will be asked to give them a break for not having their class work done.(is there actual homework any more?) They'll get concessions and priveldges because they play a sport. Even more if they are winning.
By the time they get to college, they'll get scholarships paying for not only their tuition, but books, meals and housing. They'll get even more benefits, often donated by the booster club, for a variety of goods and services. There have been scandal after scandal reporting all the abuses of school policies on this matter. But, that doesn't matter to "the fans". People cheer for teams at colleges they never attended. In fact, the most rabid fans are the ones who never attended college in the first place.
Of course, that's just the foundation for the professional teams where hoards of people cheer for "their teams". These are the same teams owned by millionaires who don't care about the city at all and easily turn their backs on a city who fails to build them a stadium they desire in favor of a city that will.
So, what exactly do these teams do for their fans?
Give them something to bet on? Give them something to do on the weekend? Give them something to talk about? Well, we end up at The Superbowl, where the cheapest seat in the place cost hundreds of dollars and they got to watch the Stones mutilate their own songs.
Whoever thought that it was a good idea to have them play are seriously deluded babyboomers. Guess what? We don't want to see a 60 year old man (who never could dance) prancing around with his flabby arms waving around. We don't want to look at Keith Richards... And neither should they, unless they want to say ,"well, at least I stopped doing drugs before I looked like THAT!" What happened to the harmonies on the songs? Only one of them thinks he can still sing I guess. Maybe the Stones decided," why wait for someone to do a bad parody of us, we'll do it ourselves!" And so they
Well, you can probably see I have quite a grudge against the whole sports machine. It's long standing and well earned. I spent lots of time in PE class wishing I didn't have to be there. I hated just about every moment of it. (the just about was running) People always say it is a good character builder. It builds teamwork. In my experience, people get arrogant and downright mean to those who are bad at it. It teaches that you can ridicule those who can not hit a ball, catch a ball or throw a ball. (pick your ball, it doesn't matter)
But wait, I had to PAY to feel bad in college. I had to actually PAY to take classes I hated because someone thinks it's a good idea. I worked nights at a meat packing plant, packaging smoky links and Bologna and hot dogs so I could pay for a class to learn to be bad at golf.
And while I was working nights and going to school days so I could pay for books and a roof over my head and food to eat (I had an art scholarship that paid my tuition one year) the basketball team was getting free tuition, books, food and housing... And they never WON a GAME!
I'm not against those who do well at sports. I'm against the inequality of that recognition. I want kids who are good at all sorts of things to be recognized. I want those who are smart, including math smart and science smart, to get the very best opportunities to use their minds. I want those who can play music to be recognized. Those who can be dramatic, those who are artistic and those who are innovative to be able to go as far as their talents can take them. I want all strengths to be celebrated.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Eagle Watch-
Today our 4-H group had scheduled to go on an eagle watch. All week, the temperatures have been so warm, we could easily go without coats. Of course, that all changed last night and we were out looking for eagles with a temperature of 32 degrees and a wicked cold wind blowing.
We've been having a drought here and the lake levels are very low. Our expert said he had never seen it this low and he was seeing things showing up that he didn't know was there. Mostly things like tree stumps.
Anyway, we had little luck seeing eagles at our first stop.. Or our second. We did eventually see some after quite a long hike along the lake where we managed to spot one in a tree and then watched it fly over the mountain and be joined by a couple others soaring on the wind. I managed to take photos, but the eagles look like specks. We saw some heron nests that were interesting. They are fairly large nests in sycamore trees and they nest in groups. We saw a few of them flying around too.
Mostly, the kids enjoyed exploring a bit of everything we came across. They enjoyed rocking this dock, and the mud, the icy mud puddles, sticks, clam shells, old lottery tickets, etc.
I was on the look out for interesting rock formations, but didn't find any close enough to take a photo of.
Although we do have a few eagles here year round, we get more in the winter months that come to escape the bitter cold winters farther north. Of course, I have seen eagle nests in Florida when I was young and then later on sanabel island at the nature preserve there.
So, the walk back to the car was with the cold wind in our faces and my nose was streaming and my eyes watering. By the time I got home, my eyes just ached.
My younger daughter lost her first Basketball game today. Luckily, my husband was there to talk with her and she seemed ok with it. They are heading into the finals now and I believe they should do well, since this was the only team they lost to.
I came home and took a nap. My eyes are still achy.

More copies-

Here's a few more pictures of the copies of famous art works I've been doing in preparation of the art gallery at the school. I know they aren't fabulous copies, but, on the other hand, not bad for being done on foam core poster board and done in less than a day.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

collecting for the show

I didn't have to work today so I set about making some phone calls to my art guild friends to ask for help with my art gallery at the primary school. My first call was to Lin. At the end of that call, I'm still not sure if I can borrow her copy of homer or not. She's a bit hard to understand and she wasn't sure where it was and we weren't sure when we could meet. My second call was to Margaret who promptly promised both of her "copies" and an original. How very generous! We easily set up a time that was convenient for both of us. Then, she told me she was diagnosed with ALS. It was a bitter bit of news for us all here. She's determined to fight it but will adapt as needed. That's a great attitude and a generous one, since as long as she can still paint, she'll be teaching others to. I missed Iva. I guess it was one of her card game days. Helen loaned me some art before she left on her trip. Mimi was unable to help because she's leaving tomorrow for a long trip she's been looking forward to for a long time. She also has health issues as well as losing loved ones recently.She just got the final ok to go yesterday, so today was all about packing and such. I totally understand it is NOT the time to try digging stuff out of storage.
Speaking of that, I know I have some old cameras packed away here somewhere, but I can't find them for the life of me. I have one last place to look and I am NOT looking forward to digging around there. I have told the kids too many times to just toss things there to think searching there will be any fun. I just can't help but think it would be good to add these items to the photography exhibit so they can see how cameras have changed over the years.
I've been trying to think of some of the biggies in photography to include. I have Brady from civil war era and Curtis who went west and documented the American Indians. I found a picture of Abraham Lincoln with a couple generals, I have an Ansel Adams. One from the WPA project.
I also have some tintypes and I could show an example of those who hand colored photos before color film was available. I think I'll finish up with taking their group picture with a digital camera.
Anyway, then the music teacher called me back and we discussed another idea of hers. She has had an outpouring of volunteers for this and she decided the afternoon volunteers could hang a portrait gallery in the front lobby. Bottom line, throughout my gallery walk, I will push portraits when I can and I will add a Ruben portrait to my gallery, so they have the option of adding a stand out lace collar to their own portraits. These they will complete in their class rooms during the break for lunch. We talked a bit about marblizing techniques and painting veins for marble with feathers.
I'm getting a bit nervous about the set up for this happening in one day with all the transformations to the room. I also need to start working on the ID cards for the art and the signage. I'll be fine when I get to setting up the art.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Crazy makers
Perhaps some of you have read the book, "the Artist's Way. If not, you should. If so, then you recognize the term that I've used for my title tonight. A crazy maker is someone who often portrays themselves as an artist, but really , often in the kindest of ways, try to derail you and they thrive on controversy.
I've decided I've recognized another such person on a discussion list I belong to.
First, they say (actually whine) that they can't make art, they don't know how. Could someone please help them make the leap from craft to artist? Oh, they are so humble. They sound so pitiful, they are just so confused and don't know where to start. So, you write to offer aid. Oh so prettily, it's rejected. She's just not ready to make that incredibly artistic vision she has in her head. She'll go back to her craft. OK.
But then the appeal begins again. "Please help me with this technique" Then, a big announcement.. "I've done it! I'm a real artist!" Ok.
Then, suddenly, she's able to participate and get offended in discussions about art. "Well, if that's how you feel, then I guess I'm just crafty!"(and you have hurt my feelings because you don't agree with me)
Then, a few days later, a note says that she is trying to live an "artful life" and rising above criticism. OK.
Then, the whine begins that it's not fair to define art a certain way because she doesn't understand the art terms. She doesn't know what the principles of art ARE... so, again, she must be just "crafty".
When someone points out there's nothing stopping her from learning those things, she says she can't and has a long litany of reasons why she can't.
Notice I said "someone" because it sure isn't me any longer. I'm onto her and I'm not rising to the bait any longer.
Who is she trying to kid? She can read every email from the group and take offense, but she can't read about the principles of art?

The interesting thing about crazy makers is that they are often very entertaining. They can be very witty. There's something entertaining about people who jump all over the place emotionally. They can be very fun when they are high, they can just be so pitiful when they are low. For those of us who tend to be rather stable, it's a fascinating dance as long as you don't get sucked into it. We have to remember that there will never be anyone who has had a childhood worse than they have, never have as many challenges or barriers to creating art than they have, and we will never come close to having a creative vision as good as the one they just can't seem to produce.