Saturday, May 23, 2015

Final painting projects in the works

I believe it is a good standard to have the students copy a masterpiece at the end of a semester. I have given them choices of media, but all of them stretched and primed their own canvases. Some are painting in acrylic and some in water-based oil paint.

My mother, I think, still has my canvas from when I was in high school and copied a Guaguin in oils.
It used to hang in her laundry room...three addresses ago.



Friday, May 22, 2015

Shaving Cream Class Act

It's Friday on one of the last weeks of school. I brought in some cans of shaving cream and had the kids in my middle school class make marbled papers, for "thank you" cards.


The kids had a blast. It is important for them to play...to get their hands in the mess, to use all their tactical senses at least once in a while! Clean up was easy because I had paper down on the tables, and they just washed the foam off their hands, arms, faces, etc... and the room smelled really pretty afterwards.

And the results were quite beautiful.
Directions:
Put name or initials on all papers before hand ( you will forget the next day who did which)
Shaving cream (foam, not gel) in a deep dish plastic plate or a metal pie pan
Add drops of liquid watercolors
Swirl with a palette knife or with fingers
Press paper to the surface
Lift off and quickly use a ruler, or straight edge, to "squeegie" the foam off the card.
(Do not leave the foam on or the paper will get soggy and weird)
Hang to dry.

Next we will use stencils to spell letters and add a word, (like "thanks", "cheers", "congrats" ).


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paisley Peacock

A linoleum print...inspired by the peacocks that roam south Miami. This last month must have been the season of mating rituals... all the males were dancing! My dad would call them nice "lawn ornaments".

Perhaps the print goes perfectly with my paisley cow from New York?
Paisley Cow, a real lawn ornament, with my two sons

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The complete Audubon Elephant portfolio of Birds of America

Exhibition ending soon at History Miami.
An amazing show of all 435 prints, arranged as John James Audubon wanted us to see it. He starts with the wild turkey, the quintessential American bird. Every depiction is to scale of the actual bird!
Any artist who paints birds stands in Audubon's shadow. I was seriously awe-struck.
Only towards the end of the series did Audubon realize that it would take him many more years to finish if he continued to depict one species per print, so he started, like this one above, to combine several variations of the species in one print. Here he puts on one branch Bull finches, Finches, Linnet, and Grosbeaks among others! He gets more inventive in his posing.
My favorite, for reasons I can barely articulate, is his American Crow. Perhaps it is the berries, or the tiny nest (is that a crows nest?)... but I believe Audubon really captures the intelligence in his eyes. Sometimes he worked from skins, or a cadaver that he shot earlier in the day, and sometimes he worked from life. I feel like he painted this crow from life. The crow looks like an art critic.
If I were working on my MFA in school I think I would be drawn to study the shadow artists behind the greats- like Dali's Gala, or Gaudi's Jujol, and Audubon's Lehman and Mason. George Lehman, a Swiss landscape artist, and Joseph Mason, a young apprentice who started at the age of thirteen working with Audubon, painted many of Audubon's landscapes or branches, setting up the scene for Audubon to plop in his birds.

Maria Martin also painted some of his backgrounds as well. They are exquisite in themselves.

It is an interesting show- well worth the visit- ends May 31st!
101 west Flagler St, next to the Government center metro stop.




Sunday, May 17, 2015

The rubber band theory

Rubber bands stretch and then snap back into an always circular shape. That is how I feel my perception of TIME is. It's hard to believe another school year is coming to a close. Just yesterday the senior class graduated and only the day before I remember them entering my classroom all frisky with middle school energy. They had their teeth in braces and backpacks to match their weight. Now they smile through clear and hopeful faces and teeter in heels or glide in svelt loafers, looking quiet able to defy gravity. This has happened four times since I started working at Palmer Trinity... I fear next year will be my advisory up on the graduating platform delivering speeches and accepting awards, anxious to move on to the next chapter. I will be watching with pride, and then, like tomorrow, I will return to the classroom and refocus on the next batch of bright learners.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Up the Miami River

Today we took a river cruise, through History Miami Museum , with Dr. George. It was fascinating. Though only 4.5 miles long before it splits into two forks and then the north fork becomes a canal (cut to drain the Everglades), it is full of a rich history. Dr. George has memories of the river since he was three years old, and he has a historians knowledge of generations earlier.
Along the river he pointed out where the nine first inhabitants of European descent lived, where Henry Flagler's grand hotel, The Royal Palm was situated, where the Tequista villages were, where the drug shoot-outs of the 1970's and the hurricanes of the 1920's and 90's scarred the landscape, etc, etc.
see Tequesta Indian sculpture on pedestal to left of bridge
Dr. Paul George, author of Along the Miami River
cranes fill the sky

The city is full of cranes as every spare lot becomes a footprint for a tower. Buildings with a past are rapidly being shuttered and torn down. Called "safe deposit boxes in the sky" most of the new money behind the building craze comes from overseas. The towers are built right to the edge of the Biscayne bay.


lobster fishermen under Interstate 95
There are still a few working boat yards and lobster fishing businesses. We saw huge freighters being loaded with mattresses, bicycles, and more bound for Haiti.

Tug boats rested on a quiet day.

Miami, Dr. George said, now has the third most dense skyline in the country after Manhattan and Chicago. I believe it! We went under bridges almost to the airport before we had to turn around.
View under the Dolphin Expressway
turn around point, beyond is the Miami Okeechobee canal
So we crossed the "River cruise" off our Miami Bucket list, and we added another item: "dinner at Casa Blancas".
Casa Blanca on the Miami River




Mother's Day tradition

Mother's day 2015 by Kent

Michael drew Kent drawing me
My eldest son, ever since he was six, has drawn me on Mother's Day...turning the tables, so to speak, by making me the subject and him the artist. He was about six, come to think of it, when he declared he was no longer my "material" and he rejected the idea of me sketching him while he played or slept or took baths.
It is both shocking and gratifying that he has such a strong personality. I love getting to know him, being near him, and I try not to use him in my art...without prior permission.
Motherhood is a collaboration. It has taught me so much about my place, my boundaries, my capacity to love. It literally and figuratively has stretched me. I'm so grateful.
My flowers have arrived! I put them in a vase made by my colleague, Robert Moorhouse.