Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fragmented self portrait

I am lucky to be able to do what I love. But before I can get into the classroom and share with my students the love , the real passion for exploring in paint or photoshop or mixed media, I have to attend a gazillion meetings and learn new grade tracking programs. There is so much pressure to learn new protocols, write up curricula in new languages, meet new colleagues, get the rooms ready for the start of school, that I can barely think straight by evening. I am no longer the newest art teacher, and I have so many hats to wear this year that I am not sure of how to make smooth shifts between them.
Add hot flashes and power outages and this is me:
And this is my sketchbook page:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to school

Summer ends early in Florida, regardless of the hot weather. Just recently I found myself at the University of South Florida in St Petersburg attending an AP summer institute program. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself since so many of my friends up north have a whole month left of their summer vacation to enjoy. With 32 other art teachers, mostly from Florida, I put my nose to the grindstone, got off the pity pot, and we tackled the ins and outs of developing our own AP studio design and drawing curricula.We also attended the Dali Museum and the Chilhuly Collection as a group.
The most important thing I came away with is that the purpose of the AP is for the student to experience and get credit for a foundation college level course. It's hard work, but not impossible. The criteria are based on understanding of the principles of design or the quality and diversity of mark making, if doing the drawing AP.

Though they say we should encourage risk taking and the concentration should demonstrate exploration, it is hard to fit in the time for failure. The kids have to put out at least 24 works in a calendar school year of... 180 days- that means one work every 7.5 days. BUT- the AP exam is in early May, so, really, they need to produce a quality work every 6.2 days!!
Lucky for me, our fearless instructor Colleen Harrigan, fit in time for us to be creative. It is a balance as an artist teacher to be a taskmaster/drill sargeant and still recall what appeals about art making... the spiritual side of the matter.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A poem to go with his July flowers

Micheal’s Climbing Roses

Year One, the ‘Straggle and the Thorn’
two down, hung strangled and forlorn.
Weak shadows cast on rotten steps,
painted nails and twisted ankles.

Ten more pass in the blink of an eye
eleven down, high as the crows fly.
Early Baroque leaf-green reach,
bamboo armatures, black mold, and jar of honey.

Twelve year blossoms dripped echoes,
memories, deals, and heaven’s shadows.
Bones held them out at arms length,
farther out from the hardwood footings,
past the scratches and the smile in her eyes.

In the end, the moth size crimson cuttings
dropped down off the hill, through the bridge
and right between the cheeks of another summer,
touching this time, once again, the older bird heart.
 (written by M. Gellatly)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

out the kitchen screen door

I've been wanting to paint windows or openings to the outside. It is as if my summer where just a blur passing in another world, framed by my lists and present predicament.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

House sitting

It has been a pretty good gig this July, and last year too. Taking care of a moody cat and a sick Basset Hound was a bit more challenging than we anticipated, but worth the place of our own...a place to put our feet up and feed our need for solitary silence between all the socializing. This place came with good art, wi-fi, and fresh flowers! You could hear the river flowing like a rain storm outside the windows, and the morning light on the walls was like a Vermeer painting. On the down side, the Basset peed a lot and he shed so much all the furniture, and our feet, had tufted sprouts of hair. And worst of all the couch ripped open...

Monday, July 21, 2014

sketches of NY, city of dreams

I couldn't sleep because of the bright lights. Then enjoyed resting at the side of the sailing pool in Grand Central park.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Two exhibits in NYC touch on the past, the present

I loved going to the Metropolitan Museum with my little sister and learning more about the history and iconography of early (ancient) Buddhist and Hindu art. The show was sparsely attended compared to other galleries in the Museum, and enabled us to really pause and study the sculptures. We went twice through the exhibition titled: Lost Kingdoms.

The day before, when I came into the city, I went down to the Bowery to the New Museum with my friend Deborah and saw the Here and Elsewhere show of Arab art. It was deeply moving. Half of the work was from thirty years ago, and half was a contemporary dialogue. While we were watching videos of the wall in Palestine, Israel was launching a land strike in the Hamas controlled region. They're trying to find the tunnels into Gaza. The humanity at stake, as seen in the exhibition, was sobering. I had to walk away and gather myself.