Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Space! New Sign! New Site! New Me!

 I've got a new space for teaching. 

And now I have a new sign. 

It makes me smile each time I walk up  to my "office." 

And, believe it or not . . . 
I have a website and a facebook page, too!

Yikes! What have I done?!

Well, you might as well go ahead and visit my website 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New Space!

I've got a new space for teaching!

It all came about very suddenly.

And just as suddenly, it has become a happy success.

The space is small, but it is ours (mine & my students) to do with as we please. We can paint on the walls, or on the floors (or on the walls and floors).

It's a neat old building that has gone through many transformations.

I'm very happy there. And I think my students are, too.

I love having my own space.
I love having my supplies all in one place.
I love having a permanent display and critique wall.
I love the old tile floor.
I love many things about this new adventure.

But my favorite-of-all thing might be the big gate out front. To get into the building, you push open this big wrought iron gate, and follow the path up the ramp. But the gate . . . look closely . . . it isn't connected to anything.

Easier to simply side-step the whole thing and just walk around. But I never do. I love pushing open that big old gate and walking happily into my new, all-our-own, funky space.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Is SpongeBob an Accurate Measure of Success?

Today in drawing class, talk turned to SpongeBob SquarePants. I was surprised when my students (age 9 - 15) unanimously agreed that SpongeBob was a loser.

What? Wait a minute. Really? I think the show is clever and witty. And SpongeBob himself is nothing if not lovable.

"I aspire to be like SpongeBob," I told my class. "He is honest, and sweet. He finds joy in every detail of life. He is fiercely loyal to his friends. And,"  I finished triumphantly, "He LOVES his job."

"But that's just it," they chorused. "He's a fry cook! A grown man (ok, grown sponge) who's been flipping burgers his whole life. He has no ambition. He's going nowhere!"

I'm certainly glad these young homeschoolers have great ambition. I am glad they are shooting high, pushing themselves further. But are they saying that success is only measured by our careers? That the joy SpongeBob feels is somehow less meaningful because he is nothing more than a fry cook?

I wonder. What is the correct measure of success.

In college, a teacher of mine asked seriously and thoughtfully, "What is success?" He was thinking of his own. Here was a well-known artist, with work in museums and collections around the world, and he wondered aloud how to measure his own success. He had recently completed a series of drawings using permanent marker on Styrofoam. (Have you ever done this? The Styrofoam "melts.") His dealer told him to hide those drawings, to never show them to anyone. "They will ruin your career," was her honest advice.

But a collector stopped by his studio later that day. Upon seeing the drawings leaning against the studio wall, he was instantly moved by them. For him, they struck a chord deep down (and if I remember the story correctly, he bought them all). Turns out, this man had cancer. These strange drawings, melting and warping the Styrofoam, resonated with him in a way that no one could have predicted.

Was this artist more successful for having artwork in famous museums, or is there more success in having made a drawing that was meaningful to only one man dying from cancer.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day at LACHSA

I had hated school. Beginning in 7th grade and lasting through high school, I hated everything about it (except the learning, which seemed there was much too little of). I spent my school days scowling, usually nursing a headache and a stomachache. I never wanted my kid to have to feel that way at school.

And so we homeschooled. Up until 13 years of age, my younger son never went to school. I loved our homeschooling life.

But then my kid said he wanted to go to high school. I doubted the wisdom of it, remembering my own struggles. But off he went. It was a rough start. Then on Valentines Day last year, he told me about what had happened at school that day.

While everyone was in class, someone put a post-it note on every single locker in the school:

He told me, "It was dope."  And I believed him.

I'm so glad my son gets to be a part of a place where this kind of thing can happen.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Find Your Horizon, or Eye-Level

Horizon (finding your eye-level)

Try this:
1) sit up straight
2) with your head level, look out at what's in front of you.
3) pretend you are shooting laser beams from your eyeballs; make sure those laser beams are shooting parallel to the ground.
4) wherever your eyeball laser beams hit, that is your eye level.

"Eye-level" is the exact same thing as "horizon."

Try this next time you're at the beach:
1) stand facing the ocean
2) look where the water meets the sky
3) we all know that as the horizon, but now think of it as eye-level
4) slowly lower yourself down to the sand, but keep your sights on that horizon
5) notice how the horizon moves down with you
6) lay down on the sand
6) where's your horizon?

It's still right there, in front of your eyes.
The horizon moves with the level of your eyes. An immovable horizon would require you to look up at the horizon, as you lowered your body to the sand.

No beach nearby? How about the desert? Here's the view of my drive home from Las Vegas last weekend:

And there's the horizon, straight out in front of my laser-beam eyeballs. And look - the highway comes to a point on my horizon-eye-level. Notice how incredibly WIDE the highway looks at the bottom of the photo, and how incredibly QUICKLY it narrows to a point as it goes back in space. This is a classic example of one-point perspective

Here's another example:

All the parallel lines are going back to the same ONE POINT on the horizon (hence the one-point perspective.) Even the lines of the truck. Check it out! Place a ruler over your screen and see where all those lines go: the truck, the road, even the brush at the edge of the road's shoulder.  

Everything on this long ride through the desert is zooming towards the same itty-bitty spot on my horizon. Why "my" horizon? Because it's my eye-level. Your eye level (you being taller or shorter) is different than mine. 

My horizon is mine. Your horizon is yours. (Think about that, and I dare you not to get all philosophical.) 

And one more amazing thing about the desert views. . . atmospheric perspective! 

The atmosphere creates the feeling of space.

More in a later post, about why horizon/eye-level is important, and about using both types of perspective to your advantage in any drawing (not just landscapes). For now, practice shooting laser beams from your eyeballs.