Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Op-Art and Screaming Goats

Completed Op-Art
Just a brief blog update to end September. Let's get rid of these warm temperatures! Blech!
Meanwhile, in the air conditioned art room, we finished some OP-Art exercises in colored pencil. 

Op-Art is short for Optical Illusion art in that a 3D look is achieved from basic flat drawing with some tricks in tones and shape placement. We enjoyed some short videos for a few days of various funky Optical Illusion art.
Op-Art in Progress
Op-Art in Progress
This week we begun studying the difference between Realistic Art, Abstract Art and Non-Objective. I teach it like a number line with each extreme on opposite ends and the Abstract in the middle. We've begun Non-Objective Watercolor Discovery project with learning various Watercolor techniques yesterday.

Moving on to the homefront....I hate how my kids fight. 

But I couldn't help but laugh when Mikelle reported last Saturday morning Christian loaded a loud video of screaming goats on his iPod and slid it under her door while she was still sleeping. I think she was equally mad that I didn't do anything about it. 

Then again, she kept his iPod from him after that and wouldn't give it back. Sounds fair to me.  If you're going to play with the bull, don't be surprised that you get some horns. Well, I guess this is more like those little horns that goats have. Male goats. 

I never had male goats as a kid. Just the female ones. Why? male goats stiiiiiii-iiii-ink!

Obviously, it's bedtime. 

Until next time! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wake Me When September Ends...

Okay, I can't sleep through September. But I am so exhausted, I feel like I can. Plus, if I wake up in October, the temperatures might be a bit more Fall-like. Or shall I say "a little less Summer-like"!

Friday September 11, 2015
 This is from the "Living in a Small Town Can Really Bite Sometimes" file, and the "Crap that Only Seems to Happen to Me" file. Yesterday (Thursday 9/10) was a day that I left work feeling particularly low. Some of it was just part of my own anxieties, and the other part were some dumb little things that added up. Later that afternoon, I was pumping gas at the local ghetto place. I used to avoid getting gas in Wickenburg altogether since they used to gouge their prices ridiculously high. However, lately the prices have been unusually cheap here. Even cheaper than Costco down in the valley! Therefore, I braved to attempt fitting in the horribly planned small pump area in the cramped parking lot of the Circle K and started pumping my gas even though it's a stupid slow pump and there's no shade and it's still summer in hell.

As it's filling up, I go through my ritual and start cleaning out the car and throwing stuff away. That was when a bee flew into the car. So I open the opposite door hoping it would fly out. Well, the bee flew out, but then promptly went into the backseat and landed on Alexander's car-seat. Well, I don't want my child stung, and it was only a matter of time before my X-man did something to upset the bee (this is my child, after all...) so I grabbed a piece of paper and tried to nudge the bee away. 

The bee flew out of the car, but at me. It was mad. So there I was trying to swat a bee away and I let out one of those short "ack!" shrieks and backing up quickly hoping the bee would stop charging at me AND hoping no one was noticing this little display of my reaction to the bee's aggression. Oh, and Alexander was laughing at this.

WELL...that's when I heard my name and I look at the street - and there, going through the intersection is a co-worker proceeding through the green light. 

He calls out, "You alright?!" 

I answer "Yeah..." in a tone like "why would you think something was wrong?" but feeling like the biggest idiot. 

I finished my gas transaction, sat in the car and texted him two words: A bee.

If that wasn't enough, this morning in class, one of my 6th graders said, "I saw you yesterday." I asked where and she said, "getting gas." 

That's when I said, "Oh man, I hope you didn't see me freaking out from that bee." 

Now I don't know if she was lying or what. This is an eleven year old kid after all. But she said, "Yeah, I saw where you were trying to get away from the bee."

 However, on that low day (before the bee), as I was getting ready to leave and I had that aforementioned feeling of despair, I noticed this on the whiteboard.
It definitely helped. As my anxieties are there and I knew when I went back to teaching I'd be battling my inner demons What are they? Where do I start? 

Well, the biggest challenge: Reaching and inspiring the students while at the same time setting limits and not being manipulated and walked all over. I fear being too strict and mean and hence, they'll hate art. Or I fear being too lenient and then there is chaos. For me a comparison is like keeping the right amount of water pressure from a hose that is filling a bucket with a hole in the side. Too much water will overflow the bucket despite the hole. And if there's not enough water coming from the hose, the bucket will pretty much stay empty as the water leaks out the side. The balance is tricky. 

If that isn't enough, I have the inner demons of feeling like a joke to the other teachers - whether they see me as a joke or not. Teaching art already has its stereotypes and misconceptions of "not being a real class" or "not important". Since that's already an uphill battle that was established long before I entered the field, I'm trying to portray that aura of professionalism and someone who also has a brain in her skull. 

Being seen from a distance freaking out about a bee doesn't help with that. And that's just one incident. There are definitely others. 

Sunday Doodle 9/6/15
One good thing about "bee day" was it was a two digit day with overcast. Now those are warm summer days I can get on board with! However, the rest of the country (or most of the country) are receiving their crisp Fall air. I can complain once again that we still get to sweat until Halloween, or I can post this Scary Mommy article that says it all for me. I read this out loud to Chris and he asked me, "Are you sure you didn't write that?!" 

I don't know who Sarah Powers is, but I love her:

To my friends in the North:
You know who you are. You woke up this morning more than a little bit giddy. You turned the page on your calendar to September and felt the first hint of a chill in the morning air (whether it was actually there or not).

There’s a change in the air, you said to yourself. Then you said it to the entire Internet, in case they hadn’t also felt the coming of autumn.

I love fall, you thought, pulling a bin full of sweaters off the top shelf of your closet. Sweaters, and football, and changing leaves and the promise of a new school year. And pumpkin spice lattes, you thought. And then you said all of this to the Internet, too, so all the people in all the places would know how much you love fall.
#PSL, you wrote.  (Jill talking: PSL stands for Pumpkin Spice Latte)

I have something to tell you. This might get a little uncomfortable, seeing as we’re good friends and all. But I feel the need to be straight up.
I hate you.

Don’t worry, it’s temporary. Somewhere around the middle of November, we can be friends again. When your fallen leaves have turned to perma-sludge clogging the storm drains and your new sweaters have pilled and your skies have settled on the exact shade of gray where they’ll remain until April, I’ll be all yours.

But for the next two and a half months, I harbor an unspeakable resentment aimed at you and your fall-flaunting friends. And I think I speak on behalf of all my fellow hot-weather-climate dwellers when I tell you the following, in no uncertain terms:

When you pin images of leather boots and scarves onto a Pinterest board called “I love fall!” we die a little inside. We might re-pin them, but we know our boots won’t see the light of day until late October, and even then we’ll feel like posers as the sweat pools between our toes.
When you share recipes for pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin martinis and pumpkin s’mores and pumpkin-scented underwear drawer potpourri (OMFG enough with the pumpkin already), we feel something like rage and envy rolled up in a pumpkin-apple-cinnamon blintze.
When you fill your Instagram stream with #nofilter shots of maple trees in fiery reds and oranges, we want to bang our head against the steering wheel and weep. Except the steering wheel is too hot.

When you post on Facebook about the smell of homemade applesauce coming from your Crock-Pot after a day of apple-picking, we’re cranking up the A/C and cursing at the news anchor reporting triple-digit highs all week long. For the 18th week in a row.
Finishing 2 Pumpkins on Labor Day...

When you dress your kids in matching long-sleeved monogrammed pumpkin shirts and take their pictures at the pumpkin patch, we’re slathering ours in SPF 50 from head to toe and pulling into the patch parking lots at 8 a.m. to beat the heat. Oh, sure, we do the hay ride and the petting zoo and all the rest, but only because by this point we’ve lost all ability to reason with our children, who haven’t been allowed to play outside in four months.
When you cheer for your alma mater wearing knit caps and puffy vests while drinking spiked cider, we’re watching the games inside and wishing we were dead.

And when you post a picture of your first pumpkin spice latte of the season, we’re filled with loathing for it all: the crunching leaves, the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg, the chili, the touchdowns, the shortening days and crisp mornings. It won’t stop us from ordering our own #PSL and posting pictures to prove it happened, but we do it with a spiteful heart.

It’s not your fault, really. And while I know that, and know too that next March you’ll be filled with the same brand of stabby rage when I post pictures of the kids running through the sprinklers and tweet about a fresh sunburn from an afternoon on the lawn at a spring-training game, it changes nothing. I still hate you.
There’s a reason Starbucks doesn’t promote an iced pumpkin spice latte: because it tastes like bitter rage.
Until November,
Your friend in Arizona
My friend Nikki already decorated for Fall despite living here in the heat. Two of my pumpkin designs adorn the spread.
By the way, while I could have written that, I certainly wouldn't be bragging about warm weather in March. I am just as angry in March that is gets too warm too fast. However, this article really nails it with the wanting of Fall while being stuck in hell.
As for my students, we are working on a collaborative project with another teacher. More to come on that. In the meantime, we finished a project where they created their own sculptures inspired by French artist Jean DuBuffet. Here he is pictured here, and below that are some of his sculptures being viewed in a museum.
This is Buffet pictured with some of his sculptures. He died in 1985
In class, we took the DuBuffet style with the fun organic shapes and his preference for Red, Black, White, Blue and Stripes and created our own. Even Waldo made an appearance in the forest of DuBuffet sculptures.

This 7th Grader found a new practical use for his sculpture...

Until next time.