Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Finding Your Flow

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
Every once in awhile, when I feel overwhelmed by chores, stress, and the general anxiety sometimes brought about by everyday living, I turn to a good piece of literature to provide me with some solace. Being that I'm off the whole week of Christmas to New Year's I've taken it upon myself to read a book a day (or at least try). One of the books I just finished was entitled Finding Flow, after skimming the library shelves the name on the binding practically jumping off the shelf at me. From all outward appearances it seemed like the perfect inspirational/philosophical book to read for a quick holiday stress pick-me-up. Even though at 150 pages, it's a quick read, it wasn't disappointing.

Providing concise short theories on everything from sociology to spirituality, and Karl Marx to Sigmund Freud this short volume discussed the idea of using positive psychic (Not the ESP kind) focus and concentration as a way to achieve your goals and stop an 'entropy' of the mind brought about by boredom and the over pursuance of passive leisure activities. Even more interesting that the basic premises of the book, was its consistent use of 'the creative individual' as an exemplary model of a positive, proactive, useful, and most importantly, happy life. Now, telling an artist that the pursuit of a creative life is probably one of the best ways to find happiness is preaching to the choir, but for many self proclaimed 'uncreative' people, this may be a shock, and even an insurmountable challenge. For those of you who constitute the latter half of my milieu, perhaps these excerpts will help you to understand the 'artists' way of life, or at least their approach to it:

"When asked what has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome in his career, the novelist Richard Stern answered: I think it's that rubbishy part of myself, that part which is described by such words as vanity, pride, the sense of not being treated as I should be, comparison with others, and so on. I've tried rather hard to discipline that. And I've been lucky that there has been enough that's positive to enable me to counter a kind of biliousness and resentment...which I've seen paralyze colleagues of mine, peers who are more gifted than I. I've felt it in myself. And I've had to learn to counter that. I would say that the chief obstacle is-oneself. For each of us, the chief obstacle to a good life is oneself. Yet if we learn to live wit it, and like Ulysses find a way to resist the siren song of it's needs, the self can become a friend, a helper, a rock upon which to build a fulfilling life. Stern goes on to describe how as a writer, he can tame the unbridled ego and make it do creative work: Of course there are things in myself...which I know are bad, mean, twisted, weak, this, that, or the other thing. I can draw strength from that...I can transform them. They're sources of strength. And as I said earlier, the writer takes those, and they're his material. "

Another good excerpt from the book:

This attitude toward one's choices is well expressed in the concept of 'amor fati-or love of fate-a central concept in Nietzsche's philosophy. For instance, in discussing what it takes to live fully, he writes: My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fait; That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not bakward, not in all eternity...Not merely bear what is necessary...but love it. And I want to learn more and ore to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful."

My best advice? read, read, read (anything and everything you want) and then pursue it, and in the words of a fellow blogger, "engage and persist"...and hopefully we will all find our flow!


♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Here was my dilemma: How do I teach a meaningful printmaking lesson with practically no printmaking supplies? That's right, no brayers, no heavyweight paper, no printing inks, blocks, cutting tools, and as I'm sure you can see where this is going, of course, no press.

I had read a lesson on collography using mat board and pieces of cardboard/ oak tag glued on top of it. Aha! I thought, there's my starting point. I cut 5 x 7" pieces of mat board, then had the students use tacky glue with heavy weight watercolor paper cut outs to form the abstract shapes. I would have liked them to create images, but I figured this was a good starting point for them, especially since many of them never did printmaking before. Making do with the materials I did have we used very (VERY) cheap sponge and plastic brayers, the ones used in pre-k activities, which btw were terrible. Light weight white paper for printing on, tempera paints as printing inks (another ugh) and wooden blocks as pressing tools.

All things considered the lesson was pretty successfull! The kids loved the idea of rolling out a 'rainbow roll', creating their own ''plate, and using the printing method to create a new and different image every time they pressed it. However, I wouldn't reccomend tempera paints (ever!) and cheap sponge brayers (ever! ever!), but it's better than not doing the lesson at all. And on the up side? My real printing supplies should be arriving very shortly...and now that my students have some experience with printing, their results should be even better with the right supplies!

Peacocks Aplenty

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

After having been inspired by these wonderful clay elephants (complete with oil pastel rendered rugs to stand on)
that I came across at the incredible art department website.

And then, on the other end of the spectrum, after seeing a mediocre bulletin board entitled 'Peacocks: the National Bird of India' rendering in oil pastels as well, at a school I sub in. I decided it was karma, and that it was time for me to create my own lesson on the whimsical and beautiful peacock.

As part of a unit based on the art of India that I'm working on, I decided to discuss with my students the symbolism used by countries of animals, or for that matter any other items, such as flowers, trees, and even the idea of flags. I asked them about symbols, why and how we use them and then we studied the symbolism of peacocks and how they pertain to India. We also learned a little about the animal itself, it's habitat, food, characteristics, etc. But the best part, as always, was the creation of them. After seeing the good...and the bad results from two different approaches to the idea I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of merely rendering them, which, even to me, would be a little overwhelming (they have sooo much damn detail!) I decided to use collage.

Initially I was going to intergrate the idea of complimentary colors, having the students create yellow/orange backgrounds to contrast with the blue of the bird, but when the kids got started they really wanted to chose their own background colors. Additionally, I was going to have them collage in the background using constrctuion paper and snippits of the same color magazine peices, but after doing one myself I found the background to be too complex and it detracted from the actual subject. So instead we used tissue paper. I let them chose a color family and work from there. Some chose pinks, purples, and teals. For the bird I let them chose any color in the blue/green family and told them that the tail feathers could be diamond shapes, circular, and tear drop, as long as the cut out shapes stayed consistent.

The results were really good. Here are 3 examples. One of them I'm even using for the cover of the art exhibit invitation in January. I'll post more finished peices when, well, more kids finish them. I was really excited at the results. It's nice when a lesson goes well, especially after putting in the time and effort to make it successfull!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

For the start of the Christmas season I was asked by my boss if I'd like to make Christmas tree ornaments for the Planting Fields Arboretum. Apparently this year we have a tree exclusively reserved for the Boys and Girls Club which will be on display in the main dining hall of the arboretum. So, rising to the occasion, ahem, like I always do...I came up with about 8 different ornament ideas consisting of felt, red and white paint, pipe cleaner, ribbon, glitter (of course), popsicle sticks, plastic lids, and pom poms. The majoriy of the decorations were done in red and white, because that's what the theme of the decorations are for the arboretum this year. There not the most innovative decorations you'll ever see, but since I was asked on Friday to have a whole trees worth of ornaments by the following Wedensday I thought I did a pretty good job. Actually to give credit where credit is deserved, the kids did a pretty good job!

Some of the ornaments include red felt Poinsettias, snowmen, snowflakes, wreaths, pipe cleaner flowers, candy canes, candy cane wreaths, and the occasional Santa Clause. Because of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without the big S.C.

Laurie Hogin at Shroeder Romero

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

While perusing through some updates of the blog I follow I stumbled upon Schroeder Romero Gallery and their current exhibit of the paintings of Laurie Hogin. At firt, humored, then interested, then hypnotized by the images on the website in front of me, I was immediately reminded of the book I'm currently reading by Daniel Pink 'a Whole New Mind: Moving From the Inormation Age to the Conceptual Age' . More specifically, her work reminded me of Pnk's idea of Abundance, which is simply the idea that due to market competitveness and surplus of consumer needs, we now look for products that are more aesthetically pleasing, wholistic, and even transcendental in nature. Now this is a loose connection, or perhaps a better word, interpretation. But the nature of her work struck me as something that exemplifies abundance in art. Simply put, the surreal or better yet, hyper-real elements in her images depicting technicolor hybrid creations comment on our interpretation of reality. That reality is no longer appealing enough, so as a result we need to depict otherworldly, outerwordly, interpretations based on realistic experiences, ideas, and, feelings. I don't know if it supports or dissuades my point, but I like it.

The gallery put a succinct, if not a bit over the top, description of her new body of work, that above all else is really well-written. So if you are as interested as I was, after viewing the pieces, give the excerpt a once over.

Also here is the artist's website:

2009 NYSATA 'Why Art?' Convention

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
After having driven a total of 12 hours for my trek up to Rochester, NY to attend the NYSATA conference that was held at the Regency Hyatt, I was left feeling disappointed, and not to mention broke. The Hyatt charged a special conference room rate of $125 a night, which is probably half of what they normally charge for room rate, plus, the $17 dollars extra a night in room tax. The ticket fee for the conference was $125 dollars, which was the pre-registration fee. Pretty steep considering the National Conference ticket fee in Minnesota later this year is only $130 and even less if you your a member. As if that wasn't bad enough, I had to pay $26 dollars in parking fees, $50 to renew my membership at NYSATA, so I could get the reduced $125 dollar ticket price. and then meals, and tips (for the valet, and room maid, etc.), and gas money. The conferece was a total of three days long and on Sunday at around 4o'clock, before the last of the workshops even ended, vendors and stands were all but packed up. By 5 on Sunday the small convention taking up the second floor of the Hyatt looked like a veritable art ghost town.

Overall I attended about 12 workshops, a mix of hands-on, theory based, and supply company sponsered, they were all pretty interesting. But not 12 hours worth of driving interesting. Amidst the workshops my favorites were the recycled books one, where we learned some simple folds on used books to create sculptural pieces. The Massapequa school distrcits (my alma mater) 'Books of Hope Program' where students make books to send to children in need in Uganda. A paper making workshop, where we learned how to paint, sculpt, and mold with paper pulp. And lastly, a workshop that included a yearlong of high school curriculum. Which incidentally, the presenter ran out of cd's to distribute and we had to put our addresses on a peice of paper so he could mail it to us. I'll see if I actually get anything.

The keynote speaker, Alice Aycock, was pretty good also, her work was outstanding. She is an older woman, with a warm speaking voice, and her work consists of these monumental almost, installation like sculptures that explore the ideas of vortex's, spinning planets, (and spinning rides), tunnels, cave, observatories, and the paradoxical idea that we create things very formulaically and scientifically, only to use them to explore the unconcious, ethereal, and virtually unexplainable. I strongly reccomend checking her work out.

However a few good highlights, I had some issues with the conference as well. Firstly, many of the conference rooms were too small. At almost every workshop we were crammed in, elbow to elbow, with standing room only left over, and many times, even that was filled to capacity. Because of this, most of the time the presenters didn't have enough supplies, even handouts had to be rationed. which was extremely irritating. Nothing is more frustrating the taking the time and spending the money for professional development only to find that when you attend a workshop you have to either A: watch someone else make the project, B: fight it out over the supplies so you get your own, C: even if you get supplies wait, and wait...and wait, till someone else is done with the tools so you can make the project, or D: leave the workshop. Grrrr

Another issue was that the conference was small. I didn't think it was going to be huge, but I expected it to be at least twice the size it was. The floor it was on at the hotel was tiny, so in additoin to the rooms being small, the conference itself felt squisehd together. There were only about 6 districts from Long Island who exhibited their student work. Hicksville where I student taught, having the largest and most impressive stretch of work. Yay Hicksville! and the members exhibit was housed in a small room and with ALL the art teachers who were there, which was a miniscule, dissapointing amount, there were only about 15 peices showing. Four of which were again, from Hicksville. Considering the fact that there are over 60 districts on Long Island alone, each with it's own art department. There was an incredibly underwhelming amount of districts represented at the conference.

I'd definately go to another conference, but unless its within a reasonable (2 hour or less) driving radias, I'm sad to say, it just isn't worth it.

Melted wax-Trial and Error Part Two

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

This is the follow-up to a post I made on 11/4 regarding the melted wax paper I made with my students. Initially I had them print onto the paper using scratch foam (the white foam that lets you trace a design on it using a simple pencil or pen point) Truthfully, I don't really like the stuff, I know it's idea for young children, especially early childhood, but I feel like no matter how much care is taken with it, the prints are good for only one round, and even then the quality isn't that good. Proving my point, the prints I had initially hoped to do on the paper came out, let's just say, less than what I had hoped for, so i scrapped the idea and thought on it a few days. Lo and behold, one of my 6th graders took it upon herself to cut out her paper into the shape of a dog. To my surprise, it looked really good! So I went with it. I gave the students the option of cutting their paper into any shape they wanted. some made simple shapes, like a snake or ladybug, while others made more complex choices, like the girl I had who made a house complete with fence, tree's and bunny rabbit (for the bushes). The results were very cute, and it was a great use of the paper because it didn't require the altering of the materials so much that it took away from their basic appearance. So here they are:

ART20 Fair NYC

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

Running its 7th consecutive year the Art 20 show held at NYC 7th Regiment Armory on 6th ave and 67rh street is a modest and reserved art fair which really should have been called ode to abstract expressionism. 59 exhibitors from local to international galleries showed work ranging from 1900 to the present. A few of my favorites were pieces by Lori Nix (Miller Block Gallery-Newbury St. B'ah'ston MA), whose large glice prints of elaborately decomposing 'stage-set' like scenes appealed to my my interest in the ideas of the surreal and trancendental.

Fernando Botero's Circus Girl in her Trailer (Tasende Gallery L.A. CA) ,

Eric Zener (Gallery Henoch NY, NY) whose beautifully rendered paintings of swimmers in water really demonstrate the amazing qualities of reflection, light, and distortion.

and Alice Dalton Brown (Fischbach Gallery, NY, NY) who paints light and airy scenes that, if for no other reason, have the ability to remind me of peaceful New England summers at the Cape, that I never had, but would like to one day.

Other than a few choice peices (including the untoouchabes: Alexander Calder (works on paper), Robert Rauschenbergs and Roy Lichtensteins, which ranged in prices starting at the half a million mark, (which, lets face it, for the majority of us is..completely untouchable,) the rest of the works overall, had a muted, almost reserved feel. Most of which was abstract/expressionistic in genre.

The show was quiet, dare I even say peaceful, with little to no crowding and friendly and unobtrusive gallery workers. My only regret? Not having that spare 5 grand to buy a Lori Nix print (Damn, I knew I shouldn't have bought all those latte's from Starbucks!)

Sand (Art) Part Two

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Here are the end results of the lesson I did inspired by sand art. I ditched the castle idea, (way to tedious for the students + I had no buckets/pails etc. ) Instead the kids did beach themed animals/objects like shells, sand dollars, clams, and some other cute ideas. I used crayola brand self-hardening clay (not model magic) with a little bit of water to make the clay more pliable and to finish the pieces I used pearlized paints in peach, baby blue, brown, and off-white. After they painted their sculptures, while the paint was still wet I had them sprinkle either the corresponding sand color or different colors of sand, on top, to make it feel 'beachy'. The effect was really nice! When I display it in the art show I'm going to find a large shallow tray, fill it with beach sand, sprinkle in some of the colored sand they used and place the sculptures in that. It's going to look really cute. My only caveat? Nobody sculpted any seahoarses! Which would have been my first choice for things to make. Oh well, I suppose ya can't have everything!

Melted wax-Trial and Error

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Weeks after finding a mouse in the crayons, I've finally gotten around to having the students actually do something with all the miscellaneous crayon piecesI had them pick out. After given them each a small plastic baggie (similar to the ones found in the fruits and vegetables section of the grocery store. I had them pick about 10 crayon pieces, reminding them to try and pick a color scheme. Twenty students, one mallet, and 30 minutes of crayon hammering later. They all had a handfull of crayon bits to melt.

I used a warm iron and spread the bits out around the page. Then covering it with a sheet of wax paper, I ironed over the bits until they melted. However, I will say that if you don't melt the crayons enough (until they're a liquid consistency) when they dry, they're too thick and they crack and flake off the paper. Of course, I found all this out the hard way! But, alas, the kids were great sports, even liking the idea of pealing off the wax to reveal a light multi-color stain underneath.

So now that that part was done I had them hand tear a square shape. I thought the jagged edge would make it more interesting. In keeping with the idea of papermaking/prinmtmaking I played around with ways they could print things over the melted wax backgrounds. I'd like to say it was a success, but it kind of wasn't. I don't have printmaking supplies so I had to make due with the styrofoam scratch boards that can be drawn on with ballpoint pens and sponge brushes instead of brayers. The kids picked light colors for dark backgrounds and dark colors for light backgrounds and using the foam squares I cut, drew variuos bug images and then 'printed' them onto the backgrounds by pressing with their hans (I forgot to bring in a spoon or two to burnish with). The pressed images didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, althhough the silver lining was that, at least the few students I had try this seemed to like the printing process. But I'm definately going to try a different method of printing...I'd like the image to be a positive stamp instead of a negative, so I've got to figure out a way to make a cheap and easy to cut lino blocks. Ug art on a budgeT!

The worms crawl in the worms crawl out...

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
And just like that Halloween is over. Sad but true. At least I can say I had a pretty decent time this year. Having played the part of wicked fortune-telling witch for a scary Halloween maze, and marching in a Halloween parade that about 200 people attended, made for a pretty good All Hallows Eve. On Saturday night the festivities continued, with me making 'dirt' pie (complete with gummy worms and all. and watching lame vintage horror movies with friends.

Some pics from my weekend upstate

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

Here are some images from my trip up to Cold Spring, Sleepy Hollow, and Tarrytown NY this weekend, it's so beautiful this time of year upstate~!

Is that a mouse in the crayons?

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

If you read my blog yesterday, I was on a crayon bend, and decided to use scrap crayon pieces to re-make new ones. Well, today I had some kids start to separate the pieces of crayon from this large plastic tub of old remnants I had in my supply closet. and low and behold I hear a wave of high pitched screeches from the three girls I had given the task to. Popping my head out of the supply closet I arched my eyebrows and was about to say "wha...", when a girl answered my questions before I could let the words roll off my tongue." "There's a dead rat in the crayons!!!". And sure enough. There was! A medium size, gray petrified mouse. Frozen in an expression of horror, as if jumping into the pale of crayons killed him (although, old crayons really do smell rancid) Acting quickly, I responded to my students, "no silly its just a peice of gray cloth!" (I said this while I SWIFTLY took the basket of crayons out of eye shot) I then called in my supervisor, who calmly removed the tray, throwing away said mouse, crayons, and just for good measure, entire plastic bin itself.

You didn't expect me to throw that mouse away myself did you? I could barely look at it! It reminds me of the time I had pet mice in a ten gallon fish tank only to find that one day one mouse had made the great escape, never to be seen or heard from again, while the other mouse, looking much like a suicide attempt, died, belly up in the water dish.

It's a shame, I had big plans for all those crayons...dam mouse!

Ending on a High Note

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

Quite a few good things happened this week that were pleasant. The first being, that after going through their safe, my parents came across a few family heirlooms, one of them being my grandmothers wedding band. It's a semi-thick band, for an everyday ring, but it has the prettiest delicate scroll work with the most petite diamonds set into the pattern. After examining it, and remarking how small the size was, I was pleasantly surprised that it actually fit on my ring finger. My grandmother passed away when I was 2 from breast cancer. My mother was only 26, a year younger than I am now. and being that my mother is anything but the sentimental type, she never really talks about her. The only things I have from her are a hand painted porcelain sculpture of a horse and chariot, with gold leafing, and a china set

In addition to this, which was really the highlight of the week. I subbed twice, both only half days, but both classes were good, I had no problems with either of them, and so far, without jinxing myself, the time seems to be going a little faster during the day now that I'm getting more comfortable with my situation.

At my art teaching job, I decided to re-start a tradition that I was part of when I student taught, which is called 'ghosting' (or booing, or phantoming). It's a cute, I guess you'd call it 'game'. Where you buy a little gift bag, fill it with Halloween themed candy. I used a bag of chocolate eyeballs, a giant jawbreaker size popcorn ball, some M&M's, and a lollipop. You place the Halloween peom in the gift bag, expalining the directions for what to do, and the intentions of the person giving the gift bag, and a photo copy of a ghost for the person to display on their door, so everyone knows they've been 'Boo'd. It's a simple and cute idea, the two people who got the gift bag have to turn around the give two other people a gift bag. So on and so forth, until everyone has a ghost posted on their door. I love Halloween and it's a great way to spread a little inter-classroom cheer. We'll see, I hope they dig it, and I want my bag of candy too!

Last but not least, I tried some melted crayon wax techniques and some tempera batik ideas for potential use in future art lessons and they were both successful! I love it when that happens! Today, i decided to use some of those old nasty crayons to make new ones, and it was very cool . It's super easy.

I hope this week will be as good as last one.

What was once lost, is now found. Finding one of my favorite artists and in my own backyard ta' boot!

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

During 2004 Whitney Biennial, my first biennial show ever, I remember wandering aimlessly through the myriad of contemporary American art. Staring at the bright lights, loud colors, ephemeral and unreal installations and many times, just plain odd works, it wasn't until my unblinking eyes (too enamored to blink, thinking I'd miss some detail of something) began to blur and burn that I realized, I got the same overwhelmed and inspired feeling the first time I had been to Disney land as a small child. Only this was better.

One particular artist that comes to my mind from that Biennial was David Altmejd. Who, at the time, was showing his crystal encrusted werewolf heads encased in their own architectural ecosystem of Plexiglas cubes and mirrors. Tiny sparrow like birds flanked the edges of the encasement's, and the seemingly decomposing (or regenerating depending on your opinion) metaphysical oddities seemed to radiate a certain life force of their own upon the passerby's.

At the time I was finishing my undergraduate thesis on installation art, and wanted to feature his work in my paper. The problem was, that nobody really knew anything about him. The databases I searched held little to no information on him, or his works, and the internet was all but barren of anything even relating to him. My frustration at the time, coupled with my deadlines, ended up necessitating that I cut Mr. Altmejd's artistic contributions to the form of installation art out of paper, but my fondness for his work remained.

Serendipitously, the other day, while perusing through the Oct issue of Artnews, I came upon an article about, none other than Altmejd and his newest works of art! His newer pieces consisting of the similar symbols of birds, mirrors, and the omnipresent theme of decay, now focus less on architectural component's to support the sculptures, but now focus on the sculpture itself as sustaining artifact for other facets of the work. Amidst the 'other facets' include, hands, wires, horse hair, and beads. The sustaining structures being giants, birdmen, and free standing werewolf's themselves. Posed in the manor of classical Roman or Greek statues, these figures stand alone or are place in within the 3D composition of an installation.

I love the mythical-horror twist portrayed in his work. The simultaneous ideas of decay and decadence coupled with the meticulous attention to detail, leaves the viewer with an eyeful of contemplative, seductive, and even lurid 'mythscapes' to ponder.

He just recently had a show in NY that ran until June, which as Murphy's Law would have it, I only found out about a few days ago. But...he has an exhibit at the Metropolitan Opera House's gallery, which will most likely be a singular installation that will be on display starting October 13 to run alongside the opening John Adam's Doctor Atomic. So if your in the neighborhood, whether you know the artist's work or not, I strongly suggest you check it out and get an eyeful for yourself.

Sand (Art)

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

While brainstorming for a sculpture lesson for my 6-12 year old's, I was trying to think of more unusual materials to use. I came up with metal, found object (assemblage, etc.) tree branches (wood sticks) car parts. etc, but it's hard to break materials like that down into teachable parts, so then I thought, dirt, (too messy) ah, sand, perfect. I'm going to do a lesson using clay, then finish it with sand, or tempera powder, I think it's going to be great! While perusing 'google' my source for just about all my image references, I saw some great sand sculptures found them to be very inspirational. They're beautifully done and have the most amazing detail.

Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, and today is cash in hand

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
I read something a few days ago that said that everyday you should do something that scares you.
Taking this into serious consideration, I've been making an effort to do things that, well, scare me.
Here's an inspirational quote, for those of you who, like myself, enjoy them.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt.


♠ Posted by ArtMuse
Substitute teaching is a form of masochism.

Even though its painful, we kind'a like it. After all, if I hated it that much I wouldn't do it.


After my second day of subbing, I've been thrown into situation # 2 that I didn't want to be in.
The first was gym, ahem, excuse me, physical education, and the second was self-contained. Oh well, I suppose the best way to confront your fears is by doing them and getting them over with. Needless to say today was alright, I only had a real problem during free play when the students decided to go buck wild, and innocent playing (with blocks, tinker-toys, and plastic farm animals) became a chasm of discipline with hurricane force winds, and a liberal amount of child-ish rough-housing, where "we were just playing around" turns into sobbing messes of students who got their faces accidentally scratched, their heads accidentally hit, and the occasional stomach kick, just for teaching experience good measure of course.

Did I mention there were only 9 kids in the class. Oh, and 3 para's, was first grade, and, um I was only with the kids for about 2 hours.


I'd like to chalk the occasional moments of pandemonium up to my inexperience, the fact that whenever a sub is in the room students usually push the behavioral envelope, and maybe the kids were just having an 'off' day.

I wish I could chalk all my mistakes up to 'off' days.

My second first day of school

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
My second first day of school:

6:00Am Get Up

7:00 Leave for work

7:45 Got to work (needed to be there at 8:15) BUT figured getting there early would allow me to wander the halls, find the important places (a.k.a. bathrooms, cafeteria, faculty lounge) and would give me some time to get to know the classroom I was going to spend the next seven hours in.

7:46 Sat in main office, having discovered that the teacher I was supposed to sub for was there and that a mistake had been made in the online 'sub system' (they don't call it sub for nothing)

8:15 Still sitting in the main office, wishing I hadn't even gotten out of bed this morning.

8: 30 Finally, got a spot in a kindergarten self-contained '8-2-1 room as a TEACHING ASSISTANT because low and behold there were no teaching positions that day.

8:31 Sitting at a table with four other kindergartners playing with connecting cubes.

9:30 Still sitting at a table with four kindergartners playing with connecting cubes wishing the teacher would do something already.

9:31 Snack

9:43 Still eating snack, wishing I had actually brought snack with me to school.

9:45 In music, sitting in a circle with 12 kindergartners and two other t.a.'s

10:30 Still sitting in music, now singing the star spangled banner, with 12 kindergartners, 2 t.a.'s, and a music teacher. Wishing I had a better singing voice

10:35 Infected sty on the eye of a poor kindergartner explodes when he rubs it with his hand

10:36 Puss erupts

10:37 In nurses office sitting with him because for some mysterious reason the NURSE doesn't want to be left alone in her office

11:00 Still sitting in nurses office next to boy with puss infected and contagious eye sty

11:20 Still sitting in office with boy who is now fast asleep really wishing I had never gotten out of bed this morning

11;30 Get a call from the main office that I have to go and sub in the afternoon at a different school, one that I can't sub in because it lets me out at 3:40 and I have a job an hour away that starts at 4:00

11:40 I leave the school and head to the other school

11:50 Get lost, wishing I had packed lunch for myself instead of relying on cafeteria food, with no cafeteria around at the moment.

12:35 Find second school

12:40 Find out I'm subbing for gym Wishing someone would just shoot me

2:20 Playing duck duck goose with kindergartners

2:25 Playing kick ball with 5th graders, wishing I hadn't worn high heels.

3:45 Leave

4:20 show up at work (late)

4:21 Get lectured about making late phone calls

8:00 Leave work (again)

8:40 Get home wishing, hoping, and praying that my second second day will be better.


♠ Posted by ArtMuse
Working, ugh

Hirst for Hire?

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

I've decided, after reading in the Times that Damien Hirst's work can sell, in TWO days, at aSotherby's auction for roughly 127 mill., that I'm going to contact his manager and ask if when I die, he can dip me in a clear glass square of formaldehyde and then sell me to some wealthy person with more money than they know what to do with.

I figure it'll be pretty much the only time in my life that I'll-
a. be in a mansion
b. be worth a TON of money
c. have people oggle over me incessantly and for no real good reason.

Hey, if an ashtray full of cigarette butts (that get's mistaken for garbage and thrown out) and dot paintings can sell, why can't I?

Miguel Angel de Arriba

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Great photography work,

(it's in Spanish)

His nature photo's are my favorite. especially the reflection ones. The way he brings the animals nature, almost personality, is so sophisticated and visually, very powerful. Check the site out if you're into photography.

Learning lessons

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
Work is frustrating. I never thought I'd have to sell art. What's odd is that I can't seem to get any boys in my classes and yet in history, the majority of artists were/are male, maybe not nowadays, but previously, all throughout history, the majority of 'artmakers' were men. (I do realize, for the feminists out there, that there were in fact many women artists who were just as good as their male counterparts, but who, due to various sociological mores, never were recognized and given their rightful credit-Rosa Bonheur anyone?) However, sticky the truth is, men up until the advent of postmodernism (c. mid 1950's) were the main event. Coming from a childhood educator, I have no idea how this happened because no one with the y chromosome seems to be interested in anything having to do with art outside of it's uses digitally. Even at the high school level. EVEN in art education.

So at what point does this change? Because whatever the catalyst, I'd like to use it to wrangle in some boys. Between elementary school level teachers being 96% women, art teachers being 96% women, and now my art students being 99% girls. I'm on estrogen overload. I need some male perspective.

And, why in heck does every middle school student do nothing but copy other middle school students...? and they're so nasty to one another. Damn, I thought I knew a decent amount about the adolescent psyche, but apparently I've got A LOT to learn.

The chicken is kind-of committed but the pig has total commitent!

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
I heard a great commercial on the radio before, it was for a beer, I think Coors, but it was a coach who said "We need a firm commitment from you! It's like a bacon and egg sandwich, the chicken is kind-of committed but the pig has total commitment. We need total commitment!" LMAO.

I'm the egg on the sandwich of life.

Oh and, know what else is weird that I just noticed? The word 'commitment' is spelled with one t, yet the word committed has two. Yet another anomaly of the English language.

Here a flea, there a flea, everywhere a flea flea

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
Tisha has flea's, so...Oli has fleas, and yes Tallulah then, as it stands, would (and does) have flea's. So Thursday night I got about 2 hours of sleep because, as-luck-would-have-it Tallulah is allergic to flea bites. Before Friday, I didn't think it was possible for a dog to be allergic to flea bites, to me, that's like saying a human is allergic to dandruff or something. Anyway, well, she is, and after an entire night of panting, moaning, crying, and itiching, the poor girl got some relief after the vet injected her with some anti-itch magic potion.

So after a week of the dogs itching, and scratching, and after a week of the entire family itching and scratching, (psychosomatic, ya know) we got the problem fixed.

1 trip to Petco for frontline flea serum- $ 50 dollars on debit mastercard
1 trip to the Vet to have your dog's flea shot- $171 dollars on debit mastercard
1 trip to the laundromat to wash all sheets, towels, and quilts - $14 dollars on debit mastercard
A flea-free house-Priceless!

The day after Labor Day

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
While driving through the tree lined streets of the North Shore, sunlit speckles popping through tree branches onto the road and listening to Kid Rocks 'All Summer Long' , I lamented over my last few days of summer vacation. After a second or two of nostalgic repose, and I realized my summer wasn't that good; and for that matter, most of my summers haven't been that good! Thinking on this further, I've come to the conclusion that Fall is really the season I look forward to the most. Fall is the time when I don't mind sitting in traffic, enjoying the moments of stillness while looking at the autumn leaves lining the highways. Fall is the time when I think about pumpkin carving, candy-corn, Halloween decorations. It's the time I allow myself to replay some of my most prized memories of playing in piles of freshly raked leaves and my great grandmothers house, or visiting the cabin of my great aunt in upstate New York, snuggling under the warm hand quilted covers of an icy, fall-cool bed. In addition to the nostalgia I indulge in during the fall, it's also a time of new opportunities and new experiences for me. Each September with the start of a new school year brings the apprehensive-excitement of a new class (or in some cases, classes), new people, new opportunities.

Today I started cleaning out and organizing my art room. Usually, four hours of hard-cleaning would make most cringe, but for me it was nice, dare I say cathartic, and with my feeling of calm, came the normal trepidation, hope, and excitement. and happy thoughts, not of a great summer past, but of a great fall coming.

We chose what we want to see

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
We chose what we want to see...
This is a drawing from one of the students in my class. Can you guess what it is?

What's that? Oh, you want to know the answer?
It's an airplane.

Just remember...however difficult to comprehend, the way others see things is oftentimes very different than the way we see them or chose to see the