Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some pics from my weekend upstate

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~!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is that a mouse in the crayons?

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!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ending on a High Note

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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

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

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.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sand (Art)

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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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

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.