Thursday, November 26, 2015

Every day

I just found this quote and it spoke to me.   

" Always desire to learn something useful. "  Sophocles 

I try to live every day with this in mind.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cutting Arts in Schools

I was recently talking with a friend about the schools cutting back on the arts and the strange idea that art should only be done one way... all the beans inside the lines.  For a while, I was an "artist on call" at the local Unified School district.  They called me to come in and do art with the primary grades mostly.  I had to point out to the teachers that the kids who were most creative were usually the ones that did "outside the lines" types of things.  And these were usually the same kids who weren't fitting in well with the academic studies.  I remember telling several teachers that those children would respond better if they (the teachers) could just find a creative/artistic way to explain the same information.  But in today’s schools, that are so over-crowded, it can hardly be expected for teachers to spend extra time trying to reach the right-brained kids.  Sad but true.  The administrators somehow believe that if 10 to 20 percent of the children are not being reached, that is an acceptable loss.  I say with smaller class sizes and more teachers, all the children could be reached; even the right-brained artistic types.  Then no one will be left behind. 
Those children, who simply must get up and walk around, would be allowed the freedom to do more kinesthetic tasks while still learning math and science.  Those children who must HEAR as well as see could be reading aloud or doing oral spelling tests and excel instead of fail.  Those children who prefer quietly reading to absorb material could find a quiet corner to do just that.  This sounds like chaos but I made it work in my home while homeschooling my children.  It can only happen with smaller classes and openness to the way the child learns best and not the cheapest way curriculum publishers can present material. 
What a utopia that would be?  Crowding more children into already over-crowded classrooms to save a buck is just not working and the United States is falling far behind the world in education for this reason.  Cutting arts out of schools to shave off a few pennies is like taking the color out of movies.  Sure the content is still there but there isn’t much interest in it anymore.
Children need art, music, creative writing, and dance to add life and emotion, joy and expression back into the basics of three Rs.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lost and found lines

 I find that selective editing/lost and found line is an enigma.  How do you know when to leave a line unfinished and when not to?  Is it just a feeling?  No hard and fast rules to memorize?  I have left a few lines unfinished but I'm never quite sure if it was the right thing to do or not.  My perfectionist self would like to draw in all lines where they should go… leaving one undone or leaving it off altogether goes against the grain somehow.

Here is what I gleaned from my professor of Clothed Figure Drawing, Sandra Spiedel, Academy of Art University in San Francisco:  "There are no hard and fast rules craved in stone about lines and line quality, but you can leave out the less important lines.  Which are those?  The ones that are not integral to the weight of gesture of the pose.  The main gesture of the pose is integral to the pose, that is, the main gesture carries the bones and muscles that hold the pose together.  For example, if the model is standing on one leg, that leg is holding all the weight, and that leg needs to be firmly planted and delineated in your drawing. The other leg can be drawn more lightly, is not integral to the pose, and some of it might be lost without consequence to the integrity of the overall pose."

Loosing some of the detail helps to point the focus to other parts of the design and drawing.  It also shows the lightness of that part of the body.  Losing some of the line can also give a sense of motion to that part of the body.

It seems also that once we learn the rules of form and gesture it is all right to break them in intelligent and informed way.  It helps to think in terms of light and shadow also.  Lighter lines in the lightand darker heavier lines in the shadows.  Still all the lines seem important to me and I still have trouble choosing to “loose” unimportant lines when drawing.