Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Recognizing Effort

                My appreciation for art is so-so.  There are certain paintings that appeal to me for various reasons - and perhaps on a subconscious level, it is the lighting and balance and whatever other techniques are used by the artist.  Usually, it is the subject of the painting.  That is what I am focused on, not the colors, tones, hues or layers for example.  All the detail that is put into a professional painting seems overwhelming to me and actually seems to detract from the beauty that I had seen there initially.

            In college, I once took an art appreciation class - just to force myself to understand and hopefully appreciate it more.  It backfired. I was so put out by the symbolic gestures and the history, it's a wonder I didn't drop the class.  I would struggle with these foreign concepts and tried to apply them to whatever piece of work we were doing.  I tried really hard.  Or so I believed.  My work and effort were below average and therefore so were my grades . . . . until one assignment that we did in crayon.

            The subject was a milk can.  Our instructor said to pick out all the colors that were reflecting off the milk can and underneath the surface and this and that and lighting, shades and hues and . . .  my poor confused brain.  I really didn't understand what he was talking about.  As I wasn't doing particularly well in that class anyway, I decided to "fake" it.  I got out my box of crayons and started scribbling a variety of colors over what would become my milk can.  I scribbled one area with a white crayon and one with a black crayon to that when I went over the entire milk can with my grey crayon, some of it would appear lighter and some would be darkened. 

            I was in the midst of covering all the scribbles with my gray crayon when the teacher came around and complimented me on my good work.  Was he for real?  Did he really believe that I had really seen the blue, orange and green scribbles in the can?  I wasn't even trying.  I hated creating "art" and I just didn't even care anymore.  That was the day I stopped trying to better myself in that particular class.  My grade point average had gone up after that.  It felt like a slap in the face, really. It didn't seem appropriate that I would receive the message: "you'll do a whole lot better if you don't try"  That's not right!

            I did not post last week as I had devoted so much of my time to my payroll final - which by the way, I never did finish. I did try.  Boy, did I try.  I burned out more hours on this one assignment than I had any other in my entire lifetime - or so it seemed. My final grade for the class came as a surprise. I was pretty certain that my instructor would not be going through each and every single answer of each and every single student.  Apparently, I did enough that he did know I had at least tried (on the final, excel would not accept the wrong answer - so it was either come up with the correct answer or leave it blank)

            I am more satisfied with my grade and my accomplishments that I earn.  I'm not an accountant yet.  I don't like numbers.  I don't like business.  But I do enjoy learning.  I'm grateful for the opportunities I have been given that I may accomplish even more.  Perhaps one day I'll actually develop a love for my "career".  Right now I'm just tolerating it.

            I've finished payroll and am now taking two more accounting classes.  I think they will be easier than payroll.  I don't know if my instructors will be as easy as my last instructor.  I suppose I'll have a better understanding later this week.

Monday, October 10, 2016

At Least She Supports the Arts

            Roland has two daughters, age 22 and 20.  When they were younger, Frances liked to draw and paint - mostly paint, but she learned a variety of artistic methods.  Pamprin was very theatrical.  She enjoyed singing and performing.  Both were skilled at what they enjoyed.

            Their biological mother had enrolled each in various classes according to their interests. Pamprin had performed in the Salt Lake  children's choir.  Her mother also drove her to several auditions for commercials. Frances had entered several of her paintings into contests.  One she had painted of Adam and Eve.  It hung on our wall for a few weeks before she took it down to enter in another contest.  We never saw it again.

            When I first started blogging, I hadn't mentioned the true identities of Roland's ex or his two oldest girls - or any of us really.  There have been so many complications with the ex that my mentioning their names would have probably just complicated things further.  We have wanted to stay in touch, but evidently, the feeling is not mutual.  That doesn't mean that we've forgotten them or don't think about them.

            They had moved from Utah to Hawaii three years before I started my blog. They must have moved to Kansas (or maybe Missouri) just shortly after we had moved to West Valley.  Through Google and referring links, I have discovered that Pamprin has won awards playing Kala in the musical of Tarzan and now performs as an Alto in a church choir.  Unlike me, who have joined the church choir solely for body count, Pamprin really does have a nice voice (or I assume she sings even better than the last time I heard her) Frances is a student at the Kansas City Art Institute.  It's nice to know that they were able to pursue their dreams.  I hope that they continue and can use their talents to their benefit.  

            Still would be nice if we could learn these things from them.  I hope that one day they will have the desire to reach out to their dad or brothers or even Jenna - who really doesn't know them, but knows of them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Saturday Went Well

            I actually received quite a few compliments on how well Super Saturday went and how many enjoyed themselves.  That’s nice.  But I really can’t take credit for any of it – except perhaps the date change. 

            I thought the first activity I was in charge of had a better turn out – but maybe it was the same.  I didn’t interact the way I had with the first. 

            We had four stations – two tables with fabric and sewing machines; two tables that held blocks and paint; my station was a single table which held journals, journaling ideas and hand-outs; was it two or three tables spread out for the popcorn ball demonstration?

            The older sisters watched as Sharon demonstrated how she makes popcorn balls.  We had 8 – 10 sisters signed up for the blocks and a couple of stragglers who hadn’t signed up for anything gravitate to the potholders.

            I had brought a sewing machine in addition to Pamela and Scarlett bringing theirs.  Unfortunately, I did not have the hookups with mine.  I just assumed everything was in the box.  Even when I took it out, I wasn’t thinking that it would need a plug or pedal.  (So why do I even have a sewing machine? you ask.  I obviously don’t bother with it if I’ve had it in a box.  The truth is, I don’t sew, but Roland’s mother does.  We had it for her)

            Kristin went home to get her machine.  I think we had three sisters sewing potholders.  Scarlett, Lisa and Mary came to my station while I rattled on about journal keeping.  Natalie had her ipad and went around taking pictures of the various activities – which I am very grateful for.  No one had asked her to.  She just did it of her own incentive.  She posted the activities to facebook.  I am so appreciative to her.

            I’m appreciative to my whole committee actually.  They all pitched in and helped set up.  Pamela had had this great calling before me and so volunteered to assist with Super Saturday, as she would have done had she still been in this position.  And Sharon says she’s full of ideas.  I don’t think she wants to be on the committee though.  She starts her day very early and ends it before our meetings our wrapped up – or so I believe.  She pushes herself and then gets tired.

            I was sad to have missed the bishopric wives luncheon.  I knew it would be my last.  Roland was released from being a counselor.  Actually both counselors were.  Roland has been called to a stake position.  He’ll be starting his new calling this next Sunday, I guess.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two Different Art Classes

Jenna has so many interests.  She enjoys dancing, singing, telling stories, arts & crafts, drawing pictures, coloring . . .

Butterfly on a sunflower
my Mothers’ Day gift this year

         When I was younger, my mom had me enrolled in dance lessons, piano lessons, swim lessons . . . I wanted that for Jenna.  But we could never seem to afford much.

         I did find an inexpensive dance class and tumbling class through the school district.  She saw it as an opportunity to socialize and didn’t take her dance seriously but did enjoy the tumbling part. 

         I had her in an inferior swim class.  She learned more about swimming when she was only a year old and the two of us took a class together.  I had also enrolled her in a theatre class as I figured there was dancing and singing and I didn’t expect that theatre would go overboard with expensive costumes as many dance classes do.

Both my cousin Michelle and my sister-in-law Sunny have offered Art classes and children’s workshops for several years.  I don’t know that I paid much attention except for the past five years.  We couldn’t even afford those – but this year they both had some good deals. 

The first class I took her to was located at an art studio downtown.  Michelle introduced her class to self-portraits. She told each child to lie in a position that represented his or her personality.  

Jenna chose a position that represented jumping.  She placed her feet one behind the other and held her hands in the air.  Her head was facing forward when I drew her.  Her body appeared much thinner than she actually is and there wasn’t a line to separate her feet.

On the first day the child painted their hair and skin parts.  Some started on the face, but not many.  I can’t remember if Jenna started her shirt that first or second day.  She decided to make her head face the side instead of the front.  What she had painted to be hair become mud “that had hit her in the face – and her arms had been up to stop it.” Okay, whatever.

Michelle helped Jenna with her face.  I think the reason that Jenna made her face on the side was so she would only have to do one eye.

On the third day the children added yarn to the hair in their paintings.  Jenna’s few hair strands were the same exact color as the paint.  The next day Michelle reminded the kids that all the strands of hair in their actual heads were not the same color and suggested they use yarns of different tones – which Jenna did.  Her head hair actually does look all of one color to me.  Some hairs may be darker.  I haven’t noticed any highlights.

Michelle also encouraged students to find pictures or decorations that might match their personalities.  Jenna – who felt she had messed up on the green shirt she had been wearing the first day – decided that she would turn her green shirt into a camouflage shirt.  She hadn’t quite grasped the collage thing that Michelle had mentioned and stuck to her camouflage theme gluing leaves and mossy looking yarn. 

I asked her what the camouflage had to do with her personality.  She said she would like to be and is interested in chameleons.  That is true.  But she has much stronger interests.  If I had been successful in explaining what Michelle had suggested, her collage may have come across more like this:

Instead she changed her self-portrait again.  The pointed foot on top of the flat foot made it appear as though she had a really big toe in comparison to the rest.  Michelle suggested that she retrace her other leg.  When I had traced Jenna, she was barefoot; when Michelle traced her, she had a shoe on. 

It worked.  One shoe off, one shoe one.  That fits her personality.  And the two shades of blue make it look more like pants and her size rather than the skinny deformity that I had pathetically traced.  

The children also painted plaster molds that the instructors had made of each of their hands.  Jenna and the youngest girl were the only two in the class who had their palms up.  Everybody else had them down.  I am happy that Jenna had hers different from the norm.

Michelle took pictures of all of her students next to their art work (plaster hands excluded as most were still drying).  Jenna did not have her hair in pigtails the first day.  She really had been wearing a green top and denim shorts that first day.  Her pose is still different from her self-portrait and definitely different from what I had traced.

         I wasn’t looking forward to taking her cardboard self home on the train and bus.  I had brought two large plastic bags so as pieces didn’t fall off along the way.  But as it turned out I didn’t have the opportunity to take it home that day.  The entire class will have their portraits on display in the Kindred Spirit Exhibit at Art Access July 18 – Aug 8. 

         Jenna’s second class was the following week.  Sunny gave Jenna some personal instruction as we were often early and had each child paint a picture of a photo or other small picture they had that they wished to be on canvas.

         Sunny’s method of teaching is so different from Michelle’s.  She taught the children that they could create backgrounds and eyes with different strokes and different brushes.  They painted around the table whereas most of Michelle’s class time was spent on the floor (or standing up)

         Sunny likes crafts and Jenna LOVES crafts.  When the children were through painting and waiting for the final touches to dry, Sunny had another surprise for them (which had nothing to do with their paintings) Each child got to make something out of pipe cleaners and beads.  Jenna made two ladybugs:

And this was her final project from Sunny’s class:

We had the painting when we boarded the bus.  We had it when we arrived in Kearns to watch my niece and nephew.  We left the painting at Kayla’s house when we took the bus home, as I didn’t wish to carry it in the rain.  It’s still at Kayla’s because we forgot to get it when we had gone out yesterday and actually had a car. 

Roland has not yet seen either painting.

I feel so blessed to have diversity and to be able to expose Jenna to different methods and styles.  She had fun in both classes.  Thank you Sunny and Michelle! 



Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's No Longer a High School - Dreamathon!

We had scheduled a dentist appointment for Jenna on Friday afternoon.  

Fortunately I had contacted the school the day before. 

 Jenna noticed the bus go by and I took my cell phone out to see what time it was.  

It went off in my hands.  That was weird.

I saw that it was the school calling.  

I was told that Jenna’s class would be going on a filed trip and wouldn’t be back at designated time and that I might as well keep her home.  

When I repeated the words “field trip” into the phone, Jenna started crying.  She wanted to go.

I called the dentist to reschedule and Jenna and I got on the next bus and she went to her field trip and not to the dentist.

She explained a little bit about her day – not with great detail as she does sometimes.  

There was a piece on the news about “Dreamathon” – where she had gone on her field trip.

I can’t explain why my back was turned as she continued to stare at the screen before yelling, “This is it, mom!  This is where my class went today!”

I was too slow at turning around, but had looked it up online.  

Apparently Granite High is no longer used as a high school.

I wasn’t aware that the building is more than 100 years old.

So today it houses the Dream Press Dreamathon featuring art, music, storytelling, etc.  I’d never heard of it.  Jenna had!  

She played our tour guide on Saturday.

I didn’t count all the rooms that we’d gone into. 

I think I was most impressed with the converted lockers.

An explosion of art was exhibited on two floors. 

Jenna may have enjoyed it more with her class than with her two old parents. 

She likes to dream

She has a great imagination!

I am so happy that she shares her enthusiasm with us.

It really is amazing!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Women of Righteousness - Our Role in the Work of Salvation

         I’m not good at taking notes at conferences or Spiritual meetings.  I get so caught up in trying to get the exact quote or comment or whatever that I end up missing on so much more.

Last night there was a Relief Society stake activity called “Women of Righteousness” featuring artist Megan Rieker.  I didn’t think the event well advertised  - at least in our ward.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect.

Turned out to be a truly eventful night.  And I learned things – not just about the artist paintings but discoveries within the past as well as my own self.

I’d taken an art appreciation class several years ago in order to appreciate fine art more than I do.  It backfired.  I often rolled my eyes when learning about contrast and balance and was more unappreciative about the entire fine art world long before the class was over. I started looking at paintings and wore less-than-flattering expressions.  I didn’t have an eye for art before I took the class.  I still don’t.  I appreciate hearing about it almost as much as I love algebra – though I do understand the concept of art a lot better than any mathematical terms. 

The paintings themselves weren’t as appealing to me as the stories behind them or choosing the model or the prayer involved.

The first painting she showed us was of Ester.  While explaining it, she shared a quote from one of James E. Faust talks taken from the October 1995 priesthood session of conference. (Interesting that it was from Priesthood)

“The Lord has a great work for each of us to do. You may wonder how this can be. You may feel that there is nothing special or superior about you or your ability.”

As I was following along with her reading, I thought, “You’ve got that right.  Nothing special about my talents that I would be called to be the enrichment leader.  That is crazy.”

“The Lord can do remarkable miracles with a person of ordinary ability who is humble, faithful, and diligent in serving the Lord and seeks to improve himself.”

Well, I’ve got two out of three.   I’m definitely not humble.  Not even close.  Though I feel I may be closer than to where I was 10 – 25 years ago.  Is that why I’ve been called to this position?  So I can humble myself?  There’s an interesting thought.

         I hadn’t actually noticed too many sisters from my ward.  It was during the Ester painting when Joni came in and sat down next to me.  She had gone to the wrong building.  

         Our stake center is actually the smallest stake center I have ever seen – smaller than any of the ward houses.  It doesn’t have a font for baptisms.  That is in another building we refer to as “the south building” Most stake activities are held at the south building rather than the stake building – but that’s beside the point.

         Joni made a few comments throughout Megan’s discourse.  I really didn’t mind.  It’s usually me that is making remarks.  I did not share what thoughts were already in my head.

The next painting was the one that appeared on the card that was handed out to each sister as she walked through the door.  Megan kept referring to it as “The Five Wise” but the flip side of the card says, “The Hour Draws Nigh”

She talked about the work that went into this piece that had taken over two years to create.  She took photographic pictures to illustrate the steps that she took.

Meanwhile Sally DeFord (along with Valarie Olson) was creating a musical piece called “The Painter’s Hand” and was looking for illustrations to go along with it.   Megan then showed us this video

At the conclusion she expressed though the steps may have been important to the video, she didn’t feel like the entire painting itself actually related.  But I think it does. 

Five wise virgins waiting for the master who can make a masterpiece of all of them if they but will it.  The painting expresses that they do.  They are just five of his masterpieces.

          Megan then moved onto a painting which had the name of the pioneer woman, and she read from her journal (the women’s) but I for the life of me cannot find the name of the woman.  It started with a J.  You can read a passage of her journal entry at this site along with other illustrations of Megan’s beautiful work.

         No, I’m not trying to promote her work.  I never even heard of Megan Rieker until last night. There are more to view than what I saw last night, and if the reader would like to know what they look like, I've chosen a link option.

         I suppose the painting that touched me the most was the last one that she showed.  It wasn’t framed as she had just barely finished. (reader can find the steps on Megan Rieker's facebook page) It wasn’t even the painting itself as what I had learned or had been reminded of.

         The painting was/is of two girls on a rocky path.  One is holding onto the iron rod and reaching her hand out towards the other. 

         When someone mentions “Strait and Narrow” I always think of “straight”.  I supposed most of us do.  But Megan shared the definition of “being difficult” – which made sense. Why wouldn’t it be difficult?

          Her painting actually reminded me of the pioneers’ struggles as their path was most often difficult – climbing over rocks and boulders, enduring wintery snows and cold and such.  I had never thought of it that way before, but I suppose they had their own metaphorical iron rod.  And it wasn’t an easy grasp for many of them.
         I sat next to a sister from another ward that shares our building.  The geographical boundaries in this stake are NOT on a grid.  They are broken up and very weird in my opinion.  Some of their ward boundaries overlap into our ward boundaries.  Several of their ward members are sandwiched between our ward members.  Strange.  I personally think the stake boundaries ought to be redone.  But that is just my opinion.  I don’t have (nor will ever have) the authority to change them.

         I realize that changing the boundaries would upset the membership a little bit – but in time it would be worth the change and finding new friends.  Often Mormons are so caught up in going to meetings and such that they overlook social opportunities.  We get caught up in a routine and robotic moves that we often don’t notice “the forest for the trees”

I’d never met this particular sister before, but she actually lives closer to me than the few members I did see from my own ward.  I asked Sister Gustar if she would take me home. She has put herself in a position of playing chauffeur and nobody else seemed to mind. I actually live closer to her house than the other two from her ward that she dropped off at their homes. I have often walked by her house without even having known it.

         Overall, it was a really worthwhile night.  I not only saw "women of inspiration" through the paintings.  I have met many as well. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Design by Jenna

            My daughter LOVES arts and crafts.  In school she made a paper mask of a female skull.  She is quite proud of it and so wanted me to have my own skull, which she tried to make identical to her own.

            She decided that when we boarded the bus this morning, we would hold up our masks over our faces.  She made up lyrics on the way to the bus stop and sung them to the tune “Carol of the Bells”

            She made me learn her song before the bus came so that we could sing the song before we held up our masks.  I learned the song but told her that we would not be able to sing its entirety before boarding the bus.  And so she sung only the last line as we held up our masks.  Our bus driver laughed.

            Twin Skeletons, Twin Skeletons
            Found here and there
            Twin Skeletons, Twin Skeletons
            Both have yellow hair

            Twin Skeletons, Twin Skeletons
            Both wear a flower
            Twin Skeletons, Twin Skeletons
            Together we have power

            Twin Skeletons, Twin Skeletons
            Each wearing braces
            Twin Skeletons, Twin Skeletons
            We have skulls for faces

Okay, maybe it’s not exact, and the tune did change a bit as she sang.  But you get the jest.

            I love my daughter’s enthusiasm.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Really Great Theatre Teacher

         Jenna LOVES to sing, and dance, draw, learn, explore . . . I have wanted so badly to enroll her in dance lessons, or music lessons, art classes , etc.  I have even considered sports when she has shown interest – but it was always out of reach financially - even on those rare times when it looked like the class itself might be in reach, I knew that the costumes (or uniforms) would get out of hand.

          Last summer I had the opportunity of enrolling her in a peewee theatre class taught by a gal who had instructed children’s theatre in New York.  Jenna would have an opportunity – not only to act, but to sing, to dance and perform and hopefully make new friends.

          The play is never done in its entirety.  The instructor has been given only six to eight weeks to rehearse before putting on the show. 
          We met for eight weeks initially.  One hour per week.  Realizing that she would need more time, she made arrangements for the children to do their dialogues on a Saturday at her home.  I thought that was so awesome of her to be willing to do the extra work.

          So the first play was “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.  Six parts and seven children showed up – four being girls.  And the “Charlie Brown” has two girls with speaking parts.  Four boy parts.

          Two girls were asked to split up lines for Lucy.  Jenna chose to read for Schroeder.  The youngest of the cast was asked to read for Linus – and actually sounded just like the cartoon character.  That night the parts were cast for Linus and Lucy.  Who in the world would she get to play Charlie Brown?

          None of the three boys seemed like the right candidate.  The four (going on five) year old had been cast as Linus leaving a boy who was not so fluent in English, and one who appeared to have ADD as he was all over the place or hiding behind his mother.  I understood what had possessed his mother to enroll him, but was seriously wondering if he’d be able to pull it off.

          The not so fluent was cast as Snoopy – and the instructor saw great potential with casting our ADD as Schroeder.  He was fabulous.  Knew all of his lines.  Stayed on page.  I was actually very impressed.

          Jenna had read for Schroeder and Sally – and because Sally was the only girl’s part left, Jenna memorized her part (actually she had started memorization on all of the parts except for Charlie Brown)

          After two of the girls dropped out (they had attended the first night only) the instructor thought she could split up Sally’s part among the rest of the cast and asked if Jenna would be interested in playing Charlie Brown. 

“He’s the main part!” I told Jenna.  Her enthusiasm did not match my own.  How could she possibly play a boy?  She didn’t.  We made Charlie Brown a girl.  Instead of dreaming about a little red-headed girl, we changed Jenna’s line to say that she liked a red-headed boy

But then it was realized that Sally’s part was needed.  And so the instructor asked a neighbor to take her class – she learned her lines and dance numbers and songs in just four weeks.

There was no costume expense – it was whatever is in your closet.  I liked that. The shirt that Jenna wore was one we had purchased the prior year as I had enrolled her in a dance class and the instructor provided us shirts to make jagged edges for the “George of the Jungle” number they’d be performing.

All of the class members pulled it off.  Unfortunately Jenna didn’t get to sing and dance as much as the other children (it wouldn’t make sense for her to sing “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”) and she never got to learn her solo because of the time frame.  But she did a beautiful monologue and she actually did very well.

Her professionalism was surprising as she was truly sick that night.  Not a contagious sick necessarily.  She had just eaten something that hadn’t agreed with her.  And the drive to the school only added car sickness.

She had puked twice on our way into the school – did an awesome performance – and then made a b-line to the garbage can to heave up some more.  Poor child really had nothing left to throw up.

School House Rock was announced for the next production.  Excitedly Jenna made her approval known.  But because of the location of the school and my inability to see at night, I said I didn’t think I would be able to keep her in.

I was so touched when the instructor offered to come get her and drop her off.  I could take her – that was no problem.  But my house is not on the way home to the instructor’s house (hers would actually be on the way to mine) and so I made arrangements to drop Jenna off at the school and meet her instructor near her house after class.  It worked out well except for one day when I gave the instructor the option of keeping Jenna home or asking the instructor to drive out of her way to drop her off – she chose the latter.  And I feel blessed.

The class hours had been extended to an hour and a half a week instead of just one hour. School house rock didn’t seem to have any specific roles except for Tom – the teacher (also played by a girl) – though they all had speaking parts and solos.  And the attendance had gone from five to fourteen.  My husband filmed most of it as I was laughing so hard I couldn’t seem to keep the camera still.

The last play that they did was “Alice in Wonderland”.  They had moved to a high school much nearer to my home (as well as the instructors) and I have been excited about that. But because of earlier schedule conflict and lack of funds, Jenna did not participate – although Jenna and I went and saw it the same week Randy and Carrie were married. It turned out really cute. 

All of the children wore black with quick costume change on top. The instructor had allowed three different girls to play Alice – one at a time during various scenes.  The costumes were a bit more elaborate than whatever was in the closet, but still kept simple.  The kids pulled it off rather nicely.  I was impressed.

I promised Jenna that we’d put her in the next show – Wizard of Oz.  Am looking forward to attending classes again.  It appears that they will rehearse just six weeks (nine hours) though before they put on their final production.