Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A few daily drawings

It has been a few days of drawing randomly.  I couldn't figure out what to draw so I just began drawing small circles.  They soon became the eyes of these two characters.

I think I had just finished laughing when I drew this.  I like the possibilities of what could be on that paper Molly is holding tightly.  What could possibly be on the paper that has Molly so happy?

Mizzles for TLC

I have mentioned TLC in a previous blog.  TLC (True Lasing Connections) is an organization in the city of Downey that provides medical services, vision care, dental care, parental education, food and clothing, counseling/ support groups, low cost health insurance, and referral services  children and families in the city and in our school district.  Our school is currently doing a school wide fundraiser for this organization. 
In the past, we have done our "pennies for patients" fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Every year, I create as many of my lovely Mizzles and auction them off to the students.  Normally I create about 5 or 6, but this year I have created 11 with 4 more in the works!  I began working on them little at a time this whole month.  My students have been watching me with questioning eyes as I walked around my classroom sewing socks together. They finally get to see them completed and learn why they have been created.  I thought I'd share them with you, as well.
Many of these are going to be hard to part with.  I love making them because they have so much personality.

Meet Electra:

 She is from Greenland.  She is a professional Fire performer.  During one of her performances, her arms caught on fire. 
In her free time, she gives unwanted teddy bears hugs.  Her motto is "Everyone needs a little love."

Meet La-La:

She is from Canada.  She holds the all-time record for being able to continuously skip.  When she is not playing hockey, she trains poodles how to jump over obstacles for dog show competitions.  Her motto is "Feel the burn!"

 Meet Cha-Cha:

She is from Bermuda.  She loves to dance, especially in the shower.  She is the host of the TV show called "Dancin' Fast."  Her hobby is rescuing seaweed from surfers.

Meet Stella:  Everyone thinks she is a punk or pop singer, but surprises them with her soulful dolphin sounds.  She is known worldwide for her dolphin songs.  To help her unwind, she spends her time drawing the white lines on baseball fields.

Meet Ned: He is super cranky, but wouldn't you be too, if everyone kept confusing you for a girl?  His favorite color is black and loves to throw things from trees.  An expert squirrel whisperer, he answers all of the daily problems and concerns of squirrel society.  In his free time, he enjoys drinking Kool-Aid and then attempting to break through walls.

Meet Whisper:  His movements and speech are as quiet as a whisper.  He loves to observe the world from the shadows and helping those in need.  He thinks of himself as a superhero, but without all of the nonsense powers.  He obtains great joy from making people happy by whispering the words they need to hear.  His favorite hobby is watching grass grow.

Meet Om:  He is a calm, peaceful yogi.  He never gets worked up except when he watches Trix commercials.  That poor rabbit never gets any cereal! He enjoys sitting outside and to ponder the essential question "What should I have for dinner?"  His motto is "Be the pumpkin!"

Meet Molliaire:  He is from France and loves to dig.  He is an expert at making mud pies, but only eats crepes.  His favorite past time is painting the nails of everyone who crosses his path pink with yellow flowers.

Meet Sparkle:  She is the twin sister of Sarg.  She is a fireworks expert and puts on the best shows.  She talks in the pattern of a fireworks show, slow and steady, then extremely rapid and overwhelming.  Her favorite sport is snail racing.

Meet Sarg:  Sparkle's twin brother.  He loves everything and anything that has to do with the military.  He doesn't nothing but go on recon missions, but he always gets caught.  The problem is that he always ends up hiding in areas that are completely red because of his color blindness. 

Last of the list, for now, is Lou Bangoogleski.  He is from Russia and is a professional Scooby-Doo stalker.  He hires Sarg to help him all of the time, but can never figure out why they keep getting caught.  His second passion is greeting every bird that crosses his path with a song.

Hopefully, they will all find nice homes and bring in some money for this great cause.  If anyone would like to donate, you can go to http://www.whsfortlc.bbnow.org/ and donate online. Big thanks if you do!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Volunteering and Accomplishments

About a year ago I signed up to be a volunteer for The Art of Elysium.  It is a lovely organization.  I don't get to volunteer as often as I would like because a lot of the volunteer hours are during the week.  But every so often there are weekend events.   Saturday I had the privilege of making art with some great kids.  I thought it was funny and completely appropriate that the table I worked at was an absolute mess on top and underneath. 

I like volunteering my time.  It feels good to do something that brings joy to others.  I especially enjoy it when the people I help get so happy that they begin to bounce.

This morning added to my great weekend.  I ran my first 8K.  I had seen part of the course the Friday night when I went to pick up my racing packet.  I noticed how hilly it was and became discouraged.  I thought I would only be able to run 3 miles and end up walking the other 2, but I ended up walking only about a quarter of a mile.  In addition, I ran it under an hour.  I felt so sick and amazing when I crossed the finish line.  Now, I'm even more excited about the color run 5k in April.  

 So, here is to fun volunteering experiences and conquering the hills!  Now, it's time to conquer other goals.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Storytelling and the Self Portrait

Yesterday, I had my students begin to share stories of their childhood.  This is an activity I began doing with my students last year in order to get them thinking about various things to incorporate into their self portrait other than the obvious "likes" and "dislikes."  It seems to help them remember the small details that they so easily overlook. Self Portraits are not an easy thing to create.  High School students have an especially difficult time with this assignment because they want to be extremely literal with no reference to history or culture.  Hopefully with all of the questions and stories they are asked to think about and share they will explore outside the boundaries of the literal. 
The self portrait can effectively tell one's story visually when done with thought, insight, and honesty.

Today I was going over my calendar of events and lesson plans.  I exhausted myself just looking at it.  I could think of nothing more than making time to relax, although, I'm not exactly sure when that will be.  At least I can live vicariously through my drawings.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Discovering new mediums and techniques

 This past weekend, I had friends over for creative fun.  I really enjoy getting together with creative minds, or people who are open to playing with art materials.  I am finding a new love for paper collage, or mixed media.  I am also discovering a fondness for gouache paint.  It is really expanding my boundaries as an artist.  I love pen and ink and colored pencil.  I have, also, developed a love for watercolor pencils over the past few months.  I have never been a fan of watercolor.  It is one of the few mediums that I don't have the patience for.  But the watercolor pencils allow me to have a little more control and I feel like I don't have to wait as long for it to dry.  I could be using them completely wrong, but then again, as an artist we use materials in ways that work best for us.
a textured piece created with white glue and acrylic

Yesterday and today, I have been thinking about my story for February and my PB dummy challenge.  I have the story in my head and I can see it like a movie, but that seems to change once I begin writing.  I have yet discovered a writing technique or ritual that is successful for my writing, other than procrastination.  I have always written my best papers when under pressure.  The problem is that I don't have any real deadlines for my personal writing and if I give myself a deadline, I know there are no real consequences for not finishing on time.  But I did come up with a few drawings to illustrate parts of my story that I have been thinking about.  Maybe this is my writing technique?

I might try taking index cards and roughly illustrating my story onto them.  This might help me with the writing a bit.  I know storyboarding helps a lot of writers, but I find that I begin jumping scenes or I can clearly visualize a part of the story I haven't come to yet.  It becomes quite confusing. 

But, as always, I continue to push forward; learning from the process of what works and what doesn't; and finding joy in the world I have created for myself.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I might need help

First, I have began to notice that blogging on a daily basis is becoming too much.  I can see why many bloggers have guest bloggers, or they only post on certain days of the week.  I enjoy posting my daily drawings, but the commentary to go along with them can be exhausting.  Lately, the drawings are just that, drawings. Usually they illustrate something that has currently happened in real life.  I might have to post every other day.  I haven't decided yet.

Second, my squirrel collection grew yesterday.  I adopted more.  I wasn't too thrilled with how they looked at first.  They are not crafted as well as the others I own, but I had to have them anyways. I actually have 6 of these, but one currently lives on the tree I have in my classroom.  By the way, these make a squirrel noise when you squeeze them.  I'm such a big kid. When I was in the store, I kept pressing them, spacing them out in intervals so their sounds became a squirrel chorus.  It drove my sister nuts.  She believes my I have a squirrel problem.  She might be right.  I might need to get help.  But they are too cute and cuddly.
And today's drawing was something inspired by my artichoke spinach dip.  The smell of baking in the kitchen always draws others, especially when their tummies are empty.

Lastly, I think I've come to a new realization about myself this weekend.  I'm really good at making things happen for other people.  I can push through and find solutions to any obstacle that stands in their way.  I thrive seeing the joy and happiness on their faces when they see their visions come to life.  But for some reason I drag my feet when it comes to my own goals.  I work hard; I read and learn about everything I want to accomplish; I know what I need to do, but something always holds me back.  I find excuses or become too busy with other projects.  I love who I am and what I can do for others, but I need to work on making my own dreams and visions become a reality.  I think I'm afraid of being successful.  I know this might sound ridiculous.  I hate failing, also.  But I'm so content with where I am at that I haven't truly dived into what I want to do.  There is just a lot of busy work going on, which is strengthening me, but not really moving me forward. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Awesome kids

Yesterday and today has been really busy.  Yesterday, I spent the day sewing as many of my sock dolls as possible in preparation for the start of our Pennies for TLC.  I'm a bit excited about this year and have decided to embrace the insanity of the competition.  My students love it when I get competitive.  I become a hyper, insane, frantic, overly imaginative teacher. I still have 3 more to finish sewing the body shells, 2 to stuff, and 2 to sew eyes and mouths onto.  Hopefully, I will be able to finish them all this weekend.

Today, I spent the entire day with a mixed group of students from my art club and my friend's environmental club students.  We worked on the environmental club's garden.  I can't remember the last time I did such hard labor.  (Whoa! I just had a moment of deja vu as I typed that last sentence!)  We dug a path in the dirt to lay down a concrete rock pathway.  My body is unbelievably sore, but well worth it.  It turned out beautiful!
We still have plenty of work ahead of us, but little by little this area will become even more beautiful.  I can't wait for the students to finish the 2 murals and the garden!  It is so exciting to see its progress.

I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with such amazing kids.  They have the biggest hearts and are not afraid to work hard.  This particular group of kids have such enthusiasm for this project!  What makes this experience more wonderful is to see the pride they have to beautify their school!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If I were cupid

If you shoot enough arrows into the air, they are bound to hit something, right?  I wonder if cupid ever closes his eyes and allows his arrows to randomly fly into the air.  Could the boundaries or rules of love be erased with this method?  I mean, could it be possible for a hawk and a squirrel to be friends?  If I were cupid, I would try to create the most random matches.  In a way this would be completely cruel because I would only be doing it to see what the results would be.  But at the same time, it would be very nice to see unexpected things happen and be successful.  Sometimes I feel like my art is that grouping of arrows I am releasing into the air and waiting patiently as I watch them land.  Sometimes you shoot too high into the air and you lose sight of it.  Sometimes you don't aim high enough.  And sometimes you shoot so many that you don't know where to look.  This was the random thought that popped into my head as I was trying to figure out what to draw.  I wanted to keep with the whole "Valentine's/ Love" theme, but am having a slow brain day. I have been mixing up student names and having students complete my sentences for me.  I am really tired for some reason, but its Thursday.  I have one more day to get through and then a lovely three day weekend.  Sleeping in will be high on my list of things to do.  Actually, knowing me, that is very unlikely, but I will try.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

hugs and smiles

I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day.  I just feel it is a bit ridiculous that one day of the year is focused on love.  Shouldn't everyday be filled with love?  But I do have to admit that I enjoy seeing the surprised looks on the faces of my students who received unexpected gifts from secret admirers, or friends. 
I began thinking about my new Mizzle.  I have decided she is a heart healer because she has this biological looking pattern on her.  Keeping that in mind, I looked up names that meant heart or healer.  I found two I like.  The first name is Corliss and it means good-hearted/ carefree.  The other name is Jalen, which means healer/ tranquil.  I'm leaning more towards Corliss, but would love feedback from anyone who has any thoughts on this.   Here is yesterday's drawing:

Today's drawing is a continuation of the love theme.  I love hugs, but when they are from friends and family.  I'm not too fond of random people touching me.  But hugs are great!  They provide so much healing and comfort.  I think it's just a natural reaction for me to immediately hug someone I care about when they are having a bad day. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nature Inspired

Saturday's artist play date really stuck with me this weekend.  One of my friends has an assignment for his architecture class where he needs to create an artwork from items found in nature.  I went with him to a park to find interesting branches and leaves.  During our hunt of curled branches I found these pieces of tree bark.  They were just so appealing I had to take them.  I plan on painting something on them.  Maybe I'll create mini portraits of my characters? I'll definitely post results.
To continue with the nature inspired theme, today's drawing is of Larry sculpting with branches.  He's made a heart with the branches in preparation for Valentine's day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekend full of art

Yesterday, I met with my illustrators group for an artist's play date.  We brought various materials and began being creative.  It was so much fun to just play with materials.  I decided to use a piece of cardboard and collaged various torn pieces of paper.  For the girl, I used white gouache to create her silhouette and then used watercolor pencils on top.  I love the textures the paper created.  I have always been attracted to the edges of torn paper.  Something about it draws me to it. 

Today was busy with various chores, but I had another experience with the squirrel in my parent's back yard.  Her name is Striker and I went to feed her nuts.  I had set some on the tree and I held one in my hand for her to take.  But she came at it from a weird angle and knocked the nut out of my hand, so she kept taking the nuts I had set on the tree.  She would pretend to come get the nut from my hand, and then she would end up grabbing one on the tree.  I stood there in awe of how close she stayed near me.  She was the inspiration for today's drawing.
I even had time to do a quick watercolor version of one of my daily drawings.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What if Mizzles had real facial features?

Continuing with my extremely active day yesterday, I ended up creating this drawing while I was waiting for my yoga class to begin. 
"Uh, what do we do now?"
This semester for my beginning art and drawing students, we are focused on portraits.  We spent a few days drawing eyes.  Today, we took notes on how to draw and shade the nose.  After spending 3 hours of drawing noses, I began thinking "what would my characters look like if they had real facial features?"  It definitely changes their feel.
It is a little funny to see them this way, but they look too human-like for me.  What I have always loved about these characters is that no matter what expression I draw them with, they continue to have a loving, caring, friendly quality about them.  They are never too scary or threatening.  They also maintain a look of innocence

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Busy little bee

Socks, socks, socks, socks!  This week I have decided to get ready for Pennies for Patients, which is my school's fundraising event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The past few years we have been one of the top schools in the nation who raise money for them.  In past years, I have made an abundance of sock dolls and sell them.  I didn't participate last year because I was super busy with thesis paper.  This year, our ASB has decided that we will do the fundraiser for a program in our district that helps students in need here at home.  I am really happy with this decision because the students will get to truly see the impact of their fundraising.

 I began creating some of my sock creatures yesterday.  Today I was able to complete 4 of them.  One, I promised to a former student.  Another was one I had wanted to make for my own collect.  The last two, I swear, are for this event coming up in a few weeks.  I just need to come up with names and a cute little background story about them.  I was able to sew the body shells of 2 more, so hopefully I will have those finished tomorrow.  My department thinks I'm crazy.  As my students are drawing, I walk around with some kind of sewing or crochet project in my hands.  There are times when it seems like I am constantly creating. 

For my daily drawing, I decided to rework a previous drawing, but I ended up not liking it.  I began giving the squirrel more texture and shading, but now the sock looks out of place.  I think if I color the sock the image will change.  Because I wasn't happy with this drawing, I created another.  I like this one a lot more, but need to darken up the surrounding areas to make it look more like the inside of a tree or a drey.

And now that I have finished writing this blog I can say I've had a pretty productive day.
Here is a photo of the sock doll I made for myself.
I still need to give it a name, but I am looking forward to drawing it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No! Wait! I'm in here!

Trapped inside, all he could do was watch.  His opportunity of escape seemed to diminishing before him.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Have you seen this sock?

Yesterday, I hand fed the squirrel in my parent's back yard.  It was a fun experience.  I really wish my dad had a zoom camera to take photos of me actually feeding it, but I did get some close ups of the squirrel itself on my camera phone.  This squirrel has been a frequent visitor for a few years now.  There are other squirrels that come for food, but we know this one personally. It is the only one that will allow us to come close to it.  My sister named it Striker.  We thought it was a "he" for the longest time until I took photo of it and saw her underside.  Here she is in the tree eating or watching me carefully.  Even though I had food and she let me be close to her, she was still leery of me and my actions.
My story has always been about socks and the mysteries that surround them.  In my original story line, I explained in detail the magic behind the socks, but someone made a point to me that magic never needs explaining...it's just magic.  So, I have been rewriting my story and it has changed a lot from the original round.  Today, I thought it would be funny if one of my characters bribed the squirrel with nuts to help them find the sock, or if they were just asking them if they had seen it.