Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Agglomeration

I am trying to organize what I do into more manageable chunks.  I'm not sure how successful this is going to be, but it might prove to be easier.  I've decided to do a summary of my daily drawings on Sundays instead of posting every day or every other day.  My art club vice president liked the name Sunday Agglomeration for its title. I will still post a few other days during the week, but I think I want to designate them topics.  I think one might be a continuation of artists and art that has inspired or currently inspires me. The other might be a random thoughts day.  I'm not sure, but little steps will eventually turn into long strides.

Here is this week's first Sunday Agglomeration:

Some of my daily drawings this week are not influenced by anything in particular. For some reason, this week has been a week of very intense dreams, which means I wake up more exhausted before I find my way to bed. My dreams are like adventure movies. I'm always searching for something, but I never find the answer. But thanks to the amount of detail my dreams have, and the intensity of the search I wake up drained of energy. Coffee and Mint tea have become my best friends this week. This was my inspiration for this drawing. I want nothing but to jump into the biggest pile of soft pillows and fall gently asleep.
I had no idea what to draw, but I desperately needed to draw something.  Life decided to throw me a curveball that I wasn't expecting AT ALL!  I wasn't thinking of the baseball analogy when I drew this, but clearly my subconscious was.

The rest of the week's drawings were not inspired by anything in particular.  They were just quick drawings I put together.

During the week, I had my Art Club students play with Shrink-A-Dink paper.  Do you remember Shrink-A-Dinks?  They were my favorite thing to make as a kid.  Needless to say, my students had lots of fun drawing on the paper and then watching them shrink in the toaster oven.  I traced my drawing of Stargazer in tree pose, colored it, and then turned it into a pin.  This gave me a great idea.  I can turn a lot of my daily drawings into key chains, and pins.  I might even make earrings.  I'm still playing with it, but I a bit excited.  I tried out a few others and shrank them.

Happy with the results I began tracing more of my drawings.  Here are the ones I need to color and shrink. I haven't decided what these will be.  I think for now I might stick to key chains.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Self Portrait

The Self Portrait can be a nerve wrecking assignment because you are forced to look at yourself for long periods of time.  I was nice to my students and allowed them to work from photos.  But I remember having to create dozens of self portraits using a mirror; staring at myself, watching myself breathe, and forced to see all of my flaws.  I remember not liking the drawings at all.  Perhaps it was because I didn't have the amount of focus that I have now.  It could also be that I just wasn't comfortable being the person I was. Or maybe I just didn't know who I was. 
The four blue self portraits are from my sophomore year in college.  I believe I used charcoal on blue toned paper.  The proportions are so off, but I these were my first portraits drawing form a mirror.  If I remember correctly, we had to draw ourselves from different angles: straight forward, 3/4 view, looking up, looking down, and a large portrait including the body. I never liked these drawings, but do artists ever like their own work? 
My second year teaching at Warren, I was given my Intermediate Drawing class.  It was my first time teaching an advanced level. In my ambitious excitement, I decided it would be great for students to create portraits that really explore emotions.  Each student had to choose one emotion and draw 5 people expressing that emotion.  The portraits were about 3x5 or 4x6 in size.  They used Prismacolor colored pencils on a thick vellum paper.  This is one of the last self portraits I have done in quite a long time. Here is the sample I created of the emotion confused.

It has taken some pretty big obstacles and life lessons for me to accept a lot about myself.  But I feel the journey of getting to that acceptance of oneself is vital.  Without that journey, we might never care to ask ourselves those important questions which lead to revealing answers.
I sometimes wish my students would have this same curiosity about themselves when they create their self portraits.  But I expect too much from teenagers, who spend most of their time making themselves be like those around them.  They search for a group to belong to and do what it takes to erase any individuality.  A funny occurrence that I see happening is that there is a group of students who try to maintain their individuality, but they try so hard that they just end up looking like all of the others.  And never point this out to them! They get really upset when you point it out.

I'm not exactly sure what I did this year, but my students rocked their self portraits.  Normally, I get a lot of portraits that look nothing like a human being.  But this year, my students did a great job.  Plus, there were many who pushed themselves to go beyond the typical "likes" and hobbies.  They really tried to capture something more about themselves. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Color Run

Sunday, April 22nd was the Color Run.  This was my first time participating in it and I LOVED IT!  I am looking forward to running it again!  I enjoyed running this event because by the time I was finished it didn't feel like I just ran 3 miles.  I wanted to go back and run through the course a few more times!

Waiting for the race to begin.  Look at that sea of white!
What we looked like before the race began.  Always, always get a before picture!
The first section was yellow.  It was really amazing to see a cloud of each color as you ran the course.

The only downfall was that a line would form at the color point, but if you wanted to really get color you had to get in close

My friend after the purple/blue section.  This was our favorite section.  The people really got into covering us with color.

This was a fun random picture I took of the next section.  It is some random person getting hit with color.

And our "after" shot!  We look good in color!

My little sister and I after she complete the course with her friends.

Every 15 minutes, a little distance from the finish line, people would throw the color into the air to create a color cloud.

I was trying to get a photo of my sister and I accidentally got into this woman's photo.  She insisted that we take a real photo together!
This will have to become a color version later, but this is my daily drawing inspired by the Color Run.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mixed Media

I know it may sound a bit odd that during my breaks I'm excited to spend a few days making art.  You are probably asking, "Don't you do that already?" The answer is yes, I do.  But there is a big difference from being an Art Teacher during the day and making time during my prep, or at home to work on my personal illustrations to being able to stay home and be an artist all day.  I love being an Art Teacher, but sometimes I wish I could just be an artist all day.  Note: I said "sometimes."  I know myself and I would get bored being home all of the time, or in a studio all day.  I, also, know that a lot of my inspiration comes from being around my students. So, time away from work and the projects I take on there is appreciated.  Here is what I did:
This is my latest watercolor pencil piece.
  I have fallen in love with some of my daily ink drawings and have decided they would be better in color.  I'm thinking of using this on my business card.

I really love look and feel of mixed media pieces and I never thought I could be very successful with it.  But I have decided it is important for me to play with because of the nature of how they are created.  You start out with your materials.  Sometimes you start with a plan of where to begin and where it might end.  But when you actually begin piecing it together, it morphs on its own; choices are constantly being made; and if you completely give in to the experience, your mind becomes quiet. Then you come back to reality and there is a piece of artwork before you.  With the collage, sometime the work looks bad; sometimes it is alright; and many times it surprises you with its perfect balance and harmony. For me, it is not about the end result when I create them.  For me, it is about quieting my mind and allowing it to escape from the to-do lists, dreams, wants and worries.

I'll end today with a few of my favorite quotes, which are posted next to my computer:

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." 
-Scott Adams

"Creativity is not rearranging; it is transformation."
-Viola Spolin

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

365 Daily Creativity Journal Results

I blogged last week about this book I bought as a way to inspire my students and develop their creativity.  It always amazes me how challenging it is for many of my students to use their imagination and creativity.  They seem to freeze in place when I ask them to come up with ideas and thumbnails because drawing is involved.  Mostly, I am talking about my beginning students, but this affects some of my advanced students as well.  The only difference is that even though they struggle with creativity they have a passion to keep trying trusting that I won't allow them to fail.  So, you can only imagine the whining that occurred when I informed them of spring break homework.  For my beginning students, it was an extra credit opportunity.  Unfortunately, the students who needed the extra credit didn't do...I'm not surprised.  A little sad because I gave all of the students the full 20 points for just completing this assignment, regardless of what it looked like.  But I was impressed with what was turned in.  Some of the pieces were as I expected they would be...very literal translations of the prompt.  But some did manage to surprise me with their inventiveness.   I wanted to share my favorites with you.
Beginning Drawing 
His prompt was to create something under water.  This was kind of gross, but also one of those "happy accidents."  He had a nose bleed and began poking the drops to create flowers in the water.

Intermediate Drawing
His prompt was to create something using tea leaves or tea bags. A very literal translation, but I like that he didn't just draw the tea bag.
Intermediate Drawing
 Her prompt was to create something using a stapler or staples.  She made a porcupine.  I thought it was interesting that she thought it was cheating to use other materials.
Intermediate Drawing
Her prompt was to create using only red.
Intermediate Drawing
 His prompt was to use or be inspired by eggshells.
Beginning Art
Her prompt was to be inspired by internal organs. 
Intermediate Drawing-
His prompt was to place a door where one normally wouldn't be.
Intermediate Drawing-
He had to reinvent the birthday song or tradition.
Beginning drawing
She had to create an image using only fingerprints.
Intermediate Drawing
She had to use her feet as hands.  This is a portrait of one of her classmates.
Intermediate Drawing
He had to create something with his before he ate it. A tree, always a favorite in my book.
Advanced Drawing
She had to create something inspired by the first fruit or vegetable she saw in her refrigerator.  She admitted she just did a literal translation of it, but wasn't feeling very creative when she did it. 
Beginning Drawing
He had to take a 5 minute walk and create something with the materials that were where he ended up.  I love the personality of it. 
Advanced Drawing
First I have to admit, this student is like my right hand.  She is my art club president, my T.A, and my drawing student.  I see her for majority of the day and we spend it talking in a very creative and imaginative banter.  My beginning students probably think we are both insane when we begin brainstorming ideas for projects, either hers or mine. 
Her prompt was to make something out of junk mail.  She made a dinosaur with an elaborate story of why he was deformed on one side. :)
 I consider this "experiment" to be a success and am looking forward to implementing it as an actual assignment in the classroom. I'm thinking of using different prompts for the last few weeks of the school year and have the students end with a product at the end of each week. It will be a nice creative way to wind down the school year. Plus, I'll get to play with the prompts, too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring = baby squirrels

As you may have figured out, I am obsessed with squirrels.  I have always liked observing squirrels in parks, walks through UCLA campus, or on trips in other states.  But my obsession with squirrels ignited when I began writing my story. Now I can't help but do a girly squeal when I see one.  In addition, my family have begun to share this passion of mine.  There is a squirrel, who visits my parents' backyard on a regular basis.  Her name is Striker.  Originally we thought she was a boy until I got a photo of her standing on her hind legs.  It told us a different story.  We know it is her because of her brownish grey fur and bushy tail.  There are a few other squirrels who visit also, but they have smaller tails and run at the slightest sound. 

Well I noticed a while back that Striker looked bigger.  I mentioned to my family that I thought she was pregnant.  I was right!  Sunday, she brought her 3 little ones with her as we fed her.  They ran around the trees, and one another, and would stop and watch me feed their mom from a safe distance.  When I was done feeding her, she spent the rest of the day burying peanuts in the backyard.  The 3 little ones just played non-stop.  It was fascinating to just watch them.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Yesterday was Friday the 13th.  Ever since my little sister was born on Friday the 13th, it has always been my favorite day and yesterday was just as great as any other.  In addition to another rain storm, I spent the day at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) with my very good friend.  There are not many people who I enjoy attending museums with because people seem to think that because I have a degree in art and teach art that I am going to the museum to be their personal tour guide.  I'm sorry, but I like to go to museums to look at the work; to learn about new and old artists; to gain curiosity about techniques; and most importantly, to be inspired!  But my friend is not one of those people who expect a personal tour.  She is the perfect museum partner who adds to my creative banter on how I think an artwork could have been improved, or what the next version should look like.  She dreams with me in a fun verbal banter in such a way that I'm sure people around us think we believe it could all come true.  I think every creative person in the world needs a friend like this.  They love the freedoms of the imagination and never try to stifle it with judgment and harsh criticism.  Everything is about problem solving, creativity, and how to make what seems impossible completely possible. 

Currently LACMA has a special exhibit on display: In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States.

I love surrealism.  I love the detail and realism some of the paintings maintain with their odd scenes.  My favorite surrealists are Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and the pop surrealist Mark Ryden.  But as with any art movement, it is told from the views of the male artists.  This exhibit demonstrated how women artists tackled the same movement, but a very different intention of the meaning in their work.  It was exciting to walk through the exhibit and see some of my favorite paintings in person.  I have had the privilege to see works of Frida Kahlo, but to see the works of Dorothea Tanning and Remedios Varo was pure delight!  To my surprise, this exhibit was allowed to be photographed as long as the flash was not used.  Usually special exhibits do not allow photography.  I wish I had known this ahead of time because I purposefully left my camera at home thinking this special exhibit was like the others. But thankfully, cell phone cameras are more advanced now.  On this blog are the paintings that captured me the most.  The exhibit ends May 6th, 2012.  If you get a chance, you should go! I highly recommend seeing this!