Monday, December 19, 2011

Summer School Part II: The Boy Brain

Last summer (2011), I took a day-long workshop about teaching boys. I made a few sketches.

The presenter. She did not lead by example. Still, I learned a lot.

I'm not really sure where this came from. 

I always doodle. Teachers should know--doodling is not a sign of a student not paying attention--doodling is a strategy a student uses in order to pay attention.

Summer School: Geeks at OSU

This summer (2011), I took a week-long workshop at OSU, where I learned how to make basic video games. The conference was all about integrating technology into the classroom. I made some sketches. 

If you have looked at earlier posts from the same summer, you will see I was experimenting with quick-sketches, in which I don't really look the paper as I draw. Therefore, the figures come out very loose and distorted. I find the result is surprisingly good at catching the distinguishing features of the person. It rarely makes the person look very attractive, though. Only distinctive. 

The conference organizer, to whom I say, "Well done, you." 

When there is nothing left to draw, consider your foot.

The key-note address, about a pilot project in L.A. schools aimed at closing the achievement gap.

Chris--the life of the party, great at Karaoke, and a cool teacher too.

There's one at every conference. And she knows who she is.

My excellent instructor, Jason, about to be a dad. 

Sketches from an old trip Part II: The Art

Two years ago, I went to England. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to sketch other people's art. 

Why did I draw this? I think I was trying to figure out how complementary colors and composition functioned on such a simple level to create a masterpiece.Whistler's Nocturne: Blue and Silver Chelsea.

 Public art from the train.

The artist was trying to figure out how to make art out of waste/leftovers. I resemble that idea. Balka's work, however, is much more elegant. 

The walk from Tate Modern towards St. Paul's. My favorite spot in England so far. 

I am the one with the ponytail, downstage. It was a very strange moment. I was watching a video of an artist--the art was a film of her having sex with a patron who agreed to pay 20,000 for the sex+art video. A commentary on the artist/patron relationship. A very awkward moment of watching porn in a public space with strangers. 

Here I am sketching myself again to show my scale as compared to the huge table and chair. Like walking through a giant's living room. 

Perhaps the most interesting art of the day--two live twins sitting in twin chairs under twin paintings of dots. The artist was playing with the idea of twins as nature's art--one is the copy of the other.

Not really art, but I loved all the baskets on bikes in Oxford. Very storybook perfect. 

The real deal. Kind of. This one was a sign.

Sketches from a steampunk exhibit in Oxford. These masks appealed to me on so many levels.

 A close-up. These masks were masterfully crafted and assembled by the artist, one Tom Banwell. 

The orange of the bike + orange of cop's jacket. Modern Oxford.

Sketches from an Old Trip: Meals in England

Two Thanksgivings ago, I went to England. I made some sketches. A lot of them were of my food. 

The above is a description of the "cocktail" I give myself to get on a plane.

Half-way there--a stop in Atlanta. I used to pass through the Atlanta airport about 6 times a year on my way back and forth to my dad's house. Now I'm eating Sushi on my way to England. There are black people here. A lot of 'em. We don't get much of that in the Pacific Northwest. True story. I have a nice chat with the bartender and manager. I'm the last customer of the night.

I was most impressed with the biodegradable packaging. This was a great lunch at the Tate.

And here's lunch at the Tate Modern. I remember thinking, "The only thing missing is Barbara." In fact, I wrote it on the sketch. If you are reading this, Hi Barbara.

Above: Jamaica Wine, the pub with all the cool people standing in the alley, is where I wanted to eat, but they weren't serving any food. So I ate at Weatherspoons, (below) with a right friendly barkeep. Unfortunately, the ambiance was more Las Vegas Casino than jolly old England. 

A perfect lunch in Oxford, under a college in a vaulted basement. I admit, at meals, I get a bit lonely when I travel. But only at meals. 

 This was the kind of place you really wanted a drinking buddy or art pal.

The texture of Oxford.

 The girl/woman is someone I saw near the Oxford bus stop/train station.  Crazy red hair. 

 Thanksgiving day in Reading with my two favorite expats, Heather and Rob. This was "pie and a pint." If anyone ever offers it to you, accept immediately.

 I'm happy, and I know it.

The beer of Thanksgiving 2009.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trip to Florida Part II

Don and Marty
I came to Florida to check in on Don, my step-dad. He and my mom got divorced about 12 years ago after 23 years of marriage. Don has developed a brain tumor--a glioblastoma. He is receiving chemo and radiation right now. His girlfriend, Marty, is also suffering from cancer--cancer of the throat. She has beaten it back several times already. I really wanted to meet her, so I decided to go down there and check things out. This isn't really a blog about my life, so I'll just be posting the sketches I took with a few captions. Suffice it to say, it was a tough trip.
Don receives daily radiation for 8 minutes a day for six weeks. He wears a mask over his head, which allows them to target the exact spot. This sketch does not show the acid green cross hairs that show the machine where to radiate. Here, a nurse fits the mask on for Don's second treatment.
A sketch of what Don's tumor might look like. It is not encapsulated and cannot be operated on.
During the treatments, I would take short walks in the neighborhood behind the center. Oak trees are my favorite part of Florida.

Some attempts at trying to sketch just the mask.

Marty looks unfortunately like a zombie here, because I colored her eyes in too much. And that's water in her hand. She can't eat or drink much--most of what she takes in is through a feeding tube in her belly, under her shirt. We played Parchesi. She couldn't talk much, but I was happy to meet her. Her dog was a sweetie too. Not pictured--her cats.

I keep trying to figure out the best way to represent my recent experience with memory, which is that diving down (into the wreck as Adrienne Rich would say), there are moments of intense wonder and joy, all colored and influenced by the shades and shadows of every other experience--pain, boredom, sadness, beauty, layer upon layer, second upon second, year upon year. The above diagram is an attempt at thinking about this memory experience as a series of glass panels, through which light builds and amplifies.
I tried to draw the same feeling another way, with lines leading from one nodal experience to another, the different colors representing the different sensory conduits and memory channels that connect it to the the other nodes. What resulted looked surprisingly like a series of glioblastomas.

Don watching TV.

Trip to Florida Part I

Mom and Jack

I just got back from a trip to Florida. The main purpose of my trip was to check in on my step-dad, who is receiving radiation treatment for cancer. But I also got a chance to see my mom Phoebe and her husband Jack. Here are a few sketches from the Christmas concert they were a part of. 

This was a singer from the visiting choir, very dapper in his tuxedo.

Three singers from Mom's church.

The flutist. Her dress was actually black, but I didn't think that would translate well.
This was the couple right in front of me.
This woman, in the front row, looked very sad for someone singing in a Christmas concert.
This was the guy sitting right behind me. His hair was actually more grayish/white than this.
I drew this one of mom the day before I left. She doesn't really have all those lines on her forehead--I just wasn't looking at the page as I drew the sketch. With all of these, I had to decide whether to make the skin yellow or white, having no better choice among my watercolor pens. The decision usually rested on whether I needed the yellow for some other reason in the picture.