Sunday, May 31, 2009

Close to the Edge/Close to the End

Dear Friends, It is the end of the school year. We finish June 5th. I am a bit inundated with end of the year paperwork. I have been wanting to post art but that involves photographing and editing. I paint and photograph at home and crop the photos at school. (I have better editing software) but it takes some time. I think I've been ruining more canvasses than making good art lately.
The end is near! With that end in mind, I sought reference to the end. This place, Dun Aengus, Inishmore, in the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland is about the closest I've come to the "end of the earth". I believe the people who built the fort there must've thought the same. There is my beloved second daughter, not looking the least bit Irish. These photos were taken in 2007.

This is the view from the cliff looking straight down. Daughter D figured it would take nine seconds to plunge to your death if you jump, seven seconds if you were pushed.

There are no guard rails here. Reminds me of the Houses of the Holy album cover. How many of you remember that circa 1974-75ish?

Daughter D and her Dad looking over the edge. Did I forget to mention there is no guard rail? I am way back using the zoom lens. I am a klutz with a fear of heights.
The school year ends Friday. Instead of posting art I am posting grades. I have a few ruined canvases in the works. (They start out great and then I kill them). Hopefully I will get to paint a bit more after the school year ends.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

National Treasures

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Garrison Keillor, author, entertainer, English major of all English majors and the host of Prairie Home Companion. Here is Mr. Keillor looking spiffy and sporting his famous red sneakers (and matching red socks). He is coming out to meet us backstage.
This is it! Prairie Home Companion being performed live at the Wolf Trap Theatre in Vienna, Virginia. The Wolf Trap is the national park for the performing arts! A beautiful venue, just twenty minutes from Washington, D.C. The show itself is a national treasure. We were treated to storytelling, poetry and amazing artists of gospel, bluegrass and other traditional American music. The music was joyful, unpretentious and inspired.
This experience was made possible because out local public radio station organized a bus tour with members of the Central PA community who chose to donate $1 a day to WITF, our local public broadcasting network. For pledging we were gifted with a bus, tickets and a lunch for the memorial day weekend show.

What we did not anticipate was a private audience with Mr. Keillor.

There I am, Neetzy, getting Garrison Keillor to autograph my program. You all know I am camera shy and not photogenic. The back of my head is all you will get to see. (BTW my hair is a mess). Yes, Garrison is very tall. I am quite short. I think if I did enough research I could prove hobbit blood.

Mr. Keillor is discussing deep and important international and political issues with fellow WITF members. I think he is a national treasure. I also think the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, a part of our National Parks Service, is a treasure most U.S. citizens are not aware of. This was an amazing experience that I will not soon forget.
Peace to all. Garrison Keillor is a national treasure. The Wolf Trap theater is a national treasure. Many people do not know about these things.
Appreciate what you have. Remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. The war was not their fault.
Enjoy your weekend. Peace out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The June Forest

I was tired of looking at my lame mother's day post. I'm sorry. It was ranty, boastful, crap. I wanted to post something funny. I didn't. I couldn't upload the cartoon I wanted. My intended post morphed into unintended ranty crap. Sorry.


I found a painting not previously posted. This was painted on location in the woods near my house. It was about 90 degrees that day but cooler in the shade. I armed myself with bug spray and painted for a couple of hours in the woods. This is my preferred method for painting landscapes. Sometimes circumstances prevent the purist plein air.

I gave this to my brother and his wife for a wedding present. I did have a giclee print made. These are wonderful records. I can sell the giclees at a lower price and I can "eat my cake and have it too." I will have a wonderful copy of my painting.

By the way, click on this image. You will see the actual brush strokes. I hope you find them more satisfying than my poor excuse for cropping this image. (Great taste, less filling!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mom's Day

A tribute to all "Moms" everywhere. Motherhood is the most difficult job in the world. I know that many of you are moms. You are probably (hopefully) as emotionally attached to your children as I am.

As a high school teacher, I see a lot of kids making poor decisions. Most of them have parents who are clueless. I want to reinforce the fact that involvement is okay. Your children need you. Don't think for a moment that they are "over" you. They might act like it at times.

I have two teenage girls that are amazing. We are very involved. They are very successful in school things like National Honor Society, Junior Symphony, etc. They make honor roll. Yes. I push that. I don't care if they spill their milk. I don't care if they paint their walls black. Sometimes their clothing selections are "interesting" to say the least. I let them make most of these decisions. Most of all, I want them to do the best they can.

As for me? I feel uncomfortable having a day to honor my mothering abilties. I didn't do everything right. I went by intuition, gut instinct and love. I had and still have a less than immaculate house. I don't care. I have great kids. I made lots of mistakes.

I was afraid to become a parent. I was a terrible teenager. I was a rebel against conformity. I was horrible to my mother. She was hurt by my rebelling and I used it to my advantage. I still regret that and wish I could make it up to her. She is gone now. I thought I would have time to explain some of the things that were going on back then.

I hate conformity. I would discourage my children from wearing Abercrombie, Hollister, etc. Many of my students wear these things emblazoned upon their t-shirts to be part of the "in-crowd". I don't have to discourage my kids. They refuse to wear it! (Ha ha!)

Duh. Hollister, California is not a beach town. It is in the central valley.

Marketing is everything.

Kids. Be yourselves. Mothers, believe in yourselves, your children; Think positive. They have unique talents. Do not belittle art.

I am thankful that my kids are amazing! Happy Mother's Day to all! If you're not a Mom, give one a hug from me!