Monday, November 28, 2011

Time Capsule (High School Art)

A couple of years ago, when we were cleaning out my parents' basement and taking pictures of stuff, I got some photos of some of my high school art projects. Since then I've been meaning to post these, and I figure now is as good time as any.

I took drawing and painting classes all through high school. Basic Art was a requirement, and then we had a lot of electives to choose from after that. I amassed quite a collection of creations, stored in a big brown portfolio envelope in my bedroom closet.

Shoe still life in marker (as I recall, we had to do this without blocking it in in pencil first).

Figure sketch (yes, this was the eighties).

Study of hands and feet.

Self portrait.

Graphic design exercise.

I've always liked this one. The assignment was to draw a crumpled piece of paper and then turn it into a landscape.

Psychedelic vegetables (in pastels).

"The Great Bird of the Galaxy" (during the rabid Trekkie phase).

This was done with some special kind of markers on slick paper.  I don't remember what they're called.

Three-stage linoleum print.

Still life (oil on... what's this stuff called?  Canvasette?  Canvas skin? Whatever it is, it wrinkles.)

Another still life in oils (transparency exercise).

Detail from a painting that I created to be a cover for my story "The Prince Who Couldn't Do Anything" (which started out as an assignment for my Drawing I class, but I didn't actually finish it until right before I graduated.)

Notebook doodle (probably done in math class or something).

Another doodle.  I did quite a lot of these--I called them "spaghetti drawings." I was always doodling in class.

We had quite an extensive art department at my high school. Carol Walker and George Armstrong taught drawing and classes like sculpture and "Art in Society," and Paul Buford taught painting and crafts. I wonder how much that department has been cut back now. I remember that I wasn't always excited about some of the assignments (when we had weekly sketchbook homework for Basic Art, I remember drawing my breakfast bacon one morning because I hadn't done anything else), but it was all great experience. I got to try a lot of different mediums and approaches, and challenge myself, which is always good!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Five Best Toys

I love this article from Geek Dad: The 5 Best Toys of All Time. I especially enjoyed this bit:
If you’re in a pinch, Laundry Basket is a similar item and can often be substituted for Box in some instances, though it’s generally not as great for costumes (other than a turtle).
 I remember using my mom's laundry basket as a turtle shell more than once.   (Ah, the simple days of childhood!)  And Kate has been playing in boxes from an early age.

Friday, November 25, 2011

gobble gobble

Kate's hand print turkey from school. She said they all painted their fingers in stripes, but then she moved hers back and forth on the paper to smear the paint. Like making a snow angel!

She also brought home this turkey hat. Cute!

We had Thanksgiving with Doug's sister Erika in Everett. (Grandma Mary was visiting, too.) We had a bit of traffic and heavy rain on the way up, and the kids were tired of being in the car, but we had a nice time. Kate and Doug both had Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off. Hooray for five-day weekends!

This Thanksgiving I was particularly thankful for a washer and dryer, and hot water, and electricity. Andy threw up twice on the bed Tuesday night, and again the next morning (got the carpet that time). We're pretty sure it was from a hot dog he ate. Apparently some kinds are okay and some kinds reduce him to a Miserable Vomitous Mass. Poor kid.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Operation No-Nap

After Andy stayed up till midnight two days in a row, we decided it was time to phase out his nap. As you can see, this doesn't always work. Some days he's fine, but then other days he ends up falling asleep in his dinner. Or on the floor right before dinner. (I told Doug he looked like a little turkey, with his elbows sticking out like that.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Papercutting

For a Relief Society (church) activity we had an "Unfinished Object" night over at my friend Jeanette's house. I obviously couldn't lug my enormous painting over there, and I was feeling conflicted about some crochet projects, so I decided to do some papercutting.  I made this as a gift for one of my Visiting Teachees, whose birthday is this week.  (Could be a bookmark or whatever--it's about six inches high.)   I combined some elements from this piece  (by Sara Burgess) with a "double happiness" character in the middle.  She served a mission in Taiwan, so I just thought that would be a fun touch.

I've done a lot of knife work, off and on.  (Lots of cut-out titles for scrapbook pages.)  I find it oddly relaxing, and it's always fun to see the bits of paper coming away and revealing the design. 

I usually do a graphite transfer to trace the image onto the paper (backwards, so the pencil marks are on the wrong side).

I like to cut on glass.  (The granite worked okay too, but I was happy to find my glass again.)  I know people who prefer to use self-healing mats, but I find that my knife blade kind of catches down in the mat and won't glide around those corners quite so easily. I also get a nicer edge on glass. (When I use a self-healing mat, the "lip" of the cut ends up bending the wrong way.)

I pull the knife towards me in little smooth surges, and sort of "walk" the paper around with the fingers of my left hand. One tip I've given people before is "Pretend you're a sewing machine." The cutting comes from the knife but all the turning comes from the paper.

Since I'm right handed, I like to have some light coming in from the left side so my hand doesn't cast a shadow right where I'm cutting.   I find that curves go much better if I cut them clockwise rather than counter-clockwise (maybe this would be reversed for lefties). If you watch me cut, I'm always turning the paper around different ways. It also helps to keep the paper big enough so that you've got something to hold onto while you're cutting, but not so big that it bumps into your arm when you turn it. 

A sharp blade makes a big difference.  I went through three blades on this.  (These snap-off style knives have a cap on the end that you can pull off and slip over the blade to snap it safely.)  I keep meaning to get an X-acto knife but I just haven't done it yet.  I like my metal craft knife just fine, but I might like an X-acto even better.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Kate lost her first tooth! She told me it was wiggly on Thursday, and it came out today at church, in the middle of her Primary class.

When Kate was a baby her first tooth didn't come in till she was over a year old. I hear the late teethers also tend to lose them later. Most of Kate's friends at school have already lost quite a few.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Savior of the World

I got a video of part of the "Savior of the World" performance on Friday night. This is the scene with Zacharias in the temple.  The "Come Deliver Us" song is so impressive with that big, full-cast sound. (And live orchestra!)

Mary with the baby.  I've seen this play three times now and they always change it up a bit. It's interesting to see what they do with the set and the staging.  JoLee told me that they ended up cutting a foot off the bottom of the arches that I painted, so they could have the angels visible over the top.  This means that people have to duck when going through the doorways, but it works out okay. 

JoLee asked me to come in and take a cast photo before the Saturday matinee. (I did this for the Broadway Revue, too.)

The cast watches Patrick and JoLee open a gift.  (Those stucco walls on the side are the ones that Helen Christensen painted for the Aladdin number in the Broadway Revue.  Hooray for re-purposing!)

Mary McGiffin and Brother Dewey, from our ward.  (Mary is my new buddy--she's a Brandon Sanderson fan, and her sister is friends with RoseE Hadden.)  Mary's husband Ben played the angel Gabriel.

It's been fun to be involved with these productions, however peripherally.  Maybe when the kids are older we can get involved with the actual performing part.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Autumnal Sidewalk of Awesomeness

shuffle shuffle
rustle rustle
crunch crunch crunch

There's a row of sycamore trees with really big leaves along the front of our apartment complex. It gets exciting around this time of year. (Makes me think of Anne Shirley's White Way of Delight. In a different way, of course.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"I'd never eat your brain!"

My friend Julie posted a link to The Zombie Song by Stephanie Mabey (featuring cute drawings by Stephanie's fifteen-year-old niece). Andy was particularly enthralled and watched it over and over, and then started singing along.

Here's Andy singing, "If I were a zombie, I'd never eat your brain."

(Good to know.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Chalking Wall

The Multi-Stake Cultural Arts group is putting on Savior of the World again.  Just a few days before opening night, I got to turn this blank wooden apron between the stage extensions into a rock wall to match the rest of the set.  I figured chalk would be faster than painting, so I got a couple of Helen Christensen's pan pastels (which we used to shade the Mod Prom sets and Fiona's library).  I believe I used the term "borrow," but Helen said she would just go ahead and submit the expense to the budget, because she knew I would use them up.  I did. 

This was definitely a quick and dirty job.  (Literally--I still have brown chalk under my fingernails.) It only took about three hours.  Hopefully good enough for set work!

The gym is all torn up right now with show preparations  (and they have the doors chained up to keep people out, which kind of throws everyone off on Sundays). That's Fiona's library back in the corner.  They still haven't found a place for it so it's just been on the stage. 

I think this is the last year they're going to be putting on this production, at least for a while. Maybe they'll do something else that I can help make sets for. It's a lot of fun to work on things like this and then get to see them in use. Like magic!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sprayground Layout

In honor of Digital Scrapbook Day this weekend, I actually scrapped!  (Gasp)

Paint Splatters
Border made with my crayon line.
Alpha by CD Muckosky
Block stamps by Christine Borgfeld
The orangeish square frame is by Katie Pertiet; the other two are from my Paper Drawer.
The polka-dotted paper is by Flergs. I didn't do a good job on keeping track of the others.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


I decided I should add some madronas in with all these conifers.