Contemporary Costumes

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The next play was You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. These photos show everyone onstage at once, during the baseball game. There was a cute bit where the “Woodstocks” rearranged the letters of the word “TEAM” to spell different things, concluding with the actual real spelling.

As you can see we did not go with a super cartoony set of clothes, but rather contemporary clothes against a cartoony scene with movable pieces. The set and Direction again by Laura Bird, Musical direction by Ben Cohen, and Technical Direction by Ben Ebeleing.

Since it was done with middle-school students, this is a blurry photo so you get an idea of the design, but the students’ privacy is not compromised.

080:365 Triads

080:365 Triads

My father has been practicing all week for a choral event at church. It got me thinking about the cubes drawing from yesterday, so today’s drawing is “Triads.”

Beautiful progression of complementary and analagous colors creating a theoretical harmony of colors. Once it started, I thought, this would make a neat motif to go on a piece of cloth, but the bottom corners of the triangles are cut off. Maybe I’ll play with this idea a little more and re-do it.

[Edit: Forgot to tell you that this drawing was in fact done yesterday, and the entry conceived as such, but things being as they are, my computer was hard at work processing data for a massive database, and there wasn’t an ideal moment to interrupt it. Though I’m sure it wouldn’t actually have hurt anything, I’m superstitious about such things and there was plenty of offline work to do.]

062:365 Icy Dream of Spring

062:365 Icy Dream of Spring

Today, as long shadows get shorter and days get longer, I am worn out and ready for the ice to melt, but simultaneously grateful for the demarcation of the seasons on my life.

Living in Los Angeles, I had no sense of time and things seemed surreal. I appreciate, after spending just over a year there, that there was a change of seasons, but living through it just one time, it felt like there was no change. Maybe the milder changes of Madrid and the Bay Area were a little more to my liking than this harsh beautiful midwestern winter, but still, the snow and ice are beautiful in their way.

This is a study of how simple shapes can create an atmosphere. By changing the width of the dark stripes, a sense of space is created, delineated both vertically and horizontally by the performance of color. The peachy color in the middle evokes the reflection of sun on an icy lake and the dark stripes shadows cast by waves.

It isn’t realistic, but it gives some sense of space and atmosphere.

The first time I saw a Rothko in person, big blobs of not quite geometric color on an unprimed canvas, I wasn’t impressed. But the grad-student who taught our Art History Seminar at SAIC made us sit in front of one at the Art Institute of Chicago for a good 20 minutes. She made us look first and then told us things about the way the colors interacted with each other, how they faded out onto the canvas and created the illusion of space by their contrast or similarity, by the diffusion of color into ground. She was so enthralled, it was hard not to look at the picture plane in a different way.

This drawing didn’t start out with anything in mind about Rothko or mid-twentieth-century abstraction. I made it thinking about a scarf I’m knitting in two colors, with broadening stripes so one color resolves out from the other. When I photographed it, I realized that if I flipped the drawing upside down, for some reason it created a sense of receding space, but the way I drew it just looked like stripes. So, here you have it, upside-down from how I drew it, but nonetheless properly oriented for what it signifies.

Funny how a change in perspective can be the key to an epiphany.

058:365 Learning to See

058:365 Learning to See

Today was so busy that although I could have made time for another drawing, this one makes me happy so I’ll share it with you. ¬†Also, when I went to the art store today, these recycled toned papers from Strathmore were on sale, and I’d been drooling over them, so it seems perfect to share!

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An example drawing from today’s private lesson. We read the book and the kids had to teach me to draw the main character. They looked at shapes, body parts, and colors, and I asked them to describe it to me while they drew it. Although my drawing is simplified, but close to the original, theirs were much more expressive and less exact. So beautiful and charming. As students progress with Drawing and ESL, I ask them different kinds of questions to increase their visual ability and speaking aptitude.

This book, Clink, by Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers, is about an old robot who feels like he isn’t as good as the bright shiny new robots who can do anything. It uses onomatopoeia to communicate the noises that he makes, and the drawings are great. Clear expressive forms that are easy to understand and identify with for students of a variety of ages. The reading level is a little too high for students who are only beginning to learn English, but the onomatopoeic sounds and bright pictures help them follow the story using other means. The story line is simple enough to break into smaller words as you explain, and the pictures give the right amount of subtext to allow children who don’t know every word to be drawn into the story.

Although I used to discount my example drawings, looking back over some of the ones I did while teaching in Madrid, there are a few gems that I’m proud to call my own. This one is a nice schematic, but some of those are really expressive.

056:365 Interweave

056:365 interweave

Again playing with high contrast and weaving/plaid motifs. Interested in how the colors blend, and how they look next to one another. The final inspiration, to remove some color from part of the middle reminds me of the sun peeking through clouds, though the colors are off, so I’m not sure why it does.

That last inspiration, which blurs the threads somewhat and leaves a smoother section might be created by felting those sections. It wouldn’t look exactly the same, but it would create slight blending, and then also a radically different texture. I’m just not sure how well needle-felting would work in this sort of a case. Although it’s acrylic, when I finish the scarf-thing on my loom, I might try it. It will be interesting, if nothing else.