Tuesday, May 26, 2015



"important events--whether serious, happy or unfortunate--do not change a person's soul, they merely bring it into relief, just as a strong gust of wind reveals the true shape of a tree when it blows off all its leaves.  such events highlight what is hidden in the shadows; they nudge the spirit towards a place where it can flourish."--irene nemirovsky

"such happy individuals lead vigorous lives; are open to a variety of experiences, keep on learning until the day they die, and have strong ties and commitments to other people and to the environment in which they live.  they enjoy whatever they do (even if tedius or difficult); they are hardly ever bored, and can take in stride whatever comes their way."--mihaly csikszentmihalyi

Saturday, May 23, 2015

art teacher photo essay

on boredom

"lanette, do you ever get bored?"
"hardly ever, no, not really...you?"
"yeah, i guess sometimes. it just seems like you are a person who loves EVERYTHING you do!"
"well, that's true, i do love life a lot.  what do you do when you get bored?"
"maybe make up a game or something."
"sounds like a good idea."

so i sent my young friend an article i came across on children and boredom and how it's not necessarily a bad thing to have time to sprawl on your back and make imaginary things out of clouds as they float by.  it gives you a chance to internalize pursuits, utilize imagination, pay attention and get resourceful with what's around you. "boredom" to me is just a moment you recognize that there's gotta be a cool thing you want to do next; a cue for action if you will.

so a letter comes in the mail which starts, "dear lanette, thank you for the letter on boredom, it was really cool...i hope you can read my cursive.  yesterday (may 4th)  i made a quadruple-decker sandwitch for lunch.  today (may 5th) it was disgusting!  so i am not bored very much any more witch is a plus and i am writing with a multy color pen!...love, your very good kid friend"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

optimizing experiences

i just finished this fascinating read, posted above, because ironically i didn't want to concentrate on spelling the author's last name again! 

this book is all about optimal experience and his basic premise is that to enjoy our activities and sum of living, we want to stay in a place where skill meets challenge.

if something's too easy, we become quickly bored, but by the same token our anxiety rises if we are met with too much challenge.

the art of paying attention and focusing our conscious thinking as well as bringing order to our worlds in terms of elements we can control can lead to increased happiness.

studies have been done on all ages of people in every culture and the maxim remains that happiness is not so much about what happens to us as much as how we view and talk to ourselves about what has happened.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

apple blossom study

wanted to really pay attention and memorize an apple blossom, so i brought one in and sketched it first and then painted it from memory. i wanted it to have the look of being framed against a clear spring sky, as if you are sprawled on your back watching clouds float by.

silver mobius

ah, lifetime learning!  just this week i made a new entry in my "what did i learn today?" journal.  thursday, may 7th:  mobius.  it wasn't until i saw a new silver sculpture that i learned this concept which is functional and also beautiful.  the mobius strip is defined as, "a surface with only one side and one boundary that has the mathematical property of being non-orientable as a ruled surface.  it was discovered independently by german mathematicians august ferdinand mobius and johann benedict listing in 1858."  (i can imagine them twising paper in their think-tanks saying, "no, you go ahead, your name sounds better than 'listing'...")

Monday, May 4, 2015

may photo essay

newspaper blackout poetry

you can have hours of fun with some recycled newsprint and a permanent marker!  austin kleon showed examples of this in his fantastic little book of big ideas "steal like an artist".  want even more fun with words?  you can read helen frost's "diamond willow" which is typeset completely in diamonds and shapes which include sentences in bold: