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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SKETCHBOOK TIME

I love my sketchbooks!  I have a wide variety of different sizes and paper types made especially for wet or dry media.  Some are full of examples I use in class where I require my advanced students to do weekly sketchbook assignments.  Some are themed books where I challenge myself to create a total book that has a single concentration or idea.  I have watercolor books, pastel books, books of only black paper and lots of standard, white paper books.

The only problem is which books to haul around and which books to leave at home.  It never fails that I get some inspiration only to discover that I left the appropriate sketchbook behind so I often drag a heavy bag filled with everything just in case the urge hits.

I have always required my students to use sketchbooks and I've gotten used to groaning and dropping grades when they ignore sketchbook assignments.  Lots of fellow art teachers have abandoned sketchbooks for those reasons.  I believe strongly that sketchbooks are a vital, artistic tool.  The more I draw, the better I draw.  When I have my sketchbook handy, I am prone to pull it out and make use of idle time rather than spend it playing on my iPhone. 

I also love, love, love the attention I get when I am busy doodling in my sketchbook in public.  It's great fun to have someone notice, walk over and admire my work.

Today I am teaching a "how to" in sketchbooks to my second year students. Little things like cut a piece of thin cardboard to sandwich between pages so marks don't scratch through pages or never draw on facing pages or keep your book in plastic as you haul it around to prevent it getting dirty and most of all - have it with you all the time like a best friend ready for a conversation.

Friday, August 26, 2011

BACK TO SCHOOL

We've had eight days of school and my eager, art students are finishing up a series of warm-up exercises.  I teach a crafts class for upper level students, beginning art classes which focus on drawing and painting skills and two advanced classes including an Advanced Placement studio class.

I've found that it takes a warm-up project to get everyone back in the swing of working and hitting my rigid deadlines.  I've also learned that it's important that I draw and work along at first to establish how I want my students to perform.

It's been a long, dry summer of little "arting" for me so I decided to complete my value drawing I used as a demonstration for my Art II students.  Each year I drag out a box of old sneakers and require my students to make a detailed line drawing and then using the same shoe and pose to create a full value drawing.  I instruct them on the uses and techniques of 4H to 6B pencils and all the tricks I've learned about rubbings and blending and reflected light, etc. 

My classroom is packed this year.  I currently have 147 students and 30 of them are working on shading sneakers.  It's exciting to have so many students on fire and excited about drawing.  It always inspires me to create and generate new art work on my own.  I love teaching and I'm fortunate that I get to combine my love of art with fostering new talent in the classroom.  The school year looks bright and full of promise!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SUMMER OF 2011

The Shoe is hoping to fly again soon!

My summer has wound down and I'm back working in my classroom in spite of an ongoing battle with my new knee.  On Friday, August 5th, I had a second knee surgery following the June 3rd total knee replacement to improve my mobility and restore some flexibility.  This operation has set me back some but seems to have helped my knee flex and bend.  As a result of another surgery I now have four more weeks of physical therapy, pain pills and support hose which will follow me to my high school classroom.

It's been a rough summer and not just because of my new knee.  My children have all had battles and trials and our region (like many in the states) has had a horrific drought that has devastated farmers and ranchers and our rural economy. I'm pretty glad to be saying goodbye to the summer of 2011 and starting up a fall in my classroom.  I've spent a few hours preparing my room and will report for duty on Monday - in my white, stretch, support hose.

This past week I discovered a little ray of sunshine that I hope marks the positive transition into fall.  The trunk of some sort of plant has often sprouted beside my front step but for the twenty some years we have lived in our home it's never produced a bloom.  Well, right on cue on my granddaughter, Lily's second birthday it burst out with a beautiful lily.  Cool - right?  We enjoyed it for awhile and then I captured it, pressed it and preserved it to someday give to Lily perhaps with a little grandma wisdom about light at the end of the tunnel, God's grace through trials or that there are often sweet reminders just when we need them that all is well, all is precious and there is beauty just when we need it.

I hope to be back and at 'em soon with new artwork and artful experiences.  So look for some blooms after my summer of drought.