New model – not an ounce of body fat on the boy. The majority of students are well into their 60’s. I made note of how many of the women asked him to return to model ! . . I myself prefer the models with a bit of ballast around their belly. Gives me more room for error.
This class I ventured out of my comfort zone, put away eraser and went for it with permanent ink and no preliminary sketch in pencil.
Notice the box? I keep trying to draw within the box so the figure doesn’t run off the page. Here’s my result!
If this isn’t the cutest, weirdest little critter I don’t know what is!
A Puggles Pome
Puggles are the puggliest
Their little snout the ugliest
Cuddle them quick
for when they’re grown
they’ll claw you
and won’t give a lick
“Sydney Zoo is celebrating the arrival of the first baby echidnas, known as puggles, in almost 30 years. The tiny (cute), and incredibly rare Australian mammals, hatched in the summer weighing between 250 and 500 grams. Echidnas, sometimes known as spiny anteaters, lay eggs – which hatch after 10 days. They’re then carried in their mother’s pouches for up to two months.”
My friend Peggy and I are working on a new project to share our stash of therapeutic strategies, tips and tricks on the internet. In my exuberance, “playing” with settings for the new web-site, I mistakenly changed the theme setting for this blog . . . and can’t figure out how to change it back again . So Curious to the Max has a new look, in case you didn’t notice.
And in case you didn’t notice we had a new model in class. All these sketches were 15 minutes done with water-color pencil.
There are two “fronts” and two “backs” (She was sitting on a poofy cushion).
AND in case you don’t see the connection between my blog change and my sketches: Clicking a button on the computer and irreversibly changing the blog template is like drawing with water-color pencil. I can’t erase or correct either of them.
(Well, not actually “worser” but I try to avoid trite phrases like “bigger and better”.)
In case you’ve not noticed . . . my drawings all go off the page. I don’t mind the aesthetics of that but I want to be able to do it “by design”. I try framing, measuring, planning . . . as the drawing progresses the limbs or head (or both) end up off of the paper.
The life drawing teacher suggested I get a BIG board to work on a BIG piece of paper to get the entire torso on the page. So much for bigger . . .
(Showing my hand on the paper to give you a sense of the scale).
Since my “vertigo episode” I’ve been in a fibromyalgia flare-up, complete with exhaustion. Today I peeled myself out of bed, put on my best duds and went to class to draw a dude. Can you guess which one is me?
After spending 3 hours drawing a nude dude this is what I looked like . . .
Many, if not most, of my posts over the years have regaled you, my loyal readers, with bits of what I find interesting and curious. (ex. Two of my all time most viewed and informative posts were about Butterfly fish and the Singles Scene and Stoned Fish.)
Since I’ve been taking life drawing classes there are not many articles that go along with drawings of nudes that meet the G-rating of my blog.
In class the teacher has been talking about the skeleton of the body and today I found a very interesting article about a discovery of a new species of dinosaur in Australia that is in keeping with this instructional focus!!!!
“Paleontologists have discovered a new species of dinosaur in Australia. The wide-hipped, long-necked, four-legged plant-eater was about half the length of a basketball court, and its shoulders stood as high as the hoop.”
This model was a slim-hipped, long-necked, two-legged vegetarian who was the full length of my paper and her shoulders alternately drooped and stood high, depending on the pose.
“Savannasaurus skeleton is one of the most complete sauropods to be discovered in Australia. Based on its skeleton, it was probably about 50 feet long, with a long neck and a wide, round body — weighing in at 40,000 pounds, as much as three African elephants combined. Dinosaur fossils in Australia are exceedingly rare, and this discovery could help scientists understand how these massive creatures spread across the planet millions of years ago.“
. . . that would take one humongous piece of paper to draw it . . .
Ten days into walking like a drunken sailor without the drink or the sailing. My husband drove me to art class. It was nice to get out of the house. The vertigo is much better but I’m still a bit wobbly.
At first, looking back and forth from the model to the drawing pad was a bit disorienting and I was very tired after class – probably because my brain was working hard to compensate.
The focus for this session was using brown wrapping paper, black and white charcoal.
Friday: Spent all day and evening in the ER. I was EXTREMELY light-heading, threw up, missed my art class and spent 24 hours in bed thinking I’d feel fine in the morning . . . WRONG.
Saturday: In the morning the room was moving and I wasn’t. Every time I moved I threw up and there was nothing to throw-up since I hadn’t eaten anything (You have probably created a nasty picture in your mind . . . just make it even nastier).
The ER was even more fun. Throwing up, drawing blood, 2 CT scans (to make sure it wasn’t a stroke . . . it wasn’t) and finally, after 4 different anti-nausea medications and drips, I stopped throwing up.
Sunday: I’m still dizzy and have to hold on to things to walk (it’s a bit wonky to type) but the good news, the GREAT news, is I’ve not thrown up. The bad news is I’m still dizzy . . . and grey-haired.
To my friends and acquaintances who suffer with Ménière’s disease. . . I have new compassion for you!
P.S. For those of you I confused . . I don’t have Menieres just plain Ditzy.
I have little energy and my hip is sore . Usually, I stand at the easel when drawing but my hip is so sore this week I sat. I’ve been stretching my hip and back every day but scritching and scratching at the art.
When the teacher saw this she commented that it looked like someone sitting at a bus stop! She said it kindly and I agreed. So I quickly scribbled, skritched and scratched over the original. At least now it looks like the bus has just arrived.
This was an exercise on finding reference points in the room to draw the figure. I spent so long finding the points that I didn’t have time for the figure!
I was fading fast and so were my drawings!
Hopefully, next class, instead of scritch and scratch I’ll stretch with the art.
“Third Man Records is pleased to share the genius surprise gift they received from their friend MICHEL GONDRY. On his own and without anyone’s knowledge, the legendary filmmaker shot a video for “City Lights,” which he sent them the other night. The video is Gondry’s fifth visual collaboration with The White Stripes. “City Lights” was written for The White Stripes’ GET BEHIND ME SATAN but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008.”
“If anybody wants me to say it, in one sentence, what my plays are about: They’re about the nature of identity. Who we are, how we permit ourselves to be viewed, how we permit ourselves to view ourselves, how we practice identity or lack of identity.” Edward Albee
Most of the models in the life drawing classes have been posing for a long time. They come equipped with props and pillows and strike dramatic poses that I defy anyone in “real” life to take . . . unless you’re an exotic dancer.
The young man, VERY young man, who was the model in the last two life drawing classes had never modeled before. He appeared to be shy and very unsure of himself.The first session he posed stiffly.
This second session he began to soften, wrapping his arms around himself as if to create a bit of comfort or perhaps protection. It may also have been that it was cold in the room . . . even for those of us wearing clothes.
Art teachers explain that drawing isn’t about what the hand is doing it’s about training our eye to see what it actually sees rather than the internal image of what we THINK we see.
Right now my drawings are about trying to learn to view shapes and shadows, lines and limbs . . . and hopefully have my hands follow. Someday, it would be nice to say the same thing Edward Albee said . . . that my drawings are about the nature of identity.
Sharon Bonin Pratt is a writer, an artist and a dear friend. I think she also is psychic. I’ve been not feeling great and the subject of her last post was just what I needed. AND it’s dedicated to ME!!!! What an honor!
Shari inspired me to look for a smile (SEE THE VIDEO).
“Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.”
Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).
When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.
“What have you failed at this week?”
I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father. Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success.She went on to say:
“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”
What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.
“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”
I read herinterview just before my life drawing class. It was liberating!! I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.
My new motto: Fail Away!
. . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.
New semester for art classes just started. Here are my best sketches (you didn’t think I’d post my worst, did you?). I particularly am pleased with the first as I managed to catch the likeness of the model.
“The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 900 meters (2,950 feet). The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish. Rossia pacifica”
At Judy Formato’sPainting on the Patio (POP) art group the topic of marijuana came up.
Several of the woman, who shall remain anonymous, (we are all well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) admitted to inhaling in their youth. It was a pertinent topic (for those of us well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) relating to pain medication for maladies that come with maturity.
Researcher Staci Gruber is “. . . trying to determine the long and short-term impact of medical marijuana on cognition, brain structure and function, quality of life, sleep, and other clinical measures.
“People drive two to three hours sometimes to get [here for] the study,” Gruber said. “They’re really committed. They really want to know what effect this will have on them.”
“As they wait for long-term results, MIND researchers have made a few interim discoveries. They have found, for example, that marijuana could possibly ease symptoms for people with bipolar disorder and that a medication for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease may reverse the cognitive effects of chronic recreational marijuana use.”
Perhaps our POP group could volunteer – we can drive and are VERY committed women.
I think we qualify.
Oh, by the way, here’s what I painted at POP.
I wonder why they don’t use rats for this study – they use them for all the others?
I knew about people who do travel sketch books – instead of taking photos they sketch. I knew about plein air painters who set up their easels and paint nature. I didn’t know about the groups of artists who take to the streets all over the world and sketch.
They call themselves Urban Sketchers. The supplies need to be portable and compact – small sketchbooks, pencil, pen and watercolor seem to be the main tools of the trade. People and buildings are the main focus.
You have to be fast and just capture the essence of what you see. People move, get up, leave. Sometimes I draw the arm of one person on the body of the other, furiously freeze a tiny moment in time hoping people don’t get up, come over and demand I stop staring at them. Then I “clean up” the mini sketches – erase lines, add a splash of color.
At the POP (Painting on the Patio) gathering yesterday I couldn’t get inspired to paint so I pulled out my mini sketchbook and “cleaned up” some of my sketches:
Can’t call myself an Urban Sketcher cuz I don’t sit on street corners or stand by light poles. I sketch people while I wait for doctors’ appointments, get my computer fixed or tires rotated.
Since I live in the suburbs it seems a bit pretentious to call my self a suburban sketcher. Stealth Sketcher is much more like it.
My human has been laying around the house all week. You’ve probably noticed she’s not been commenting on her blog or responding to e-mails. She overdid it at her last workshop and has been dog-tired ever since.
Humans are cute, not very smart and take a lot of patience on our part. Just when I think she’s trained she gets loose and I have no idea where she goes or what she gets into. All I know is she comes limping home.
She looks a bit dog-eared.
Usually she can pick up the scent and find her way back but if you see her loose on the street don’t call human-control, just bring her home in time for my dinner.
Judy Formatocollects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. Yesterday I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for 3 years to paint, chat and share resources.
Most of the women were doing water-color. I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches I had done in class.
The afternoon was topped off with wine and snacks. Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food companyFormato Brothers.
The theme for July is “Journey”. Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday. The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.
People could share as much or as little as they chose. It was a wonderful group of women. (All you men, where are you?!!!!)
Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!
To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!
“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith
A technique of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. It was developed by Georges Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of color.
The general consensus among my women art classmates is they prefer drawing female curves rather than male muscles. Next week I’ll ask the men. One of the women said her husband was VERY upset she would take a class where the focus was staring at nude men.
For these sketches I threw muscles to the wind and just drew. I took a few liberties (like cutting off the models head because he was wearing a ridiculous helmet which I refused to draw and beefing him up a bit to match my own fantasies . . .)
I’m only sharing the back views I drew . . . don’t want to upset any of YOU that I’ve been staring at full frontal nude men . . .
Been doing and redoing drawings to amuse myself. These were originally quick sketches from life drawing. I “colorized” them trying to teach myself how to use pastel. It’s easier to practice on sketches I was going to throw away because there’s nothing to lose!!
You’ve not heard from me for a while. It’s not that I’ve forgotten YOU it’s just that I’ve had nothing inspiring me and for those of you who have followed my blog for a long time know it’s ultimately ALL ABOUT ME.
Yesterday I started a summer art class – life drawing.Drawing still-lifes and such (you know the kind where the instructor wants you to draw a block of wood, a vase with an artificial flower and a porcelain doll who stares straight ahead with malice in her eye) just isn’t my “thing”. I’ve got nothing against still-lifes mind you (my life has been still on more than one occasion) but I prefer real flesh.
Here’s my first foray into real flesh since my one life drawing class in 1966. I was pleased . . . with the drawings, of course.
I woke this morning feeling like a truck hit me, threw me onto the train tracks where I was run over by a locomotive.
AND lo and behold . . .
. . . today is National Fibromyalgia Day. I’m in no mood to celebrate but the Fibro-Fiends that dwell inside me are having a ball!
I’m too tired to write an entirely new post to post on this post so I’ll just post part of a post of a post that I posted sometime ago. . . . .
“I look normal, I act normal(relatively normal). However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating. Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor. After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.”
“I don’t even care anymore what you call it: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time. I push through it otherwise I’d have no life. But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.”
Confidential: Send me your prayers because tomorrow I’m leaving for an Unitarian Woman’s Retreat where I’m facilitating 2 workshops. (I am not planning on taking my Fibro-Fiends with me. Please don’t tell anyone because if the Fiends get wind I want to leave them home they will be angry . . . very angrrrrrrrrry . . .)
On Mother’s Day Reverend Kent Doss at the Tapestry Unitarian Church began his sermon with a poem. I found myself tearing up. After the service I shared my response with other women who all said they, too, had to fight back tears.
Reverend Doss’ heartfelt delivery can’t be duplicated but I encourage you to read it out loud.
If you have carried a child or children, whether or not they came to be born, we see you.
If you have fervently wished to do so, and circumstances of fate made it impossible, we see you.
If you love children we cannot see, whether because of death or estrangement, we see you.
If you never wanted to be a mother, we see you.
If you are happy to mother other people’s children, as an educator, an auntie, or a foster parent, we see you.
If your mother hurt you, physically or emotionally, we see you.
If you had no mother at all, we see you.
If your mother is or was your best friend, we see you.
If your gender says you are not a mother, and yet you take on the role of nurturer, we see you.
If you wonder whether your mothering has been enough, we see you.
And if yours is a different truth altogether, we honor your unspoken story.
There is room for all in this circle. May it be so, today and always.
My computer crashed the day after our last HeART of Spirituality at Tapestry Unitarian Church. I’ve been cyberless for days. I tried using my husband’s computer but it drrrrrrrrrove me crrrrrrrrrrrazy. If I didn’t have the correct attitude it did weird and unexpected things. I never realized how spoiled I was on an Apple MacBook.
It also was weird . . . I missed YOU – bloggers, subscribers, cyber friends – more than I missed the computer.
Now that I’m back on-line I can show you the Contemplation Cards everyone made. Here’s a sample and if you want to see ALL 9 cards click here:
“PET owners beware — new research has revealed that dogs don’t like hugs from their owners, which can make them (the owners?) more stressed out.” “According to new research published in Psychology Today, Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, said dogs respond differently to humans who seek comfort from hugging others.” “Coren, who studies canine behaviour, analysed a random sample of 250 pictures of humans hugging their dogs that he could find online through Flickr and a Google image search.” (skewed data – he left out Pintrest and Instagram where the animal pictures are more photogenic) “In using photos where the dog’s face was easily seen, he looked whether the dog appeared to be anxious or distressed, relaxed, or showed a neutral response to being hugged.” “He found that around 82 per cent of the photographs showed “unhappy dogs” receiving hugs from their owners or children.”
He said that dogs show signs of distress when they bare their teeth (called a smile when humans do it), turn their heads away from something ( just being bored and looking around), or they partially close their eyes (doesn’t everyone close their eyes when ecstatic?). Another sign of anxiety is when a dog’s ears are lowered or “slicked against the side of his head”. (Stanley, it’s just our coiffure) He also said that licking lips or licking a person’s face can also be a sign of anxiety, like yawning or raising a paw. (I lick when it’s tasty) Coren said the fact that dogs don’t like being hugged can be explained by their behavioural nature.
As “cursorial animals”, (cursorial? I swear I never curse) they are designed for swift running. When stressed, a dog’s first instinct is to run away. It is believed that when they are restricted from moving with a hug, it can increase a dog’s stress level and potentially cause them to bite their owners. (or bite researchers)
It’s not the hugs that stressed the dogs out it was having their pictures taken WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT to be displayed for all the world to see.
So hug away you human-beings and always follow-up with a treat for us dogs (you got your treat with the hug)
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET, CDB
Canine Dog Therapist, Retired and Certified Dog Blogger
Here’s my semi-weekly Did you Miss Me!!!!!??????? post.Lately, it seems like every other week I’m blogged-out. As my energy (and attention) waxes and wanes so too my posting.
The last art classes produced these projects. The first was sketching onto a plastic plate and then using water soluble color to print.
In the portrait classwe had 3 hours to create a portrait of a real live man. And although I’ve been known to take liberties with the models . . .like adding arms where there are none. . . I didn’t make up his hair-do.
I know, I KNOW, you’ve missed me this past week(I do NOT want to know if you didn’t). In my life long effort to be better focused I tried to cut down on my computer time . . . browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos, reading the news . . . AND posting. It really worked except for browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.
With all the time I’ve gained by not postingI’ve been gardening and messing around with sketching. I tried (tried being the operant word) to use my new pastels to do a realistic portrait.
The lady I drew (using a famous portrait as a reference) was so ugly I was embarrassed to show her in public. So I just had fun and gave her a cosmetic make-up. The background got to be so ugly and muddied I just cut it away. She’s no beauty either but I had nothing else to post . . .
Now that I’ve posted I’m on to browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.
What did I learn today in class? Drawing is just like life!
I used to think that great artists, good artists got it right on the first pass. It’s taken me 7 decades to understand that all artists continually make corrections. Draw, adjust, erase, draw, redraw, erase . . .
Luckily, it only took me 5 decades to figure out that life was about continually making corrections. That reminds me . . . I need a new eraser.
Here’s my sketches for today – One is loose and the other uptight
Brain research is both shifting and validating common knowledge. This article by Jon Spayde in the United Health Care bulletin is worth posting AND READING in it’s entirety.
How to get happy in a hurry, according to neuroscience
By Jon Spayde
“. . . Time.com blogger Eric Barker lists four rapid, in-the-moment ways to feel happy – he calls them “rituals” – based on recent neuroscience, and featured in a new book by UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb: “The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.”‘
“1. Ask yourself what you’re grateful for. A warm house, a pet you love, your success at Minecraft? Whatever. Gratitude, says Korb, boosts both dopamine and serotonin, the two most powerful neurotransmitter chemicals involved in giving you a feeling of calm and well-being. “Know what Prozac does?” asks Barker. “Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.” And don’t worry if you can’t immediately find things to be grateful for, Korb says. The mental search for gratitude alone will begin to elevate the level of those pleasure chemicals”.
“2. Label negative feelings. Simply saying to yourself “I’m sad” or “I’m anxious” seems like a pretty paltry happiness strategy. But here’s what Korb writes: “…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled ‘Putting Feelings into Words,’ participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala [the brain’s fight-or-flight alarm bell] activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.”‘
“3. Make a decision. Just deciding to do something can reduce worry and anxiety right away. Korb: “Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals – all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world – finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.”‘
“But what about making the “right” decision? Isn’t that stressful? Korb counsels letting go of perfectionism. The “good enough” decision is…well, good enough to make our brains go into at-ease mode. “We don’t just choose the things we like,” says Korb. “We also like the things we choose.”‘
“4. Touch people (appropriately). “One of the primary ways to release oxytocin [the pleasure-inducing ‘cuddle chemical’] is through touching,” Korb writes. “Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.”‘
“A hug is particularly effective, he says, mobilizing oxytocin against that alarm-bell amygdala. And if you don’t have anybody to hug, go get a massage: “The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels.”‘
In my drawing class we’re suppose to rapid sketch every day. I’ve been rather lax so decided to participate (sorta) in the on-line #CreativeSprint to do something creative every day. I figure if I do 3 sketches at one time it counts as 3 days for both the class and the sprint. I’m ahead of the game! Here’s 14 days worth:
Attended a painting workshop today at Art & Creativity for Healing a wonderful non-profit for which I helped facilitate workshops many years ago.
Laurie Zagon the founder and creator of the Art4Healing® method has created a wonderful vehicle to express feelings using color. It’s not about making “art” but about processing thoughts, feelings and experiences using paint. Today’s workshop was “Painting Hope”.
The paintings are done very rapidly so that intuition rather than artistic skill is the focus. And it’s hard to be skillful when make-up sponges and q-tips are used instead of brushes!
Please check outArt 4 Healing.org. Their mission is to support emotional healing through art & creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear or stress.
There are on-line video workshops available to everyone, anywhere. Proceeds go towards providing free workshops to organizations such as wounded veterans, Children’s Hospital and woman’s shelters.