bamboo-5065_1280We were doing a very serious painting this week in sixth grade art class. Very serious. Chinese brush painting.

I meticulously set up the atmosphere for ethereal ink paintings of bamboo to  appear. With wood flute meditation music playing softly in the background, I  taught my small class of sixth graders proper brush technique. I broke down the steps to painting the bamboo stem, joints, branches and leaves. We even had real bamboo brushes, tiny wells of black India ink and bamboo pens for details.

In my best Mr. Miyagi imitation I cautioned, “Teacher say, student do.” The room was hushed as they concentrated.

Then from the left side of the room an unexpected arm jostle caused drops of ink to fly and brought this exclamation from one of my students. “Awww,you guys made me ink!”  Perfect imitation of the small octopus on Finding Nemo.

I have not laughed that hard in days. Of course we had to look up the clip on YouTube. The entire class left my room intoning “Awww,you guys made me ink!” Not exactly the cultural experience I had planned, but some of the best art comes from the unexpected.

“Awww,you guys made me ink!”- Andrew Stanton, Finding Nemo

Photo: CCO license

Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Artist”






The Global View

076Where the Mind is Without Fear, a poem by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Asia’s first Nobel Laureate. This poem inspires me to keep reaching inside. What great words these are.

Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken
up into fragments by narrow domestic
Where words come out from the
depth of truth;
Where tireless striving
stretches its arms towards
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward
by thee into ever-widening
thought and action–
into that heaven of freedom,
my Father,
Let my country awake.

I Think You Mean….. Writing 101, day 12

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation. (For my blogging site’s writing course.)

You can almost see the ball coming at you. (“A home runs a ‘comin, you think.)

A  student steps up to the plate with something to tell you, or to tell the friend next to them with “that” look on their face. (“Oh this is gonna be a good one, you think.” “Swing, batter, batter……”) Every one of these is true. You can’t make this stuff up.

“Yeah, my mom just got a new puppy. It’s real little and hairy, I can’t remember the name but it starts with a P. Oh yeah, it’s a Parmesan.” I said, ” I think you mean a Pomeranian. Yes?” “Yes.” Close, he was very close.

“My mother was in a car accident and lost a leg.” I said, “Oh I’m so sorry. Is she ok now?” Child says “Oh yes, she’s ok now, she has a prostitute.”  I said, ” I think you mean a prosthetic. A leg made for her by the doctor, yes?” “Yes.”

One child to another: “Well you know, if you use your inhaler when you don’t need to, you can get ammonia.” I said, ” I think you mean pneumonia. I don’t think you can get that from using an inhaler improperly.” “OK, but that’s not what my mom said.”

“Now what was the name of the artist we studied yesterday that used the pointillist technique of painting?” Student, waving hand wildly says, “I know, I know…Sewer Rat!” I said, ” I think you mean Georges Seurat, yes?” “Yes.”

This is why I sometimes just sit at my desk and smile.

One of the strange things about living…

Beautiful words I read yesterday…..

Sunrise Deer

According to Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911), author of The Secret Garden,  ” One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun….One knows it then for a moment or so.

And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure: and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone’s eyes.”

sunset picture

A Moment Shared…

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Resident roadrunner makes his appearance in January.
Resident roadrunner makes his appearance in January.

My students ask me everyday, “What can I draw?” I recently viewed a video of artist Chuck Close where he gave this sage advice; “Inspiration is for amateurs. Sign up for a process and see where it takes you.” So to my students I say; “Draw what you love. Draw every day. As Mr. Close advised, sign up for the process of drawing every day and see where it takes you. Hard work is the due diligence that will take you where you want to go.”

My Saturdays at home often include photography of the Texas that I love. These photos are notes for future artwork. And now they are notes for a moment shared with you…….