Tag Archives: South Park

Around The Block

SpanishVillageColorTilesNew friends. New places.

These last few weeks in San Diego have been remarkable! The weather seems to be never-ending goodness and I’m dreading coming back to the scorching heat of Texas this week. I’ve lived in San Diego for almost two months and although I’ve approached my temporary visit like a traveler, I’ve been here long enough that I’ve already started making friends and, through my wanderings, I’ve found members of my tribe.

I brought my tennis racket and joined the summer clinics at the Balboa Tennis Club in Balboa Park. Tennis courts are a great place for social interaction and I’ve made friends here. One of the weekly participants is Chuck, a 96 year old tennis player! Watching Chuck hit “spinners”, as I call those crazy, unpredictable, bouncy balls, has proven to me that Chuck is a talented athlete. He can stand in one place and precisely hit balls that younger, more agile players, across the net from him, cannot return. Chuck is an inspiration! I’ve made friends with Loulou, Janet and Janice. I even saw Janice at an outing last Saturday night in a different part of town and it was exciting to run into a friend.

I met new friends during my days spent installing Liza Lou’s Color Field at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Many of us are seen in a film, produced by the museum, which chronicles the installation team working. Liza even mentions me in the film!

Mingei HorsesOne of my new friends I met at the museum, Pia, publishes a wonderful blog showcasing many art and cultural things to do each weekend in San Diego. Her blog, The Wanderer Guides, has been especially helpful in planning weekend activities. Pia and I spent an afternoon together recently at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park. This museum exhibits folk art, craft and design from all eras and cultures of the world. During our visit we saw the Menagerie exhibit, which showcased artful animals from the museum’s global, permanent collection. I took many photos of inspirational artworks that may be used as source material in my teaching next year.

I especially loved discovering Urban Safaris, a unique walking tour company built from the ground up (literally) by my new friend, Patty. Within the first weeks of arriving in San Diego, I contacted Patty and inquired about signing up for a tour. She notified me that all her tours were full for a few weeks so I wasn’t able to register until mid-July. I signed up to walk on two tours with Patty through two fascinating, historic neighborhoods of San Diego: North Park and South Park.

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Each of these neighborhoods developed in the first decade of the 20th century and both have maintained important historical buildings. It was so enjoyable learning about significant architects, like David Owen Dryden, who built beloved craftsman-style homes, so prevalent in these neighborhoods.

Helen & Anita at Filter, July 27, 2013

Photo via Patricia Fares

Through Patty, I met Helen, a noted childrens’ book author. Helen, Patty and I got together recently to discuss blogging and we all wished I wasn’t leaving yet. These two creative, smart and witty women would easily become my two new best friends if I were to settle down here in San Diego!

I will always be grateful for the treasured time I got to spend with my daughter and want to publically thank her for providing me with a loving home and extending to me great kindness. What a blessing to have been able to navigate her new city with her and live life alongside her as she begins walking down life’s choice-filled path. I will eagerly await the day she comes to visit me in my new city, so I can return the favor. Thanks to you, too, Matt, for your love, hospitality and gift of time you gave us to be together. I love you both!AandS

Summer is coming to a close but a new world awaits! I’ve started collecting teaching resources, reading blogs about the PYP and wondering about the names my new students. I’m curious about my apartment and my classroom. I am eager to seek out the markets and meet new friends. I’ve enjoyed Skyping with new friends in Turkey and am so appreciative of the efforts of my new colleagues to make us new teachers feel welcomed.

Teaching is such a wonderful career. I’m so thankful that this vocation continually gives room to my transformation. Have a great week and make a new friend!

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Chasing the bone

Courtesy: Robyn Hobbs Photography

Do what you’re wired to do.

Each school year I am fortunate to teach amazing, creative individuals. Some are naturally gifted and draw in perspective (before really knowing what that is), they match and mix colors and they understand tools and their uses with very little teaching required. It is fascinating to watch these kids problem-solve as they intuitively seem to know how to tap into the right side of their brain.

In contrast, there are also students who, perhaps, aren’t as naturally talented, but they wish they were! They so badly want to draw correctly and learn about the elements of design! They sit up front and pay attention to every morsel of detail I talk about when introducing a new lesson. They are observant and are wonderfully teachable. At the end of a school year, these children often out perform, or rise above the more naturally talented students because of their eagerness to perform and learn.

After teaching kids for a full year, their problem solving skills have been highly sharpened and they don’t get their feathers ruffled when I look at a composition and say (with love), “Too boring. What can you do to capture the viewers attention?” I often role play being in a museum, as an onlooker, and I race by many, many works of art and then . . . BINGO! I stop in my tracks as one artwork seizes my eye and won’t let me go. “Why is that?” I ask. I often give the example, when applying color to an artwork, that the color should bounce around the canvas, like a ball in a pinball machine racking up points: “Bing! Bing! Bing!” They laugh at me and then add their splashes of eye-catching color to their masterpieces.

As human beings, we ALL have the ability to create. In our consumer-driven culture EVERYTHING we see that is man-made started out as a drawing somewhere. If you had the time and energy to research, for example, the coffee mug you drank coffee from this morning, you would eventually track that mug back to a work order and I’m willing to bet, somewhere in that manilla folder (or desktop folder) would be a drawing of it, first visualized by its maker. Objectified is a film worth watching that stunningly shows this process in the field of product design. Art teaches creative problem solving and those of us that can do that are badly needed, especially in this economic downturn. In Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, he explains why, in the future, creative individuals will take the best jobs in America and around the world.

One of the most frustrating things I experience as a visual art teacher is watching parents and institutional staff subterfuge the most astonishing, creatively talented students into majoring in business, or convincing them to take over the family insurance agency, for example. It’s not that the skills learned in these environments wouldn’t be useful and productive; I’m sure they would. But what would happen if parents, teachers and institutions would actually support a creative kid to keep on being creative? What amazing discoveries might be made! What could possibly be imagined to help people get clean water, get shoes on childrens’ feet or build houses out of trash?

In A Whole New Mind, Pink highlights an interesting story about the importance of DESIGN. It is so important, says Pink, that consumers, having dozens of toilet brushes to choose from, may select one based on the way it is designed. This could mean the curve of its handle or the pattern of its bristles. Most toilet brushes can do the job adequately, but more and more people want a toilet brush that is not only designed well, but made in pleasing colors.

And, one last thing: (parents) please don’t inculcate your children to attend the college you went to. When I see a 5th grader drawing their parents’ alma mater logo onto their papers, it makes me sad. It tells me that this child may not hear his heart-voice but instead is already hearing his expectation-voice.

I’m working on an eBook, that I will make available by year’s end, on creative career choices. This book will be a resource for students, parents, teachers, administrators and anyone interested in partnering with creative souls for a lifetime of creative pursuit.

In closing, I’m attaching a short animated clip made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South Park fame) featuring a small segment of an Alan Watts lecture. Please watch it and re-watch it and send it to all your friends!

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