22 October, 2014

What to do in the school holiday

On Saturday Ella and I went for our usual weekly schmooze around town.  We stop in on some of our favourite shops, have lunch or a green tea together and generally just explore.  I took her to a new mall that's opened off the back of another and we accidentally stumbled upon a rescue dog adoption drive.  

Well, we are seriously missing having a pup in our lives, so we went in for some sniffs and snuggles the whole time answering the question "are you looking to adopt a dog" with, "no, we're not really, we just miss our dog.  We don't really know how long we'll be in Singapore for…"

There were big dogs and little dogs, and puppies.  We got to hold some puppies.  And then I picked up this little girl…and I couldn't put her down.  SO overwhelmed.  She'd only been captured a week ago from a container park.  She and her mum and siblings were running around and hiding under the containers and she was the only one they managed to capture.  She'd never seen a human before that (or if she had, she'd hid).  
After half an hour of holding her, cuddling her (having our photos taken cuddling her), I spoke to the woman about the possibility of adopting her. I filled in a form and we discussed fostering her this week as we were home and would have more time for her.  Sunday night she arrived.

We have her for 2 weeks to see if she's a good fit for us, then they will come back and we will all make a decision about adopting her.
This is her "i'm scared face" which looks remarkably like Eyore in Winne the pooh, and thankfully a face we are seeing less of.

She is SOOOOOOOOO skinny and we are still struggling with getting her to eat.  She has diarrhoea a lot, and sleeps a lot too.  Partly her coping mechanism for being overwhelmed, but also just because she is weak and recovering I think.
 She is a real sweetie and getting much better around us.  I'm sleeping with her to try and get her used to human contact (and it's easier to deal with those night time clean ups if we are in the same room).

 Remi loves her and spends as much time as possible with her.  This is his last week working, so when I go back to work next week he will be able to spend time with her.
I am really hoping that we can keep her.  It's so nice to have a dog in the house again.  The cats are a little freaked out, but we are just letting them get used to her.   I just hope she starts eating a bit more and can put on a bit of weight.  She's not running away from me all the time anymore though, so that's a good sign.

18 October, 2014

Made it!

Well I've made it through the first stretch of the year.  We have a week off starting today and even though we're not going away, I'm really looking forward to it.  Kit and Ella returned from their respective school trips to Cambodia and Thailand on Thursday and Friday all excited and wiser and slightly worn out.  Poor Kit's gone off to do the PSATs today at school (very bad timing).

I have some fun photos of share of our little Deepavali celebration at school.  On Thursday night I went out with some people from work to have a curry in little India, do some shopping, get some henna done etc.  Yesterday I had the best day at work, swanning around in my Indian attire and only taught 2 classes!
Serangoon rd, Little India
So much shiny shiny 
 I was mesmerised watching the man do my henna
ready for work
we have all kinds of random things in our parking garage at school.  I drive past these cord spools every day (Iwant to steal one for the art department) and finally walked back to take a photo yesterday
 My lovely friend Libby in front of my display of her class' work
blurry i know, but with our henna
 Then it was off to the gym (with the WORST lighting for taking photos) for the show.  I had to watch it twice as we specialists are always required to "usher".

 I got to see the demon putting on his make up.

The show told the story of Krishna defeating the demon which is the Deepavali story of light and good defeating darkness and evil.

There was quite a bit of violence (I never really caught on as to who the woman was other than the demon attacked her and Krishna defended her)
The first show was for nursery through to 3rd grade and was toned down a little, although still a little long I thought.  The second show was for 4th and 5th graders and the newly returned from their field studies trips in Vietnam and Cambodia, 11th and 10th graders who were made to go to school even though there was nothing for them to do.  Kit was among them, and lets just say, they were less than enthused about having to go and sit through this show.  Fortunately the performers picked up on it and really played to them; getting involved with a bit of audience participation when the demon was running away and hiding from Krishna. (that's Kit cross legged at the front)
 And he may have been the bad guy, but he had the BEST costume.

 Anyway, after all that excitement, it was back to my classroom for some actual teaching (still in my gorgeous frock).
My 5th graders are beginning a unit about observation of natural forms and how we can use it to inspire  us.  I had a great time last weekend buying some shells and cacti, I even got some peacock feathers in Little India on Thursday night.
I love this photo (it was totally not posed- just something I caught happening)
I made some simple card focus frames to try and get them to really be looking at certain areas.   I bought some magnifying glasses too, and for the most part right now, there's not so much drawing going on as there is looking.  But that's absolutely ok.  I loved seeing them almost lying across the tables to be able to really look at displays in the middle.
Then I waited around at school until 6:30 for my girl to come home from Thailand and we went home and had a lovely evening.  She bought me some elephant pants and a lovely little rice paper book (Kit got Matt and I both elephants).  
 But the biggest gift was to have them both back and to see how utterly inspired they were by their trips.  They both had to go and see various NGOs : Ella helped catch fish out of mud that was used for farming, Kit helped to build wheelchairs.  And it was nice to have my girl home to sit and doodle on her with Henna while we watched last Sunday's Doctor Who episode.
Not quite as gorgeous and delicate as mine!  I need to practise.

15 October, 2014

Positive and Negative space self portraits

As part of my 5th graders' how we express ourselves unit on how our passions and strengths can empower self-expression and drive potential we studied positive and negative space and created 2 side by side self portraits; one showing their strengths and passions (inside their silhouetted head/positive space) and one showing their future potential i.e. what they could do with those strengths and passions (outside their silhouetted head/negative space).  This has been quite a long project.  With shortened classes this year, everything takes so much longer as it's start stop all the time.  I even opened my classroom up to all my 5th graders in the morning, at recess and lunch and I STILL had some who didn't finish.

However I am really pleased with the over all results and I think I really pushed them, not only artistically, but to really think about their content.  It only took me 4 hours to grade and hang the 3 classes last night…sigh….

Anyway, I do want to share.  When I look at them from afar like this, it really strikes me how much impact the negative space ones have.  I've seen so many "projects" with positive and negative space just using black and white, but I think it's more important to use full colour.  The impact of going all the way to the edges is really striking.  I would have LOVED to work out some way where we could have merged the two as well (other than trying to do complicated cutting) so that we had NO negative space, but I couldn't work it out in our time frame.

Now we move into some observational drawing which will shake some of them up a bit!

12 October, 2014

Life's a Journal

My nearly full journal with the bhuddha one I've just begun and the big one that I've been using on and off over 2006-I've been going over pages.  I love the Loki pussy cat paws in the corner -he watches everything.
As I sit here tonight I realise how drastically Matt and my lives are changing.  Oscar is not living at home, Kit is in Cambodia with school, Ella is in Thailand with school (I had to get her there by 4:30 am for the bus today), Remi's been out all day and here we are at home, just the 2 of us (and a friend stopping by on his way through SG).

Anyway, my journals.  I'm really pleased to say that my teaching is really inspiring my own creativity this year.  I find I'm coming home and spending hours working in my journal.  Which has become journalS.  It's not great work, it's not high art by any means, but by God it's enjoyable.  

I'm really enjoying collaging, playing around with paint and gel mediums and palette knives to texturise my paper.  I've got out my old pastel pencils and been playing around with them, I've bought new markers which I'm loving using.  It really is my switch off and relax time.

Anyway, here's a few pages that I thought I'd share (some of these have been on instagram).  There's some faces (my 4th graders are doing self portraits), lots of collage (I'm loving using pages from my Frankie magazines which have a gorgeous texture and lovely muted colours for my beginning inspirations)

This one began as a pastel drawing which I tried to seal with white glue and it ended up a big muddy mess.  The next day I went back in and over it and the white glue with the pastel grains mixed in made a gorgeous texture to draw on.
Paletted paint on brown paper with sharpie and pastel
This is just "prepped" ready to go...

The brown paper is collage and paint with matte gel with pastels on top (the other tree is an old pencil one)
 The collage on the right is from 2006 when I first moved to CT and didn't have ANY art supplies (I think I made the glue with flour) and the paper was from catalogues, I added to it on the left with pastels on brown paper
The shoes and fence picture courtesy of Frankie magazine, I collaged around it and used palette knife and paint and pastels on top.
Sometimes things are more of a doodle while watching TV.  These circles once again are old, the other collage papers I added on top and I'm expanding the doodle.
This one is awaiting some of my lovely new markers…the picture in the middle is from Frankie magazine as are some of the papers...

this one was also from Frankie and you can see the line…the rest is drawn by me as well as a few extra balloons...

Markers on a page from a Frankie.  I use brush tipped markers ( note the feet on the pages to hold them down.  This sketch book is so full of collaged papers that it is exploding!)

12 different collage images/pages from Franke with markers 

lovely mindless doodling which is my total mind shut down before bed while I listen to audio books.  I find that using the computer so much during the day means that my eyes are toast by the end of the day and I just can not read.
playing around with pastel pencils on paper that I added textured gels to.  The matte gel was really good, but the fibre paste (which I LOVE for painting) was too much for the pastels.