Saturday, August 9, 2014

Week 22: Art Camps

This week I taught a couple of art camps at the school where I used to be the art teacher.  It was strange to be back there teaching again, but it ended up being a lot of fun!  The camps were a part of their larger camp offerings, and it just so happened that this week was the Harry Potter themed week - perfect!  (I'm a not-so-closet Harry Potter junky...)

My morning camp was a drawing camp for kids ages 6-9, where I teach them drawing basics.  Along with the regular instruction, we also have fun with some drawing games.  We played a game called "On your mark, get set, draw!" where I tell them something to draw and a time limit.  For example, I'll tell them to draw an owl in a tree in 50 seconds, and they go for it.  Then I'll tell them to draw a pirate ship in 60 seconds, and they have to try to incorporate that somehow with the first thing I told them to draw.  After telling them 7 or 8 things, they have to tell a story about how those things work together.  It's a lot of fun!  

Another drawing game I play with them is a "Parts of a Sentence" game.  I have little slips of paper that are red, orange, yellow, and green.  On the reds are adjectives, the oranges are nouns (animal or person), yellows are verbs, and greens are nouns (place or object).  They pull one of each, put them in rainbow order, and have to draw whatever is on their papers.  For example they might pull, "a sleepy giraffe skateboarding in a pool," or "a grumpy ballerina jumping rope at the mall."  This is a favorite game because of the absurdity of the sentences themselves, and then the fun of drawing them out!

In the afternoon I taught a Comic Book camp for 9-12 year olds.  It was fun to do character development with them, and I learned that I have a skill for it!  I had a list of things for them to consider for their character, and found that I could rattle off stuff off the top of my head and create some really awesome (crazy?) characters.  The kids struggled with it some, and I kept telling them that they were over thinking it.  The quicker we came up with things, the easier it became!  

The kids had a lot of fun coming up with their characters and drawing out their silly story lines.  It was interesting how secretive some of them became about them, though.  I had to insist that I be able to see their work so I could give them feedback! They didn't want anyone to steal their ideas, and I had to assure them that we were working in a safe space and that no one would steal their work!  

Teaching full-time reminded me how exhausting it can be!  I may have taken a nap or two...or three...this week.  But teaching also reminds me that I can learn a lot when I work with kids!    

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week 21: Back to Work/Wedding Time

Last week was finally back to work as usual.  Sort of.  I met up with Kat, my studio-mate, and we synced our schedules and worked out who would be in the studio when.  Then I was able to get some work done!  It was great to be back in the studio and sketching outside of it as well.  

Being on this side of vacation has made me realize just how little time I have left in my residency.  I feel like I'm mourning its loss, and it's not over yet!  It's just been such a miraculous blessing to be able to focus on creating art for the last five months!  Unfortunately, there have been some big distractions (camps, the Celtic Festival, etc) that have kept me from the studio and taken away from the time I have.  I'm grateful to have a few more weeks, and know how hard I'll have to work to prepare myself for whatever comes next.  I have no idea what that will be, by the way.  Any ideas, anyone???  I think that, unfortunately, it will come down to substitute teaching again while I work on finishing up the book and trying to get it published. (A process I haven't really begun to think about...yikes! If you know anything about that process and want to enlighten me I'd be glad of your help!)

Last weekend I headed to Grand Rapids where I was a bridesmaid in my friend Cori's wedding.  It was a busy but fun weekend!  Friday night was the rehearsal at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), where the ceremony and reception would be held, and then yummy pizza at Big O's.  Saturday started in the early afternoon with make-up and preparations at the museum, and then photos in front of the museum and by the Grand River.  (My poor feet...stupid high heels!) 

The ceremony started at 6 and was really nice!  It was HOT out in the sun and my toes fell asleep in my tall yellow heels, but no one passed out!  (We were genuinely worried about that...the pastor told us during rehearsal that if someone started to get dizzy and signaled him, he'd throw in an extra prayer so we could sneak off and sit down rather than pass out...!)

The guests all went into the museum for drinks and mingling while family photos were taken, and then the wedding party went through the basement and up to the second floor for the big entrance.  We came down the long, zig-zag staircase into the main entrance area, where the tables were set up.  We found out later from one of the bridesmaid's spouses that those seated just below the staircase could see up the bridesmaids' dresses as we walked down the glass-sided stairs!!!!!  Humiliation number one of the evening...

Number two for me came later when there was dancing.  They did the traditional dances - bride/groom, bride/father of bride, etc - and then they invited the wedding party onto the dance floor.  I sadly didn't escape fast enough, and was forced out into the middle of the room.  One of the groomsmen asked if significant others should be out there, too, and the DJ said yes.  I despise that DJ...

I'm never really bothered by being single, but at weddings sometimes one's single status feels like it's on display as much as the new bride and groom's happiness is.  Part of the problem for me this time was that the wedding was on the other side of the state, so asking a date would have been complicated, and then being in the wedding party and making said date sit at a table with people he didn't know seemed slightly cruel.  The other part of the problem was that I only really knew the bride & groom and a few members of the bridal party, so I felt fairly isolated.

So, there I was, on the dance floor, the only single one, with the wedding party and their spouses/fiances/boyfriends, etc. all around me.  A song came on, one of those horrible ones that starts out all slow, and the couples all paired off and started dancing.  Tears sprang to my eyes as every single guest stared at us and I tried to think of the most graceful way to flee while holding my dress down so they didn't get a second free show.  Thankfully the maid of honor, Taylor, and her boyfriend came and started breaking it down right by me until the song picked up and everyone started dancing.  The bride also went out of her way to come and dance with me, and I was very grateful for the way they went out of their way to help me feel less...solo.  

I ended up having a lot of fun, and enjoyed being able to hang out at an art museum after hours!  We weren't allowed to wander through the whole museum, but it was still cool.  It was also wonderful to see my dear friend get married and see how happy she and her new hubby are!!  What a blessing to be a part of their big day.

I also got to spend time with a very good friend from when I lived in Grand Rapids with whom I stayed Friday and Saturday nights.  I went to church there on Sunday and saw many more wonderful friends from my years there - friends are such a blessing! 

This week I'm teaching a couple of camps at the school where I used to be the art teacher, and they are reminding me of how many naps I used to take when I was teaching art full-time...!!!  It's been fun, though, and I'll share some of our experiences later this week.