Sunday, March 28, 2021

2021 Tournament of Art ends

 This year's art tournament has been a strange thing to say the least.  The schedule that is, organized in an unusual way.  But the games have gone on, and the fate of my 4 teams was resolved last night.  What was surprising was that the first one out was the one I expected to last the longest- Illinois. As a number  one seed, I expected better, but it was out in the second round, to Loyola Chicago, from my Missouri Valley Conference.   LSU also lost in that round, but they were only an 8 seed, so not as much a surprise.  

Villanova made it into the round of 16, before going down to Baylor.  My last hope was Syracuse, who lost in the round of 8, more than I expected of them.  But they were the last for me for this year.  All that is left is for me to wait until next year.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

2021 Tournament of Art part 2

 Because of Covid, the basketball has been played on a different schedule than last year, but the first round of games is now all done. All four of my teams won their games and will be moving on.  

Otherwise there have been some surprises.  Ohio State got knocked out in their first round game against  Oral Roberts, which messed up my brackets pretty good. All the other upsets I got wrong (either predicting them or not predicting them, were just one and dones in my bracket, so not a big deal.  My teams don't play again until next week, so there will be no new news for a while.

Friday, March 19, 2021

St Joseph's Day

 St Joseph's Day has come around again, one of the holidays we celebrate here at Studio Arrabbiata.  Still no camera, so we will have to settle for file photo, but boy do I have a lot of photos saved on my computer.  Traditional food here is a zeppole filled with cannoli cream, usually with chocolate chips as well.  My mother planned to go out for some and asked me and my father what we would prefer- cannoli (ricotta plus sugar), custard, or whipped cream (I've had all three and none are really bad).  I prefer the first, my father was hoping for the second one.

Full disclosure- there was a possibility of snow today, so she went out on Thursday, one day early. And what she found was cannoli cream, ones looking like what you see above, except garnished with a thin slice of candied orange peel, a common thing on these. I decided to go ahead and eat it last night, as filled pastry sometimes isn't so good the next day.  Had half, decided I liked it, and just ate the other half. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

2021 Tournament of Art

 Last year Covid shut down the NCAA basketball tournament, so I couldn't have my annual art school tournament, but this year they found a way to hold most of the games, so the art goes on as well.  Same rules as before- a school that I have an art connection to (such as an exhibition) that is also in the NCAA basketball tournament this year is my ticket to this alternate dance.

My highest one this year is Illinois, which is a #1 seed in the midwest bracket.  I had a big show there in 1994 when the 2D section at SIU was invited to show work in the main gallery at Champaign-Urbana.  It was decided by the department that I would be showing my not quite finished Fourth of July piece on a large brick wall in the gallery.  Word had gotten around both schools.  (It was also decided by the department that I would be on the food committee for our school and not the hanging committee, as baking was highly regarded,) My solution was to mount them on foam core, then mount the big pieces of foam core on the wall using double sided sticky strips.  This proved advantageous when I arrived and discovered that my wall had outlet boxes. power strips, and other things that made attaching the large flat pieces of foam core difficult. Solution- cut out pieces of my original grid, and place then in other parts of my large format piece.  In the later MFA show, it was all on a massive wood construction and each day stayed put.

Meanwhile, I have Villanova (1997 exhibition of two saints as part of the Art & Religion exhibition), #5 out of the South, and like Illinois a highly respected team, though many have doubts since they have lost one of their best players.  How it will go for them we will see next week. 

After that I have a #8 seed from the east- LSU, where I had a group folio displayed in 2006.  Don't really know much about them, but websites think highly of them.  These 8-9 games are very hard to predict, can easily go either way.

Finally, an 11 seed from the midwest, Syracuse, where I had 3 pieces in an invitational show back in 2005.  Another program I know little about this year.

Games begin in a few days, assuming players remain Covid free.  If not, it could be a whole different tournament.


My sister-in-law came by to do some hair trims today, which meant the whole family came over.  The oldest daughter is the one who took my drawing class yesterday and something not unexpected happened- she had another shoe drawing to show me.  One thing I found long ago was that if people drew shoes in my class, it was not unusual for them to draw more shoes on their own when they got home.  My theory  is that the shoes they did in my class was the first drawing they had done since they were a kid, probably the first formal drawing they had done since they were a kid, and possibly the first time they had gotten any drawing instruction, and they were excited to learn they could actually draw something and have it look like the subject. Once had a student in my Intro class bring back a shoe drawing she had been working on for a few weeks, which she was very proud of, and her mother was very pleased, and they planned to frame it at the end of the semester.  Best thing she had ever done she claimed. On two occasions I had adult visitors come to classes to evaluate my teaching.  Two different classes,  but each time it happened that I was doing the shoe project that night.  I gave each a shoe and a piece of paper so they could participate.  Neither was an artist (it's sometimes done that way), but both took to it, praising my way of teaching the subject, and one emailed me that she went home and immediately started drawing more shoes.  I had given no homework, but some people can't stop with the shoes. In my niece's case, she draws a lot, but I don't know if anyone ever told her how to do the things I recommended, but she was trying it. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Back to School


For the first time in months, I had teaching to do this morning.  My brother had suggested paying off some of my debt to him (moving related) by giving his daughter some drawing lessons.  Since teaching drawing is something I have done for years, seemed a good idea. Plus, I had seen her work and I knew she was no worse than some of the college students I was used to, and possibly better that some.  And we could both use some practice.

I've taught drawing many times (the above photo is from one of my 2D classes from years ago) so I had a plan.  In college, drawing was often part of 2D design, or Basic Drawing, or Introduction to Art, things I have probably covered at least 25 times, so I knew what I was doing, and it always starts with shoes.   This was how my first art class began in the 1980's, and it still works. However this was not college, so the format was more like the adult school class I taught a few times in Ocean Grove last year. Started with the shoes then, too. They sit still and work for free.

In the past I brought a giant bag of old shoes (mine) and gave students the choice of take one from the bag, or take one off your own foot.  If they tried to just draw from a photo they pulled up on their smart phone, I put a stop to that.  Real shoes are three dimensional, and photos are already images reduced to two dimensions, so you are already losing a dimension from your source if you are doing that, and a chance to learn a skill.  I'm not even sure if my niece has a cell phone, so we went straight  to selecting a shoe.  (had some women's options from the ones dug from my closet a few weeks ago, which she selected-better anyway)  She had brought a nice set of pencils and stuff, so we were in good shape with supplies. A large pad would have been better, but most of my students at college don't have then on the first day, either, and some never get them.  With last year's covid related problems, we were given instructions not to hold students to materials and let them use what they could get, so I allowed any kind of pad, crayons instead of pastels, etc. Even gave some suggestions online for substituting, something artists have to do a lot.

The shoe lesson is pretty basic, like I said, something I've done many times.  It went well.  I was told I had at most an hour (at college, we have 3-4 hours to fill usually, but I can adapt) We just did the first three types of contour,  the most important ones. As I told my student, this is the starting point of all drawing, and with this tool she could eventually do anything.  From here it's just practice.  Next week we move onto negative space.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Are They Kidding Me?

 My spam box had a bunch of e-mails with the same topic, one that has popped up in the past. All were offering me the chance to make "prints" and other fine art out of other works I had.  Since my medium is carving images into wood, thus making art, they are basically offering to use a computer graphic system to reproduce my handmade work. The equivalent of running off copies on a xerox machine.  All deleted.