Turtle Tales

One of the local schools was celebrating the children’s book author Dr. Seuss. And so of course I volunteered to come to the school and read one of his many stories. I picked a rather short story “Yertle the Turtle” as it did not have too many tricky verbal passages, and it fit in with my ulterior motive.

So I drew a copy of one of the images in the book. And after I read the story, (a striking tale of hubris) I asked the kids to draw this picture of a turtle. Whenever I have visited any museum in London there are always some students drawing pictures, it seems to be a requirement. I thought that these kids might enjoy having a go at drawing after hearing the story. All of the classrooms were equipt with a fancy AV system that projected this drawing onto a large screen tv. I also drew a simple line drawing of a turtle on the whiteboard (classrooms do not have blackboards and chalk any more). And I asked the various classes that I visited to draw any sort of turtle that they liked for me.

It took real bravery to try and copy the storybook turtle and a few students in each class I visited attempted this. This kid did both sorts of turtles and a bonus cat.

This first grader drew quite a credible turtle (I did show a hat on the sample turtle).

Also by a first grader.

Yet another first grader’s art. He wanted to be sure to include the context of pond and rock while still choosing the simplified turtle picture.

This careful sketch of a realistic turtle was done by a third grader.

I am only showing the pictures that students gave to me. I think some students didn’t like their drawings, that’s why they gave them to me. Other students were so proud of their work that they wanted to share it. The first graders were the most enthusiastic (they thought the story itself was hilarious) and willing to try. The fifth graders were the most reluctant to try, which was sad. I had wanted to share my love of drawing, and I hope that I gave someone encouragement to give drawing a try.

Shadows again

I don’t know why I am obsessed with shadows, but I am. My dictionary (yes an actual physical book which sits next to my computer) first defines a shadow as: A comparative darkness within an illuminated area, especially that caused by the interruption of light by a body or object. Further down the listing it defines shadow as, A mirrored image: to see one’s shadow in a pool (this one does not seem to be as familiar a usage).

So there was another free day at the local museum, and as usual I popped in to see what’s new. And there was an abundance of shadows to be seen in the newest show.

This artist had used found bits of the detritus of life to make art. While the artwork itself was only mildly interesting, the works cast fabulous shadows.

Definitely an interruption of light going on here.

And here as well.

All of the pieces are made of similar stuff, bits and pieces of flotsam wired together, but each casting a lovely shadow of comparative darkness thanks to the illumination of the museum lighting.

Here was my favorite reflection of the day, it features multiple mirrorings of the original thanks to it’s plexiglass box. Repetition and enigma, these are things that add an extra bit of interest to the art, and were probably never intended or anticipated by the artist. But it’s what I see and appreciate when I look at these works.

Horsing around

The horse is a powerful symbol of the West. Easterners rode around in carriages, but Cowboys and (red) Indians preferred the freedom of a horse (also there was a certain lack of paved roads like existed in the East). And when something is such an ubiquitous important symbol, it often finds it’s way into art.

These horses are part of a grouping that celebrates a local developer. Someone added a whimsical touch by decorating each horse with a seasonal ribbon tie. It’s very festive and I hope that they do this for all of the major holidays.

This horse head looks to be old, and also looks as though it was formerly attached to something (a body perhaps?). Today it rests in the yard of M’s uncle, acquiring a new layer of weathering.

While this mysterious horse head awaits it’s place as a piece of art in someone’s home. It’s probably still for sale in this swanky antique store.

This riding horse was also in the antique shop, and I fell in love with it (although not with it’s price). Hey, wait a minute, I once had a tennis racquet like the ones under this horse, surely these can’t be an antique! I guess that tourists will buy anything (they hope).

Of all the horses, this is my favorite, and is the sort that I always wanted to have. Pegasus the flying horse is out there somewhere, just waiting to be tamed by a worthy human (or demi-god). Pegasus is not limited by a little thing like roads, and that is the ultimate in freedom.

Bar rooms

When I was a college student I was often to be found in the bar closest to campus. It featured a jukebox, pizza and cheap beer, all the things a college student favors. The place no longer exists, much to the relief of the neighbors, and a convenience store has taken it’s place (really not the sort of thing one hangs out at). Although I am not a barroom denizen anymore, I do occasionally stop in someplace for a brew or a cider (more likely).

This bar has been around for about 20 years, but I never stopped in until quite recently. Built originally as a neighborhood market in an old neighborhood near downtown, it is very much a hipster sort of place with lots of funky signage (and very good modern food).

This place has existed for less than 10 years in anewish strip mall built in the north part of town. It’s a brewpub, which means that they make their own beer on the premises as well as having other craft beers on tap. It’s a good thing to brew beer, as they do not have to pay the federal tax on it (although this fact does not make the beer any cheaper). The place is dog friendly and serves bacon, so I suppose it is sort of a hipster place as well.

This bar is definitely a hipster hangout, located in downtown (that means there is no parking nearby). They sell various craft beers and pizza. Those things hanging down from the ceiling are beer taps from all the craft beers that they used to carry. This place will soon be history, as the entire building is being converted to condos (flats) for hipsters (they will have to go down the street for a drink).

This bar is the hipster re-creation of a neighborhood tavern in the Midwest. It’s just like the sort of place old guys used to drink in, but with an edgy vibe. They serve the sort of comfort food one used to find in a tavern, chili mac, fried walleye (okay that’s all I ever order there, so I don’t know what else they serve).

I’m sure that they have craft beer, but they also have the sort of brands of beer that ordinary people drink (in Wisconsin or Minnesota), Leinenkugel (which is terrible), Pabst, Hamms and Moosehead (a delicious Canadian beer).

I’m not sure what it means that I end up in hipster sort of places (as I am totally too old, cranky and un-hip to be a hipster). Rather, I guess it means that I like good food and good beer (or cider) and I will go to any place that serves these.