Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mystery Solved

Well the mystery is solved. It was Brad's 5th grade teacher, Ms. Honan. I taught in her class last year, and it was obvious that she had an appreciation for art. She had works of art laminated and placed all over the classroom, especially the ceiling. She retired at the end of the year, and bless her heart, she gave me all those works to use in my teaching. She was the one who left the art books for me at the high school. How thoughtful and generous!!!

Art Book Mystery

Today I was at the Goodwill store looking for used art books when Travis called to say that someone had come into Henley High School and left a big stack of books for me. I was surprised and eager to see what might possibly be there. He said that when he saw the title "Monet" he knew the books were meant for me and not for him. Imagine how shocked and completely thrilled I was to find these beautiful books on French Impressionism, Van Gogh, Treasures of the Smithsonian, American Ballet Theater, The Sistine Chapel, Pablo Picasso, and more. I wonder who left them. Surely it must be someone who knows I am doing art appreciation in the elementary school. And someone who knows I have a son who goes to the high school. I called the one person I think it most likely is and left a voice message on her machine. I told Lynn it is such a mystery, and he said, "Honey, to me art is always a mystery!" I am very thankful to the thoughtful and generous person who shared her treasures with me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good Movie

We are always looking for good entertainment, and Lynn stumbled across a really great DVD the other day. He purchased it as a used DVD, so it was not expensive. This is one we will enjoy watching over and over. It is about a 10 year old girl who wants to become a reporter. Takes place in 1934 during the Great Depression. A couple of young hobos come to Kit's home looking for work, they become friends, the hobos get accused of stealing from the family. The movie is really about loving without prejudice and about family pulling together no matter what. It is rated G. Very tender. We highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I love my job!

Today I got to go to the elementary school and teach the students about two American photographers - Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984) and Dorothea Lange (1895 - 1965). I just love teaching the kids about artists and their work. There were such interesting stories to tell about these two photographers, and the kids asked lots of questions! Who would have guessed that the thing that finally helped a very intelligent hyperactive kid to focus, was learning to play the piano?! And who would have guessed that Ansel Adams really struggled for a time to decide whether to be a professional pianist or to be a photographer?! I had no idea. They say he hiked all over Yosemite with a 40 lb pack on his back. He had a good sense of humor and loved to tell stories. His black and white photographs are legendary.

Dorothea spent much of her life photographing people in a way that showed the effects of the Great Depression, the Japanese in the Internment Camps, and people in other parts of the world. The picture of her on top of the car shows her holding the huge camera she used. The picture above that one is the one she is most known for. It is called Migrant Mother, and shows a 32 year old woman with 3 children. They were pea pickers, but the peas had frozen, so this family was getting by on frozen peas and the birds her children killed. They were so destitute with no work, no place to live. When this photograph was circulated in the newspapers the government sent 20,000 lbs of food to this pea pickers' camp to help out the desperate people there.
It was interesting that the students related to the Great Depression because of the frightening news we are hearing these days. Always there are those students who notice something profound in the art. I especially enjoyed the hugs I got today, seeing the beautiful birthday dress one girl was wearing (it was her birthday AND picture day), and I loved receiving two drawings that were done for me in class. One is a picture of me, and I do look fine! Too much fun!
Who do you think I should teach about next?