I stumbled upon the Syracuse Art Mart last night on my way to the downtown Syracuse tree lighting ceremony. It is in the Atrium at City Hall Commons located at 201 E. Washington Street in Syracuse, NY.
It will be open until Christmas Eve – Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.
There’s lots to see and buy. Art and craft from local and regional artists like Judi Witkin (jewelry) and Jeanne Dupre (oil paintings) – that was a shout-out to Facebook friends….
It’s been relatively warm here. Sunshine – no rain, no snow. I still feel comfortable in bare legs and/or sandals at forty degrees!
I think that’s because last winter it was, like, four or more below zero in the winter, so we Syracusans think that thirty degrees is sort of warm. It’s a relativity thingamabob.
Whenever I wear Trina Turk, the amazing fashion designer likes or comments on my Instagram pictures so, of course(!) I do it as often as possible. Here is the outfit with and without the Banana Republic cardi.
This Free People cardi is in heavy circulation. I just love the color. It’s a sort of raw sienna/yellow ochre dealio, which truly suits me. I am always instructing students to use this color as the underlying structure to a painting or a colored pencil drawing – the perfect neutral.
Been going to Green Lakes after school every day – I either bring exercise clothes to change into or I’ve been wearing leggings almost as a uniform, which is just easier.
The picture below was my casual Friday look. We call it dress down day. The teachers contribute money to fund various charities in order to wear denim since jeans are technically not professional attire.
I always top my look with an apron or a blue smock during the school day. I look more like this crazy guy when I am not posing for a picture:
He’s Gustav Klimt.
I love this man! His work is sooooo beautiful! He was very eccentric. He loved cats to the point that I think he hoarded them. I only have the one – I am not technically a crazy cat lady, but just being an artist, the word crazy is tossed about a lot directed towards me, like some sort of embraceable put-down, lol.
Right now, I have something like six or seven different preps – I am doing different lessons in every class. Painting – Wolf Kahn barn paintings in acrylic, fluorescent clay lizards and frozen faces; additive sculptures in one class, reductive sculptures in another…what else? Colored pencil dessert drawings à la Wayne Thiebaud and Japanese fan mixed-media pieces, Needless to say, the classroom is a crazy, topsy-turvy mess.
So, smock, cats, crazy…you can see that I identify with Klimt. We could have been besties in another life.
This is my favorite Klimt painting. When I stood in front of it at the Met years ago, I literally wept at it’s beauty. It just has this innocent freshness. The painting is actually life-size. The girl and I are the same height. Hmm, that gives me an idea for a fashion look…. Think I will sport the side hair part tomorrow, maybe wear my white BCBG Max Azria dress again…but I think I will pass on the white tights.
The artist exhibiting, Niki Dellios, is a shining star. Timing changed her life – she was exhibiting paintings at the Syracuse Tech Garden when the art director from the movie Adult World (filmed in Syracuse) spotted the art and asked her to do a commissioned work for the movie. She received film cred plus her very own IMDb page!
This show is up a bit longer – through December 2015. Call (315) 428-0844 for their hours of operation.
I have to say, you will love all the sparkly bits. Niki uses acrylic glosses, resins and glitter in her work. They are a lot shinier in person.
I introduced the work of Peter Max to students in two of my classes. I still encouraged them to create their own style on their Statue of Liberty paintings. Some did respond to the energy in his brush strokes.
These are acrylic paintings on 16″ x 20″ canvas panels.
I really love teaching students about a contemporary artist who is still alive. They could potentially meet Peter Max, as he visits galleries that represent him all over the country – all the time.
Max will be in Short Hills, NJ on November 14, 2015, Ft. Worth, TX on Nov. 21 and 22, and King of Prussia, PA on Nov. 28.
I was looking for rhythm and texture. These paintings were part of my SLO tests. New York State art teachers are required to give tests that are authentic assessments. These were graded by my colleague. I then grade her tests, so that we retain a more objective result. Detail and composition were also assessed.
The only problem with this type of grading system is emotion is thrown under the bus. The other teacher does not see the commitment, the emotional journey a student takes when learning to paint. She doesn’t see the eureka moments and the process to create the product. Oh well. In the attempt to standardize, we roll with those punches. Can’t fight to liberate ourselves from the standardization of public school.
In my attempt to bring travel into my life, I created this 8th grade art lesson. Students selected famous buildings – the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the White House…. Places all over the world.
This was a materials-driven lesson. Colored pencil on black Strathmore drawing paper with the addition of Sharpie metallic markers in silver, gold and/or bronze.
The strength in these works comes from the students’ commitment to creating their own styles and in addition, to utilizing consistency in that style. I was looking for rhythm and texture here, as well as detail and composition.
I am always inventing my own projects and the only problem-o in sharing them is that another local or otherwise art teacher might stumble across them here and decide to use the lessons with their students. That’s flattering, not really a problem. It only becomes so if the projects compete against one another at Scholastic Art Awards. Judges are always looking for the unique. Seeing a “lesson” is basically the kiss of death. Then the judges don’t see originality and I have to go back to the drawing board (ha, ha – because I am using it figuratively and literally) and come up with a new inventive project.
But let’s face it – that is my strength. I have ideas flying out of my butt. Are you liking that pun? Flying, get it? The jet-setters do.
I’m the kind of creature of habit who basically could listen to the same CD in the car for months – not just the CD, but a particular song, lol. I am all about repetition. All about routine. (I can sing Billy Joel’s Vienna over and over again and not get bored with it!)
I just feel comfort in that stuff. I have this idea that I will sing on stage someday. One of my “bucket list” dreams is to do the national anthem at a sports event. I know I can do it. Someday, I am sure I will.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the things I wanted for myself when I was a kid. Even the far-fetched stuff. A lot of great things have been happening to me lately, a lot of dreams coming true. It’s kind of very cool.
I met some people at the Syracuse International Film Festival a couple weeks ago. There was discussion of an art movie that may be filmed here. I may achieve the goal of being an actress! Well, an extra, but still!
I also talked to two people about acquiring art exhibitions for my huge inventory of artwork. I am sure at least one of those will come to fruition. Am quite certain I will find the right fit for my work and ultimately sell, sell, sell!
And because these things are happening, I think it is making me a better teacher. I feel absolutely fearless. Like everything that happens will be the absolute best possible outcome for me.
It helps me teach kids that they can achieve anything their hearts’ desire. It’s not just positive thinking. It’s the kind of blind faith that allows one to take that leap. It’s truly an awesome feeling.
Dressing up for work is super fun. As you can see, I am a creature of habit with fashion. I just love Trina Turk and BCBG Max Azria. They both like my Instagram posts, and that is such a huge thrill. I am sooo grateful for all the compliments on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!!!!
Life has truly never been more fun!
***Special thanks to my photographer and art teaching colleague, Gina Fargnoli, who makes me feel so relaxed and happy when she takes my picture every morning for my #ootd! You are the BEST, my friend!
The Chittenango Middle School 8th grade teachers take our students to visit SUNY Morrisville. We’ve done it for several years now. There are four activities plus lunch in the dining hall (!!!) – to see the automotive dept., the dairy management farm, the equine science program and the aquaponics greenhouse.
I’ve gone on this field trip three times and this was the first time I visited the cows. There I met Assistant Professor Ashley Adams, who loves cow art!
So this blog post is for her. I want to share artwork by my bestie, Penny Santy. Penny is a graphic artist during the day, fine artist by night. You can find her website here.
Penny has this wonderful series of cow paintings. I am totally in love with them. She uses oils and paints in a quaint studio space in the basement of her home in Eastwood, a subdivision in the city of Syracuse, NY.
I love the energy in her brush stroke and the juxtaposition of complementary colors used to create shadows. Not just saying that because she is my friend. I think Penny’s work would look great in the offices/buildings at the dairy science college! They are large scale pieces – really breathtaking in person. I especially love the buttery yellow one!
Students in my ninth period A day class created cow portraits in oil pastel on black paper.
We drew them on white paper, transferred them to the black Strathmore paper with graphite paper (magic) and painted out the lines with black acrylic paint.
I showed students how to build up the color with the oil pastel using a layering technique and encouraged them to create their own consistent style – up and down, diagonal, coloring in circles, etc.
I just love the way they turned out. Each one is 16″ x 20″ – my favorite size for student work! I am thinking of selecting a couple to enter into the Scholastic Art Awards competition, but I can’t decide which ones will be the most competitive. I like them all.
I’m not going to lie – Land of the Lost was my favorite TV show of the 1970s. I watched it on Saturday mornings at around 10 or 11 am. There were not that many episodes, so I am sure I watched re-runs of re-runs dozens of times until the shows were ingrained into my skull, which is not a bad thing, lol…right? Loved the whole concept – it was the first time I had heard/learned the word paradox. The show might have bad special effects by today’s standards, but I think it still resonates for me (of course, I have the series on DVD, duh). Each episode was written by the premiere Sci-Fi script writers of the day. I mean, it was a great show.
I also loved/still love Planet of the Apes! OMG, again, the idea of a paradox. In Land of the Lost, the only way they could escape the matrix was to have another them pop into it, thus continuing the cycle (paradox). And if you watch all five POTA films, you discover that time travel causes the paradox and sets the whole ape takeover in motion (whoops, spoiler alert!). Love that stuff.
Lori Nix likes it too. She’s a few years younger than me and she’s from the mid-west (Kansas), and so her formative years created for her a fascination with destruction of civilization as we know it. Pair those two TV/film phenomena with Towering Inferno, Logan’s Run and life in tornado alley and you will come to understand this artist’s obsession with the comedy of demise.
Once in 1993, I borrowed my mom’s car and spent the night at a friend’s house. It was about a month before the Blizzard of ’93 so it was a brutal winter. In my defense, my car’s door was frozen open, so the only way I could drive it is if I drove with my left hand and held the door shut with my right. Anyhow, I got blamed for my father’s car accident because he had to drive Mom to work the next day because I had her car. (It was a minor fender bender).
Nix has a similar story only hers is really more the stuff of legend. Her mom dropped her off at a movie theater the night of a horrendous tornado that just missed her mother whose car had just pulled into their driveway. She rolled down the windows and ducked for her life, like a character in a horror film, just as the tornado passed over her. That storm managed to take out every other house on their street. Lori Nix’s father blamed her for nearly killing her mother. It’s like we lived in a parallel universe!
And yet, that’s where the similarities end. I am happy go-lucky me who never watches the news, crime shows or that lot, and steers clear of negative circumstances. Nix dwells on the eery, macabre damage and destruction of standing at the peripheries of doom, but takes it all in stride with her immensely dark humor.
NIx and her partner work in tandem, both creating these especially detailed little vignettes – of cars plunging in the drink, of apocalyptic subway cars and laundrymats, of beautiful places turned yucky-yucky.
This work is painstakingly slow, intimate and fun, similar to creating little puppet theaters. Apparently, their home in Brooklyn is a bit of a construction site with two cats finding their way into the “environments”. These were my favorite pictures in her slide show and I have to say, they made me enjoy her talk all the more.
The work is whimsical and silly and yet there is a seriousness to the dedication with which they create the art. I love that commitment! She is doing a two-week residency at Golden Artist Colors, Inc. in New Berlin, NY, and that’s where I met her.
Nix photographs her vignettes using an 8″ x 10″ camera and these photos take days – to get the lighting just right and to remove any excess cat hair caught in the crossfire.
The photographs are quite large – 30″ x 40″ and bigger, and have been exhibited all over the nation and the world – Italy, Germany, Australia, and Canada!
I was always jealous of my elementary friends who took piano lessons. That and ballet. I wish I could play the piano. Maybe someday I will take lessons now that I can pay for them myself…. Back in the ’70s, we used to have one of those little organs with numbers for keys. It was in the dining room. To play Silent Night you hit 5-6-5-3, 5-6-5-3, 9-9-7, 8-8-5, 9-9-8-7-6, 5-6-5-3…
Kathy and I would write songs on that stupid thing. One went like this:
Halloween is here
Halloween is here…
Wish you could come another night
Wish you could come some other night
Wish you could come another night
Yeah, oh, yeah….
Lol, I don’t know why I can remember that when I can’t even remember where I put the postage stamps I bought two weeks ago!
I had a fantastic Halloween this year. It really is my favorite holiday because it is the most creative one. People really rise to the occasion! I wore four different costumes this year. I went to three different parties – the school dance included.
My costumes consisted of props with regular clothes. I bought the angel wings and halo years ago and popped them on and off – the party was the previous weekend and so I was able to go out afterwards to meet friends without the burden of going home to change – easy peasy.
I made the red riding hood cape and the Gryffindor robe. Paired them both with a white top and black skirt.
The fortune teller garb is a peacock-patterned caftan. It’s Rachel Roy. I paired it with an old silk scarf I bought back in my Co-Manager for The Limited days, which makes it an almost thirty-year-old fossil.
I wore almost every necklace in my arsenal and carried my Magic 8-ball. It is really quite amazing how people can believe you are what you pretend to be. Everyone wanted to know about their love lives, which was pretty funny. I wasn’t able to give everyone a positive response. The heart wants what it wants, but the 8-ball says what it says. That’s magic for you. <3
What does it say about me that I picked magical beings as my alter ego(s)? Angel, fairy-tale character, witch and occult practicioner…. I guess I just love magic. Love when reality is magical. Love that you can make magic happen sometimes.
Halloween, for me, is fun – not scary. I don’t really like the scary, although I did see a “horror” movie last week. It was the 1961 cult classic, The Mask in 3-D. It was playing at the Capitol Theater in Rome, NY. And I actually loved it.
So maybe I’ll go scarier next year. I am still planning to do a Carrie thing. I have the perfect old bridesmaid dress from 1978 and a tiara. Just need to get my hands on some fake blood and I am good to go.
You know, why wait until next year? It’s so fun to dress up. People should walk around in costumes more often. They really should.