Chittenango Falls State Park is located at 2300 Rathbun Road (RT. 13), Cazenovia, NY 13035. The attraction is a 167-foot waterfall. There are hiking trails, a playground, plenty of spots to have a picnic and as of two hours ago, home to a dozen painted rocks.
I painted these yesterday for this park because we are the bears. I have worked for the Chittenango school district for 26 years and this is the first time I visited this park. It won’t be the last. Go bears! <3
From Jamesville, New York, drive about 20 minutes down Route 91 and you will find yourself in Labrabor Hollow. There is a parking lot off the highway – cross the street and now you are at Tinker Falls!
What an amazing experience. There are two components here – the treacherous climb up to the falls, the trail under the falls and another steep incline up, up, up…and then…a wide trail that continues up, up, up to a scenic overlook, which is a hang-gliding hot spot.
The brilliance of New York State all in one perfect day. The air is so fresh and the hike makes you feel so alive, so present, as if nothing else in the world matters.
It is a perfect place to stumble upon an angel or six. So grateful. <3
Three Falls Woods is located at 4618 Sweet Road, Manlius, NY 13104. It is a beautiful place to hike! There are two main trails – the white trail leads to a pond and the blue trail loops the falls, and then there are the other trails that get you completely lost and so the key is to go early in the morning and make sure your phone is charged to GPS your ass out of there. So fun!
The Chittenango Lions sponsor a local Peace Poster contest every year. I assign the illustration project to my 8th grade Studio in Art students. There is a theme and a few rules such as no words or characters of any kind, no numbers, no trademarked cartoons, etc.
The theme this year is “Lead by Compassion”. So the $5,000 question (which is the prize at the international level) is “How do you get thirteen -year-olds to formulate ideas based on compassion?”
I asked some colleagues to define compassion in their own words and they all had varied responses, which I thought was interesting. Some questioned whether they were compassionate enough, some justified strict rules as a form of compassion.
My thought is that you cannot help others without first helping yourself. Meaning you must be kinder to yourself, believe in yourself, love yourself first before you can help others grow. You cannot lead from a place of lack or unworthiness in yourself.
I shared this belief system and suggested they continue the journey of self discovery that began with the summer vacation drawing they did on the first day of school. Show me who you are and what you love then show how these things both matter and can help others live peaceful and successfully happy lives.
Here are the results. They are colored pencil drawings on white tagboard. The winning poster goes on to the the regional competition followed by states and the possibility of winning the grand prize at the international meeting.
It’s so exciting to give students the opportunity to become professional artists.
The posters are framed and are currently on display at the Sullivan Library on Falls Blvd. in downtown Chittenango, New York. They will be up in the Community Room through December 2022.
First I shared information about Franz Kline. He created large scale black and white paintings. These paintings resembled Chinese Calligraphy.
My students looked at Chinese Calligraphy resource pictures. They used black oil pastels to draw lines on a 12′ x 12″ canvas that were influenced by the Chinese characters.
Next, they added white acrylic paint using sweeping brushstrokes with a 1″ flat brush. They were encouraged to occasionally crash into the oil pastel to create some gray areas.
In the following class, they placed black acrylic paint over the black lines allowing some of the texture of the oil pastel to remain on the surface.
Jim Dine was next. We looked at his heart paintings. I gave them another canvas – a 4″ x 4″ one. They created heart stencils, traced them onto this smaller canvas then painted the canvas – either white heart with black background or black heart on white background.
Students then used colorful oil pastels on the heart and its background.
I had them choose a wood block, glue it to the back of the smaller canvas then adhere it to the center of the larger one.
I call it a Tash Mash because it is a mash-up of Kline and Dine but I use the heart motif in many of my own paintings as well, and I utilize the wood riser technique when mounting my encaustic paintings onto chalkboard painted masonite boards. And I invented the lesson.
I’m thinking about doing a series of encaustics in this style. Thank you, Franz Kline and Jim Dine for your contributions to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, respectively, and for having names that rhyme.