Today's postings

  1. [Baren 38212] Re: Children teasing (Plannedscapes #
  2. [Baren 38213] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V46 #4720 (Feb 23, 2009) (Marilynn Smith)
  3. [Baren 38214] Following the thread (Jennifer Martindale)
  4. [Baren 38215] Re: Following the thread (carol Montgomery)
  5. [Baren 38216] Re: Following the thread (Elizabeth Atwood)
  6. [Baren 38217] neat edges/why they should buy it (Rosposfe #
  7. [Baren 38218] Re: neat edges/why they should buy it (Dave Bull)
  8. [Baren 38219] Re: Following the thread (reneeaugrin #
  9. [Baren 38220] Re: Following the thread (ArtSpotiB #
  10. [Baren 38221] valuing art... so many ways... so little time (ArtSpotiB #
  11. [Baren 38222] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification (Blog Manager)
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Message 1
From: Plannedscapes #
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 13:51:52 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38212] Re: Children teasing
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That the kids are using the teacher's words to tease him is the teacher's
duty to fix. What he is doing in his method is NOT what she had in mind so it
is her job to teach them the definition of the term the way she meant it to
keep them from using it against him.
It is also her job to observe and react to bullying such as this in the
classroom. My children's school took bullying seriously a few years ago and put
a program in place. The first version was directed to parents and about
recognizing if our child was being bullied and teaching them to say things back
and not let it eat at their self-esteem. Well, I and apparently a few others
blew up about this and wrote letters. It is not the victim's responsibility
to fix! The parents of the BULLIES need to figure out if their kids are doing
the bullying and TEACHERS need to recognize and stop it, and before that,
anticipate and prevent it. The school took these comments to heart and
redesigned the program over the summer to train teachers and reduce tolerance to
zero for teasing behavior. It was a fabulous success. I am sure the district
would share information with your grandson's school.
It does sound like typical jealous bullying. His technique stands out from
theirs, probably as being sophisticated. They can copy it and worry about
being called copy-cat or they can berate and devalue it. A teacher should hear
the name calling and first explain that that is not what she meant by
'scribble scrabble'. She should then point out that his technique is different .
. . and pretty. And then she might even ask him if he would be willing to
show kids how to do it. If he is coloring in random patterns, she might
suggest they make it their own by coloring in short zig-zags or little circles or
some other pattern, but that it is filling up the space with a solid block of
color like we really see things.
The other aspect is that it is not just ours to handle this stuff at home.
It is perfectly okay as a parent or EVEN AS A grandparent or just a community
citizen to go into the school and talk to the teacher about what is going
on. If it is done in a 'I am not sure you are aware of this' and a 'how can we
solve it' manner of offering help and not just a critical manner, and if you
start with the teacher and only escalate if needed, it can really work out
not just to the benefit of the one child but to all of her future children and
her teaching style long term. Or to a district change. Okay, this is way
off topic, but still, we need to be vigilant about education methods and ask
for the best of what is out there!
Thanks for reading,
Karma Grotelueschen
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Message 2
From: Marilynn Smith
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 14:32:32 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38213] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V46 #4720 (Feb 23, 2009)
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Hi Shelly,

Instead of a book why not give of yourself. Could you approach the
teacher and ask if you could spend time, say once a week to help
instruct art as a volunteer resident artist? If you appear to be a
professional and instruct the children that your sons method is not
just scribbling would they not stop picking on him?? He could be proud
to be the son of an artist and perhaps his methods would be admired
rather than criticized. Interesting that scribbling would be
criticized. Way back in college we were sent outside to draw, just
draw anything we saw and the instructor made some comment and my
response was if i do that I will be scribbling. He said, well
scribble then and I did. The scribbles formed a drawing and it became
part of my unique method of drawing.

Speaking of how art is taught in school, I had some experiences as a
college art student that fits the fact that even there some
instructors taught a specific style instead of just helping us create.
Watercolor is a tricky medium, I had a professor who taught us to do
these little strokes, impressionistic style. That was the way we were
to do our paintings unless we had already developed another style that
was very successful. If we had we were told to tell him privately
that we would not be using the style he was teaching, and the work
better be good. I could paint the way he instructed, but felt stifled
by the "rules". As soon as I finished the class I broke all of his
rules and explored the medium on my own.

Many times I have had people ask me, how do you buy art?? I do
believe people are intimidated from their lack of knowledge. I tell
them, buy art the way I buy art, buy what you like. I showed a friend
a portfolio of my work, in the back was a series of abstract
monotypes. She said I don't understand abstract art. I said, just
look at it and enjoy the colors and what you see. She was delighted
and truly enjoyed my abstract work after that simple statement. Most
people try to make too much of what we do instead of merely enjoying it.

Have a nice day.
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Message 3
From: Jennifer Martindale
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 16:08:17 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38214] Following the thread
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I too would love to have ideas to assist my 7 year old grand daughter. She just loves art,
and used to play with materials and shapes with great freedom, but now just wants to colour
in between lines and work with stickers. I presume the pressure is coming from school and family
not to be messy but to draw 'properly'. It grieves me, but I only get limited access.

When I had the open studio, I leafletted all the neighbours. I persuaded some to drop in and admire
my cabin studio, but many said that they could not come because they would not know what to say about
the pictures as they did not know anything about art. It seems so sad that people have become so afraid
of being made fools of, and have become afraid to even look.

Finally, there seems to be a strong pressure in the UK printmaking world for a certain kind of tight 'correct'
images. I increasingly feel the need for a new 21st Century Fauvist movement to free up a towards a more creative view.

Are all three above points related? Maybe they are.
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Message 4
From: carol Montgomery
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 17:38:16 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38215] Re: Following the thread
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Hi, Jennifer - I think it is difficult for people to understand abstraction - every time I show my students abstract work
they are totally flummoxed as to commenting about it. That state of affairs is due to lack of art education. I feel like I
have to re-invent the wheel!
Carol Montgomery, Helena, MT
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Message 5
From: Elizabeth Atwood
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 17:57:47 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38216] Re: Following the thread
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To add to the stories............

A friend pulled me aside the other day to tell me about her
experience which she thought would interest me as an artist. She is a
teachers assitant at a Montesorri school.
The art teacher scans pages from a coloring book and makes copies for
all the class. The children are given explicit instruction about the
colors to use in each part of their line pictures along with the
guidance to work within the lines. This is their exposure to art. I
was doubly stunned that it happened in a Montesorri
school........making it contrary to what I have always believed about
their teaching.
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Message 6
From: Rosposfe #
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 00:14:30 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38217] neat edges/why they should buy it
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Thanks Dave for jumping in. I have been using often "the whole baren"
quite a bit or using my thumb, held vertically to apply pressure to the edge of
the baren so indeed it hasn't often been held perfectly flat. I suppose one
of the issues is when there are both areas of thin lines/delicate work and
areas of solid color on the same plate. I imagine a "key block" in which there
are also areas of solid black. I have been tempted to do all this on one
block for the obvious reasons.
My murasaki medium baren is fairly rough. On thin 50-60g/sq. M papers it
often feels like a pine cone. It wasn't however quite up to the task of
printing the OX cards on 250g/sM Rives BFK paper. However my plastic raised bump
baren I use still quite a bit but it often feels not hard enough. I know that
the Murasaki folks make a "fine" baren now too but I am reluctant to buy
anymore "stuff" until I get better with what I already have.

RE: why they should buy it. Sorry about the tone of my last post. I
should have reread it this morning before I posted it. Kudo's to anyone who
manages to make a living at any honest endeavor. I used to be paid far too
much when I worked as a physician (and I was in one of the lower paid fields).
Then I became a farmer and found the only way to be successful (and successful
in farming means to not lose money) was to subsidize it with other work (which
is true of most small farms in the West). This despite producing food, a
demonstrably essential item for most of us. So the debate about value, relative
worth and whether artists should or should not be supported by their
communities or government is one I'm still grappling with. I still lean on the No
side although if we're going to be subsidizing somebody I'd rather it be the
family farmers and artists of the world instead of the bank executives and
Agribusiness giants. Again, sorry to be pontificating about selling one's work,
something of which I lack the experience to be preaching about.

--andrew stone.

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Message 7
From: Dave Bull
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 01:41:26 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38218] Re: neat edges/why they should buy it
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> ... one of the issues is when there are both areas of thin
> lines/delicate work and areas of solid color on the same plate.
> I imagine a "key block" in which there are also areas of solid
> black.

In the ukiyo-e tradition, they were separated. The area of a woman's
black hair, for example, would be part of the key block, and would
print in light grey/black along with the outlines.

Then, there would be another black block - a 'colour' block - to deepen
and darken it as required.

Here's an example of a little print of mine made that way - with the
hair on a separate block:

It _can_ be done the other way - all on one block - but it becomes very
difficult to get the hair black, without smashing the fine lines.
Here's an example all on one:

For a print like that, you have to put paper shims inside the baren to
create a very round curve shape, so that there is only a very small
area of contact with the paper.

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Message 8
From: reneeaugrin #
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 03:49:07 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38219] Re: Following the thread
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This has been a fascinating discussion. I agree with Barbara in that
education is the key, and the starting point for a discussion for many
people who are unsure or intimidated about buying art. I find that
even if there is not a sale to be made, describing how prints are made
helps people to begin thinking about them, at least it creates an
option for them to purchase something real, should they ever get to
that point. I am always hopeful, and happily surprised when someone
finds something in my own work they can relate to.

There are many complaints about the art taught in schools. It is rare
to find a teacher who will take time to help kids come to a good
understanding about creativity. There is such an emphasis on
standardization of everything in the school systems. This is how I
teach kids about abstraction. When I taught at the
'school-for-home-taught-kids' we had a wonderfully diverse number of
instructors, the Latin/Greek instructor gave me the definition of
abstraction as "to pull out of" and this was a great place to start
with the kids (kinder through 12th grade} They make a drawing, usually
something from real life, a still life, with color, then we use two 'L'
shaped viewfinders to select a portion that they really like, and talk
about composition, balance, color placement, etc. and make whatever is
in the viewfinder into a new painting/drawing but at the same size20as
the original -- you can usually still tell what part of the original
image it comes from,and this is ok, as the kids seem to need a solid
reference, but abstraction is not so scary at this point -- then we
repeat the process, so that the part of painting that they choose is
very abstract but it is still their own drawing and this seems to
connect with them in a good way. I am sure that there are many other
ways, but I have had a lot of success with this project. Sorry to be
somewhat off track, but I hope this helps the kids in your life.

I look forward to the discussion about our next exchange.

Best to everyone!

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Message 9
From: ArtSpotiB #
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 06:50:25 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38220] Re: Following the thread
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Renee, that is a SPLENDID approach to abstraction! Bravo!

ArtSpot Out
Benny & The Bandit

Thank everyone who calls out your faults, your anger, your impatience, your
egotism; do this consciously, voluntarily. -Jean Toomer, poet and novelist
(1894-1967). "Yes, and it has the added benefit driving THEM nuts when you do"
Benny Alba.
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Message 10
From: ArtSpotiB #
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 07:29:36 GMT
Subject: [Baren 38221] valuing art... so many ways... so little time
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Andrew, you've been to many places and seen real poverty, I suspect. That,
combined with growing food and seeing those who need medical help, must surely
color your opinion. There's much truth in it. Perhaps one can feed the soul as
well as the body, when it comes to art.

To my mind part of the difficulty in the USA is that so many see the issue of
importance of art as an "either/or". Must it be that there's no room for that
which we cannot use on a practical level of eat or be sheltered by? Perhaps
separating out the money from the recognition would be a thought. If it isn't
sold/purchased, it must be of no value. That is often the refrain. It's a
multiple prong issue here... renumeration being the more obvious item but
recognition and respect being another.

Then again, a now gone pal of mine Bob Winston mended cooking pots for the
ships in Richmond, CA. during the last world war. His stories of that were
riveting, so to speak. He didn't care a fig about money, only about doing his work.
Numerous pieces of his art reside in the Smithsonian. He was famous for his
commission work worldwide. Bob established the lost wax process in jewelry
making, invented asymetrical stones, "invented" the use of semi-precious stones,
won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Am. Craftsmen, had multiple
interviews by the Smithsonian at the end of his life, etc. The list goes on...I'm
mentioning this because here's a man renowned in his field and equal to Charles
Moore, etc. who wanted to do his work, did it and lived a very satisfactory
life. He followed his heart, achieved world fame yet lived a very very simple
life of close to impovershment. Now that's dedication. Oh, and by the way, he
was severely dyslexic... and only found out what he had in the last ~10 yrs
of his life! He had a strong will and won his battles.

What I want is to produce work of such a quality that it continues to be of
interest past my death. And that I enjoy doing it before then. I've worked
menial jobs to have control over which days I worked. And I've worked some pretty
nice jobs too, realizing that I had abilities that could have meant "real
money". But when it came down to it, following my heart was always paramont.

I guess I'll just have to resort to robbing banks when my money runs out, eh?

I've heard it said for many years that there are too many artists... that the
field is bloated. What does everyone say about that?

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral
philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for
selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith, economist (1908-2006)

Digest Appendix

Postings made on [Baren] members' blogs
over the past 24 hours ...

Subject: Northampton Show
Posted by: Annie B


For the past week I've been hard at work matting and framing, doing promo, and making signage for a show here in Northampton at The Hosmer Gallery in our local library. What a lot of work it is to mount a show! This is my first time doing it, and I'm humbled. The gallery is quite large and each month two artists share the space. I'll have about 25 pieces on display. Rather than dealing with frames, I used Swiss Corner Clips to frame most of the pieces -- just glass, mat and backing. The larger pieces (Three Prophets, etc.) I'll be hanging without glass in a sort of scroll-like way. I'll show you that once I figure out how it will work.

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to show my friends and family why they never see me around town!

This item is taken from the blog Woodblock Dreams.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.

Subject: Large Block Print - Printed!
Posted by: Amie Roman

So after returning from Bamfield, Dave & I had a nasty, awful flu/cold for two whole weeks. The little time I was in the studio, I was definitely not up to carving that large block of MDF started in January. Then I got back to the studio recently, and worked steadily on the carving, to have it complete last night (yay!).

Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrMurri investigating the carved block this morning

Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrClose ups of the carving

[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog Burnishings.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.