Monday, September 18, 2017

How sick are we?

The Artdog Quote of the Week 



I find it difficult to understand how people can disagree with this, but there's a whole bunch out there who apparently do. And who also manage to sleep just fine at night. There's got to be a better way.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Charlie Gaines' "Union Stuff" Board on Pinterest for this image. Also to the late Cesar Chavez.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Diego Rivera says it with flowers

The Artdog Image of Interest

The Flower Carrier, by Diego Rivera

Throughout time, artists have often turned to workers in various industries for inspiration. I've been spotlighting a few examples this month, in honor of Labor Day. Hokusai's rice farmers and the bakers and brewers immortalized by the ancient Egyptian modeler for the Tomb of Meketre all worked with grain, to produce an indispensable staple for their societies.

But not every trade focuses on society's most basic needs. Today's artist, Diego Rivera, was a prominent painter and muralist in the first half of the 20th Century. He was trained in Mexico and Europe, worked in Paris, was a great friend of Amodeo Modigliani and other members of the artists' group at Montparnasse, and explored cubism at roughly the same time as Picasso, Braque, and Gris. His mature style also drew upon the imagery of the Mayan stelae of his native Mexico.

Rivera also was a dedicated atheist, socialist and supporter of communism. Many of his murals and paintings celebrate the common working person. The Flower Carrier, painted in oil and tempera on Masonite in 1935 (original title: Cargador de Flores) is one of several works Rivera created, focused on workers in the Mexican cut flower trade. It was a recurrent theme, often featuring calla lilies and female workers. This painting is currently in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Other Rivera paintings that feature flowers and the workers who collected, carried, and sold them include Flower Day (1925), The Flower Seller (1941), The Flower Vendor (1949), and another Flower Carrier (1953).

Khan Academy has collected many of these flower paintings in a short video. I discovered it after I'd written most of this article, but the writer of the Khan Academy piece and I are definitely on the same page about the message of these paintings. Rivera has used the beauty of the flowers to call attention to the arduous lives of the workers.

IMAGE: Many thanks to the Diego Rivera website, for this image.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Consider this equation

The Artdog Quote of the Week



If all employers followed this advice, they'd be paying their people a living wage, and supporting their roles as family members in society through paid sick leave, parental leave, and/or personal leave.

And we'd all be better off.

IMAGE: Many thanks to WSI 15013's "Right On" Pinterest Page and LinkedIn. Also to the late Stephen R. Covey.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Forgetting is not an option

Remembering September 11, 2001

We saw the worst of humanity that day. But we also saw some of the best. I hope you'll enjoy this tribute, with actual footage from that day at Ground Zero.



You also might appreciate this short National Geographic production about United Flight 93

Unfortunately, many 9/11 heroes are still "layin' it all on the line." A variety of respiratory illnesses and cancers have been linked to the pollution encountered by both survivors and first responders. But the trauma experienced that day has left many with PTSD and other mental health effects, as well. Last year, on the 15th anniversary, CBS News ran this item:



Clearly, not all sacrifices are made in a blaze of glory that ends quickly. The lingering effects of our collective trauma from that day still haven't played out.

VIDEO: Many thanks to Allec Joshua Ibay on YouTube, for the "Everyday Heroes" musical tribute to the first responders at Ground Zero. The song that gives the video so much of its emotional power, please note, is by Dave Carroll, who is not credited on Ibay's video (however, Ibay's images are more focused on the events of 9/11/01 than the video Carroll posted). You can buy Carroll's single or album on Amazon. Thanks also to The CBS Evening News and YouTube, for the video about first responders' mental health.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Ancient Egyptian Bakers and Brewers

The Artdog Image of Interest 


Model bakery and brewery from the Tomb of Meketre (public domain; The Met)

Our celebration of labor through art history continues, this week with a fascinating glimpse of two important allied culinary arts: baking bread and brewing beer in ancient Egypt.

This model, created during the Middle Kingdom period (1981-1975 BCE) was one of several fascinating models discovered in 1920 in the High Steward's tomb, showing various types of work, including livestock-tending in a cattle stable and a cattle-count being performed, a granary complete with inventory-taking scribes, a traveling boat being rowed, a fishing scene, a weavers' workshop, a carpentry shop, and a porch and garden. Tomb wall paintings from many different eras also depict subjects such as building, hunting, and harvesting.

For more information about the models in the Tomb of Meketre, you may enjoy this PDF from Brown University.

IMAGE: Many thanks to The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City) for this image of the model. There's a whole collection of photos, not only more views of this model, but of other models from the same tomb, online. Cool stuff. Check it out!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Visual thoughts on disasters

This is one of those days when pictures shout louder than words ever could.

Damage from Hurricane Harvey could require years of cleanup. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Western states in flames (KHQ-NBC Q6)

I think I recognize this road in San Juan, from my trip there in July! Good luck, my friends!! (Alvin Baez/Reuters)
A final thought.

For your consideration: Prayers for the victims, local first responders, volunteers, and trained disaster responders are always helpful (if you believe in their power, which I do). But don't stop there!
America's Charities Disaster Recovery Fund-Hurricane Harvey 
Wildfire relief efforts in Washington state 
Charity Navigator Hurricane Irma
The American Red Cross
ASPCA Disaster Response

IMAGES: Many thanks to The Washington Examiner, AP Photos, and photographer David J. Phillip for the photo of Freddi Ochoa in his Houston, TX front yard. I also appreciate the vivid map from KHQ in in Spokane, WA, showing all the fires wreaking havoc in the Northwestern US on the day before I wrote this post. I especially thank ABC News, photographer Alvin Baez, and Reuters, for the horrifying photo from San Juan, PR. And I appreciate ShareQuotes4You and meetville.com for the Mollie Marti quote.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A powerful and effective voice

The Artdog Quote of the Week



Happy Labor Day.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Better World Quotes and Bruce Springsteen, for today's affirmation of the value of labor unions.



Friday, September 1, 2017

Hokusai's rice farmers

The Artdog Image of Interest 



Throughout September, the Artdog Images of Interest will highlight pieces of artwork by respected masters from around the world, that highlight the value of labor.

This woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai dates to about 1835-6, and is the first of an incomplete series based on the poems collected in a famous anthology, A Hundred Poems by a Hundred Poets, collected by Fujiwara no Teika in 1235. 

The poem that inspired the print is attributed to Emperor Tenchi Tenno, in which he "expresses empathy for his hard-working subjects."

One might debate how much empathy an emperor could have for a rice farmer, but the value of the farmers' labor to the Japanese economy and culture, both in Tenchi's time and later, is hard to overestimate. They not only fed his empire; in the Emperor's role as a Shinto priest, many of his duties "revolved around rice-growing." To this day, rice is still Japan's staple grain.

IMAGE: The best image I could find online of this work is from MUZÉO. Many thanks to them, for publishing such a fine image. You can buy an open-edition copy that's even better quality from them, if you like it. I also am indebted to Scholten Japanese Art, for the story behind the print.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Prepared

The Monday-morning quarterbacking has begun: even before it stops raining, people are second-guessing whether Houston and other Harvey-hit parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast were "prepared."



Exactly how does one prepare for such an event?

It's harder in some places than others. Houston is a sprawling metropolis of 6.5 million people, lying no more than 125 feet above sea level, with an extensive network of bayous all through it and untold acres of impermeable pavement to concentrate the runoff. As I write this, the rain is slowing down, but Harvey is easily the wettest storm on record in the Lower 48.

Exactly 12 years ago: Hurricane Katrina flooded the I-10/I-610 interchange in northwest New Orleans and Metairie, LA. (Wikimedia/AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Niemi)

I'm sure I can't be the only person who's been getting an uneasy feeling of "déjà vu all over again" (thanks, Yogi!) when listening to or reading about Harvey's devastation. We heard the same basic stories of inadequate infrastructure, inadequate shelter facilities, stretched-thin rescue services, and unequal impacts to richer and poorer communities (I'll give you one guess who's getting hit worse) during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and Hurricane Sandy in New York/New Jersey.

A washed-out bridge, and then some: Mantoloking, NJ, October 31, 2012, after Hurricane Sandy. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
CAN a city prepare adequately? While it's politically difficult to justify expensive improvements to infrastructure or seemingly-needless restrictions on development in floodplains when conditions are calm, it is true that many cities could and should do more. For an idea about some of the ways to prepare, here's a checklist for municipal planners, from the EPA (grab it while they're still allowed to mention the words "climate change"!).

Massive storms, floods, droughts, fires, and other disasters may be touted in the headlines as 100-year, 50-year, or even 1,000-year events. But seriously: How many years in a row can we have "100-year" events before it begins to dawn on even the slowest among us that things are changing?


It turns out that it actually is possible to plan, build, and prepare for even rather extreme disasters, but it takes forethought. It takes community acceptance that it's necessary.

It takes keeping our weather satellites in place. It takes governing officials who acknowledge the realities of our situation, and can't be subverted by special interests who'd rather take a short-sighted opportunity to make a buck, or by those who think all regulations are bad.

To any who, like Grover Norquist, want to make government small enough to drown it in a bathtub, I'd like to remind you that it's harder to make the case for that, when your bathtub's been washed away in the latest "100-year" flood. Of course, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) is on this year's budget-cutting list. So maybe you should just kiss that bathtub goodbye.

IMAGES: I first found the YouTube video of interspersed "before" and "flooded" views of the Buffalo Bayou in Houston on BoingBoing (the article compiles several more before-and-after images that are quite startling). According to streetreporter, who posted it on YouTube, "The still images are from unknown people shared by a French twitter user. I only made the dissolve to show perspective, which is transformative."
Many thanks to Wikimedia, for the 2005 photo of the Hurricane Katrina flooding at the I-10/I-610 interchange in northwest New Orleans and Metairie, LA, an AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Niemi. Equal thanks go to Slate and Mario Tama of Getty Images for the photo from Hurricane Sandy.
I also thank Abode Home Group's "Restoration" page for the Fire/Flood/Storm composite image.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Universally understood

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

I've heard it said that mathematics is a universal language--but only if you've been taught how to decode it. With the arts--especially music, dance, and visual art--no translation is required for the human heart and mind to respond. 


We've explored the value of the arts in education during this back-to-school season in my home country, the USA.

But I would submit that no matter when your school term starts, where you live, or how, where, or from whom you learn, if your education is untouched by the arts, it embodies only a pale shadow of the fascination, depth and lifelong relevance it could hold.

IMAGE: Many thanks once again to designer Lonnie King, for enriching this important thought from Richard Kamler with an evocative design.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

To the very core

The Artdog Quote of the Week  

The educator's struggle is often a struggle to demonstrate relevance--but nothing is more relevant to life than the parts that are too deep for words.


That's why participation in the arts at school--be it band, choir, orchestra, art, theater, creative writing, or dance, is linked with greater student resiliency and engagement, better grades, and better attendance.

As with athletic programs that engage students in whole-body activities and help bond them with groups, school arts programs may seem like "frills," but that is wrong.

They speak to the very core of what it is to be human, and open paths for greater, deeper learning.

IMAGE: Many thanks to designer Lonnie King for this perceptive quote, rendered as a memorable image.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Nature can teach kids about the world and themselves

The Artdog Images of Interest
Last May, I blogged in some detail about ways that kids can learn to think better and be creative by getting out into nature. That series was focused on keeping kids learning and teaching them to value nature during a summer away from school.



But just because they're back in school now, that's no reason for them to stop learning from nature. I'd like to hope that they benefit from classes that teach science on beaches and riversides. But if their schools can't afford field trips, I hope they get an opportunity somewhere.




I'd like to hope they get to grow things in school-run gardens, to learn about plant life cycles and where food comes from. But if they don't get that experience in school, I hope they get it from someone.




Maybe they'll be sent on nature scavenger hunts. Those always make great homework projects. But if the schools are forced to teach to a different test, maybe their moms, dads, older cousins, Scout leaders or someone will take them out to find the wonder in nature, anyway.




Perhaps they'll have a class project to observe a variety of clouds and learn to tell them apart. But if they don't, I hope some caring adult will take the time to show them.




Perhaps their school will have a birding club, or they'll take a trip to a zoo, aquarium, or nature preserve. Wouldn't it be great if they could learn to observe animals with quiet respect? But if the school's too busy drilling on grammar and math facts, perhaps an uncle, aunt, grandparent, or other trustworthy adult can help them learn the joys of such excursions.

Family is the first resource when schools are stretched too thin, but if your family can't take on a full-fledged nature and science curriculum, remember there's help available in faith communities and community groups. 




Importantly, there also are active youth organizations, such as Camp FireGirl Scouts, and Boy Scouts of AmericaYes, I know both Girl and Boy Scouts have been embroiled in controversy recently. But don't let that make you lose sight of the fact that they've enriched the lives of several generations, and I'm here to tell you that both organizations still contain plenty of committed adults who only desire to help young people grow into knowledgeable adults. (Full disclosure: I was a Girl Scout myself, a Camp Fire summer camp counselor, my daughter was a Girl Scout who deeply loved her summer camping experiences, my son is an Eagle Scout, and I served as a Boy Scout Merit Badge counselor, so I'm not exactly unbiased about these organizations--though I'm also not blind to their flaws).




Whatever you do with your kids and wherever you do it, remember that an enduring connection with nature is a lifelong gift for your children--and a vital survival understanding for all of us.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the photo of young kids with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent observing life along a riverbank. I also want to thank the Green Corn Project Blog, for the photo of the enthusiastic class of second-grade gardeners; to Connecting Youth with Nature for the photo of the kids with magnifying glasses and Small Talk SLP via Pinterest, for the Nature Scavenger Hunt page; to InnerChildFun for the photo of the little boy with the "weather window," and to E is for Explore! for a different variation on the "Weather Window Cloud Identifier" idea; to EDventures with Kids for the Animal Observation sheet, and to Cornell Labs' Bird Sleuth K-12, for the photo of the budding birders with binoculars. Finally, I'd like to thank C&G News, and Harper Woods, MI Girl Scout Leader Anna Jochum for the photo of 2nd- and 3rd-Grade Brownie Scouts on a winter survival exercise, and to the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America for the photo of the Scout leader teaching a group of boys a little about leather tooling. I deeply appreciate all for sharing!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Disorders

This post is late, and it will have to be short. Disorders of several sorts have beset close family members in recent days, and as a result a certain level of personal chaos reigns. When such things happen in our personal lives, we may feel as if we've been run over.

Photo by Ryan M. Kelly - The Daily Progress/AP

But actually being run over is much, much worse. We have glimpsed recent new horror (including synagogue congregants, holed up in fear while Nazis marched outside in American streets) in Charlottesville, VA, where "all sides" did not contribute to the public disorder in equal measure, no matter who desperately wishes to believe otherwise.

AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Anger does beget anger. Confederate monuments and statues all across the country have become targets in reaction to the white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Image source: WNCN-TV video screenshot, via The Blaze.

In such an environment it's difficult not to wonder if the world has gone mad--or if perhaps we have. Patience is hard to find. Perspective is hard to find. Just as it's hard to keep one's head in a mob, so it's hard to keep one's eyes on core values.

But that is our current national test.

IMAGES: Many thanks to CNN, photographer Ryan M. Kelly of The Daily Progress and AP for the photo of the horrific impact of a car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters in Charlottesville, to Los Angeles ABC Channel 7, Pablo Martinez Monsivais and AP for the photo of President Trump making a statement about Charlottesville, and to The Blaze and WNCN-TV for a pictorial article about the destruction of a confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Valuing creativity

The Artdog Quote of the Week 


Finding a way to value creativity in education, in the workplace, and in life, tends to ignite joy wherever it is found. Keep searching for new ways!

IMAGE:  Many thanks to Looney Math Consulting for sharing this image. It's one of several in their excellent article, "Honoring Creativity in the Classroom." 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dogs teaching kids how to read

The Artdog Images of Interest
My Images of Interest this month spotlight creative and unconventional approaches to teaching that have been gaining traction in schools, libraries, and other places devoted to teaching--including our own homes, if we share them with children.

Literacy dogs:
By now, the science is pretty well settled: reading to a calm, accepting dog (or other animal) really does help children learn to read better. Here's a video that covers most of the important things about kids reading to dogs.


My first video is about therapy dogs of R.E.A.D., Reading Education Assistance Dogs, from Intermountian Therapy Animals, an organization started in Salt Lake City, UT in 1999. It's a group I've blogged about before.




But now for a little something different: how about a dog who inspires children to read--by reading, himself?



Meet Fernie, whose owner Nik Gardner (headmaster of the school where Fernie works) chose him for his temperament, and taught him not only to be a literacy-support therapy dog, but to respond without verbal cues to commands that are printed on flash cards. He'd learned to read four different commands ("Sit," "Down," "Roll Over," and "Spin") when they were featured in The Telegraph in February 2016, but Gardner vowed then to teach him more.



Regular readers of this blog will remember I've featured literacy dogs before. Just sayin'--they do their work well. You'll probably see them featured here again!

IMAGES AND VIDEOS: Many thanks to VOA for the video and photo of the R.E.A.D. program in the New York City Public Schools. Thanks also to The Telegraph, and to SWNS TV, photographer David Hedges and YouTube for the information, video, and photo of Nik Gardner with Fernie.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A time of new challenges--and then some

Although my children now are grown and I am no longer either teaching or enrolled as a student, this time of year has always felt like a pivot-point for me.

For most of my life, August has been the time when my family (Mom and Dad were both teachers) and I would shift from a summer of differently-structured time, to plunge back into the challenges of the new school year.

Headed back to school: What should we prepare them for?

My time at the helm of a classroom probably is over, for well or ill. But at this time of year I can't help thinking about the challenges today's teachers and students face. Our picture of the future is continually in motion, but the age-old job of teachers is to prepare their students for it as best they can. That's one of the few things that hasn't changed!

But what should teachers prepare them for?

Our immediate future contains a massive range of possibilities. Technology that seemed remote only a few years ago now is imminent. From personalized medical care based on an individual's genome to advances in brain-computer interface technology, our picture of living, working, and learning in the 21st Century is changing rapidly.

We're beginning to feel the effects of climate change in shifting weather patterns and greater environmental hazards, from more intense storms, more widespread flooding, and hotter, less controllable wildfires.

More intense storms are only one of the environmental hazards kids will increasingly face in the future.

The news tells us the USA has officially recovered from the Great Recession of the last decade--though some of us will never make up the losses. Automation, some aspects of globalization, and a shifting dominance of industries in the economic sector have taken away some jobs and transformed demand for skilled labor.

Learning new skills throughout life to remain employable is a new feature of the employment scene, a trend that isn't likely to change in the future.

Our political and social landscape has been changed by economic and demographic shifts, philosophical polarization, and new social norms about what is and is not acceptable. The so-called "bathroom bills" that have recently targeted transgender students are only one example of the lengths laypersons with no understanding of problems sometimes try to meddle in school affairs.

As if all of that wasn't enough of a challenge for teachers, consider that there is now literally more history to teach than there was several decades ago, and the best pedagogical standards demand the inclusion of a range of ethnic and socio-economic viewpoints, not just "old dead white guys."

New scientific knowledge is developed every year, and a quality science education demands that teaching adjust for newly-discovered facts or risk teaching erroneous information (there's enough of that already).

School breakfast programs provide essential nutrition for millions of kids who otherwise might come to school too distracted by hunger to learn.

Educators also are now expected to accommodate a wider array of needs than they've been asked to do in the past, from feeding kids breakfast and lunch so they can be alert in class, to crafting lessons for differentiated learning and individual learning styles, despite often-overcrowded classrooms due to budget shortfalls.

It all adds up to steeper challenges for teachers and school systems every year. I wish them all the best of success, and good luck.

They're going to need it.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Apple Country Living, for the "back to school" bus-and-kids photo; to CNN, for the photo of the Plaza Towers Elementary School, after a massive tornado hit Moore, OK, in 2013; and to the Eau Claire WI Leader-Telegram for the photo of employment seekers at a local job fair. Many thanks are also due to the Kansas City Chiefs for the photo of a "Wake Up" School Breakfast spread they helped promote for National School Breakfast Week at a local middle school (this photo is from their 2016 project).

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Supreme art

The Artdog Quote of the Week  
As teachers and students head back to school in the USA and elsewhere, it's important to establish priorities.



IMAGE: Many thanks to InformED's article, "30 Things You Can Do To Promote Creativity," by Miriam Clifford, for sharing this image.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Disruptive kids

There seems to be widespread agreement that in general "kids these days have no respect," or at least less respect, compared to earlier times.


There are restaurants all over the world that have resorted to banning small children from their premises, either after a cut-off time in the evening, or entirely--and as a result, many have seen their businesses boom, despite angry reactions by some parents.


Oddly, this deficiency in children has been a fairly consistent complaint since ancient times. In 1907, Kenneth John Freeman summarized complaints, culled from ancient Greek manuscripts, in his Cambridge dissertation:

"The counts of the indictment are luxury, bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect to elders, and a love for chatter in place of exercise . . . . Children began to be the tyrants, not the slaves, of their households. They no longer rose from their seats when an elder entered the room; they contradicted their parents, chattered before company, gobbled up the dainties at table, and committed various offences against Hellenic tastes, such as crossing their legs. They tyrannised over the paidagogoi and schoolmasters."

Apparently, it wasn't much better in the eras that followed, at least according to some contemporary observers; Mental Floss recently published a collection of quotes about the shortcomings of young people from the seventeenth through early twentieth centuries. Many of these complaints regard upper-class children, not just the urchins in the slums.


Of course, as famously depicted in the works of Charles Dickens and others, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a lot of children did run wild in urchin gangs. I have written more about them, and the origins of public schools during the Industrial Revolution, in an earlier post.

Is it really so much worse now? A lot of people think so, and not just older, curmudgeonly folk. I would submit that even the most disgruntled restaurant patrons are significantly better off than in the days of urban pickpockets and roving youth gangs that would assault and beat up passers-by in the streets without regard for police presence (except in places where that still happens).

But that doesn't mean disrespectful children aren't more defiant, outspoken and profane than they were a few decades ago in the US and other parts of the industrialized world. It seems clear they are, and the reasons cited range from poor parenting to exposure to unhelpful media messages--all of which may well share some blame.

But it troubles me when I find people blaming learning disabilities, ADHD or autism on a lack of good parenting (what a needless burden to place on parents and kids alike!). I also hear a lot of sentiments to this effect:


For me, this comment crosses a line. It implies that a parent would have "ended" the writer, and that the response would have been appropriate. In former years, when "children were seen but not heard," that could all too often be because they feared what we would today call child abuse. Not in all cases, certainly. And even people whose parents were too reliant on corporal punishment don't like to think their parents actually harmed them.

But if you listen to some people, all restless children need is some good, old-fashioned discipline to shape them up. This may be true in some cases, and it certainly is true that parents who neglectfully allow their children to be "brats" are setting them up for a lifetime of being despised by others.


But there's a reason why not every restless or unhappy child is automatically at fault. Parents often take them places that are inappropriate (for example, fancy restaurants), at hours when they'd be healthier if they were in bed (have you seen small, fussy children in grocery stores after 10 or 11 p.m.? I sure have. In their place, I'd be cranky too), and place unreasonable demands on them by over-booking their time or pressuring them to perform beyond their capabilities or developmental stage.

Children are not small adults. Their needs are different, as are their understandings. Moreover, their growth cannot be hurried--no matter how much Mozart they hear while still in the womb.

A little common sense (and a good book on child development) can go a long way toward addressing disruptive children. But then, as Voltaire said, "Common sense is not so common."

IMAGES: Many thanks to Westword, for sharing the photo of the crying toddler in the restaurant booth (there, it illustrates an article titled "Five reasons to ban disruptive children from restaurants"). Thanks also to  Today's Parent, for sharing the photo of the kid with his tongue out; it accompanies a pretty comprehensive article offering sound advice on the subject. The photo of "hoodlum boys" from an earlier time depicts a group from Knoxville in 1910; it illustrated an article on The Brownstone Detectives, "The Hoodlum Boys of Hancock S." The "If I had spoken to my parents" graphic is attributed to Chris Tian on Facebook. Finally, thanks to HerLife Magazine (and Bigstock) for sharing the illustration for "Overcommitted Kids."

Monday, July 31, 2017

Breaking out of patterns

The Artdog Quote of the Week 


When we look at creativity's value, it's everywhere.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Pinterest, and Professional Artist Magazine for this image. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Revealed truth

The Artdog Quote(s) of the Week
Since my zany schedule cheated us out of quotes earlier this month, here is a second pair of quotes to kind of "even things out." Separate centuries, parallel thoughts by well-respected writers. I hope you enjoy them!



IMAGES: The Ralph Waldo Emerson quote is courtesy of Self Help Daily's page of "Quotes about Books and Reading." The Stephen King quote is from Quotefancy. Many thanks to both!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Love in the Storm


The Artdog Image of Interest 
For now, this wraps up my series of Images of Interest focused on my own artwork. Love in the Storm is one of my more recent multiple-original images, based on a 2016 stand-alone original that is now in a private collection.


I developed the image from several separate drawings penciled on tracing paper, overlaid against each other for placement, then inked, scanned, and colored using Photoshop.


Each multiple original is one of 25 double-layer multiple original paper sculptures. Each is printed with fade-resistant inks on archival paper, then cut out, sculpted, and assembled by hand using archival materials.


The single mat (available in black or white) tops 2 layers of foam board spacers and an acid-buffered backing. Each piece is individually hand-signed and numbered by the artist, Jan S. Gephardt, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Images from this edition are now available at a few science fiction convention art shows and through the Artdog Paper Sculpture Shop on Etsy.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Well, that happened.


I had other plans for today. A blog post to write, for one. Then I received an unanticipated grace, a small miracle at an exactly-right moment.

It changed all my plans, and this is the extent of the blog post (slightly late). But I'll take it. Thanks!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Bitnote's "Serendipity Happens" page, for this image.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Variations on a theme

The Artdog Quote(s) of the Week 
Far as it can tell, Sam said it first, then Tom streamlined it a bit. Same basic thought, and an observation that takes on special resonance for me, in light of recent events.




IMAGES: Both of these illustrated quotes come from the same Brainy Quote page about Fiction.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Common Cliff Dragon--Male


The Artdog Image of Interest 
This month I've been posting some of my own artwork for my Images of Interest. This is a representative image from my edition of multiple originals titled Common Cliff Dragon--Male. It was recently listed in my Etsy shop, Artdog Paper Sculpture.

My three drawings from 2012, inked and scanned.

It was developed from three pencil drawings I did back in 2012, each created to overlay the one below. The "cliff surface" is one layer, the dragon's body is the second, and the dragon's wings are the third. Once the three were aligned on tracing paper, I inked them, scanned them, then colored each using Adobe Illustrator and a Wacom "Bamboo" tablet.

These are the pieces I cut out.

The artwork prints out as five different pieces: the border base (on heavier archival stock) with the title in the rectangle; the cliff face (sculpted and floated over the base), the body of the dragon; and finally two layers of wings, one more heavily sculpted and glued over the lower layer for a better 3D effect.

Here's the assembly process.

Then it's time to cut the pieces out, which I do with small, precise scissors (they go dull so much less often than X-Acto knives! Then I sculpt with clay-working tools on the flat surface of paper laid over corkboard, assemble the pieces, and it begins to look almost alive, sometimes.

IMAGES: All images are by me, of pieces of a paper sculpture made by me, Jan S. Gephardt. You may use them online, if you'll provide accurate attribution and a link back. Thanks!