Thursday, May 28, 2009
I only have 3 days of school left but Cathy has 5 days left. Please don't worry though. I promised her that for the 2 days that she is in school and I am at home I will sit up in bed and wave good bye. I'm all heart! Anyhow, it has really been a great school year. I have truly felt a connection to my students and I will forever be grateful that they have taken this musical journey with me. We have shared so many wonderful musical and personal experiences and all of them have made me quite proud.
I am going to take a moment and stand on my soap box. My father was a public school teacher and a powerful and charismatic man. He told me some truths before he died. My dad said that teachers will never have the respect they deserve because the public view teaching as an easy job. I assure you that if it is done well it is not easy in the least. He also told me that teachers always make a difference. I can see how my work makes permanent changes in the lives of others. That is so important to me. Teaching is an over-criticized and under-valued profession. It is also one of the most important jobs in the world. If you have the chance thank a teacher for the difference they have made in your life or the life of one of your children. Those small gestures of thanks motivate teachers to "get through the day".
My painting life has been a bit sporadic lately. By sporadic I mean that I have not had the schedule that allowed me to dedicate time every day to paint. My concert schedule was pretty grueling but now that is over. I still found many hours every week to paint but it wasn't as much time as I was used to. During the past weekend I started to clock a lot of time in the studio again. I am working on my Rogaland Rosemaling lesson for the new education system and have had such a great time. I am going to do this lesson a little different than the other lessons that I have put together. I am going to do three different Rogaland designs on three completely different surfaces. However, all of these pieces will use the same color palette. So, if the student chooses they can paint all of the Rogaland pieces and have a collection of them. If they just would like to paint one piece...so be it. I have decided that our students are going to spend much more time on Rosemaling and stokework next year. What I find is that our students are very artistic and have a wonderful sense of color and form but that they lack some technical expertise that can only come through strokework. Strokework is beautiful in and of itself but it is also a gateway to improved brush control and technique. Spending time with strokework is important in the evolution of a decorative painter so students beware - 2010-2011 is going to be the year of strokework. You will be better off for it!
This past weekend was a long one because we celebrated Memorial Day here in the states. This is the day that we dedicate to saying thanks to the people that have served in our armed forces. It is an important and meaningful holiday. One of the highlights of the past weekend was that I got to see my sister Paula and her husband Ed. Paula and Ed live in Arizona and lead a very busy life so we don't get to see them often enough. So, when we do get to hang out with them it is always a party. Paula is my oldest sibling and has always been so special. I could write a book about how generous, successful, classy and funny she is but let's just put it this way....she is a wonderful and unique person and I value every second I get to spend with her. Her husband Ed is exactly the same. He has such a sense of family and is truly my brother. Ed had some surgery this past week and I am hopeful that all continues to go well.
Anyhow, school is ending, summer is beginning and life will change. More time to paint, more time with family and less stress. Life is good!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Poor Cathy! She is a neutral dog person living in a house hold of dog lovers. She was hesitantly okay about the first dog and resistant to the second dog. For the last couple of years she has been saying that when these dogs have gone to dog heaven, we will not replace them. Enter Paul, Devon, Mariah and Gabe. We all wanted a new puppy but Cathy wouldn't budge. Can you blame her? It took some time but Cathy finally relented and now our new puppy, Callie, is with us. She is a 46 day old Shih Poo. Callie weighs about 2 pounds and will be around 6 or 7 pounds when fully grown. We had a great first day with Callie and Cathy has been great.
I guess the way I feel about it is this.....life is short and if another dog or a new paint brush or a new pair of shoes (can't imagine that one) makes you happy and you can afford it...go for it. We decided a long time ago that we weren't going to wait to live. When our kids were younger we bought a motorhome and spent summers on the road. Now the motorhome is for sale because the girls have summer jobs, Gabe has baseball games, and we have the paint studio. That time in our life has passed but we will never regret the money we invested in our motorhome. We created memories and in many ways it defined us at that time in our lives. So like I said before, don't wait to live. Do it now because we don't know what tomorrow will bring. Now the Seymours have a new puppy and life is exciting and good. We were having too much fun to take a lot of pictures but I did take this one. Isn't she great!
Until next time,
Saturday, May 16, 2009
My oldest daughter (the one in pink) was particularly irritated, while my younger daughter laughed initially and then gave me the look of death, which was not caught on film. Their dates were unruffled by the whole thing as you can see. Oh well, being a parent isn't always easy but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even when looks from your children make you want to shrivel up and blow away, it's still the best job in the world.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I don't usually write blog posts without a specific subject in mind but this is not a usual day. Today is the national day of prayer and as part of that day I took a group of students to a prayer breakfast in our community. Our students had the opportunity to perform some wonderful music and to have a great meal. There was a gamble however. I had to ask them to be at the performing venue at 6:45 am. Now we all know how teenagers love their sleep so I didn't know what to expect. I walked into the hall and, amazingly enough, they were all there and ready to go. I am so proud of my students. The students sang like angels and the entire gathering was very appreciative of their contribution. After the affair was over the students generously offered to stay and help clean up. HAHA. They didn't want to get back to Trigonometry, History, Biology etc, etc. I told them to take pride in their education. I was selling but they were not buying! Anyhow, we got them back to school in plenty of time and, much to their disappointment, their learning was uninterrupted.
There were several speakers at the prayer breakfast. All of the speakers were truly wonderful and gave meaningful and moving messages but one speaker stood out. His message hit home.
The main theme was this....God gives us opportunities when we place ourselves in the center of His will. That concept was very moving and the message was quite powerful.
I realize that God's will for me was to be a teacher. It doesn't matter if I teach painting or music because I gain energy from leading others toward understanding. I am so grateful that the significant people in my young life helped me to see this "calling". I will never be rich but I lead a life filled with richness. I believe that God's will was for me to be a teacher. Being in the center of His will has led me to amazing opportunities.
I also believe that God's will has put Cathy and I on a path that intersects with such wonderful people. It is God's will that I am a loyal friend and that I enjoy my interactions with the Jansens. It has allowed us to keep a tight friendship in difficult times. Once again....God's will at work.
I was truly moved by the message this morning. It also provided me with the opportunity to think about and recognize the role that God plays in my life.
My blessings are deep and my life is good. Either by accident or by design I have placed myself in God's will and it has yielded a great life. I just wanted to share my profound appreciation. Fondly,
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Finally we see David as he uses the big, upscale magnifier. He is also demonstrating some detail work.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
For those of you that have never been to a seminar at the Jansen household one of the jokes among the students is that they don't know if they come for the painting or the food. Honestly, I can't decide. Martha and Jessica do a great job with the food. And they are so very gracious.
Martha Jansen is our host for the Jansen Art Seminars. This is a great picture of Martha grabbing a few minutes of social time before she has to attend to the many duties of hosting a seminar. We could not honestly ask for a more gracious host than Martha.
Finally I must say that a seminar at the Jansen residence is about food, friends, laughter and fellowship but mostly it is about the art. David Jansen doesn't just talk about art but he is one of the most active artists that I know. He paints several hundred original paintings a year and, in addition, he is one of the most sought after teachers in the United States. Why? Because he is a spledid teacher and knows so much. Anybody that has ever taken a class from David can tell you that he is truly a master teacher. Like I said before, if you haven't taken a class from David you need to get on a waiting list immediately. It is absolutely the way that I want to spend my money. Following is a picture of David in rapt concentration. Don't worry...he isn't a serious as he looks. The class is filled with fun and laughter. Tomorrow I will post about day 2 of our seminar.