Monday, June 10, 2013

Goodbye for 2 months!!

Hey everyone,

Thanks for reading and your support on this blog. I'll be taking a 2 month break from blogging consistently, as I'll be working on an illustration project in Madagascar starting this Saturday. Wahoo! I'm really excited and grateful to be able to go back and for the great opportunity. (I did Peace Corps there from '08-'10).  I got offered a job to help illustrate a field guide of medicinal plants through a grant from National Geographic.  Super stoked. Anyway, thanks for following and I hope you will check back every once in awhile.  If I get a chance and find an internet connection that moves faster than dial-up circa 1998, then I will post updates while I'm over there.  In the meantime, thought I would share an old blog of mine that I kept while I was in the Peace Corps.  If you're interested click here to visit that blog.  Below is an excerpt from that blog, which is an excerpt from a book I was sort of kind of piecing together about my random experiences there. This part is about my best friend in my village, Bory. Enjoy! See you again here soon! :)

“Aia ny masaka e!” What’s cookin’? She called out from the path running
North to South between our houses. The sounds of tiny, squeaky voices
and tinkling seed pods as the dry weeds were parted got closer and
“Karibo e!” Come on in! I’d yell back from my place on my couch-bed,
hurriedly folding down the corner of the page in my book. I’d stick my
head out the door just in time to see the last of the weeds opening
like a gate and her family streaming out into the dirt clearing around
my house. Bory first, with her baby on her back, then her oldest, Lory
(12), Joby, her Nephew-turned-son (10) and finally Zaranay (3)
straggling behind still fighting the weeds. She would sit on the
ground outside my house as we exchange the usual, “What’s going on?
Nothing much, you? Nothing much.” I’d sit leaning against my door
frame, half in, half out of the house, facing her…the door’s curtain
blowing around me like a wild mane of hair.
Bory smiled at me, the upper corners of her grin growing wider and
wider, revealing her overbite and the dark place where she was missing
one tooth exactly in the center. I’d try to replace the tooth in my
mind imagine her with it there. I could never figure out which front
tooth she was missing; it looked like her teeth had just slid over to
one side so the missing notch was neither right nor left, but
perfectly, beautifully centered. As she jumped into a story concerning
our neighbor, I held her friendly gaze. Bory always looked me in the
eye when she talked to me. When I first met her, I remembered being
slightly taken aback by the bugginess of her large, round eyes. Now
familiar with her face, I let myself study her features, the high
cheekbones, the full lips, the sharp jawbones held up by an impossibly
thin neck. She had an un-obvious beauty that made me glad to have the
time to appreciate.
Still chattering on, the endless stream of words spewed out of her
tiny self and just as fast, my mind tried to compute them. Some words
stubbornly seemed to hang in the air, dancing around in front of my
face, waiting for recognition that would not come. If I focused my
attention on them, I would lose all that came after. It was like
having to squint at those magic eye posters to be able to see the
image. If you just focus on all the squiggly little lines, you miss
it. She was talking about how our neighbor had picked a fight with her
yesterday while I was out. A cow had wandered into Bory’s family’s
manioc fields and destroyed a lot of plants, so her and her
sister-in-law, Denise took it by the rope and led it back to its
owner, Maman’I Zafy. Apparently this led to a shouting match and ended
with ‘Antandroy’(dialect of ethnic group in Southern Madagascar)
insults hurled at Bory. A beggar. A dirt poor bitch. As far as I could
see, neither of them was more dirt poor than the other, and I’d never
seen Bory beg at Maman’I Zafy’s door, which I can see from my house.
It embarrasses me still to admit my naiveté in those weeks before I
came to Madagascar, when I’d lie in bed at night, eyes squeezed shut,
trying to picture my future home. I’d conjure up a golden plain
surrounded by rolling green hills, dotted with mango trees as the
backdrop. There would be a clearing with a few little huts built in a
circle. Women would cook outside their houses on fires and chat. Men
would walk around in the center, saying whatever was the equivalent of
“Hidey ho Neighbor!” in the local language. All wide smiles, laughing
children, bright clothes, bare feet. In this utopian image of the
village I held onto, African-print sarongs might as well be tie-dye,
their wearers whispering “Peace, man.” into the warm breeze.
This drama did not fit into my scene. I understand now more clearly
than ever the saying, the world is a village and each village, the
entire world.
Bory was still going strong, lifting her eyebrows and pausing from
time to time, for effect. I grunted and made noises to show I
understood and was listening, which I was, but I couldn’t honestly say
I was riveted. By this time, Lory and Joby had gotten restless and
started chasing each other around and around my house, screaming “No
you’re a dog penis!.” Zaranay had been restless from the start, but
now just
wanted attention. She picked a pinching fight with the 6 month old on
Bory’s lap. This of course, was completely one-sided. The baby
screamed and a clump of dirt he’d been munching on fell from his
mouth. Bory whipped out a breast to quiet him. Zaranay kept pinching.
Bory’s eyes never left mine.She holds Zaranay back from the baby, her
slender forearms stuck out separating them, all the while, spitting
the words quick like butterflies that I tried desperately to catch
before they fluttered away. By the time they go home, I am exhausted
though all I’d been doing was sitting.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Art + Science Integrated: Pollination and Parts of a Flower!

Today was my last lesson with my second graders.... can't believe Summer is here already! I was going to do this lesson with the kids because I just love love love how they turn out, but the 2nd grade team asked me to make an adjustment.  They asked if instead of a bird sitting on a branch, if we could make a pollinating hummingbird and bee next to a flower that included a stamen, anthers, petals, etc. Of course! Any time I can connect a lesson to science that the kids are already studying, I'm happy to do it. I could go deep into why kids need art and how art can help teach kids important concepts, but you probably already know that.  If not, then, well, trust me.  Or just do yourself a favor and read this book.  Actually, read that book anyway, whoever you are.  Anyway, onto the lesson! A lesson about the birds and the bees..... Not the one you're thinking ;)

• black sharpies
• colored drawing chalks
• half sheets of a flower petal color, and green for leaves. 
• quarter sheets of yellow for middles of flowers
• whole colored sheets for the background

Day 1:
• Lead a step-by-step drawing of a bee and hummingbird with pencils first.  Don't be scared! Start with the big shapes: first a lemon shape for the bird body. add a circle for the head. Make a big "V" on the bird's back. Add feathers to both sides of the "V" to make the wings. Add feet. Add head feathers and tail feathers. See? You can do this! And I'm gonna let you figure out the bee :)
• Trace over drawing in sharpie.
• used smeared chalks to color them in....sharpie lines still show through!

Day 2:
• Review parts of the flower with the kids.
• Draw the stamen and anthers (the middle parts of a flower) on the quarter yellow sheets.
• Make flower petals out of half sheets.
• Make leaves out of half sheets.
• Cut out ALL pieces, including bird and bee from last time, arrange on paper how you want it, glue!
pollination art lesson, hummingbird art lesson for kids, 2nd grade spring art lesson

pollination art lesson, hummingbird art lesson for kids, 2nd grade spring art lesson

pollination art lesson, hummingbird art lesson for kids, 2nd grade spring art lesson

pollination art lesson, hummingbird art lesson for kids, 2nd grade spring art lesson

pollination art lesson, hummingbird art lesson for kids, 2nd grade spring art lesson