What are your Friday 13th plans?
If I’m at home, I usually spend the day watching scary movies and shows until I can’t stand it anymore (meaning by nightfall) and then spend the night scared of my own shadow. But this year on my blog, I’ll celebrate it with Warren the 13th, the hardworking 12-year-old orphan boy in Tania del Rio and Will Staehle’s illustrated book Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye.
Published by Quirk Books, Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is a fun middle-grade book about Warren’s adventures at his family’s hotel as he searches for the mysterious and magical All-Seeing Eye, while also trying to prevent the hotel from being torn apart by patrons also in search of it, such as his evil Aunt Anaconda.
I read it last year and liked it, but I think it’s one kids will enjoy reading as they try to solve the puzzles embedded in the story. I loved the illustrations the most. Staehle, the creator of Warren the 13th and illustrator of the book, did a superb job. The illustrations are done in black and white with pops of red to highlight certain things in a scene. Here are a few photos I took of the illustrations when I reviewed the book:
I planned for this year to be an art-filled one. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been so. I’ve been to no plays or performances and have only visited one art gallery to see one exhibit.
In early May, I visited the Renwick Gallery to see its Wonder exhibit, which runs from November 2015 to July 10 (some of the pieces were removed earlier on May 8.). The gallery reopened last year, after being closed for a while for renovations, and presented a new exhibit featuring brilliant pieces by contemporary artists. The exhibits ranged from those featuring a spectrum of colors to others that presented aspects of nature in unique ways.
Below are photos of a description of the exhibit (which is blurry and probably hard to read), along with the first piece we see, which is a sculpture of a tree — a balsam poplar — that was created by plaster casting the tree. This piece was done by John Grade, who found the balsam poplar in northern Alaska. It’s approximately 150 years old.
Not an actual red eye, just the one I drew above; but I was snowed in. The Maryland/D.C. area was swathed in snow this weekend. I don’t know how much fell but it seemed close to a foot. Granted there are other places further north that has gotten more but for me a foot of snow is enough for me to consider myself snowed in. I hate winter!
After shoveling the driveway thrice between Saturday and Sunday, I sat down to some much needed art therapy. I spent my Sunday afternoon and evening watching art videos on YouTube and drawing the mandala above after watching Tiffany Lovering’s tutorial on drawing a “hypnotic eye” (see video below). It helped soothe my sore muscles for the time though when I got up from my chair my back, side, elbows, and arms began hurting simultaneously. Snow is so heavy!
I tried to follow Lovering’s video as closely as possible but, as you can see, I made a few mistakes in my sphere/hypnotic eye, but I was proud of what resulted from my effort. Since she referred to it as a hypnotic eye, I decided to color it to resemble an eye. And because I was watching Avatar: The Last Airbender while coloring, I decided to make it red and orange—thinking of the fire nation. My original plan was to add several additional circles around this central one, similar to Lovering’s video, but I changed my mind and thought it best to simply add the two triangles of lines to hint at the small space around the eyeball. I guess the finished product is an abstract eye.
Hope you like it and visit Lovering’s YouTube channel for additional videos.
- Something New (checheboobear.wordpress.com)
- Land art: Mandalas in Nature (heidispitzig.wordpress.com)
- 53—Dreamcatcher Mandala (mandalaoftheday.com)
A Moment in Time
What was the last picture you took? Tell us the story behind it. (No story behind the photo? Make one up, or choose the last picture you took that had one.)
I hate winter. I abhor the cold, the sniffles, and that tingly feeling I get in my fingers and toes when they’re numb. I loathe the fall in temperature and the rise in wind. And the burning sensation I get in my nose whenever I step outside that makes me want to sneeze. I dislike the ice, that slippery ice that I slide on, glide, as I fall while running for the bus. I hate winter.
The last pictures I took were three quick snapshots of snowy branches. I was waiting for the bus and was bored and agitated. Bored because I wanted to get back to reading The Fires of Heaven and agitated because a girl was smoking and spitting all over the sidewalk where I would have to walk when the bus arrives.
I was also upset with the weather—snow. Snow means ice and I hate both. I was huffing and puffing to myself as I tried to think of warmer moments in my life when I saw a man and his wife taking photos of the trees with their phones. It was then that I noticed the beauty around me. The trees were all spectacular with their bare branches, some dripping with icicles while others were simply decorated with snow. It wasn’t heavy snow but just enough to give the impression that the trees had somehow sprouted snowy leaves. With the light of the lamp posts shining behind a few, the branches would glitter as if decorated with crystals.
I’ve been a slacker. Back in 2013, I vowed to improve my knowledge of art and art history because they are subjects I love. I wish I had studied them while in college. Unfortunately life and procrastination has caused my efforts to self-instruct to dwindle.
In October 2014, I decided to push myself harder in my independent artistic studies. This new fervor was ignited by an article on Richard Estes on Smithsonian magazine’s website. I had no idea who Richard Estes was but the photo of his painting was enough to convince me to visit an exhibit of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The photo of his painting seemed to be a photo of a photo, and I disbelieved that it was of a painting. Hence my decision to visit the exhibit was more for proof than to gain any sort of artistic instruction.
After showing up at the wrong museum, I finally found my way to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and slowly browsed other paintings before visiting Estes’ exhibit. All the while, my music blasted in my ears (something by Jamaican dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, which is probably highly out-of-place for a museum excursion) and I slowly danced from one painting to another until I danced up to the entrance to Estes’ exhibit.
I actually read this time. I usually don’t read much at museums, which means I miss a lot of useful information. Usually, I dance from painting to painting (I always have music blasting in my ears while at a museum), lingering over the ones I admire while wondering what drove the artist to create the piece, how did the artist apply his medium, and how long did it take to complete, amongst other thoughts. But this time I paused my music. I was enraptured by Estes’ work. The reason being that even with his huge canvas of the Brooklyn Bridge in front of me, I still found it hard to tell that his piece is a painting rather than a blown-up photo.
Richard Estes is a photorealist painter. He was born in Kewanee, Ill., and studied fine arts at the Institute of Chicago. After graduating, he moved to New York, where he worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer at various magazines. At night, he would work on his paintings, which later became his full-time career.