Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Eric

You and Courtney in the judging ring at the Ohio State Fair.

You and Courtney relaxing after the judging


You have always loved dogs.  When you were three you often asked me to read this book.  I found the book at a garage sale.  It was well worth the ten cents I spent.  

I hope that you have a lot of good things happen on this, your special day.  I love you.             

Winter Aconite...Eranthis Hyemalis

I took this on February 21. Eleanor's Winter Aconite has been blooming since early in the month. There were  below freezing days and also  snow after it began blooming. You can see by this photo that the plants were not stopped by a little cold and snowy weather. This is one of those flowers that closes on dull days and opens on sunny days. Tom took the rest of the pictures on February 22 with his Canon, a much more sophisticated camera than my little Fuji Z300.

Here is how her flowers look from the road.

And here is how they look up close. You can see that the flowers are beginning to fade. The petals are completely bright yellow when they are fresh. Winter Aconite is garden flower which naturalizes easily if the conditions are right. It likes early morning sun. It is native to southern Europe and east across Asia to Japan.  Its name comes from the Greek  "akone" meaning "whetstone", probably because it grows in stony areas.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 22...One Day Late

Yesterday was that special day, the day Tom sent me the roses that led to over fifty years of marriage so far.  

The year I received the first bouquet I was in college and taking an expository writing course.  That's non-fiction essays.  I wrote about the bouquet and what I thought about each day as I watched the roses open and then fade.  Tom says it is time to write another essay as I watch the flowers.

Yesterday....I was pleased he still remembers the day he sent the roses and that he isn't sorry he sent them.  I also was pleased that he made his famous ham and bean soup for lunch.  That was because his best buddy from college was stopping in for lunch.  This was the buddy who told him he was wasting good beer money by buying the roses.

Today...so far...I am pleased that Tom usually fills the black printer ink cartridge.  He was at Pulmontary Rehab this morning when the ink ran out.  I had to fill it and now have black ink in the crevices of my fingernails.  I am also pleased that he took these photos and also the ones I plan to use for this week's Nature blog.  I have been teaching Children's Drawing and also Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner and have been rounding up materials and planning lessons for the past four weeks.  Tonight is the fourth session and I was feeling a bit harried yesterday.  The actual class time I love.  I have great students.

He likes the picture below.

I prefer this one.  I had just looked up from reading a mystery so I don't have my glasses on.  It's the focus on the roses that I like.


We're supposed to have temperatures in the fifties today.  Spring is coming.  I'll show you in tomorrow's blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Children's Drawing, an Easy Three Dimenisonal House

Two weeks ago, the children used houses like these to study shadows cast by the sun.  We used gooseneck lamps for our suns.  They understood the principles of shadows...the shadow falls on the ground, it is the same color as the ground but darker because the sun is not hitting the shadow area.

Some of them decided to draw houses showing two sides, not just the front or back or side.  Depicting 3-D on 2-D flat sheets of paper was confusing.  Last week I showed them how to make 3-D houses using Informal techniques.  I call these techniques "Informal" because they are not exact and they do not require using lines of perspective.  Even Informal techniques can be a challenge to young artists.  Usually, by age eight or nine, the following technique makes sense to them.

If you try this project, remember that, rather than using red marker where I have, use pencil so it is easy to erase at the end.  I used red marker so the lines would show up easily on the computer screen.  Later, I may redo this project using pencil rather than the red marker.  Notice that I did not draw the lines with a ruler.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Children's Drawings...Mostly Sea Creatures

The library was looking for a display for February.  The children in my drawing class were happy to help the library.

The children drew from models I have acquired through the years, mostly from zoos and aquariums throughout the United States.

Here are closer views of their drawings.

One student hadn't brought his sketch pad with his ocean drawing so he gave me his latest drawing.  Most of the students had not finished their drawings using the house models and the conifer models.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Technology is Wonderful...Lifts

It is snowing this morning, a light steady snow, the kind that may last all day and bring us a couple inches on the ground before it tapers off.

The public transit bus makes it easy and safe for Tom to go to Pulmonary Rehab.  He rides his scooter onto the bus and when he gets to the hospital, he rides his scooter into the hospital.  He never has to stand on the slippery snow. If I were taking him, he would stand up beside our van and risk falling before he sat in his scooter.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mother's Birthday

This is the one hundredth anniversary of my mother's birth.  She didn't make it to one hundred but she did make it to ninety-five and almost to ninety-six.  Two of her sisters lived to be within a few days of ninety-five so she was proud when she reached that milestone.  And she was proud her whole life that she shared her birth date with Abraham Lincoln, the president who freed the slaves.

My sister who is two years younger than I am lived  two hours east of Blanchard House, the assisted living home, where Mother lived most of her last two years. I lived  two hours southwest. Our other three sisters and brother lived in other states.  My sister was sick on Mother's birthday.  Tom was home in the living room in a hospital bed recuperating from a broken femur.  Ted, one of our grandchildren, stayed with him so I could be with Mother on her special day.

Blanchard House staff set up a dinner for us in the private family room-dining room.  The balloons are from them.  They also gave her a little teddy bear to add to the collection in her apartment.

Mother was excited about all the birthday cards and flowers and other gifts she received from friends, neighbors and relatives.  Many enclosed short notes and pictures of themselves with the dolls and bears and other toys she had given them from her  collection of over a thousand toys.

The next time my sister visited she brought a box she had covered with pretty paper so Mother had a special storage place for her cards and letters.  Often, when I visited after that, she brought out the box to show the cards to me.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar

I saw this book as I walked past  the children's  books at the library.  I picked it up because I had seen it when Tom and I stayed at a bed and breakfast on Russian Hill in San Francisco thirty years ago. 

I am not a believer in my ability to understand Math. I took College Algebra and College Trig because I didn't like it when people told me I couldn't understand Math because I was a girl.  I passed both courses. I hate to have someone tell me I can't do anything.
I've learned that I can memorize Math formulas but they don't stick with me.  I learned when I memorized the multiplication facts in fourth grade that I don't believe what people tell me about numbers.  I especially dislike people saying,   "Just memorize it.  Don't worry about understanding it.  Just accept it."  

1 X 2 was easy to see.  7 X 8 was not.  Periodically, I would make seven rows of eight dots or eight rows of seven dots and count them one by one to see that there were really 56 dots total.  It is clear that I am visual when it comes to Math.  (And also, that I am a skeptic about what I am told.)

And that is what appeals to me about this PICTURE BOOK.  It explains the math concept, Factorials,  through pictures. 

First there is the Mysterious Multiplying Jar.  In it is water which becomes the sea and in the sea is an island. And then the fun begins.

On the island are two countries.

In each of the two countries are three mountains.

By now you have probably noticed that although there are two countries and three mountains in each country, the pictures of each item is different.  Different-looking countries, different-looking mountains. That is one of the aspects that I find fascinating.  So much to notice besides the numbers.  A small child and I could sit and just look at the pictures and notice what is on one mountain that is the same on another mountain.  Then we could notice what was on one mountain and NOT on the other mountain.  We could count things.

Eventually there are nine boxes in eight cupboards in seven rooms in six houses in five villages in four walled kingdoms on each of the three mountains...lots and lots and lots of items.  And guess what.  There are ten of these Mysterious multiplying jars in each of those nine boxes. 

And then the Annos explain the same concept with dots. Here is the page showing dots rather than the houses in the villages.  6! = 6x5x4x3x2x1= 720.

They continue with the dots until they fill up two complete pages with dots to represent the eight cupboards in each room.  It becomes quite clear why mathematicians use the factorial, 8!, to represent that number of things.

Anno's Mysterious Multipying Jar was written by Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno in 1981.  It is fun as a picture book and I think it would be helpful to any student encountering factorials for the first time, especially if they think like I do.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Shadows, Part 4

This is the painting as it looked in Part3.

These are the places where I intended to make changes.

Here it is after the changes were made.  I also made a few additional changes.  I lightened the background trees and gave them more of an angle so they would "point" to the cliff and to the trail.  I also extended the distant edge of the cliff to simplify that area and to make the steepness of the trail more apparent.

The painting is finished except for some minor tweaking, a paint stroke here and there.  I will sit it on my easel and look at it now and then as I work on other projects. 

It is important to choose a subject that you really want to paint.  Otherwise you will be tired of the whole thing before you are finished.  This subject has passed the test for me.  I am thinking of doing a larger painting of the same subject.  I am also considering doing an abstract version, even although I rarely do abstracts.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Charleston Falls, January 2012

In 2011, the month of January was cold with lots of ice and snow.  This January was different.

Charleston Falls, January 5, 2012

We had had snow a few days earlier but it was 48 (F)  when I walked and the snow was melting quickly.

Charleston Falls, January 16, 2012

January 16 was a pleasant day for walking.  Jeanne, her dogs and I stopped to admire the falls. The morning temperature was 30 (F).  Two days earlier we had decided we didn't want to walk on a 10 degree day.

By January 16, the water pouring over the falls was digging holes in the snow and ice at the base.

 When Cinda and I walked on the afternoon of January 27, we could hear the roar of the falls long before we reached it.  A torrent of water was pouring over the rocky ledge.  We had had sleet and snow on January 20 and then a heavy rain much of January 26.  Both the melting snow and that rain contributed to the falls that day.  The day was breezy but 40 degrees felt pleasant.

January 27, 2012

Back I went on January 30 to see  a falls that was back to the way it looks much of the year.  Lots of people were taking advantage of the balmy day.  Who can resist taking a walk on a January day when the sun is shining and the temperature is crowding 60 (F)?

January 31, 2012

We are waiting.  What will February bring?  

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