Saturday, September 30, 2006

Art Teacher Fired Over Nude Sculpture

La Venus de Milo
Originally uploaded by katzeye.
Here is the story that is in the news:

"FRISCO, Texas (AP) -- A Texas art teacher who was reprimanded after one of her fifth-grade students saw a nude sculpture during a trip to a museum has lost her job.

The school board in Frisco has voted not to renew Sydney McGee's contract after 28 years. She has been on administrative leave.

McGee says her troubles started after a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art last April. McGee's lawyer says the principal at Fisher Elementary School later admonished her after a parent complained that a student had seen nude art.

McGee says the principal had urged her to take the students to the museum.

School officials deny they were reacting to the field trip but say there have been problems with McGee's work."


Thursday, September 28, 2006


Originally uploaded by elbow donkey.
This sneering post of my grandson is to express my frustration. Below you will find two identical posts, the only difference being that one is grammatically correct in having a question mark at the question and one is not since the punctuation is missing.

The site posted the blog entry twice, and when I tried to delete one, it would have neither of them listed as even existing, so I can't delete or edit what does not exist.


By the time this explanation is posted, one or both will likely disappear and you will wonder what the heck I am talking about.

the title of the errant twin posts is: How Do You Feel About the Privacy of Your Home?

So, if they both disappear, I will try to add one once more. If they are both there, you needn't feel that you must comment in duplicate.

If only the one missing the question mark in the title is there, know that I haven't been able to do anything about that.

Just a little more chaos in my chaotic world of late.

thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Myth (?) of the Starving Artist

Neighbor's Art
Originally uploaded by katzeye.
When I was an art student, we often reminded each other not to “prostitute” our art. What we meant by that, was that we would promise each other not to go out into the world to create kitsch or sell out, or work for a corporation while our artistic talents dwindled away until they were only a sad memory.

I was relating, recently, the story about how my dad and his friend, Eric Larson, were approached by Walt Disney, way back when he only had a storefront in Burbank, to be on his first team of animators. Eric accepted the offer and went on to create Bambi, Thumper, Flower, etc. I am sure my dad agonized over the offer, and in the end, he turned it down. He thought it was too risky. My dad was a pretty good artist, and we grew up seeing our likenesses turned into cartoons on many occasions. As a teen, and an artist, myself, I felt angry at my dad for turning down that offer, (especially when I was at Disneyland).

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that he made the sacrifice for us. I am sure he would have preferred to have an animator for Disney. Instead, he finished grad school to be a psychologist, and worked hard to support his family.

No matter what business Disney was starting back then in Burbank, it would have been a risky endeavor. A business in the arts, even riskier.

I spoke to my next-door neighbor yesterday because I saw him installing a wrought metal gate. I knew that he worked in metals and was trying to make a living at it. Mark has said to me, “He’s an artist. Like you.”

I took a few photos of his gate and he was telling me about how he was probably going to have to close his business; just do it on the side. He was doing well, but the costs of materials was getting to be too much. And when he priced his work to reflect the costs of his better materials, the business went elsewhere.

When it comes to the arts, people tend to want what is cheap and mass produced. There is certainly more of a trend for people to expect free or very low cost digital photos these days because they know they can take a photo and it will only cost them the price of the paper to print it.

Too often it is forgotten that it is much more than the cost of the materials. I’ve often heard the story of the woman in France who asked for a watercolor of a street artist. He whipped up a watercolor for her with a flourish and when she asked how much, he told her his price. She was astounded at the price. She complained that the paper was cheap and that it only took him ten minutes to create the painting. “No, Madame,” he responded, “it took 35 years!”

Recently someone approached me with a similar question. She was admiring my photos and complaining that she wasn’t able to take photos “like that.” She asked what equipment I was using, and if that was what made the difference. I responded that it was probably about 40 years that made the difference

When I was an art student, computers were not even a thought in any of our minds. In commercial art and design classes, we had to learn to hand-letter advertisements, which would then be reduced. We had to work hard to learn the elements of design, and to work with a variety of medium. But even then, the idea of craftsmanship was in peril as the masses were already buying “sofa-sized” mass produced paintings in colors to match their d├ęcor.

Throughout history, artists have been under-appreciated, at least while alive, and confined to a loft somewhere, to spend food money on a particular, expensive shade of rare, red pigment.

I told the metal crafter that he should not give up. He agreed that he would continue to produce his art, even if only on the side.

As I walked back to my front door, camera in hand, I thought of how, in college, I had a second major in psychology (just in case?) and I thought of the stack of manuscripts waiting for me to edit and told him that, yes, I have a day job, too. But hey, at least I am not creating kitsch, and I am not doing school portraits for a company that only knows how to line them up and shoot them like pinned down specimens. I have not sold out, and I will not give up.

Support your local starving artist! Crave beauty!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How Far Back Can You Remember?

Sleeping Emerson
Originally uploaded by katzeye.

I was talking to friends tonight about back-to-school. One friend’s daughter was starting third grade. I said, “I remember third grade.”

Boy do I remember third grade. I remember what my teacher looked like, what she wore, and the boy who told everyone he would kiss me before the year was over (a thought that terrorized me the entire year. And true to his promise, on the last day of school, I was waiting to get on the bus, and he appeared out of nowhere, planted a wet one on my cheek and disappeared into the cheering cacophony of his buddies! Ewwwww, yuck!).

But when I said that I could remember third grade, the others were astonished. Some said that they could only remember back as far as fourth grade. Some said that junior high was their limit. I was even more astonished than they were!

I told them, and it is the absolute truth, that I could remember being a baby. I can remember being held horizontally, all wrapped up, I remember my grandmother’s lace curtains making me sneeze. I remember getting my diapers changed. I remember gnawing on zwieback when I was teething and how my gums felt. I remember breastfeeding. I remember the feel of soggy cloth diapers, being in a crib, crying on my dad’s shoulder and the feel of his whiskers. I remember when my brother was born when I was two, I remember my sister’s birth and my next brother’s birth. I remember being a toddler. I remember what scared me and what comforted me. I remember everything about being five and the first day of kindergarten. I remember the scratchy, fussy dress my grandmother made me for kindergarten, and I remember how relieved I was to change into “dungarees” after I got home again.

I remember first grade. I remember everything about my classmates, my teachers, my room, my toys, my books, and what my siblings said and did and what got us into trouble, and how we got out of trouble. I remember my childhood shoes, my toys, and what I liked to eat and what I didn’t like to eat (I hated cheese around age 5-9, and have been making up for that lapse ever since). I remember the first time I saw television when I was around age one (which was also around the time that most people first saw television). It was a huge piece of furniture with a tiny little black and white screen.

I remember hiding under the bed in my room when I was very young. It was a trundle bed so it was a very nice place for hiding from brothers. Really, there is very little that I DON’T remember. I was as surprised at how little my friends could remember as they were at how much I could remember.

They suggested that I survey people to find out how much they can remember. So here it is. How far back can you remember?