Tag Archives: school for creative and performing arts

A month of hard work

It’s been about a month since my last post as there has been a lot happening around here, not allowing too many blocks of time to sit down and update.  So I’ll catch things up here now, as best I can.  Early in November, my son Jack was in the pit orchestra for the School for Creative and Performing Arts’ performance of the musical Fame. (pardon the pixelated photo).  In this production there is a wonderful song, done in a series of rounds that talks about what “hard work” the arts are, each discipline convinced that theirs is the “hardest profession in the world”.  Our lives have been a lot like this song recently with music, dance and in our case, the visual arts, occupying much of our time and energy.  It’s been wonderful!  Jack’s weeks leading up to Fame meant long hours after school and tons of make up work for the days missed at school for tech-week.  But being part of the major musical at school has been something he’s wanted to do since he began school there.  I think it was worth the wait for him.

Another big event that came to fruition this month is the Mid-America Irish Dance Championships, the Oireachtas, (pron. or-rock-tus).  My daughter Maddie and her teammates at McGing Irish Dancers have worked for months to get to this and they were met with success.  One of her ceili teams (somewhat like Irish square dancing yet judged on precision of the steps of the team) placed third in the Midwest out of over 30 teams!  The girls were overjoyed at how months of hard work and time and effort paid off.  As a parent it was heartwarming to witness.

The kids’ activities have had us running around town quite a bit and it’s important to take a step back now and then and steal away for some quietude just the two of us.  So on Tony’s birthday, we did just that and played hookie for the day to head out for a paddle up the Licking River, one of the Ohio River tributaries.  It was a pretty cold day but once we were bundled into our boats it wasn’t bad.  Luckily we did not get wet, though we were prepared if necessary of course.  It was a wonderful day…

On Thanksgiving, on top of a house full for dinner, my 7 year old nephew decided that it would be fun to make a movie.  And he had it all worked out in his head as to how he wanted it to go.  And so, Indianapolis Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Turkey was born via the group artistic effort of most everyone available.  This might look like goofy non-sense to most folks, but when we showed the movie over pie that evening, we all laughed so hard we cried.  Even Tony tapped into his inner actor and played the evil “Mobile Commander” who was attempting to steal the crystal turkey (foam, packing tape, and rhinestones from the craft box).  I think it’s pretty cool that we can make a movie in a day nowadays.

These are just a few of the things keeping me in “busy” mode.  Often when I get in that mode, artfulness is more fleeting and I let the “busy-ness” take over.  But lately, that is not so much the case.  In spite of a hectic month, work is getting done (ok, so I didn’t blog for a month…but…).  Drawing Down the Vision, the visual communication class I have co-developed with my former student Adam will be unveiled at a home based pilot here on December 17.  We have asked a few friends of Adam’s and Tony’s from the corporate set, and my friend, fellow artist, writer and workshop facilitator Diane Debevec to join us so we can get used to presenting what we have gathered and in turn get some critical feedback before we attempt to offer this workshop in the real world.  It is tremendously exciting to be at this point.  Nerve-racking, but exciting.

My fall semester at the Art Academy of Cincinnati has come to an end.  I taught my six week sketchjournaling course to 10 students.  Among them were non-artists, artists and art teachers.  As usual, I learned so much from them and am already looking forward to next time.  Next semester will be a bit different.  I will be co-teaching with a book-maker named Cody Calhoun.  Together we’ll be offering a class where students will make a blank journal, and then learn how to fill it.  Details about our Make The Book/ Fill the Book class are available in the new Community Education 2010 course catalog which you can download via the link above.  You might recognize the featured faculty member on the cover as well as inside.  My sketchjournaling process is featured in this issue!

Work at the wax table has seen some growth spurts in the month of November, with new layers and processes developing.  I plan to spend the month of December preparing more work for a show at Pleasant Perk in January.  One exciting aspect of the upcoming show is that 20% of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Esme Kenney Sculpture Project.  This is an exciting project that I am involved in and it deserves it’s own post with photos and details to come soon, but I wanted to mention it here and give folks a chance to check it out. I will certainly keep you posted, most likely later this week…. but for now, a sneak peak at some new work.


cookie cutter days

My Grandma Kelley loved fall.  She used to say that on cool, crisp fall days, it was like the trees were cut out of the sky with a cookie cutter.  Everything in full relief.  In recent weeks we have been fortunate to have one of the most beautiful fall seasons I can remember.  The only downside to all this pretty weather is that we desperately could use some rain.  I’m sure it will come in time….

With all this pretty weather has come the usual busy-ness that comes with autumn.  A couple of weeks ago the Fam and I went to Rabbit Hash Kentucky for some local riverside music and a chance to meet their mayoral candidates.

Rabbit Hash is a tiny, charming, historic town that has literally gone to the dogs.  There are 16 candidates for mayor, only 2 of whom are not dogs (the other 2 are a cat and a miniature donkey).  Here’s a couple of pages from my sketchbook….

Anyone can vote in Rabbit Hash for only a dollar a vote.  And, you can vote as much as you want, for as many candidates as you’d like.  All proceeds go to the Rabbit Hash Historical Society.  We felt a million miles away from the more serious political races bombarding us from every direction in the real world just across the river.  It was a great escape.  Though even this race has its political paraphenalia for avid collectors to gather…

With fall inevitably comes the start of school.  My kids are back at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and loving the balance their school provides between academics and the arts.  This is not just an art school.  Instead, this place puts the same emphasis throughout the school day on the arts as it does on things like chemistry, history, and language arts classes.  After school, kids at SCPA juggle their at times lofty academic load with rehearsals for plays, concerts and other art work.  We have, to say the least, been busy juggling it all.

I am again teaching down at the Carnegie Center at Family Saturdays, each second Saturday of the month.  This is a fun opportunity for families to make art together.  Each month there is a different theme to work with and this month we made masks.  Sadly, I forgot my camera that day.  But as usual, the kids (and parents!) came up with some cool stuff to take home!

The Carnegie is not the only place I teach.  I am delighted to be back at the Art Academy of Cincinnati this fall again offering my class Starting (and Keeping) and Journal Sketchbook.  I have a small class this time of only 5 people, but after only one class together, I can tell they are a special bunch.  This past Thursday we met for our first session and worked on “messing up” some brand new journals with paint, glue and some powerful quotes that will remind these students that no one else can make a journal like they can.  They are already seeing the differences in their individual styles.  Some may not have even thought of themselves as having an artistic style of their own.  I am excited to continue working with them in their books with collage, drawing, watercolors and writing and I hope to inspire them to continue working in their books long after our 4 week class has ended. My own sketch book has been pretty lonely lately and I have renewed inspiration, thanks to my students, to get drawing again!

Meanwhile, things have been pretty busy in the music world here as well.  Friday night Cherish the Ladies came to Dayton, Ohio, along with some other Irish Music talents like Bohola, Maura O’Connell and Dermot Henry.  The concert was amazing, as expected, and the following day, the Ladies came down to the Riley School to offer workshops in everything from singing to fiddle to flute/whistle, accordion, mandolin…. well the usual!  Cherish the Ladies is led by flute and whistle player extraordinaire, Joanie Madden.  I have had classes with her before at Augusta and it was such a treat to see her again and learn a few new tunes on flute and whistle.  Amazingly, Joanie remembered me as “the one who was drawing all the time”.  By the end of the day, after lessons from not only Joanie, but my beloved weekly instructor John Skelton as well, my head was nearly to bursting with tunes.  It was a good day.

So here it is, a breathtakingly beautiful fall Sunday.  I am off to head out to enjoy it.  I am outside more than in here on the computer lately, and that just feels right.  But as usual… I’ll continue to keep you posted, just maybe not as often!

GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!!