Monday, March 25, 2013

umber over birch panel

It was March snow in mid-Missouri.
Thirteen inches out our back door, as shown by the ruler above. Inside the living room it was warm. Work was progressing.


 Grain of 12 by 12 inch birch wood panel (above)

Thin umber wash over birch panel makes cuts easier to see.
Graphite marks made on block. Converting wash splotches in three color study into pencil. Six minutes.

 Drawing on block. Two minutes.

Elegant curls.

Cuts begin using Speedball linocut tool. Four minutes.

Convert this to pencil marks, please.

Draw the map. Two minutes.

Living room work bench.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Peter, Cole, and Me

"How are you now?" he asked me, during the question and answer time.  I looked at my basketball teammate from recess and replied, "I know where to get help now. As a grownup I do get mad from time to time, but I have learned how to handle it." The blonde fourth grader went on, "You are just like me. I have anger issues too and I am working on them here."

Our group had finished listening to the book "Touching Spirit Bear." Ms. Price and Ms. Allen had read chapters to us after we came in from recess each day.

The author Ben Mikaelsen told about the struggle of two juveniles, Cole and Peter, on a remote Alaskan island. Pain and anger, justice and healing were central to that story. Near the end Cole and Garvey helped Peter deal with his feelings. The scene where Peter cried uncontrollably and was held in the arms of Cole meant a lot to me.

The two teachers I work with in the Behavior Management Program had me speak to the group today about an art collage on the wall. After discussing the street materials I used in the collage, I tied the image to Peter and Cole.

I too had anger issues growing up. Anger at my parents, anger at myself, holding on to grudges, wanting to get even. The hurt caused by words did take longer to heal than physical cuts do. (Something Garvey told Cole in the story) For me, the feelings had been stomped down inside. Mom could blowup at our house, but I could not. Bitterness shaped how I related to others. Then, help came. Twenty-five years ago painful feelings resurfaced in my life and I cried many tears. There were shoulders for me to cry on. Tears were a good thing. They have become a treasure. When the pain was pushed out, it was replaced with peace, lots of peace and healing. It also brought JOY and HOPE into my grownup life. I came to forgive myself and others.

When I gaze at the collage I think of an explosion, things flying through the air in a freeze-frame. It reminded me of the help I got. In the center was the butterfly, the One-who-gave-me-help, and all around was the glitter, his activity, breaking off problems that were bigger than I could handle, huge things beyond my control. I think of the JOY and HOPE, the people who helped me through it, the holy spirit and his reply, his answer, his deliverance. Real time, real life, real rescue, real help.

One of the classroom posters told us to use our words to say what we FEEL. Writing about the anger helps. Drawing about it helps.
The laminated blue poster on the wall has three life goals in our classroom. 1) I CAN take good care of myself, even if I am mad. 2) I CAN be okay, even when others are not ok. 3) I CAN be productive and follow directions, even if I am mad. (BIST)

There was one collage on the wall I had not talked about. Students could check it out sometime, touch it carefully, but not tear any of it off.                                                         Consider these two questions. 1) What materials might it be made of? 2) How does it make you feel? Dark? Sad?
It was then I took questions from the group, seated at tables, at cubicles, in the recovery room, sitting on chairs. Today.

(Book cover courtesy of Ben Mikaelsen website,, Ben Mikaleson Audio Interview at Wikipedia,, BIST (Behavior Intervention Support Team) poster quote,,  More on BIST and OZEMAN,, accessed March 21, 2013)