Friday, 30 July 2010

Small Pleasures

My hen and chicks is blooming (I don't have any chicks yet, but I was surprised to see that the plant blooms on a stalk and has a very other (science fiction) worldly kind of appearance.)

When I went to the egg lady this week, I couldn't resist these gorgeous gladiolas. They are in the living room and I am so enjoying their full saturated colors.

Finally I  thought I should give an update on what I am knitting. I have this funky yarn that I just didn't know what to do with. I am trying to manipulate the variegation, but it is irregularly patterned so that isn't working so well. Nonetheles, I am carrying on with Vicki Square's Dogi from Knit Kimono.

I can't tell yet whether I'm going to like it or not . I'm carrying a lavender yarn with the variegated to mute it a bit.  I think this is as good as it will get with this yarn.  Below is a picture of what the finished object might resemble.

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Friday, 23 July 2010

Student Graduation

My ESL students had their last class today. Here are some students in class participating in a mock trial.

Here the judges pay close attention to the details of the trial.

Members of the class watched as the alibis were interrogated.

At the end of the last class, we took a traditional farewell picture.

Tonight my students of ESL received their certificates and did a lovely presentation of arts of Okinawa. Here is the tea ceremony.

Students wore their school uniforms for the ceremony.

We also got to enjoy Eisa a particularly Okinawan drumming performance.

The students performed beautifully and all in unison.

Next we were serenaded with Okinawan song accompanied by Yoshimi on the Sanshin.

Shingo also played the Sanshin for a beautiful Okinawan folk song.

After the ceremony there were joyful tears as we had to say goodbye.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Drawings from my class

In my ESL class we just read Maurice Sendak's where the wild things are. The students enjoyed describing pictures from the book and having other students draw them. Here are a few examples.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Earthly Garden Delights

One of the advantages of having had such frequent rains is that the flowers are very happy this year.  Although I am at best a failed gardener. (Any beds that were already here I have managed to destroy, by not knowing what to keep and what to weed.) The attempts at smaller projects have been more successful. I planted this row of hostas, iris and day lilies along the west side of the drive.

Of course I failed to think about the fact that all the flowers are spiky and that I needed some other interest in the row, but still I have a veritable  firework display of flowers in mid to late july. (Maybe I'm secretly French and just have to have a Bastille day celebration.)

Each year I have to have at least one picture of a peeper in a flower.

This day lily looks quite nice with the wild yarrow that grows  nearby.

Unfortunately these lilies are the same color as our shed, but it does make a nice monochrome photo with shadows.

THis is the row of lilies and hostas along the west side of the drive way.  I've tried to break up the lines a bit by adding dusty miller and gazanias, but the predominant line is still up and spiky.

The day lilies seem to always face west and the dusty millers and gazanias are on the east side, so you can never see them all at the same time!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Who's Around These Days?

The Phoebes are back in their nest above the back door

State of the Painting

Changes in the most recent Afghan painting:

This was the last version:

Friday, 9 July 2010

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Some Minor Adjustments

Today I cleaned up some of my old paintings. I'm going to take them by a local coffee shop tomorrow and see if they might be interested in hanging them on the walls. I've been framing, but unfortunately I bought the wrong sized framing material, so I can't frame as many as I had hoped. Here are the new versions juxtaposed to the old versions.  Mostly I was cleaning up lines, so the changes might not be too obvious.

Maybe I like the old version of this a bit better! This is the new version of the dead man. I hated the figure on the left - he looked so mechanical and toyish although in my photo he was very military and precise (which is a similar appearance.)

I like the changes in this one the most. It looks smoother and just a lot more childlike (I rounded the child's cheeks and enlarged the head to make the child more toddlerlike. I want to tone down the black along the back area still.

I smoothed out some minor flaws in this one. Made the bandana more nuanced and changed the child's lips.

Here are the two new ones. I have finished the Walking Women, I think. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture in natural light, so the color is way off on this image. I'll take a new one tomorrow.

Here is the progress on the newest one. I'm still laying in the ground, so it won't look like anything for a while.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Work on Painting and More Garden

Today was productive. I managed to get some writing done and even had time to paint. Here is the progress on the second in the series of Afghani women.

I also finally got around to filling in the pattern of the skirt. I still need to do some shading so that it is more than a flat area, but I need it to dry a bit first. I'm still trying to decide whether it makes the painting too busy or creates the effect I want.

I'm also trying to frame the old series. Man I am a lousy framer. I guess professional  framers don't use popsicle sticks, so maybe that's my mistake:

Here are some of the finished frames around their paintings. Of the nine in the series I have about 5 done and another 3 miscellaneous paintings in the process of being framed.

The garden just keeps getting more colorful. 

Here are some shots of the red and white garden to show that there actually is a preponderance of red and white in it (despite the orange and blue flowers that seem to pop up from time to time.)

The day lilies on the west side of the drive are just starting to bloom. Soon it will be a wall of color, but for now it is subtle and a bit cloying.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Update on the Yard and Activities

Here are a few shots of the garden. We've had a lot of rain so things are looking pretty good right now.

Here are some of those "red" lilies in the red and white garden. The day lilies are just starting to bloom, one here one there but soon will bloom all along the drive way.

That is wild yarrow in the front. Aimee is getting bigger and more confident. She looks like she belongs there and this is her domain, n'est-ce pas?

Here's the new guy, Copper. He is adjusting quite well too.

This day lily (Shaft of Sunlight) is exceptionally large. it is in the back yellow garden which has fallen into disrepair. The fox glove are blooming back there and I should probably make this a project and do some weeding there.

Here is another view of the front red and white garden.

Finally, here is the new painting I just started in the Afghani women series. I have laid out the sketch, but still need to finish the other painting.