Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Awakening

Yeah, I know that's the name of a musical about young  people confused about sex, but I'm talking about the woods across the street. I've been doing a series of drawings for almost a year of the changes the seasons bring to that neighborhood patch of land where local children have played, made forts, sledded, ice skated through the trees at the bottom of the hill, and discovered varieties of bugs, plants, rocks and fungi for over fifty years. For many years the peepers have announced the arrival of spring. Sadly, because of the constant mosquito spraying for the swampy area at the foot of the sledding hill, I haven't heard those singing froglets for a while, so I have to look for other signs.
Things seem to happen suddenly: one day, everything is brown  and gray; the next there is a thin veil of green skimming over the tops of the trees, and the darker, thicker green cloak covers the bushes below. It's just beginning now,  and in a few more days, the woods will look like summer and stay that way until the middle of October.
It's today's beginning touches of tentative green over gray that I like more than the fullness of summer. That's spring to me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Last year, in a blog post on April 26, I wrote about a series of documentaries I had been watching on the horrors of the Nazi death camps. I mentioned a former SS man who had been an Aughwitz guard. He was unrepentant, insisting it had to be done, including the deaths of children. He said they would have grown up as more Jews, bringing down the whole vworld. He claimed that the only reason he was participating in this film was that he wanted to counteract those who were denying that these things had ever happened. He wanted everyone to know that it HAD happened, the camps and the
deaths of all those people. But he wasn't sorry about it.
In my post I asked the question: Why is this man still here? He looked prosperous and well cared for. But he was a murderer, a thief, a monster.
Well, in today's paper I read that he is now on trial. I don't know when that documentary was made, but I think it was fairly recent. He was not under arrest at that time. But he is now 94 and on trial. Two women, one now from Toronto and one from Hungary are witnesses to his Auchwitz activities. They were teenagers at the time, and they remember him. They said they are not there to see punishment meted out, but to undergo the process of seeing the guilt he bears, and some closure for themselves.
I find this remarkable. Was this documentary and his admitting that he was an SS guard create the opportunity for his arrest after all these years? Did he think he was invulnerable? His comments in that film were so shocking that I still can't understand how he could have lived free for so long. He has had some 70 years more of life, more years than millions of the victims of that undeniable Holicaust.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring and Drawing


I am continuing the online drawing class I took in March. It's rather addicting. Several of the same people have signed up again. I'm not producing any "art," but I'm having fun drawing a variety of things in a giant sketchboo. figure I may have to keep doing this class untilI fill it up. We're supposed to draw every day, and each week we have a special assignment based on a topic that Susan gives us. This week it is Something Fishy. So far people are doing some pretty colorful, jewel-like drawings. The illustration here is a practice drawing I did in my IPastel computer program, which I can't use for the class. For the class assignment I paired up the boy on the dolphin with a mermaid. I like this one here better, because with this version I can get the iridescence of the fish scales, which I couldn't seem to accomplish on paper. But one of the good things about the class is that I am actually doing some drawing on paper,  leaving the IPad,  enjoying it.
Spring is actually here at last, and this week-end there are leaves popping out on the trees. To add to the seasonal turning, in the past week I've had two Apollo's Fire concerts. A week ago I won four tickets to an afternoon mini-concert for families, examining Vivaldi's Spring, showing the audience how the composer brought in the sounds of the season and demonstrating the instruments and the players' roles in the piece. It was informal and witty. I took Cynthia and Sally and we had a fine time. Went to Corky and Lenny's deli after for brisket.
Then this past Thursday Ann Waters and I went over to Akron to hear them do all four seasons with the full orchestra. After last week's performance, Cynyhia had made me a little painting of Jeannette Sorrell, the orchestra's founder and director, tuning her harpsichord, wearing a beautiful dark blue dress, with the sun shining through a chapel window, lighting up her brilliant red hair. I decided to make a copy of it to give to Ms. Sorrell after this week's concert ( Ann knows her well). Well, the concert was astounding, a full house, stomping, clapping, cheering and uplifted. Ann and I caught Jeanette as she came out and I gave her the picture. The cellist was with her, and they both loved it and she was very pleased to have it. She is probably still wondering who that strange old lady was, and maybe thinks I did the painting. Actually, I did a version of it for my drawing class. We had gotten to the performance last week early. It was in a chapel at one of Cleveland's great churches, and the scene was lovely. Thursday night's was in a huge class Lutheran church in Akron, with great acoustics.
I have missing my Cleveland Orchestra concerts, so it was great to hear an excellent professional group playing full out in a great space.
There is so much good music around here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In Like a Wet Lamb, or Eau d;agneau

March stayed pretty lion-like for a few weeks, and April so far is like unto wet lamb. Not only that, but mornings are like the Hound of the Badkerville's foggy moors.  But the ice is gone, finally, and it's much warmer. Not shirt sleeves warm, but well above the below zero weather of the past couple of months. It's not green yet, but I hear that crocuses and daffodils have appeared here and there. Spring in Northeastern Ohio takes its time, but it is very much worth the wait, a beautiful season which we deserve.
I finished my month of online Lucky Drawing 102 and enjoyed it very much. I had to get used to drawing large, since most of what I've done lately has been on the small side, and we were using an 11 x 14 sketchbook, sometimes using a double spread, making it 22 x 28 mega-drawing. It was a lot of work, but so much fun that I've signed up for another hitch. I've been impressed by the work of the other students in the class, and we all love the instructor, the artist Susan Shie. (You can Google her.)
Other than that I haven't done much. Got hooked on "  Parenthood" on Netflix, which I found extremely annoying, but had to find out what happened next. One of the child characters had a reading problem, and from how the writers handled it, in Berkley, California, home of one of the best universities in the country, the schools have never heard of reading specialists, or testing to ascertain what a kid might need in the way of assistance. They just decide to make him repeat the grade. It's full of dumb things like that, so that the characters can experience major crises rather than find out where they could resolve manufactured issues. Ya gotta have problems in plots or you'd have no show, but this one really makes Californians look idiotic.
Another good thing about the drawing class is that it got me away from such mind-numbing time wasters.