Paint Post/Doodle Collection

Hey there! I'd like to show you a few new works. 
---> This is Adam's paint-by-numbers project from last post, all finished by Shira. It was just taking too darn long for Adam to do it himself. I know that I didn't have much to do with this, but I thought it was nice enough to write about in my blog.
<--- Now this is something I did. Originally I just had a fancy sun shining on the forest, but it had too much color and it didn't go with the rest of the painting, so I turned my sun into a sunflower. Now the squirrel and the deer have a giant flower to look at! I wonder how big the seeds would come out? (I love eating sunflower seeds, unsalted) I think it may be one of the first watercolor paintings I've done that didn't involve a stick figure me (standing under a rainbow, holding hands with my mom, or in a giant flower garden. You know the way a young kid thinks. Or maybe that's just me).

Below are three instances of bishoujo manga experimentation. Bishoujo is japanese for "beautiful women", in case you didn't know. I love drawing manga, because it's like cartooning, only slightly more artistic looking. However I find it a bit challenging to draw all the hair and the big eyes and stuff. Hopefully if I practice I'll get better. In the future I hope to create more of my own original manga characters for my enjoyment.
---> I copied these out of a manga book by Christopher Hart. He has dozens of "how to draw" books to his name, and his writing style is nice. The undated one was made May 26. I like the way I did both of their hairstyles, even though they are copied. This kind of drawing gives me great practice for getting comfortable and confident in my hair and eye drawing abilities.
<--- Original character, coming through! I am both proud and slightly embarassed to show this to you. On the one hand, I pride myself on the hair, winking expression, and ruffled sleeves. On the other hand the arms are doing nothing, the proportions of the body don't look quite right, and the boobs are obvious. Of course in bishoujo manga, all the women have big boobs, but they only show on revealing costumes. I don't want it to be obvious under a simple frilly top! Oh well. What can you do?

If you like what you see (or not), please feel free to comment (or not).


1st Paint Post

I am so happy today! I just got my mom, my brother, my dad, and myself engaged in a morning of watercolor painting! Bettina didn't feel like painting, because she was busy reading Pendragon #10: "Soldiers of Halla", which she bought a few days ago when it came out. It's the last Pendragon novel ever, so she's way excited about it. ANYWAY...(ha ha, I'm saying it like Leslie)...Yesterday we bought a bunch of awesome art equipment at A.C. Moores, like tubes of watercolors, a starter brush set, a couple of plastic palettes, and 2 pads of watercolor paper. Me and Shira were really the ones who chose all the tools, while Bettina and Adam just tagged along.

After leaving the store, we were ready to begin our painting careers! This morning was perfect painting weather (e.g. cloudy, rainy, not sunny). Before I knew it, almost my whole family has a paintbrush in their hands and creating art! Benny and Adam are working together on a paint-by-numbers for the time being, but it still counts. Here are the beautiful pictures I took of the final paintings:

---> This is my first watercolor painting, called "Essence of Random". As you can see I did a whole bunch of experimentation, to get used to the new materials I had to work with. I've never worked with tube paints before.

<--- This is my mom, Shira's first watercolor painting. I love her style, all flowery and bright. She said she used a lot of water when painting, maybe that's why it looks different. Hmmm.

---> This is Shira's 2nd painting, a crack at pointillism. Beautiful, in't it?

<--- This is Adam's first watercolor painting. Just so y'all know, Adam is 11 years old, and has no previous painting experience other then paint-by-numbers. (Coming up next.)

---> I know, I know; it's not finished yet, but here's how far Benny and Adam have gotten so far. This painting was started three weeks ago, and Adam hasn't worked on it in about a week, so this morning was a nice boost in the productivity department.


My Doodle Collection #9

Time for some more awesome doodles/sketches/artwork/masterpieces! (Hey, it's more than just doodling, but the post-title's still nice, so I'm keeping the name.)
<--- I had a lot of fun doing these; I combined a bunch of different facial parts together into 7 distinct personas. Pick eyes from column A, lips from column B, eybrows and noses from C and D, and you've got yourself a brand new character! Once you've got the face, you could very well go on to choosing a head shape and funny ears too! I got all the face parts from a book called the Creative Cartoonist.
---> This little guy shown in two panels is someone I like to call Josky. You can pronounce it "Joe-skee" or "Jah-skee" if you like, but what matters is that I made up an imaginary animal that has an original name. Have you ever heard the name Josky before? I think it fits him. He lives somewhere in a rocky-mountain-desert, and he's searching for bugs or prarie dogs or something.
<--- Here we have a couple of profiles that I copied from the Creative Cartooning book. I relly like the one that has both eyes on one side of his face, because he looks like he was drawn by Picasso, but he was actually drawn by me! It was fun doing the other profiles too, but they're too "beautifully proportioned" to be funny.
---> Yesterday I went to Borders and got inspired by a dragon-art book to create my own fire-breathing beast. I made this totally from my own imagination! What do you think of that? I also named him Icarus, after the Greek myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus who made wings out of wax and feathers so they could fly out of prison. But Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted, and he fell into the sea and drowned. But my Icarus has fully-functional wings that make him keep his balance when he stands on two legs like this.

<--- This was made 2 weeks ago. It was really simple to create; all I did was draw my shadow, then fill in the background. The coloring in took a while, plus I had to make it nice and smooth looking.

Please comment and tell me which pieces you like and why.


Mother's Day Weekend

Mothers Day was a big hit for my mom. She loved everything we did for her. On the night before Mothers Day, we all went out to Flanigan's for dessert (skipped the whole seafood deal), and we had a slice of candy apple pie topped with 2 scoops of vanilla ice-cream, and a warm triple chocolate brownie with more vanilla ice-cream. It was a lot of fun sharing them, because they were so big! (Sorry if I make you salivate) We don't do that sort of thing very often, so it makes it all the more fun when we do. (On a different note, after finishing up our Mothers Day cards, Adam Bettina and I were able to watch this week's "Saturday Night Live" with Justin Timberlake, and it was great!)

I woke up early enough, and Adam and our dad, Benny, had gone to Publix and got a dozen bagels for a Mother's Day brunch. Bettina and I cut up some vegetables and set the table so our mom, Shira, wouldn't have to lift a finger. Everyone enjoyed the "bagel bonanza". After eating, we all had the pleasure of giving Shira our handmade cards, and she had the pleasure of reading them and admiring the artwork. Benny gave her a card too, though of course she's not his mom, but what the heck. Here's a picture of the card I made: 
I believe that the Mothers Day card I made this year beats all the Mothers Day cards I've made before. Can you tell I worked hard on it?

After breakfast, we hung around the house, and Benny taught us how to play "Polythene Pam" on the guitar. We didn't leave for the beach until late in the afternoon. It was a real scorcher today, and we made a goof-up...we forgot the beach blanket and a few towels that were left in the dryer! Oh well. The water was of fantastic temperature and temperament (it's rare to have both at the same time), and we all swam together as a family. We had brought along a whole picnic, but I wasn't actually very hungry. I suppose it was those bagels that filled me up. 

Most of the afternoon I read this book called "The Power of Body Language". Shira recommended it to me after reading the first few chapters on the way to New College the other day, and the book is really awesome. It's amazing, when you think about it, how long man must have walked this earth before inventing oral language. How did cavemen communicate with each other? Using body language. The subject has quite a lot to do with psychology, which I'm completely fascinated by, and the book teaches how to interpret different signals, like how to tell if a person is lying, or attracted to you, or happy to see you. It's got great pictures to follow along, and there are a few photos of former presidents demonstrating either proper or improper body language. 
(There's one that has Bush Jr. winking at the Queen of England after making a joke about her being old. Talk about insult to injury!)
That night, our parents went out, and us kids made spaghetti. We went to slept pretty late, after watching the movie "Role Models" and "America's Funniest Home Videos" on TV. Shira said, before she and Benny left, that this was the best Mothers Day ever, and I have to agree with her. I am so lucky to have a mom like her.


New College Field-Trip

Just so you guys know from the get-go, I am writing this account a day after me and my family visited New College. If only I wasn't so tired last night, then I would have the experience still fresh in my mind. Oh well. You understand, right? Right. Moving on...

We all had to be at New College by 12:00, and it takes 3 hours to drive there, so my family decided to wake up at 7:15 so we could leave at 8:00 (which leaves us plenty of time to get there unrushed, with an extra hour on our hands). Bettina and I woke up at 6:00 in the morning! We were too darn excited to stay asleep! Oh well, more time for us to get dressed, have breakfast, make sure we got stuff ready, like directions, food, CDs for the trip, etc. I brought along the book I'm reading, "Strangers on a Train". It's pretty different from the movie version I so enjoyed (read my review here) but it's still fun to read. Anyway, I haven't mentioned the coolest part: my sister drove the 3 hours, nonstop, the whole family in the car, to New College, all by herself!

When we finally got to New College, I thought it looked smaller than I imagined. The building that you see here, College Hall, actually used to be the million-dollar home of Charles Ringling (of the Ringling Brothers circus) and his wife. It isn't used for classrooms, it's just a big, beautiful, early 20th century house, lived in by nobody, but still used for administration purposes. We signed in there, and got directions to me and my sister's classes. We had to go to the library building, which wasn't too far away, and a lot busier than College Hall. When I came into the Religion classroom, I was the only one there, except for one other early student, who I introduced myself to. Eventually, the class filled up to about 14 people, and the professor showed up almost 15 mintes late. I was slightly put off by that, and before then, all the other students were chatting all around me, and I felt distinctly like the odd one out, like the one who didn't belong there. It was a strange new experience for me, but I'm glad I had it. The class consisted mostly of a few students reading aloud papers that they wrote about evangelical Christians trying to convert Muslims, about the Paris Riots, and I caught names such as Rick Warren and Billy Graham, who I know next to nothing about (pardon my ignorance). I don't think I learned much of practical use to me at the time, but I got some idea of what a typical class at New College would be like. I should also have known that these students are about to take their finals before ending this spring term, so all their classes are tough.

After that, me and Bettina walked back to College Hall by way of the Promenade, a nice, straight path that cuts across the campus. We talked about how our classes went (she seemed to be in a better mood than I was) and how weird/wonderful it was that we were actually there after waiting for so long. We met up with our parents and brother Adam (if you're reading this bro, thanks for being so patient all day) and went inside to listen to this lady give an information "sit-down", where she spoke about the best parts of New College and how we could apply and what we would have to do before we're able to graduate. They have this special system that doesn't use letter grades or GPAs, instead the professors give detailed feedback on how well you learned the courses and what your strengths and weaknesses are. It's all on thier website. (http://www.ncf.edu/)

Once we were done with all that stuff (boring), we went on this great guided tour with a woman named Alanna, who was actually a student in her 4th year of New College and had a twin sister who also goes to college with her! Is it coincedence that she gave a tour to twin sisters who are looking to attend New College? And they share a dorm! How cool is that? She showed my family all over campus in one of those cool electric cart thingies, and we saw the dorm buildings, the pool and gym, the Thesis Room (where they store every single Senior Thesis ever published since 1965), and the marine biology labs where they showed us this cool octopus. Once the tour was over, she gave us these New College T-shirts and a foam football (it's a joke, because New College doesn't have a football team). I had a really good time, and Alanna was so nice and friendly. I hope we meet her again soon.

Afterwards, me and my family had a lovely picnic next to College Hall, by the bay, which smelled a little fishy if you asked me, but otherwise was fine. We ate sandwiches and talked about how much fun we had. It was really nice, because it reminds me of the time my family picnicked at Harvard University the last time we went to Boston, and how conspicuous we felt because we were the only ones doing it. At New College, it felt like the campus was made for picnicking.
The last thing we did before we left for home was meet up with Maya, a sister of a friend who told us about New College in the first place. She works in the library there, and she's in her second year. We only talked with her for a little while, but it was still a fun conversation. Maya spoke in the kind of quiet voice one uses when they spend a lot of time in the library, which of course she does since she works there, and she was smart and nice.

When we had to go, it was my turn to take the wheel. It felt really empowering to know that I'm able to drive long distances for long stretches of time. I really like driving on the highway, because I get to go fast, and I don't have to worry too much about making sure I'm on the right path. Still, no matter how much fun it is to drive for 3 hours (just me I guess), I was awfully tired and cranky after we got back home. Adam, Bettina and I ended the fun-packed day by cooking spaghetti and watching "The New Twilight Zone: Season 1" on DVD. Did you know that Bruce Willis played in the first episode of the Twilight Zone in 1985? Pretty cool. Finally I'm done writing this post. Can't wait for Mother's Day!


Final Showdown!

First, because I didn't take the time to write about the ninth Improv class on Thursday, I'm gonna give a bit of a prologue for the Improv Show that me and my sibs did today. Mostly on our last Improv class, we went through what the introduction of the show would be like. Charlie and Eric came up with something similar to what announcers at a basketball game do: "Ladieeeeeeeees aaaaand Gentlemen.....staaaaaaaand up. For the!.....Miamiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Heeeeeeeeeeeat!!!!!!"
Only instead of the Miami Heat, we would be the Improv group, so that was all that changed. Also, we were introduced to a few Improv veterans that decided to make a surprise visit to Robin, who remembered them from way back when she taught them. They looked about me and Bettina's age, and you could easily tell from the way they acted and spoke that they knew what to do when they don't know what to do (Improv 101). There was a boy named Orin, and a girl named Amy. They made the last class a lot of fun, and it made me confident that the show would not be a problem.
May 1, we got an email from Robin reminding us to be relaxed on the day of the show, and to remember to not be talking heads and to let people take their turn in the spotlight, etc, plus a link to a YouTube clip that showed how to play the "Harold" improv game.

Today, May 3rd, was the day we were waiting for, and despite any doubts and stomach-butterflies I may have had previously, this event went mostly without a hitch. Me, my sister, and my brother all had to be at B'nai Aviv at 1:15, so we had most of the morning to take it easy and come to terms with our preshow tension. I felt pretty confident overall that we would do well, but still...
When we got there, we were among the first ones to arrive, along with the usual early-birds, Ariel, Sam, Gabby, and Rebecca. Robin would later come at 3:15, but until then, the whole 12-18 year old 16 kid strong Improv Group had to go through all the games that we would play for the lovely audience that afternoon. We went through games like "Hitchhiker", "Die", "Harold", etc. At times, some of the group got so nervous that they would try and tell each other what to do and yell to make themselves heard, and get distracted by a dodgeball or petty whispering and such, and some of us would try and keep the peace and get focused. It was what I would call a minor catastrophe! 
Then Robin came, and I was relieved, becaue she would know how to sort through the mess of nerves we were in. She made us do a warm-up game where we start doing an action that implies a specific location, like balancing on a tightrope in a circus, or lifting something heavy at the gym, or writing at a desk. Then we would speak some lines that reveal more about the scene, and then we would step back and let the other performers have the spotlight. I think it calmed everyone down a lot.
After that, we had to wait what seemed to be a long time before 4:00, which was when the audience started showing up. A while later, the show started. I found that Adam, Bettina, and I were in 4 game each, so it could be said that we got approaching equal stage-time. I had a lot of fun, because Orin and Amy participated in a few of the games and made the show a lot more interesting and funny. I even got to do a few games with them. It was great, and the characters and situations that I improvised weren't too bad either!
After the show, everyone in the audience clapped. It was a very tame kind of stage experience for me, because I wasn't trying to impress anyone. The audience was mainly family of the performers, or people who visit the snygogue regularly. It was still stage experience, and so for that I am happy that I performed today.