Monday, December 17, 2012

From Steve Henderson, artist

"It's extraordinarily windy today, and what it's blowing in, I have no idea (the weather service says, 'Nothing').

"Wind fascinates me because it has the potential to make a huge impact on any area -- years ago when we were building our house, the wind picked up 4 x 8 foot sheets of plywood and flung them around like playing cards.

"Wind knocks down power lines, leaving untold people without electricity. It sweeps through and unroots trees. It battens against the house and rattles the windows. It reshapes landscapes simply by blowing so much, so often, and/or so consistently.

"And yet, we never actually see the wind -- just the results of its existence. But just because we can't see it, doesn't make it not real.

"So also with the things we do each day, whatever those things are: a comment we make, a compliment we pass on, an encouraging word during a discouraging time, a note, a visit, a gift, catching someone's eye from across the room.

"These seem like no more than puffs of air, and we continue through our day unaware that something we did or said made a difference -- sometimes a significant difference -- in another person's life.

"While initially it seems that much of what the wind does is bad, imagine life, and this world, without it. Stagnation, stillness, inactivity -- without this unseen force of nature, what would happen to our planet?

"Similarly, without you, without each one of us, doing what we do each day, this world would be a different, and not necessarily a better, place."
                                                                                          - Steve Henderson

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Visual Animals

I saw the below on the Zentangle site, and wanted to share it.  I truly believe many of us are visual animals, some more than others.

School, especially math, was difficult for me to grasp until I associated colors with the numbers.  One is blue, two is green, etc, etc.

Anything I could visualize, I could understand.  Ok, I could get "a + b = c", but with some of the more "exotic" equations were totally beyond my grasp.  And, often, I honestly couldn't see ever using some of these equations in real life.

I mean, really!!????

So, take a look, and enjoy!!

And, just a bit of what's up.  I'm taking a terrific Color Theory at Folsom Lake College from Heike Schmid.   It's tougher than I'd thought, but necessary to finish my AA in Studio Art.  Along with being a visual learner, it's always been easier to learn things in a class, rather than from books.  Guess so many questions pop up while reading a book that are never answered.

Not just basic color theory, like the primary, secondary and tertiary colors (like this)

but all the tints, shades and tones too.  And how to mix those suckers from scratch.  Lots of trial and error, and even more "grr...  why in the world am I taking this STUPID class" but it'll all come together.  I know it will.  Every class I've taken from Heike always starts out like this.  Total frustration and a ton of work.  But,   "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work."  -Colin Powell

Monday, August 27, 2012

Robert Genn - "Lessons That Art Teach"

I receive a wonderful newsletter from Robert Genn.  These newsletters cover a variety of topics, but all relating to art.  And all are sprinkled with a wry sense of humor which make them such a fun read.

The most recent installment has some information regarding an author, Elliot Eisner and his book The Arts and The Creation of Mind.
This is an excerpt from that book...

 'Ten Lessons the Arts Teach' by Elliot Eisner

  • The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.  
  • The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. 
  •  The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world. 
  •  The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds. 
  •  The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition. 
  •  The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. 
  • The arts traffic in subtleties. 
  •  The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real. 
  •  The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job. 
  •  The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling. 
  •  The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important. 

 Robert Genn went on to say...

In our day, when math, history and even language skills can be quantified and measured, giving clear percentages that pass or fail a student, it's good to know the arbitrariness of art still persists. The teaching of art stretches young minds to new levels of curiosity, wonder and appreciation of our world. And while anything goes and solutions may be open-ended, there is still room for the joy of craft, proficiency and standards. Technical knowledge, design, drawing and an understanding of colour are still out there for each new generation. Further, art education can last more than one lifetime.
I keep my fingers crossed that those kids who have the desire to pursue the arts will persevere.  It's worth it.  :D 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the WOW factor...

Seems like so often during my day, I see something and just go... WOW, THAT'S SO COOL!!!! Then I move on, not noting what it was or forwarding it to friends, or making any note of it at all.

Well, the Google Doodle tickled my interest. Check it out below or on ...

One of the things about these works of art, is the amount of hand-crafting that went into each. A short history of how it all came to be is here.

And, a video on a few of these pieces of art below...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Being creative

Can be really hard, without a little help once in a while.

Here's a little something that might kick-start you (like it did for me!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Circuit Breakers book...

Check out this short picture book I made. Also, take a look at the cool video of our team at!

Click here to view book

Click here to view this photo book larger
Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Sean's FIRST Robotics Team went to the Regional Tournament held at UCDavis, and came home WINNERS!!
Here's the winning team, or "Alliance".

From Sean's letter to friends and family:

I am Sean Leapley, and I am a proud member of the FIRST robotics team #3189, the El Dorado Union High School District (EDUHSD) Circuit Breakers.

This is our team's third year participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition ( On our first year, we were awarded the Rookie Inspiration Award and a member of our team was awarded as a Dean's List Finalist. In our second year, a member of our team was recognized as a Dean's List Finalist. This year, most importantly, the Circuit Breakers are one of three teams that won Sacramento Regional Competition, meaning that we are advancing to the championships in St Louis, Missouri. However, we need your help to get our robot, Andromeda, and our team to the championships and ask that you please contribute to our team efforts. A donation of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Every dollar helps! Furthermore, we are also looking for corporate sponsors, so if you are part of a company that can sponsor the team, or know people in other companies that can be contacted for sponsorships, please let me know.

To make a donation, please make checks payable to EDUHSD Robotics, and mail to: EDUHSD Robotics, Shenandoah High School, 6540 Koki Lane, El Dorado, CA, 95623. If an online donation via check, credit card or PayPal is preferred, please donate through PaySchools on this district website (click on Robotics Team).

The Circuit Breakers are dedicated to the mission of FIRST Robotics, working to inspire students in pursuing careers in engineering, as well as instilling confidence.

I would love to hear from you if you can help, or if you have any questions about our program and my participation in the robotics team.

Thanks to all friends and family who have shown their support so far. This has been so exciting for all involved, thank you!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Watching a Master at work - Claude Monet

I saw this short video on the Artist Daily website, and was captivated by Claude Monet's working style.

From the site:

As a landscape artist, I naturally expected Monet to observe his subject. Yet, the constancy with which he observes is astonishing. Except for the time he takes to clean his brush, he turns to his subject every two or three seconds.

Monet and the other Impressionists abandoned the approach of blending colors over large areas in favor of placing individual strokes side by side, and allowing the eye to mix those spots of color at a distance. Here we witness the action that produces these daubs and dashes of "broken color."

At certain moments, the strokes are fairly short "dashes." Other times he makes longer vertical strokes. There is no blending or rubbing, just one thrust of the brush. He holds the brush fairly far back along the shaft and extends his arm, reaching to the canvas. After just a few strokes, he returns to the palette for more color.

Monet pauses for a fraction of a second to choose his brush. Monet thinking—caught on film! He uses four brushes. They appear to be the same size, so almost certainly the various brushes were assigned different colors.

One brush also appears to be unusual—quite pointy with the bristles forming a triangular shape. Perhaps it was a brush he had custom made or it was a regular brush that had worn down.

Here we get a glimpse of the artist's palette. Given how "loaded" with paint the surface of his paintings were, I was a little surprised not to see larger daubs of pigment squeezed out on Monet's palette.

Stance and orientation: When painting outdoors (or with any subject, for that matter) it is often recommended that you put your subject as close to your line of sight as possible. This reduces the amount of head turning necessary. Here, though, Monet is turning a full 90 degrees to the right to view his subject. This was likely because of the size of the canvas. Had he propped it up in front of himself, it would have blocked his view.

And here is the video... Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daydream Believer

Just heard the news....  Davy Jones just passed away from a heart attack.  For you young-'uns, he was a part of a group called the Monkees, popular in the late '60s.  And, when I was a young-'un, they toured, and I got to see the Monkees.  The first concert I'd ever been to!

Thanks, Davy, for firing a young girl's imagination.  :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012


This month, I'm learning jQuery with @TutsPremium:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Incredible stuff happening out there....

Check out this video, created by Petro Vrellis.  One of the most impressive applications of computer animation.

Starry Night (interactive animation) from Petros Vrellis on Vimeo.

Monday, February 6, 2012

OMG, in the media!!!

Nope, not me.  Even better, our son, Sean!!  

MEMBERS OF THE CIRCUIT BREAKERS, Sean Leapley, 17, and Devlyn Nelsen, 17, guide the robot "Copernicus" up a ramp to test the unit's gyro and accelerometer, as fellow team members, left to right, Justin Patridge, 16, James Womack, 17, and Vincent Wise, 14, look on. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Pretty darned cool.  Sean's been in Robotics for 3 years now, and really loves it.  The article can be found at :

To raise money for the competition the El Dorado Union High School District Robotics Team is partnering with CEAR Inc. (California Electronics Asset Recovery) to have a free, drive-through, electronics waste drop-off day on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Raley’s parking lot, 166 Placerville Drive in Placerville.

For security purposes, CEAR Inc. shreds all hard drives at its secure facility. Drop-offs will be accepted up until 1 p.m. The drive can accept: monitors, televisions, desktop and notebook PCs, VCRs, stereo equipment, speakers, keyboards, mice, PDAs, digital cameras, zip drives, telephones, cell phones, printers, copiers, laser and multifunction scanners and fax machines, small household appliances such as toasters, mixers, blenders and vacuum cleaners with the dust bag removed. 

The following items cannot be accepted: large household appliances (i.e. refrigerators, washers, dryers microwaves, etc.) furniture, hazardous household waste including batteries, car batteries, paint, pesticides, used oil, cleaning supplies, fluorescent light bulbs, tires, etc.

For more information go to and
Anyone wishing to donate or sponsor the team can contact Charlotte Lindborg at 530-409-4990, or e-mail

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Last Semester work...

Hi there,
All done with my figure drawing class.  Below are some examples of work.

 Now, I'm taking a Portrait Drawing class with the same instructor.  She makes us work hard, but it's great to really push and learn so much!