Posts from the ‘ramblings’ Category

Parenting advice? Really?

Guess who’s freaking out.

(if you had to ask who, get off this blog :P)

I was just on the MSN homepage taking a peak at the parenting section which I like to do every now and then seeing as I keep a journal of what I think my parents did well and not so well (and I think they are the best parents in the world, but everyone makes mistakes) because I want to be the best parent I can for my kids… Because I want kids. I’m 16 and I’ll say that- besides, knowing what irritated me at the age of 16 might help me not to irritate my kids, right? Cause we all know teachers and parents throw around that excuse, “I was a kid once, too, you know” to get us to emphasise with them but we don’t by it because… well when was the last time they were a kid? And we forget half of last years syllabus so we can only know how much they’ve forgotten or how much has changed about being a kid/ teen in the past 10-30 years. (you know I’ve often wondered if I should make this a parenting blog to get teens active with communicating with there parents… but I can’t stick to a theme so its an everything blog as you’ve probably realised)

Anywho, so I was looking to see if there was anything interesting, you know? Anything I might want to make note of.

AND LOOK AT WHAT I FOUND: “Why you shouldn’t tell your kids they’re smart”


You can probably understand why this has caught my eye- especially after my recently having written about my own insecurities about compliments and let me tell you Ms. Waverman, I think, sincerely and honestly and as nicely as I can possibly say this I am trying; that you are wrong. Simple as that.

Somebody please correct me if you think telling your kids that they are intelligent is a bad thing?

Let me explain. Emma Waverman here states that by telling your kids that they are smart, you are setting them up to only want to appear as smart. And  are going to raise them to be a ‘praise junkie’ and so on. She draws a parallel to children’s art and claims you shouldn’t say its beautiful but instead, INSTEAD what you should say is “”Wow, what a picture! I can see how hard you worked on the drawing five fingers on that person” and maybe you aren’t aware of something but, kids DO know the difference between praise and condescending tone. If someone had said that to me I would have been reduced to a sniveling inconsolable heap, unable to understand why I was being approached in this negative way!  By telling your child this, you are basically telling your child “Good Job! You are an idiot, but you know what? You managed to notice how many fingers you have!”

Don’t get me wrong and let me further explain. At my school, for the past few years one of the art projects for the grade 9 class was to draw a picture of their hands… a study of hands. Because they are great for proportions like that your middle finger is the same length as your palm. They start off looking at said proportions, doing traces, looking at different gestures and shapes and their connotations, and then, at the end of 2 months or so produce a finished compositional piece with a story to it and everything. When I did mine, it was of a person holding a lighter at a Rolling Stones concert  reminicent of when my father took us kids to see them at Madison Square Garden when my sister and I were 7 years old (yes, he’s a good dad. We wore heavy dutty earplugs he put in us himself- don’t worry. Oh and I’m a violin player and have the sharpest ears of the family- beyond normal for any human and none of us have hearing loss so they obviously know what they are doing).

Anyways thats a tangent and my point is, there were kids then, grade 9. Jr. High students, who drew their final pieces with 7 fingers on one hand, and 4 fingers on the other. This was a piano player who drew their piece of a piano player. If they had drawn something as a child, with the wrong number of fingers and someone said THAT to them I would feel, quite honestly, like shit!

Let me tell you something. When a child seeks praise, why is it?

1. They want the attention.

2. The genuinely think they are good at something and want validation. They want to make sure its not just imagining it.

Lets look evaluate both cases.

In the first scenario, you aren’t giving them attention, causing them to try and attract it through unhealthy means and will lead to, not a praise junkie, but bully and class disturber in the making.  When a child comes running to you just having finished a drawing it doesn’t mean all they want is praise! Especially if the child drew this for you, which most often is the case, you shouldn’t be approaching them with a condescending tone, or treating them like they ‘tried their best’ which, frankly, is synonymous with “you worked hard, but its still not that good” which can be immeasurably detrimental if they actually think its good.

Anyways, the art topic is just too deep and I don’t want to get stuck just on that because there is so much more to this.  The second alternative she gave was to say “There is a lot of stuff going on, tell me about your picture!” And as a baby sitter I can honestly say I’ve used this line a lot. Because with younger kids who haven’t perfected fine motor skills yet, they simply can’t control the marker not that they’re a bad artist. It comes with time. Even the most languidly stepping ballerina once stumbled about as a toddler. Now, when a kid has drawn something, and you can’t exactly figure it out, compliment them, yes! Because if you just say something like “wow thats interesting” they know something’s wrong.  Say that you like the colours they chose, or a certain line. When they start to tell you about what they drew, engage in conversation- this much Waverman got right- but treat them as an adult. You would talk to an adult about their work of art (be it written, lyrical, visual or musical) so you want to talk to them. Becasue they draw everything for a reason. Even colour choice is specific. Why do you think kids rarely draw in black and white? Because they are so much more in touch with the connotations, or at least their personal connotations, to colours. Each aspect is significant so when you are asking them what their drawing is of, they tell you the story to it. I know a five year old, for example who loves the Shrek series and, more recently, Gnomeo and Juliet and Tangled. I watch her and her neighbour every morning while their parents get ready for work. for about half an hour, and seeing as their dad is the art teacher at my school, they normally draw. She often draws a scene from one of these movies and will explain everything about it, down to the bow in the hair. Detail wise she is amaizing and I can normally get it right what shes talking about. OUr other neighbour though- not so much. As a boy he tends to draw spiderman (I even did his facepaint as spiderman for halloween), aliens, monsters, or spaceships. I feign fright at his aliens and mosters and tell him how I want a trip on his spaceship. Sometimes though, amidst the scribbles its hard to see what he’s chosen that day. So I ask, using the line mentions or some variant. And I figure out, once hes told me whats going on and I can tell him what I like. That the bright yellow of the alien looks like it would glow in the dark, and that I think that is what has been under my bed these past few days, or that they 1157th (so he claims there are) eye of the monster is particularly spooky. Never would I tell him that he tried hard- but failed; no matter how backhandedly. Like mature adults they ask me every morning what I think of their Princes or super hero and I reply honestly, because for kids they are pretty good. Though its not them but their parent’s I worry about.

Just before I go on to reiterate what I think about something else let me make one last quote “Notice how the encouragement draws the child into a conversation about their work, and how you actually have to pay attention to the work so you can talk about it? That’s because encouragement is about the child, not about you. It sets up self-motivation, not external motivation.”

How is telling a kid they are smart, about you? While I might agree that when kids reach a certain age they should be able to steam themselves forward, 3 year old, and even 5 year old don’t exactly understand that. They do what they want to do and are the best examples of zen and living in the now that we could look for. They live to please their parents. It isn’t until they reach middle school or grade school at the lowest (and older grades at that) that they can adequately motivate themselves, because frankly how can you expect them to when they don’t even understand the word yet? Anything you want your kid to do, they have to undesrtand. It needs to be a part of their vocabulary. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Get attention. Those are things that are pre-programed into them through evolution. You can’t wipe one of those out and just replace it instantaneously.

Ok. Lets just step back away from my personal views for another second (had about 400 more words written properly explaining this all, but it wasn’t saved when the internet decided to make a software up date). Waverman has another link on her article for those of us who “think telling our kids how inteligent they are is good for them” here it is:

Now lets look at what his article has to say. It says, and rather clearly too if a teenager can figure it out- that telling your kids how smart they are is bad for them. What has Waverman interpreted this onto? Complimenting and praising your kids is bad for them. Does no one else see the difference?

And again I want to stress the tried and true saying “Everything in moderation” Praise your child on a good mark in a test. Tell them that a straight A report card is good. Because what happens if you dont? They try and over achieve and burn out. If you get straight A’s and no one seems to think its any good but you think it is, what does that do to you? It demoralizes you. When you’ve put all your effort into something and you get a good result and Your parents take Ms. Waverman’s advice and implies that their best isn’t good enough… I’ll be surprised if the amount of kids being found running away from home increases.

Ms. Waverman claims she is able to justify her views because she is a praise junkie.

Shall I tell you my story?

Most of you know I don’t like getting compliments, because I feel they are insincere most of the time. Why? Because I got them often. Not that they were bad, because I was generally pretty good at things.  Like the kid in Ms. Waverman’s link- Thomas, I’m a horrible speller (I thank whoever invented spell checkers) and though spelling tests were always a source of embarrassment for me, I tried really hard on them- and got negative results. So when my mother would be working with my on my spelling list when I was in grade school, and I was getting every word wrong, every night, she would try to encourage me. And I worked on them. Everynight. When I managed to get one right, that I had gotten repeatedly wrong during the week, she would praise me. Not on the overall poor mark, but on that specific word and achievement. Like Thomas I achieved far beyond average scores, embarrassingly beyond averages scores, on standardized tests like the sats (not the American SAT’s) that I would refuse to tell my siblings. Even try to hide it from my parents, because I didn’t want to be a source of attention or a source of comparison for my siblings. You can’t compare us. One of us is a musical genius, the other a sports god, my sister is- well the radiant, beautiful, dancer and socialite, and I’m me. For a long time it seemed I was only good at school- when I started doing my brother’s maths hw with them at the age of  5 despite that they were 3 and 4 years older than me.

I never found what I was really good at. And you might ask how that can be, when it seems I’m smart. lets look at Thomas again. His praise on intelligence led him to not want to try at anything he wasn’t good at.  He gave up on spelling, and I, who was just like him didn’t. Because I had positive reinforcement from my parents- not just praise, but praise on improvements, not things I was naturally good at so that the difference was made and the emphasise put on the effort.

Ex? I was really bad at running. Always loosing when the four of us raced. So I started to run every chance I got. What happened? I became a good sprinter. Not soo good at long distance and I would have to drop out of a race after about 5 minutes (but thats because I couldn’t understand not putting my all in it). But I still was a great runner.

I had an awful experience nearly drowning in a big wave one vacation in North Carolina. I started swimming more than just playing at the pool doing laps and coming up with games with my sister that would involve the most swimming.  Rather than never going to the beach again and now I want to be a marine biologist (yeah, go ahead and think I’m crazy. Half the world does).

I got 16 out of 30 on some new standardized test they came up with in New York state when I was in third grade. The test tracked progress over the year and took info from 3 separate tests. The second one I was up to 20/30 and guess what I got on the last? 30/30. Yeah, I remember my fear over those tests. Spelling was a big part of them and the rest was basic English such as  big:small::large:little… I can’t remember what these exercises are called any more. But I still had a phenomenal development and spent a phenomenal amount of time working on them.

I used to think I was horrible at art because I had an Irish art teacher (not that its important, I just remember that she was Irish) who picked favourites with a girl who used to bully me. She drew really good cartoons, but everything she did was anime. I put effort in. I did tone and shadding and cross hatching before this girl even knew they existed. I remember trying so hard and the teacher would just turn to me saying that it was wrong and I needed to go back and do it again, when I didn’t even- hadn’t even been told- what was wrong. Instead she would hold up a white, line drawing of a girl with bubly eyes saying it was superb, tell the rest of us to use tone and such, when her example hadn’t even done it. What happened? I ws disheartened and ready to give up art the first chance I got. (I still hadn’t found what I was good at) Two years later, right before I was about to give up, I found my saint. A new teacher at school who was praising me from the moment I did my mock ‘artistic scrawl’ of my name across my folder in cursive… (Oh yeah, and I have horrible penmanship- something I thought was a downfall until I read an article which claimed that a messy hand indicates a creative mind- though thats worrysome for the scientist in me :P). He then continued to praise what I had been doing the previous years with no explanation as to what was wrong- and I learnt I wasn’t the one that was wrong. So I wasn’t crazy and I was drawing shadow. I was drawing proportions and perception. I was an artist. Now I’m taking art as a GCSE subject.

But thats not the only place where my eagerness to succeed has kept me going- against all odds it seems- into trying new things. Things I wasn’t initially good at. Waverman says that kids who recieve praise give up once they aren’t good at something? What about me and trampoline? and other sports? And dance? I’ll say it. I’m pretty good at most sports. I might not be the fastest runner due to my short legs. I might not last the longest. I might not have the most homeruns… but my technique is solid and I’m  pretty good at them anyways. Hence I’m often an example. Hence I’m actually teaching trampoline to the younger grades.

I only just recently did my first flips completely alone (without someone there to turn me if I was too slow or kipping me) But my technique in all of it is good and I understand how to do the skills like seat drops and so I’m trusted to teach five, six, seven year olds. I’m not teaching them to do flips. I never would trust myself with that. But I show them how to do pikes, straddles, seat drops and half twists. I explain to them so they understand. And let me tell you, every one of them can do each skill now. Even after just our first lesson I can notice a difference. I can notice they jump higher, more sure. And let me tell you something else. I praise them. I sometimes ask a younger girl to show me a seat drop or a pike and she will tell me she doesn’t remember. I show her, or explain to her, which the jump is, and she does it. Some times we have to work on it for a while, doing the same skill for five, 8, 10 tries until they do it perfectly because they are  young and don’t have all the motor skills yet, but by the time they are my age they will be unbelievable. And I tell them that when they get fed up, unable to do what I’ve told them. When they get it right, I praise the,m. Tel them to remember what it felt like. The way their body was, the way their muscles worked. When next they get on the tramp and they have a harder time with a move they mastered the week before I tell them remember that. Remember what it felt like? remember what I told you? Corrections and praise. And they remember- because I remember- and if they don’t- I’ve remind them. And they remember it and they do it. And I praise them again and the next week they don’t make the same mistake.

Oh- and trampoline isn’t something I’m naturally good at (though ballet has helped it)


I’m a kid. (practically still)

And if you don’t think I am- I was just 6 years ago.

And if thats not enough. I’m teaching them and I’m seeing results and I’m with them every day, and working with them.

Oh and I just remembered something I wanted to write- I still haven’t found my talent. I think writing might be it, or else scuba diving.

Oh and another thing I just remembered that I hadn’t been able fit earlier. Why it was that I didn’t like compliments? I think I’ve figured out my real problem and it brings me back to my message of Everything in moderation All around me, when I changed school and met kids with their parents for the first time, there were parents who sugarcoated their children lives. Who would say that they were brilliant genii. Great athletes. Great Dancers. Great artists. Would you believe most of them weren’t? I couldn’t believe that people who could speak so passionately and so effortlessly about their childrens’ A plus reports could have children who didn’t get a single A and who were benched at the soccer games or so on. I wondered, when my parents told me they were proud, or when I over heard them at a dinner party saying that I was intelligent, or so on or so on- that they were just like any other parent. Showing me off. I didn’t like the idea of being showed off even if I was (I think I had an aunt who told me continuously when I was little that we would make great trophy wives…).  I love my parents, and I’m coming to terms with- though with difficulty- that I am not just average with certain things (and this blog has greatly helped with the writing- though I still think that I’m not that good at writing reply’s :P)

SOOOO Prais your kids on their effort- thats the best form of encouragement. Make sure they understand that they are good at something that they are good at. Don’t tell them that they are stars- or you are setting them up for deflating.  Help them to improve- encourage them to step outside their comfort zones.

But take your own instincts and logic when you raise your kids. At the end of the day- they are your kids and no one can tell you how to raise them properly.

And I spent 2 hours writing this- so appreciate it.


Dancing in the Rain- Take two: a Photo Essay

These are the photos I wanted to upload into the last post but couldn’t. All for the better. I think it was too long anyways ;P

Nature Relief print

Ok, it doesn't look soo good as a picture and I couldn't scan it

early stages of experimentation

Still trying to find out possitions and how much ink to use. At this point I wasn't sure if I wanted a solid silhouette or more of a care free line drawing feel. The great thing about printing is that you put a huge amount of effort and time into just one piece and you can make endless coppies and go back into it again and again without damaging the origonal so you never have to worry about loosing something that was good due to a mistake. These were made from the same thing even though they were in two diferent positions. I had acutally forgotten to put ink on the socond leg for the right one 😛 (shhh, just between you and me ;P)

Trial runs

The result of too much pressure or two much water.
Another mistake on another print

Here the problem was not enough pressure, and that the cuts weren't deep enough

No it's not Barney

Another failure

The metal etching

This is the metal version

The one on the left wasn't very deeply cut.

The passerbies

The passerbies in metal

inspiration for "Dancer"

We had to do research. This is mine for the Dancer. I looked at different poses and styles, real life, photos, paintings and so on.

Stumbled across this pic and my mind was made up on what to do. You can see my pencil lines as I got the feel of the dancer, and though I used a lot of other pics to get the view right, this picture and its saying was the one that really made my mind up between this idea and another which had more of a musical theme

the first generation of my final piece. THis was with no preparation or research... hence the very wonky lifted legs and right angle arms.

or a moment in time.

The final piece. Don't quite know what to call it. The idea was supposed to be that it was a collage, hence the torn pages and the paper mache background. It was supposed to show all the bits that make up our lives. The entire thing, minus the time I spent working on the prints and getting them right, just putting it all together took over 10 hours. I just wish I could have gotten the dancer better. I'm thinking of taker her off and just doing it again via painting... what do you think?

A close up on the engraved pieces of the final piece

The second half of the skyline rubbed off when I put another layer of the paper mache over…  I should have used the proper ink, but its very strong and you can’t use it bare handed, For the passer byes I used it, and so they turned out well, The dancer however, as you can tell I could only use ink, not printing ink because we only had black. So the ink from previous layers dissolved into the paper each time I re-wet it.

3 photocopies

3 photocopies with different brightnesses. It was of the "dancer" at an early stage. I used the dark setting to see if I was cutting deep enough. You can see there are parts where you can hardly see cuts like on the lifted theigh and the bodice. I knew I needed to cut deeper there and on the face. The supporting leg was deep enough

Violin original

This was on of the first etching prints I did, about six months ago. It actually wasn't bad, and the prints came out quite well, but because we were just experimenting with prints we were using a really tough card like material that was coated thinly in metal leaf. You can see bits where I wen't so deep to get it the darkest possible that the leaf actually came off. Unfortunately after a few times and a few washes the material kinda started disintegrating. You'll see some prints from then later

Violin print

The first attempt on putting the violin print through the press. I still needed to experiment somewhat to find the right amount of ink and the right depth. As you can see it didnt yet include the lightest of lights and the darkest of darks. Also the edges were fuzzy from where I was too scared to go very close to the image.

I think

I think this was the best version I got of it. I had some more but its hard to tell from pictures. Anyways its still pretty good. If I had still been able to work into the origonal it could have been much better, but it was still better than the last one!

I did a drawing of my violin observationally in charcol, then i made a photocopy so I would not damage the drawing, and then I held this onto the sheet I was using to make the print. Lightly with a pencil I redrew the picture just strongly enough to leave an imprint on the bottom sheet. Then I used the needle like tool to scratch the design in deeper.

Worn down violin

This is the quality of print I got from that same piece after about 10 prints. The upside of metal is that though it might be a lot harder to work into than whatever this was or wood is that its alot more durable and lasts through many more turns through the press and a lot longer. This was after coming back to this piece after about...6 months.

No its not that the camera was shaky. the picture isn’t blurry. The material i was working on disintegrated from soaking up too much water and after being pressed too many times. It lost its sharpness. 😦 a shame too! cause it was actually decent!

From when the print was still good

This was from when the print was still good. I thought the brown might come out well on the blue paper... not so much...

Now another type of print. You can take a piece of linoleum and make what we call a Lino cut. This works the other way to what you saw above. Here you take a knife and cut into the linoleum so its backwards. What you take away will be white, or the collour of your background. But its excellent for exploring different textures What you don’t touch at all will be darkest and the deeper you cut the less ink gets on it so the lighter and hence the deepest is the colour of the paper you press it on. You also use a different consistency ink for this type of printing. Because  you don’t put it through the printing press and only use your hands or even a dictionary 😛 (but shhhh! Don’t tell the English teachers!) The type we used above was thinner though the one I used for the passing men was thicker even then what we use for Lino Cuts. Enough chit chat though! You want to see pictures! (or at least you should if you are still looking at this post after so long…)

picture and cut

The brown one is the linoleum. The whit is the picture I drew first to see what I wanted to draw. Its hard to see what it will look like when you are working with lino. It was supposed to be a tree though. ANd this was from when I was...12 or 13 years old.

5 different versions

5 trees. Each a different colour (or three) and with different colour backgrounds.

yellow tree, black background

Yellow tree, black background. My favourite. At this point you can see the poor quality. I wasn't very experienced with the lino or the knife, though I can proudly say Im the only one who didn't cut myself that entire year! You can see my inexperience by the lack of inbetween the inky and inkless.

My love of the sea shining through

Even when we were specificly told to do something regarding land (trees) as much as I love forests and trees and nature, i just cant go a tpic without somehow tying it to the sea. My teacher at the time laughed when I produced this. But hey! I thought It looked like an anemoni like this! (yes... i spelt it wrong :P)

For once I was happy with our project...somewhat

For this section (it was this year) our teacher brought in real fish and we had to do observational drawings. not thee best smelling lesson. from our drawing we had to make a lino cut. on top is the print when i had only done the fish. i later decided to go back into print and make it a fish swiming in a stream. However I never finished it becasue this was a different type of linoleum and MAN was it hard! I litterally used a blowdrier to partially melt it before taking the knife to it!

Well thats about it. All the prints I have done so far.  Hope you enjoyed!

Feel free to ask any questions, though I’m no pro I seriously could have used someone to ask questions to when I was travelling these uncharted waters… 🙂

Dancing in the rain

Yes, that is one of my favourite things to do. And one of my favourite sayings.

However this year I took this to a whole new level.

When I first started this blog I had just started etching and engraving. Now I love it. Though I haven’t done any lessons and have done very little, I have a wide assortment of  drawings and sketches that I hope to re do onto sheets of metal so that I can make etches of them so I can make prints of them.

I’m very fortunate to have an art teacher who has been trained in the fine arts and who supports each of our individual talents. This year, I chose to use some of my etches in my end of year exam. They weren’t exactly of a high standard, and mostly just looked like line drawings on a sheet of metal, though I didn’t have all the necessarily equipment and only had 3 sheets of copper to work on. what we did have was left over from when our teacher tried to get his students into etching some years ago. As no one was interested he didn’t order any equipment, but now we have a printing press. He’s promised me that when we go back in September I’ll have more colours of printing ink, more utensils and a wider selection of metal sheets and sizes. We were thinking of also getting the masking and chemicals that some engravers use.

See there are many different ways that one can make a print. They all revolve around different textures and heights by either adding or removing material. When we made relief prints in class, I took a painting I had made of a forest and stripped twigs of their bark and crushed leaves to re-create the image from natural materials. It didn’t actually work in the end as I could not apply ink to my work without taking off a great deal of the leaves and then if I did managed to get ink down, it would be too fragile or thick to go through the press. In the end I like it as it is. I sprayed it with some spray mount I got off one of the teachers and it gave the leaves a wonderful frosted effect besides sticking them down more securely.

I really like working with natural materials to make any sort of art, and that’s one of the draws that Indian and Native American art has for me. The vivid colours and the shapes all using and inspired by what they had around them. An artist from today’s world would have to lug around canvas, brushes, paints, pallets and even water containers if they wanted to do an observational drawing of a landscape. A native American artist in pre collonial times would be able to go any where with no supplies and find everything he needed to make a masterpiece. I find the concept enchanting, and would love to learn some of their art, but unfortunately the opportunities have yet to present themselves.

So I thought I would finally put up some more pictures. Some of my engravings and some of the relief I made.

But first, lets clarify the difference between etching and engraving. An Engraving is made by simply pushing away the metal and smoothing out bits, using an instrument to push it off. The technique can be rather complicated, and the traditional way is extremely complicated. The right hand is supposed to hold the tool and stay still and the left hand, with the help of a round pillow underneath the metal, is supposed to move the metal to make the shapes and design. I really dont have that steady a hand and would never be able to accomplish this. Which is why I love the modern meaning of artist. It means you can do whatever you want. No one can tell me I’m doing it wrong (though I know I am, I simply can’t do any better at the present) and you can invent your own way that works for you. (oh, and in engraving you can work on wood as well… or any other material for that matter)

Etching is slightly different and much easier. In etching you coat the metal with a film of masking. Artists use masking all the time to cover a piece or section of a work, which they want to preserve while working into another. Its particularly common in water colour painting. If you want to keep one area white white (or a certain other shade you have) but want to do a wash to deepen the other colours you simply put a mask on and then rub it off once you are done and it is dry. The masking an etcher would use would be much stronger though, and chemically based. They would then take a tool and pull away the mask fromt he areas they want to deepen and so make the design. Next they leave the metal in an acid to corrode the exposed area. The mask keeps it from being corroded evenly, so that you only get the indentations you want. An artist might have to repeat the proccess many times to get the fluctuations in texture they require.

Another huge difference between the two is that and engraver can smooth out his work and so “erase” a mistake or flaw. An etcher has to watch his work constantly while it is in the acid. If the acid cuts too deep the entire piece is ruined.

Both, however, can be used to make prints by coating them with printing ink and rolling them through a printing press.

My technique is more similar to that of an etcher save the acid and masking. The only thing I dont like about engraving/etching is the noise. Its horrible! Imagine nails on a chalk board or a knife on a plate constantly for half an hour, an hour, a day. Also, because I’m only using a tool, or on occasion a mechanical tool, it takes a lot of muscle, and so is very physically and emotionally draining. You have to be patient and move slowly enough that you wont make an irrevocable fault, but with enough force that you will actually make a cut. The tools slipped away from me numerous times. THe fortunate thing is that you can prevent these faults from showing because after you coat the entire piece with ink you take away the majority so that it is only held in the groves. You have to wet the paper you are imposing your image on so that it takes the ink out of the groves.

The hardest parts of what I was doing was getting the right amount of ink off, or rather leaving the right amount on and where I wanted it. The other variables that it took a bit of experiences and mistakes to get right was the amount of pressure on the press and the wetness of the paper. Too wet or too much pressure give the same effect and take the ink all over the place so you just have a blob and not an image.

Anyways, to get to the point of this very long, very big post, I decided to make my Exam piece “Dancing in the Rain”.

And as it turns out, I can’t upload all the pictures I had to show, so I’ll upload them as a photo essay in ‘Dancing in the Rain- Take two”


Fireworks Anyone?

Happy Canada day!

Happy Birthday Canada!

Joyeuse Anniversaire Canada!

We should all celebrate our countries triumph. I mean, not all countries survive so long. Truth be told though, Canada is only a fraction of the age of her southern cousin, the USA who, like we all know, will be celebrating her birthday soon too. The infamous fourth of July.

I would really like to be in the International Space Station these following days. I can’t imagine what the view of the parties would be like from there. Seems it would be pretty beautiful… that is… if you can see fireworks from space.  Wonder if you could. You think Google earth would do a favour and take some pics of North America this week?

To dance? Or not to dance?

My mother’s sentiments for me,

mine for my child,

Our wishes for you, world.

Everyone should dance.

It’s as simple as that.

The world would be a better place if we all danced.

And sang.

Enough of the one line paragraphs. Now for real.

Ballet has hardly even stopped for a week and I’m already going insane! I need to dance!!! It’s a love that’s potent beyond belief. It’s passion.


With movements,





and triumph,


and hope,


and fragility,

Its a talent we are born with,

and fight to master.

It’s something we aspire to do.

And cry over when we dont succeed.

But it drives us further,

Into the abyss?

Into the light.

How can you not dance?

In sleep,

I dance.


I dance.


I dance.

and dead I am without dance.

But even dead, I dance.

With the stars.

Those shining stars who came before us and lit up the abyss with their enlightening ways.

Inspirational ways.

Momentuous ways.

Blinks through time.

The history of dance,

So long and vast,

Beautiful and enthralling,

Majestic and yet meager.

To live is to dance, and to dance is to live.

Ok, now for real. This is a question for any dancers out there. what is the best thing about dance. Whether its dancing, or right before you dance, or performing or right before you perform, what is it that you love most.

You don’t dance? ok fine. Then what is your favourite activity and what is the best thing about it.

Why do we love doing whatever it is that we love. I’m a dancer, and a writer.  For me its all about expression, communication and emotions. they all tie together. I love being able to know how I feel. I love the freedom of being able to express myself. I love knowing that I’m improving. Watching myself grow up and improve through pictures and videos from recitals and classes in the past, and through reading pieces I wrote years ago. Even just re-reading the coursework pieces I wrote at the beginning of this year I’m able to ameliorate them, and that is growth. That is development.

How do you keep track of where you are. In life or in anything else? Exams work, but not always. One of the things I love about dance, is seeing that, I’m only 16 and have already achieved some of the life time goals I set for myself when I was little more than a toddler. I can now do pirouettes, doubles and triples even. I can do pointe work, I’ve even had my first solo en pointe. I can now execute countless beautiful and difficult steps effortlessly. And I can string them together into a piece of jewelry no one person has a right to wear. It’s hard to imagine now, what my dances used to be like. It has been years since I danced a choreography without any pirouettes or jumps or leaps or anything of the sort. It’s slightly difficult to imagine dancing a ballet without them. And yet at one point I did, and it frightens me that now I can’t remember how I did them. Those were the dances that made me pursue and persevere through dance, and yet they have slipped my mind.

Thankfully, what I felt dancing them has not. I guess the thrill, the adrenaline rush and the exhilaration and the feeling afterward, that all that stress, the months of practices, the days of no sleep leading up to the final performance as dress rehearsal schedules fell farther and farther behind (as usual), the feet aches, blisters, stressed and strained muscles, the cramps… were all worth it. The blinding lights, the glimpses of smilling faces you see through them, the applause and gratitude of the audience conveying their obvious sense enjoyment and appreciation of your work. Their obvious oblivion to your pain :P.  It all transcends to make one very potent drug that keeps us going, that binds us to the thing we love.

To dance.

I hope you all dance. Today, tomorrow, forever.

And now, since it is raining again, I think I’ll go dance in the rain. (dance, not sing).

One of those days

Today is just one of those days when nothing seems to go right. There seems to be too much to do, not enough hours in the day, leaving me up at night, or else I simply can`t fall asleep anyways, leaving me exhausted in the morning. Well that was last night and this morning. 😦 There seems to be complication after complication and the entire week has seemed to be topsy turvy.

Can`t write much more because there is just too much to do, but thought I`d just say Yay, because so far today we are at 605 views total. In the near two months this blog has been around for, I`m kinda proud. It doesnt help to make me feel better though that my brother brags about how one of his sports blogs gets at least 80 views a day… bla blah blah.

Well the sun just went behind a cloud and so I must get behind some work! More soon!

Cold Pizza for Breakfast

Sorry it has taken a while to get back on here. After the three days of hiking though the grueling heat with a 15 kg backpack I spent my first day home just sleeping. I also took a nice cool shower to sooth my sunburn (ouch) and also because hiking, then swimming, then hiking again… you feel really dirty…

Then Thursday I was still a bit groggy but had some more work to do so had to push through.

Right now, my parents are out, my sister and I are home with the brothers, but they are both asleep (doesn’t seem that the only thing teenage boys do is sleep and eat?). They had a couple of friends over the night before while my sister and I were at a Bon Voyage party for a friend that is going abroad soon.

Neither of us felt like cereal or toast when we woke up but saw the left over pizza the boys had ordered last night. We both LOVE to have cold pizza in the summer as a snack, or even for breakfast. Its so perfectly refreshing yet satisfying when you aren’t in the mood for fruit. What do you guys like to have during the summer to stay refreshed?

So who has been watching the world cup? Who are you cheering for? Your home country… a favorite…? I’ve been rooting for Italy and Greece mostly. Yes Greece despite their lousy playing in their first match. At least now we don’t feel sorry for the fans that went to South Africa anymore!  Are any of you watching it? My brother found this spread sheet over the web that someone had made and as each game goes by he is inputting information.

Speaking of the world cup, what do you all think of Shakira’s song for it?Personally I love it. I love how her music incorporates ethnic styles from around the world. When you listen to it, you don’t know whether you are listening to World music, pop, dance, electronic… Great ambiance though. And I love this music video. Its a breath of fresh air, I have to say. MOst music videos I find… rather boring and pointless. Take Rhianna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music”. I had to watch the music video because I was choreographing a piece for a  group and they were wondering if I could do anything with the song. I don’t normally listen to Rhianna and so own no CD’s or any of her music so I had to rely on my trustworthy friend Youtube. I’m sorry but that video was pointless, had a poor plot and was just BORING (all in my humble opinion of course).  I guess the fact that I wasn’t really affected (at all) by the music adds to it, but still. I’ve been singing “Waka Waka” for the past two days! And look at everyone in the video. They are happy, and having fun! Shakira isn’t wearing anything slutty, or rude. She isn’t wearing killer heals. I would even wear that top! And she doesn’t seem to care about being seen as a hollywood figure; she is smiling the entire time, laughing and just plain having a good time too.  Good Job to everyone who worked on the video. Kudos on having the song selected as the Official song for the world cup. That’s it that’s all.

Moooooving on…

actually, I had another “topic for discussion” in mind…but I seem to have forgotten it. Whoops. Oh well, I’ll be back soon now that I’m here.

Till then.

Even when things should be slowing down…

…they just end up speeding up.

It’s summer.

We are now nearly ready to end school. Exams have been handed back (all but art). Lessons are winding down.

Deadlines are being met,  summer work is being set, and relaxation is being post-poned…

Its that time of year when everyone just wants to relax, and finish, and start summer, but our school has decided to have school end a bit later this year, so we are all enduring a bit more of the … well nothingness that marks our daily lives. typical days.

That sounds really depressing.

I just mean that we are all in suspense as usual, always waiting for something, to happen.

Tomorrow morning, something will happen. My grade is going on a camping trip. Beach, sun, trees, relaxation, swimming, ice-cream, good company (hopefully)… what more can I ask for? (that actually sounds like a lot of demands :P)

Well my point is that not much has been going on right now. I just finished packing. I’ve got everything on my check list (provided by school) and yet I still feel like I’m missing something… We all go through this, problem is, I think I have this feeling far too often. And its normally right.

Anyways, I know this is kinda short, (VERY short) but I’ll be getting up in 7 and a half hours… probably I’ll only get 5 hours sleep by the time I’m done getting everything I could possibly need, and finally put my mind to rest that I have EVERYTHING I could Possibly need.

I think the big problem though  is that I’m not taking my I-pod with me. I mean can you imagine 3 days with out music??? I certainly can not! Haha, this sounds really spoiled. But Music, Dance, and words… they are just a must for me in my everyday life. (oh! Thats something I need to get, my notebooks! Thx guys!) (oh and I could get another novel too… what else is there to do but read when I’m not swimming. I’m not a sun bathing type. WAY too boring!) Keep up the Brain storm! see this is one of the great things about being able to multiple think… while you are busy doing one thing you mind keeps tackling another problem… Where as other people, though tend to think about 2 or 3 things at once, it seems that I can annoyingly think of 5 or 6 at once and sometimes end up getting confused.

Ok- new problem arose. My flashlight isnt working. It’s an underwater one I got last year. Bulb is fine, batteries have charge- but for some reason there seems to be no negative terminal and we can not find out how to get the light on! oh well… another thing to do while I can not sleep. Find new Flashlight!  *sigh* aint this just swell?

Ok flash light is now working and I just managed to stuff a few more things into my bag. Next, a couple more books.

Ok books and flash light added to bag… bag itself is full, though the zip still goes by really easily… htere fore there is still some room for stuff on the top should I need it (such as books… camera… more books 😛 I know I know, I’m a total book worm! :P)

Ok forget about that. It’s now officially full… which means that coming back I wont be able to fit ANYTHING in it! haha. I’ll manage… somehow…

Well I really should go. I have some email and correspondances to write before I go to bed so toodle-oo (just found out how to spell it correctly haha!)

Bonna Notte Tutti!

3 down 3 to go

Nearly there… ok half way there with a week end in between. Exams, thou shall not conquer me! (and advice to anyone who stresses over a test: Exams shall not conquer thee!) Seriously, its only an exam. Its not the end of the world (yet- when you are in grade 12 then you can stress. but still guys CHILAX!) and sorry to break it to ya Stressermans (hehe pun because I’ve been doing history revision on my Germany Depth Study- and yes, i know i spelt it wrong to fit the pun…) but the world? this lovely little planet we live on? Yeah it keeps on turning weather you make a booboo on your test, break a nail, hand in a homework late or for some of you *gasp* even if you make a, dare I say? Fashion Faux Pas!?!?! dun dun duhhhhhh!

Well anyways, we just finished a very long day of art exams. Six hours today, though next year it will be 10, TEN, hours of art work for our exam… swell… Ill put up a pic of my piece, though I didn’t manage to finish it yet because I had another exam that I had to do aswell for art of the day, and I missed some of the other lessons we used before the exam to work on it for other exams too. But luckily, I am granted extra time.

ANyways, tomorrow is another day packed with three exams, but monday, thankfully, I only have one in the morning, which means I can walk home (my sister will be joining me two hours later) but no rest for the weary. Oh no, I have MORE to revise. History and CHemistry. I know I;ve said before, but once again, my two most stressfull… most ANNOYING becuase they are so fiddly (if you get what I mean) subjects. They are both just sooo tedious and revision for them is sooo… tiring not to mention boring. Its practicly an invitation for your mind to wander…

Oh well at least I have the weekend! Right? I also have two halves of books to re read. Well on half and one very short one to skim read. I have a pretty good memory for books (I like to think that I have hardly forgotten a story- yeah maybe i forget the title, author or cover but the story sticks with me- since first grade when they read us “Poppy and Rye” by Avi. I Loved that book and the others that followed or preceded it.)

So really, since I have actually read both books unlike most of my classmates (ok half of my classmates) and understood them on a deeper level and done all the work I had on them myself, I have ALOT less work to do for the English Lit exam.

BTW the books are two really borring really depressing really… not-so-nice-I-can-understand-why-they-didnt-want-to-read-them, type books. They are “The Hand Maid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood (Gah what a horrible book- though I realise that I actually find reading distopian fiction gratifying and strangely enjoyed it on some level. I think I liked the deepre material, the historical refrences and the fact that it actuallly engaged my whole mind. It was however a good book to use to put me to sleep where as normally reading invigorates me, I sleep better after being aptly depressed by Ms. Atwood. Thank you for that!) and “ETHSN FROME” by Edith Wharton. ANother horrible, depressing, WAKE UP people books. Its one of those books where what happens is so obvious and the characters are soo bloody annoying (especially Mattie) that you just want to jump into the book and SLAP them and scream at them to wake up and smell the coffee. He loves her, she loves him, he is married, she is stupid, wife is sick, well not really just wants attention for once in her life, actually the only character i empathise with (think I might do the empathy question in the exam…hmmm…) But I still want to slap her too… no i dont. Shes too skinny and frail and sickly, if i did she woudl probably have an heart attack….

I also want to tell Wharton to wake up and get out of the marriage she was in when writting the book becuase her character really is Ethan for thats the position she is in.

Except I’m not crazy, and she is dead, and I believe in living in the present.

Ok, I better go refresh myself on my biology for tomorrow.

Nighty night everyone. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

(that reminds me… I woke up today, to find my dog, on my bed (which she isnt normally becuase I dont let her) licking, no not my feet, no not my hand, no not my face… but my arm pit… seriously what goes through her head? it doesnt even make sense! Normally she has a fascination with my legs. And my mom had called my phone cause she had already left, and she actually said “Honey, you sound confused whats wrong did I wake you?” I said yeah she had woken me, but what I was trying to figure out was why the hell my dog was licking my armpit… shes never done something so disgusting before. Ok she licks my moms feet, but I understand that somehow even though they smell wretched! But Ive never heard of a dog licking an arm pit. Whats worse though is that she then preceded to try and lick my face… MEGA SUPER EeEeEeEeEeEeWwWwWwWwWww!!!!!!!! No way was I letting her get anny where near my face after that. it just felt sooo… well, ew. I cant think of another way to put it. I mean I had just taken a shower too so its not like I was all sweaty but still, its just the idea.

Anyways I felt really bad after that cause she looked heart so down heartened when I pushe her away from my face that I just had to give her a kiss on her head (she has this spot ont he top of her head that is perfet for pecks) and give her a nuzzle. I try to treat her like a dog. So I nuzzle her head under neath my chin, mixing our scents if we had scent glands (she does, I dont) but she still seems closest to me of the family becuase the rest treat her as a pet not a peer, and a daughter and a sister and a niece and a cousing both older and younger al rolled into one….

Ok now I really am exhausted.

I hope I dont find her licking me there again tomorrow morning… :S


Not much is going to be going up for the next week or so… My end of year exams start this Wednesday and we end next Tuesday.

That means, unfortunately, fewer posts, fewer email, and less communications with my over seas friends… Sorry guys, I’ll be back sooner than you know it.

Needless to say, however that this period is so crucial because I really don’t feel prepared for some of my exams. History, chemistry, still need a lot of work, and physics and geography not as much but I’d still like to give them some attention.

Gography and physics, for me, are the second and third exams, so I better work on them alot today and tonight… History and chemistry are my last two exams.

Lucky me…