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Skeletal Study

We want to practice and apply skills and concepts we’ve learned such as comparing/contrasting size/space relationships to “basic unit,” seeing and drawing negative spaces, fitting a composition into a format and imagining subjects on the theoretical “picture-plane.” We also want to get ready for using “sighting” to check and compare/contrast angles and to experience proportions and placement that will prepare us for drawing in perspective as well as faces and figures.

Boyer Valley 'ARTDOGS'

WHAT Large (18×24″) Skeleton drawing in pencil & graphite on newsprint

Fall 2022 Boyer Valley Drawing Class Assignment Gallery on Artsonia

Fall 2021 Boyer Valley Drawing Class Assignment Gallery

Above; Demonstration examples by Ted Mallory from a variety of years. Available for purchase with a gift to the Boyer Valley Art Department.

WHY We want to practice and apply skills and concepts we’ve learned such as comparing/contrasting size/space relationships to “basic unit,” seeing and drawing negative spaces, fitting a composition into a format and imagining subjects on the theoretical “picture-plane.” We also want to get ready for using “sighting” to check and compare/contrast angles and to experience proportions and placement that will prepare us for drawing in perspective as well as faces and figures.

HOW On 18×24″ newsprint pad create a 2″ margin all the way around. Then tone the format lightly with graphite. Using a 8×10′ viewfinder…

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Artist Exploration & Artist Statement

Boyer Valley 'ARTDOGS'

Rather than beginning the semester in Painting class with ancient cave paintings or the Renaissance, which was half a millennia ago- I wanted to expose students to the contemporary art world of today.

I provide students with a list of living & working artists. They search several of the artists on Google and decide which one they’d most like to investigate, imitate and share with the rest of the class. If they know of or find another living artist that is not on this list- I allow them to please add them.

Each student will create a slideshow sharing a little bit about the artist’s background and influences and tell us what they like about the artist and why they chose them. Meanwhile, they’re also challenged to create their own painting in the style of the artist they learned about.

Besides a recommended template, I also present them with a…

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The Joy List; Invitation

A “prosperity-theology” take on what I’l like to blog about this Summer might be to “manifest prosperity.” But that would be selfish and shallow. Another, maybe not churchy angle might be using the law of attraction to bring about happiness and contentment. But for me, that still seems kind of self-centered or immature.

I’d like to look at something anchored in love and that will build relationships and community, not just “actualize” personal peace. What I want to think about and maybe even begin a discussion about will involve wrestling and reflection and maybe even doubt and struggle and emotional and intellectual work- but I don’t want it to devolve into just a self-help practice for self improvement in a secular/philosophical sense or a new kind of piety and purity practice or “works-righteousness” in a theological/religious sense.

I want to keep it real, genuine, authentic, honest, and basically “raw.”

I want to talk to seekers and thinkers, people open to conversation and exploration of philosophy and “spirituality” and basically being human. But I don’t want to hide or water-down my background and faith tradition to do that. But I also don’t want to be judgy or preachy or bossy.

Meanwhile, I also really want to talk to my “fellow believers” in order to encourage them to reflect and reconsider and allow themselves to be vulnerable to conversation without being on the defensive, or rushing to correct every ambiguity or subjectivity.

Mahatma Gandhi lawyer, human rights activist and political founding father or modern India read from the Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5-7) nearly every morning and evening for over forty years. “Christ’s Sermon on the Mount fills me with bliss even today,” he said “Its sweet verses have even today the power to quench my agony of soul.”

Humorist and science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut, famously questioned why, if Americans so often talk about this being a “Christian nation,” so many courthouses and government buildings have monuments to the ten commandments (Exodus 20) and not the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), after all, these are the very words of Jesus Christ, whereas the commandments come from the Mosaic books of the Jewish Bible.

We live in hard times. Inflation, high gas prices, political polarization, media saturation, school shootings, wars, international tension, the recent global pandemic, a resurgence of racism and antisemitism, stress, anxiety, depression, anger, drug abuse and suicide. Wouldn’t it be nice to find some bliss instead of so much angst?

To be honest, I don’t know whether the Sermon on the Mount is gonna be some kind of panacea. I’m cynical enough to bite my tongue when well meaning but perhaps inexperienced or just empathy-challenged Christians talk about how believing in Jesus made everything better.

Now, I’m also skeptical when non-Christians talk about the power of positive thinking or visualizing their goals or just making up their minds that they deserve better and that’s when things change.

But I also know that just “doom-scrolling” social media or channel surfing cable news (in or out of an echo chamber) certainly isn’t helping me cope or doing my mental health any good.

So, if you want to find out with me what this poor Palestinian preacher was telling people on a hillside why or how they can be blessed (religious jargon for happiness, health, joy, and/or good fortune), join me this Summer on a journey to (hopefully) bliss or beatification (or both?).

Talk to you soon.

I will try to post at least once a week, but I can get both impatient and busy (or lazy) so please be patient with me. Subscribe to this blog on WordPress if you want to be sure to be notified about updates. I hope you will participate in conversation in the comments, but please keep it civil, I reserve the right to delete, block or report trolls.

Law & Order? Or LOVE & Community?

I know we’re not supposed to “cherry-pick” verses, but if anyone uses Romans 13:1-9 to teach “law & order,” just skip to verse 10; “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Romans 13:10

Oh, and in the United States, the First Amendment IS the law. The 14th Amendment IS the authority. Not any one leader, official, or party.

Whether Jesus says it, St. Paul says it or any Old Testament prophet says it- LOVE is God’s law.

Meanwhile, whether a Federalists like Adams & Hamilton said it, or Anti-Federalists like Jefferson & Madison said it, “We the people,” and the Constitution We ordained & established are the law & authority in the United States. That is what makes us “exceptional,” shared, collaborative, cooperative and limited power, not absolutist authorities.

Building Spirit

Only 30,807 words down. A lot left to go. If I didn’t have to work on my license renewal class, I’d hammer though. How d’ya like my cover? As painful as it was to step down from coaching after 26/27 years, maybe it will give me more time to finish it. Who knows, no promises, but maybe I can get it done by this Christmas. Anybody interested? Keep an eye on and/or for future announcements about it. #BuildingSpirit #Cheer #Cheerleading #Coaching #supportindiewriters #maladjusted #CoachMal

2020 Commencement Address

Check these books out

Cheesebread & Coffee’ are humor pieces from the Charter Oak-Ute NEWSpaper and Mapleton PRESS 2002-2008. Not political, not too religious.

Max Nix’ is a collection of poetry from 1985-2020. I know, poetry isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ve been told mine is short, approachable, relatable and keeps you reading.

‘Dear John’ is a series of reflections on the book of 1 John. Not exactly a devotional, not exactly a Bible study- somewhere in between. It deals with some current issues though, love and who is our brother?

Prophet, Priest & Pirate,’ 2004-2020 essays on politics & religion. Yep, more progressive than most voters in Iowa’s 4th District, but more moderate/conservative than most of the rest of the U.S. Basic thesis: Democrats can be Christian too, and while we’re at it- let’s be careful not to make either political party or their candidates into false idols.

Learning to Learn as Important as Learning Subjects

One myth that too many in the media and politics have bought into is that schools should be run like businesses. Robinson explains that the standards movement and legislation like No Child Left Behind are an attempt to make schools more efficient and accountable, but they’re trying to apply industrial systems models from the twentieth, nineteenth, even eighteenth centuries. 

Some of the reasons these ideas are doomed to failure is that we don’t educate for the past or present, we have to anticipate what challenges the future will hold and do our best to prepare students for their future. Not only is the population growing rapidly, demographics are changing irreversibly and technology has been advancing exponentially since the end of the last century. 

Another myth that society (often at the hands of politicians and the media), is that public schools are bad, irredeemable, even the whole problem. Robinson makes clear that free public education is an overall good for most members of the population. You might say he’s cautioning us not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” He recognizes that there is more we need to do to help those slipping through the cracks, he just sees the standards movement as making things worse for them, rather than better.

In his speech at Mount Rushmore, President Trump recently lashed out at teachers, “our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.” He’s also tried making re-opening schools this Fall in the midst of a continued surge in Covid 19 cases into a partisan issue, accusing his opponents of wanting to keep schools closed as an effort to prevent his re-election. 

Often state and local politicians blame schools, teachers or teacher associations for poor school testing performance, school attrition rates, and all kind of society’s problems from crime to the economy.

From what else Robinson has written and spoken, I’d venture to guess that a third dangerous myth might just be the fairy tale that “if you work hard in school and get good grades, it’ll be your ticket outta here.” 

I had a professor back in the 1990’s who was a proponent of some of Robinson’s ideas for helping make school relevant and meaningful for students. While models from the industrial age may not address challenges for the future, perhaps having students learn from and work with businesses and community members on problem solving or simulations of social, technological and economic challenges outside of school can be highly stimulating. 

Ultimately learning how to learn and adapt, think critically, problem solve and work collaboratively with others are all just as or more important than learning traditional material about subjects and disciplines.

Our challenge as educators is to not succumb to any of these three myths, but this last one may be the most dangerous. Just because we succeeded in school, enjoyed it or at least enjoyed our subject/discipline/emphasis, that doesn’t mean every student can, let alone will. We have to be humble and creative in seeking ways to reach them.

Here it is!