Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nantucket Adventure: Finally Painting

I found out that I would be taking this course in maybe February or March. Since then I have been somewhat secretly panicked that it has been so long since I have created anything, that I would be totally out of practice and make a fool of myself. Not to mention I have NEVER taken a painting course. And while I have dabbled in acrylics, oils seem totally foreign. Needless to say, I have been anxious to get to the "studio" and attempt something... anything...

I managed to sleep the entire second night through. I wrapped myself up in what my boyfriend affectionately calls a "Sarah burrito" complete with a sweatshirt, and slept until about 6:30. I was bummed. I totally thought it was at least past seven a.m.! Oh well. I opened my door to find a note (written in a sketchbook) from my roommate who arrived yesterday. She was on a run and grabbing breakfast. Turns out she didn't grab breakfast and invited me in town, upon her return, for a bite to eat.

We walked the fifteen to twenty minutes into town and got to know each other over eggs and toast. She is an elementary school art teacher who fell in love with this course three summers ago as a student working on her Master's from Lesley. Originally from upstate New York, she is making it work in the Boston "social scene," living on Beacon Street with roommates working on their PhD s.

After stopping at Stop N Shop (round 2, for those of you keeping track at home) we walked back to our condo. I got myself together and waited for the van to leave for the field station. Our professor has a show next week on island and needed to use the more reliable wireless internet available there.

I am so glad I took advantage of working on the weekend. The two other girls who went and I, walked around for about forty minutes, taking pictures and soaking in the scenery. We then worked inside and have a pretty good start on our first (of about ten) painting for the two weeks.
With all this fog, I knew I wanted to start something that involved atmospheric perspective. I love how the trees close to the edge seem to bend in the wind, that is not always there.
I am currently working on an image similar to this. The layers of trees really hit what I want to attempt. More defined in the foreground to hazy in the back. Our Professor checked in a couple of times in between his work and this is where I am after two hours.

I am attempting to layer color, which is something I have never done. Much of the blue will turn grey and the oranges will turn green. It might be beginner's luck, but I am pretty proud of my happy little trees so far. And even more eerie, the brushstrokes look just like my grandmother's. Thankfully though, she learned from Bob Ross videos. I can't wait to get back in there tomorrow.

The afternoon/ evening was spent in town, poking in shops. I now have a Nantucket sweatshirt, mostly out of necessity, and splurged on a Nantucket Alex and Ani bracelet. I now own two all bracelets all together. Nothing compared to other women out there, but like my Pandora bracelet, I want things that are meaningful to me.

Nantucket, so far, is an amazing, unique destination.
I look forward to learning more and finding my way across the island and beyond. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Nantucket Adventure: Day Two

Perhaps I should be more creative with my titles... I'll get there.
For as uneventful, or unproductive, as yesterday was, I was exhausted by ten pm and slept uninterrupted until six thirty this morning.The haze and fog are still here and despite my cup of coffee, its a little difficult to wake up. But that is okay for now, as I am not sure what day three will bring.

Day two on the other hand started even earlier. I didn't sleep very well on a new to me, institutional mattress, in an unfamiliar place. Plus there was a wicked thunderstorm just a couple of miles away that sounded like it was right over the condo. Without the tv working, I spent the morning streaming NPR, enjoying breakfast and coffee in the condo all to myself.

By nine am we were off to the field station... in a down pour! Thank goodness I borrowed a  rain coat from my aunt, or I would have been miserable the rest of the day. At the field station, we set up our workspace.
The room with the sliding doors is now our studio space. This set over looks Nantucket Harbor. (there is a second set on the opposite wall. Lots of light and spectacular views) If you count the "points" from left to right, we are just about across from the third point. Our condos are four miles back toward the center of the island, to put everything into perspective.
There is a bike path that I would like to attempt soon, but the weather doesn't look like it will cooperate. If we miss the van in the morning, it would take a solid hour and a half to walk. I googled it last night. I am guessing forty five minutes to bike. On "school days" I will be sure to catch the van!

What is cool though is that we really to have free reign. If we want to go over and work in the afternoon, at night or on the weekends, we can. I am really anxious to start painting, so I may go over today.

Yesterday though, the director of the field station chatted with us for a while about the island. I knew Cape Cod was formed by glacier movement, but never really thought about Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket forming that way too. At one point, the Wampanoag were able to walk from what is now the main land, to Nantucket, to enjoy cooler summers. That's really cool! However, now erosion is a huge problem. On the south side of the island, beaches are loosing feet each day. FEET. We might be the last class at the field station because they have to physically move the building before it falls into the harbor. Its safe! Don't worry. But it needs to be addressed before it is a problem. In the picture above, I am standing right before the poison ivy, which is right before the drop off into the water.
We had a lovely talk about ticks and poison ivy too. Not to scare us, but to be aware. I plan on staying on the paths, that's for sure!

After the director spoke, who is awesome by the way (and also named Sarah), our professor gave an over view of his goals for us and this course. I was the dork with her sketchbook out taking notes! His points about Western vs. Eastern views of creativity and landscape painting, were spot on with concepts discussed in my creativity classes. He basically said that there are "learners" and there are "imitators", in life, not just art. And while it is good to occasionally be an imitator, he wants us to push ourselves to be the "learners". I interpret that as becoming innovators within our own skill set, creativity and education. More specifically with our painting, he wants us to really think about space and composition as well as color in terms of temperature, not just value. Overall I think he wants us to create images with a sense of drama, and not just the happy little lighthouse with the horizon in the middle.

I am jazzed!

After lunch we went to the Whaling Museum. We had a very informative lecture about the industry, but spent little time in the exhibits.
I am fascinated by the scrimshaw! I want to look into how may scrimshaw turned into sailor tattoos. Can you see the similarity?
Afterwards, a few of us walked down to the docks to check out all the fancy yachts. With such awful, unfun weather, there were a bunch in.
Of course, did I take pictures of the pretty boats? No. Just seascapes.

We also walked over to a nice bar and had a couple of drinks before heading to a movie that was part of the Nantucket Film Festival. The movie, Running from Crazy, was just ok. After reading The Paris Wife, I have been intrigued by the Hemmingways. This movie was about Muriel Hemingway, daughter of Jack, Ernest's first son. Unfortunately the story line was very disjointed and choppy. After the movie, most of us went to grab a bite to eat and it was very enjoyable to sit and have an intellectual conversation about what we all watched.

We walked the 15- 20 minutes home and I was out like a light! I'm still on a teacher's schedule for sure!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nantucket Adventure Day One

School is officially over for the summer!
I had started a post about how the year ended for me on many positive notes. However, I started it so late at night, that I never finished and I am already onto the beginning of my summer adventures.

Technically today was the last day of the school year. I took a sick day and made my way to Nantucket to start my painting course. Before I even left my apartment though, I was challenged and will continue to be as I venture into oil painting for the first time. The task in order to get here was to find a way to transport all my belongings for two weeks, including linens, art supplies and fifteen canvases AND my bike. Admittedly, I did not have to bring my bike, but its Nantucket and I don't want to have to pay a taxi whenever I want to adventure!  Thankfully, my aunt and uncle drove me to the high speed ferry dock where they took my luggage and all I had to do was wheel my bike on board. Once on the island, I called myself a taxi like a big girl. I could hardly make it the 500ft to the taxi stand with all my garbage. ( I am fairly certain my suit case gave itself a flat tire under the weight of all my stuff!) Going home, with semi dry/wet canvases should be interesting!

My stretched canvases would not fit in my suit case. I taped them together, reinforced the painter's tape with duct tape and made a handle from a bandana.
This is the front hall of my condo for the next two weeks. My housemate is not here yet, so I have the run of the place until tomorrow.
 You can't tell from these pictures, but its like inches away from camping. I think these places are uninhabited more often than not and the bugs kinda make themselves at home. Its a little itchy, damp and dusty, but I wasn't expecting five star.
The tiny kitchen reminds me of summers on Cape Cod. About twenty minutes after I arrived, the Professor drove our passenger van to the local Stop N Shop. I am sure I will visit multiple times!
The stairs up to the bedrooms and a glimpse of the sitting area. 
 Its super foggy today, but this is what our backyard looks like. We are right across from the hospital and share grounds with the Coast Guard.
I picked the bedroom in the back of the condo. Since there are only six of us in the class (!) we do not have to share rooms. I wonder if I should push the beds together like I did in college and have a massive bed...?
My room also has an arm chair! I am currently perched here and can envision myself reading before bed by the floor lamp.
 On our run to the grocery store, we also stopped at a fish market. We picked up some swordfish that we cooked on the grill for dinner at the field station.

Our "home base" for the two weeks is the field station pictured above. Off the dirt road to get here there is a lab for the biology majors. This house at the end of the road, is used for lectures etc throughout the year. There are a couple of rooms with bunk beds, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a large dining table. The side with the two sliders is meeting room. Tonight we had dinner here and slowly started to get to know each other. We will have free reign of the acres available around the field station, to wander and paint.
I am not sure if this drifted onto the beach, which is below the fog of some of the pictures above, or if past students created this, but I thought it was beautiful, especially with the soft glow of the lamp. This sits in the little portico to the right of the sliders. The large dining table was in the same room.
I have ended the night fiddling with the tv in the sitting room attempting to get some kind of news or any station really to come in, and drinking a beer from a cup that looks like it was stolen from what we affectionately called Res Cafe in college.

I still can't believe I am doing this! Aside from going off to college (an hour from home) I have never gone anywhere without someone I know. This is seriously an adventure and I am very excited to start learning about the island and getting to work. Tomorrow's class starts at 9 with a "field trip" to the Whaling Museum around 2pm.

I am not sure if I can post every night, perhaps its adrenaline tonight, but I will be sure to continue to take pictures (with my new iphone5) and check in.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where did the last two months go?

I have been extremely absent from blogging lately! I have read other blogs here and there, but have neglected Chucks and Crayons for far too long.

It has been a crazy couple of months for sure.
The last I posted, I was very distracted. I thought taking a minute to type out my thoughts would help. And it did. And then I also wrote in my journal and listened to and digested others' accounts of the marathon bombing. I wasn't even there but weeks later the image of the younger bomber has crept into my dreams. Perhaps since we both went to the same college...
No matter what, the tragedy in Boston has now defined my generation, just as 9/11 did. I pray for those who have been directly effected, our country and our future.

In the midst of the chaos that week, I was trying to focus on completing my capstone exam. The culmination of my Master's degree was not a thesis or an oral presentation, but a three essay question, written exam, complete with research, exhibits and citations. I was a mess. I needed a vacation from my school vacation. Despite the difficulty, three weeks after I turned in the final draft, I got the results back and not only did I pass my final exam, but I passed with distinction! I have three more credits to complete this summer and I will receive my degree in August. The one last class I have to take will be like a vacation and I can't wait! I posted about it here.

That was just April.
May flew by! Between standardized testing, final projects and papers for grad school and my middle school's art show, I was cramming as much as I could into each and every day. By Memorial Day I was exhausted and relished in the fact that I could sleep until 7am.
I intend to post about the art show in another entry. Stay tuned!

Now here we are in June and as my graduate school life has settled, my work life is being shaken up. As predicted, there is a great deal of shifting around as principals and other administration are retiring. The gentleman for whom I was covering for (part time) this year at the high school has also officially resigned, opening one full time position in the high school art department. I had to jump at the opportunity to be full time in ONE building and be able to concentrate on one age group/ curriculum. When the principal asked me if I would like to stay on full time, I said yes. I am sad to be leaving my awesome middle school students and staff, but I need to do what makes sense for my sanity and my career. When I started this crazy journey as a senior in high school, I said I wanted to teach high school. So now I have the chance! And to my benefit, it was announced this week that my middle school principal will also be moving up to the high school. One of the biggest lessons I learned as a kid is that the only thing that is constant is change. This time, I am looking forward to it.