A pile of things that I’ve wanted to blog about:
I used some of my Christmas money to buy a print of one Van Gogh’s Trees and Undergrowth paintings from 1887. We don’t have much art on our walls yet; it’s our most neglected area of decorating. Over time, I am appreciating the print more and more. It looks better in lower light; it was painted before electric lighting was invented. Van Gogh managed to capture all of the different colors and textures with just blocky brushstrokes.
I’ve been very busy recently, but one thing I’ve been wanting to do is to create a few stencil designs. Like many people, I “can’t draw”, so it was hard to get started. If it’s any help, this is what I did: I picked a genre (flowers and foliage). With a marker on plain paper, I drew some petal, leaf, and stem outlines. I picked the ones that looked best, cut them out, and then used them as templates to trace more iterations. After playing around a little, I came to a more specific theme (flowers and foliage in the wind), and started assembling new shapes, and then doing some freehand drawing. At the end, I had a pile of designs that are much better than I thought I could draw.
As a graduate student, I once read through a book on scientific illustration, so I know that “real” artists usually don’t dash off a finished picture on the first sitting. A lot of working sketches and studies and practice comes first.
Another technique I use when I have trouble getting started drawing is pointillism: I can draw a dot in a fairly precise location, and then I can tell where the next dot should go.
I recently read Tapestry, by Edith Schaeffer, a biography of her and her husband Francis. I don’t always enjoy reading biography or history, but it was a lively book. I think the following quote came from there:
Evangelism that does not lead to purity of life, and purity of doctrine, is just as faulty and incomplete as an orthodoxy which does not lead to a concern for, and communication with, the lost.
– Francis Schaeffer
I’m inclined now to view a few other Christian controversies in the same way: both sides are partially right, but also incomplete.
I looked at some of the Common Core standards. The ones that seem most puzzling to parents are about the mathematical method of decomposing numbers before doing operations on them. I actually use this technique a lot, but it’s just a trick that I use for my own convenience, and it rests on a solid foundation of good old-fashioned arithmetic, supplemented by a sort of intuition based on long experience. I’m not convinced that it is a very easy or useful technique to teach to younger elementary students.
We just started our spring homeschool term, which is marked by the last of the snow melting, and which includes going nearly TV-free.
There are a number of bloggers in my past and present church congregations, so I thought I’d make a list; these are just the ones that I know of: