Monday, August 25, 2008

Gesture Drawings - Falling in love with a stick figure.

These are gesture drawings. I did 8 pages of these over the weekend. My first few were terrible because I did not understand the point of gesture drawings. I had an opportunity to see a lecture on gesture drawing by Vilppu. Vilppu explains things in a very plain language that is easy to understand. While I would not call my progress an instant success, I would say that I understand my intention when I do try to do gesture drawings much more clearly today than I did before I watched the video. I really want to get my hands on more of these lectures.







Mr. Vilppu touched base on how I think. Isn't it funny how information from one source breezes by you and around you and you think you understand its meaning? Then one day someone comes and presents that very same information and you suddenly experience the meaning. Everything you were told still holds true, but now you understand why or how it is true. In fact, now that you are experiencing the understanding, it helps you understand even better!

Oprah would say I have had an Aha! moment. Not only does Mr. Vilppu give me an understanding of what he is doing, but I suddenly understand what I am doing. Of course, that means that I will probably change the way I am doing things, but nonetheless, it is some very important information.

Suddenly, I am seeing and analyzing the gesture of my family members, my furniture, the vehicles parked in the driveway, the trees, the corn and anything that catches my eye. It is quite amazing how the brain does things like that. It will take information and make connections to many things. I don't know if everyone does this. I will apply an understood concept to everything until it is exhausted.

If there is an action - a gesture- in human forms, then there must be a gesture in any form. Suddenly my dog becomes very interesting to me even though he is just lying on the front porch sleeping. His head is swooshing that way and his back is continuing the swoosh to form a circle. His legs swoosh that way and his tail swooshes another way. There are swooshes all over my world. The trees swoosh. Had someone told me that gesture drawings were lots of swooshes I might have understood this a very long time ago.

I will be a student the rest of my life. If I learn to draw and paint well, that will simply be a by product of the process. If I learn to think better and grow, that will be the real prize. Every day I learn something new or practice what I have learned is a day well spent. It seems odd to treasure these silly little stick figures more than I treasure some of the drawings that I labored hours over. They aren't very pretty, but they represent a wonderful beginning. I am starting to get it!


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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thumbnails



Thumbnail sketches. I used to hate them. They are great for jotting down ideas. There isn't enough room to get into any detail. There is just enough room to get into the guts of a composition. Because they are so small it is a lot like taking a look from way down the hall. If this were a written composition, it would be the outline. From here I could sketch and refine or I could make more thumbnails.

I don't want to say what these objects in my thumbnails are about. I am just showing a piece of the process. I took a blind vote from the kids as to which they like and of 4 children I got:

1 vote for #1
1 vote for #2
2 votes for #5

This doesn't look much like art does it? That is exactly why I used to hate doing these. They are not pretty, nor do they have all the wonderful details that I love to jump into. I have done lots of beautiful details that did not hold up in a picture very well. Doing a page or two of these thumbnail sketches before I begin should solve that problem. This also solves the problem of what to do with all these studies of individual people or objects. By tossing them into a few thumbnail sketches, I can surround them with supporting atmosphere and give them the life they deserve.

It is a very romantic idea to think of an artist (of any kind) just picking up their brush, pencil or instrument and creating something beautiful out of their heads. It isn't very practical in application. That would require that the artist is right the first time, every time. I can't speak for any other artist, but I am rarely right the first time.

So of the 6 compositions, which do you like better?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dreams


Dreams
9x12 Charcoal on gray paper

Another reference by Rebecca Parker.

This is going to be another giveaway.

I wanted to say something really insightful about dreams when I posted this. I wanted to tell anyone that reads this to follow your dreams or dream big. I wanted to be encouraging and kind. For some reason, none of the things I wanted to say will flow off my fingertips.

There are many different kinds of dreams. There are the kind that happen when you fall asleep. There are dream jobs, dream homes, dream weddings, dream cars and dream dates. There are the kind of dreams that are more like goals. There are the kind of dreams that resemble wishes. There are good dreams and bad dreams.

The subject of dreams is a pretty broad topic.

Maybe I should just post a drawing and say..

Dream.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Harvest and some quickies

I am calling the girl "Harvest" and I am offering it up as a Giveaway. I used Rebecca Parker Stock images as a reference.

The other is just a bunch of gesture poses I did from Posermaniacs. I am not fast enough to do the 30 second poses, so i did 90 second. It still doesn't seem like enough time, but I was happy with a couple of them.

This took much longer than I want to admit. I cannot talk while I draw. I cannot draw while I talk. When it comes time to have a discussion, I have to choose one or the other. Switching back and forth between the two makes me frustrated. In my attempt to be a multi-tasker, I really messed up this drawing several times. Lucky for me, Charcoal is very forgiving.

I hate to be mean and tell people "I can't talk to you right now." It is hard to explain how I need to draw. Loving them and talking to them has nothing to do with my need to draw. I need to draw regardless of my relationship with them. So I try really hard to find that sense of balance. How much time do I give them? How much time do I give my studies? It is a juggling act.

Today I chose not to hurt feelings. I didn't accomplish nearly what I had hoped to accomplish.

This is the last of the pink paper. On to the other colors!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mr. Loomis Help Me Out

I played WOW with my daughter last night. We haven't played games together in a very long time. It was fun just laughing and being silly with her. The other kids watched behind our backs and gave important suggestions on directions to go, things to pick up and if we should run, or stay and fight. Games are a family event in our house. It is common for all of us to decide on a game time and a goal and then laugh as the plan does not quite come together. This time we included my daughters significant male friend. I am not sure what kind of impression we left, but we put on our headphones with microphones and let him hear all the ridiculous chatter that goes on when we game.

Needless to say, I got a late start on my morning...

I did my line exercise this morning. Even though they are very tedious, I am noticing a remarkable improvement in my hand eye coordination. I think I will be ready to move on to the second lesson tomorrow.

SketchThe first bit of sketches is an exercise directly out of The Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis. Loomis has several books that are packed with information. Of the art books I have, I would say his are my favorite.

As you can see, I am hit and miss on these sketches. Hopefully, as I practice, I will get better at them. Some will argue that the best way to learn this stuff is by getting a model and drawing from life. Others will argue that if you understand the basic bone structure on the inside you will be able to make more sense of what you see. I think each individual varies depending on how they learn.

The opposite page is how far I got while trying to sketch my dog. Just when I thought I was getting somewhere he moved. I think he knew I was drawing him. He is just as bad as my kids.


SketchThe next sketch is just a tree. (In case it just seems like abstract lines.) In my battle with nature, I would say that trees are my biggest challenge. Using the theory of understanding the underlying structure, I played with a few ideas on how to make a tree skeleton. I have no plans to become a landscape artist, but the idea that I cannot draw a realistic tree really bugs me.



The next bit of sketches are thumbnail drawings. The first few are some ideas just floating in my head and the others are just abstract lines placed randomly. This is more of an exercise in creativity. Sometimes if I just look at random patterns like clouds, wood grain, plaster or random lines like this, I will begin to pull out forms that give me ideas. This is a variation of some suggestions by Loomis in Creative Illustration.



I find myself seeing all kinds of different things in these simple marks. My brain likes to make sense of them and follow them around. One is a flower, one is a group of people. By not trying to make anything at all, I have made a variety of lots of things.

The biggest reason I am doing this is because when I am on a technical study surge, I tend to lose touch with that creative side that comes up with original ideas. (Not that any thing hasn't been done as far as subject matter.) The part of me that gets excited and wants to make pictures starts to get lost. I forget that the whole reason I really do want to memorize the shape of a head is because I want to put a head on a person that is doing something in a picture.

Maybe tomorrow I will have more updates on my painting.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Basics

I know.. more circles?

I want to be really confident that I "feel" the roundness of these circles. I also did another page of lines. Repetition is key, I think to getting my head wrapped around the ideas.

The second page are just some objects that were on the table when I was sitting on the front porch. A pen, a lighter and a hair tie. I noticed that after doing some of these studies in perspective that doing these quick sketches seemed much easier. Getting myself thinking in three dimensions is starting to get easier.

This is going to take self discipline.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sketch, Sketcher, Sketchest

SketchMy understanding of volume and three dimensions is in dire need of work. After doing my line exercises, I took out my sketchbook and started sketching. The circles are my attempt to wrap my head around circular objects and find intersections. From the looks of things, I need to do quite a few more of these. I am still struggling with it.

The next two sketches are just objects on my front porch. The soon to be famous "Rock" and my coffee cup. My understanding of perspective as it relates to atmosphere is not as much of an issue. For some reason, that comes much more natural for me. My understanding of perspective as it relates to line placement seems to be a huge issue.






SketchWhen you are self taught, it is very hard to nail down what the underlying problems are. Let's face it, your teacher is an idiot. Many times throughout my studies, I have had to go back to basic concepts and backtrack to learn something. I can't really say that learning perspective is back tracking, but had I learned it well many years ago, I might have prevented a lot of distorted work.

It is also very important that I start thinking in geometric terms. While my concentration is on spherical objects, I need to find the spheres in everyday objects. I need to discover intersections and follow them.

Learning to understand what I see is challenging. I am forcing myself to stop assuming I know this information already and look at things with a fresh evaluation. It isn't as easy as it sounds. What I think I know wants to leak in and take charge. It is really too bad I can't take pieces of my brain and hit the delete key so I can fill it up with more accurate information. It works in a word processor.

If you are really interested, I also wrote down some numbers on that page with a cup to use on the Lottery. I generally do not play the lottery, but I have been feeling incredibly lucky lately, so .. why not?


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Friday, August 15, 2008

Skill Building Between Layers

My painting is still wet, so I did a few exercises that I discovered in Decorative Arts: The American drawing-book.

Learning to draw, or paint is much more about learning to see. Once you observe, you record what you see with your hands in the forms of lines. These lines can be straight, curved, angled or horizontal. When you think about it, this is just as true when you use a paintbrush to apply paint as it is when you use pencil to sketch.

It is very challenging to attempt to make a straight line without some kind of straight edge. It takes an incredible amount of concentration and control of your arm movements. The author insists that you must get very good at this before you move on to any of the other exercises. It is a boring exercise if you do not enjoy personal challenges. Lucky for me, I really enjoy silly little challenges like this.

This is a great way to teach yourself to take your time and truly observe your actions. I noticed that when I tried to do these lines quickly, I drifted farther off course than I did when I did them slowly. I also noticed that when I did them in reverse, right to left, I did much better. I am not sure why that is, but I noticed the same thing in vertical lines. My sense of bottom to top is much better than my sense of top to bottom. This information is important when trying to eliminate weaknesses.

This weakness is carried over to my sketches and paintings. I have distortion and bad judgment in distances that I am trying really hard to correct. I often find myself correcting angles and straightening out lines. That can be a case of drawing what I think I know instead of what I see. As this exercise points out it can also be attributed to a good deal of bad hand eye coordination. I know where I want to go with my hand, but it ends up at the wrong location.

I have several theories as to why this exercise is a good one.

First and foremost, it is a very right brained activity. The right side of your brain controls physical movement and takes care of distances. There isn't a heck of a lot of left brain things to do, other than count the lines or decide when enough is enough. Betty Edwards talks about this in Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain. Once you get really good at something like this it becomes automatic, much like walking or eating or going down steps.

Another reason I believe this is a great exercise is because this is something that is best accomplished when I quieted my mind. When I got rid of all that brain chatter and really focused on my hand moving very slowly across the page my lines were smoother and more accurate. It is like meditating with your eyes open and your hand moving.

This is a good lesson in confidence. A lot of my drawings lack confident lines. Confident lines require confidence that you can draw a line where it needs to be. I have spent years second guessing myself and my lines reflect that. Once you start building confidence, it has a penicillin effect on the rest of your work. For that matter, it helps with every aspect of your life.

I can take this anywhere and do it anytime. While I am waiting at the doctors office, I can pull out my little 4x6 sketchbook and practice my lines. When I am having a creative block I can use this exercise to tap into my right hemisphere. I am toying with the idea of doing this daily for a while and see what the effects are.

Incidentally, if you are looking for a way to improve your handwriting this is also a great exercise. While I was doing this it reminded me of the penmanship exercises I had to do when I was a little kid. I found other lessons like this HERE.

It is kind of ironic that often times it is making small changes in perception or habits that make the greatest changes. That happens in drawing, painting, parenting, wifing and living.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Getting My Layer of Cool On.


Sorry, sorry, sorry about the glare. The paint is still incredibly wet. I warmed things up yesterday, so I cooled things down today. I really want to dig into the whites and yellows. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I wanted to open a tube and squeeze some on my palette. It isn't that I am impatient. It is that I am.. Ok.. I am getting impatient. When it starts to come out of the ugly stage and I can begin to see pretty again, I just want to go full gangbusters.

I am seeing lots of little mistakes in this. It isn't anything that is making me want to take a butcher knife to the canvas and brutally kill it, but little things here and there needs correction. I will do that as I lay on the more opaque layers and hopefully the shadows won't show through.


Not a lot of colors on this, so far. From left to right it is Ivory Black, French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Sienna. From that I mixed a warm blue from the Ivory black and Ultramarine. A middle red from the Crimson and Burnt Sienna. A brownish color from the Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna and a purple from the Crimson and Ultramarine. The cup you see is just a container for my linseed oil. Crystal Lite is nasty to drink, but comes in these handy dandy cups, so I make my kids drink it.

I have no idea what I am going to do for the next painting. I want to stay in a classical arena, but want to do something a little more contemporary than this. There are too many subject options to pick from. I love myths and tales as subject matter. I also love themes that represent strength, courage and honesty. That doesn't narrow things down much.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting Warmed Up

Monday I found out that I am going to be able to participate in the Friends of the Frankfort Library Art Show in November. It is an invitation only show and I am so very honored to be a part of it I can barely hold my composure. The Art League fall show is being held in October, so I need to prepare for that. Just when it didn't seem possible for things to get any better, I got in touch with my instructor at the Lafayette Atelier and he told me about life drawing sessions I can get in on for only $5! Holy Cow! I am not sure which to cheer about first, so I am just cheering my pea pickin' heart out in circles.

Of course while I am cheering, I am also picking up brushes, going through sketchbooks and getting a good inventory of my supplies. I have a lot of work to do. Between now and the end of October, I need to come up with 6 large pieces and as many small pieces as possible to put in these shows. I have so much to do and so little time to do it in! If the past is correct, that is where I get my momentum. What wonderful working conditions!

In the spirit of hard work, I started this morning out with a quick sketch.



If I am going to go to the life drawing session tonight, I need to remember how to sketch don't I? This was just a rock that the kids left on the front porch and it happened to be in the light. I don't think I will ever go down in history as The Great Rock Sketcher, but just in case, this is how I got started and I feel it is important to blog this moment.




Part of my master plan for getting so much work done in so little time is to resurrect a dead painting I started way back when. I put a layer of nice warm burnt sienna on the girls to get some warmth going on their pretty little faces. I will add layers and layers to them before this is over. I am very excited to have a reason to finish them!

Back in May I went with my daughter to receive a Oneness Blessing. While it may seem a little hoaky and even a little [insert theme from The Twilight Zone here], I have had lots of wonderful things happen to me. The skeptic in me says that it could be that I have improved my own attitude and this is a result. The spiritual side of me says that when I set my intent to be what life needed me to be, I set the wheels in motion. The true believer in me says that I am receiving what I need when I need it because that is the way of things. This is true now and has always been true. I haven't always appreciated what I received, but hindsight usually takes care of that.

What do I know for sure? Nothing. I know nothing for sure. I can't. I can only believe.. and I don't even know that for sure. Nards posted this question on her blog that has had me thinking in that nagging corner of the back of my head since I read it. It is a good thing I don't have to come up with a really good answer to that question!



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Monday, August 11, 2008

Introducing Anna Sellers Art Giveaway!

I have started a separate blog to give away certain pieces of art. I am calling it Anna Sellers Art Giveaway. This blog is meant to be not only the art, but the inspiration behind the art. I hope that making a separate blog for the giveaway makes it easier for people to claim the works they like without wading through all the thoughts and banter I put here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Figure study


Figure Study
9x12
Charcoal on Artagain paper

This is in celebration of me cleaning my desk and getting it art ready. The countdown has begun and I have 3 days until school starts. I went into the garage and dug through my art locker to find some paper to do some drawing. I found the Artagain paper and thought I would use it up. I hoard paper. Sometimes I think I am saving it for when I am really good. Other times I save it because I am afraid we will not be able to afford more. Both are pretty silly reasons and when I evaluate the excuses, they do not hold up to the "are you serious?" test.

I like this pose. I am drawn to it. (no pun intended) I got the original image from Lockstock on Deviantart. My mind has not worked out all of the details, but this pose is begging to be part of something. This particular model has tons of wonderful photos to work from and I always enjoy her portfolio.

This particular drawing is up for grabs to the first person that is willing to frame it, pay postage and give me an address to send it to. I have decided that not only am I going to stop hoarding paper, but I am going to stop hoarding art as well. See this if you would like it. It is first come, first serve.


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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Life Lessons and Mud at Wildcat Creek


Wildcat Creek
8x10
Oil on Panel

Painting outdoors is not my strong suit. I am not Bob Ross, I can't make it up in my head. I am not Larry Seiler who seems to make the most beautiful work out of blobs of paint. Instead, I am more like Wile E. Coyote who seems to be foiled at every attempt to get that road runner no matter how well he thinks he plans.

I do enjoy painting outside. I enjoy the sound of the water trickling up the stream. I enjoy the birds chirping. I enjoy all the natural distractions. I enjoy the fact that this is a lot closer to a landscape than I have ever done before. I am grateful that my husband shoved me out the door with my paints and supplies and told me "Don't come back without a painting." Sometimes he knows me better than I know myself. I needed to make this.. this.. mud.

Not being good at landscapes is not a very good excuse to not go out and do them. If anything it is more important that I do them. If I work on my weakest skills then eventually, those things that hold me back will no longer persist. This theory has worked well in other areas of my life. I was horrible with managing money until I dug in and started balancing my checkbook daily. I could not keep up with laundry until I started doing at least a load every day. If I really tried, I could come up with lots of examples.

While this painting is not really very good. The values and contrasts need punched. I was not nearly aggressive with the paint as I could have been. My true conquest was that I came away knowing more than I went in with. Sometimes it is easy to overlook such treasures in life, but it is those small tidbits of treasure that really add up. When you think about it, there is treasure all over this world, but treasure chests full of treasure are pretty hard to come by.

I knew I needed to be done when the sun came out and changed the color of everything I was looking at.


So I took a quick snapshot, packed up my things and came home feeling a little more accomplished. My soul felt restored from all of the natural meditation painting provides and I had a painting to give me passage back into my home. The gatekeeper was pleased.


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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Recharged



Sketch
5x7 Canson Sketchbook

I am feeling incredibly recharged and hungry for expression. My goal was to post at noon, so this is my attempt to do one of my 43 things.

As I was sketching this, I also made a list of 10 possible ways to use this sketch:
  1. Put her on a rock and turn her into a mermaid
  2. Paint her as is.
  3. Put her in a bottle looking out
  4. Sit her on a shoulder
  5. Add wings and make her a fairy
  6. Add a mask
  7. Give her elven ears and make her an Elven princess
  8. Turn the drapery into a dark ocean
  9. Give her something to look at
  10. Put her in a large hand
In addition to a sketch, I stretched out some canvas greeting cards and put a few layers of Gesso on them. I can't wait for them to dry and start putting a wash over them to get all that pretty white covered up!

Now I can check off a task on RTM, add an entry to 43 things and get back to playing with this sketch!

Friday, August 01, 2008

I love Indiana, but..

A free education should be kind of free right? I understand that educations are expensive. I agree that if I want those extra classes for my kids that are a bit expensive to fund, that I should pitch in a little. If I don't pay for the extra, I shouldn't get them.

Youngest to oldest, this is what I am required to pay for my children to get a basic education:


My 4th Grader:

locker $0.00Technology $0.00Materials $0.00Planner $0.00
Description

BooksConsFeesTotal
Language Arts

$13.25$12.96$0.00$26.21
Music

$8.68$0.00$0.00$8.68
Math

$17.00$7.26$0.00$24.26
Sciene

$10.60$2.00$0.00$12.60
Social Studies

$9.25$0.00$0.00$9.25
Art Fee

$0.00$0.00$3.00$3.00
Swimming Fee

$0.00$0.00$2.50$2.50
Weekly Reader

$0.00$0.00$4.50$4.50
Paper Fee

$0.00$0.00$13.00$13.00
Recorder

$0.00$0.00$6.00$6.00
Planner

$0.00$0.00$5.00$5.00
Trade Books

$0.00$0.00$10.00$10.00
Homework Folder

$0.00$0.00$1.00$1.00
Total

$58.78$22.22$45.00$126.00





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$126.00


My 6th Grader:

Locker $0.00Technology $0.00Materials $0.00Planner $0.00
Description

BooksConsFeesTotal
Language Arts

$13.25$6.00$0.00$19.25
Music

$9.12$0.00$0.00$9.12
Math

$14.50$0.00$0.00$14.50
Science

$11.67$2.00$0.00$13.67
Social Studies

$10.46$0.00$0.00$10.46
Art Fee

$0.00$0.00$3.00$3.00
Swimming Fee

$0.00$0.00$2.50$2.50
Paper Fee

$0.00$0.00$13.00$13.00
Time For Kids

$0.00$0.00$1.50$1.50
Planner

$0.00$0.00$5.00$5.00
Trade Book

$0.00$0.00$10.00$10.00
Homework Folder

$0.00$0.00$1.00$1.00
Total

$59.00$8.00$36.00$103.00





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$103.00


My 8th Grader:

Locker $5.00Technology $0.00Materials $4.00Planner $6.00
Class

BooksConsFeesTotal
Term 1
04608 SCIENCE 8

$8.10

$8.10
04208 ENGLISH/LA 8

$9.63

$9.63
25088 PRE-ALG A (8)

$5.65

$5.65
53648 INT.PER.REL. (8)

$2.70
$3.00$5.70
0458G GIRLS'P.E.8




$0.00
04708 SOC. ST. 8

$8.50

$8.50
0440A JH BA/CH




$0.00
0440A JH CH/BA




$0.00
0108 BULLDOG TIME 8




$0.00



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$34.58$0.00$3.00$37.58
Term 2
04608 SCIENCE 8

$8.10$0.50$3.00$11.60
04208 ENGLISH/LA 8

$9.63$22.75$14.50$46.88
25088 PRE-ALG A (8)

$5.65
$5.00$10.65
53648 INT.PER.REL. (8)

$2.70
$3.00$5.70
0458G GIRLS'P.E.8



$13.00$13.00
04708 SOC. ST. 8

$8.50$1.50$1.00$11.00
0440A JH BA/CH



$10.00$10.00
0440A JH CH/BA



$10.00$10.00
0108 BULLDOG TIME 8



$5.00$5.00



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$34.58$24.75$64.50$123.83





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$176.41


My 11th Grader:

Locker $5.00Technology $0.00Materials $4.00Planner $6.00
Class

BooksConsFeesTotal
Term 1
3024 BIOLOGY 1

$8.73

$8.73
1542 U.S. HISTORY

$8.10

$8.10
0100 STUDY HALL




$0.00
4182 CONC. CHOIR




$0.00
2520B ALGEBRA I(B)

$5.65

$5.65
3044 EARTH/SPACE SCIENCE

$8.45

$8.45
4530 COMP.APPL.I

$7.45
$6.00$13.45



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$38.38$0.00$6.00$44.38
Term 2
3024 BIOLOGY 1

$8.73$0.50$10.00$19.23
1542 U.S. HISTORY

$8.10

$8.10
0100 STUDY HALL




$0.00
4182 CONC. CHOIR



$20.00$20.00
2520B ALGEBRA I(B)

$5.65
$2.00$7.65
3044 EARTH/SPACE SCIENCE

$8.45$1.65
$10.10
1548A W.HISTORY/CIV (A)

$7.25

$7.25



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$38.18$2.15$32.00$72.33





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$131.71


This does not include school supplies or clothing, uniforms for Physical Education, special calculators for math or any goodies, mind you. This is the fee every Indiana resident above the poverty level pays to put their kids in school after they buy the required 1 spiral notebook per class, 2 boxes of crayons, 15 glue sticks, colored pencils, colored markers, colored erasers and two very large boxes of tissues per child. The book fees are book rental fees, I might add. If your child loses one, they owe an additional $10-50. We don't get to KEEP the books. We pay to BORROW them. Cons = Consumables. In the past it has been a copy of a worksheet out of a workbook. The kids don't really get the whole workbook, just copies of the pages the teacher assigns. I am assuming that consumable is the estimated toner/paper usage my child will need throughout the year.

I have put children in school in Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and now Indiana. The only state that has ever charged me fees to enroll my children in public school has been Indiana. I would have no reason to complain if the differences between the free public education and the not so free public education were stark, but in all honesty, Indiana only has a marginal advantage over Nevada according to the NCES. I am pretty happy about my $537.12 book fee bill. Last year it was over $700 for the same 4 children because they consumed a heck of a lot of consumables. I almost did a dance for joy at the $200 savings!

Our school wants to put in a new auditorium for the combined Elementary/Jr. High/High School productions. I would love for our tax money to go to something that doesn't wrap around our football field. While I understand there are dreams of an NFL superstar that comes from our wonderful field, I would be just as proud of a great musician or perhaps even a great actor headed to Broadway. My question has always been: Why oh why are the taxes I pay not paying for the books our kids need to get a basic education? Why are we debating if tax dollars should go for new bleachers or auditoriums when the books are not even being paid for? Good Lord!

I love Indiana, but the way they treat education is pretty screwed up.

Stop Procrastinating

One of the many issues I have is procrastination. I would like to change this horrible habit about myself. draw one picture a day

One for the road. #mtg #mtgalter

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