On The 10 Freeway, Due East

On The 10 Freeway, Due East

What would I do if I were an heiress?

I would mostly pretend to be poor.
But  in a more convincing manner than the trust fund babies with fully furnished  ‘Artist Lofts.’
I  would get a day job that bored me to tears.
As  a parking attendant.
Or  a hostess.
Or  a post office clerk.
Just  to see how the other half lives.
Then  I’d quit because I could.
I  would spend a day with the little Mexican lady who sells miniature guitars on  the street corner to see who buys them, and how much profit she really pulls in  at the end of a long day.
I  would pretend like money wasn’t really all that important and that I could live  without it.
I  would sell my belongings at auction, and keep only what I truly needed.
Then  I’d take the cash and buy a cute outfit for a homeless person.  Or donate a toy to needy children.  Something really great, like an iPod or a  handbag.
never stop wondering

I  would come up with a different plan for every single day.
I’d  tell all my friends I’m going away to study in Paris,  in Italy, in New York City.  Arrange lavish parties with banners that  read: Bon Voyage. Buon Viaggio.  Godspeed to Brooklyn.
I  would try different bad habits on for size; develop an eating disorder, dabble  in nose candy, get a taste for cocktails and struggling musicians, maybe even  fake a suicide or two.
I’d  stage my own kidnapping, and run away to the desert.
I’d  walk barefoot in the sand until my feet started to bleed.  Then I’d look for a shoe store that accepted  AmEx but never find one.
Over  time, I’d assimilate.
I’d  forget I was an heiress pretending to be poor, and really be poor.
My  parents’ credit cards would expire.  My  forms of identification would become invalid.
I  would no longer have a forwarding address.
I’d  learn to fish and wander the desert searching out a body of water in which to  toss my line.
I’d  drink water from the center of cactus fruits.   And air out my dirty laundry on the prickly spines.
I’d  dig little holes, and pee in them.
I  would keep on toward the horizon, chasing it, day in, day out.  Until my skin dried completely and turned to  scales that I could shed onto the side of a rock somewhere and leave to blow  away in nighttime winds.  The remaining  particles of me would separate; some rising up in the air forever into oblivion  and the vast outer reaches of the solar system.   Others, falling to the ground where they’d turn to dust and mix with  silt and someday, if I was lucky, no longer exist.



“The  difference is that the monumental architecture represents a higher level of  abstraction and conception,”

the Architect says to his Client across a cleanly  designed Eero Saarinen signature tulip table, a lunch of dirty martinis and  finger sandwiches on a cold white tray between them.  “At my firm we feel it’s essential to  integrate that level of artistry, of theory, into our aesthetic.  We want that luxury mix-used residential  sky-rise with retail at street level and subterranean parking to exude concept,” he extracts the toothpick from  his glass, “so the residents aren’t just buying exotic olives in the Whole  Foods downstairs… they are a part of that olive.  They feel the curvature of its structure, can  walk through its center.”  The Architect  pops the oversized, overstuffed martini olive into his mouth and drops the  naked toothpick to the tabletop below.   The Client, a jeans and collared shirt with brown shoes kind of business  man from out of town, grins and takes a swig of his cocktail.

From  their quiet, modern, air-conditioned dining area on a comfortably gentrified  corner of Downtown Los Angeles, the pair observes the bustling work force  moving about the city street.  The men  are separated from the scene by thick walls made of glass that cause the taxis,  men in suits, secretaries in tennis shoes on lunch hour, to carry with them the  sheen of the clearly polished surface through which they are being viewed.  There is a conglomeration of cones  surrounding a manhole cover for no immediately obvious reason, but cars and  people obey these inanimate objects and move obediently around them.  One sedan comes to a sudden stop as the man  behind its wheel leans forward while craning his neck upward.  A woman on the corner drops her cell phone  and points frantically to the air overhead.   For a singular moment everyone and everything freezes.  The Architect and his Client detect a  palpable excitement and look to the street with curious, tilted heads.  The body of a young man falls from the sky  and crashes onto the asphalt without a discernible sound.

“The  thing about Downtown,” the Architect begins to explain, “is that they are  constantly filming.”  He picks up a tiny  sandwich and examines the multicolored layers before nibbling at its corner.  “One day its 6th Street, and the next day there’s a sign up that  would lead you to believe you’re walking down Lexington Avenue.”  The Client sits uneasily behind an empty  martini glass, unsteady eyes and stiff arms stuck to the armrests of a Philippe  Starck chair, hands clamped about the daringly pleasant combination of such  contrasting materials as wood and metal.   The Architect continues without significant pause, “It snowed for a week  in the middle of the summer.  It gets  tough to even know what’s real anymore.   You second guess everything.   Quite honestly, it’s easier just to assume its fake.”

The  Client’s eyes jump around in an effort not to stare at the ceaseless parade  beyond the pane.  He tries but cannot  look away and becomes fixated on the orange traffic cones still positioned  around the manhole cover.  When he can  bare it not longer, the Client says in a breathy gust, “I don’t get it.  I mean, why are those cones there anyway? Do  you think that guy outside is an actor? Was he supposed to land between the  cones or something?”  The Architect faces  the street and gives the scene a thorough examination.  The body has been removed.  He takes note of a van marked Coroner’s  Office in thick, black, official-looking block letters.  Its’ back doors have been flung open but no  one is inside.  Parked beside it is a  white sedan, also marked Coroner’s Office but in a less authoritative  font.  Both automobiles are the utilitarian  white of rental cars and fleet vehicles.   There is a police squad car, a fire truck, and an ambulance.  The city appears to be business as  usual.  A delivery man dressed head to  toe in brown pushes a large cart full of packages down the sidewalk,  obstructing the men’s view for a quick second.

The  Architect turns his attentions back to the table, “I walked up to my Suite one  evening to find the building engulfed in smoke and, I presumed, flames.  The sidewalk was wet and there was a fire  engine parked in front of it with the ladder from its cherry picker propped up  against the outside of the upper story penthouse unit.  I was about to break into a run when I saw  that the side of the fire engine read ‘New York City Fire Department’ and I  realized that all the firemen were wearing FDNY t-shirts.  They were filming a crime show set in New  York City.  That was the last time I felt  anything like that.”  The Client squints  to read the print on the sides of the vehicles outside and furrows his brow.  The Architect waves to get the attention of a  passing waitress; he positions his hand as though it is holding a pen and signs  the air with a smile.

Children Learn Art Through Coloring

Children Learn Art Through Coloring

Colored pencils are among the main staples of art instruction in schools and they have been for years. There is a good reason for this. They deliver vibrant color in a medium which encourages the development of fine motors skills in children. Kids do better when they understand the techniques of this medium which are covered here along with some tips for teaching art with the use of colored pencils.

One technique is called stippling. It lets children explore their artistic view by placing dots all over a piece of paper. It is similar to the pointillist movement where small and distinct colored dots are used to create an image. As children place these colored dots close together they will notice how they can achieve a shading effect. They can also experiment with both sharp and dull pencil points to enhance their work.

Note that it can take some effort to learn how to sharpen a colored pencil just right. The lead that is in the pencil is actually not lead at all. It is a hardened wax infused with pigments. You will need electric color pencil sharpenersto help children learn to sharpen the tip without breaking it. The best electric pencil sharpeners can be helpful in tackling the task. If you are using manual sharpeners, hold the pencil in place and turn the sharpener. This will reduce the stress on the point and reduce the chance of breakage.

Another technique to work with children is called hatching. This is a great technique for them to practice when first learning how to draw. Have the children practice drawing parallel lines down the page as close together as possible. Then, have them draw a second set of lines across the first set in a different direction. This is called cross-hatching.

Again, the sharpness or dullness of the pencil will show the children that they can achieve different looks when using the hatching technique. Make sure the children are raising the pencil off the page after drawing an individual line. Have them experiment with different images to see how they can create the illusion of texture in what they draw.

Scrumbling is a technique that is relatively intuitive. It is a process of making back and forth motions on the paper with the pencil. Most anyone can learn this. With the color pencils, you do not want the children to pick up the pencil in between the movements. Scrumbling is excellent for filling in images.

Scrumbling can be done in back and forth motions and circular motions. The idea is to fill in the space before picking the pencil up off the paper.

Have your students use any and all of these techniques and pay special attention to the techniques that appeal to individual students. Have them then mix the techniques together.

Let them experiment with hatching and scrumbling in tandem to create a whole picture, for instance. Encourage all students to explore how dull and sharp tips create different effects with all of the techniques. Students will enjoy expressing themselves on blank paper with colored pencils.