Thursday, June 28, 2007

Published! Party!

To celebrate our feature in 3.1.6. A Journal of Christian Thinking, the SoulPerSuit team is celebrating next week by awarding prizes and doing the funky chicken!

Here's the schedule. Mark your calendars, dust off your keyboard (no lurking!), and get ready to win some very cool prizes.*

July 5 - Sandi has a little something special to give away to our blog readers and SoulPerSuit participants.
Want to win it? Just enter a comment on her post between 7/5 and 7/11.

July 12 - Winner of Sandi's giveaway is announced.
Didn't get your name drawn for Sandi's giveaway? Rhonda starts a new giveaway party today. From 7/12-7/18, comment on her post and toss your name in the hat!

July 19 - Erin announces the winner of Rhonda's giveaway and kicks off a drawing of her own. You can influence the purim a third time from 7/19-7/25 by putting your comment on Erin's entry.

July 26 - Sandi will announce the winner of Erin's giveaway. And put out the welcome mat for our summer SoulPerSuit in the Book of Esther.

*None of the prize awards are funky chickens. Sorry.

SoulPerSuit is hosting an on-line creative group this summer!
We're diving into the book of Esther
Start date: July 25th
To join the on-line group, click the Yahoo! Groups Button in the right margin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Create Your Own

Today I want to introduce you to some sites where you can play and create online. Whether you're a kid or a grown-up or a grown-up with kids, you can engage in imaginative play alone or with somebody you love.

Remember Mr. Potatohead? Think same concept, different genre. View my quirky modern art and create your own at Mr. Picassohead.

Next, create your own band complete with sound. I will spare you the link to the one I made. It would annoy you as much as your music used to annoy your parents.

If you follow my blog you already know how to create your own Jackson Pollock and your own Mondrian.

But why not trying a shot at creating your own cartoon character.

Create your own D&D character (you don't have to play the game to have fun making up characters). Mine is Stoaga Fletcher, otherwise known as Stoaga the Shadowdancer, Lady Stoaga, Lady Fletcher, Lady Stoaga Fletcher the Shadowdancer, Lady Stoaga Fletcher the Powerful, or Stoaga Fletcher the Weaver.

Finally, create your own psalm. For this you don't need a web site. Write down the hardest thing you've ever experienced. Then jot down how you felt (or feel). Then write a short prayer that ends with an expression of trust.

Give your left brain a break and tap into the creativity God made you to express.
[Photograph of The Guitar, 1918. Oil on canvas, by Juan Gris. In the public domain.]

Thursday, June 21, 2007

500 Years of Female Portraits

My Geek sent me this cool art video. It shows 500 years of female portraits in Western art. Watch the video while looking at the eyes or the mouth only and see how they change or stay similar over time. I was surprised by how many works I didn't recognize.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Auditory Transport

On Father's Day, my husband was finishing a project in the backyard and as I stood there holding his icy glass of lemonade for him (it was the least I could do, it was Father's Day, you know!), I was hit smack in the ears by a memory.
My hubby fired up his circular saw to trim a few pieces of wood for the ramp he was building and all of a sudden, my childhood came flooding back to me. In particular, my childhood with my dad.

I cannot remember a house that we lived in where my father didn't make some kind of addition or major alteration. The sound of the drill and the circular saw hummed through the air every spring, summer and autumn weekend of my childhood. Dad built patios, room additions, rabbit hutches, back decks, gazebos, bookshelves, pantries, even a dining room set.

Standing there last Sunday with my husband's icy lemonade glass dripping in my hand, I became a 9 year old, standing there with my dad's glass of icy lemonade dripping in my hand. Watching with interest how he sawed and drilled. Asking for his leftover scraps of wood to build a fort. Wanting to help him work, but unable to bear the heat. Skipping off to run in the sprinkler and drink some lemonade myself. The sound of the circular saw buzzing in the background of my play.

That night I called my dad to share my memory with him.

Is there a sound that brings back a memory so strong that it transports you to another time or place?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Modern Art, Anyone?

I'm taking a doctoral class in modern art in my program at UTD in conjunction with the Dallas Museum of Art. In the past when people said modern art, I always envisioned Abstract Expressionist stuff, which I disliked. But I do appreciate Grant Wood ("American Gothic") and many of the regional works painted during the Modern Period. (I prefer represtational art in the living room to ginormous chunks of metal outside.)

As part of my class, which consists of about fifteen teachers-as-students, I am learning about a lot of technological resources. So I'm here to share some cookies (not the computer kind):

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)'s web site sets the standard for the industry. And they have a cool interactive section, which provides a great intro to modern art so people like me who appreciate it but have a lot to learn can find out more. Check out "Making Sense of Modern Art."
Also, a cool program that's considered the post-PowerPoint ideal for educators is Pachyderm. They work with educators and the arts a lot, so some of the content in their demos is fab. You'll find everything from heaven and earth depicted in art to mummies and madonnas. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

3•1•6 Journal coming June 25

316 Journal cover
SoulperSuit is very proud to announce that they will be featured in the new publication, 3•1•6: A Journal of Christian Thinking, a venture by Founding Editor, Bill Dowis. His mission statement for 3•1•6 is:

"To provide provocative Christian writing and artwork that ignites thought, discussion and a deeper understanding of the Christian faith."

Dowis wants to fill a niche in the periodical genre and "create something that will cause people to think." The Journal plans on doing this through ficiton, non-fiction, art and poetry entries. Did you catch that? He plans to do it through creativity!

Until June 17 you can order the first issue at a discount. You can also find a promotional poster ready to print off and hang at your local art/coffee hang out. Help get the word out! Order lots of copies! Post about it on your blogs.

In recognition of the event we have several exciting things planned:
  • We will do the Esther study (posted on our web page) starting July 25’07.
  • Leading up to that study we will be giving away several goodies.
So be sure to check back here often and spread the word.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Please Stand By!

It appears we are having some technical difficulty with our blog. To the many of you out there who have been trying to post a comment on our blog but have been unsuccessful, you may give a sign of relief - it's not you. For some reason, it appears that no one can post comments on our blog except the administrators. I don't know how this happened but I'm going to try to get this fixed.

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fix it considering that I also seem to have removed some administrator privilages from - umm - myself.

It's time to call in My Geek! What we do without superheroes?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Insult or Compliment?

When I think about my first experiences with the fine arts, they didn't come from visiting museums or attending the symphony and the opera. (While that would have been nice, our family had many young children which makes attending cultural events prohibitive. Trust me, everyone enjoyed themselves more when we stayed home.) My exposure to the arts really came through the outlet of mass media. Billboards, commercials, radio programs, children's sing-along records, cereal boxes, movies... marketing and entertainment venues mainly.

I wonder now, if I had not become familiar with some of those sounds and images, would I have understood the works when I encountered them as an adult? If a brilliant musical composition was reworked and mass released to help a company sell me their product, was it insulting to the song's composer or was it simply another way to expose the world to his genius?


I remember watching Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny reenact the Ride of the Valkyries during Saturday morning cartoons, complete with Viking costumes and dramatic, cartoon-y landscapes.

I remember enjoying Disney's Fantasia with ballerina hippos and crocodiles, dancing dandelions and roses, Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice... all set to classical music.
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Goodness knows how many people have taken DaVinci's Mona Lisa and given her beards, cat faces, sunglasses, fistfuls of dollar bills...

When my grandmother passed away last year, I inherited one of her statuettes- a 10" tall gnome, sitting on a pile of books, chin on his fist, contemplating his gnomish life. It bears striking resemblance to Auguste Rodin's sculpture of The Thinker.
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Have you ever seen the painting, The Scream?
Have you ever seen The Scream superimposed with the words "Give me coffee!!" or "Where's the chocolate?!"
Image:The Scream.jpg

I have to admit, my kids sometimes hear the strains of Tchaicovsky's Nutcracker ballet and squeal, "Oh, oh, oh, remember when Barbie danced to this part as the evil witch approached on her dragon?!" Sometimes they see a Rembrandt portrait and say, "Gosh, that looks a lot like the cover of my picture book, "Cats and Snails and All Kinds of Tails. Except in my book that painting isn't a man and his dog, its a smiling kitty cat with a bird sitting on his hat."

So... is mimicry the highest form of flattery, or is it the lowest form of insult?
When society takes something deemed to be "high art" and brings it down to the common people, either as an advertisement, a commercial jingle, the soundtrack for a movie, a child's cartoon, or a cutesy sculpture for the living room, is that good or bad?
Would the "high artists" be offended or honored by what we're doing with their creations?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Do You Love a Good Story?

One of my writing profs at UT Dallas recommended that I rent "Stone Reader." So I watched it on Saturday.

In this two-hour documentary, an eighteen-year-old buys The Stones of Summer, a literary novel by a little-known author and starts reading it, but he just can't get into it. Yet twenty-five years later when he gives it another go, he loves the story. Unfortunately, when he tries to secure additional copies, he learns it's out of print. Then when he tries to track down the author, nobody knows where the guy is. The mystery sends the reader, Mark, on a yearlong search for the elusive author. The documentary chronicles his progress.

Along the way, Mark interviews teachers at the Iowa workshop, a New York literary agent, and lots of interesting writing experts who end up talking about what it's like to write a novel. By the end, Mark ends up with a video story that's the equivalent to a pageturner in which he presents a realistic picture of what's involved in writing a novel.
The film is for readers and writers and anyone who likes a good story. I won't spoil the ending for you, but if nothing else, pay attention to how they lay out the chronology for maximum suspense and satisfaction.

Do you know of other films with scenes about the writing process? I know of Factotum, Deathtrap, Adaptation, Barton Fink, Shattered Glass, Freedom Writers, and Finding Forrester. Do you know of others? If you'll help me compile a list, my students will love you for it.