Tree Teaching

colorful tree bark
Tree Bark
Exercise: take a white piece of paper, cut a window into it, pin this to a tree; paint the tree bark visible through the window. Carlos Villa introduced me to this learning tool.

This is especially good to do with watercolors. As you observe and then attempt to replicate the colors of the bark (oh, just simple grey…) you’ll keep finding more and more embedded color. The process is almost hallucinigenic. Each time you think you’ve found the match you see another color in the window.

To a casual observer tree bark is grey or brown or maybe a reddish color. To someone who has tried to paint it the bark is many colors.

Laughing at the Library

Lynda Barry's Syllabus
Lynda Barry’s Syllabus is printed on the same stock as a grade school composition book.

At the library to pick up an eagerly awaited book and as I start to pull it from the shelf I realize “this feels very familiar.”

And it was and is and laughter starts to burble up. It’s just like a composition book used in grade school. This is a book to use for your daily writing and drawing and whatevering. It encourages you to not get too serious. It encourages happiness much more than a Moleskine or an Artist’s Sketchbook.

Some of them, like mine shown here, only have lines on the bottom half of the page to encourage you to draw.

Lynda Barry must be a great teacher – she starts with the fundamentals.

Portland Backwards Summer

Typically people of Portland don’t count on sunny days until the fourth of July. Before then clouds and rain are normal. May will usually have a hot spell with temperatures in the 90s. But from Memorial Day through the fourth overcast skys and days with rain just make for a joke about knowing if it’s time for the Rose Festival.

This year is backwards. It feels comfortable. But hey it’s July! Where’s the sun and heat?

(preparing to eat those words in August.)

Why Do They Not Know

Look at something on Amazon. See ads for the item in many other places. This is annoying if you went ahead and bought it.

Compare: subscribe the to email announcement list somewhere. Do they do something so the website is aware you’re a subscriber? No. You get the sign up annoying pop up all the time.

Why don’t web sites that have an affiliated email list put out a cookie to track your subscription and not offer you the list signup? This is especially annoying when the pop up is full screen cover the content.

This is an annoyance. Not quite as annoying as sites so laden with ads you can’t read the content. Why don’t those folks know if you can’t read the content you won’t return to read the ads?

Whose Holiday

July 4th is a pretty big holiday in the USA. If a job doesn’t involve working with customers it’s workers probably have the day off. But why not retail too? Who really needs to buy something on the 4th?

After dropping a relative at the airport on the 4th of July we thought about swinging by the Costco close to the airport.  Costco employees will be enjoying (or so we hope) the 4th with the day off.  The 4th is one of seven holiday days that Costco closes each year. Go Costco!

What about other major retailers?  Ikea only closes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Sunday. Walmart only closes for Christmas. On Easter Sunday, New Years Day, and Thanksgiving they’re open with limited hours. Home Depot only closes for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Their parking lot was pretty full at 10:00. Not so the Michael’s Arts and Crafts next door. Employees outnumbered custmers about four to one.

When checking to see what businesses were open on what holidays a pattern emerged. If a business is only closed for the big two or three (Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving) its holiday hours page will provide a long list of holidays on which it’s open. For example:

    New Year’s Day
    Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day)
    Valentine’s Day
    Presidents Day
    Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday
    St. Patrick’s Day
    Tax Day
    Good Friday
    Easter Sunday
    Easter Monday
    Cinco de Mayo
    Mother’s Day
    Memorial Day
    Father’s Day
    Independence Day (4th of July)
    Labor Day
    Columbus Day
    Halloween
    Veterans Day
    Black Friday
    Christmas Eve
    New Year’s Eve

Let’s get real. What business do you know that closes on Halloween? Cinco de Mayo? Mother’s or Father’s Day? Valentine’s Day? Tax Day? Mardi Gras? Gee how nice for the fine business to be open on those holidays. Or is this just something to obscure they make people work on Labor Day, Memorial Day and other important holidays?

We’re going to hear a lot about this in a few months when retailers open for Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Not too consistent to make a fuss then and not today.

Banks and the government do a nice job on holidays. All the work excepting essential services close down for holidays with meaning.

Two disclaimers: I’m personally glad nice to have businesses remain open, like grocery stores. I spent a few years in my teens and twenties working for radio stations. More than one Thanksgiving dinner was eaten from a tray in the control room.