Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

What did you talk about around the table on Thanksgiving?
Predictions were that current elections and the possibility of war would be top topics. After the sumptuous meal, for the fortunate ones, the grown-up table talk increases. 
We were among guests who shared personal experiences, opinions, and concerns. A small group of adults who spanned five generations. Our common characteristics: African American. We were all employed. (The most senior are employed at staying well and alive.) We shared our middle class-ness, regardless of the path to arrive there. Each person speaking from their own generation: spokes in a wheel.
I have been trying to find symbols that represent what was most important, and disturbing. Were I a composer, I think I would make music. A better writer, perhaps a pamphlet of opinion, a summary and possible conclusions. I might save characterization for a future novel. 
But I am primarily a visual artist. One who usually thinks content before making art. I want symbols where there were no cymbals at the table. The words radiated out from the heat off the sun and cooled as they were politely spoken. Drawn childlike. At the center, each of us spoke from the core of hurts, large, small, deep. Too painful to admit. Lava-like flowing on the outside of a hardened inner core. Too painful to go deeply.
Perhaps, a ball of twine wrapped around a stone. Sometimes a ribbon of velvet and silk, sometimes the roughened rope.

Perhaps a basket made by gichee mothers or for Moses. Safe passage except for a tiny hole. 
Perhaps, a fire burned down to ashes and then getting new life, reigniting. How do you express the cycles of history? The collective rebellions shut down by guns? The passiveness of fear? Not telling our children the full extent of the law and its historic significance? Jacob Lawrence painted the tables but could not record the talk around it. Karin Walker’s silhouettes are just eye candy without the words behind them. 
Or, the broken chains. We are left with the comfort meal, some understanding of how we are all connected but no workable solution.

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Waiting in my inbox late Thanksgiving, Ancestry had found my George Washington H.S. senior  photo!  I am certain I never owned any paraphanlia like class ring or yearbook. You will find me Number one (but it is page 84). Look down a few rows and you will see a “look-alike. She was a class ahead of me but we were often mistaken for each other. Our graduation portraits looked more like the other.

Earlier in the evening, I had been asked several times if I have finished the book. Friends do not want to read bits and pieces on this blog as I am living ‘the Book’ . It could be called Many Lives of… Was this little green leaf, ancestry’s way of telling you they have found something,  trying to tell me to get on with my ‘work’?

George Washington was my second high school. I went to NYC for the summer and the adults forgot about school or sending me back. The last day of enrollment I was registered even though I had no papers and it was not in my district. The little lies are using a wrong address and being clueless about the system. Rejecting anything which might have bee learned in Chicago, my class load started out: English,Latin,Algebra and Clothing.  I could have taken cooking. My home room was made up of students who were between grade level. The hope was that we would catch up. Standing room only.

At that time, you were given a brochure telling how wonderful it was. Graduates were prepared to enter West Point and super fine colleges. It said its mission was for graduates to succeed.my uncle was not impressed with Clothing. His niece would go to college and,as he impressed on a cowering principal, they better get me there. They redid my classes but left me Latin 2. I entered the room late and had to share a seat with above mentioned girl. The class spoke only in tongues to my ear and the book was gibberish. Before I could work with a willing tutor, I was back at the beginning. Very difficult to relearn a language.

I did well, made friends, joined some clubs and delivered the NY Times. To get to school from the foot of Sugar Hill required over 100 steps through the park, straight up, walk straight up to Amsterdam, take the old IRT. All the while carrying huge books. Book bags were unknown.

You Arista under my name. That is the National Honor Society. My Ecomics and Civic teacher told me to apply my junior year. The committee was already meeting so it was a hurried job to get recommendations from my teachers and advisors. We were crushed when I was denied. There were no blacks being considered and the school’s record was not good. We decided to plan better and apply again. That meant more activities and keeping high grades. My recommendations were stronger.

When decisions were made, it was secret. You were just asked to attend. No decision was made on me until the last minute. I barely had time to get home and put on something presentable and back. But I made it. It may have been a first.

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From: Sandi Gorin via <kyresearch@rootsweb.com>Date: November 19, 2015 at 7:39:18 AM CST

To: KYRESEARCH@rootsweb.com


Reply-To: Sandi Gorin <sgorin@glasgow-ky.com>

I enjoy the historical information in emails from Sandi Gorin. She researches and writes about Kentucky. However, you can learn a lot even if that state is not your primary interest. You can see that she has broader interests and ties them in to local history.

Most states have an immigrant population. Hope you will enjoy this item she posted.  At the bottom helpful hints to follow. 


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My aunt read to us children while she ironed. Her selections were the classic stories from her youth or her teaching days. Rather than expect our schools to assign these old stories and writings by black authors, she supplemented our knowledge herself.

Which of the six children were readers? I do not know. I was one. The Public Library was about a mile away. It was the only place I could go alone. A rule prevented children from the adult room and the balcony.

Within a few years, probably aged ten, the librarians agreed with me that I had read all I needed to in the children’s room. (Even the chairs were too small.)

My favorite books were on the balcony. Egypt, Vikings and huge art books were like worlds away from the uncertainty I felt with no parents or home to return to. School libraries also provided novels to fantasize about. In our home, a glass-cased shelves held Daddy-Long Legs, Gulliver’s Travels, Robinson Crusoe and Pollyanna. They were reread many times.

As you know, I love Internet Archives for its mission to make books, music, radio programs and more available online and for free. I just read The Familiar Letters of Peppermint Perkins, pseud.. This book was printed in 1894, reprinted from the Boston “Saturday Evening Post”

The letters are written between 1885 and 1886. There are hilarious passages. They describe life and customs for both men and women. If you know Boston, you will enjoy and understand Peppermint’s references. So much is unchanged when she wonders why she, as a woman, should vote. Shelives with a brother, Joe and their mother.

I must confess that I find reading aloud difficult. However, this book would be hilarious entertainment for a family to read aloud together. I will urge my ‘dramatic’ granddaughters to take on some of the long passages. This book was downloaded to Kindle but there are more ways to read and enjoy.

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TIP #1114 WHEN WEB SEARCHING SEEMS TO FAIL (forwarded from my email)

NOTE: I will be making a special post next
Monday, Dec. 22nd and then am taking a break to
enjoy the holidays with some of my family. Merry Christmas to you all!

Have you at times given up because you couldn’t
find information on Ancestry.com or
FamilySearch.com? There are other ways to search
on-line that might yield some good results!

I’m sure many of you have sat in front of the
monitor trying everything you could think of to
find that illusive ancestor. Surely someone,
sometime, somewhere has written something about
good old Great-aunt Josephine Hidingout Jones!
Well, maybe no one has, but don’t give up until you’ve exhausted searches!

Today I’m going to talk about Googling your
ancestor in the hopes that someone there claims
Josephine! As you well know, Google is one of
many search engines available; you likely have
used it many times. (Note: I don’t receive a commission from them!)

Google uses (like others) a web crawler or
spider. Before you creep out over spiders in your
computer, when you enter something for Google to
search, it visits websites page by page, in rapid
speed and checking for what you entered. It is
looking for websites that mention Josephine
Hindingout Jones. As you well know, it will give
you false links; they all do. The first “hits”
found are normally the most relevant but as you
go farther down in the lists of its findings, you
might find “hits” for Josephine, the surname
Hidingout (or the words hiding out) and/or Jones.

We can enter our search terms in several
different ways. For example if we entered
Josephine Hidingout Jones; we could enter it just
as I showed it, or Josephine Hindingout Jones
family, or (name) family Kentucky; or “Josephine
Hidingout Jones” in quotes, or (name) genealogy.
If you’re doing a search for Smith, you’d better
put some qualifiers with it!! Such as
Smith+Nelson County KY; Smith+KY+18th century.
The variations are unlimited almost.

If you enter Jones genealogy Kentucky, Google
automatically puts the word AND in – Jones and genealogy and Kentucky.

If you spell genealogy wrong (and I’ve seen it
spelled various ways), the search engine will try
to figure out what you meant and give you a
suggestion. For example, you typed geneology: You
will receive a message: “Did you mean genealogy”
. Duh, yes! You can click on the correct word
genealogy and it will proceed. There are also
things called wild cards, negative searches, etc.
I won’t deal with them in great detail here but
as a personal example. If I’m doing a search for
Gorin, I don’t want to see Igor Gorin, a famous
singer (no relation), Goren the noted bridge
player or Gorin the Russian spy. I can search for
Gorin not Igor or Gorin not Russia etc.

Let’s try a different approach to Google. There
are two things that you might not have checked –
images and books. I have been surprised many
times on searching on Images. When you go to the
Google home page, in the upper right side you
will see Images. Click on this. Another search
box will appear like the one on the home page.
Enter the name you want – back to good old
Josephine Hidingout Jones and hit return. Photos
will appear, lots of them! Now, not all are our
Josie girl. Again, normally the first ones shown
are your best bet but check them all! These are
photographs from all over the web, taken from
family pages, city/county/state sites, etc.

If you click on the thumbnail picture, you will
be given the option of going to the website that
contains the picture or go to the picture itself.
Go to the website first. Here you can immediately
determine if that’s your Josie or someone else.
If it’s there, check the bottom of the website to
see if it’s under copyright (thus you can’t
publish the photo without permission of the
contact person/owner of the website). The farther
you go down on the page of photos, the more
abstract it becomes and you can get a lot of
false hits. But, scan them just in case!

Now – you might (or might not) find Josie herself
staring at you in an old photograph, but you
might find a page from a Bible record that’s been
submitted; a picture of their house, their tombstone, etc.

In fact, when doing the search for Josie you can
add more to your search engine query. You could
type: (name)+Bible records or (name)+cemetery,
etc. I have found a long sought-after Bible
record on a Google search! Note: the parenthesis
is not part of the search, I’ve used it to keep
from typing her name out every time!)

Next time, I’ll look at using Google for books.

Colonel Sandi Gorin
President, South Central KY Historical & Genealogical Society
Sandi’s website: http://www.gensoup.org/gorin/index.html
Sandi’s puzzlers: http://www.gensoup.org/gorinpuzzles/index.php

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acrylic on canvas

Charlotte (in progress)

Blog University 16 – Imagination

What do you do if your subject is unattainable? Imagine it.

I am painting a woman who died before I was born. Her story is the subject rather than realism. After reading a great deal about her life and work, I selected two opposing ideas to incorporate:

1. She wore her father’s clothes after his death.
2. “She dressed like a dandy.” This quote was by a contemporary person.

Why not paint her in the style of Thomas Gainsborough? Student artists learn by copying great paintings. The Blue Boy had remained famous during her lifetime.  While researching, I found Pink Boy. It was a better fit for my subject.

By making a sketch, I learned  an amazing structure is under the composition. You can trace a print to find the lines and shapes in the composition. A black/white print may also instruct. Consider making a value study.

My painting is developing slowly ‘in the style of‘ rather than a copy. Each layer corrects the drawing and colors. By glazing and adding texture, the finished work should emerge. I believe attire is like a costume and expresses something about the person. The painting shows something about the artist’s imagination, also.

Image: Charlotte (unfinished) acrylic on canvas


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While thinking of the New Year’s possibilities, review your art skills

when the sky is dark and gray,

the landscape frozen white

is there no dark?

is there no light?

Remember the darkest dark forces the brightest light. This area in painting, photography and music brings emphasis and shape to the work. It is the most dramatic and the most emotional connection with the viewer.

How do you do this in a painting?
– do you glob on white next to black? Maybe.
– is the tube of white as bright as a touch of yellow mixed in?
– are you limiting yourself to the direction of light around you? A wonderful teacher in Nashville, the late Hazel King, pointed out many sources of light in her classroom: windows, flourescent fixtures, an open doorway. Her work used light creatively for color and composition. She had a system which a comparison of paintings would appear.
– does your darkest dark shape the light? I looked online at The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur. It was the largest painting by any man or woman. The overall tone of the painting is dark. There is a Steam Engine rear left and a mass of horses moving left to right across the canvas. Almost in the center, a bit forward, a large, black horse rears up. In the version I saw, a light circle curves under its silhouetted hoofs, around under his body swinging back to the right. It extends to become a subtle oval. Encased within the light is a large white horse pulling you into the painting.

You have to believe this was the intent of the artist. You can study other paintings where the artist wishes you to hang around.
– does your painting follow Bonheur’s method?
– do abstract works use the same darkest dark/lightest light technique?
– what do small dots of red or red next to green add by moving the eye of the viewer?

When you are not satisfied with your work, go back to basics. Add a strong dark next to the lightest area. Make it define the shape. Turn your painting in three directions and observe from a distance. Squinting or a card blocking portions of a canvas can make you aware of how to punch your work.

Sign it, save it or sign it, sell it!

UZU app

Dark and Light

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