Salvador Dali and More at UNLV’s Barrick Museum

The Marjorie Barrick Museum at UNLV is celebrating its 50th anniversary with three cool new exhibits. Since I walk past it all the time and it’s free, I figured I should check them out. The most interesting one to me is the collection of Salvador Dali illustrations of classic literature.


I knew right away I’d like this room! Tangential anecdote: back in my 2nd or 3rd year teaching, I thought it would be funny to put a sign with this quote over my classroom door. My principal disagreed and made me take it down.

The illustrations are to each volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy, as well as Boccaccio’s Decameron. Each display gets turned to new pages twice weekly, so I suppose I’ll drop back in each time I’m on campus the rest of this semester. Go a minute out of my way to see more original Dali work up close? Yes, please.


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Notes on Drawing Lessons From the Great Masters

I’ve been wanting to read Robert Beverly Hale’s Drawing Lessons From the Great Masters for years.  As I finally did, I jotted down a few notes: underlined items are an immediate “to-do” list.

Watteau’s “Nine Studies of Heads,” just one of many drawings I loved in the book.


* see things as cubes, spheres, cylinders, eggs

* contour lines add depth, purpose

* lines separate angular planes where they meet

* heaviness of lines indicates darkness, light

* practice drawing blankets over furniture

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Spring Self-Improvement Report

Last year, I started breaking down my list of lifetime goals into smaller steps and making those my resolutions.  Instead of just starting at New Year’s, though, I split the calendar up into the three major divisions that my life as a father and teacher naturally fall into: a Spring semester, summer, and a Fall semester.  To keep my summer at a useful three months, I schedule those goals to be done in the three months before I report back to school for the new year, which means that this year my “summer” is defined as May 22-August 24 (even though I still have two weeks left this school year). 

That also means that my Spring semester for self-improvement–January 1 through May 21–just ended.  I had set ten goals for myself to achieve during this time, each correlated to the larger “bucket list,” and it went surprisingly well.  For comparison, out of the ten goals I set for last Fall, I only accomplished…two.  A poor, piddling, puny little two.  This time around, out of these first ten goals for 2010 (including the eight I rolled over from last year), I finished seven.  Not bad. 

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Skills of An Artist

The title here is a Homestar Runner reference.  Brownie points if you get it. 

While camping this weekend, I wanted to practice something I love but that I haven’t worked on in a long time: pencil sketching.  I wish I’d put more time into this; I think I could be pretty decent if I did.  As it is…well, the kids were impressed. 

Here’s a sketch I did of a scene from our campsite: some pine and evergreen branches in the foreground, a mountain face in the background, and a cloud.  I never know how to do something as detailed as the mountain face without making it look too “busy.”  True story: in a fourth grade art class, we had an hour to draw a scene.  At the end, I still had a mostly blank sheet of paper because I insisted on drawing each individual blade of grass at the bottom of the page.  So I’ve gotten over that. 

Still, my work strikes me as clumsy and sentimental (much like my writing).  The shading I use to indicate the late afternoon is desperate.  All that being said, though, I actually like this–the only really bad part is the branches coming in from the left side, which look like they could have been drawn by Napoleon Dynamite.  But it made me happy to do it, and I enjoy the rough, impressionistic style I’m developing (this would be more evident if you could see my jagged lines closer up).  When I opened the sketch book I use, which I hadn’t seen for over a year, and flipped through the other pages, I was delighted to see some pleasant other work I’ve done.  Now I think I should do some work in charcoal.