April 24, 2012


Although it’s been a week since I last ‘blogged’, it seems like it was only yesterday!

Cornelia is home, and doesn’t seem to have been bothered by not being at home for five days.  At first, since I had medicine to give her, I had to separate her from the other cats.  My morning routine was a bit altered, but it had to be done.  I didn’t want the other cats eating her food with the medicine.

It did take her a couple of days to finally eat.  She just didn’t want to eat the food with the medicine.  I kept putting her to the dish, taking little pieces of the food and touching it to her mouth… really had to baby her!  What a stubborn and fussy eater!  Tough love – she will eat when she’s hungry, but I have to listen to her meowing louder and louder.  However, she finally did eat.  I was kind of surprised, because basically, I just ignored her.  She went over to her dish, and ate all the food.  Then she looked at me as if to say, “Okay, I give up!”

So, as far as Cornelia goes, things are back to normal.

There have been a couple of other things going on this week that has kept me preoccupied.

Last Wednesday was the beginning of the National Storytelling Competition 2012 with Giraffe.  Listening to 53 students reading four different stories, is a bit of a task for the judges – believe me!  Some of the kids are nervous, some are very comfortable.  Some just stand there and read word-for-word, while others try to add a bit of emotion and action to their storytelling.

After about four hours of listening to all these stories, the four judges’ scores (and comments) are tabulated and winners emerge.  This was the first step for these students.  This year, there will be three students chosen from each level who will compete in the school final on May 11.  From this competition, a total of four students will be chosen – one from each level.  As an added bonus for the school, this year one of our students has chosen to compete at the highest level of storytelling.  We will have five students in the regional competition on July 1.

Now begins the late evenings.  I think I’m ready, and I’m sure Janice is ready as well.  I would really like to see all five students win the regionals this year, and compete in the national competition.  Our school does seem to do quite well at these competitions.  I know that I push these students to their limits.  I know Janice pushes them as well.  However, the major push is the kids themselves.  Once the competition is in full swing, the kids seem to give it their all.  Even the parents get involved in pushing the kids to do really well.

The other thing that has kept me very busy at home, is trying to get the painting done.  The apartment is beginning to look good.  It still looks like I just moved in, but slowly it has gone from wreck to wonderful.

In the dining room, I reproduced three Henri Matisse paintings.  The works were fairly easy to reproduce, however, they did take quite a while to complete.

In the living room, it was decided (with Gary’s persistence), to try my hand at reproducing Pablo Picasso.  Definitely, not as easy as Matisse’s works.

The first work I wanted to do, was a fairly easy piece from Picasso’s Spanish series.  Like the Matisse works, I had to find the picture online, paste the picture into Excel, and expand it to the size I wanted.  Once I was satisfied with the look, print it out in black and white, tape the picture together, then cut out the pieces where the paint was to go, thus creating a stencil.

As this first piece was easy enough, the difficulty with it was that the edges are very uneven.  It took a lot of time to actually cut out the stencil.  But, persistence and patience paid off.

This is the actual print I used from the Internet:

And this is my final rendition of Picasso’s work:

Now, Gary told me not to say anything to anyone, but, for those of you who are experts or know Picasso’s works, will see that I took some ‘artistic liberty’ in reproducing this work.  Yes, it is still a Picasso work, and I did add his signature to the piece, however, as I am [personally] against animal abuse, even though this piece of work is incredible in so many ways, I decided to eliminate the sword in the matador’s hand.  I also gave him a cap!

The next piece I wanted to attempt required a bit more (aka A LOT MORE) patience and perseverance.  The work is from his ‘cubism’ period.  In my opinion, these are more recognizable as Picasso works.  For this piece, I decided to make it huge – not just oversized, but HUGE!  I wanted it to fill the wall, from ceiling to floor.  I knew that it would be a task to achieve this, but, the somewhat simplicity of the work, the colours, and the fact that it was not overly complicated, made it a good choice for me to reproduce.

The first thing, was to choose the artwork.  There are quite a few pieces to choose from, but I also wanted to be able to use some of the coloured paint that I already had.  Therefore, again, taking ‘artistic liberty’ with Picasso’s work, but trying to maintain the Picasso look.

The Picasso piece I choose was:

Now, the thing I like about Picasso’s artwork of this type, is the fact that the colours are in ‘pieces’.  The sections of colour are big, and not too complicated.  As I don’t have the exact colours depicted in this artwork, I do have colours of these shades.  And that the ‘sections’ of colour are basically outlined in black, made it a lot easier to cut into ‘puzzle pieces’.

So, the first thing was to measure the wall space.  As Taiwan uses A4 paper as opposed to 8.5×11 paper in North America, the measurements are a bit different.  Who cares.  You deal with what you have.

I figured out to do this artwork, it would require a replica reproduced on 72 sheets of A4 paper – 8 x 9 sheets of paper.  The artwork was transferred to EXCEL, expanded to the proper size, then printed out in black and white.  Once all the pages were printed, the task of taping them all together was, in a word, a TASK!  It was huge.  Whether you look at it as A4 paper or 8.5×11 paper, it is still incredible.  Think of it as your wall on the floor!

Nonetheless, it was accomplished.  The pieces were all taped together, and then, each section of a different colour, was cut out like a huge puzzle.  Then, each piece was placed on the wall, traced around each section, and then began the laborious task of painting each section.  In some cases, either a bit of black or white was added to the paint colours to produce the different shades.  After the final colour was completed, then the black outlining between the colours was added.  The very last step, was to add “PICASSO” to the bottom of the print, just as the actual print.  The final result is this:

Again, to the untrained eye, in my opinion, it is incredible.  To an expert, you will see differences.  However, the idea is to create a Picasso-like piece of art – not an original!  Just to show that I can accomplish what I set out to do, is a testament to the idea that, when you set your sights on a goal, and take your time, you can accomplish anything.  It was not a race or a competition.  It was a task that I wanted to prove to myself, that I could do anything I set my mind to!

I think the photos of my work are more forgiving than the actual work.  As I was the one to do the work, I can see the little mistakes (aside from exact colours), but I will never, EVER, tell anyone other than Gary, what the mistakes are!  Why?  He is the person that is pushing me.  He is half a world away, and other than helping to choose the works, and his constant encouragement, has nothing to gain or lose from what is being done.

There is still a lot more to complete in the apartment, but I do think that is coming along fine.  So far, it’s taken over five months to complete what has been done, and I figure, another two or three months to finish.  At the rate I’m going, and with all the other events going on presently, it will be a ‘one-year anniversary’ before I will allow people to see the final product for real!  Sorry folks.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!

P.S.  Back to daily blog-writing starting today!

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