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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

13Amra20bA birth day party for twin boys was held at Salvatore’s Restaurant on Arlington Place just off Clark in Lincoln 13Amra30bPark.  Pretty posh for celebrating your first birthday!  The dad told me that he was raising them to become Croatian soccer players , because that’s where the big bucks—or euros were. I could hardly get a look at the squirmy boys in their high chairs, but managed to put down a likeness, I hope. It’s all fun!

13Amra20The well-behaved school age kids gathered around me, all fascinated by these drawings just appearing on the paper. It’s a learning experience for them, not just another occasion you have to dress up for.

Thank you, Amra!

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

https://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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www,katherinehilden.com—————————————

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13Drako9bI was the caricaturist of choice at Dmitri’s birthday party.  His wife told me that everybody was going to speak 13Drako9Russian.  So I went to YouTube and learned some Russian phrases.  The most useful thing to say, I thought, would be “excuse me.”  The phonetic  approximation  comes out as “eez-veh-NEE-dzeh.”  It also means “I’m sorry.”  What the hostess didn’t tell me was that everybody also spoke excellent, educated English.  Still, I wanted to practice my new Russian phrase and that’s what I said when I presented the drawing: “eez-veh-NEE-dzeh.”  They got the joke, of course.Sophisticated people always get my jokes, sometimes while putting up with bad pronunciation. Thank you, Yuliya!—————————–13Drako8b13Drako813Drako1013Drako10b13Drako7b13Drako7a13Drako5a13Drako513Drako6b13Drako613Drako213Drako2b13Drako3b13Drako313Drako413Drako4b13Drako1b13Drako1

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com——————————–

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13BuddTemple5b

The Midwest Buddhist Temple on Menominee in Chicago held an all-day Mind/Body seminar two Saturdays ago. There were yoga 13BuddTemple5sessions and instructions by a dancer on how to properly sit and stand in our everyday lives.  We need to take care of our bodies.  I had been asked to participate because I’m in the laughter business. I’m one of those who believe that if you want to be healthy, in addition to eating well, sleeping soundly and, yes, sitting up straight, you also need to embrace laughter as part of your life.  Laughter is therapeutic.  It dilates the arteries and thus sends a rush of oxygen to your brain and to all cells of your body.  I was hired to do a talk-‘n’-draw. (Hm, I think I just coined a new word.) On the Art of Caricature, there’s enough to talk about to easily fill an hour, but the schedule of the day ended up only allowing a few minutes. As it turned out, since zennies are a reflective, introspective bunch, questions came up while I was drawing.  I like that.  But I didn’t stop to expand on the topics that were raised; I only promised to go into them later.  Among the topics that the people I was drawing mentioned were sarcasm, awkwardness, isolating features, and how to learn this art.

This was a group of people with a robust sense of humor—oh, yes, make no mistake about Buddhists.  There was much hilarity and curiosity.  When I finally did talk, I chose to expand on one of the words that had come up:  “sarcasm.”

I told the story of how I found my start in the business of drawing caricatures.  It was the summer of 1989, August. I went to the Gold Coast Art Fair and found myself spending a lot of time hovering around a caricature artist named John Murawsky.  He was good. I studied his technique and kept track of the $20 bills he shoved into his pockets.   Being a lover of faces, a life-long limner, and hard up for cash at the time, I decided to practice drawing caricatures.  “I can do this,” I said to myself and went home to draw faces from high school yearbooks and from newspapers.  Politicians are not my favorite company but they kept making headlines with disturbing decisions in high office. I drew them anyway, for the simple reason that there was a steady supply of pictures of them to work from.  And also because their faces were famous and therefore I had to get the likeness.  I drew every day.  The same face, over and over.  Piles of paper accumulated.  The waste paper basked had to be emptied all the time.  Then I discovered something:  I couldn’t be angry with these people while drawing them.  I could start out not liking a certain politician (not naming names here), but by the time the drawing was done, all that anger was evaporated.  The drawing process requires such concentration—and empathy!—that any other emotion would get in the way and therefore has to go.

The Art of Caricature is widely misunderstood.  When I draw, people stand around me and I often hear them comment to each other that a caricaturist takes one feature, like your nose, and exaggerates it.  This is not true.  If I focus on your nose, for example, and make it either humongous or itsy-tiny, the drawing will look grotesque but will not look like you.  To get a likeness—and I do have to get a likeness—I have to consider all the features and how they relate to one another.  Not only that, but I have to understand how the culture I live in interprets the symbolism associated with the various features.  For example, a big nose on a woman is not desirable, but on a man it can be super macho and therefore , shall we say, a big plus.  Actually, this is a bit of a tangent that I may get into another time.

So, no sarcasm.  None of it, at least not in my work.  This is not to say that I overlook your big nose or your teeth (to take a couple of popular examples).  I really do go for these specifics, but not out of sarcasm. It’s the opposite.  I exaggerate your nose and your teeth as a CELEBRATION of your individuality.

Drawing as fast as I do is only possibly because of the empathy with which I see you.  Drawing is energizing for me. If I had to deal with the interference of sarcasm, that would slow me down and I would get exhausted.  That wouldn’t be any fun. And it does have to be fun—for me.  You laugh when you see the drawing and that’s therapeutic for you, but all the while the process of drawing has been good for me, too. Intense concentration and empathy are probably good for everyone. I recommend drawing for everyone, even for people who grumble, “and I can’t even draw a stick figure.”  (Even for politicians.  Especially for politicians.)

When you draw, the concentration of seeing scrubs out your brain.  Ahhhh!

This was an invigorating event. Thank you, Susan.

Dear Katherine, thanks so very much for a great session.  It was really enjoyed by everyone.  People who had their caricatures done and who were there on Sunday were just raving.

Thanks again.  It was amazing watching the process.  I liked what you said about needing to be completely open and accepting of what you were seeing to be able to do it.

See you soon. Thanks again, Susan.——————————–

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All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com

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12CricketSarahBIG

If your mom’s name is Cricket, all your friends will want to come to your birthday party.  Not to mention the dogs, one of whom was a white Great Dane the size of a pony.  Her name was Mama and “get in your cage, Mama” sounded startling to a visitor.  But there’s much  to observe and learn on my gigs.  Thank you, Cricket, and Happy Birthday, Jasmine!

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All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com

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It’s all about learning.  Sure, it’s fun ; sure it’s great to go home with a picture of yourself to frame and hang in your room and wonder if you will look like that in five years (the drawing tends to make you look more glamorous, more self-assured and more powerful than you feel–at least are allowed to feel  since you’re a kid going to school and playing baseball and soccer).   But, the real treat is watching over the artist’s shoulder.  It goes so fast!  And look how she does the hair…look how she puts blue in the hair to make it look more black.  They ask me about that all the time.  Look how she leaves a white spot on the tip of the nose and on the cheeks.  That’s the high light, I explain.  She always makes the head big and the body small.  Why?  That’s part of how caricatures are done, I explain.  They themselves all draw.  Drawing is part of the way children make sense of the world.  Drawing is a natural extension of the SEEING process.  Drawing is a natural way of saying, “these things around us that we look at every day are pretty amazing, let’s take time to actually look at them.”  Faces are a special feature of the work we live in and are extra fascinating.  (See PROSOPAGNOSIA in my blog post for 9.  Xxxx, in http://artamaze.wordpress.com)

There are parties where four or five kids will spend the entire duration of the party, in this case two hours, standing next to me and studiously watching the process. I’ve seen it many times and this was such an occasion.  It’s really gratifying for me.  One of the questions that always comes up is, how did you learn to do this?  The answer is that you have to draw a lot, you have to practice.  Then I encourage them to keep drawing.  After the age of twelve, children tend to get more interested in socializing and conforming and, as a result, they spend less and less time at their drawing boards.  Maybe some of “my students” from these parties will continue.  I like to think so.

For the past dozen or so years I’ve been spending the afternoons of grandparents day in nursing homes, where the families come to visit. This past Sunday it was at Holy Family on Dempster in Des Plaines.  This was an exceptionally polite crowd, enthusiastic in a gentile way.  What a pleasure!  Thank you, Mila, Mercy, and Adrianna.  See you next year!

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