Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Better Late than......

I'm not sure where the weekend went - but here it is Tuesday and I find myself very far behind. I did manage to catch up on some blog reading this weekend, however, and discovered Sheri's great Thursday Thoughts meme in which I would have liked to participate. So hopefully no one out there in blogland will mind if I post a response a few days late.

The thought for the day (well, for the week in my case) is.....

If you could study a subject that you’ve never had the opportunity to learn, what would you choose? This could be an academic class or the study of a specific skill or art. Tell us your passion about it!

I truly love to learn - so if I gave this a lot of thought I am sure that I could develop a rather large list of potential subjects to delve into. The first two that come to mind however, are Art Appreciation and Photoshop. Let me explain.

I have always been involved in the arts, mostly through music (I played the piano for about 6 years and then picked up the flute in junior high and played through my junior year in college). I am quite certain that music saved my life in high school. Well, that may be a touch melodramatic, but I do know that I never quite felt like I fit in UNLESS I was in the band/orchestra room. Somehow cliques disappeared for that hour of instruction - and good times were had because we all shared a common passion.

As much as I enjoy and appreciate music, however, I have never seemed to transfer that passion to the visual arts. I had the opportunity to live in NYC for 4 years and I think in all that time I took the time to visit one museum. I am fairly certain I could cover the Metropolitan Museum of Art in about 90 minutes time. This is a travesty -- I know.

Two years ago I had the opportunity to go to Paris for a very quick 3 day stay. In that time period we were going to visit the Musee d'Orsay, and I was determined to make the most of this excursion (or at least to linger longer than 3.2 seconds at each of the masterpieces). I borrowed the DVD series from the library, From Monet to Van Gogh: A History of Impressionism, and I read Art for Dummies (don't l augh - it served its purpose and its audience). I am happy to report that I spent 3 hours at the museum and left wanting more. This has fueled a true desire to learn to appreciate art in the same way that I have learned to appreciate books. In books I pay close attention to the author's tools: his words - diction and syntax; his weaving of plot and development of character; his deeper meaning behind the words. I am beginning to learn that art is very much the same way: the artists tools are his brushes and his color; his use of light and shadow; his perspective of the ordinary to make it extraordinary; he does truly have deeper meaning behind the picture. I have a long way to go, but I know it will be a satisfying journey.

While I know that I have no talent whatsoever to become an artist --- I do think that Photoshop has created a program that can enable all of us to become decent photographers -- which is as close to an artistic endeavor that I will ever get. I have always enjoyed taking pictures. Not the artistic "make a statement" pictures -but the "capture the memory" sort of pictures. I tried a photography class a LONG time ago, but aperatures and F-stops were too cumbersome for me to learn (and I was dealing with young children at the time. By the time I adjusted the camera's settings the memory I was hoping to capture was long gone!) Using my "point and shoot" camera, I can take a decent picture. Well, by decent I mean that the subject is centered (no heads chopped off or photographer fingers in the way) and it is usually in focus (unless the dogs happen to move at the wrong time - which frequently happens). I want to learn to enhance these rather generic photos and at least make them good. I don't think it will be difficult - and I even think I will have fun -- but the problem is to find the time to actually sit down and play with it.

Some people claim that they can't imagine retirement. They would go crazy with nothing to do. Me, I am counting down the years. I have far too many interests to occupy my time and I hope that never changes. I think it is what helps me to feel (not necessarily look) young. If you enjoy learning as much as I do, and you haven't heard of the Teaching Company's DVD series (in severeal subjects, not just art), be sure to check out their website. It is an absolutely treasure trove.


  1. Hi Molly, great post as always. The Teaching Company does have some wonderful dvds. I bought several of the art ones recently but have only watched one. It was very interesting and well done. The only thing about them is once you are on their mailing list, it seemed I got another sale brochure twice a week.

  2. I love the Teaching Company and I've taken 3 course with them. So worth the money.

  3. I would love to be able to use PhotoShop too!

  4. Molly... you're not late. Thursday's Thoughts is posted on Sunday and runs up until that Thursday. This week's contest can be posted through Thursday, March 12th. So... you're early.... not late!

    Anyway, I want to learn Photoshop, too! I'm proficient on other software systems that are less expensive than this one. Someday, I'll fork out the cash for this big daddy!

    And, I think you'd be the perfect artist!

    Make sure that you leave a comment/link on Thursday's Thoughts site.


  5. Hi Molly, my husband and I have enjoyed a number of different classes from The Teaching Company. We're in the process of choosing our next one right now. Also, I used Photoshop Elements all the time, and couldn't live without it.

  6. hi Molly, I just saw you won Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I thought this was such a wonderful novel. I am sure you will enjoy it!

  7. I was going to suggest the Teaching Company until I got to the end of your post and saw you like it also. We have several classes, we love them and the ones we didn't, we sent back and they were WONDERFUL about giving us a credit, no questions or hassles. My teenagers love them also.

    I just ordered an Art series, I'll let you know how it goes.

  8. Photoshop is simply just awesome. I use it to design my passes and awards for my classroom, and the kids just argue over who gets the "coolest" design on their award. Definitely worth the while to learn. And there's always so much more to learn on photoshop!

  9. I am counting down the many years I have before retirement as well. I have a ton of things I can do to occupy my time and they do not involve watching television at all!

  10. You WON! Here is the post:

    Email me your shipping address at anovelmenagerie@aol.com so that I can ship you the gift. Check out the winning post, too.



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