Wednesday, November 5, 2008


that thing, you know, with feathers.
Originally uploaded by slothmuffin

My polling place yesterday was the local elementary school (and was within walking distance of my house, yay! Unfortunately, all the free election day goodies at Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's weren't. And I didn't feel like driving, so I was sans complimentary coffee and ice cream.), and after I voted, I just walked around a little looking at the various art projects that were posted on the walls. Everything was very much fall-themed...there were a group of pumpkins, done in acrylic paint and obviously designed to teach the kids about shading, since each one featured the moon as a light source, casting yellow highlights on the pumpkins, with varying degrees of success. There was a whole hallway of leaf-prints, done in beautiful bright colours on black construction paper. (I need to go outside and get some nicely-shaped leaves to try this one myself...) The photo with this post was my favourite from a whole selection of art made from various natural materials---leaves, pinecones, seeds, some kids even used rocks. I wish I'd had a better camera with me!

I feel sort of silly saying it was inspiring, but it was. I had a love/hate relationship with art class in school. Even as a little kid, I didn't really like having a set assignment and then getting graded on it, but there were some projects I remember really enjoying. I was in the Art Club, which only sixth graders were allowed to join, and we built our own birdhouses from little kits and then painted them. For some reason, actually putting something together out of wood pieces with tiny nails was the most exciting thing ever for me when I was eleven. Elementary school art is the only reason I can identify one of Henri Rousseau's jungle paintings when I see it. So I was happy to see that arts education is alive and well in my school district. As someone who sort of drifted away from visual and tactile artistic pursuits for a while and came back to them with a vengeance, it seems especially important to me. You can never tell when you'll need to know that you can use crayons and watercolour paints for a cool wax-resist effect, after all.

The voting itself seemed to be going pretty smoothly here, I was only on line for about...ten to fifteen minutes. I went into this election feeling pretty cynical and nervous, but I'm so happy about the result. I went to sleep last night feeling like the country, collectively, had actually made a good decision (where the presidency is concerned, anyway), and that was such a good---and surprising!---feeling to have.

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