Category Archives: Bulletin Boards

These Cherry-Blossoms

Let me count the things…

For my spring bulletin board I was inspired by images of lush cherry blossoms. After deciding that I wanted to recreate one branch, I knew that I needed a Japanese haiku to accompany it, and turned immediately to the words of Basho, whose poetry you probably read in school. I considered some other cherry-blossom haikus but ultimately thought this one the most accessible to schoolchildren, although it’s really about the fact that Basho is, at the time he wrote it, an older man recalling his childhood.

I cut the flowers from 4 different types of paper I found around the school. They often change suppliers so I’m never quite sure what I’ll have, but this offered a nice effect. I cut them all from a single stencil, and created the anthers from 5 staples for each flower. I estimate that I used 1500 staples here, so maybe 300 flowers?

First, though, I cut the lettering. I wanted to make it look like it was done with ink and brush, so after cutting the basic shapes, I went back and snipped at the edges and I have to say the effect is perfect. I’m so thrilled with this one and would like to keep it, but I don’t know how to deal with the 1500 stapes, and half the flowers are construction paper, which tends to fade in the sun anyway. Japanese people use the time of the Cherry Festival to reflect not only on the beauty of the cherry blossoms, but also upon their fleeting, delicate, and ephemeral nature.

Let Love Grow!

First you have to put down some good roots.

This is, of course, my Valentine’s Day bulletin board. The leaves are hearts, the fruits are hearts, the roots are hearts, and the trunk is hearts. I did the roots with a scalpel in one piece. All the hearts I cut freehand. I folded all the leaves and stapled them down the center line to create dimensionality.

Great Horned Owls, Autumn 2021

Owls say, “Time to get spooky!” Just kidding. Owls say, “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!” all night long

Aside from the logistical issue of having to use small sheets of black construction paper to make up for the weird lack of large rolls of black butcher paper (sorry, but light gray just won’t cut it for Halloween/All Souls/Dia de los Muertos season; this is the dying of the light we’re talking about here, not the general malaise of the light) this one came out pretty close to perfect.

I was inspired by the vast number of great horned owls in this neighborhood; I never see them, but I have frequently heard them and occasionally found their feathers. They’re definitely around. I’ve even heard them in a tree on the school property, although I used for my model and different, more photogenic, and creepier tree two blocks down the street.

Weirdly, none of the pictures came out great, but I did get some nice details of the owls, which I might put on Instagram. You can find me @hubris_and_smoke. It’s mostly photos of flowers but there’s other fun stuff too.

Welcome Back 2021-22, a Phoenix

We’re all constantly rebirthing ourselves from the flames of our own destruction

Obviously this would have looked waaaaay better with a black background, but for some reason they’re not stocking that color anymore. Only gray. Gray. For an elementary school. I feel compelled to use it up so we can rectify the issue.

This should have been posted a month ago but I spaced it and now it’s about time to start the Halloween one. With no black paper. Wonder how that will turn out. There’s still construction paper, just not big butcher paper for the background.

Rainbow Hummingbird

I give myself very good advice

This morning I did a professional photoshoot (headshot type stuff for an organization’s website), after which the client wanted to see the raw images right away, which led me to realized that I had not uploaded anything off the DSLR since late spring, which meant I hadn’t posted this cool hummingbird I made for my end-of-year bulletin board (and school starts back up in like 3 weeks here!). So here it is: my rainbow hummingbird.

If you zoom in, there’s a lot of detail. I think this one took about 6 hours total over 3 days.

Sign of the Times

Look, honey, I’m just trying to make the world a little sweeter.

Just found some stuff from last year that I never uploaded, probably because, like most people in the pandemic and most artists all the time, I was a little bit depressed. But this is the bulletin board I made last fall when we thought they were going to reopen the schools, an event they kept (rightfully, intelligently) bumping back, although now it looks like they’re definitely going to reopen after spring break (which would probably be OK if schoolteachers were 1b and were all vaccinated; what a mess). And I’ll have to make a new bulletin board because this one is already blowing apart.

Will schedule at least one other post of old art for later this week. I actually have made and sent so many cards in the pandemic, and most of them I didn’t even take the time to photograph individually. Somewhere, I have an image of a bunch of painted cards, and I might upload them if I can find them.

It’s the Time of the Valen!

IMG_8861

It’s the purest form of love there is: the love between a baby dragon and its parent.

Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you hate people or not.

I am trying to love people.

This was a pretty simple piece. I used Sharpie for the black parts (excluding the eyes), which saves a lot of time. I sort of wanted to make the chest part rainbow, but I also sort of wanted to go home, and home won. From a technical perspective it’s not one of my most amazing boards, but from an aesthetic point of view (particularly the aesthetic point of view of an elementary school student) it’s a raging success.

As I adding the stapled details some third graders came to admire my work and asked me what the dragons’ names were. I told them to feel free to name the dragons themselves.

One girl said, “The baby’s name is Shadow.”

So her friend decided, “The big dragon is Midnight.”

Shadow and Midnight. Names that work equally well for black cats as red dragons, apparently.

Hygge on Mount Lemmon

IMG_8816

To be honest, it all feels worryingly ominous to me, but I’m given to understand that some people actually enjoy this sort of thing.

For this year’s winter bulletin board, I was inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, which is a national emphasis on coziness during the darkest part of the year, often involving hot cocoa, but I wanted to give it a local spin. Of course, snow in Tucson is rare and scanty when it comes, but up on the mountain it falls in abundance and people who enjoy things that are cold, wet, and inconvenient can go up there and get whatever it is that people who didn’t grow up in the midwest and don’t find the cold debilitating get out of it.

All my bulletin boards are intended to be secular (well, OK, some of them subtly reflect my personal views of pantheism with a sprinkling of paganism and Buddhism, but they are never meant to reflect anything beyond the most superficial trappings of Christianity) but people will insist on attributing everything to Jesus. Apparently the Christians have a monopoly on the word “peace” now? It’s not for Christmas. It’s for winter. We could all use peace and coziness, regardless of whether a fat man in a red suit has ever brought us presents.

Knowledge is Power!

IMG_8459.jpg

Not like nuclear power or political power…or maybe it is?

This started out as a much more ambitious idea in which lion-wizard and lion-scientist were in a lion-workshop/lab with all kind of arcane equipment and books and whatnot, but this is what came out of the paper. The kids loved it. Due to scheduling issues, I wanted something that could play through All Souls’ even though I had to put it up mid-September. The lettering isn’t my greatest because I had a time crunch and had to the entire thing in 1 day. It took about 6 hours, but some of that time was me discussing a commission with someone else in the building.

Wizard lion and scientist lion, learning forever.

Dream Big

summer 2019 bulletin board

Back to the basics here.

How can it be summer already? But it is. School here ends May 23rd, and I’m off to present my thoughts about Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics in Michigan, so I decided to clear this off my plate in a simple but elegant fashion before I left. I’ll do something fancier in the fall. I’m trying to dream big, like I did as a kid, and I hope the kids at this school are too.

The top font is called Indie. The bottom I just drew freehand.