Nerdy book club, face recognition and annoying husband


Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Nerdy Book Club – by and for people who love reading, and reading books for children and young adults in particular. The post heartprints by JoEllen McCarthy resonated in particular because I love Peter H. Reynolds’ books too.

He blogs at Stellar Cafe and Creative Juices and you’ll find out more at his website.

* Thanks to Richard, who comments here, for pointing me to the Mail Online’s story on Scotland Yard’s elite squad of ‘super recognisers’ and this test to determine how good you are at face recognition.

* My Husband is Annoying – she stated the blog in 2009 to vent. Her marriage has survived the blogging  so the vent must work and he mustn’t mind.


The Dot


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The Dot by Peter H Reynolds is a delightful book about making your mark which shows what a little encouragement can do to foster creativity.

The words are simple, the pictures delightful and the message inspiring.

The author, has a website:  

He also has a blog, Stellar Cafe  where he has written two posts about this book. The first answers 7 questions, the second on a stellar proverb nulla dies sine linea – no day without a line.

I gave The Dot to a friend who is an art teacher and she reads it to her classes at the start of each year.

It’s also available in Spanish. I’ve read it to my adult Spanish class and they enjoyed it at least as much as children do:

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Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. From where was the telegram alerting the world to the death of Robert Falcon Scott and his party in Antarctica sent?

2. Who wrote The Dot?

3. Who said: The cow is of the bovine ilk;/One end is moo, the other milk?

4. Which city would I be in if I was standing on the north bank of the Firth of Tay?

5. These are the flags of which countries:


Congratulations, and an electronic bunch of flowers to Ray who got 5/5.

Kismet gets a couple of points for getting two answers right and Inventory 2 gets one for trying,

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Election signpost


Millions of people in the USA will be casting votes for a new president as we sleep.

Some will find the decision on whether John McCain or Barak Obama will be better easy to make, some won’t:



By Peter H. Reynolds at The Stellar Cafe.

Painting ishfully outside my comfort zone


I hesitate to put myself in the same sentence as Pablo Picasso and art, but today I learned the truth in his words: One never knows what one is going to do. One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite different.

The lesson came in a two hour class under the guidance of Invercargill artist Karen Pringle . She supplied the would-be artists with a black canvas and a pencil and told us to draw the stones in a photo. She then showed us how to make them appear three dimensional using colour to produce light and shade.

If Henry Beecher Ward was correct when he said, Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures, then the 10 of us in the class have very different natures because although we started with the same materials and followed the same instructions, a couple of hours later we’d produced 10 very different paintings. There was an avalanche, a birds-eye view and a cross section; the stones in one glistened as if under water, in another they seemed to be suspended; one artist had used colour and texture so her stones were like shist, another’s had shell-like spirals; a couple had stones tumbling over the whole canvas, one had contained hers in a small square.

Until today I would have applied Eyeore’s philosophy to painting and me: We can’t all and some of us don’t. Thanks to Karen’s guidence, I now think I can because I did – not brilliantly, but at least adequately and in spite of my fears, because anything requiring fine motor skills is well outside my comfort zone, I thorougly enjoyed doing it.

Perhaps it was because as Edgar Degas said,  Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do. Or maybe it’s because I’ve learned from Peter H Reynolds, the author of Dot  and Ish. *

The first book shows that if we allow ourselves to try we can all make our own mark; the latter tells us that what we do doesn’t always have to be just right; and that allows me to take pleasure in my painting even if  what it depicts is more “stoneish” than stone.

* Dot and Ish, are written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds and published by Walker Books.

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