This is NOT an Art Class

This is a Second Half art appreciation study group facilitated by Ned Daniels. But honestly, if you walked in on it, you would think you were in an art class.

video_notanartclass-15When I think “art appreciation,” I think of slide shows, lectures, and museum visits – but Ned wants to get his students involved so they understand the art not only with their eyes and minds, but with their hands. So that explains why everyone was having such a great time painting – and not just any type of painting because this is art appreciation.

The subject of this particular class was the abstract expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler and “Color Field Painting.” So what the heck is “Color Field video_notanartclass-5Painting?” Ned explained some and he showed some examples of Frankenthaler’s work and connected it with other artists and told how it all fit into the history of art,

But more importantly, he had everyone experience “color field painting” for themselves. And for most of the session students – regardless of art skills and training – started to play under Ned’s guidance with watercolors on paper – but paper he first sprayed with water. And before they had finished, he went around sprinkling on different types of salt, and even flavored the paintings with a little sugar – not to sweeten the tongue, but to add texture and see how salt and suger reacted with the paint. He also encouraged the use of non-paint brushes, such as Q-Tips, plastic bags, and aluminum foil.

video_notanartclass-17While I visited a single class, this is really Ned’s general approach to the subject, as Susan Hankins, one of his student explains: 

Ned has taken simple materials like melted crayons, strips of constuctions paper, collage , and had us engage, create and explore the process, style and feel of the artists we have talked about. We critiqued our works ( no judgement) and he has enabled us to connect with the artists we studied and get a clearer understanding of thier work in the times they lived and their place in history. video_notanartclass-9He has given us a new insight into visiting Musuems and seeing the studied artist works. He always claims that he is “not an artist” but truly he is indeed a very creative soul. Always very enjoyable and inspirational classes.”

video_notanartclass-11In the class I watched the result was 90 minutes of glee and learning of the sort I haven’t seen since – well, maybe kindergarten combined with some of my best colleges classes. And students got plenty of advice, encouragement, and good natured kidding from Ned and their fellow participants.

Art class – not really – art appreciation, oh my, yes!


Website Remodeling

UPDATED 4/1/2015: You may have noticed a few changes to the top menu and within a few of the key web pages recently.  We started to tidy up a bit  – a sort of virtual “Spring cleaning” – but it is going a bit beyond that now.  Of course we hope you like the new look and would be delighted to hear from you, if you have some suggestions. We’re paying close attention to the stats that are gathered  by the Web software and help us understand how the site is used and what information is most in demand. But there’s nothing like direct feedback from users. You can send an email to the office – office@secondhalflli,org –  make the subject line “Website”  – and the folks there will see it gets into the right hands.

Meanwhile,  be ready for more changes – such as additional menus in the previously empty column on the right side of each page. Over the next week The Second Half Website will continue to be in a state of flux.  Some things might not be exactly where you expect them – some things may appear one day, then vanish an hour later. But don’t worry – all the vital information is still there. We are just experimenting with some new formats which we hope will keep you better informed about The Second Half and make it easier for you to find the information you seek. .

April 23 – Spring Trip

Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Spring Trip  [NOTE:  This trip  has reached capacity.  If you sign up now you will be put on a waiting list.]

Visit Lexington, where the first battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought and famously, “the shot heard round the world” was fired! Henry James says of Concord, “The biggest little place in America”, the wonderful home of literary figures: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott.  Leave at 7:30am, return 5:30pm.

Price : $65.00, includes bus fare, docent, luncheon, and bus driver’s gratuity

May 14 Lecture – “The Risk of Reading”

Free Lecture, “The Risk of Reading: How literature helps us to understand ourselves and the world, especially in this world of digital overload.” – Thursday, May 14, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, Southworth Library, Dartmouth.

UMass Dartmouth English Professor Robert Waxler has recently published a book on the subject: “The Risk of Reading — How Literature Helps Us to Understand Ourselves and the World.” The lecture was arranged by The Second Half Special Events Committee in cooperation with the Southworth Library.

“The Risk of Reading is a defense of the idea that deep and close readings of literature can help us to understand ourselves and the world around us,” read the description on the Amazon site. “It explores some of the meaning and implications of modern life through the deep reading of significant books. Waxler argues that we need ‘fiction’ to give our so-called ‘real life’ meaning and that reading narrative fiction remains crucial to the making of a humane and democratic society.”

In a press release last fall, UMass Dartmouth included these comments on the book:

“‘The Risk of Reading’ is a passionate and provocative account of why literature matters. Waxler provides a practical guide to major works of classic and popular fiction, from Frankenstein to Fight Club, and a powerful and sophisticated argument for the ethical and intellectual value of reading,” said Princeton University Assistant Professor of English Joshua Kotin.

“Robert Waxler’s ‘The Risk of Reading’ makes a persuasive case for the significance of literary reading to human life and understanding. In the first chapter, Waxler argues the value of ‘deep reading’ of literature as a way to journey to new worlds, observing that readers who take the risk also reap the rewards which come from engaging with story and the rich language of narrative. He then guides his readers on a series of journeys through literary works that well illustrate the importance of literature as initiating a deep reading process. In the final chapter, Waxler suggests that the real ‘risk of reading’ lies in the risk of not reading, especially as electronic media beckon,” said Martha C. Pennington, Distinguished Visiting Professor of English, City University of Hong Kong, and Research Fellow in Language and Communication, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

May 19 — Spring Adventure to Harvard University

Visit 3 museums at Harvard University — Fogg, Busch/Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler.  Have lunch in Harvard Square and, weather permitting, join a guided walking tour of the Cemetery.  Price: $45 includes bus, museum entrance, docents at cemetery and gratuity.  Preference will be given to Ned Daniel’s Art Class.  Contact Salma or the office for more information.