Friday Two Cents: Friday the 13th Origins


 

‘Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.’ Plato

 

Today is Friday the 13th and in many western cultures, including Canada, we see this day a being unlucky.   Many people believe in this superstition yet they do not know where it came from. Therefore I decided to look up this superstition and see where it’s origins came from.

One possible origin story can related to the Code of Hammurabi. It is one of the world’s oldest legal documents, which may or may not have superstitiously omitted a 13th rule from its list. Others claim that the ancient Sumerians, who considered the number 12 a “perfect” number, considered the one that followed it decidedly as non-perfect.
One of the most popular theories, links Friday the 13th with the downfall of legendary warriors known as the Knights Templar. Founded around 1118 as a monastic military order was devoted to the protection of pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land following the Christian capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. The Knights Templar quickly became one of the richest and most influential groups of the Middle Ages, thanks to the generous donations by the crowned heads of Europe, keen on being in the Knights good graces. Yet by the turn of the 14th century, the Templars had established a system of castles, churches and banks throughout Western Europe, their vast wealth caught the eye of several ambitious and greed men.
It all began in the early morning hours of Friday, October 13, 1307.
Throughout France, secret documents had been sent by couriers a month earlier. The papers included sensational details and rumors of black magic, devil worship and shocking sexual rituals. They were sent by King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V. King Philip was a greedy monarch who in the preceding years had launched attacks on the Lombards (a powerful banking group) and France’s Jews (who he had expelled so he could confiscate their property for his depleted coffers).  Clement also issued a papal bull ordering the western kings to arrest Templars living in their lands. 
On that day and the days and weeks to followed, over 600 Templars were arrested, burnt at the stake and executed in numerous ways. Even the grandmaster Grand Master Jacques de Molay was captured and eventually burnt at the stake. Just before he died Jacques de Molay cursed King Philip’s line and the Pope. Within 13 year King Philips’ sons and grandson were all dead. Pope Clement V died about a year after Jacques de Molay yet while his body lay in state in a church, a thunderbolt struck the church and subsequently burnt with such intensity that after the fire was put out the Pope’s body was nearly completely destroyed.

Maltese Knight – The Knights Hospitaller

Talk about bad luck for the Knights Templar, King Philip and Pope Clement V. No wonder Friday the 13th is seen as bad luck.

 

Source: Maranzani B., (Oct, 2017) “Why Friday the 13th Spelled Doom for the Knights Templar”, The History Cannel.

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Comic Strips: You Snooze, You Lose


 

Well it is the start of a new school year with a fresh crop of students and situations that can be the basis of my comic strip, The Craziest Things. If you do not know, I am the editor of the afterschool program’s newsletter. I just finished putting the first edition of the 2017-18 newsletters together and sent it out to the parents. Even though it’s a lot of work while I work as an occasional teacher, I enjoy doing it. However my favourite part is creating the comic strip.   I always use the students of the senior grade 5s as my inspiration for the comics. I will draw every grade five in the program as a fun cartoon caricature in a fun and interesting situation.

Many of the other children ask why don’t I use the other grades too. I tell them that these students are the graduating class and they deserve their moment. Also it is hard enough trying to draw 15 – 18 students and place them into 8 – 10 comic strips, just imagine 120. Therefore I had to limit the amount I can draw.
I use many different themes to inspire me to create the comic such as the difference in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Yet there are some themes that are universal to all generations.
This month centres on the first day of school. Yes that amazing day when you have to go back to the salt mines, I mean classroom and begin a fresh new year of learning and discovery.  
When it comes down to what students want to do, they have an unlimited amount of choices to choose from. Many parents have told me that they did not have as many choices as their children have when it comes to vacations. In fact many studies have shown that the centre of the family has shifted from what mom and dad want to do, to what the kids want to do. Peter Yesawich, a travel trend expert, has studied family travel for over 20 years. He says that children make the final decision in more than half of all family vacations.  Yet if there are an unlimited amount of choices, how can anyone choice just one, let alone a kid with less life experience. The results might come down to that old saying, “you snooze, you lose.”

I hope you enjoy October’s The Craziest Things: You Snooze, You Lose.

Art Inspiration: Heroes Vs. Villains – Final Portrait


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters could have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference, I told them and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and over the past few weeks I have posted the characters the students created. At the end of the club I gave them a certificate with my version of their character on it. Yet I also wanted to give them something else. I decided to create a final portrait with all the characters in it for everyone in the club. The original was in black and white, in case they wanted to color it themselves, but mostly I did not have the time to create a colour version; until now.  

I hope you to will enjoy the final portrait/collection of all the characters from Heroes VS. Villains.

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Lorra


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters could have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference, I told them and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the next few weeks I will post the student’s original character with my version that I gave to them. In the past few weeks I posted the Villains now its time for the Heroes to make an appearance …

Hero 09 – Lorra

Some students modeled their character after popular comics they are familiar with, yet this student wanted to create something very unique. The student also wanted to create a character with another student so that they would be twins. They would look like each other but have some different abilities.

I liked the idea and encouraged the two with any help they needed or asked for. Her “Twin” is the previous hero character Korra. They would both have wings with feathers yet the hair would be different and they would have the same ability of telekinesis, however Korra would control water and Lorra will control fire.

I thought this was very imaginative and showed them how to draw wings and showed them the character Archangel from X-men.   Those where the wings she and her friend were looking for therefore I drew her character with this character in mind. I started with the same body pose as the twin and then I drew in the wings. Yet unlike her twin’s wings stance of them coming down as if wrapping around her body, I drew this character’s wings up to show them for all to see.

I showed the student my version of her character and she was ecstatic. She loved the pose and the wings yet she wanted it to look almost identical to her friend’s character. I said that you two are twins but there, like your abilities, slight differences. Then I reminded them of a couple of twins in the school they knew and they both have slight differences too. After I said this she felt better and was showing everyone her character proudly. I hope you to will enjoy the ninth hero character from Heroes VS. Villains – Lorra.

 

Friday Two Cents: Canada 150 Ottawa Trip – Ottawa & Gatineau


I had the opportunity to visit the Ottawa area to take in some Canadian 150 celebration. Once there I did a lot of sight seeing in the usual places like the museums, the mint and the ByWard Market. However there was a new attraction in Gatineau that was unique that celebrated the diversity of Canada and its sheer beauty. It was the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017.

Jacques-Cartier Park Gatineau hosted the biggest horticultural event in Canada, the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. Mosaiculture is a most spectacular horticultural technique that combines the following different art forms:
  • Sculpture for the structure,
  • Paint for the palette of colours, and
  • Horticulture as the means of creating living and changing artworks with plants.
The theme of the exhibit reflected on the 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada, represented by more than 40 different arrangements. Admission to the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017 exhibit in Jacques-Cartier Park is free and it was a spectacular site to see.
After the garden exhibit I enjoyed a unique exhibition at the History Museum that happened to be right across the street from Jacques-Cartier Park. The exhibit is called “Hockey”, what’s more Canadian then that. It was an exploration of Canada’s game for the very beginning, through the creation of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Olympics and other international games all from a distinctly Canadian point of view.
If you are going to Ottawa one place you need to visit is the ByWard Market. It is a great place to get anything from fresh fruit and vegetables to any little nick-knack. They also have a wide variety of restaurants, bakeries and cafés. One was even visited by former President Obama where he bought a beaver tail and some cookies for his daughters.
Yet the day was topped off by a wonderful light presentation at the Parliament buildings. It is a sound and light show that journeys through Canada’s history. It shows Canadian stories of nation building, partnership, discovery, valour, pride and vision for a country. Key figures, events and achievements from Canadian history are brought to life using five distinct artistic styles. All are presented in spectacular detail, with a bilingual narration and an amazing music score that is projected on the Parliament builds, Centre Block and Peace Tower. There where times during the presentation where I felt myself tear up as a swell of national pride came over me. If you go to Ottawa just for this show it is well worth the trip. It truly was an amazing sight to see and I was lucky enough to find a copy of the show on YouTube. It is about 30 minutes but it is time well spent.

Going to Ottawa has always been a treat for me and I have been there on numerous occasions. Yet every time I go I cannot help be filled with pride and love for my birth country. The history, the accomplishments and vision of Canada have always been an inspiration to me. This trip has only deepened my love for Canada and I can proudly shout out for the entire world to hear…

“I AM CANADIAN!!”

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Art Inspiration: Canada 150 Ottawa Trip – National Gallery Of Canada


 

Last week I made my way back to Ottawa for a mini vacation to do some things that celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday. During my stay there I made it a point to visit the National Gallery of Canada. Surprisingly I have been to Ottawa on numerous occasions but this was my first visit to the gallery. I went there because they have a large selection of Canadian artists’ works on display to help celebrate Canada’s 150 and perhaps inspire me. I was not disappointed.

In the gallery you can see may examples of Canadian artists’ works, from indigenous works to traditional to the Group of Seven up to the present. I also enjoyed viewing some international pieces from Europe and the US but my focus was Canadian artists. There were so many pieces to explore but I will limit this post to three that truly inspired and touched my soul.

 

I decided to take a tour and one of the first paintings I say was by Robert Harris entitled “The Meeting of the School Trustees” 1885. When I saw it I immediately recognized it from an old Heritage Minute vignette. It was amazing to see this painting in person considering I have seen it on television in commercials as a child.

 

“The Meeting of the School Trustees” Robert Harris 1885

 

The next piece was not a painting but a sculpture by Elizabeth Wyn Wood entitled “Passing Rain” carved 1929. When I entered the room I immediately was drawn to it. It was very familiar and I learned from the tour that she was inspired by the Group of Seven depictions of the Canada’s natural landscapes and created something similar yet unique. When I saw it, it reminded me of the Art Deco style of straight lines and smooth cures. It truly is an inspiring piece.

 

“Passing Rain” Elizabeth Wyn Wood, carved 1929

The third is actually two paints created by Christine Pflug entitled ‘Kitchen Door in Winter II’ 1964 and “Kitchen Door and Esther” 1965. These two painting were painted a year apart and was not meant to be a pair. Yet when I saw the first painting of the African doll and all the imagery around it being cold, dead and outside, I could not help but think of the civil rights movement. Some how this doll represents the African community being left outside, having barriers to overcome to come inside. Then in contrast the second shows a little Caucasian girl reading a book in a warm green open environment. I could not help but see that the artist painted the image with small clues of openness all around the painting. The opening in the trees to reveal the sky, the open book, the open door and the open cabinet door to the upper left. It almost suggests that this little girl has more opportunities that the other African doll would have. That society is more open for her. Experts don’t think that these paintings were meant as messages about the civil rights movement. Yet considering the imagery and they were painted in 1964 and 1965, right the middle of the movement, an argument can be made.

 

 

There were so many different and inspiring pieces that I cannot comment on all of them, however, I was able to take pictures.   Below you can see some other spectacular examples of both Canadian and international artists that is on display at the National Gallery of Canada that can entice the soul and inspire the mind.

 

 

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Korra


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters could have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference, I told them and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the next few weeks I will post the student’s original character with my version that I gave to them. In the past few weeks I posted the Villains now its time for the Heroes to make an appearance …

 

Hero 08 – Korra

Some students modeled their character after popular comics they are familiar with, yet this student wanted to create something very unique. She asked me about creating wings but not bat wings like another student but one with feathers. The student also wanted to create a character with another student so that they would be twins that would look like each other but have some different abilities.

I thought this was very imaginative and showed them how to draw wings and showed them the character Archangel from X-men. Those where the wings she and her friend was looking for therefore I drew her character with this character in mind. I started with the body pose and then I drew in the wings.

I showed the student my version of her character and she was ecstatic. She loved the pose and the wings. I hope you to will enjoy the eighth hero character from Heroes VS. Villains – Korra.

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