My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the tag “Photography”

Bonus Art Assignment: Art Trip Tijuana Part 2


3. Try to see if you can name those people before you meet them:

Women in their 40s walking their dogs – the Carols.

Kids under 15 riding their bikes – The Zachs.

Retired men walking for exercise – the Carls.

New parents pushing strollers – the Jones.

4. Meet them and find out the connection between your image and who they really are.

I decided to start with one of the Carls.


This particular Carl walks down our street with his walker once a day as long as it’s not too hot or too cold out. When he gets to my front yard, he takes a break and sits on the seat attached to his walker. Sometimes he reads his mail after he retrieves it from the mailbox across the street. I think the walking is physical therapy. When he first began this routine, I saw him walking with a number of different women in scrubs who looked to be home care workers. Since the photo above doesn’t show his face, I thought it might be alright to share it.

So one day when I say this Carl sitting in front of my house, I went out to get my mail. As I passed by him I said ‘hello,’ but Carl didn’t answer. I tried it twice more on other days but still nothing. Maybe he doesn’t like strangers? Maybe he didn’t hear me? Well, for now this is as close as I can get to completing this art assignment. #theartassignment


Bonus Art Assignment: Art Trip Tijuana Part 1


This is a big art assignment so I’m going to have to divide it into parts. Luckily I live in a neighborhood full of walkers so it’s easy to people-watch as I walk.

  1. Put away your devices and walk around the block. Done and done. IMG_2709  IMG_2725
  2. Make a list of 4 kinds of people who live around your neighborhood.

Women in their 40s walking their dogs.

Kids under 15 riding their bikes.

Retired men walking for exercise.

New parents pushing strollers.

Next week I’ll try tackling the other steps. #theartassignment

Art Assignment 49: Conjure a Studio


This Art Assignment reminded me of being a teenager, living in my parents’ house and feeling like I had the smallest bits of privacy. I used journals and sketchbooks as my studio. I decorated them with bright collages laminated with packing tape and they were where I wrote and sketched and drew. My parents always respected these journals and never looked at them unless I wanted to share something I had done. I was smart enough to keep them after high school and they live in a wooden chest in my bedroom. I dug out two of my favourite sketchbooks and decided to share their covers with you.

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So these are my teenage studios and I still love them. Oh, you want to see what’s inside them?


Did you miss it? Did I flip through too fast? Sorry folks, I’m not quite ready to share my high school creations. #theartassignment

Art Assignment 48: Measuring Histories

For this assignment, I decided to trace all the places I’ve lived so far. I defined living somewhere as any place where I stayed for more than a month. I don’t consider myself terribly well-traveled at this point but I have lived in some neat places. All of the maps except one are within Canada. Being Canadian and living in Canada is a proud part of both my personal and cultural history.

None of these maps are to scale with each other and that is on purpose. Instead, I used how I felt about these places and how I imagine them mapped out in my mind to give them the scale I think they each require in relation to each other.

IMG_2634 IMG_2637 IMG_2639 IMG_2638 IMG_2636 IMG_2635 IMG_2633

This idea of tracing my history across maps reminds me of a conversation I had with my husband Nick when we first met. As we were getting to know each other, it became apparent that we had lived within a few blocks of each other for years and had never met. We went to the same grocery store and bank, we even had the same dentist. We even found out we’d both attended some of the same concerts and music festivals over the years. I lived in London for five and a half years before he and I ever met. I like these idea of us slowly circling each other around the city, pulling towards each other a bit at a time.

Art Assignment 47: Body in Place

At this time of year I start thinking about my garden a lot. I love to garden but I’m definitely an amateur. I’ve been trying to fix up my back yard for a while now. It was overgrown when we bought the house and I’m trying to impose some sort of order while making my garden healthy and artistic. It took me a while to get to it because I fixed up the front yard first. That’s the part that everyone sees from the street. It’s mostly just my husband and I who spend any significant time looking at the back yard.


This is one of the empty garden beds in my back yard.


Looking at the plain dirt is sort of like looking at a blank page with writer’s block. I just can’t picture what I want.


I decided to make an imprint in the dirt.


So now I’ve made a mark on the garden.


And the garden has left a mark on me too. #theartassignment

Art Assignment 46: Blow Up


This is where the school used to be.


Detail 1.


Detail 2.


Detail 3.


Detail 4.


Detail 5.


Art Assignment 44: Caption Contest

So I watched this video on my lunch at work and I thought I’d download the image to print it later. However, for some reason when I tried to open the file, my work computer defaulted to Word. It opened the file but converted it to a series of symbols and text, most of which I’ve never seen before. The entire document was 39 pages long. I find it interesting that a one page image broken down so a computer can understand it takes up so much room! You can view the Word doc by clicking on the link below if you’re so inclined. I’ve also included a photo of one page of the document.



I decided to transfer some of this random text onto the image. I like the idea of the image becoming bits of text and then superimposing itself back onto the art. Rathman’s original is the image as we see it and the text is how a computer reads the image. Word also automatically titled the file ‘unspecified’ so I am going to call my final piece Unspecified. #theartassignment



Art Assignment 43: Constructed Landscape

Pet Fish


My constructed landscape contains:

  • Black craft stones from Michael’s,
  • 4 larger stones from the river near my house,
  • One trimmed branch from my bonsai tree,
  • 3 fish made of craft paper,
  • 3 bamboo skewers and 3 pieces of thread to elevate the fish.

I like the juxtaposition of items from nature with items I purchased and made. I chose my favourite photo to display but I’ve included all the shots I took below so you can see this landscape from all angles.




Art Assignment 42: News Photographer

I used this article from The Star about a student at York University who received accommodations for her exams without disclosing her mental health diagnosis. I was drawn to this story because I work with students with special needs in a high school. Recently I have been setting up the exam accommodations for my students, (for example, alternative testing rooms, assistive technology, and so forth.)

I  was especially struck by a researcher in the article who identified, “the need for faculty to have more information about mental health and the accommodation process. Faculty said they really do want to help students in crisis but don’t know the limits of what they’re supposed to do.” I work constantly to educate my coworkers on how to best help students with special needs.

In photographing this, I had to be careful not to include any pictures of the students for privacy reasons. However, I wanted to show how much effort we put into accommodating students’ needs in my high school. Not easy to show without the students, so I took these pictures of some posters outside our extra help room.



Students: read these posters and believe them. #theartassignment

Art Assignment 39 Make It, Break It

Step one: make a delicious cake for my niece and nephew’s birthdays.

Step two: devour cake with family.

Success! #theartassignment

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