Mr. Rudasill is a Ph.D. Candidate in Mathematics at the University of Rhode Island.
The field of combinatorics does much more than allow us to do things like count the number of different ways that someone can order dinner from a menu that has 2 appetizers, 4 entrees and 3 desserts. It is rich in practical applications. One kind of problem that it is useful for is scheduling.
Many athletic competitions call for a balanced schedule, one where each team plays every other team an equal number of times. The English Premier League is a good example. There are 20 football clubs in the EPL, and each team plays each other twice, home and away, for a total of 38 matches during a season.
Such a schedule could be made by assigning each team a number, and then having them play the following games in the first week (Week 1).
Then in the second week, each team (except one) cycles around one position as follows (Week 2).
The reason we need to keep one team fixed in its position is to ensure that every team plays every other. Otherwise, team 1 would play only the even-numbered teams.
Week 3 would see the following games after another one-step rotation of the teams from the previous week’s schedule.
By Week 19, the schedule will have cycled around almost completely. At this point the season is half over, and each club will have played every other exactly once.
The second half of the season would be simply a copy of the first 19 weeks, with the only change being the locations of the matches. If the team listed first in the schedule hosted the first match with an opponent, then the second team would host the next one.
Of course, schedules are seldom this straightforward. In the NFL, for example, they can’t play enough games to have a completely balanced schedule, and there are other factors to consider. Two teams, in fact, share a stadium, so they almost never play home games in the same week for logistical purposes.
These same kinds of problems arise all the time in everyday life. You may wonder how a school’s daily schedule, with students, teachers, and classrooms all forcing their own unique limitations, could possibly be arranged. What about airline schedules, or postal delivery schedules?
Combinatorics, together with the field of graph theory, has made the solutions of such problems more accessible.
Why do colleges ask for essays? How are they used? Will they “get you in”? The purpose of the college admissions essay is to give the admissions officers a sense of who you are, beyond your grades, course choices, and SAT scores. Think of it this way: the college essay is really the only “personal” part of your application, where your own voice comes through. It makes you “come alive” to the person reading it. As one college says, “Your essays provide you with an opportunity to speak to us.” How important is the college essay? Like all parts of the application, it’s important. Of course, a great college essay won’t “get you in” if the rest of your application is weak. Instead, the essay often confirms a college’s decision to admit or deny. In close cases, it can “make or break” a college’s decision.
How do I decide what to write about? Or what NOT to write about?? Colleges won’t be interested so much in WHAT you choose to write about as in HOW you use it to show something about who you are and what matters to you. And they want to hear your “voice.” This is not a five paragraph expository essay for your middle school English class; it is your opportunity to show a college who you are. Whatever topic you choose, it should be interesting to you, and it should reveal something about who you are. Even a seemingly boring topic – like an essay about your relationship with your younger brother or your summer job as an ice cream server – can be interesting.
Be aware that there are topics that everyone seems to write about. In general, unless you can give it a very unusual treatment, be wary of writing on the following:
How my trip to France (or any other country) taught me about other cultures.
What I learned from my volunteer and/or community service work (or trip).
How my Outward Bound/NOLS experience taught me independence.
How I scored the winning goal/touchdown and learned about teamwork.
How I missed the winning goal/touchdown and learned about teamwork.
How moving/changing schools/coming to boarding school changed my life.
Tales of my success (i.e., what I learned about winning or overcoming something).
Religion (unless you are applying to a seriously faith-based school).
Your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
Your political views.
Anything that sounds like whining or “it’s not my fault”.
So what can you write about? Lots and lots of things. Successful essays can be on anything from your summer job at a lumber yard, to bowling with your younger brother, to what you learned by working as a “greeter” at an art museum. Here are some tips to help you with your writing:
Your College Counselor should be able to pick up your essay and realize that it’s your essay, and no one else’s; the voice should be yours and so should the story. If you make the essay your own – and you tell a story about you – you will write a successful essay.
Be specific. An essay on environmentalism as an abstract concept will undoubtedly be boring to read because it’s too general. Better to describe exactly how and why you got interested in the environment – and the kinds of environmental work you do. Specifics are more interesting because they reveal more about YOU. (If your essay is too general, it will become too much like a research paper – something an admissions officer definitely doesn’t want to read).
Make sure the topic you’re writing about is interesting to YOU. If you’re bored with it, you can be pretty sure your reader will be, too!
Don’t write what you think a college wants to hear. If you do that, you’ve missed the whole point of a college essay. After all, this is about you and your life – not what you think someone else wants to read.
Don’t pretend to be an expert on something if you’re not really an expert. Better a good essay on the disappointments of Little League than your plan for world peace, even if you have one. Well, unless it’s a really good one.
Entertain – and don’t be afraid to be funny! (Just make sure it actually is funny.)
Keep the essay informal (but be sure you still use correct grammar and spelling, of course). Again, your essay should not sound like an English or history paper; rather, it should sound like you telling a story you are excited about.
Don’t be afraid to take some risks (careful and tasteful risks) with your essay – to be creative and authentic (remember, your voice!).
Don’t say that a particular experience has changed your life unless it really has. “My service trip to Ecuador changed my life” should be followed by “When I returned, I spent the rest of the summer raising $3000 to send to our village so that the project we began… and then I started a club that…” If you cannot honestly write that next sentence, then write a different essay.
Think carefully of the “bumper sticker” of you that the admissions officer is going to take away. Remember, he or she reads thousands of essays a year. What is the person reading your essay going to remember about you?
When should I start on my essay?Start working on your essay over the summer before your Sixth Form year. When you return to school in the fall, you should be ready to have your English teacher and your College Counselor go over your rough draft with you and make suggestions for moving toward a finished essay. Your essay goes with your application and should arrive on- or preferably before- the deadline!
Write your own essay! College admissions professionals are very good at sniffing out professionally done essays, parent-done essays, roommate-done essays, tutor-done essays… don’t risk it! A really good essay may or may not get you in; an essay that you obviously did not write (no matter how good) will definitely keep you out.
Have you ever thought of having your child attend an academic program in the summer? Not summer school per se, but a combination camp and school experience that not only gives students a leg up in classes in the coming year, but will also expand them as people, enriching their minds and bolstering their characters. A good summer program will do just that, by balancing academics with good clean summer fun. By having small classes taught by experienced teachers, energetic and wholesome college students who help out in the dorms and with the trips and activities, and a full complement of sports and recreational activities in the afternoons, our program has successfully served families from all over the world for over 50 years, providing academic enrichment and personal growth in a beautiful setting on the seashore in Rhode Island.
As a prospective college freshman, there are a few things you should know before stepping foot on campus…
1) Lots Of Free Time- As opposed to a regimented schedule, college schedules are very free flowing with a lot less classroom time and a lot more work on your own. Because of this, it is can be easy to fall behind in your workload, so make sure to schedule your time appropriately.
2) The Importance Of Time Management- Because of the large amounts of free time you will have each day, along with the freedom to do homework whenever you choose, implementing time management skills will be important towards every aspect of your life on campus. Staying focused on your academics by understanding when to sit down to study will be difficult at first with no scheduled study hall, but beneficial in the long run.
3) The Senior To Freshman Transition- The first thing you will notice is you are now the new guy, the rookie. No longer do you rule the school. By asking questions and learning from mentors such as professors, resident assistants, and other students, an easy transition can be made in your first year on campus.
4) Responsible For Everything- As opposed to the high school expectations of attending class and practice each day, studying each night at your desk, and the laundry service taking care of your dirty clothes, these expectations drastically change in college. You are now an adult, and there is no one to tell you that you have to do these things each day. Although there may be a temptation to skip class or other commitments, it is important to stay focused on your education and attend everything you are involved in.
5) Get Involved! – There are a variety of clubs, groups, and teams to get involved with on campus that will help you ease you into your transition from high school to college on campus. The best way to meet new people and find subjects or sports you love is to get involved right away and stay active.
6) Find Your Social Scene-Although a common stereotype of college is that every weekend is one big party, this is not necessarily true. Finding the appropriate level of socializing on the weekends is important to your overall comfort level at school and can shape your friend groups. Whether you are into staying out late on Saturdays, or staying in for a movie night, it is important to find your social scene, whatever it may be.
7) Diversity- One of the first things you will notice when stepping foot on campus is the large diversity among students and professors. It is important to embrace the diversity by becoming friends with all kinds of people, and you will learn and grow from these people each day.
8) Professors- The professors you will encounter on campus are some of the most credited professionals in their fields of study. Building relationships by attending office hours or taking an interest in academics outside of the classroom is something every student should take advantage of. Your professors are as interested in your academics as you are, so remember to utilize them as a tool to get ahead in your field of study and learn as much as possible.
9) The Freshman Fifteen- Don’t be fooled; the freshman fifteen is a reality for many first year students on campus. With the dining hall open for hours each day, along with a coffee shop, convenient store, and snack bar, it is easy to get a snack or a meal whenever you’re hungry! Remember to eat healthy and you can avoid gaining the pounds!
10) Surprise! …No Dress Code!- One exciting aspect of college is that there is no dress code! Don’t worry about wearing a tie or a button down because you can wear whatever you want to class and there is no one to tell you otherwise.
These ten things are something I wish I would have known before starting my freshman year at Drew University. Next fall, remember to keep an open mind throughout all areas of your life in college and don’t be afraid to become a part of the community.
Each spring, a group of students and faculty take part in the Appalachia Service Project . Read Therese Thomas’ account of the program and this year’s excursion to Jonesville, VA here.
One of my favorite things to see when I pull into my driveway at home is the toys scattered across our front lawn. Growing up as the oldest of ten children, there never failed to be bikes, baseball gloves, a kick ball or pink dollhouse lying amidst the grass. As my car would come rolling to a stop my little siblings would soon emerge from around their play things, running to the driveway to come see me. There is something so innocent and beautiful about seeing children’s play things in front of a house. Even now at the Abbey I always smile when I round Cory’s Lane to see that different faculty members’ young children have left out a soccer ball, a hula hoop or hockey net before being beckoned away.
The first time I saw upside-down bikes, basketballs and Little Tykes Tables in front of houses in the region of Appalachia I was shocked. The state of the houses should have been what struck me- boarded and broken windows, collapsing porches, slanted roofs. Houses leaning to one side because the foundation is rotting away, dirt and coal dust painting another color of the siding. Yet the toys to me humanized the poverty, stirring my heart. How can a child live like this? Drop a toy they are playing with to start their homework or have dinner inside of the conditions of that home? I was hooked, silently vowing to give up my time, energy and even Spring Break to help improve the quality of life for those children of Appalachia.
In my Community Service office I have a picture, drawn by a Student Leader of our Abbey’s Appalachia Service Team two years ago. This art work displays an image of Joe, a 92 year old man who tugged at her heart strings on one of our trips down there. On it, the words read, “I Appalachia for Joe. Why do you? Find a purpose.” This student’s creation is a beautiful reminder to me that each person is called to participate in Community Service for a variety of reasons. Different motivations, emotional connections or stories drive one to dedicate their time or efforts to a cause. If we were all only moved by the same injustice, so many organizations or communities would be left untouched. I love helping students discover who or what they are passionate about serving. In their own time they discover they are devoted to environmental aid, reading to the elderly, raising money for international orphanages, tutoring a small child or even helping the homeless. God gives us different talents and desires to help make this world a better place, finding that purpose or call to give back in our own unique and joy-giving way.
It was very fitting that our newly elected Pope chose his name after St. Francis while our Appalachia Service Team was working in Jonesville, Virginia. I was actually on my hands and knees in the middle of a muddy ditch, building a new drainage system for an elderly man’s home when we were informed of Cardinal Bergoglio’s choice. I was covered in dirt, cold and sore from moving rocks and gravel all day; yet was granted with a renewed sense of energy as I was reminded of the incredible works of St. Francis and the beauty of our Catholic Church. The Prayer of St. Francis begins with the phrase: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…” encouraging our hearts and hands to be used by God for serving others. It is incredible what we can accomplish when we allow ourselves to be taken over for a greater purpose. How are you being called to serve? We always could use an extra Appalachia chaperone for our 2014 Spring Break Trip!
Earlier this month, students competed in the Poetry Out Loud Competition. In light of this, we have asked members of the English Department, “What is your favorite poem and why?” Take a look at what they said below. Perhaps one of these poems will become your favorite, too!
“To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell. This is one of my favorite poems because Marvell takes up the traditional carpe diem theme and develops it in witty, ironic, and unforgettable couplets, so that what begins as a conventional unrequited lover’s plaint by the end achieves a kind of sinister grandeur.
One of my favorite poems is Ulyssesby Alfred Lord Tennyson. I love it because the final lines are such a battle cry for never giving up in the face of adversity–
“We are not now that which in old days
Moved earth and heaven;
that which we are, we are:
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will,
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
As students say these powerful lines, I always hope that they realize how much it reflects their own determination and fortitude in having just memorized and recited a 70-line poem for the entire class to hear.
“The Charge of the Light Brigade” Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem memorializes the fate of a British calvary division as they perish in a charge against a Russian artillery battery. The poem deals with the conflict between loyalty to your superiors and self preservation. While the action in “Charge of the Light Brigade” takes place in 1854 during the Crimean War, the conceptual issues of leadership raised in the poem still ring true today.
“Last Night, As I Was Sleeping” by Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly. Robert Bly opened the world of poetry to me with his remarkable poems and translations. He is often celebrated for introducing Americans to poets from other countries, such as the Spanish poet Antonio Machado. I can feel this poem in my chest. It acknowledges the significant influence of our subconscious, in this case the powerful images given to us in our dreams. It also “makes honey/ from my old failures.” Wow. What a deeply satisfying line for all of us to remember. And the poem ends with God “here inside my heart.” Just fantastic.
What is your favorite poem? What poems have inspired you? Answer in the comment section!
It’s movie awards season! And despite the fact that there are more ceremonies than actual movies, somehow the same three movies win nearly every award. Now I have to admit that I actually like the Academy Awards nominees more than usual this year, so I’ve selected my favorites from the more interesting categories. But I’ve also added some different categories so unjustly ignored by Mr. Oscar.
I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention before the awards begin that I spent a little less time this year at the box office than I have in the past. I tried to see most of the nominated films, but the major ones I missed are Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, and Amour. I promise to update this entry if these prove to be amazing.
Okay, here we go.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – I’m fortunate to have seen this moving picture (pun!) about a strong-willed little girl and her father because my other two favorites in this category are the equally controversial Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained. Taking place on a fictional island in Louisiana where flood waters have recently forced an evacuation, Hushpuppy (the little girl) and her father decide to stay put while she learns to cope with the changes that must come in her far from conventional childhood.
Best Picture Not Nominated for an Oscar
Looper– This movie from director Rian Johnson literally has it all. Action, romance, time travel, and thought-provoking ethical themes. I’m usually too proud to admit that a second viewing has yielded extra comprehension, but I can’t deny it here. Having watched it the first time for the complex yet fascinating science fiction, with the second screening I was able to just sit back and enjoy a fantastic ethical drama.
This one is so obviously Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln, so let’s move on to the non-Oscar category. He was pretty great though, I have to admit…
Best Actor in a Performance that will Never, Ever be Honored at an Awards Ceremony
Channing Tatum for 21 Jump Street, which has this honor of being my pick for funniest movie of the year. Tatum was amazingly in five movies (not all winners per se…) that I saw this year and I guess he’s just growing on me.
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty is my pick for the Oscars and in my opinion she beats every other female performance this year, nominated or not.
I never know how to pick this one. If the director is the principal author of any movie, I would think it should simply be the director of the Best Picture. Benh Zeitlin does indeed deserve a lot of credit for Beasts of the Southern Wild. It was made for less than two million dollars and with unknown or novice actors.
Best Director – Non-Oscar
On the other hand, I also think the best director is the one who can combine all the different aspects of a movie (music, image, narration, dialogue et al.) to the greatest extent in which case I would choose Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom. Though I would also say that Ben Affleck was definitely snubbed for Argo, which was completely suspenseful while not over-dramatizing a real life story.
Best Screenplay (Adapted or Unadapted)
I determine this by imagining which movie would be the best if you just sat down and read it and as far as the Oscar nominated screenplays are concerned I would give it to Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained.
Best Screenplay (Non-Oscar) The Cabin in the Woods – This movie is almost indefinable. It is a meta-comedy-horror with an outrageously novel idea at its core. If you want a whacky hour and a half, give this movie a try.
Best Animated Movie
I think it is time for Pixar’s stronghold on this category to end! I found Brave to be mediocre to the core whereas Wreck-It Ralph is a great story about a villain trying to be a hero quite reminiscent of Toy Story.
Best Action Movie Skyfall – The first hour and a half are awesome! And the last hour is…pretty good! I just watched Dredd and that’s a fun ride as well.
Biggest Surprise The Grey – It seems at first like a simple survival in the wilderness exercise, but Liam Neeson’s battle with wolves in the snow becomes quite stirring by the end.
Best Kept-Secret Ruby Sparks – This movie hardly got a theatrical release but I caught it on DVD and this clever update of the Greek myth of Pygmalion is a really interesting romance with as much comedy as drama.
Best Supporting Actress
I give this one to Anne Hathaway, but not for Les Miserables! She was an awesome Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, which, though failing to live up to its predecessor, was still a fantastic movie.
Best Supporting Actor (None of my favorites got nominated!)
This is always the most loaded category and I’m not going to choose just one: Michael Fassbender as a cyborg whose role model is T.E. Lawrence in Prometheus, Tom Hardy as a grunting bootlegger in Lawless, Javier Bardem as the charming yet demented villain in Skyfall, Jason Clarke as Jessica Chastain’s CIA mentor in Zero Dark Thirty, David Strathairn as William Seward in Lincoln.
That’s all I the awards I care to give out, as I don’t think anyone’s interested in my favorite score or sound mixing.
Did I miss any good ones? Write in! I’m always looking for a good movie to watch…
Every person who fishes has their own ideas on what constitutes an ideal day spent on the water. There are as many species of fish, methods of fishing and locations to fish as there are those who fish.
Having tested most types of fishing my passion is fly fishing. Fly fishing small streams, remote ponds and back estuaries that provide solitude and catching a few fish has become my favorite way to spend the day outdoors. The opportunity to walk a small stream or travel to a remote pond and be the only one fishing provides a day of adventure and peace that is hard to duplicate. These small bodies of water rarely produce big trout but rather many native or wild trout that obligingly take the fly and have the spirit and fight that doesn’t disappoint.
A few of my favorite spots to fish require more than most fishermen would invest in a daysadventure. I fish Mountain Pond in Rangeley, Maine that requires a lengthy drive on a dirt road followed by a 1 ½ mile hike to the pond. A few years back I dragged a kayak up the trail to Mountain Pond and keep it locked to a tree on the pond’s shore. I carry my fly rod, paddle, and life vest up to the pond and I am able to access all parts of the pond by kayak. Last summer I fished, two moose came cautiously out of the woods and slowly entered the water to feed on the aquatic plants growing below the surface. They watched me and I watched them! They eventually made their way into the pond shoulder
Spot the hidden moose
The silence of the pond was broken by two 600 pound animals dunking for food. I paddled closer because the moose help the fishing. As the moose pull plants from the bottom of the pond they dislodge nymphs (sub surface aquatic insects) which start the trout feeding. I caught several nice trout within 50 yards of the two moose.
I also fish South Mountain Stream in Rangeley, Maine. South Stream is a small mountain stream which originates out of Mountain Pond and flows for 4 miles before it intersects with any roads. I access South Stream via a dirt road that parallels the stream at its outlet into Rangeley Lake and then walk and fish the stream towards its source. I have only been a few miles upstream but each pool I fish has beautiful but small brook trout that see little if any fishing pressure. The water is crystal clear and cold traveling through the valley creating miles of perfect trout water. I have never seen another fisherman on this stream in the 10 years I have fished there.
Cupsuptic Pond in Western Maine about 3 miles from the Canadian border is a small pond that takes time to reach but provides one of the most scenic and peaceful places to fish that I have ever been to. The pond is 25 miles from the main road on a series of logging roads. The pond sits between two mountain ridges and is well protected from the wind. I take my small canoe with me to the pond and put in just in front of a beaver dam. The brookies in Cupsuptic Pond are as brightly colored as I have seen and will take a dry fly (a fly that floats on the surface) without hesitation. The opportunity to cast your fly and have it land smoothly on the water followed by a trout rocketing up for the strike is the essence of fly fishing. The combination of skillful casting, choosing the correct fly, setting the hook as you see the trout take the your fly and the safe release of the trout makes this experience a special one.
Back in Rhode Island the opportunities for fishing in solitude are not as numerous but still exist. I fish an estuary over in Little Compton that always has “schoolie stripers” (stripers in the 15—20 inch range) in the deep spots. When the tide rises it brings water from the Sakonnet River into the estuary and it also brings in bait fish and striped bass. The estuary is accessed by crossing a small stream and walking the marsh flats deeper in to the estuary. I have seen some big fish in this estuary and last spring got into a school of big stripers (20 pound fish) that had chased herring up into the estuary. The herring were about a foot long and were jumping out of the water onto the shore to avoid the feeding stripers – An unbelievable site! I switched to a bigger fly and immediately hooked into a big striper that took off. A half hour later I landed a beautiful fish that I returned to the water.
Next time I go fishing and return to the question of how was the fishing I hope I can say I had the stream to myself and I caught a few fish.
Note: The places in the article are real but the names have been changed to protect the solitude.
As spring rolls around in Boston and advertisements pop up on the sidewalks for the Boston Marathon, do you find yourself weirdly wishing that you were joining this historic event? Similarly in November, as hundreds of thousands descend upon New York, do you wonder what it would be like to run in every borough of New York in one day? With a little dedication and diligence, you can join the 550,000 people who run a marathon each year. Here are some tips to get you started.
Training plan: if you can run 5 miles without stopping, you can expect to train for a marathon in about 4 months. I suggest running a marathon in the Fall since it is more pleasant to train during the summer months. Published training plans abound! A good place to start is Runner’s World.
The Long Run: this all-important workout will ensure that you will cross the finish line. Each week or even biweekly, increase your long run by 1-2 miles until you reach 18-20 miles. If you are just looking to finish the marathon in no particular time, there is no set pace for the long run. Run slowly enough so that you can finish the run. It is okay to run 10 or 11-minute miles.
Walking breaks: every 30 minutes during a long run, I walk for 30 seconds and drink water. 30 seconds of walking will break up the monotony of the long run and give you something to look forward to.
Water and Fuel: how do you drink water while running? Buy a Fuel Belt. This snazzy piece of equipment (a local Rhode Island product!) allows you to comfortably carry water and food while running. You can eat while running? Sort of. During a long run, you should plan to consume about 100 calories every 45-60 minutes. Experiment with GU, Sport Beans, Shot Blocks, Power Gel, among others and see what works for you. I prefer Sports Beans or Shot Blocks. Drink a few sips of water after eating.
Recovery: after running, especially after a long run, eat a combination of carbs and protein within 30-45 minutes of running.
Shoes: I recommend investing in a good pair of shoes. Head to a running store and ask them to fit you for an appropriate shoe. City Sports or Rhode Runner in Providence is a good start.
Watch: you can use a simple Timex watch or a Garmin GPS which will indicate your pace and distance. Either one will help you in your training.
Body Glide: on a long run, your clothes, socks, and/or shoes will cause chafing. Use Body Glide. Enough said.
Clothing: wear clothing made of wicking material. Cotton shirts, especially, do not wick sweat away. Wicking t-shirts, long sleeves, and shorts can be purchased at most sporting good stores or even at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s!
Race Day: don’t try anything new. Try not to wear anything new – socks, shirt, shorts, shoes, etc. You don’t want to discover that a particular shirt is uncomfortable 5 miles into a 26 mile race.
Do your homework: research the race that you plan to run. Is it hilly? Downhills? Uphills? Flat? Run routes that have a similar elevation. Where are the water stops on the course? While training, drink water at similar times. Is there Gatorade on the course? Some marathons provide Gatorade on the course. If they do, practice drinking it while running. Some runners get cramps from drinking Gatorade. I don’t recommend drinking Gatorade and eating Sport Beans or GU. Too much sugar. Also, while drinking water during the race, fold the top of the cup so you don’t spill it all over yourself.
Run for a Charity: I have done three marathons for charity and they will always be special to me. As you slog through all those miles, you will find a greater purpose in your seemingly selfish marathon training. This year, I am running the Boston Marathon for the Star Kids Scholarship Program! www.crowdrise.com/starkids
Hopefully this doesn’t scare you off from running your first marathon. Why run a marathon? So that you can eat that extra bowl of ice cream of course! You might wonder why some runners want to run one marathon after another. As you stand on the starting line of your first marathon, you will remember all of those miles you have run and the hard work you have put in to get there. When you finish, you will realize you accomplished what you thought was impossible! 26 miles! And then perhaps you will start to think about the next one. You will also be the envy of all your friends and family! Unless of course, your brothers run marathons over an hour faster than you do, and your family has time to eat lunch in between seeing them and you at mile 21…
Being an artist and a teacher is a challenge. After graduating and spending about ten hours a day in the studio, accepting a job at Portsmouth Abbey meant my studio time needed a little adjusting. During my first month as a full-time art teacher, I didn’t make any work. There seemed to be million things to do and none of them included being in my studio creating art. I was sitting in my newly furnished Hugh’s apartment when I happened to glance over at my beautifully bound graduate thesis. There it was, two years of dedication and hard work, resting near my television, collecting dust. I picked it up and began reading, as if I didn’t know the content, and came across the acknowledgments page. This handsome looking thesis was dedicated to a passionate artist and mentor, Karene Faul. She once told me that we are artists who teach, not teachers of art. That night, during a very quiet study hall in St. Hugh’s, I unlocked the door to my studio, an unoccupied single room, and began to make new work.
Every time I enter my studio, it takes a significant amount of time for me to settle into my space and pick up from where I left off, in this case five weeks ago. I constantly look and evaluate my painting to determine where to start for the day. As I begin to lay out my brushes, distribute paint onto my palette and fill a bucket of water, my thoughts are constantly evolving. After minutes or sometimes hours, a point of entry into the drawing begins to appear. Some days are more productive than others. However, when those moments of intense engagement with the surface and tactility of the medium occur, a deep connection to the work develops. As I nestle into the harmonizing motions of drawing and painting, the contemplative spaces created in my work become more personal, yet common.
I stumbled upon a quote that one of my college professors used in her classes at the beginning of each semester. For me, it expresses why it is important that I continue to make art.
“Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create worlds as real as, but other than the world that is. Or was. This is why we cannot plan. We know a world is an organism, not a machine. We also know that a genuinely created world must be independent of its creator; a planned world (a world that fully reveals its planning) is a dead world. It is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live.” – John Fowles
My work is deeply driven by the notions of landscape. These landscapes are metaphors for places I inhabit while I think, pray and dream. The development of my new work has allowed me to build a world where others and myself can respond to our own thoughts and ideas.
Thank you Portsmouth Abbey for allowing me to share and exhibit my art in my most recent show, On:TIME. I have truly appreciated all the feedback and comments received over the past week. You give me the motivation to continue working in my studio.
Kevin’s exhibit On:TIME is on display in the McGuire Fine Arts Center until Wednesday, January 30th. The opening reception will be held Thursday, January 17th from 5-7pm. The entire school and public is welcome to attend.