You guys have started working with the pen tool. I’ve seen some INCREDIBLE work (Like Mr Feltner’s WIP gracing this post) that will start hitting the best of the best soon, assuming these students stick on their path of excellence. Which brings me to the point today.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Anything that has value has value because it is rare. Excellence is rare. Diligence is the path to excellence, and unfortunately, is also rare. We live in a society that is so wealthy and at the same time, so lazy. I think that’s one of the biggest problems plaguing us today. We think that we get things by simply existing. We want the best, but we don’t expect to pay or work for it.  That makes no sense- it’s even to the point where it’s fighting against itself. We all want the best- what’s rare and special- but if everyone gets it, and for free… then it’s no longer rare OR special. It’s just dirt. Available everywhere for free. We’re creating a society of mediocrity.

One of my favorite songs has a line that says “I thought these chains were jewelry.” It’s easy to be misled into thinking that the chains of “cheap excellence” are something to be valued, but they are really just the beans in the bottom of the jar that keep trapping the monkeys. Work hard on something that you can be proud of. Give it a try… You’ll find that all the ancient sages and modern psychologists are correct- the only way to true happiness is through diligent effort.

Keep working on those self portraits! What a great project to really focus on demonstrating your commitment to excellence- one where the end product is a better you, both figuratively and literally!

PROGRESS REPORT INFO– I think I got the grades all transferred over to edline in time. If not, check the online lab for the latest info on your grade. If you turn something in, get a couple friends to evaluate the work. Remember the chat we had about assessment- this is a privilege right now. If the ratings seem way off, I’ll remove that feature and just rate/grade them all myself. They’re almost always higher than I would have rated, but not by much. If that changes, the pilicy will as well. Remember that you are rating that ONE SPECIFIC PIECE OF ART- not the personality, history, ratings, comments, relationship, etc. you have with the other person. I don’t want any tit-for-tat childishness going on with the ratings as that helps nobody, and I don’t want you guys to be over-rating your friends because you like them. The grades for the report cards will be based on MY evaluation of your work all semester. You’ll do no favors making your friend think their work is excellent when it isn’t. Help them see where to improve. We’ve talked about this before! I want you guys to learn to give and receive good feedback- to properly criticize and accept criticism. That is a big part of being an adult that many High School students haven’t the foggiest idea about.

I know you- I know your work. You are here to compete with yourself. If you’re a better artist than the rest of the class and turn in better work than average, but you are not challenging yourself and working hard, you will NOT be receiving an A or B… You can hope at best for a “C.” Remember- this class isn’t about Art or Illustrator or Design… it’s about LIFE! If you want an A or a B in this class… WORK for it. I love you guys way too much to allow you to be mediocre and think that’s OK. Let’s get to excellence.

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