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Geneva Varga

∆ The documentation of my life work as an artist & naturalist ∆

Biological Illustration

On the 15th of July, I took a Biological Illustration class hosted by South Slough. We spent the entire day at the OIMB boathouse practicing different drawing techniques. 

One of my favorite parts of the entire class was when the teacher walked us through on how to find patterns in nature. She started out by handing all the students a pinecone to draw. She then showed us a way to make a preliminary reference on paper: an egg shape with spiraling lines going both left and right, similar to a simple pineapple graphic. This was so that we could later go in and add the details of each umbo. This helped me tremendously, in almost no time I had drawn a decent looking pinecone with practically zero effort. 

Another great technique that she showed us was using a tool called a proportional divider. It is used to help with making sure all the proportions of the item you are drawing are correct and are not slightly skewed. A tip when using this tool is to hold it towards the chosen object of drawing and to keep your head in the same spot throughout the measuring of the item. There is also the really cool trick of changing the size of the object on paper without hindering the proportions at all, this is made capable by the proportional divider as it allows you to magnify things or make them smaller. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the class as it allowed me to discover some new techniques to apply when struggling to get the proportions accurate such as, focus on the shapes of the negative space, blind contour, use a proportional divider, and look for patterns. The class was not geared towards showing you how to draw scientifically, but to show you how to use a variety of techniques in all areas of drawing, even when not drawing a biological illlustration. 

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Khaos Fernwell - Full-body 

Full-body art piece of Khaos Fernwell. I created this piece to mainly get feel for where his patches of lighter skin would be and to get an idea of what type of clothes he might wear. 

Arcturus – Digital Art of Orignal Character 

Drawing of my original character (OC) Arcturus, who acts as a mentor in a book that I have been writing in my head for years. I created this drawing on the IPad with the popular Apple Pencil using a wonderful app called Procreate. 

WR 122 — Essay III

Geneva Varga

WR 122 Movie Evaluation Essay

21 May 2017

Irrational Love Defeating Programming

Wall•E is the ninth feature film to be released by Pixar Animation on the 27th of June in 2008. It is a rated G animated movie for its family friendly plot and is generally considered a combination of the genres: science fiction and children/family. However, when watching the movie, it quickly became clear that there were multiple similarities to romantic-comedies. A movie about robots and environmental destruction is at heart a love story told in a very unique way including the initial “meet-cute”, a humorous sidekick, a period of courtship, and the transformation of character; all of which show the audience that love is not unanimous and there are different ways on expressing love.

One of the conventions of romantic comedies is the “meet-cute”, whereupon the couple are depicted in an initial clash of personalities or comical misunderstanding. Wall•E is love-struck with the beauty of EVE when she first arrives on Earth and follows after her mindlessly as the earthbound robot yearns to just hold someone’s hand. In comparison, her rapid fire response to disturbances and the resulting mushroom clouds leave Wall•E trembling.

There are defined social differences between the star-struck characters as well, EVE is from a world of new, while Wall•E is old and aged. With these points it is important to realize Wall•E is unique in telling their love story; Wall•E and EVE are both robots which consequently prevents the story from being told in the usual fashion. Owing to the movie relying on non-verbals, detailed animation in the faces of the robots, and musical cues are used to represent the love between the two robots.

Throughout the film, the romantic story builds through a series of actions whereupon the young couple demonstrate their care for one another. This is important in the fact that the lead couple does not fall in love at first sight. These scenes thereby allow the characters to fall in love with the personality and quirks of the other. Shortly after EVE and Wall•E are introduced, a brutal sandstorm ensues and Wall•E is prompted to take EVE to his home for safety. Here, he excitedly shows EVE his collection of objects that range from a light bulb to a Rubik’s Cube. Eventually, Wall•E puts in a romantic movie titled Hello! Dolly which at one point has two characters holding hands. This nonverbal action is later used onboard the Axiom to represent the words I love you without explicitly saying it.

Additionally, when hanging around with Wall•E on Earth, EVE meets Wall•E’s insect companion, Hal. Hal is Wall•E’s sidekick and he provides lighthearted humor, particularly because he is a cockroach. However, once the two robots leave Earth, Hal is left behind and a cleaner robot fills this role. M-O is first shown cleaning EVE and her fellow robots of any contaminates. Afterwards, this robot follows the debris trail Wall•E left behind with increasing frustration, unexpectedly providing humor.

While there are multiple music sequences including Wall•E picking up trash at the start of the film and EVE scanning Earth upon her arrival according to her “Directive”. Two particular montages that stand out from the rest fit the criteria of a romantic-comedy. The first takes place on the polluted Earth whereupon Wall•E dotes on her even to his own harm after she shuts down upon finding a green plant shoot on Earth. This is essentially the courtship period between the two.

The second montage highlights the loving care that they have developed for one another during their time on the Axiom. Their playful natures are exhibited as they fly about in outer space —Wall•E with a fire extinguisher and EVE self-propelled. Additionally, the robot couple, particularly Wall•E, is able to initiate a “meet-cute” for a human couple by simply bumping into their hover cars. Consequently, the humans then begin to look at the Axiom in a different light.

Most compelling is the transformation of character the plot resolves. In general, romantic comedies feature a protagonist undergoing a transformation or discovery, usually realizing the other person is indeed their soul mate or true love. In Wall•E, the protagonist sparks a transformation in all those around him by simply being true to himself. In other words: “…the plot evolves into something with intergalactic ramifications, wherein Wall•E and EVE create a chain of events that eventually convinces humans to get off their lard-asses and return to Earth.”

From the cleverly scripted “meet-cute” that opens the film, to delightful tie-ins to classic romantic comedies of the past, and finally to the remarkable transformations of all the characters, Wall•E is a romance against which future films in this genre will be judged. The director of the movie, Andrew Stanton, once stated, “From the beginning, I could never drop the idea that is should really be a love story.” When even the director of the movie believes that Wall•E is a love story, it is no wonder that the film has the necessary components for a romantic-comedy. Though not a traditional romantic comedy as it centers around non-human characters, the lesson we can all learn from Wall•E is that loves knows no boundaries.


Works Cited

N.a. “Wall•E.” Pixar Wiki. Wikia. n.d. Accessed 15 May 2017. <http://pixar.wikia.com/wiki/ WALL•E>.

N.a. “Romantic Comedies.” Filmbug: Guide to Movie Stars. Filmbug, n.d. Accessed 20 May    2017. < http://www.filmbug.com/dictionary/romantic-comedies.php&gt;

Myers, Scott. “Pixar Genius.” Go Into The Story. Go Into The Story, 24 Sept. 2009. Accessed 24 May 2017. <https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/pixar-genius-6efa65683ef5&gt;.

Wall•E. Stanton, Andrew. Walt Disney Pictures, 2008. Film

WR 122 — Essay II

Geneva Varga

WR 122 Essay 2

3 May 2017

Homeschoolers Are Not Abnormal

I have never been to public school. When I tell people this fact they are always surprised. I have grown to expect an exclamation of disbelief, even from people my own age. Despite the growing popularity and rising numbers of homeschoolers, there is still a strong aversion to it. People frequently ask me: “What about prom? Do you have any friends? How do you make friends?” I make and have friends just like anyone else, except age is not a restriction. I connect with people based on shared interests and experiences thus I have strong friendships with those younger than me, as well as with adults. Homeschooling has also enabled me to explore my passions without having to encounter obstacles in my path. I discovered who I want to be and what I want to accomplish in my lifetime far earlier than others because I am homeschooled.

Homeschooling, in concept, incorporates a diverse spectrum of approaches to education. Some of the popular methods include but are not limited to Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, “School at Home”, Unit Studies, and Unschooling. My family considers us an eclectic blend, particularly Charlotte Mason and Unschooling. The Charlotte Mason philosophy believes a child is a person and we must educate the whole person, not just her mind. In Mason’s words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life”, which my mom repeated to me throughout childhood. It is a gentle approach that incorporates living books, narration, time outdoors, and modern languages. The Unschooling approach is more relaxed whereupon we have the freedom to explore whatever peaks our interest at any given time.  We also take part in a variety of extracurricular activities (e.g Boy Scouts, swim team, service learning projects, and volunteer experiences) which provide opportunities to connect with others and build community. In my mother’s words, “We follow the ebb and flow of life, allowing life to lead the way.”

A handful of stereotypes have emerged because of ignorance in regards to what homeschooling is and how it is achieved. The public school system, from my perspective, pushes the idea that homeschoolers are weird, uneducated, and abnormal. There is an automatic assumption that homeschoolers are unable to perform properly in society. In contrast, this could not be further from the truth. Albeit, many families choose this lifestyle because of religious reasons, disagreements with the vaccine requirements, or are concerned that their children will not thrive in a “traditional classroom” due to learning disabilities or physical handicaps. In reality, homeschoolers act more mature at a young age, are generally more willing to help around the house (either with chores or helping with younger siblings), and are more enthusiastic about their schoolwork. They realize the value of tasks, such as folding the laundry, in building their skills for the future. Monotonous busywork like comprehension worksheets and vocabulary crossword puzzles are unnecessary. The student is thus afforded the time to pursue long-term passion projects that meet both academic and future goals.

My mom decided to homeschool my brother and me for multiple reasons. When I was five years old, I told her that I wanted to learn to speak Chinese. Immediately she knew that no traditional school would be able to provide me this opportunity, at least where we lived. Foreign languages were not even taught until high school in most school districts at this time. Eventually, she found a private instructor and I began my journey towards Mandarin fluency. If she had made the decision to send me to the local elementary school, I never would have had this unique experience. Additionally, I likely would not have discovered how intriguing and unique different cultures are until much later.

Furthermore, my brother and I make friends in a natural way without feeling required to have friends of the same age. When my family went to the Galápagos a few years ago with a travel group we connected with two retired couples and another family with grown children. My brother connected with a grandfatherly figure who looks remarkably like Charles Darwin. Every morning, they were the first to wake and would be found on deck sipping cocoa and telling tall tales of their adventures. Similarly, I became friends with fellow a Harry Potter fan, Karen, and was “adopted” by another family when my parents wanted to go for a panga ride and I desired to go for a hike with the other group. Karen and I would often reminisce about our favorite books and discuss the art that we each loved. After we had all spent a week in the Galápagos, our family along with the two couples we became particularly familiar with joined another travel group to go to Machu Picchu. Our friendship and camaraderie with these two couples was so familiar that the people from this new group quickly made the assumption that we were traveling with both sets of our grandparents, even though this was not the case.

People who were taught at home often become successful entrepreneurs as living on the “outskirts of society” has allowed them to think outside the box and discover solutions to problems with ease. From an early age I have had the goal of pursuing a college degree. Since the age of eleven, I have focused on pursuing my academic goals with more fervency and have developed a plan for how to pay for college without incurring debt or student loans. Upon realizing that there was an absence of bubble tea vendors in our local area, I had considered opening a food cart style business. After completing a market research survey and writing a business plan, I discovered just how much money I would need up front and how much time I would be obligated to work. As I am a full time student, aiming to complete my Associates degree while I also complete high school, I realized this was not the best option for me. I have thereby opted to pursue other means of financing for college and now rely on art commissions and a variety of odd jobs. When I am older, I will most assuredly take on a part time job and have already made promising inquiries.

By homeschooling, I have been allowed to explore who I am without being pressured to like the same things as everyone else. My taste in art, literature, and music are different than my peers because I have not been expected to follow the crowd. I have been independent from an early age and my travel experiences, foreign language studies, and extracurricular pursuits have molded me into the person I am today. I stand proud knowing I can defend my opinions without worry of how I am perceived.

WR 122 — Extra Credit

In order to earn the optional extra credit, the professor required us to read a book and then write a review of it. Focusing on what we thought of it, what we understood, and so on. Then she asked us to meet with her to discuss the book. This was easily my favorite assignment to do for writing this past term.


Geneva Varga

WR 122 Extra Credit

3 May 2017

Eucalyptus & Monarch Butterflies

Senses are vital as they are how everyone experiences the world. Humans like to imagine that they are the only ones who use their senses, yet that is a misconception. Animals and plants also use senses to navigate their surroundings. For example, carnivorous plants rely entirely on touch to capture their prey. Another misconception is that other creatures do not have as many senses as us, this idea could not be more wrong. Animals experience hundreds of other senses that humans can not comprehend. Diane Ackerman’s book, A Natural History of the Senses is the perfect guide to discovering depths of our senses that we do not fully appreciate, including nostalgia and sexual attraction.

The most brilliant aspect about the book is Ackerman’s ability to vividly describe each sense and what the human body learns from it. She uses her personal experiences to connect with the readers on a nostalgic level; painting eloquent pictures of moonlit beaches, oranges, and eucalyptus with resting monarch butterflies. Ackerman begins her book with the sense of smell and reminisces of how she spent one Christmas season:

I traveled along the coast of California with the Los Angeles Museum’s Monarch Project, locating and tagging great numbers of overwintering monarch butterflies. They prefer to winter in eucalyptus groves, which are deeply fragrant. The first time I stepped into one, and every time thereafter, they filled me with sudden tender memories of mentholated rub and childhood colds…. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be proclamations left by some ancient scribe. Yet, to my nose, it was Illinois in the 1950s. (Ackerman, p. 18)

By allowing the reader to visualize a memory of hers, Ackerman cleverly draws her audience into a story of noses, ears, eyes, and tongues, which otherwise would have been dull and lifeless.

At the beginning of the section on taste, Ackerman states that taste is a social sense. “Humans rarely choose to dine in solitude, and food has a powerful social component.” (Ackerman, p. 127) Upon reading this statement, I quickly recall all my past gatherings with family members during which we have shared a meal, especially during the holidays. I envision couples leaning in towards one another at a table in a romantic restaurant; friends sipping a cup of chai tea as they catch up on the latest news. Even going out to eat alone is a more social occasion then eating in the solitude at home. Food is central to many social moments and our sense of taste is intimately involved.

When young writers are taught the nuances of writing and techniques to make their writing stand out from the rest, they are encouraged to use details and often to consider all of the senses. Ackerman’s book gives proof to why this is such a vital technique to learn and apply. To describe an apple, a writer should not only use words based around the color and shape of the fruit such as red, firm, and round. He should also consider the crisp sound an apple makes after biting into one, the tickle of the tart juice as it trickles down your chin, and the sweet floral fragrance that calls a perfect summer day to mind.

While A Natural History of Senses is written in an engaging style, rife with rich detail, I admit had to set the book down several times and return to it at a later time. Ackerman discussed in length each of our senses in the context of attraction to others (pheromones), kissing (taste), and sex (touch), which is something I am not fully comfortable with. Thankfully, the book was written in a scientific context.

Ackerman’s portrayal of our bodily senses from a natural history perspective is both informative and intriguing. Her colorful descriptions of each sense provide readers with a unique exploration of the depths of our senses. By using her memories, Ackerman easily communicates with the reader on a conversational tone. Our senses are how we comprehend and explore our surroundings, Ackerman’s book provides a useful in-depth analysis of them. Be keenly aware when our noses affect our sense of taste and remember the childhood memories of summer days, flower picking, and rushing waves.

第三十五课 — Required Vocabulary Paragraph

Required Words: 有空,好不好,剧情,节奏,新出的,紧张,没意思,要不,变成,最近,谈论

上个星期我的好朋友很紧张,因为星星参加完了考试。她获得了很好的成绩,所以我想邀请她去看电影和做晚饭。我知道星星讨厌文艺和喜剧片,因为她觉得文艺和喜剧片非常没意思。我的妈爸都经常去看电影,所以我给他们打电话。最近他们去看了新出的《功夫猫》,因为很多人都在谈论这部电影。他们说:“剧情很不错,我们觉得星星会喜欢《功夫猫》。”

明天是星期五,我和星星都有空。今天我给星星打电话:“喂,星星,星期五晚上我们去看《功夫猫》,好不好?电影以前,要不我做晚饭?我想祝贺你获得了非常好成绩。” 星星说:“好,但是我们一起去“好披萨”的意大利餐厅吧!我听说星期五有人拉小提琴,他的节奏非常好。”

Chicago Trip 中文 Journal

3月23日我的家人会去芝加哥一个星期, 因为我爸爸要去那里开会。芝加哥星期五的天气应该很不错,但是可能会下雨和刮风。我家人非常高兴,因为我和弟弟没有去过芝加哥。

23日是星期四,我爸爸工作回家以后,我们坐车去Portland。星期五, 爸爸的好朋友带了我们去Portland的机场以后,我们一起坐三小时半飞机去芝加哥。我们两点十五分到了芝加哥。星期五我家人在“Shake Shack”吃晚饭, 我吃了汉堡和薯条。爸爸说:“明天晚上我们会吃有名的芝加哥披萨。我也想吃烤肉。”

周六我爸爸要去开会,妈妈弟弟和我参观了芝加哥博物馆。可惜很多人也参观美术博物馆,因为周六的天气非常冷。美术博物馆里有我最喜欢的艺术家Jackson Pollock的一件艺术品。爸爸回家了以后,我家人在Lou Malnati’s Pizza吃了晚饭。我们一起 吃了有名的芝加哥披萨,非常好吃。


星期天天气不好,下大雨,刮风,非常冷。妈妈弟弟和我在Yolk吃了早饭以后,我们参观了Field 博物馆。我买了很漂亮的耳环,它们是小蛇耳环。和纽约市比起来,我更喜欢芝加哥。因为芝加
哥非常漂亮。我也更喜欢芝加哥的美术博物馆

Loki Winterwren – Digital Art of Original Character 

Another character of mine that goes by the name of Loki Winterwren. He is also a main character in my book.

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