A Sample Student's Log

In our speech class, we need to do a project on one of the famous Mural, Pan-America Unity, in the United States by the artistic Diego Rivera. It is a spectacular piece made in 1940, and it is worth 14 million dollars. It is not only about the past of the world history, but also it shows some of the current events during that period of time. In our class period, Ms. Martin gave us a brief details about history of the mural and assign different topics (persons or places in the mural) for each student, she also suggested that we should have a visit to the school library to find out more information about the mural. My topic is Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta, which is in the panel 5. At first, I felt somewhat stupid to do this project, I had never like studied anything about art. However, the more I know about this masterpiece the more I get interested in it. It is so strange; I am actually appreciating the mural. The following weeks, I am going to do some research and a short speech about the topic I got from Ms. Martin.

3-14-00, 9:45 AM:
I have a short break between 10a.m. to 11a.m. today, so I went to the main library in downtown to see if I can find some information about the mural and Diego Rivera. Luckily, I found some books about the mural and a book about Diego Rivera and all his art works. However, I cannot find anything about why he chose drawing two mountains in the mural. Main library is one of the biggest libraries in the bay area, and the books order is kind of mess, due to the large amount of users. Therefore, it took me about three hours to find all the books in the library, I even forgot to go to the class today, and I felt sorry about that. Anyway, the librarian also told me that there is a mural in one of the art school in San Francisco. So, I think I am going to check that out later this week.

3-15-00, 9:00 AM
I went to the Rosenberg library this morning, because Ms. Martin had told our class before that there is a librarian knows lots of things about the mural, and I hope she can help me on searching information about the mountains. Unfortunately, she was not in the library at that time, and the other librarians seem know nothing about the mural, they just told me to wait until I have a library orientation, and then the librarian named Julie will show me how to do a research in the library. Anyway, I do find some useful reference binders about the mountains, which are under my instructor name. Also, there were lots of information about people and things that Diego painted on the mural, for instance, Aztecs and Robert Fulton…etc.

3/20/00, 10:10PM:
This morning I used the OPAC system in the school library to find some information about the two mountains, Shasta and Lassen. Luckily, I found lots of sources about my topics. Firstly, I used the NewsBank and Info Trac Searchbank to find an article on the Guardsman about the mural. Then, I used the World Wide Web to find the home page for each mountain. Also, I found a few reference books about the history of the mountains. During the afternoon, I went to the Sunset Public Library to check out two books about Diego Rivera, they are Amphibians and reptiles of Lassen Volcanic National Park by Robert Badaracco and Indians of Lassen Volcanic National Park and vicinity Mineral by Schulz, Paul E. I think the history of those two mountains may give me some hints about why Diego put it on the mural. I must say today is one of my luckily day.

Today I have a class meeting in the Art Extension studio; because Ms. Martin wanted us to see a video about Diego Rivera "I paint what I see". Diego Rivera was one of Mexico most brilliant painters and a major artist of the twentieth century. He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico on December 18, 1886. Rivera studied traditional European artistic styles at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City and was influenced by the Mexican Revolution and the Russian Revolution. Rivera believed that art should show a role of empowering working people to make them understand their own histories. He had been married a few times before he met his be loved wife Frida Kahlo who is also an artist. But after a few years of marriage, they were divorced because of Rivera unfaithful attitudes toward other woman. Then they remarried again around the year of 1940, when he was painting a mural in San Francisco. There were three sites of murals Diego was asked to paint. It included Stock Exchange lucheon Club of San Francisco, Rockefeller Center, and the New Workers School. In 1940, Diego painted a well-known mural called Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and South on this Continent. This is eventually stored in our school. After watching this video, and getting to know more about Rivera, I must confess that I start to fall in love with him, because of his talent in art and ambition to become a great artist. I have seemed some artists' works before when I was in high school, and most of them were really hard to understand, which are what we called abstract. But Rivera is different; he showed the history, revolution and its present-day popular traditions in his painting or murals. He cared about the lower class working people and had the goal to educate them by his art works. Now, I can understand why he had so many affairs in his life. I wish I could meet him in personal.

Early this week, I had a library orientation in the Rosenberg Library on third floor, which held by the Librarian called Julia Bergman. She taught us about how to search information by using OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog), World Wide Web, and Reference Sources..etc. Also, I made an appointment with the librarian Julia at her office on the fifth floor of the Rosenberg library in R519. She gave me lots of materials that she called her treasures about the two mountains. She is a very kind and patient person. Besides, she knows lots of things about the mural. Unfortunately, she found out that there was some students stole some references binders about the mural, which really did upset her, because those were the only copies she got.

4/3/00; 11:30AM
My class is canceled today. So I went to the San Francisco Art Institute to see the mural called The making of a fresco. Diego showed himself and his assistants painting a mural. He also showed sculptors, and engineers and architects planning new buildings. Some people became upset when they saw that Diego had painted himself with his backside to them. They thought he was being rude. But, I think that he was wise to do that, because he wanted us to know that he did observed others when he was painted this mural. In the mural, you can clearly see that Diego expressed the industrial, art and technology development in the United States during that time. It is just like what he said, " I try to teach through my art". Yes, he taught us about their past and give us hope for the future. He made it easier for lots of people to see his artwork. This mural was painted in 1931, just a year before Diego painted the Pan-America Unity Mural for ours' school. If it is possible I really want to have a visit to his museum in Mexico. I really enjoy doing this project; it did explore my art appreciations and enrich my knowledge toward history of the United States and Mexico like revolution, art, and technology..etc. After going through this project, it make realize that being a painter is not easy, especially a famous one. He or she must be good enough to express their ideas clearly in a limited area. Diego Rivera is a brilliant man.

The Mountain Shasta and Mountain Lassen are located in northern California, they are both inactive volcanic. The height of Mt. Shasta is 14,101 feet and the base is more than 17 miles in diameter and it is 280.1 miles from San Francisco. Mt. Lassen became a National Park in 1916 because of its significances as an inactive volcanic. The height of Mt. Lassen is 10,457 feet, and it is 232.7 miles from San Francisco. If you decide to have a visit to those mountains, it will only take you about 5 hours of driving from San Francisco. The reason why Rivera put the two mountains in panel 5, it is because he wanted something to balance the mountains in the upper section of panel 1, which are Mt. Ixtacihatl (Iztaccuhatl) and Mt. Poposcacteipetl. Also, they are inactive volcanic. Although the mountains don't look the same, but there was a way that Rivera saw they were connected. In this mural, Rivera was trying to show a comparison between the United States and Mexico City, for instance, the differences in technology, art and industries between north and South America. He used the Shasta dam, train, oil derricks, woman working on an embroidery frame, veyor belt, tractors, wooden screw in the upper section of panel 5 to represent one of the first factors which made the United States an industrial leader. He sees technology as our art forms because we create it that is why he put those in there. Basically, it is an artistry thing.