End of the Year Playlist

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1. I Feel Good by James Brown
This song is about being happy and feeling good about yourself. This year, I’ve been happy and felt good many times this year. My friends and achievements have made me wonderful about myself. However, I also chose this song because it was played several times in LA class. Whenever I listened to this song, I felt somewhat happy because of the upbeat beat and exaggerated voices.

2. I Almost Do by Taylor Swift
This song is about confusion and being alone during those times of confusion. In the start of every single one of my middle school years, I was placed in a class full of people I didn’t know. In fact, in most classes, I didn’t have any friends. I wanted to make friends, but it was hard, because many of the people around me had other friends and didn’t really seem interested in befriending me. But in the end, I made new friends and that confusion went away, instead being replaced by comfort.

3. Let it Go by Idina Menzel
This song is about being yourself and abandoning the person you tried to make everyone believe you were. After all, this song is based on the Frozen character Elsa, and how she struggled to hide her powers and finally let go of that anger she was holding for many years. As for me, I didn’t really have to worry about making people believe I was someone different, because I was always myself.

4. Count on Me by Bruno Mars
This song is about friendship and how you can rely on a friend if you go through tough times. I couldn’t be more thankful for my friends. During times I wasn’t feeling my best, my friends were there to comfort me. And so I tried to do the same with them and always tried to be there for them when they were feeling down. I really like this song, not only because of the tune, but because of the beautiful message in the lyrics.

5. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
This song is about facing challenges and being resilient through them as you move forward in life. I had to be resilient many times this year. When I did badly on tests or had an argument with a friend, I had to study hard, or pretend to forget what happened after an argument. I’ve dealt with things not coming my way and negative emotions. In a way, I’m glad those things happened, because I became a much stronger person from those challenges.

6. Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots
At first, I thought this song was only about being stressed out and having to be strong as you faced stress. However, this song is also about the transition from childhood to adulthood. In the song, the chorus is a wish for the “good old days” of childhood and “turning back time” and being stressed out as you grow older. That was the case with me, because during middle school, I had to take on more responsibilities as I was older. At those times during stress, I would look back at the time I used to be in sixth grade when I had no homework and so little responsibilities. But that stress is always going to grow as I move on to high school, and soon enough, I’ll be thinking that the stress in middle school is nothing compared to high school, college and work.

7. See You Again by Charlie Puth ft. Wiz Khalifa
This song is about farewell and is a tribute to Paul Walker. Since there will be many goodbyes to middle school and people who are leaving, I thought this song would be appropriate. Not only is this a song about farewell, but it is also a wistful song about friendship. The song holds a nostalgic feeling of looking back at friendships and always remembering them. This song shows that friendship is powerful and how that bond will connect people for a while.

8. Hall of Fame by The Script
This song is about working hard, not giving up and eventually reaching your goal. During my school year, I had to work incredibly hard. I’ve studied really hard before science and Chinese tests, and that got me far. I ended up doing really well, and those are just a few examples. Also, since I will be graduating from middle school in one and a half weeks, I will be looking back at all the hard work and achievements that I’ve accomplished in middle school.


Unit 4: Painting with Collage


My collage consists of a photo of me playing the piano. The photo is in black and white, as well as the rest of the painting. When creating this project, I tried to show that notes would be produced from playing the piano, and as a result, from “pouring out my emotions through music”, the other pictures would be displayed in color to describe the colorful aspects of my life.

I didn’t add much juxtaposition or dislocation at all when it came to the photos. However, I feel that by combining all those photos from small squares or rectangles into a bubble, I transformed them into something else entirely: the “music” that is produced when I play the piano. In a way, I did use juxtaposition when it came to the contrast of grey and color.

Of course, by choosing a photo of myself playing the piano, piano is a huge part of my life. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love playing, but I hate practicing.

As for the painting process, I wanted to start out with dull, washed-out colors. So I stuck with a dull grey and painted the entire canvas with that paint except for the photos. I wanted my photos to pop out, so I made sure they were printed with color. To make them pop out even more, I surrounded the “bubble” with vibrant fluid paint and painted tiny, colorful music notes.

I am really proud of my choice of photos and color scheme. I really like how I displayed the “music coming from my soul” concept and how I used color contrast. My photos represented very important aspects of my life: my family, my dogs, my friends, Hong Kong, Hawaii and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Despite the parts I like, there are things I would like to improve. It was my first time using fluid paint, so I wasn’t very good at using it. I let the fluid paint drip at first, realizing I didn’t like it. Also, I could’ve made the photos a lot smaller, so I could add more. Otherwise, I like my piece quite a lot.

SML Reflection #1

  1. My topic is painting ocean and lake scenery. I chose it because I enjoy painting (though I’m not an expert at it at all), and I love photos of oceans and lakes. 
  2. I pretty much just started searching for videos and learning from them. But I learned that I had to plan accordingly since that was part of the project, and I really didn’t enjoy that part. Planning out what I was going to do was challenging since all I wanted to do was paint. I overcame that challenge by asking my friend what she did and used that to plan out my steps.
  3. I don’t think it has really changed except for the fact I’m improving.
  4. I am proud of my improvement. I’ve been working on my SML outside of school and it turns out that I really enjoyed it. As I’ve been painting more, my techniques have improved, and I could easily tell.
  5. I do feel creative because I get to finally show my creativity by doing a creative project. I learned a lot about mixing colors and achieving different techniques that I’ve never thought of beforehand.
  6. Before this project, I was terrible at mixing colors. I wasn’t able to make them blend together properly, and I couldn’t create the exact color I wanted. I had no clue how to paint water. But now I can mix colors well and blend them properly on a canvas. Also, I was able to learn how to paint the glassy reflection of a lake.

What I’ve learned was that I am a very impatient learner. I am someone who doesn’t like to plan and likes to go straight to the project. I think I learn best by just following my instincts. To be honest, I think the structure of SML is frustrating, because doing so much planning for painting seems excessive.

Painting #1:

ocean painting 1

Painting #2:

lake painting 1

Painting #3:

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Unit 4: Portrait Drawing

I chose to draw my sister, because she is a huge part of my life. We’ve been together for my entire life and that has made me grateful to have a sibling. I tend to care a lot about what others think, and sometimes, that isn’t good. On the other hand, my sister never cares about what other people think and keeps doing what she’s doing. That is something I really admire about her, because I fixate on what others say for a long time, and not caring about what people say reminds me that I should do the same and move on.

I really enjoyed drawing her, because I got to notice tiny details in her face that I never noticed before, such as the shadows in her nose and contours. I also noticed that she looks very carefree in the photo, which describes her, because she never cares about what others think. At the same time, she looks deceptively gentle, which is the opposite of what she is, because she has a very strong personality. I admire that about her as well.

When drawing my sister, I was very picky about the shading and proportions. I spent an entire lesson mapping out the proportions and sketching in the face. I critiqued my drawing a lot and looked at it through a very picky lens. Whether it was too much gleaming in the eye, or a hair out of place, I would erase it and fix it. Also, I like to draw eyes a lot, so I purposely made sure those were realistic and looked like the eyes of my sister. I would also hold my drawing from a distance and see what else I would need to fix.

The grid transfer method was so useful. It allowed me to get my proportions right (without the grid I wouldn’t have been able to get my proportions right). Secondly, it allowed me to pinpoint features on my sister’s face, like the amount of squares the eyes took, how long the eyebrows were and more. Thirdly, the grid method allowed me to pinpoint the parts of the drawing that were not straight, which was pretty much everything. My sister was tilting her head in the drawing, so I had to mark the areas that were tilted, which was difficult.

If I had to improve the drawing, I would improve the mouth and jaw. The jaw looks very disproportionate to me, and the mouth seems fine when I draw it, but when I look at it from far away, it looks weird. At one point I was thinking of adding pores to add hyperrealism to the drawing, but I was told that pores weren’t the most appealing feature. But to be honest, I do not like my drawing at all. My sister looks like a fish instead of an actual girl, and that frustrates me after putting time into this drawing.

INP March #2: Animal Farm Theme Analysis

This is a propaganda poster based on Animal Farm themes. The poster includes a silhouette of Napoleon and words (and slogans) around him. The words on the left side symbolize things the animals need to remember to get their reward. The words on the right side symbolizes the aftermath of no more Mr. Jones. I purposely added the silhouette of a man to foreshadow what happens later in the book: when the pigs start walking on two legs and become compatible with the humans.

Animal Farm propaganda poster

Written theme analysis: Animal Farm Themes

Links used for pig and man silhouettes:

Unit 3: Photography Themes

The theme for our series was the evolution from childhood to adulthood. It was a rather challenging theme, since we didn’t really know how to show the transition from child to adult. We decided to display our theme through three different people: me as the child, Kristy as the teenager and Moqiu as the adult. Sonia (my partner) and we borrowed the same stuffed toy for all of our photos. The toy was a huge part of our project. We used certain actions to show the phases of growth as the person’s attitude changed, and we used the toy to show that. During this project, I was the person in the child photo, the behind the scenes person (choosing the background with Sonia and fetching a lamp for the last photo) and the editor for the three photos.


For this photo, we used a slow shutter to make the photo bright, as well as use a white background. The white background was intended to show purity (a child’s innocence) and enhance the photo so it looked bright and happy. I added exposure and saturation to the photo to make it look like the child had a bright and happy childhood. We used the Rule of Space to display a lot of blank white wall so the viewer’s eyes would immediately spot the child and the toy. The Rule of Space was also used to make the child seem restful, happy and stable with the toy, since the rule suggests restfulness.


Kristy was the teen in this photo. For this photo, we used a medium shutter to make the photo a little dim but not dark. We chose to do a grayish background for the photo, because gray is an indecisive color- a color right between black and white. I removed a bit of the saturation so the photo would seem faded. We wanted to make the teen seem indecisive and angry about being indecisive. We purposely made the photo a bit blurred to show the rough transition from childhood to adulthood. We purposely didn’t use the Rule of Space, because the Rule of Space suggests restfulness. And this photo isn’t restful at all.


Moqiu was the adult in this photo. For this photo, we used a high shutter to make the photo dark, as well as use a black background. The black background was intended to show sadness. I removed the saturation so the photo would seem more bleak and desolate. We used the Rule of Space to display a lot of black wall so the sadness (the shadows) was emphasized in the photo. The rule was also used to suggest restfulness, since the adult is supposedly restfully but sadly looking at the toy she once cherished as a child.

I think our photos were pretty effective. We used Shutter Mode pretty well to display the emotion and actions in our photos. In my opinion, the photos were pretty original, because I haven’t seen a series of photos like this before. However, I wish we could’ve used more than one compositional rule. We were going to use different photos beforehand, but they didn’t turn out too well and I am much happier with the new ones.

INP March #1: Animal Farm Character Analysis

Imagine living in a society that was run by a dictator. A powerful, greedy, hypocritical and cunning dictator. A dictator that would run the society and live in luxury while everyone else is constantly working. This is exactly what happens in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. In this case, the dictator is Napoleon.

Napoleon has several attributes- firstly as a powerful leader is feared by the other animals.

“At first no one had been able to imagine where these creatures came from, but the problem was soon solved: they were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken away from their mothers and reared privately. Though not yet full-grown, they were huge dogs, and as fierce-looking as wolves. They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr. Jones.” (pg. 68)

Napoleon has the power to take away the puppies from Bluebell and Jessie, raising the puppies as merciless and vicious creatures. The puppies remind me of brainwashed children in a Communist society- younglings brainwashed by Napoleon and his ways. Because the young dogs are vicious and strong and are loyal to Napoleon, Napoleon has power- an army to protect him.

“Napoleon approved of this poem and caused it to be inscribed on the wall of the big barn, at the opposite end from the Seven Commandments. It was surmounted by a portrait of Napoleon, in profile, executed by Squealer in white paint.” (pg. 101)

Napoleon has a poem composed just for him. There is a self portrait of him. He became known as “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon.” The poem is on the opposite end from the Seven Commandments, which means that Napoleon is supposedly supposed to be just as important and powerful as the Seven Commandments.

“Napoleon stood up and, casting a peculiar sidelong look at Snowball, uttered a high-pitched whimper of a kind no one had ever heard him utter before. At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws.” (pg. 67)

Napoleon has the power to command the animals, such as the dogs, to do something he wants. He used that power to send Snowball away. Snowball and Napoleon always had disagreements, interrupting Napoleon’s rise of power.

“They were all slain on the spot. And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones.” (pg. 93)

Napoleon had the authority to slay the animals and cause so much death. He had the power to force the animals into confessing and mysteriously found out who attempted to betray him. In other words, Napoleon is omnipotent. He most likely has spies looking out for him.

Napoleon was corrupted by power. He was once a helpless pig being mistreated by Jones until Old Major came. As Snowball left, the traitors were killed and the men came, Napoleon gained power. He used tactics to gain it and turned incredibly greedy.

“So the animals trooped down to the hayfield to begin the harvest, and when they came back in the evening it was noticed that the milk had disappeared.” (pg. 44)

It was most likely Napoleon who drank the milk. Napoleon urged the other animals to work and ignore the milk. That might’ve been a tactic to get the animals working so he could save the rich creamy milk for himself.

“So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.” (pg. 52-53)

Napoleon is really greedy. He wanted the milk and apples to himself and the other pigs. Once again, Napoleon is using Squealer to issue the demands so he could save the best for himself.

Napoleon is a very intelligent animal. He has tactics and is very cunning. He used that to his advantage to rise to power and get what he wanted.

“The windmill was, in fact, Napoleon’s own creation. Why, then, asked somebody, had be spoken so strongly against it? He Squealer looked very sly. That, he said, was Comrade Napoleon’s cunning. He had seemed to oppose the windmill, simply as a manoeuvre to get rid of Snowball, who was a dangerous character and a bad influence. Not that Snowball was out of the way, the plan could do forward without his interference.” (pg. 71)

Napoleon used Squealer to tell the other animals about Napoleon’s cunning plan: sending Snowball away. Napoleon hadn’t really opposed the windmill, but used that excuse to send away Snowball so he could have all the power. Once again, all the greediness, cunningness and hypocrisy ties in to power.

“In his speeches, Squealer would talk with the tears rolling down his cheeks of Napoleon’s wisdom, the goodness of his heart, and the deep love he bore to all animals everywhere, even and especially the unhappy animals who still lived in ignorance and slavery on other farms.” (pg. 100)

Once again, Napoleon used Squealer to promote him. Squealer is Napoleon’s mouthpiece who turned utterly loyal to Napoleon because of the amount of power Napoleon has and has granted Squealer. Napoleon was very clever using Squealer to trick the other animals into thinking he’s an excellent leader.

“The Republic of the Animals which Major had foretold, when the green fields of England should be untrodden by human feet, was still believed in. Some day it was coming: it might not be soon, it might not be within the lifetime of any animal now living, but still it was coming.” (pg. 130)

While the working animals worked incredibly hard for the windmill and harvest, that was all for Napoleon’s benefit. He just kept them working so he could have a life of luxury. At the same time, he used Squealer to issue the demands and worked the animals into looking forward to a future that would never come.

Last of all, Napoleon is hypocritical. He became hypocritical after he gained power so he could get what he wanted.

“And finally there was a tremendous baying of dogs and a shrill crowing from the black cockerel, and out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gambolling round him. He carried a whip in his trotter.”

Napoleon was walking on two legs (upright) and broke the First Commandment: Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. The Commandment was never changed, but because of the animals’ fear, they supported the fact that he was walking on two legs.

“the pigs had acquired the money to buy themselves another case of whisky.” (pg. 126)

Napoleon bought whisky for himself and most likely got the money from the slaughterer when Boxer was taken away. Thus, he broke the Fifth Commandment by drinking whisky: “No animal shall drink alcohol.” Even though the commandment was changed, Napoleon broke it beforehand so he could drink.

I was shocked at how easily and quickly Napoleon rose to power. He was greedy, cunning and hypocritical and used that to be above the other animals. Then he even rose above the other pigs and became a dictator.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1954. Print.


Brain Frame:




Unit 3: Action Shot Research

I first thought the story behind this photo was about a young boy running away from someone. I feel like the photographer was trying to show this “story” in a shadowy, beautiful way. As I researched this photo, I saw that it was a piece called Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare in 1932 by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. This is his most famous photo- the photo that defined his career. Cartier-Bresson was taking a photo of a performer named Railowsky. As you see, the photo is in black and white, and back then, puddle photos were cliché. However, Cartier-Bresson managed to make it look unique using props and the background (railway station, ladder, metal bands, plus the man was reflected on the water).

FRANCE. Paris. Place de l'Europe. Gare Saint Lazare. 1932.


Unit 3: Action

Action 2


I used one of my classmates Jessie for this photo. I applied several compositional rules to this photo. First, I used a lot of diagonal lines in this photo. If you can see, the ledge Jessie is jumping from consists of many vertical lines. But since I took a photo from a certain angle, the vertical lines look diagonal. Those lines are dynamic, making the ledge seem like it is almost moving, but isn’t. I purposely added that to make the viewer wonder, If the ledge isn’t moving, what is, and why? Apart from that, I also saw that Jessie looked relatively small in the photo. I used the Rule of Space. I intended to make the ledge look high and dangerous, but at the end, failed. I also intended to make Jessie look tiny in comparison to the large cliff, but failed. But what I succeeded in was making her look relatively small, exposing the ledge and a lot of other space so she looked smaller in comparison to her surroundings. I also applied Repetition and Pattern in my photo. As you can see, the ledge has brick-like patterns, making it seem hard to tell the height of the ledge (if you crop it, but somehow the modified, cropped version wouldn’t load). When cropped, the patterns seem to create an illusion of space and height, making it hard to tell the actual height of the ledge.

The message I chose to incorporate into this piece was to conquer your fears and get over obstacles. In this photo, I tried to portray a story of a girl who is scared of heights who is trying to get over that fear and does so by jumping off the ledge. The ledge also seems like a metaphor- an obstacle to climb over, or in this case, jump from. I guess this photo displays courage, because in my “story”, the girl has the guts to get over her fear of heights by jumping from a high ledge.

I think the three most important elements to this photo included proportions. It was very hard trying to make the ledge seem high, but I purposely chose a setting that would at least fit the closest to what I wanted. Jessie’s expression was also very important. Also in this photo, Jessie looks relatively small compared to the space and the ledge, so that’s good. Jessie is also smiling in this photo, supposedly getting over her fear of heights (relating to my “story”) and having a burden taken off her shoulders as she jumps off the ledge. The setting for the photo was also very important. The ledge was a very key part of my photo.