Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5th Graders Compare Grant Wood and Chuck Close

 Fifth Grade students are extremely curious and interested in any type of art history; it seemed like the right time to introduce them to two successful American artists who lived at very different times.  Chuck Close is a contemporary artist who has been featured in books as well as on TV enjoying success as a modern/abstract portrait painter while Grant Wood was a realist who painted iconic scenes.  These two artists are radically different in their technique which makes them fascinating to compare.

We began our investigation by watching the video Dropping in on Grant Wood produced by Crystal Productions.  The animated character Puffer takes us on a fun and informative journey learning about Grant Wood’s life and introducing us to 6 pieces of his art work.  We then read the book The Chuck Close Facebook by Chuck Close which is an autobiography of his life and gives fascinating examples of his painting style and works of art.  Comparing the two artists gave us the opportunity to compare and contrast their art styles, lifestyle, and works of art.  The children found this to be fascinating. 

After looking at the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood we looked for clues to solve the puzzle of who the man and woman in the painting were as well as repeated shapes and lines used in the painting. Using this painting we brainstormed how we could reinvent the painting using different characters and contemporary themes in our own version, my students were able to come up with a wide variety of ideas.  Using what we have learned about portraits and drawing the face each student drew their version of American Gothic making sure to overlap their characters in their version using the ideas that we had brainstormed.

We then painted these pieces with watercolor pencils, watercolors, and even oil pastels.  The color and variety of textures that were achieved were fantastic.  Aren't these fantastic!!!  I'm sure that my students would love to hear your thoughts. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mixed Media Journal using Dylusions

This journal page was completed as a part of my participation in Life Book 2013, this was Mindy Lacefield's instructional video and was a journal page that was out of my comfort zone. Isn't that part of the purpose in completing a class to stretch yourself artistically?  I was particularly interested in this project because Mindy used Dylusion's Inks and stencils, I have been wanting to take the time to use my inks and stencils which I invested in a few months ago.  I also realized that I had all of the materials to complete this project at home in my stash so I took a few hours out of my schedule and sat down to complete this and found myself completely absorbed.  SCORE!!!  I lost myself in this project and loved the abstract, loose techniques that Mindy presented. 

The faces were not my usual style of face but I enjoyed trying out a new technique and playing with my Dylusion's inks and stencils.  She also had us journal in the background prior to laying down any paint and the idea that my words and thoughts were totally private appealed to me although if you look closely you can still see some of the text. 

The background was a layered design using Dylusion's Inks, Dylusion's stencils, Crafter's Workshop Stencils, Tim Holtz Stamps, random assorted stamps, Copic Markers, and Faber Castel Markers .  I also used Deco Art Paints to add a splash of neon color in the background and the faces, the clothing of the characters is completed with scrapbooking papers and some rub ons.  I had a great time with this project, in fact I haven't completed a Life Book project in a while and saw the instructional video and found myself really wanting to complete this.  It was so much fun and I had a great time.

Do any of you try art techniques which are out of your usual style and comfort zone?  I have to say that it is artistically very freeing. 

Jump for Joy Easter Canvas Lamby Part 3

This is Lamby and it is my pleasure to introduce you to these guys as they are painted on mixed media canvas but could easily be added to so many different surfaces.  I'm in the process of adding the face and hair to this little guy and he will be finished.  All three of these characters are sooooo easy to paint as they are mostly stippled with a few finishing details.  This pattern is available on my website at or you can click on the pattern on the photo to the right.  Won't he be darling displayed at Easter.   Have you purchased your pattern and are you painting along with me?  The wood pieces for this pattern are also available on my website and would be so darling attached to an Easter basket. 

I'd love to hear your comments about these guys. 

I have sets planned for Halloween and Christmas which will be available sometime later this spring.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jump for Joy Easter Canvas Peter Part 3

Here is Peter, I am beginning to add the detail to him, including the face and the egg detail.  Don't you love him?  I do and hope that you are painting along with me, we could compare notes/painting.  The bulk of the painting is completed with a stipple brush.  Easy Peasy!    These canvases would be darling as a gift or attached to an Easter basket.  You can see this pattern on my website or click on the photo to the right to go directly to the pattern for purchase.  You can also purchase the amazing wood pieces on my website as well. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these guys.  Leave me a comment if you like them as much as I do. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tin Tooled Pirates for 3rd or 4th Graders

During the past few weeks I blogged about tin tooling and it was a very popular series, I thought it might be interesting for many of you to see a project that could easily be completed with children.  This is a very popular project completed with 3rd graders although could easily be used for upper grade students as well.  Look back at the previous posts to see the techniques that were outlined. 

AARRGGHH and avast me matey are terms that I hear frequently when I begin our Pirate Tin Tooled Portraits.  Pirates are one of those themes that children always love and this project is no exception.  We began the project by reading a selection of pirate poetry from the book Shiver Me Timbers! by Douglas Florian and learned some “pirate” vocabulary.  In no time at it sounded like I had a class full of pirates. 

Another wonderful reference book is Everything I Know About Pirates by Tom Lichtenheld which is a humorous portrayal of pirate life and habits.  The pirates in this book are shown with a squared off jawline, missing teeth, assorted jewelry, and interesting headgear.  Using this book we discussed pirate gear and fashion and designed a pirate face drawn using the squared off jaw look, including the shoulders, and adding an interesting assortment of pirate paraphernalia.  We drew these pirate faces on a 9”X11” piece of manila drawing paper which will be transferred to the same sized piece of 36 gauge tooling tin.

Tin Tooling is a media that I like to expose my students to every year and one that they look forward to.  It is a reverse embossing process where we work using a plastic stylus on the back of the tin, turning it over to complete the refining process on the front.  We then added texture and a border pattern using a variety of tin tools and colored them with Sharpie Markers.  You can see some of my students working on their tin projects in various stages in the attached photos. Look at previous posts to see photo examples of the tin tooling process.   

As stated before tin tooling is a technique that I like all of my students to have the opportunity to experience and begin working with students as young as 2nd grade, consequently by the time that they have reached the intermediate grades they are very familiar with the process.  In 4th Grade I like to introduce my students to a variety of tools which will help them further understand the art element of texture.  We use tools which are produced for tin tooling designed by the Ten Second Studio Company and produce an interesting array of textures. 

Jump for Joy Easter Canvas Ducky Part 3

Isn't he cute????  I love these canvases and love this pattern which you can view and purchase on my website at or just click the link over to the right on the photo of the pattern and you will be redirected to my site automatically. There are two different ornament sets that are included in the pattern and this pattern will soon be available at and   Ducky seems to be popular as many of you are clicking on him more often than the others.  Not sure why except that he is darling.  Wouldn't these ornaments or canvases be darling for Easter gifts.    You can see that I am starting to work on the detail on these guys.  Are you painting along with me?  I'd love to hear your comments. 

Liebster Award

Liebster Award!!!

I was surprised, honored, and pleased to find out I had been Awarded the Liebster Award this last week.  So generously awarded to me from
Please visit her blog and become a follower as it is a wonderful blog and I love it.  Thanks Von.  As a fellow artist and recent mixed media convert as I am myself I enjoy her blog tremendously. 

I wasn't exactly sure what the Liebster Award was so I did some research and found out that the award is a Pay it Forward Award awarded to blogs that have fewer than 200 followers.  The award is designed to bring attention to those blogs who may not have the following that some of the larger blogs do.  What a wonderful idea.  The idea is to thank the person publicly who nominated me, link to her blog, and Pay it Forward to 5 blogs that I enjoy. 

It was now my job as the recipeint to link to 5 blogs that I follow and enjoy.   I had to give this serious thought as there are so many wonderful blogs that I follow that do not have very many followers.  I came up with the following list and hope that you will all take a look at these blogs and become a follower of mine as well as of theirs.  I will admit that I took my time accomplishing this as I wanted to make sure that I was listing those blogs that I follow, enjoy, and want to help promote. 

Blogging can be a lonely job at times when there are few comments and followers don't feel comfortable following publicly which I understand completely.  Consequently this is a wonderful surprise and honor and I am delighted to have been granted this award and know that my blogging work is enjoyed.  Thanks again to Von for her compliment to me and taking the time to help promote my blog. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Home Remodel

I came home yesterday to new wood flooring!!!  I am not someone who particularly likes change and am notorious for initially not liking improvements in our house.  I was worried about the wood floors, believe me a 180 degree difference from what we orginally had.  I LOVE THEM!!!!!  Yay Hoo!!!  Surprisingly my husband was the one who was not sure that he liked the flooring and kept walking into the room to try to adjust to change!  LOL!  It is amazing how just changing the flooring in one room changed the feel of the house and that doesn't even count everything else we've done to the house.  What a difference.  So now onto the final phase of the remodel with the addition of tile, backsplashes, flooring, tub surround.  CAN'T WAIT.  Now to just get all of our "stuff" put back into the room, it is crazy how we could demolish it in a few hours but it takes days to get it all put back. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jump for Joy Easter Canvas Ducky

This photo shows Ducky from the Easter Jump for Joy Pattern painted on a mixed media canvas. I have base coated,shaded, and highlighted the duck by stippling using a double and sometimes a triple loaded brush. It is such an easy process to paint this way, you could easily finish these ornaments for a show or gift giving in a short period of time. Of course I get to the detail in our next post.  Are you painting along with me?  I'd love to see your piece. 

Jump for Joy Canvases Bunny

This photo shows the bunny from the Easter Jump for Joy Pattern painted on a mixed media canvas.  I have basecoated,shaded, and highlighted the bunny by stippling using a double and sometimes a triple loaded brush.  It is such an easy process to paint this way, you could easily finish these ornaments for a show or gift giving in a short period of time.  Of course I haven't added the detail yet and will get to that sometime soon in between our remodel.  LOL.  Purchase the pattern and the wood pieces and paint along with me.  I'd love to see your finished product. 

Home Remodel Demo Phase

Hello All,

I've had a few requests to show some of the home remodel that we have been deeply involved in for the past month, actually a month is an understatement.  LOL.  This project has been in the planning stages for the past year, the implementation has only been going on for about the past month.  So far we have changed out all of the counters in the house, updated some of the lighting, added new carpet to select areas in the house, and now spent the weekend prepping for wood floors to be installed in our Livingroom.  It wasn't quite as awful as we had envisioned it to be  and managed to get much of it finished in one day, our main concern was removing all of the floor trim which came out without any breakage.  WaaHoo!!!  Consequently that means we can reuse all of it.  This is the photo of the now empty room and I will take a photo once the flooring is installed.  I can't wait to see it. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time for Blogging

Do you ever feel like your life is on the fastrack?  LOL. 

We arrived back home from having had a wonderful time in Vegas then on Saturday started a demolition project for our home remodel that we have been working on.  Naturally we had people coming in to work on Monday of this week.  Seriously what were we thinking so soon after coming home from Vegas?  Crazy, Right?    ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!  So we got a good nights sleep, dug in, literally, and tore out carpet, pad, and tack strips to prepare for the carpet installation in the master bedroom and basement hallway.  Fortunately we have a spare bedroom and moved into it for the time being and Monday the carpet was installed and Monday evening we moved back into the master bedroom.  PHEW!!!!  It felt good to sleep in our own bed.  Now we are in the process of the next demo phase preparing for the hardwood floor installation and later on this month for tile.  I have a new appreciation for anyone who lives in their home while they undergo a full remodel.   We actually built this house 20 years ago and really felt that we had to recover from that experience and will certainly feel the same way when we have finish the remodel and most of it is just cosmetic.  I can't imagine how we would have felt had we been tearing out walls.  LOL.   It will be great once we are finished and will have updated and replaced much of what was worn out after 20 years. 

Needless to say my blogging and painting has taken a backseat, but I did have time to fit some painting in this week.  I'm just about ready to post Step 3 in the Easter Jump for Joy canvases.  I'm also working on a new pattern that should be ready to go sometime this spring for a mixed media clock which I am loving.  Hopefully I will have a couple new posts later on this weekend to share the next example of Easter Jump for Joy canvases. 

I hope you are finding these posts interesting because I love to think outside the box, if any of you have been a follower of mine you know that I posted a couple years ago about what else you could do with some of my patterns.  This series of blog posts is similiar, I am trying to show other creative ways to use a pattern.  I'm sure you could come up with some fantastic ideas as well and would love to hear your thoughts. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Creative Painting Show Part 3

Have you heard of the company Ideal Wood Products Inc?  They are a wonderful company to work with and were formerly Turns in Time.  Ideal Wood Products produce the high quality wood pieces that we as artists prefer, these pieces are made here in the US by fine craftsmen, many turned as you order them.  Mark Lunow and Dan Thorne took their unique and creative wood pieces to Vegas for the Creative Painting show and as in the past carry my patterns and the accompanying wood pieces.  We often work in tandem to create the wood piece and pattern that fits the wood piece. 

Mark was kind enough to allow me to take photos of the booth and post them on my blog showing many of my projects painted on their gorgeous wood pieces.  We have new projects coming for both Nationals and HOOT.  Can't wait to get started on those. 

Creative Painting Show Part 2

I'm sitting here at home, having arrived earlier today, unfortunately the cheaper airline tickets required us to fly on Monday and return on Friday.  WAAAA!!!!   I had to leave this morning and would have liked to have stayed until the end of the Trade Show but..... LOL.  Finances, finances, finances!!!  LOL.  Needless to say I had a wonderful time and took an amazing class from Bobbie Takashima.  She was a wealth of information and a wonderful teacher and provided us with not only amazing techniques, but art principles behind each technique,  her knowledge of color and design theory is fantastic.  Not only was she extremely knowledgeable but also quite a character and kept us entertained for the day long class.  If I ever have the chance to take a class from her again I will be sure to do so in fact would love to look into taking her design class.  I knew a great deal of what she was teaching but it never hurts to hear it repeated from another artist who has been working successfully in the industry for many years. 

She was very kind to allow me to take a photo of her and to post it on my blog.  Many thanks Bobbie for an amazing day.