Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Living Museum

3rd Grade End of Year Project: students chose an influential person to research and "be" for a day.

This "Living Museum" was set up in the cafeteria/auditorium of the elementary school where parents and students could walk through and push a button (press a dot drawn on in marker) on a famous person's hand and hear a little one minute synopsis of said historical figure.

The costumes, props, and memorized speeches were pretty interesting and it was an enjoyable, educational event.

My little one wanted to be a famous female artist.
So we researched.
She liked the images of Sonia Delaunay's artwork.
So that is who she picked.

I decided to make her a costume (since our artist did textile design).
We picked one of the artist's patterns and I used two pillow cases to create a simple double layered skirt with an elastic waistband. I painted the pattern with acrylic paints.
 *FYI my little secret: these were actually the fabric left over from some standard pillows that I cut open a couple months use the stuffing to create outdoor pillows for my patio because I would rather not buy expensive pillow forms.

I trimmed the bottom before it was hemmed (thanks mom for jumping in and helping with sewing!)

The second longer layer of the skirt has a different set of textile will see those in a bit.

Then we picked an artwork by Sonia Delaunay that we thought was cool and we created one of our own that mimicked her style but was not a replication. Carley helped....a little. ;-)

Finally, we made a poster with printouts of some photos of Sonia and her paintings, costume designs, textile patterns, clothing, etc. that influenced 20th Century Cosmopolitan culture.

Now, for the presentation.....

little sis wanted to be her "helper" and hold the poster


Thursday, May 14, 2015

International Children's Art Festival in Beijing, China

This Art Girl is going to China!!! 

I can't believe it. It feels so surreal to say I'm going to China in a few days!!!
And one of the coolest parts about it is my husband gets to go with me!

We both are beside ourselves with excitement about this adventure!!! With his love of history and geography and my life long desire to travel and see the world, this is truly something to jump up and cheer about! Not to mention it's all about teaching, creating and sharing ART!

Let me share a little about why I'm going and how this all came about.

When I was teaching high school a few years back I had an incredible young lady named Sasha in my Photography and Graphic Design classes. She was a very talented, creative, hard working student. After the school year was over and her time living in Texas as a foreign exchange student was finished she returned to Indonesia. Since then we have kept in touch. Sasha went on to do several amazing things in her career path that led her to working as a project coordinator for the International Children's Art Festival in the 798 Arts District of Beijing, China.

A couple of months ago she contacted me about the art festival and invited me to apply to be one of their instructors for online classes and possibly also as a visiting artist to teach workshops at their annual festivals. I sent in my CV and examples of work and was asked to interview via Skype. Everything began coming together very quickly and I was selected to be a teacher and invited to come to China. I couldn't believe it! I never imagined I'd have an opportunity like this and I can't wait to be a part of this intercultural exchange of artistic ideas with Chinese children, international children and other artists coming in from all over the world for this 5-day festival.

Another fantastic part about it all is that they asked me to bring examples of American children's artwork to display. The artworks will be hung in the 798 Arts District during the festival. They will also likely stay on display through the summer. I began gathering paintings and drawings from children that I have worked with, including a piece from each of my daughters. I also wanted to reach out to our community art students that are in the same age range as those attending the festival, 6 - 13 years old. The art teachers Sandy, Lorren and Susan at our middle school and both elementary schools were gracious in providing some outstanding pieces from their students for me to take to China. I am grateful for their assistance and very impressed by all of their students and the work they did this year. There were so many great examples to choose from!

Well, that's all I have for now.
It's time to work on what to pack.

You can follow my blog and I will post again with pictures from the Art Festival and this ridiculously cool Art Girl adventure!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Date Night - Couples Painting Party

This is the example/demonstration painting I did for a recent couples painting party.
And here is a little something I wrote that goes along with what we created:

I love you
day and night,
night and day,
always and forever.

I love the home we share,
the life we've built,
the memories we've made together.

I prepared black canvases for each couple and lightly sketched the basic outlines of the artwork in white charcoal.

The couples had gone out to dinner and I got there a little early to set everything up. As soon as they arrived we got started. About half way through we took a break and the hostess had coffee and dessert for everyone. (Yep, they even shared with me. YUM!)

Thank you to these brave and fun-loving couples for inviting me to be a part of "date night"! 
You guys are awesome. ...except for....well, nevermind. Yep. You're all pretty good. ;)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Colorful Abstract Flower Painting

I call this piece my Joyful Flower Garden.

If you are a creative type of person, let me ask you this. Have you ever just "needed" to create something. Like you need a drink of water on a hot day. The urge just hits you and you need to paint or draw or sculpt or stop everything and turn the idea that is screaming to get out of your mind into reality.

If so, you can relate to how I felt when I sat down and covered my kitchen table with newspapers, tore open an empty cereal box to use as a paint palette and primed a canvas to begin painting this week.

The picture of these color combinations and these abstract circular flowers had been on my mind. I was feeling like I was running a hundred miles an hour in ten different directions with so many things happening in our lives at the moment and I needed a little escape. A happy place. I needed to get lost just for a moment in the blissful blending of colors and the exquisite experience of creating.

Every time I look at my Joyful Flower Garden painting, it makes me smile.

Here are some snapshots of the painting process:

One of the fascinating things about this painting's progression was how my creation of the negative spaces was just as significant as the creation of positive spaces. 

Today I will choose Joy.

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Painted Furniture: Refinishing a Media Armoire

The red media armoire in the back left of this photo is the piece that I refinished on this project segment.

This is how it looked in a snapshot on my phone when I purchased it.
*The lighting in the photo makes it look darker than it actually was.

The first step was to take doors off and drawers out. We removed the knobs and hardware and labeled and stored them in plastic bags. The inside shelf was also removed. 

Then the entire thing was sanded and cleaned to prep it for painting.

I decided to use a paint sprayer on this project. Quite honestly, it was a big job to tarp everything off so that the overspray wouldn't ruin everything in sight. I do love the paint sprayer, and after working with it several times the process does go faster. And it certainly covers much quicker than brush painting. 

With that said, I did the first two coats of paint using the sprayer and the last coat in areas that needed it using a very nice smooth bristle brush. 

The inspiration for the finish on this piece came from some of the accessories the home owner had in her already gorgeous living room along with the photos of Asian style furniture found online.

And the base paint color choice for the armoire:
Valspar Signature Interior Satin Paint - Heirloom Red

Here is what they looked like after they were sprayed with the base coat of red. I did have tarps draped all around it and above it while painting but I removed them before thinking to snap a photo.
Please pardon the mess. ;-p

Next, I used a mixture of black paint, clear glaze, and water on my faux finish. I had to experiment with the proportions. Honestly, I think it is a matter of preference and how dark you want your glaze to be. For this project I would say I probably used around 70% glaze to 15% paint and 15%water. In some areas I increased the percentage of paint to make it a bit darker.

A few important tips:
Working in small sections I would brush on the glaze mixture and then wipe with a soft cotton blend rag. (make sure it's not something that will leave fuzz behind). Also, be sure to complete an entire section in a continuous manner so that the glaze doesn't have time to dry before you are done. For example, if you only glaze half of a drawer facing and walk away from it and come back to do the rest you will have a definite line of separation between the two glazing times and it will look like a mess. The wet glaze will either darken the area where they meet or it will cause some of the glaze that was already there to come off leaving patches that are very uneven.

If you want to go back and make the piece darker (which I did on this project), you will need to wait until it is completely dry and set before applying another coat of glaze. I waited a couple of days, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that long.

Here it is after the first coat of black glaze. You can see the color comparison with the lantern. But we still wanted to have some darker areas especially in the corners and crevices of the armoire for a more dramatic effect.

This is after the second coat of black glaze. 
You can see my sponge sander. 
It is a very fine 180grit for lightly sanding between coats of clear Polycrylic sealer. I applied three coats of the Polycrylic using a soft bristle paint brush. Each coat was applied spaced out over the course of a week or so. But the reason for that was that we had a lot of rainy days and times that the air was too humid. I would recommend following the directions on the product based on your painting conditions. This Polycrylic sealer gives a very nice professional, durable, protective coat to the furniture.

 The sunlight in this photo makes the red look so vibrant. And I love how the dark corners and overall glaze turned out.

Here are some photos I took with my phone when we moved it into its new home and put all of the hardware, doors and drawers back together. 

And one last pic of it in the room.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Chicken Painting

Anybody out there like chickens?

I have a friend who adores them. She is pretty much one of those wonderful people who loves all of God's creatures though. Especially chickens and owls. Something about winged creatures maybe. Anyway, she is a really great friend and I love her to pieces. She is an incredible teacher and she has a gift for inspiring children of all ages. And I am grateful to have her in my life and my children's lives. 

So, I had been thinking I wanted to do something as a little surprise for her. And this is what came of such thoughts.

Here is my messy make shift work area at the kitchen table:

I used a mix of craft paints and thicker artist acrylic paints. The method of painting was wet on wet....allowing colors to blend in quick overlapping short brushstrokes. Small highlights and details were added in pure white at the end. And I painted the edges and blended into the painting from the sides with a mixture of black and brown acrylic paint. 
The final step will be to apply a clear satin varnish to protect the painting. 

here it is, a sweet little springtime chick

Happy random "appreciate your friends day" to my friend Jenna. 

Go call or text a friend and tell them you are glad they are in your life. 
Share a smile and brighten someone's day.
Create something for someone you care about and give it to them just because.
Hug the ones you love.
Appreciate this day and give thanks to God for He is worthy of our praise and thanks.