Where the Wild Things Are

 

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I’ve been playing with some of my artwork on Spoonflower.  I just received a swatch of this fabric and I love it!

This was the original painting:

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It wound up looking like a totally wild Damask print.  I titled it Rainforest.

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Here’s the swatch I just received.  It’s a little bit duller than the computer screen which is probably good for most people since my work is so darn bright!

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Check it out!

http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3400342

Getting it Done

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FINALLY!!!

I started this painting in June when my lilacs came out.  How did it take me all the way to now to finish it???

Oh yeah, my kids got out of school :)

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It feels good to finish something that I very well could have abandoned…Lord knows I thought about it!

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On another note, over 10,000 of us Rhode Islanders participated in the Coastal Cleanup this weekend. My kid’s school is responsible for a specific beach each year.

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It’s almost like a scavenger hunt to see who can find the weirdest and grossest garbage! They give you a clip board and you document every single item you find on the beach down to the last cigarette butt.  There’s always a few pairs of underwear, tons of booze bottles, way too many ice coffee cups and the weirdest for me are the constant findings of gun shell casings.

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You leave feeling good.

Our gift is living by the beach. Our duty is to be its custodians.  My daughter gets it.

My son on the other hand spends the entire morning angry.  He keeps saying “…but Mom, I don’t understand why I have to pick up other people’s litter.  If I don’t litter, why do these people get to get away with it?”

Yeah, I’ve got no good answer for you my boy. Nuttin’!

So I default back to what my parents would have told me.  You do it because it needs to get done.

PERIOD.

You can cut or you can stay in line, you can lie or you can tell the truth, you can coast or you can do your personal best, you can choose to help or you can ignore that which needs attention.

In our messed up society it must appear to children that the former is the way you succeed in life. That’s the message we see on the boob-tube daily, cutters, cheaters, liars & an inactive government. As a parent I can only share my own moral wisdom and who knows where the heck that came from. Maybe trial and error. There is freedom. You can simply do for you or you can do for the greater good of all. Is this something you or taught or something you are born with?

All I know is to the day I die I will try to instill the latter in my kids. I guess that’s what they call parenting and that’s why I will worry…does my boy get it???

Yeah, just go ahead and add a couple more silver hairs to my head buddy. What’s a few more!  :)

Upon Closer Inspection

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I take a few moments every day to wander. Sometimes mentally. Sometimes physically.

I picked all the Chinese lanterns from my garden.  I love them for their color of course.

But wow.  Look at how magnificent this little pod is.  It is so delicate and miraculous in its detail. It gives you a glimpse of the fruit inside and reminds us of perfection.  This plant is perfectly designed to dry its seed and spread it.  It has perfect protection only until it is no longer needed. At that precise moment its walls will wither and it will have done what it needed to do. Plant the seed.

Don’t we all have protective layers but do we shed them at the right time?   Hmm…deep thought for the day…

Man, there is just so much to learn about life, when we stop to pay attention.

If you don’t already have these in your garden, here’s a little more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_alkekengi

Back to School

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My kids were not all that thrilled to go back to school, but I am!

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My pottery classes started up again. They are every Tuesday.  It feels awesome.  I’ve been taking pottery classes for two years now and I am finally feeling like I’m getting the ropes!

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I made 6 vessels.  I centered the clay on the wheel all by myself and I did not have any failures.

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Well sort of… This pot collapsed and I probably should have scrapped it, but I just loved the way it fell.  It’s like stripey-ribbons of clay. It reminded me of a bird bath, so I am going to work with it. I’m not all too fond of perfect anyways.

I’m not sure what I am going to turn the other pieces into yet, but stay tuned.  I definitely won’t leave them the way they are!

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It feels so great to be back!

Take a Hike!

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These are illustrations I have been working on for a Rhode Island family hiking guide. The book should be out within this year and will provide a wealth of knowledge about where to hike with your kids in the Ocean State.  The author Jeanine Silversmith, is a mother herself.  So, as well as trying most of the trails out with her own kids, she has enlisted many other families to try them out as well.  Her courses are tested and approved!  I marvel at the nature she has already exposed me to and look forward to finding more amazing journeys.

I’ll keep you posted when the book comes out!

The Platypus Invasion!

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Wow, I checked my records and it’s was one year ago, September 3rd, that I posted my painted fabric designs of my child’s favorite thing in the world, her platypuses.

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I hate to admit that these were fabric designs for her bedroom we were going to re-do….since that was a year ago!

But now that the kids are back in school and I can focus and breathe a little slower, I finally got my butt onto SPOONFLOWER.com!

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Spoonflower is the website where you can load your own images and create your own fabrics.  It was so darn easy, I don’t know why I put it off for so long!  It helps if you have some knowledge of pattern making because you need to make sure that all four sides of your design correspond to each other to create a repeat when creating yardage.  Even if you don’t know how to do that, Spoonflower’s website can help you take any image and create the repeat. I don’t have any savvy computer software, just watercolors and a brain and it came out awesome!  Before you place your order for fabric, they require you to purchase fabric swatches to make sure everything worked out.  That’s what you are looking at, the swatches…I’m definitely thinking pillows!

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But the harder part will be coughing up the change to buy yards of these designs for curtains and a new bed spread…

Let’s hope we are not looking at another year!

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Here is a link to Spoonflower:  http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome

Here is a link to buy my Platypus fabrics (in case you know someone obsessed with platypuses -everyone right?):

http://www.spoonflower.com/designs?look=three&number=24&view=for_sale

TEACHING KIDS ART

Class 9

So now you know why you haven’t heard much from me…yep, I’ve been teaching art to kids!

Class 8

I offered a 5 week sketchbook class for children ages 7-14, I was an assistant for pottery camp for kids and I was part of an art collaborative camp that offered pottery, fine art and crafts.  WOW, there was so much going on! Of course I only remembered my camera about 4 times total, but I still captured some fun projects.

Class 1

At the beginning of every sketchbook class I would ask them to create contour drawings or detailed sketches of the craziest still lives I could come up with!

Class 2

One day we created Miro Drawings.  We looked at Miro’s work and then focused on straight lines, curved lines and geometric shapes.  After the drawing is composed, you cover the board with tin foil and rub the lines on the surface.  This gives great guide lines for then adding color with Sharpie markers. Kids love the brightness the foil provides.

Class 3

Straight out of the recycling bin comes soda can portraits!  Of course the kids take pleasure in smashing their own can, but then they have to look within all of the crevices to create a work of art.

Class 6

Here are some examples of printmaking in it’s most basic form.  You take a block of wood, cut out an image from craft foam and glue it to the block.  I then had a print making station with black ink, a brayer and plenty of paper to try to make a print.  I generally offer 5×7 inch blocks reminding the kids they can use these over and over again.  Think thank you cards!

Class 5

I am not sure why, but I’ve never met a kid that wasn’t obsessed with creating spin art (um…adults too!).

When my kids were little we’d take out the tiny plastic spin art machine and play with it for hours.

I always wanted bigger spin art.  I couldn’t find an old record player, I thought of repurposing some power tools, but then I finally found it. It was a decade ago, but it was a you-tube video on how to convert a box fan into a spin art machine.  Let’s just say by nightfall, I was up and spinning!  I’ve brought this machine to fairs and as soon as the kids try it, I can’t get them to do anything else!  I think it’s the element of surprise.  You never know what you have until the wheel stops spinning!

Class 7

One of the final projects I caught on film was a pastel project I found on Pinterest.  Click here to see the blog post for Spencer Loomis’ Art Class.  I found these giant black poster boards at our recycling center and knew this project would have amazing results.  I pulled out about 6 books from the library on sunflowers and Van Gogh.  I emphasized the fact the Van Gogh painted every stage of the flower’s life, not just it’s perfect state (for those of you that don’t know, people believe this was a metaphor representing birth to death).  We talked about withering, how we could capture the look of wind blowing through the petals and the final big lesson was the use of warm vs. cool colors.  If the flower’s center used cool colors, then the outer petals need to be warm or vise versa.  Either would create enough contrast while still using every color under the sun!

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The results were simply stunning.  Plus I could see smiles, confidence and pride in how fantastic they came out.  Totally a fun teachable moment.

Other projects that were tackled consisted of mine craft portraits, story dice, leaf comics, animal mash-ups, weaving and a sketchbook favorite, zen tangles.

Classes finished up Friday and my kids start school this upcoming week.  I’m gearing up for my own personal art time!