Daily Art Challenge: March 21

Just pulled together an Amelia Earhart costume for Leah’s Wax Museum project at school.  Each kid could pick a famous person to be in the Wax Museum and we have to come up with her costume.  I think the other classes walking through the museum can ask the “wax” figures who they are and why they’re famous.  It’s hard to get all the information from an eight year old who really just wants to play with her My Little Pony stuff.  Nevertheless, I think this quickie costume will work for her thing tomorrow.

Which brings me to our daily art challenge:  elementary school.  What is a favorite elementary school memory?  Or perhaps the sharpest memory of those days…

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Schrotenboer.  My favorite subject was art-naturally.  Recess was spent sledding down the huge hill we had behind the school.

My most vivid memory was getting stuck in a very deep ditch on the way to school in our bus.  We were stuck a long time with no heat.  Our bus driver, Mr. Breuker, had us stand in the aisle and jump up and down and stamp our feet to keep warm.  He couldn’t run the heater because the back end of the bus was wedged firmly into the ditch.  We had to hold onto the seats to keep from falling backward, as the front of the bus was stuck up in the air at a very steep angle.

Eventually another bus came and we were carried off ours.  It was weird being passed to several people so we didn’t fall into the rushing water beneath us.   We all made it onto the rescue bus without falling into the creek.  Not that there were many of us on the bus when we got stuck.  I was the second kid picked up in the morning and we were two miles from my house.  So maybe 6 to 8 kids stuck in the ditch without heat for four hours. And why on earth didn’t we wait in Connie’s house?  We were stuck a very short distance from there-we certainly could have waited in her garage if her mom didn’t want us in the house.  That would have been warmer than in the bus in the ditch with the wind whipping around us…

This is what I remember clearly:  When we arrived at school, it was just letting out for recess.  We were sent outside with everybody else.  For the longest recess of the day after we’d been stuck in freezing temperatures without heat for at least four hours.

I mean, seriously?  We’re lucky we didn’t lose toes and fingers because of this debacle.  What were those idiots thinking?  I can tell you-they didn’t want to give up their break to sit with some frozen kids.  We never had adults on the playground-they were all taking their break while we had recess.  We were actually locked out of the school.  If there was an emergency, we had to pound on the doors until somebody heard us.  Plenty of times a kid was bleeding from a fall and was stuck outside until a teacher bothered to check what all the pounding was about.

That’s my most vivid memory of elementary school.

What’s yours?  Is it a good memory like a fantastic field trip or a bad memory like throwing up all over your desk in class?  Remember, these are supposed to be lighthearted and fun challenges. Just relax and use them as a chance to do something different in your art practice.  Nothing to heavy or taxing, just relaxation and fun.

You can use an image, journaling, colors, textures, a title, anything you want to make for the challenge is fine.   You might like to try paper dolls or writing your story.  Use your imagination and explore the artistic possibilities.


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Gearing Up

for this summer’s art shows.  Laurie and I filled out the forms and she’s sending them in tonight.

So I have to start concentrating on making (and re-making) my stuff.  We’re beginning today’s Use It Up and Get It Out projects with small art journals.  Then I think I’ll work on the jewelry.  Without question, I need to make a substantial amount of stuff for the Harry Potter show.

Anyone else noticed how the winter is nearly through and spring is just around the corner?  I can’t believe how fast this winter has passed.  I woke this morning and realized I hadn’t done anything for the Art Market, the Harry Potter show, or the store I have my stuff in, Possessions.  I’ve just been relaxing, doing challenges and playing with my supplies…

Now it’s time to get busy.

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Today’s Daily Challenge: March 20


Today’s daily challenge prompt is to make a small art kit.

Confession time:  I’m not the most patient person.  I am easily bored.  I always need something to do.

Because I know these things about myself, I try to be prepared for those times when I’ll be in a waiting room, at a restaurant waiting for my food to arrive, at sporting events I don’t care for, as a passenger in the car on a lengthy trip, waiting for water to boil while cooking dinner…by having a small art kit prepared.  I can make something while I’m waiting.  This can slip easily into my purse or glove compartment and doesn’t take up much room.  Here’s how to make one for yourself:

  1. I found a zippered make-up case at Dollar Tree.  This is what I use to hold my supplies.  If you can find a divided one with a few separate compartments or pockets-even better.  Mine doesn’t have that.
  2. I put a couple graphite pencils, an eraser and a small KUM sharpener in the bag.
  3. I include nearly used up colored pencils.  When they are to small for regular coloring, I add them to the travel kit.  They are held together with a rubber band.
  4. A waterproof black pen or marker.
  5. A small sketch book
  6. Some printed coloring page images
  7. 3x 5 cards-I use these cards to clean off my brushes and to use up any extra ink or whatever from other projects.  When they’re filled, I toss them in the kit.
  8. ATC-sized watercolor paper or poster board (2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″).  When I make ATC’s I use larger sheets of paper or poster board and make several at one time.  I cover the background with paints, collaged scraps of paper, inks, stamps-whatever I want to use- then I cut the ATC’s to size.  So they all have some color on them when I put a couple in the travel kit.
  9. Hand drawn Letters-these aren’t completed.  That’s why they’re in the kit.
  10. Small stickers, words, ephemera scraps, paper scraps
  11. Tiny scissors
  12. glue stick, double-sided tape or liquid adhesive in the smallest size.

This is just what I carry in mine.  Yours may be entirely different.  Maybe your a watercolorist.  You might have a small pad of watercolor paper, a DIY watercolor palette, a waterbrush and some paper towels.  If you’re a person who colors you might have some small printed coloring images, a small selection of colored pencils, a blending pencil, a sharpener and an eraser.  If your a sketch artist, have a selection of pencils, sharpener, erasers, either a small sketch pad or sketch book.  If you’re a pastel artist, you might have some pastel pencils and a small pad of paper, tortillions or blending stumps and folded sheets of parchment paper to hold your finished work.  If you work on hand sewing, you can fill your kit with a small project.  Include thread, needles, scissors, embroidery hoop if necessary, and your fabric.

We can accomplish many things by using those small chunks of time within our day.  Not many can sit down for a five hour art session, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make art anyway.  By having a small project with you all the time, you’ll be surprised how often you’re able to work on a little something just going about your day.

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DIY Wanderlust Artist Book

Here is a video by Shannon Green.  It’s a flip through of her Wanderlust Journal.  It’s absolutely delightful.  I have decided to make one myself-using recycled packaging and a medical condition informational booklet.  Here’s how:

  1. I took the staples out of the booklet before I did anything else.  I find if you leave staples in a book they will rust.
  2. The booklet was made of very sturdy stock, which makes it perfect for this project.  The colors were very bright as well, which isn’t quite as perfect.  I used random papers, trying not to put two of the same type in the book, and glued them to the pages of the booklet, covering up the colors.  Normally I only use the Yes! Paste on my book covers, but I decided to use it on every page in this journal.
  3. I added extra tabs in the spine to add additional pages, I folded papers over to make pockets, I added a tri-fold piece on the outside edge of one of the pages.  When you’re putting journals together you can add whatever you like, which can be a bit easier than adding those things later in the process.
  4. I folded each page at the seam, and they are hanging around drying right now.
  5. Once they’re dry, I’ll trim the excess paper from the pages.
  6. You have a choice at this point.  You can bind the book together or you can decorated your pages while they’re loose and bind the book when you’re finished with them.   I normally bind my books before I do anymore to the pages, but for this one I am going to leave them loose.  Try something a little different.
  7. Embellish your pages and covers.
    1. You can choose a theme for your book.  Add embellishments that go along with the theme. Examples might be:  a flower journal, a birthday journal, a recipe journal, a holiday journal, a techniques journal, a favorite bible verses book, etc.
    2. You can use similar colors throughout the book.  This is also a way to give the journal a cohesive look.
    3. You can choose an element you repeat on all the pages, like a stamp or doodle detail.
    4. Or you can use whatever you have on hand.  Just random things with no rhythm or reason.
    5. Use a sewing machine to add fabrics and trims to the pages, if desired.
  8. Add tags, mini-books, photos, journal mats, inspiration tiles, ATC’s, etc. into the pockets, tuck spots and belly bands.
  9. 3-D items like closures, buttons, gems, and hardware can add so much visual and textural interest to a multi-media project.  If you haven’t really used these in an art piece, give it a try.  There are lots of options and many are things you can find around your house.  Washers, safety pins, twist tie wire, belt buckles, zippers, broken jewelry, wood pieces-the list goes on and on.  Your options are limited only by your imagination.
  10. Finishing touches, like darkening around a focal point image so it stands out on the page or adding a white highlight to an eye, can really have a huge impact.  The little details make all the difference.

This is a fun little project.  You can make this for a Use It Up and Get It Out project.  It’s perfect for an all scraps project too.  You can use whatever you have on hand, there’s no need to purchase anything.

Don’t you just love those?

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Haul! Ollies

We went to Ann Arbor for my treatment on Wednesday.  My appointment was early in the morning and miraculously effective this time.  I was on the verge of one of the big headaches.  Had the injections and by the time we reached the car, I knew the cluster headache had stopped.  I have never had anything prevent a cluster when it was that advanced.  Occasionally oxygen will stop one, if I catch it quick enough, but never when it’s that far gone.  Astonishing.

Since I felt so much better after my treatment, we stopped at Ollie’s, which is an overstock discount store.  I picked up a few very deeply discounted things.  6 unique adult coloring books.  A couple are biblically inspired, also an animal book called Menagerie & More, Floribunda Style-to color, craft and draw, Flowers and Butterflies-a book of cards and envelopes, and Patterns– make your own gallery wall art.  This last one is very large and the pictures are suitable for framing, according to the information found within the book.  It’s pretty cool and not like any I’ve seen before.  In fact, none of the coloring books I found- on sale for 1.99 or less each- were like any I’ve seen around here.

Since I’ve filled my Tula Pink book, I needed something else to work in.  I looked at each book with art journaling possibilities in mind.  Inspiration happened and I’ve been busy with several projects today. Sometimes it helps to look at our stuff from a different angle.  Here are a couple examples of what I mean.

My coloring pages are just another supply to use in a project, like paper or paint.  I cut them up to use as embellishments.  I collage them onto used manila file folders and cereal box chipboard to make journal covers.  I use the small pieces for ATC’s and inchies.  I make paper beads by the thousands.  (That’s literal.  I currently have over 16,000 hand rolled paper beads for use in a very large project.)  I have the one’s designated for that project, but there are others which I use in my art journals and to make into jewelry.  The beads are a supply I can use in a number of different ways.  I also have some bead embroidery pieces-not made with paper beads- which can be used in art journaling, as jewelry, or even as decorative elements on hats, purses or gloves.  And, of course, I have projects I don’t care for when they’re completed.  Those I reuse elsewhere too.  Always think about your stuff and how you can use it in different ways in your art practice.  That way, no matter how the original project turned out, you haven’t wasted your time or your supplies.

Back to the Haul!  Scott found two packages of Sharpie markers for cheap, and I found a couple lined tablets used by kids to practice writing their letters.  Since I’m working on hand lettering, I like having practice paper I don’t have to make myself.

So this haul! wasn’t huge, but everything will be useful for a variety of upcoming projects.

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Daily Art Challenge: March 19

Today’s challenge is to use a face in your daily art.  This could be a photograph, a sketch, an image from a magazine, a self-portrait, or a clock.  How you want to incorporate this into your work is entirely up to you.

Have fun with the challenges.  Loosen up.  Part of the wonderfulness that is art is you can just let go and goof around.  Sometimes we take ourselves way to seriously.  It’s okay to laugh at ourselves and just play with our stuff.  Don’t be so concerned with the end result, this is about enjoying the process.

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Setting Up Your Studio: The Basics

We’ve been discussing the setting up of a home art studio.  No matter the size of your space, it can happen.  Now we’re going to cover the bare-bones basics needed for such an art space.  Let’s begin.

  1.  We’ve covered lighting and I truly believe this is one of the most important elements for a successful art space.  No matter what you’re working on, you need good lighting to see. Not only what you’re making but the colors need to be accurate too.
  2. You need a work surface.  This could be a table, a drawing board, a lap tray.  You will need something to work on.
  3. Storage will be necessary in your art space.  We cannot make things from nothing.  We need raw materials to start.  And no matter what those raw materials are, they will need to be stored when you’re not using them.
    1. You might find a cart with wheels is storage enough for your needs.  It’s handy, holds a substantial amount of stuff and can be moved to any location.  You can even toss it in your car and go create with a friend.
    2. Plastic totes, the thinner ones can be stored beneath beds and the larger ones can be stacked on the floor of a closet.
    3. Rolling storage with drawersHere is an example of storage that is reasonably priced and can be stowed away in a closet when not in use.
    4. Furniture pieces can also be used for storing art materials.  They look like any other piece of furniture in a room.  They often have doors that close so your stuff isn’t out there where kids and pets can get into it.
    5. You can make your own storage boxes with foam core and hot glue.  I’ve made a ribbon storage rack, small storage bins similar to these, storage boxes similar to these.  And these.  There are countless storage options you can make yourself for pennies.  Cover cardboard boxes with contact paper or collage over top and you have a unique but functional storage option.
    6. Whatever your storage needs are, there is a solution out there.  Check second hand stores, garage sales, discount stores, home improvement stores like Loews and Menard’s, and don’t forget to look around your own home.  Could something be re-purposed for art supply storage?  Can you empty a couple cupboards and use those?  How about a drawer or two? Check the garage.  Is there a tool box you could use?  What about shelves or cabinets? Spray paint can do wonders for beat up stuff.
  4. You will need a space with fairly consistent temperatures.  To hot and your paint changes, to cold and your paint changes.  A good temperature is around 72-73 degrees Fahrenheit.  I prefer it a bit warmer than that for my comfort, but your supplies will be fine at this temperature.
  5. Ventilation is also important if you’re using any chemicals.  Try to use the really smelly, toxic stuff outdoors while wearing an air filter mask.
  6. Water access.  It is challenging to have an art space without running water.  I know, because that’s what I have.  I fill gallon milk jugs with water and take it into my work space.  I empty my dirty paint water into another gallon jug.  Once it’s full, I take it outside and pour it into the burn barrel.
  7. Your flooring is also a consideration.  I have carpet in my work space and have not had a problem getting my paints and other messes on it.  When things are really going to be sloppy, I take the project outside or into the back room which has cement floors.  I put down heavy painters plastic and then go to work.  If you’re cautious and careful when arting, you won’t have a problem with carpet underfoot.  If you’re more wild and free, put heavy weight plastic down first and go for it.
  8. I find it very important to have a space that is separate from the kids areas.  The kids may not be in my work room unless I’m in here with them.  There are many (possibly toxic) things they would really enjoy getting into.  For their safety and my sanity, this space is off limits to them and just for me.

I hope this gives you some idea of exactly what is needed for a functional art space.  It truly isn’t that much.  You can have a corner in the living room or dining area.  Empty a closet and you have an instant art studio.  Just add a desk and some shelves and you’ve got it.  If you have a room in your house that is not being used, grab it.  Some people have formal dining rooms but only eat in the kitchen.  Re-purpose the room to suit your needs.  Everybody needs someplace to create, no matter how small.  You can carve out a spot within your home for making art.  And you can do it inexpensively.

Good luck and have fun!

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