Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dollar Store Kid's Project

I'm not usually very crafty, but my kids...well, they love craft time! So, if you're looking for a little summer craft inspiration here is the post for you. 

The prep is minimal, the supplies you already have our can get at the dollar store, and the project can last for 15 minutes or a couple of hours. We left things out on the table and kept going back throughout the day and adding details.

For your reference, my kids are ages 3 and 5...but the cousins ages 11 and 13 came by and enjoyed making a bird of their own too!

Finished bird by the 5 year old:

Finished bird by the 3 year old:

Supplies: colored construction paper, scissors, pencil, feathers, school glue. Fun extras: hole punch, watercolor set, white out, glitter glue.

First I sketched out a couple different bird shapes and wing shapes. Then I stacked up four or six or five sheets of colored construction paper and cut them all at once. Then again with a new bird shape and different colors. Then I set out the cut papers, full sheets, glue, feathers, etc. I showed the kids one option for putting the bird shapes together then started decorating.

That's it for the prep! I just let my kids explore the supplies from there. The hole punch added fun texture - and some motor skill / grip exercise.

Other elements that would be fun to use: sequins, tissue paper, lace, ribbon, stamps, patterned papers...
Feel free to copy by bird shape if you want!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

"Grief and Eucalyptus" is a painting about my mom's death. Not so much about her or really the cancer or painful last days but about the event as an idea. A pivot point in my own life.

I've done other work which was about my mom's death in some way. More abstractly linked, more of a ripple effect than an explicit exploration. This one is different. This one hurt a little.

Most commonly, I paint ten or more paintings in a series before I know what I'm trying to say. I need a lot of data, several facets, the big picture; I need to process and reflect, to see it all laid out. However, with this particular painting, I knew what it was about as I painted it. I didn't know what everything meant, but I was processing as I worked. How did this feel? Self-aware and uncomfortable. I'd rather not make art this way.

There are three elements in this painting: a vase, a box, and a eucalyptus branch. They are each saturated in meaning.

The vase belonged to my mother. She was an artist and had even done a pastel with this vase as the main subject. She only started doing pastels in the last five years or so of her life. One day she pulled out an old box of French pastel sticks a neighbor gave her as a teen. (He was also an artist and had bought the set in Europe while in the military.) My mom had kept these pastels for decades, afraid to use them because she didn't feel good enough. This was the tune of her lifelong spiritual lessons in which God continually and faithfully created resolution. She finally decided it didn't matter if she was good enough.

These pastel paintings are some of her best work.

The second element in my painting is a box. It is a closed chapter of life. A coffin. A private collection of memories. I keep my own, special moments here and I share them specifically and deliberately if at all.

The third element in my painting is a eucalyptus branch. Besides being a beautiful tree with exquisite leaves, the eucalyptus is renowned for its many medicinal properties. One of its highlighted uses is to soothe a highly charged emotional state.

I've only unpacked a portion of this painting's symbology - each of the three, simple elements has layers and tangents of meaning. However, I think it is enough. I think anyone who has experienced loss will be able to connect with these elements in their own way. I invite you to look at the painting and use its meaning to explore your own responses to death.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Green Vase

A little unusual in my Literary series is the eucalyptus branch here. The other items are a vintage vase and a cigar box.

I'm not sure what this painting means yet, but it has some definite symbolism I need to figure out. I'll explain more in a later post. I'm processing through it as I paint - another abnormality.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Progress on "Literary" and my painting buddy

Moving on to a new painting in the series, similar to the one I just finished up. I started this one ads a little treat to myself after working on pricing. Did you know I hate pricing? Probably the hardest part of being an artist (for me) is figuring out how much to charge.

You can go to Michael's and get a glorified color copy in a plastic frame for $70. And it looks nice enough, really. But it's a glorified color copy in a plastic frame. Why do I mention this? Is this really my "competition?" In more expensive than the print. But I'm way cheaper than most artists you'll find.

Its important to me to be affordable, but I do put in a lot of work. And I've been doing this for a while now. Over ten years since graduating.

I'm procrastinating actually setting my prices. I think I've got it figured out, but I have to make sure.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


The newest painting in the series earlier today. I'm just past two hours in on the painting phase. Probably about 3.5-4 hours total so far. Maybe another six until I'm finished? I usually don't keep very good track, but I'm trying to for curiosity's sake.


Another snip of progress on my newest painting in the series...