“Watercolors are afraid of paper”

watercolors  Watercolors: lesson one – “Watercolor paints are AFRAID of paper”

While introducing my students to watercolor, I had them use

– one color per person
– small pieces of paper
– tiny paintbrushes
– and a light touch

No need to do dig their brushes into the paper… or make multiple swipes  – in fact, that is why I dramatically shared the secret that watercolor paints are in fact scared of touching paper…it is their biggest fear – so in order to make a pretty picture instead of a scary/ugly mess/all muddy brown and torn ….we need to gently introduce the timid paint to the paper.


make blobs – let dry – figure out what they are


earth balloon – lady in a bathing suit – and a snake – who knew?


Chill, I got this

Stuart is the BlogFEST host of the day, his post “What if you could take charge of your life” is brilliant….and now, here is mine…

In Charge? 

When I put my teacher hat on, I am in charge REGARDLESS of what it may look like to a casual observer.  (teacher assistant, hall monitor, class across the hall…)

My classes are often appear chaotic to those used to lecturing teachers, or those who plan projects that can be completed by trained monkeys…

I have a very GOOD REASON for allowing moving about and laughter – namely creativity likes to sneak in the backdoor. Of course there is time for focused activity – but at the beginning, when I am brainstorming with tiny children – there will be commotion.

It’s okay though, I got this.

“I love chaos…it’s the poetic element in a dull and ordered world.”
~Ben Shahn

the painted faces? …yeah, um all a part of the creative process :)


Insomnia = Inspiration

BlogFEST day 2 – Susan at Today’s Working Woman threw this prompt at us: Sleepless nights

Over the years, I have gone through periods of insomnia, but I know that one person’s reason for a sleepless night can be wildly different from the next person’s. So when was the last time you couldn’t sleep? What was the reason for not sleeping? What did you do to overcome it? I hope you all have fun with this one and don’t lose any sleep over it!


Insomnia =  Inspiration 

For whatever reason, creative ideas wait in the shadows until the day is over. Then they decide to pounce.
Notebooks are full of indecipherable blasts of “inspiration” -some completely unusable, impractical – but man, they sure sounded FAB in the middle of the night.
Then again, maybe the ideas were just a little ahead of their time – either way, I am documenting their existence!




Next time you are unable to sleep or just want to make something nifty with your kiddos that doesn’t require a lot of supplies make SLEEP MASKS.  I drew my own template, but I see that Family Fun has one online so that saves me the trouble of scanning…..Sleep Mask Template.

….and now some inspiration   – I think I am in love with the fake fur/sherpa mask

Party in room 208

BlogFEST 2012 kicks off today with the prompt – Party – Jenn from Wine-n-Chat asks the question,  “Are you the life of the party, or the one sitting back being entertained?”
My answer falls somewhere in between – I love throwing parties. And, teaching art feels like I am throwing a party every time I walk in the classroom.

* I plan out  fun projects

*  Welcome kids with enthusiasm

* Pass out supplies

* Excitedly introduce project

* ….and have FUN playing with the art supplies along with the kids

* sometimes I even bring “party favors” like these wrapped erasers, or a take-home project just because.


There is a technical art teacher in my school – that is not me. She is meticulous and organized…structured and all those other foreign concepts – I am a lot more free form in my approach.

Last year my classes were called “Creativity Explosion!!!”

… this year,  they are simply “Art Exploration” – because I promised the powers that be there will not be any explosions this year :)

My biggest class consists of nearly 30 – first and second year olds. They are wild and loud and I love it.  – I am not wild or loud normally,  but noise does not bother me…noise, mess, chaos – as long as I see smiles, all is well.  It is party time in my classroom and the kids know it.

This does not mean we do not accomplish anything though – our loudest project this year was fun and complete in one 50 minute class.

I read Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and then demonstrated the proper bag smashing technique so we could make

Fall trees.

Supplies include paper bags, scissors, scrap paper, glue sticks
Normally, the directions call for paper lunch sacks, but I say, Go BIG or go home – so I ran into Aldi’s and bought 40 paper grocery bags.

  1. Directions:
    1. STOMP – We stomped and smashed the bags until they were soft and pliable.
    2. REACH – Then I had the class watch as I reached in the sack and grabbed the bottom to turn it inside out (without ripping it) Some of the smaller kids needed help, but overall this worked well.
    4. CUT and SMASH – Then we made two cut from then open end of the bag to the mid-point, twisted the trunk,
    grabbed on the the middle and SMASHED it against the table – so that it would stand on its own.
    5. CUT and TWIST – Then we made another cut in each large section…twist, twist, twist until they look like branches.
    6. TEAR and GLUE – Finally, the kids tore pieces of construction paper and used a glue stick to attach fall leaves.

Ta da!

Dancing Paintings

My friend recently ( specifically late Friday night ) asked if I could do a painting for her. She sent me a link as an example of the style she was going for – soft and girly – to be used in a grouping at her Bad Girls Venture graduation Wednesday night.

– her business HodgePodge Vintage Rentals is way cool – check it out –

When I got the message, I was up to my eyeballs in paint-cardboard-wood for the set of my school’s Les Miserable performance this week …

……soooo of course I said yes.  ( just chalk it up to paint fumes, ha)

I couldn’t get started until Sunday night – had to create the boards, attach the frame and prime the wood ….but then whooosh – so fun!

Here they are …


“Maggie May”

“Lorelei & Lucille”


These four heavily textured, acrylic abstracts will be making their debut performance at the Bad Girl Ventures of Cleveland graduation ceremony May 16, 2012  :)

(materials used; hard wood, acrylics, hard pastels, texture medium, shellac, love, joy….)

H is for Hearts


“I Spy” is the title of this large painting –  personally I love the colors and the shimmery paint … it came together so fast, I hardly remember painting it at all. Then, it was promptly donated to a benefit show and is now living in a new home.

People seem to have strong opinions about “hearts” – a good friend of mine HATES heart images in anything ….while I live for the day after Valentine’s day sales.  I don’t collect hearts and I am not particularly sappy, but I am fond of love in general…and the color red….   Hate hearts?  Hmmm…

He is not alone either – at the benefit auction I heard some not so nice comments about the stupid hearts – ah well, someone liked it – besides me…  Definitely not going to please everyone.

How do you feel about heart-shaped items?

A to Z challenge here and on Sylvie Says…what the heck?  and on Creativity Explosion – H is for Hair (Grass Heads)



Posted in art

E is for Elephant

E is for Elephant

This heavy mosaic collage hangs in my living room –  the elephant symbolizes …

Strength * Wisdom * Solitude * Intelligence * Courage * Loyalty

and is said to protect a home from bad luck –

and bring good luck to all who live there.

They are also said to be a like a “call to arms”  for those going through a battle.These powerful beasts are inherently peaceful and family-oriented. Standing strong for their cause.

Now, I am not terribly superstitious, but I am inexplicably drawn to symbolism – and if there isn’t any there, I will make it up myself to suit my needs :)

Blogging through the A to Z Challenge
here and on Sylvie Says….. E is for Eccentric
and on Creativity Explosion...


relax, it’s just art – or maybe Die Hard episode 413

There was a story that came out last week that I cannot stop thinking about. – here’s a portion of my little write-up about the case….

“Last week a dad was arrested when he came to pick up his daughter from preschool. It seems the picture the little girl drew caused the teacher concern. The four year old drew a picture of a man with a gun. When asked about it, she told the teacher it was “her dad, getting the bad guys and monsters.”

The teacher did not like what she saw, so she called Family and Social Services. When the dad arrived at the school to pick up his daughter and his other children, he was handcuffed, arrested, and strip searched. According to the Calgary Herald, the police were apparently searching for the gun depicted by the girl. They then went to his house and searched for the weapon. What they found was a single toy gun.” 

The gun in question was not even a realistic-looking gun, it was clear plastic and wait, I probably have one lying around…. 

Anyways, let’s recap here, a four-year old girl drew a picture of gun.
Her teacher freaked out – called social services and the police…
Dad was arrested
House was searched
Nothing found
What?  that was just a picture?  oh, sorry for damaging your reputation dad..
But that’ll teach your little girl from ever drawing anything, ever again – maybe she can stick to coloring, within the lines of course, with teacher-approved colors, and plenty of supervision…
 (sorry artist/art teacher ranting)

It was a gun, drawn by a four-year old…not this lovely creation by an 11-year old in my class
– for the record, this rifle or semi-automatic thing was not part of my lesson plan… but since
“my main two rules” for my class include

*Pencils must be moving if they want the privilege of talking throughout the hour*
*No erasing, or I cut off their erasers*

Maybe that last one induced violence… ?  oh well, no matter. NO erasing or I pull out the BIG scissors. 

 The gun in the little girl’s picture was not firing at anyone, no one was being threatened, buildings were not being blown up,  heads were not seen “accidentally” rolling across the bottom of the page….babies were not being set on barbeque grills and dogs were not jumping into empty pools… and the leprechaun did not have a pot of gold fall on his foot….


No, the girl drew a picture of her dad holding a gun to fend away the monsters and bad guys. Or maybe she just didn’t know how to draw a hand, sometimes it is just easier to put something in its place, a purse, a cookie, a gun…

I would like to have seen the picture that caused so much concern from the teacher. I’m sure her intentions were to simply protect the child from perceived danger, but then again, a lot of parents have guns in their homes…for protection, for hunting, b/c they are Vietnam vets (like my dad)

Just because a child does not draw rainbows and butterflies does not mean they are from a bad home, or have evil intentions. It could be meant to shock onlookers, or be an attempt at humor.

One of my classroom helpers mentioned how refreshing it was to see that even the “good families” at the school had kids with a slightly disturbing streak when it comes to their art work.

Like the boy in my class who thought it would be funny to draw a beard on his cartoon baby and then draw a barbeque grill underneath.

He titled his masterpiece “Bearded Baby Barbeque.”

Now, this is not a boy who would harm his baby sister, nor was this image part of his memory bank, but it simply made the table laugh. 

Come on, do these fellas look like they are planning the adventures of a cute puppy or making plans to tell the sweet story of a lost kitten who finally finds her way home?  No, their story involves lots of unnecessary violence and chase scenes…sort of like Die Hard.

I always say Die Hard was written by an eleven year old boy.  Seriously, a semi-truck being chased by a fighter jet and numerous helicopters. Complete with computer hacking en route and a collapsing highway…no panic, just snarky comments throughout….then of course, jumping out of the falling truck onto the wing of an airplane and of course, surviving…

Uh huh, my boys could do better. and have.

No need to call social services, I say, place a call to Hollywood, pronto! 


Photography Prints

Shadowy memories follow all of us around. “Memories” is part of the “Ghosts of Christmas Past” series. These memories include both the wonderful and the upsetting, but both combine to create the lives we now live.

Prints on canvas of this original can be purchased through Fine Art America as well as framed prints and cards.

Thanks for visiting!

Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.
~Oscar Wilde

Two become one

prints for sale on Fine Art America

The original “Two become one” painting has been sold. 

A part of the tree’s in love collection, this is the wedding version. Showing two hearts becoming part of one tree.
Canvas prints, framed art and cards are available of the image on the Fine Art America website