Friday, October 15, 2010

We Love Our Homeschool Cooking Class!

My daughter loves all things creative. She has been asking me to add cooking and sewing to her homeschool day for a while now, so we decided to give it a try!

Halloween sugar cookies were our first project.

Mixing the dough....

Using our Halloween cookie cutters.......then off to the oven the cookies go!

Decorating the cookies with icing......and tasting them.........

And voila! Finished Halloween sugar cookies. Surprisingly, they actually tasted great!

Not sure what we'll make next. Thinking possibly muffins......

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turn Yourself Into a Comic Icon!

Check out my husband's latest portrait style. Taaaa Daaaa................. It's "COMIC STYLE" !

This portrait style is perfect for all social media needs! Facebook pics, twitter, blog profile pics- anytime you want to give yourself a little pizazz!

The portraits can be ordered for $25.00 from his website -
What do ya think?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Georgia O'Keefe Creations

Student Work

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) was an American abstract painter born in Wisconsin. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Student's League in New York, and Colombia Teacher's College in New York. She was an art teacher before she became a full time artist. She was a leader in the development of the American Modernism Movement. O'Keeffe painted still lifes, massive flowers, the New York at Night series, southwestern landscapes and stark bones found in the desert. In 1939, she was selected as one of the twelve most outstanding women of the past fifty years by the New York World's Fair Committee. Her painting, Sunset-Long Island, was chosen to represent New York in an exhibition of the art of the United States at the World's Fair. In 1985, O'Keeffe was granted the Medal of Arts by President Ronald Reagan.

Red Poppy by Georgia O'Keefe

Pelvis With Distance by Georgia O'Keefe

In this lesson, students will be painting flowers or skulls in the style of O'Keefe. This can be accomplished quite easily by following these simple steps.

1. Find a picture of a flower or skull that you would like to paint. I usually find my samples on the internet.

2. Draw the flower or skull on your paper with a pencil. Draw it so large that it runs off the page. There should not be any empty background. The flower or skull should take up all of the paper.

3. Using paint, color the picture. Quite often, O'Keefe's paintings have either a warm or a cool feel. This can be accomplished by either using all warm colors (red, orange, and yellow), or all cool colors (blue, purple, and green.)

This picture below is being painted with cool colors.

This student has printed out pictures of flowers to use as a reference.

Here are some of our finished pictures! One warm and one cool - can you figure out which is which?

Good Luck with your O'Keefe creations! I know they will be beautiful - with such pretty subject matter and vivid colors they always are!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Discover Pointallism with Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat was a French Post Impressionist painter that lived from 1859-1891. He is best known for his development of pointillism and his use of optical mixing. Here is a great biography sheet on Seurat - . One of his most popular paintings is entitled "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." View this painting here - grande-jatte.jpg 750×501 pixels. Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. In this art lesson, students are going to create their own pointillism picture using optical mixing. Optical color mixing is created through our perception of color. When one looks at two small amounts of different colors laid down side by side the two appear to create a different color. For this project, I gave the students the three primary colors - red, yellow, and blue. By putting two different primary color dots side by side, the viewer's eyes will blend the colors and see a new secondary color (purple, orange, or green.) This is a great time to review how to make secondary colors from primary colors. This link will take you to a great page on color mixing - Color Mixing - Enchanted Learning Software . After a quick lesson on Seurat and color mixing, the kids began their paintings. They followed these simple steps -

1. Sketch the picture to be painted with a pencil to provide some guidelines. Keep the design simple - no small details.

2. Using dots, paint the picture using optical mixing to create secondary colors. The dots must be close together to mix properly.

3. The pictures are finished! Have someone hold your picture for you, step back a bit and let your eyes do the optical mixing! Do you see the secondary colors?

4. Show your beautiful art to your friends and family. Teach them about Seurat, pointillism, and optical mixing. Find a special spot for your new picture in your home and enjoy!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Self-Guided Art Projects

Every now and then, my daughter secretly digs through my art cabinet and drags out a bunch of random supplies. I usually find her on the floor or at the table creating her own masterpiece, free from direction or expectations. These are the art projects she loves the most. They are totally her own, from the selection of the supplies to the execution of the composition. Quite often, she will sit for a long time playing with her creation. They are often cities, or houses, or as the case this time, a baby's nursery.

My daughter's self-guided art moments remind me to let go sometimes and let her be in control of her own creations, from start to finish - no directions and no expectations.

Give it a try sometime - set out a variety of arts & crafts supplies for your child and then just let them be. See what they come up with. I guarantee it will be a creative masterpiece!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fantastic Friday with the Arts - Tissue Paper Forsythia

While perusing my favorite blogs recently, I came across a must do art activity. Pink and Green Mama posted a fantastic art project using paint and tissue paper to recreate the flowering plant, Forsythia. I love to see Forsythia in the spring, and the thought of a classroom full of painted Forsythia sounded exciting! I decided to have my small art class give this project a try. We followed the directions listed on Pink and Green Mama's blog. Here is a link to the activity on her blog - Pink and Green Mama: Easy Kid Spring Art Craft: Tissue Paper Forsythia

1. The kids used a straw to blow very watered down tempera paint into the shape of Forsythia branches.

2. Next, they painted small green leaves around the branches.

3. Then the kids glued on crinkled pieces of yellow tissue paper to represent the Forsythia blooms.

4. Voila!! The finished Forsythia plants! Hang these in your home and it can look like springtime all year round!

Thanks Pink and Green Mama for the wonderful and fun Forsythia activity!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fantastic Friday with the Arts - Joan Miro

Joan Miro was a Spanish artist who developed a very whimsical style back in the 1930’s. His painting called “People and Dog in Sun” is a fun one to imitate by drawing stick figures and stars.

1. Give each student a 9" x 12" piece of watercolor paper and pencil. They are to draw one large stick figure in the middle, preferably in some action pose. Miro often repeated shapes in his work so ask the students to add more shapes to their art but ONLY by using lines and dots. At least two of the shapes need to intersect (overlap) to make more shapes to color.

2. After the pencil drawing is done, the students need to trace it heavily with a black crayon.

3. Have the students fill in all the shapes they have made with a different color.

Have a super time creating your own Miro's! Check back next week for a new lesson based on a different artist. See you then!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fantastic Friday with the Arts - Japanese Folding Screens

Japanese artists make the loveliest folding screens, carved with designs and painted black. Some are made from wood frames and have hand-painted silk stretched in each panel. The paintings are often of flowers or landscapes. The Japanese also have a love for things that are very small, so miniature table top screens are a popular decoration. This week my art class made their own miniature paper folding screens to hold their favorite photos.

For this project, I asked each child to bring in four photos that they would like to have on their screen. I also had magazines on hand the day of the lesson for those kids who forgot to bring in their photos. Those kids were able to cut out pictures from the magazines to use on their screen.

The first step in this project is to fold construction paper to make their screens. Each child needs 2 pieces of 9"x12" paper. Both papers need to be folded in fourths in a fan type of fold. On one of the pieces, cut a small photo window at the top of each folded section. I did this step for the kids with an exacto knife. Next, tape one photo behind each photo window. Glue the second 9"x12"piece of paper to the back of the first to create the backside of the screen and to give the screen strength.

It is now time to paint the designs. We used black watercolor paint to simulate the black india ink that would be used by real Japanese screen artists. Black marker could be used as well. I printed out pictures of flowers for the kids to look at for ideas.

I also printed out some simple Japanese words in case they wanted to put some Japanese writing on their screen. They really seemed to enjoy painting the real Japanese characters.

This lessons is also a great time to teach the kids about the art of calligraphic line painting. Based on oriental calligraphy or "beautiful writing," calligraphic line is characterized by variations of line width and the power of a simple line to convey a complex feeling. I encouraged the students to use black ink with various sizes of brushes and sticks, practice making marks with different widths, directions and pressure.

Here is a finished miniature folding screen. This will make a terrific table decoration!

The kids seemed to really enjoy this project. They liked exploring the art of a different culture, and anytime they can include photos of their loved ones in an art project, it is a big hit!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spunky Jack Russell

My husband just completed this digital portrait of our energetic puppy in a rare inquisitive moment. She is usually burning a trail in the backyard.

This image is painstakingly drawn/painted digitally with no photo manipulation.
It is essential to him that the process mimic traditional drawing and painting techniques.
He is currently using a Intuos 3 Wacom tablet with Corel Painter X.

Portraits make great gifts for friends and family - know anyone with a birthday coming up? Check out my husband's website - we have a quick and easy way to order that special portrait.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Unusual Way to Store Coal

Visit our webpage to find out what unusual item is storing coal in this free desktop wallpaper image (we have only shown you a bit of a teaser here.) Those of you that have ever lived in or traveled to Appalachia will recognize this scene.

Special edition prints of this image are available as well. - gallery of work

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fantastic Friday with the Arts - Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Warm weather is here, spring is in the air, let's paint flowers! In honor of Vincent Van Gogh's March 30th birthday, we learned a bit about still lifes and tried our hand at painting sunflowers. We began our lesson by exploring the art of the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh (March 30, 1853 - July 29, 1890.) We paid special attention to Van Gogh's Sunflowers series. A large sample of these paintings can be found at .

I also took this opportunity to introduce the kids to the concept of the still life. A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects. Flowers in a vase definitely qualify as a still life. Because Van Gogh's Sunflowers painting are mostly yellow, we also discussed the term monochromatic, which means all of the colors in the artwork are tints (light versions) or shades (dark versions) of a single hue.

The kids began this project by drawing their own still life of sunflowers in a vase with a pencil. Ideally, it is best if the kids have actual sunflowers to look at when drawing their pictures, however since I did not have any, I printed out pictures of sunflowers for them to look at. Here is a website that has a lot of pictures of real sunflowers - .

Begin painting - we used washable tempera paint.

Here is one of the most colorful finished pieces. This one happens to be created by my daughter who absolutely loves lots of color. She followed the guidelines of the project initially, but eventually went her own creative way, and that is OK. Monochromatic painting is not her thing. For me, art is all about creativity. As long as the kids are expressing themselves and creating, it doesn't matter if the finished product is a little different than expected. Originality is actually a good thing!

Well, that's it for this Fantastic Friday. As the spring flowers start popping up in your yard this spring, remember Van Gogh's sunflowers and try a still life of your own!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Sweet Girl

Meet my sweet daughter - she is 7 yrs. old now, but this adorable portrait takes me back to her first ballet recital when she was only 3. My husband is a portrait artist - this is his latest creation. We have recently started an online portrait business. If you happen to be looking for a gift for that hard to buy for person, consider a portrait. We have any easy to use website that allows you to quickly order the perfect portrait for you or someone you know. Take a look!
Our business can be found at -

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fantastic Friday with the Arts - Snowy Scenes

It seems winter may finally be nearing an end in Kentucky, so we decided to create one last snowy scene for the season. This project is one of my favorite winter art lessons. It is very easy to create, and the strong contrast between the black, white, and blue makes for a very dramatic and eye catching scene. It is popular with the kids, and the parents always seem impressed by the results.

I always begin this lesson by showing paintings of wintry scenes by famous artists. I usually choose Pieter Bruegel's The Hunters in Snow -The Hunters in the Snow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia , as well as any winter scene from Hendrick Avercamp -WebMuseum: Avercamp, Hendrick . Both men were Dutch, and lived during the 16th century. They both created wonderful winter scenes.

After viewing the work of the two artists, the kids began to draw their own winter scene. They used black marker on blue paper. I explained to them that these scenes are "twilight scenes." Scenes taking place just as the day is coming to an end, therefor showing everything in a dark silhouette only. We also looked again very closely at Bruegel's The Hunters in Snow. I wanted them to notice the depth and perspective found in this work. We discussed the concept of foreground, middleground, and background. Anything they wanted to be far away (or in the background) should be smaller than what they have drawn in the foreground. I encouraged them to try to have an item, such as a fence, span all three space levels. The item should start off large, and gradually diminish in size until it disappears into the background.

The next step is super easy. Paint the snow! Many times I have used white chalk for this step instead. It creates a bit of a softer look. I reminded the kids to paint the snow anywhere it would naturally land in real life - branches, fence posts, or roofs.

That's it! Pretty snowy scenes! Let's hope these cute pictures don't evoke any more snowy weather in Kentucky. This is the last bit of snow we all want to see until next winter!!! Have fun creating!