Monday, November 23, 2009

Affirmation Cards

These five cards are for my Affirmation Card Swap. The idea was to create five different affirmations. They get sent to the hostess and I get, in return, four more sets of five cards. If you want me to do the math, I'll finish with 25 inspirational cards. This was difficult for me because I am an act of service person, not words of affirmation, but once I got going, I found I am looking forward to receiving the returns. I was so inspired that I am making my mom-in-law a set of affirmation cards for Christmas with Bible verses. I played around with art paste and oil pastels for those - photos in the near future.

The cards were all done in craft acrylics. I added some gel medium to help the paint spread better. My copy of "Grateful" pictured here ran a bit when I applied the gel medium to seal it. The scan didn't turn out well - two of the girls have pink hair.
I purposely kept them simple and bold because I thought it created an uplifting, happy look.

ATC Swaps

Here are a few ATCs for upcoming swaps. I have two goldfish for a partner swap. One done in fluid acrylics on an oil pastel background, the other in watercolor on paper background. The blowing wind is for "Up in the Air" done in fluids and the door is for "Doors and Windows". Colored pencil on paper. The door does open to reveal a fairy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Greetings from Florida!

Thought I would post something quick from Florida. I know I need some new stuff on this blog. I have been bogged down with teaching, home schooling, my newest cause, fostering dogs, and now I'm in Florida, so my art has slowed down. I have a bunch of swaps coming due, so I hope to post some of my current work when I get back home. Check back over the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

TAB Choice

When I took over as art teacher last year at my son's school, I changed the entire curriculum for seven classes. I wanted the projects to be fresh and to be ones that I tested. I got a lot of compliments on the work that was produced and the kids enjoyed the projects. The only problem was, it was cookie cutter art. Most looked like my examples. A teacher that I met through one of my art groups (our schools swapped ATCs) told me about TAB - teaching for artistic behavior. I started researching it over the summer, joined another Yahoo group dedicated to it, got a book on it and was convinced it was the way to go. Fortunately my principal is very cool and open to new ideas and gave me the go ahead.

So what is TAB you ask? It is a choice based art room filled with art centers where the students move from station to station creating their own art work. Studies and experience from other teachers show that the kids are more invested in their work because it is their work. The art may not be as pretty, but it is real and creative. Centers include; drawing, painting, fiber arts, collage, print making and short term stations like paper mache, book making, puppet making. It puts less pressure on me to create new lessons and gives the art back to the kids and gets them thinking like artists. Mistakes are a good thing as kids learn what works and what doesn't. I give a short demo each class on a technique and then step back and offer individual instructions or help when needed.

I didn't want to go right into this, so we started the year creating murals. I gave each grade a theme and let them work together to plan and create the murals. It went over very well and we had some great art work on the wall for open house. I followed this with the drawing and collage centers. The younger grades embraced this new system and really wowed me with their work. Kindergarten produced some books, first and second grade some very cool paper sculptures. My ADHD student was so engaged, he had no trouble focusing and produced some cool art. This past week I had a set lessons and second grade was dissappointed that the centers were not open. The upper grades were the ones that were lost. They have spent years being told what to draw/make, that they were unsure with this new freedom. I think they will need baby steps!

I hope to be fully switched over to a choice based room by December. Kindergarten will continue to alter between choice and lessons. I want to make sure they have help with basis skills such as tracing, scissor work, painting and drawing. I have a few kids that can't cut - they keep saying the scissors do not work. I am looking forward to this year and seeing what great art work the kids come up with.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let it Go

My blog has been ignored for over a month! I have been crazy busy and blogging, Facebook and Yahoo have taken a back seat. I decided to add a piece that I did in August. It is a mixed media done on a recycled hard back book. The background is covered with assorted scrapbook papers, gesso, paint, stamping and images. The girl is done in fluid acrylics. I have done about five paintings with different sayings, but this is my favorite! I think we all have something in our lives to let go.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Art Journal

Here are a few pages from my newest journal. All are heavily layered pieces; papers, tissue paper, gesso, fluid acrylics, images, stamping. The two girls are aged versions of my daughters.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trying to Fix my Blog

After visiting many blogs and admiring the layouts, I decided to fancy up mine. I found a site that had free templates, picked out one, followed the directions and then it got messed up. I lost my "layout" button and my blog layout changed to something I didn't set up. I spent some time before vacation trying to figure it out, but got frustrated (which doesn't take much) and just left it how it was.

Yesterday I went searching on Blogger and found a place to post questions to problems. By yesterday afternoon a very nice man e-mailed me with possible solutions. I just read thru what he sent me and found out my blog reverted back to a classic template. I clicked a few things and got my old layout back! It is still not completely fixed because the background I tried to import is now there as well as the free background button. Next step is to try and figure out how to delete this new background. I think I have to go into the html program - better leave that one for hubby!

I am breaking my altered art protocol and have added some photos from our wonderful vacation to the Shenandoah Valley in VA. The beautiful sunset is what we watched from our deck each evening. The landscape is also the view from the deck of the front lawn and pasture. You can see part of the 1/4 mile drive at the bottom of the photo. See why I am ready to pick-up and move! We visited Luray Caverns. The photos can not capture the vastness and majesty of the caves. A beautiful Monarch along Skyline Drive. The view from Stony Man at 4010 feet (2nd highest in Shenandoah Nat. Forest). We hiked to the top of the mountain and were perched on the rocky ledge (scary, scary). The cool part is we hiked part of the Appalachian Trail to get there. I am in love with the area and miss it!

I hope to post some new projects soon. I am in between swaps at the moment, but have been working on my personal art journal and some paintings. I'll scan some of the journal pages and upload them. I am very pleased with the two paintings I just finished. They are very layered with collage materials. The old hard back book cover turned out to be a wonderful canvas. I am toying with the idea of selling them. My problem is I get attached to my art and don't want to part with it.

Have a great creative week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Charms

I was in another charm swap on one of my Yahoo groups. The round and square charms are a heavy cardboard base. They both have paper added. The Asian one has a charm and some cording. The square has a hand painted flower. The puzzle piece is just that - a puzzle piece painted, wrapped in wire and beads. I need to come up with an idea to display all the charms I have gotten in swaps. After this one, I think I will have about 15 very unique pieces of art.

As summer is winding down, I have been painting in overdrive. I think my free time will be greatly diminished when the school year starts. I will have to go back to "Sunday is my day of art" - don't bother me. I finished up the art journal for the round robin while on vacation. Unfortunately I don't have another one because we had problems with one of the participants and she has two of the member's journals and won't return them. Luckily mine is not one of them! I began my second personal art journal. So far in this one I have been concentrating on painting my big eyed girls on various collaged backgrounds. I am also playing around with larger versions on canvas and old books. I actually started journaling in the first journal I made - wrote about our trip to the Shenandoah Valley. I love making the art, but forget to write which is strange because I love to write. I'm just not a diary person.

Well enough computer time - I'm off to paint (and make dinner).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Coffee ATCs

I like coffee. A lot! I actually went almost my entire life without touching the stuff, then about 3 years ago, I started to acquire a taste for hazelnut and vanilla creme. My mom says I am not a true coffee drinker because I only drink the girly flavored stuff. My dad is so against flavored coffees that I bring my own coffee maker to their shore house so I don't contaminate his coffee maker.

Well, amid the chaos of getting ready to goto the shore house, I decided to enter the Cuppa Joe swap at the last minute. I was finally inspired to make six cards. The steaming cup is carved out of styro, I used my brayer to role paint then I printed it on my paper. It was enhanced with watercolor crayons. The yellow card is printed on a piece from an old phone book showing coffee houses. The other two are painted with fluid acrylics and you can see a piece from my coffee bags collaged in.

Now I have to get all my swaps that I am hosting swapped out before the next trip to the Shenandoah Valley. I will be packing up my art supplies and hoping to get some time in each day to work on the art journal for the round robin swap. I should be inspired by the quiet and beauty of the 90 acre house on top of the mountain we are staying at!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Art Doll

I made this little dancer for my husband's cousin's graduation party this past weekend. Katie graduated from a local performing arts high school and is going on to college to major in dance. She has been dancing since she was six! I decided to add a small card on the doll's back to make her into a greeting card. I may play around with the card idea since I enjoy making these dolls.

This doll has a hand painted face done in fluid acrylics. Her outfit is out of scrapbook paper with floral trim accents and her legs are from opera sheet music that I bought at the local library's monthly book sale.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Inchie Challenge (7/4)

Here is my entry at Small World of Inchies for the challenge entitled "By the Sea." The image is from last year's trip to the Caribbean. This is Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. one of the most beautiful beaches I have been to. While there were no palm trees or hammocks on this beach, I thought that would make a perfect addition to the blue water and tropical breezes. My daughter is playing in the sand in the bottom right corner of the inchie.


This is my first attempt at the Japanese style of animation know as Anime or Manga. One of the main characteristics of Anime is big eyes. If doing a full figure, the bodies are drawn out of proportion with the torso being shorter and the legs longer. I did these cards in colored pencil and Pitt super fine marker. I may play around with creating a character since I prefer drawing simplified images (kid's illustrations). These girls are for an upcoming swap.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Swap for Third Grade - Fun in the Sun

O-k kids, here is the next swap - Fun in the Sun. You can do whatever comes to mind: fishing, a picnic, amusement park, swimming. However you have fun on a warm, sunny summer day. I chose the beach since my family and I just returned. It is an altered photo. I printed out a photo on copy paper, added colored pencil and drew the pail, bucket and blanket on separate paper and glued onto the photo.

If you need a re-cap of supplies, scroll down to last month's entry. Two cards will be due to me by July 22. Please include a postage stamp to cover the cost of me returning cards to you. As always, invite siblings, friends and family to play.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Inchie Challenge (6/20)

This week's theme on Small World of Inchies is "Me and My Pet." My entry is my 3 month old black kitten - Mu Shu. He is our foster kitten from the PSPCA that didn't get adopted. He now has a home with us. I didn't want big cat Noah to feel left out, so I did another inchie featuring him. Both were done in watercolor, Pitt fine point marker and photo image.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Faced in Fluid Acrylics

I am in love with my fluid acrylics! I didn't know they existed until I started the round robin art journal project. Since I didn't know a whole lot about art journaling, I started doing research and watching You Tube videos on different techniques. The fluids kept coming up. After getting over the price shock, I bought a set of ten paints and have been having fun playing! They remind me of watercolors because I can alter the consistency of the paint intensity with water.

I painted these three, slightly, unrealistic faces with the fluids. The features are exaggerated and not true portrait placement (like I taught my students), but I was going for this type of look. I sketched the faces in charcoal first, then worked on blending different skin tones to give some strong shading.

Another Altered Altoid Tin

Here is another altered Altoid tin done for a swap on Altered Visions and Dreams. I did a similar fairy door for another swap earlier in the year and had started this one because I really liked it. When this swap was announced, I decided to use the tin already started, but changed the inside. My partner already received it and was very happy! I have been hung up on fairies lately and really need to work on a new theme!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Inchie Challenge (6/13)

This is my first time entry in the weekly inchie challenge on Small World of Inchies. The theme was black and white with a touch of red. The site owner lists a new challenge each Saturday. It is interesting trying to leave a comment because the instructions are in German. Not sure what I am to do with all these inchies. Maybe I will work them into a collage at some point. For now, it is challenging trying to fit a design in a 1" square.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June ATC Swap for 3rd Grade

Welcome to our first swap of the summer! The theme for swap one is: STARS AND STRIPES. You can interpret this any way you like and use whatever colors you like. In my examples, I was thinking patriotic. I used a rubber stamp for the stars and a paint marker and gel pen for the stripes and details. The cards will be due to me by JUNE 30. Remember to include a first class postage stamp for the cards I will be mailing back to you.

Now to recap our materials. You need a firm paper like Bristol or card stock (white or colors). You can get Bristol paper in pad form at Michaels, AC Moore and Wal Mart (craft section) for under $5. You will get over 100 cards from a pad. You can even recycle food boxes and glue computer paper on it. As for mediums, crayons, markers, colored pencils, watercolor, poster paint, acrylics, oil pastels. You can use rubber stamps, images from magazines, photos, hand drawn, scrapbook papers. You guys are all creative, so I know you will come up with some great cards. ATCs must be 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" so measure carefully!

Remember you can invite your brothers and sisters, (younger and older), cousins, friends, moms and dads and other relatives to play. The more players the better! The cool thing about ATCs is there is no age barriers! To sign up, I added an email link to my profile page to contact me or if your parents have a blogger account, you can leave your first name in the comment section under this posting saying you want to play. I look forward to seeing everyones cards!

Monday, June 8, 2009


I didn't know complex doodling had a name, but it does. Zentangles. I have been doing a version of this for years in notebooks, on napkins, on my church bulletin (during the message)... Now I can show it off as an art form. Here are three ATCs for an upcoming swap. All were done in super fine PITT markers. Grab a pen and try one, it is addictive!


I decided to try some inchies - 1" x 1" mini works of art. I was actually very put off with working in such a small space. I stared these tiny pieces of paper for weeks before I made a mark. Once I started, I relaxed. I like the two circles with zentangle backgrounds. The three squares were quick, hand drawn pictures. The sea turtle and fish are mounted on a background of painted aluminum foil. I found a blog that offers an inchie challenge every Saturday. I may give it a try for a few weeks.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Art Dolls

Here are three art dolls for a swap. They were to be in a fairy theme with a flower on them. I found a template on line to start with then added yarn hair, papers from a phone book, newspaper, stamps, hand painted.... Cute.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Art Journaling

I have been playing around with art journaling. Currently I am involved in an art journal round robin. Six artists, six journals, six months, ten pages of art work/journaling each. My journal was sent off several weeks ago and I am working on one of the other participants.

I started a separate journal for me to play around with. I have been reading/looking at different blogs and have found some great technique videos on You Tube to get ideas for pages that I can then adapt to my style. The photo is one of my pages. I have rediscovered the joy of drawing in charcoal. I love how it flows across the page and smudges for shading. The background is blended oil pastel, gesso wash, liquid acrylic, and pages from a book.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Meet Mu Shu

Introducing the newest member of our family - Mu Shu. He is the foster kitten that stayed! We have had him since he was four weeks old (I bottle fed him). His brothers went to their new homes on Saturday, but he is staying with us. He is very strange looking - black/white on top and grey on his back with tabby stripes. I hope his color stays!

Our family has been fostering kittens for Philadelphia Animal Control/PSPCA for the past year. Formally know as PAWS, it has been their goal to pull the adoptable animals from the Animal Control, foster and adopt them out. Up until 2005, only 20% of the animals got out. Now it is about 60%. We are helping to raise that number!!!!!

Remember, there are plenty of good pets waiting for you at your local shelter. Check them out before you goto a breeder or pet store. Help make shelters no kill!!!!!!

Charm Swap

June is the charm swap. Make ten charms, 1" in size, and send them in to be swapped out. Here is a sampling of what I made. The other six are versions of the ones pictured. I have two in a bottle cap, the heart is Model Magic, tissue paper, and wire. The square (hard to see) is made out of a plastic Kohls card that I didn't use (darn I could have saved 20%). I covered it with gesso, a piece of map and the saying "Leave a Trail". The little beads where added for a bit of interest.

Heart Pin

Here is a cute heart pin I made for a swap. The only requirements is that it had to be a heart. I made paper mache pulp in the blender (newspaper and lots of water), squeezed out the water, added white glue and shaped it. It took about a day to dry nice and hard. I covered it with gesso then painted and topped it off with gel medium. Then I wrapped 26 gauge wire and beads around it and added a key. I like it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Altered Tins & Barbie

Here are some photos of altered Altoid tins and Barbie for some swaps I am in. The fish tin was for "By the Sea". I styled it after artist Laurel Burch. There is a fish charm hanging and lots of beads, shells and beach glass along the bottom of the mermaid. The fairy garden has real twigs forming the door. Inside are textured background papers, silk flowers, charms, yarn and tiny stones. Barbie is for an upcoming swap. She was gessoed, candy wrappers (from Easter) were applied all over with gel medium, her hands, feet and face were painted, her hair streaked with sharpie and a two Mary Jane wrappers make up her skirt.