Tag Archives: crafts

Doggy Bag

Because I have to divide my time between my home studio and my work studio, I end up having to haul a lot of stuff back and forth.  If I intend to get anything done it’s necessary that my art and jewelry supplies follow me around.  What this mostly means is that I cuss a lot because something is invariably missing from my bag because I forgot to pack it.  I am very, very good at sabotaging myself, apparently.

I do, however, have a wicked-cool doggy-bag to haul all my stuff around in.  This is one of my Laurel Burch bags.  Yes, one of them.  I also have a purse and a suitcase designed by Laurel Burch.  It’s not all that surprising that I’m drawn to her work…just LOOK at those colours!!  A bag like this can lift your spirits from the depths of the doldrums and put a definite skip in your step.

What came out of the bag at home today:  gesso, acrylic retarder, impasto medium, iridescent medium, camera, large tube of acrylic titanium white, large tube of an amazing copper/burgundy/metallic gold acrylic paint.  I don’t remember what the colour is called but it’s the kind of colour you just want to squeeze a glob of into your hand and smear  all over your canvas….or your face.  I know.  I’m weird.  But this colour is THAT yummy.

What went into the bag to come to work with me:  my journal, my sketchbook, watercolour pencils, 6 x 6 watercolour paper, letter-sized watercolour paper, water pen, scotch tape.

Things that stay in the bag all the time:  archival ink pens, drawing pencils, a small ruler, gum eraser, white eraser, a very basic drawing pad, a bottle of masking fluid, and my camera  manual.

This poor bag has a constant ebb and flow of supplies.  Things go in, things go out.  It’s like a daily tide of supplies and goodies.  Sometimes everything stays inside because I don’t get to it or my Muse takes a powder, but sometimes…..sometimes magical things happen when things come out of the bag.

Now a question for all you creative types out there:  Have you ever bought an art or craft supply just because you fell in love with or were intrigued by it, but didn’t have a single clue what you were going to do with it?  Something you just HAD to have that you may or may not have ever done anything with?  Sort of like a tube of amazing copper/burgundy/metallic gold acrylic paint?  Let me know in the comments.  Come on….fess up….have ya huh?  The lady with paint all over her face promises not to laugh.

Kid Art with The Keaster

I spent yesterday with one of the coolest kids on the planet.  Keaton’s mom is a good friend of mine and suggested that he and I should do an art afternoon.  I see Keaton fairly regularly and know he’s a very artistic child and he and I have developed a bit of a connection.  Besides, when Mom emails you in the morning to tell you he’s sitting at the window watching and saying  “When is she going to come? Huh Mom?? When is she coming??”, you just know it’s going to be a good day.

This is Keaton with the Leprechaun Trap he built.  I was informed, however, that the sneaky little Leprechaun escaped.  He moved the ladder to the inside and crawled in and out that way instead of jumping down the trap-tube.  At least he left some chocolate behind.  It must have fell out of his pockets in his haste to get away once he realized it was a trap.  He also left the recipe for Stardust.  Keaton had told me about it and when I arrived I was gifted with a fresh batch he had whipped up just for me.

Mom printed the instructions as were dictated to her by Keaton.  Apparently I can grow plants in it as well and then they will be magical.

So I asked Keaton what kind of art he wanted to do and was informed that he wanted to learn how to use chalk pastels.  He’d had some in his supply stash for a while and hadn’t used them yet.  We had a blast smooshing and blending and getting pastel powder everywhere.  He really liked rolling the black ones all over his hands and putting 4 colours together to draw with all at the same time.  I just realized now, writing this, that I don’t have pics of the pastel work.  I’ll have to rectify that soon.

The other thing we did was a little thing called Spin Art.  Do you remember Spin Art?  They used to have these things at carnivals and fairs where you could pay a couple bucks and make your own masterpiece.  There are now kid-versions of this.

OMG….you wanna talk fun??  There’s a little spinner-handle on the side you flick to make it spin.  You just drop runny paint on this and give it a whirl; the centrifugal force pulls the paint outwards.

You can mix colours, blend colours, swirl colours together with a stick or a brush.

You can drip water on it to make things more runny.  Ohhh the possibilities.

This photo amazes me.  When it was taken, that piece of paper was spinning so fast it was a blur.  The camera actually caught the paint as it pulled to the outside.

These were some of the finished pieces.  And this next one….the MASTERPIECE!

Isn’t that just totally cool???  This is why I love Kid Art so much.  There’s a freeness and spontaneity that we as adults often try to work hard at because we’ve forgotten it’s ok to just let things happen.  We get all bound up in “Is this good, is this right?” and don’t allow ourselves to just let art BE.   Thank you for the lesson Keaton.  I learn more from kids than I have ever taught them.

I know I’ve got to do this again.  It was the most fun I’ve had in ages.  Besides, when you have a partner in crime like Keaton, who at 6 years old did art with me for over 2 hours…… 2 HOURS (much longer than most kids would stay focused on any one thing), you just know you’ve got to do more.

I have to go.  I need to find that old box fan I know is hiding around here somewhere.  Did you know you can make a Spin Art from an old box fan?  Yup.  The internet rocks for that kind of stuff.  Now….where’s that hubby of mine…….

Serenity in Solitude

Ever find life to be a little…..well…..manic?  I know I do.  The minute I step out the door I often feel like the world is going so much faster than it needs to.  I guess I’m getting old.   Let me rephrase that…..I AM getting old.

Between the connectivity within society via cellphones and other electronic marvels and the “acquire stuff”  lifestyle that the media and advertisers mercilessly promote, is it any wonder that we often feel like we’re trying to dart across an eight-lane freeway that’s full of freight trucks only to find that when we get to the other side we’ve got to jump the train tracks before the next commuter train roars through?

Stage 1 - Soft Pastel, Gouache, and Icky Masking Fluid

It affects kids and teenagers too.  They are seldom solitary.  Between school, friends, sports, and a plethora of other extra-curricular activities, they don’t get much alone-time.  Add to that the fact that their cellphones are seldom turned off and are constantly beeping the next incoming text, where can they escape to?  I’m still looking for the up-side to all of this connectivity.  I do know the down-side is the inability to escape negative peer pressure or  bullying.  In the olden days (way back in the 60’s and 70’s), you could just go home.  If you didn’t want to be around someone or deal with them, you didn’t answer their phone calls and just hung out with people you liked being with.  Now kids are subjected to all that negative stuff via Facebook and cellphones.  To me, that’s a real down-side.

I love my solitary time.  For some, me-time means going out with their friends, golfing, or traveling.  For me, me-time is the best when it’s just being able to be at home.  Whether it’s to knit, write, garden, paint, or build jewelry, it’s time that’s Mine.  While not strictly solitary as my hubby is usually around and about, he’s my best friend so it makes for a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.  Even when we travel, we’re happy to just put up a tent and stare at the lake for a week. It’s nice to just get away from all the zoom-zoom.

I encourage everyone reading this to try some quiet down-time.  Turn off the phones, shut off the computer, maybe even make the kids do the same.  Take some down time.  Some time for yourself and your family.  Talk to each other….listen to each other….have some fun reconnecting with each other without all the electronic bubble and fizz that has become such a huge part of your life.  Try it.  I dare ya.  Let me know how it goes.  I’m betting you’ll find some serenity…something we can all use a little more of.


Serenity in Solitude – Little Pink Houses Series

11″x15″ — Soft Pastel, Watercolour, Gouache, Archival Ink


There was no post here yesterday because I was Moonstruck.  Those who know me know I have a Moon fixation.  It can transfix me in a moment and I’m gone….Moonstruck.

The Little Pink Houses has turned in to a bit of a series.  Our houses are our homes and so much of our heart resides there.  They begin to take on the personalities of those who live there, whether we’re aware of it or not.  They begin to symbolize who we are a little bit and in a way embody the essence of our spirit. They are witness to our most intimate moments and are sometimes our only refuge from the day-to-day chaos of life.  This little house is just a little Moonstruck…..like me.

I began by laying out the basic sketch of what I had in my head.  Lots of roundiness…..I wonder how that happened??

As I sketched very lightly, I had to mess with the photo just to get the lines to show, which is why it’s so grainy.  Then I layered on the STUFF.  You know, that icky masking fluid.  In this case, a very necessary evil.

Yuck.   But, as I was going to do my background in soft pastels, I had to do this in order to keep the crisp detail lines of the shapes.

I’m loving the blendability of these chalks.  They’re just pure fun.  I tried putting dots of the masking fluid in the sky as stars, but it didn’t work.  As I rubbed to blend the pastels most of the dots came off.  No worries.  I have a plan.

But first, I need to fix the pastel in place.  I found this stuff at Card & Stationery and it freaking rocks!!  It did exactly what I needed, which was to seal the pastel, without changing the character of the pastels or the paper.  It’s all about getting the right product for the right job.  The spray I was using before works beautifully to seal acrylic paints, which is what it’s built to do, but didn’t work well on a job it wasn’t designed for.

Once sealed, I can ink right over top the pastels.  Without this step, they’d be getting smeared everywhere and gunking up my pens.

After rubbing the masking fluid off I started laying in the watercolour for my scene.  I did re-apply a bit of the STUFF to the windows on the house, just to keep things crisp.  Remember….let this STUFF dry completely before you try and do anything over top of it.  To not let it dry is to court disaster.  Don’t ask me how I know.

Once all the colour is down, it needs to dry completely again.  Trying to put ink on damp paper is just asking for the paper to slough off.  Then you have to cuss.   Lots.

The inking is just a total blast.  This is the stage where the picture really comes together and starts to develop its own personality.  A few gouache stars finished it up nicely.  I wanted this to be light and whimsical…..almost Seussical.  A place where Horton just might turn up looking for a Who.  A place where you’re welcome to sit a bit and let the Moon cast its spell on you.  A place to be……Moonstruck.

Moonstruck – Little Pink Houses Series

8.25″ x 11.75″

Soft Pastel, Watercolour, Archival Ink, Gouache


Doing anything artistic when I’m at our music studio while my hubby brings home the bacon remains challenging.  I’m finding ways to do little things though.

Of necessity, the supplies themselves work better if they’re small.  I found this watercolour paper pad of hot-pressed paper and knew the 6″ x 6″ size was perfect.

Then I found this adorable little set of watercolours, complete with a mini-brush.  Add to that a nifty little water bucket that stores away inside itself and I was all set.

Oh….one more thing.  This stuff.  I hate this stuff, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.

Now, if you’re going to use any type of masking fluid to keep areas safe while you apply a wash, be sure to use an old or cheap brush.  Swish the brush first in water with a drop of soap in it and rinse it IMMEDIATELY afterwards.  This does not guarantee you won’t destroy the brush you used, but it’ll at least give it a fighting chance at surviving to be used another day.

After sketching my design in pencil I painted the masking fluid over the areas I did not want to get colour on when I painted my sky wash.  You MUST let the masking fluid dry completely before painting over it.  I then applied a wash of blue fading to yellow after first dampening the paper.  I then let it dry completely again and rubbed the masking fluid off with my fingers.  Sticky gunk.  Yuk.

Much as I hate it, it works.  The areas I need to paint into are still nice and white.  I then layered in my colour.  I wanted some quick texture on the bottom to help simulate earth and bushes so I sprinkled salt over the wet paint.

After letting it dry thoroughly again, I worked the salt off the paper gently with my fingers.  It really wants to stick on there so you just have to be careful but persistent.

See the speckly-ness?  That’s from the salt.  Now to just lay in the colour of the remaining parts.

All that’s left is the ink detailing.


So there you go.  A cute little project done with cute little supplies.