Starting With a Blob

….when you don’t know what to paint start with a blob of colour

Today was the first day of Sketchbook Revival, another on-line free series of classes to get your creative juices to flow. The program is hosted by Karen Abend and today’s guest artist is one of my favourite teachers, Carla Sonheim.

Carla started by encouraging all artists to journal daily with what she calls box journalling. Basically she draws a box in her journal and divides it into sections and writes and draws in the different spaces. She writes random thoughts, to do and idea lists and draws doodles in one of the smaller squares. All of these help give her inspiration for the rest of her day. She also finds it very meditative.

Blob drawings are a great way to start making art when you’re in a rut and don’t know what you want to paint. You literally lay down a blob of paint onto paper and smear it or spread it in a random fashion with a credit card or palette knife. Here are two examples of blobs that I have laid down on the pages of my sketchbook.


Later this evening I will probably turn then around and see what animal or creature I see and start adding detail with a black marker or with ink. For the one that I just finished I used a water based ink so that I could go back in with a wet brush and add shading by just going over the black lines.

In my first blob I clearly saw a bird flying through the air. Here is my finished piece.


Red Duck

….#3 of the transparency film collages

I’m really enjoying this technique and as promised I tried something other than flowers. One of my random cuts turned out to look like a duck so I built a landscape around him. I can only assume he’s a he because of his bright colours. I added some marker detail on the duck, such as an eye and feathers. After gluing everything down I felt there was too much white so I added a wash of colour with my Winsor Newton Promarkers.fullsizeoutput-765f

International Dot Day – Sept 15th

yes you heard correctly, there really is a day to celebrate the dot

Peter Reynolds ‘The Dot’

Every year in September I start my art program by reading Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot. This year I discovered that there was a special day to celebrate the dot and it came about because of the book.

I’m not teaching as many art classes as I have in the past but all four of them started the year with painting circles and dots. We also looked at Wassily Kandinsky’s painting that featured a series of concentric circles. My kindergarten class made wonderful circles with oil pastels and watercolours. I will post examples of their work next week. Their teacher put them up in the hallway in time for our Meet the Teacher night this week. They were a big hit.

All of my grade 2 and grade 3 classes created dots using watercolour, marker, pastels and collage. The grade three class finished their dots in time to put them on a large tree in the hall. This week they started to make their own Kandinsky tree that they will be able to take home after they’ve been on display for awhile.