Print Making at the Cottage

…..Sunday, July 5, 2015

A few days ago I wrote about stopping in Midland to purchase some tracing paper. On Sunday I took the six sheets that were gifted to me and tore them in half. I now had 12 sheets of paper to experiment with and attempt Lesson 13 from the Year of the Spark. As some of you know I’m taking an on-line course with Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple.

This week’s assignment comes from Carla. We’ve been instructed to paint a picture with black acrylic paint onto a piece of plexiglass and then, before it dries lay a piece of tracing paper on top to create a print. After creating several prints we are suppose to lay interesting papers underneath that will show through the tracing paper and add bits of collage to the surface to create a new piece of art. The final step is to photograph the finished piece and then the actual artwork is the photograph.

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Being at the cottage I was somewhat limited with what I could use. My black paint dried pretty quickly and I didn’t have the extender that would have solved that problem. I quickly threw some papers into a bin before I came up here but I was wishing I had added more, especially more of my gelli prints. Having said that I’m pretty pleased with the pieces that I’ve created. I’m thinking that some of these might make interesting cards. What do you think?

An Artful Sunday

….I stayed home to work on samples for tomorrow’s art workshop

I started mid morning. K drove to Hamilton to help our daughter put in her garden. Normally I would have gone with him but I knew that if I didn’t get an early start on my samples they wouldn’t get done or I would be staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish them.

In our workshop tomorrow the children will be making their own journals from scratch. All the materials for the books are already laid out and ready to go. The focus of this year’s hand made book is decorating the cover with photographs, artwork and fancy paper. The collage should have some personal message on the cover. I’ve encouraged the boys and girls to bring in photocopies of family photos. At school I’ve have lots of papers, magazines and covers that the kids can play with. Thanks to Lynn Whipple for this fabulous idea. Here are my samples that I will share with the classes tomorrow.

After I finished the covers I went back to a project that I started a couple of months ago but stopped mid-stream. It’s a technique where you glue photos to the back of a piece of glass or plexiglass facing the front and then you paint the background on the back of the glass. It’s called reverse painting and requires that you turn your work over periodically so that you can see how it looks on the front. I actually enjoyed the process more than I thought I would. This was also an assignment from  Lynn Whipple from Year of the Spark.

I choose a photograph of my great great grandparents and aunts and uncles. I learned that they periodically vacationed in Africa so I decided to add some large ferns from a  Geli print that I had done last year and I drew a sketch of an elephant and placed it behind the ferns. I always associate orange skies with Africa but I’m not sure what the castle in the sky signifies. Freud would probably have a hay day analyzing this piece; well to do Germans, early 1900s, vacationing in Africa, castle in the sky, elephants, etc..


After finishing the books and the reverse painting I drove to three different places looking for a place to trim or buy a new mat for a painting that I’m donating to the silent auction next Saturday at the school’s Fun Fair. I have a great frame but the mat that came with it covered too much of the painting. Unfortunately I didn’t find anyone to help me. I did however get a name of a place, close to work, that I’m going to try tomorrow.

When I returned home I put the reverse painting into its frame and then I opened my art journal and decided to start this week’s assignment. I’m suppose to play with colours and come up with different palettes with five colour combinations that appeal to me. Once I’ve finished that I’m suppose to create a self portrait (very open ended) using my favourite. palette.

So far I’ve created several palettes. Most of them were done using acrylic paint and one uses pan pastels. Do you have a favourite?

Kindergarteners Rock When Painting to Music

….painting to music is energizing and allows you to be loose and free with your lines and application of paint

Last week’s assignment for the was presented by Lynn Whipple. We were instructed to draw and paint a floral arrangement using a variety of pens, pencils, markers and watercolour paints while listening to music. Here is my finished piece after listening to Astor Piazzola’s El Tango.


I decided to try and re-created this assignment for my kindergarten class. I chose five varied pieces of music and did up a quick sample before heading to the kindergarten class. I had a stuffed rabbit in the library so I did a quick drawing to music and left some of the painting to do later with the children. Here is my finished sample:

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In class I reminded the children how colour can affect our moods and that music does the same. I demonstrated how music can affect how you draw and make marks on paper. I told them that they could draw anything that they wanted (there were flowers in the centre of each table) or they could simply make marks and shapes to the music they heard. They were given pencils, coloured pencils, crayons, chalk pastels and markers.

They each chose one tool and when the music started they began drawing. After one minute I changed the music and told them to change their tool. We did this for five different pieces of music. When they were happy with their drawing we added watercolour to the mix. Some of the children saw shapes and animals in their pictures and added colour accordingly. I put on a quieter piece of music for this last part. It was fascinating to watch them. Some children clearly picked up on the concept and moved their brushes to the beat of the music and some actually stopped when there was a pause in the music and continued when the music started again.

There was so much joy in the room. Not one student wanted to stop early and many of them wanted to experiment with the dripping paint. I love these pieces so much that I am going to frame them and put them up in the main foyer of the school. Here is a sizeable sample of work done by four and five year olds.

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I sincerely hope that some of the parents will mat and frame these pieces of art. If any piece of art work is worthy of saving this is it.

Five Stories, Five Photos Challenge – Day 4

I was invited by Elizabeth from Tea and Paper to join the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.” Elizabeth is a fellow Canadian who lives close by but never reveals exactly where. She loves to journal, take photographs and write poetry.



My art is simple, almost child-like. I don’t paint to become the next Picasso or Frida Khalo or Matisse. I paint for me. If you like it, that’s wonderful; if you don’t that’s okay too. I take joy in the process. It relaxes me, gives me a sense of purpose and allows me to be creative and experiment with new techniques.

Tulips was done on a piece of birch plywood. The technique was new to me. I drew the flowers with a pink marker directly onto the board and then covered it with Gesso. When the Gesso dried the pink showed through enough to paint around the image. Before adding colour, more Gesso is applied to create texture. When the second coat dried, I used very wet watercolour to wash over the Gesso. When that dried the whole piece was rubbed and buffed with a damp cloth. The image was outlined with pencil and marker and shaded with charcoal.

Carla Sonheim taught me the technique. I’m taking a year long on-line art class with her and Lynn Whipple called Year of the Spark. I believe over 600 students, world-wide have signed up for this class. It’s wonderful sharing our work on a special FaceBook page and receiving comments and support from like-minded people.


Today I’d like to invite Joanne from My Life Lived Full. Joanne is another Canadian blogger.  I love her sense of humour and gusto for life. I hope she accepts the challenge.

Sticks and Stones

…..make wonderful art

Last week I was assigned a project that involved gathering up bits of nature to create a temporary work of art. After we finished creating we could photograph our masterpieces and then return the bits back to the environment or leave our creations somewhere outside where others could enjoy what we made. This idea came from Lynn Whipple who is one of the artists from Year of the Spark. This is a year long on-line art class brought to us by Carla Sonheim and Lynn. Every month they take turns coming up with wonderful and innovative assignments that bring out our inner spark. Every two weeks we get a new assignment.

I was really inspired by this project and came up with my own ‘Learning Stick’ and a composition of stones and dried foliage and grasses that I turned into a card. IMG_4249 IMG_4256

I’m hoping to make more but in the meantime I offered this assignment to my kindergarten class and they ate it up.

Before I arrived for our regular weekly art class, the children took a walk around the school yard and gathered up as many bits of nature that they could find. Between me and the ECE teacher and  what the children gathered we had a very nice collection of materials to work with.

I told the children that we weren’t gluing anything down and when their picture was done I would come around and photograph it and then we would take it apart and if they wanted they could make another picture. When we finished with the materials we would return them to nature.

I printed the photographs on my printer at home onto regular sized photocopy paper and then I made one 4 x 6 glossy print to mount onto a card. Here’s what mine looked like.


After we mounted all the photographs onto a black background they were put up outside the kindergarten class for all to enjoy. Today they were moved to a more central part of the school so that more people would see them. The cards that I made will be given to the parents as a special gift on Earth Day.

Year of the Spark

….another great on-line art class with Carla Sonnheim and Lynn Whipple

In December I signed up for a year long on-line art class with two great artists, Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple. The class is called Year of the Spark and twice a month each teacher presents a lesson and several fun assignments. So far the assignments have been designed to get our hands moving and look at art and drawing in new ways.

Carla’s first class had us drawing dozens of one line sketches of animals, flowers, and houses and then choosing one favourite and drawing it again using many different types of drawing tools. We had to choose one finished piece in the end and frame it. Here are some of my one liners and my framed piece.

IMG_3721 IMG_3722 IMG_3723As much as I liked my dog drawings I decided to elaborate on my birds.

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As you can see these drawings are intended to be fun and whimsical.

This week Lynn introduced us to pattern drawing and creating cards using people from old photos and a multitude of shapes of cut up papers. I’ve played with the pattern portion of the assignment but I haven’t yet started the card assignment.

The pattern assignment is a warm-up activity but I’m so addicted to this random doodling that it’s taking me hours to finish one page. Tomorrow I’m going to have to try to work faster and maybe use only watercolours to create my patterns. Keep it simple.

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