Friday, August 6, 2010

Zentangle Fever

Have you guys heard about Zentangle? It is a meditative drawing process which can be addicting. I recently sent some Zentangle books to my grandkids in Arkansas, they love it. In fact two of my granddaughters, Faith and Sarah have become very accomplished in this art. They have even begun to add their own tangles to their drawings. The friends and teachers they have introduced it to are fascinated as well. Recently they paid us a visit here in Texas and wanted to try some tangles on canvas. The results were fabulous!!

Both Faith and Sarah took them home to hang on their bedroom walls, they each have quite a collection of their own art pieces hanging in their rooms. I am so proud of everything they have created!

Faith was inspired by circle tangles she saw in the book 'Zentangle 2'

Kids love art materials. I always keep some inexpensive canvas in the studio for them to use. Children feel so much like an artist when they get to put their marks on a canvas. Next time the grandkids visit... surprise them... have their own canvas waiting for them to create art to hang in their rooms. You can always catch a sale on canvas of all sizes at your local craft store, Michaels, Joannes and Hobby Lobby often have 50% off.

Sarah was inspired by the use of color, she loves yellow.

If you haven't been introduced to Zentangle yet you can visit the official Zentangle site for more information. Amazon and Design Originals sell books on Zentangle, or just google Zentangle, there's lots of info on the web.

Friday, July 2, 2010


It has been a shameless amount of time since my last post, but I do have excuses (I always have excuses). I should probably go ahead and just call it like it is...procrastination. However, I really dislike calling it procrastination, it's not like I am not doing anything...I am usually doing too much (another problem I have).

My studio was in transition for a really long time, moved from a garage studio to one I had built behind my house...which is great. It just happened to be during the rainiest time ever here in that took forever. Therefore, not much creating was going on.

I also decided last November to go back to work. Design Originals is a local book publisher based in Fort Worth, TX. They have been publishing fabulous art and craft books for over 25 years, I have collected many, many of them. So this was a dream job..surrounded by artists and crafters and the books they contribute to. Heaven!!

A few months ago an opportunity came up for me to do a book for Design Originals. My own art work concentrates mostly on recycled items. I also absolutely love wine and have collected a ton of wine bottles. I have used them as borders for my flower beds, made bottle trees and created mixed media pieces and jewelry from them. The book Design Originals was putting together just happened to be on Bottle thing. Suzanne McNeill, owner of Design Originals and a fabulous artist herself, asked me if I was interested in doing the book...and I said you betcha. It was a wonderful learning experience, I am thrilled to have had the chance to do my very own book. It is exciting to see it in print, on the Design Originals website and believe it or not on Amazon. I am an Amazon my book is on there, unbelievable. I sometimes just do a search on Amazon just to make sure it's real.

In the book I do photo holders out of wine bottles and was able to place pictures of the grandkids into the photo shoot. My rowdies have their pictures in my book, my ode to how much they mean to me. Faith and Sarah, my granddaughters from Arkansas spent some time with me last week. Of course we were in the studio all the time. They wanted to make some projects from the Bottle Art book. They did a great job and I wanted to share some of the pictures with you.

Decoupaged bottle and vase.

Sarah creating "Paula in a Bottle".

Since my studio is now pretty much in order, the grandkids and I are back to creating some wonderful things. As they have grown their abilities have also grown. I have always felt I learned a lot from them while we worked together in the studio, I feel that even more now that they are older. We brainstorm about some of my upcoming art pieces as well as how they want to work on their own piece of art. My goal when they were smaller was to acquaint them with the wonderful world of art materials. Now that they know more about the possibilities of these materials they are some of my most treasured critics.

Faith and Rylan.

My youngest grandson, Rylan, is soon to be 8 months old, it will be great to have a tiny little person in the studio with me again showing him all the wonders of art and craft. I have tried putting a crayon in his hand..but alas it still goes instantly to the he is not yet ready..but I am...ready and waiting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ghouls on a stick!!


Halloween is just around the corner, one of my favorite holidays. The rowdies and I have a lot of fun with Halloween projects. One of our favorites is monsters, ghouls and skeletons on a stick. This is similar to the project I posted on January 24th, 2009, the paintbrush characters. We used paperclay as we did for that project but this time we molded it around a styrofoam ball, you can use really small round styrofoam or the really large ones. You can put all kinds of bumps and bulges on it to make it a scary monster.

We put a screw in this ghoul's head (he's got a screw loose!!)

After the clay dries paint them with acrylic paints and apply a sealer of some kind. The stick can be anything from a skewer to a popscicle stick, we also painted our stick. The sticks we used for ghouls-on-a-stick are lollipop sticks, my favorites..they make the ghouls look like lollipops!!

Have fun!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art Tip

Lauryn's art.

I keep a whole section of art materials just for the rowdies to use when they come to visit. Kids do love to paint and draw, but almost all of my grandkids have experienced "artist's block."

They are all set to paint and they ask me what they should paint. I suggest things like bunny rabbits, kitty cats or merry-go-rounds. Their reaction is "I can't paint that", or "I don't know do it for me."

To encourage them to explore with their art I tell them I would like to see how they paint a bunny rabbit, maybe by watching them I can learn something about bunny rabbit painting...things I would never have pink and purple polka dots and squiggles for a tail.

So, instead of me sitting down drawing a bunny and them copying me we sit down and let the grandchild draw and I do my best fo copy theirs. It is a good experience for both of us. Funny thing...I almost always like their bunny best!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When life hands you lemons.....

Rowdy Grandma has been a little self-absorbed over the last few months. Shortly after my last post in July I was diagnosed with severe COPD. It was surreal, I have always been so healthy and active...and very experimental in my art work. One of the biggest disappointments with this diagnosis is what it means for my approach to art. I decided it was best to take a few months off and regroup a little.

Most everything I do in the studio involves harmful materials - I burn a lot of my assemblage and collage work. I use chemicals to patinate metals, aerosal sprays to preserve my pieces. Resins, oil paints, turpentine and paint remover...they are all harmful to the respiratory system.

So, guys let me caution you...when you use questionable materials, either in your own work or the art you do with the grandkids, ALWAYS USE A MASK AND ADEQUATE VENTILATION!!.....IT MATTERS!!

Taylor with mask and gloves...he's ready to create!!
Oh, and of course cool, protective eye wear.

There are so many fabulous art materials to work with, I am now taking classes in drawing and watercolor...although I may never be able to completely substitute fire for water I have found a wonderful local teacher and hope this is an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade and expand on the art I produce. I have completed some new works for local art shows and have not stopped working with the grandkids on their own art. I look forward to sharing lots of interesting ideas and kid projects with you over the next few months.

Here is a cool idea for displaying the rowdies art. If you are like me the front of your refrigerator is jam packed with art. One day I was looking for wall space to hang more kid's art....couldn't find any so I started tacking it to the ceiling of my studio.....the kid's absolutely love it!! If you don't have a studio ceiling a hall ceiling is a great place for it too...or try a spare bedroom, especially if it's the one the rowdies sleep in when they stay the night. They will love drifting off to sleep while staring at their own little masterpieces.

Monday, July 20, 2009

So many stuffed animals, so little time!!

Sarah, my 11 year old granddaughter from Arkansas, spent a week with me recently. She adores doing arts and crafts as much as I do, maybe even more.

Sarah with her new collection of creatures.

Everyday we did some kind of project. I taught her to use my sewing machine and together we created a menagerie of cool stuffed creatures.

Sarah, concentrating on her stitching!!

All it really requires is a whole bunch of stuffing material, plenty of old clothes to cut up and a few socks. Sarah made up a lot of her creatures by drawing them on the material with chalk.

Chalked mermaid.

She also looked through one of my favorite books on stuffed animals, Plush-O-Rama by Linda Kopp, and based some of her creature designs on those she liked from Linda's book.

That same week FaveCrafts asked me to submit a craft to their website, this gave me the idea to interview Sarah as a guest blogger and find out how she feels about creativity.

Stuffing a creature.

Here's what she had to say.
RG: What are your favorite colors?
Sarah: Green, blue and purple.

RG: Do you have a favorite art project?
Sarah: Probably stuffed animals, because I got to learn to use a sewing machine.

RG: What is your favorite part of being in the art studio?
Sarah: So many possibilities of what you can do, looking around at everything.

RG: What inspires you?
Sarah: Pictures in magazines for drawing; for stuffed animals just seeing them all in my room.

RG: What do you think is the most exciting part of a new project?
Sarah: Watching it all unfold and come together.

RG: Which stuffed animal is your favorite and how did you come up with the name.
Sarah: My favorites are Polly and Molly, I picked Polly because it's a fun name and reminds me of pink, I picked Molly because it rhymes with Polly.

Sarah, Polly and Molly.

Thank you Sarah, we had a great time crafting!!

Click over to FaveCrafts website to see my latest project called Bling Bouquet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trip to Maine

The coast of Maine is beautiful. I just returned from Lubec, Maine... the easternmost point in the United States. I have a good friend who owns a cabin there, it sits across from the Lubec Channel, and is very close to the very picturesque Quoddy Lighthouse.

Dylan and Taylor in front of Quoddy Lighthouse.

It was a real treat to get away from the near 100 degree weather we are having in Texas. I took a couple of the grandkids with me..(ask me about road trips with grandkids)!!

Rusty, not admiring the beautiful view of the Porcupine Islands as he stands on Cadillac Mountain in the Arcadia National Park...but yearning to play the golf course he can see from the mountain, he played it the next day.

My husband, Rusty, and I survived,(and so did the kids); we had a really good time seeing another part of the country.

Taylor standing on the roots of this wonderful old tree on Sand Beach in Arcadia National Park.

My next trip is to Arkansas for Rusty's family reunion and a visit with the grandkids in Arkansas. Hoping to get back to art making in July. My how time flies!!!

My idea of heaven!!