DIY greeting Cards Idea

I got this fun idea for the above mini greeting cards I made from seeing something similar at etsy.com by Kathy Panton (http://www.etsy.com/shop/KathyPanton?ref=seller_info).

I love the brightly colored maps she used. They are the most vibrant map hearts I have found so far. 
So, for Valentine’s Day, I decided to go all out for my colleagues and make mini-heart cards- I love when friends give me beautiful cards that double as art- so I thought this might be a nice gesture…turns out I love making them…

and of course..super easy to make. All you need is some patterned paper (I got mine from Paperchase). 
and some blank note cards. (and scissors and glue). They are quick DIY projects with big impact!
There are alot of fun and lovely ideas using cut out hearts. Here are a couple more that I want to try soon…although I think I should invest in a heart shaped whole punch, to save myself some extra time! 
Like this one by Katie Mccaw at KatieMccaw.com: 
Using a heart punch, she cut out hearts from every card she received from her wedding shower and wedding. 

And, this upcycled heart garland I found via etsy.com:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/90153988/garland-scalloped-hearts-from-upcycled

Also, make sure to check my other blog o happy day  for more diy project ideas and home decorating ideas. 

The Dot & Ish Childrens’ Books Art Lessons

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds is not only one of my favorite childrens’ books, but it is also one of my personal favorites. As a teacher and an artist, I find it incredibly inspiring for both children and adults.
The Dot is a story about a little girl named Vashti who doesn’t have much faith in her self as an artist. One day at the end of art class, Vashti has yet to draw anything but her art teacher encourages Vashti to “make a mark, and see where it takes you.” Frustrated and annoyed, Vashti slams her pen down on the paper creating a small, single dot.” Her art teacher sees something more than just a black dot and Vashti comes to art class next week to find her dot framed in gilded gold and hanging behind the teacher’s desk. This sparks Vasthi’s creativity and her belief in herself. From there on out, Vasthi can’t be stopped!

I love it because it inspires the reader into believing in themselves. So, for the last art class, I read the book at the beginning of the class to the students and then let them go crazy with markers and pens. They took their assignment very seriously and came up with some beautiful and unique “Dots”:

I was so impressed with how much they loved the book and how excited they were to do this activity. If you need a filler or an opener for an art class, I would def. recommend it. Just read the book, and let your kids go crazy with blank paper and markers.

Also, worth reading to your kids is Ish also by Peter H. Reynolds, and it has the same sort of artistic inspirational message. Reynolds has a great website that is full of ideas and activities. He also answers questions from students: http://www.peterhreynolds.com/dot/

And of course…I had to do some of my own Dot inspired artwork:

watercolor crayons 

acrylic paints on a moleskin journal 

my life list pt. 1

Due to certain recent depressing and drastic circumstances in my life over the last few days(which I wont even bring up here in my happy place…but if you want to feel better about your life…go here: http://www.blessedrthecracked.blogspot.com) I have decided come up with an ever growing list of things i want to do…I wouldn’t call it a bucket list, b.c they aren’t all things I want to do before i die; they are all things  I want to do to live a happier and fulfilling life. This is what i was up working on all night since I cant sleep (due to those depressing and drastic circumstances mentioned earlier): the first page of my  little “life list”:

(although I am trying to think of a better name for it) I thought my artist friends might enjoy this…Does anyone else have a “bucket list” or a life list of things they want to do soon?  I would love to hear them!  (and not only b.c. I can add them to my list).

If I was more organized (That day will never come) I would love to do artistic journaling- but my life and my (lack of) organization skills tends to make my most recent journal entries scribbled words and to do lists. Not so inspiring.

Artist Trading Cards!

Ever since I got the “ok” to teach my art class, I have been WAITING for the session where I taught my students how to make Artist Trading Cards. And this last week, was FINALLY the time to do it! I was so impressed by the results….I loved all of them, they worked so hard on them. I was a little worried they wouldn’t take it seriously and give it %100 of their efforts but I stressed the importance of each card being like a mini-artwork….I loved how hard they worked and how unique all of them turned out…. 
How cute are these owls??? 
….I did a mini-lesson on creating “mixed media” pieces and showed them a couple of my favorites I have found via the web as well as some of my own ATCs. These are a few of mine: 
I brought in tubs of different materials including: magazine pages, fabric, yarn, glitter, watercolors, pens, markers, buttons, pom-poms…

I loved that each card never failed to showcase each students’ personalities…Here are a few of the ones the boys in the class did…they mostly stuck to markers and pens:
We are looking to SWAP with another classs….if you are an art teacher and have done or are doing ATCs with your students! Email me at jsheffield@kenilworth38.org

Art Lesson for Kids: Canvas Colorfield Art Journals

So, I’ve started my after-school art class at the elementary school where I teach. At first, I was nervously checking the office for completed registration forms and worried I wouldn’t have enough students BUT lo, and behold, I reached my limit of 20 students and went past it, ending up with 24 students in 2nd-4th grade!
In our first class, students created their own art journals using the “colorfield” technique of abstract painting and canvas. I found this lesson on Dick Blick’s website. Here is the link: http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/color-field-sketchbook/
The finished art journals should end up looking something like this:

The kids LOVED making their journals but it was a little messy. I spent a good two hours after they left scrubbing the paint from the tables, stools, and floor. So, just wanted to CAUTION you if you plan on doing this with kids (or even if you do it for yourself) you will need LOTS of old newspaper, or trash bags, and paper towels. 
So, how to make these lovely journals you ask? All you need are various colors of acrylic paints, unprimed canvas, plastic cups, an empty spray bottle and some paint brushes. 
* For each color you want to use, squirt about tablespoon of paint into a disposable cup and then put about a tablespoon of water in the cup (less water for darker colors) and mix with a paintbrush until smooth. Choose 3 or 4 colors you want to use (remember that mixing more than 3 colors together in one place will create a brownish blah color) 
* Fill the spray bottle with water and spray sections of your canvas (this will help create the swirly patterns when the colors mix together with the water and the dry canvas). 
* Pour onto the canvas! 
Experiment with different colors and different “pouring techniques.” Try pouring from far away, to create a splash pattern. Use a paintbrush to flick a spatter pattern, or pour colors, then tip the canvas up, so that the colors create a “raindrop” or “drip” pattern. 
* Be careful of using too much water, or pouring too much, because it will pool on the canvas and mix with all the other colors to create an unpleasant brownish color. 
I spent way to much time on mine…I used a lot of white paint, because I found that it brightened the colors and kept it from becoming to dark. Here’s how mine turned out….I am sure if I was to make another one, it would be completely different. 
I think next time, I want to try a more simple approach; using only 2 or 3 colors and not worrying so much if there was blank canvas. 
These are just a few of the outcomes from my students..I love how unique and colorful they all turned out. I can see their individual personalities in the colors they used and how they mixed them: 

Binding these guys is a whollllle other story!