I Painted Today!

I painted today! Yipee! And this called for none other than a PARTY painting! Mattie and Sweetie Pie are having a little party in the summer field.

It was great to be back. Summertime I find myself concentrating more on art camps and kiddos than my work, but the ideas are really congesting up my head and I had to get at least one on canvas. I've been reading these fabulous books which offer new techniques in collage and acrylics. Today I had out the credit card, bubble wrap, spray bottle, gesso and more! It was so liberating that tomorrow I'll have Billy wake me early again so I can get a leg up before the kiddos wake. They are 9am sleepers in the summer....yes I know. Lucky Mommy. And yes, I do sleep that late sometimes, but with these ideas swimming, there's no time for sleeping late! Have a great night!


The Hands and Heart of an Art Teacher

At the end of art camp yesterday, I looked down to see my hands full of paint from a creative day of work. Now what other job can you get your hands this dirty and love it? Driving home I started thinking about when and why I decided to become an art teacher. How did I get so super lucky? Because I really love what I do. Being an artist is a very fulling job as well, but teaching children and adults to appreciate, love and enjoy art is my true passion. I've been working lessons and planning this summer series for hours. My children and I have been busy making samples, collecting materials and planning the day's activities.

So why teach? I entered Auburn's Fine Arts program completely naive to the opportunities available to an artist. I'd taken one class at my first college and fallen in love with the creating process. Upon entering Auburn for year 2, my Mother and I walked right into Biggin Hall and spoke with the Dean of Fine Arts about my being an Art major. He said here's what you need to take and welcome!

I was a very diligent student. All the other art majors had a leg up on me because most had portfolios from High School. I hung on to every teacher's word and worked at every assignment with enthusiasm. My favorite classes by far were art history. Not so much the intense tests, but the learning about art and it's evolving was just fascinating to me. Then during my 4th year the lithography teacher asked me, "Jenni, what do you plan to do with this art degree once you are done?" Now, this is my 4th year, and not once had anyone broached the subject with what you actually do as a practicing artist. I reflect now that there really should be a course on how to submit to galleries, what shows can do for your career, developing a website, etc. Auburn was seriously laking in this area. I suppose that most of the professors of Art were actually artists, and not necessarily art educators. I see this now that I am a teacher myself. And although they taught their medium with expertise, they did lack in teaching more about how you become an ARTIST. So my reply was this, "I think I want to be an art teacher." He said point blank, "No you don't." Keep in mind that at Auburn the football coach makes over a million a year, lives in a mansion and has the world literally at his fingertips. The art professors were teaching in a less than desirable building situation (bats were our pets) and had salaries less than probably what I make now. So his saying no I did not was not meant to discourage, but to encourage my moving in a different direction. But I didn't, and I took a year to become certified. Again eager to learn how to teach and inspire children. I remember being so eager during that year that I was probably a bit obnoxious.

So here I am 13 years later, still teaching and inspiring others. I am very fortunate for the opportunity to do both at this point in my life, work as an artist and teach others. I am amazed at how much I learn from students as well. And I always look forward to new workshops and new techniques. Like Art and Soul in Las Vegas Valerie and I have in the works for February.

I leave you today with this quote I happened upon last night,
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." John Quincy Adams. And this is exactly what I intend to do...........

An Outdoor Adventure in the Art Studio

This week in camp we made all things we find in the great outdoors! From a field of lovely daisies.....
To a jar full of whimsical fireflies.......

To looking through our camera lens at a favorite animal.....

And of course some beautiful magnet butterflies.......

We all had a wonderful time! Please join me next week when we turn heads with our king and queen portraits, silhouettes, crowns and more!


This Week's Field Trip Day 2

So today we went for day two of our outdoor adventure field trip. And this time we:
1. left Lily at home sleeping soundly
2. brought Mailey Grace along
3. brought floats for water rafting at is most redneck
4. left the Canon behind for fear of it falling in the water and brought the quick snap Nikon
5. stayed water bound for about 2 hours straight!

Look at these two cuties! It was such fun watching them do something I absolutely loved as a child. Our creek was called Bullfrog Bend. We would hike up the creek about a mile with real tubes. Once at the bridge, we'd sit our tails in the ice cold water and ride down to the "blue hole". We weren't allowed past that point except on Thursday PM when Momma let us ride past the hole to the ultimate natural waterslide area with all the counselors. Sometimes being the camp director's kid was the best!

I stayed mostly like this today. Feet under water. Note to other's who try this field trip, definitely wear old tennis shoes!

This Week's Field Trip

This week William and I did a sneak preview of our Field Trip on Monday while Mailey was at art camp. We ventured down to Line Creek Nature Center in Peachtree City. This is a 70 acre nature area with trails, a huge creek, amazing landscape and plenty of critters. In the picture above I was attempting to photograph this little pink fuzz flower William found that looks just like the flower in Horton hears a Who. It creating the most amazing pink halo over the water's reflection. A happy accident indeed!
We took Lily on this adventure as well. She really hates the water we found out the hard way. I guess Chihuahua's are meant to be pampered at the spa, not the creek! She loved walking the trails however. Always led the way.

Here's a view from standing in the creek. Isn't it serene? The best part is we were the only people in site. When we arrived back at our car there were several cars in the lot, but we never saw or heard a sole. What an amazing morning we had together.


My Freedom Friends

I should wait to share these on the 4th of July, but I can't RESIST showing them off to you now! I just finished these babies up tonight and am tickled with the way they turned out. So I introduce to you:
Lady Liberty, Freedom Rings and Uncle Sam
Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam close-up. Their little hats and trinkets were delicately crafted using vintage bank notes, pick flags, glitter and vintage ribbon.

Freedom Rings and Uncle Sam Close-up. I just love the patterned fabrics I found to add to the plain felted bodies. These little babies are available at the Vintage-Flea in downtown Newnan. Stop by to see the other fabulous 4th of July finds Valerie has in store today!


On the Move Art Camp

This week we were on the move for art camp at the Flea. From race cars to hot air balloons, these budding artists really took the tasks to soaring levels! Hot air balloons were made on watercolor paper with watercolors.
These little wooden race cars turned out super cute....and super fast. The kids were racing them on the tables by the end of class.

Last, but certainly not least, we painted bikes. Since this is one of my favorite themes to paint, I really enjoyed teaching this particular project. After demonstrating how to draw the bike, student were encouraged to place their bike anywhere they wanted. Many bikes appeared at the beach, others like above were in the grass. It was a great day for creating things that keep us moving right along!

Next Thursday we are going on an Outdoor Adventure. Projects this week include butterfly magnets, firefly jars, outdoor landscape painting and bird watching through a camera lens. Call today to register! 770-683-2825


I've Been Working.....

I've found studio time to be a little sparse these days. But, I did finally get these cuties out of my head and into true form. These old sap buckets have received a much needed face lift! Two months ago I picked these colorful metal buckets up at Scott's Antique market with an idea to attach giant fun flowers on them. I've wanted something bold and different to sell. I may have found that new product. These are the test run buckets which are now for sale at The Vintage-Flea for around $20. They should be all-weather proof since the flowers are made from roofing felt.


Field Trip #2

Can you tell where our Field Trip was this week? I can't wait to make my special blackberry pie with those super sized berries! We also picked the most amazing strawberries. Next week we are off to nature for Field Trip #3. See you then!


Icky Sticky Bubble Gum Camp

For several years now I've taught art camp at The Vintage-Flea. It's every Thursday from 10-2. Kids bring a sack lunch and we make art the whole time! It's super fun...for me and the campers! This week kicked off the summer series with one of my favorites themes yet, Icky Sticky Bubble Gum. This group of 16 artists were amazing to work with. I didn't have one child ever say "I can't do that"! WOW. Self portraits with giant pink bubbles were a favorite project for many. The giant bubble is a wooden doll head painted pink and glued on. Here Gracen, Abbey and Abigail show off their folksy portraits. These were created on a canvas board with acrylic paints.
What child doesn't love a bubble gum machine? Here we used large watercolor paper to create our own machines with patterned backgrounds.

This project was inspired by our story of the day, Icky Sticky Bubble Gum. The main character, a frog, gets stuck in some icky sticky bubble gum, just as these little silly frogs have. These were created using acrylics on canvas paper.

And of course we chewed bubble gum ALL DAY! We even had a bubble blowing contest. This little sweetie won by far! Next week we are "Moving Right Along" making Hot Air Balloons, Bikes, Rockets and Race Cars! Call 770-683-2825 to sign your child up today!


Happy Mail Day!

Oh what fun to receive happy mail. And this is happy mail. I set several goals for myself once I became a full-time artist, and one was to take the time to submit articles to Somerset publications. It's really an easy process....and boy is it worth the time when you see it in real print. My girls got a 3 PAGE spread! Yipee skipee. Aren't they so sweet? I love to write, so the intro is always a fun part of the process of submitting, not just the technical stuff of making. I want to thank Amanda, the editor of Sew Somerset, for including me in this amazing publication. It's chopped full of great ideas. So pick up your copy today!

Field Trips

This past school year our county decided to save money by cutting out all field trips. Seriously, don't they know that part of the learning process is seeing and doing, not just sitting? Anyhoo....education is a topic for another day. So this summer I decided that I would take my kids on a field trip each week. I don't tell them where or when, we just go. Last Tuesday after William's game, we packed up at 9PM and headed to Lake Martin where my father has a houseboat. We spent all day Wednesday in the Lake. Along side was Harley, the lake dog. He even hung out on a float with me for a bit. Swimming, jumping off the pier, fishing, eating junk food and just plain old being lazy were on the docket for the day. My other rule for field trips, no cell phone or TV. Man was that nice. This week we are headed to......well you'll just have to wait and see!
PS: William caught about 6 Brim I think. We are thrower backers though. Love to eat fish, but not clean it!


Sketchbook Inspirations

I decided to give you a sneak peak into my little sketchbook world. I try and get my ideas into this book, but alas, lately I've been slack. While on hand rest last month though, I did explore the left hand a bit and made these fun doodles that I am sure will make it into some new paintings soon!
I put all sorts of goodies into my books, from doodles, color scheme ideas, magazine clips, cards, etc. I was taught to make what are called "thumbnails" to map out compositions before going to the final stage. So my book is full of these little boxes with little compositions in them. This is now a habit I enjoy and helps later down the road when I have a idea block. I can just flip through this book and find an idea I've yet to work through. I really like the Popsicle idea.

Kraftwork Experience

Just wanted to post a few pics of my set-up for Kraftworks. This was last Thursday night at Young Blood Gallery and Boutique in Virgina Highlands. LOVE the gallery. It was so cool to see so many of my favorites from etsy in person. I was like, "Oooo...I know them and ooooo...I know them!" I of course spent a good bit to support the local crafters on fabulous finds. The event however, was pretty much a flop. It poured down rain that night. And since Virginia Highlands is a walking type community, no one was walking about.
I thought the art behind my sweet little tweets was a unique comparison. I had a blast with all the other vendors, love those Sweet Revolution chocolate gals, and my knifty crocheter. Can't wait to participate again. This time, without the rain!


Tweet Nights

Sometimes I say yes to things without really thinking them through. And this was one of those times. Vero at Naked Art Gallery is hosting a great show called Electric Oddities in September which she asked me to participate by making 3 lamps. Seriously I had no idea what I was going to do, lamps are not really my forte. I strolled through several thrift shops over the past couple of weeks to find bases and shades and then just like that, the ideas came to me. I am so glad now that I am participating and really love the final products. Getting out of my "box" has now opened up a new opportunity to express myself.

The above is a floor lamp with larger gauze shade. It's painted with what I call my circus look.
This is by far my favorite find. It was a thrift store gem in the rough! The driftwood was already attached in a perfect perch for this little felted baby. I painted the base white, added some felted leaves and berries, and gauze the shade. The top lamp was a serious eye sore. But now, the Tweet Night stamped on the shade along with the collaged elements make it a sweet finished product.

Indie Crafting It

This weekend Valerie and I went up to Atlanta for an Indie Craft Experience in Centennial Olympic Park. It was GREAT! I was so impressed with all the booth set ups, variety of crafts and the people selling. I can't wait to be a part of the next event they are having in the fall. Here's my find of the day by the super cool Wendy Allen of Miss Fitt: The group also holds on the first Thursday of each month a market at Young Blood Gallery in Virgina Highlands. I applied and was accepted for THIS Thursday. I am super excited to join the other talented artisans at the event. If you are in the area stop on in and say howdie!


Glittery Love

I've been working away in the studio on some prototypes for Christmas. Yes, Christmas. As I reflected on the shows from 2008, I realized that I missed a wonderful opportunity for making a fabulous ornament to sell. And honestly, this is the time to do it if I am going to make something in a large quantity. I have little elf helpers around to help with the glittering process this summer! My studio is just a glistening right now. Happy days.
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