Friday, June 20, 2014

Giveaway Winner

The winner of "The Successful Artist's Career Guide" by Margaret Peot is Beth Lowry.

Congratulations Beth.

Thanks everyone for entering and have a great weekend.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Art Journal Idea and New Giveaway

The end is in sight…one more job to do and then I'm on summer holidays! As I wait for the rain to subside (last project is weather dependent),  I have some time for my own work.

Sometimes I have a sketch or painting in the art journal I just don't like, rather than live with it I paint it over in black gesso or acrylic.

I can then stamp or stencil on top of it or do something different.

Here I made a sketch in pencil on top of the black and then went over my lines with tacky glue. Let it dry flat.

Now I often do this technique with oil or chalk pastels.  This time let's try something different and use gauche.

Gauche is watercolour that is opaque.  It can be layered and you can put a light colour on top of a darker one, (once that first layer is dry).  If you don't have gauche you can create your own by adding white to your watercolours.  White gauche, sometimes called China White is easy to find at the art supply store and often comes in a watercolour set.  A common question I hear from students is, "How do I use this?"

Mix your colours with white to achieve this chalkboard like look.  Because this is watercolour we can achieve our shading by lifting colour.

Paint in the entire area, let dry and then using a wet brush wet the areas you want to be shaded. Dry your brush on a paper towel and then go in on those areas with the dry brush lifting the colour away.

Here I have lifted the colour from under the eyes.  I can go back in and blend this shading a bit more or add colour back if my shading is too harsh.

I can also add more white for my highlights.

Finally you can add more detail if you wish with pencil, coloured pencil or a white PITT like pen.

I just love this chalkboard like effect but no chalky or oily pastels to deal with in the sketchbook.

Margaret Peot has come out with a new book "The Successful Artist's Career Guide".

I've read a few of these artist guides in my time. They can be kinda of dry and textbook like.  Margaret's is much more engaging.

Filled with artist interviews, a few worksheets and some great art!

The artist interviews are honest and open.

I also found lots of practical advice regarding the 'nuts and bolts' of running an art career.

We artists are often not the best at the business side of things.

I know for myself that accounting, invoicing, inventory, supply purchasing, etc. often seem like they take up way too much of my time but it's all part of being a successful artist.

So if you are interested in winning your own copy of "The Successful Artist's Career Guide" by Margaret Peot do one of the following:

- leave a comment on this post
- email me at
- like or comment on this post on my Facebook page

I'll be doing the draw on Friday June 20th/14 so get your name in soon.
Only Canadian or US residents please.

Thanks Margaret for sponsoring this giveaway, it's a great book.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Butterfly Portraits

Here is another butterfly project I recently completed with grade1/2.

It combines a few mediums, papier mache, weaving, using drywall, and the use of dye.

It gave the students a good chance to try out all these techniques.

Lots of 3D action here.


- background substrate, we used 12x12" hardboard but cardboard can easily be used, poster board, or canvas
- acrylic paint
- paper towel strips
- white glue
- newspaper
- masking tape
- drywall filler
- scraps of cardboard
- yarn
- dye, liquid watercolours or food colouring
- coffee filters
- paper
- small goggly eyes
- tacky glue
- 1/2 a pipe cleaner and 2 pony beads for the antennae
- glue gun (adult only)


I had 4 1hr. sessions to complete this with Grade 1/2.  The photos are not in the order of the sessions so here is the schedule I used:

Session 1
- papier mache body
- cut cardboard and drywall
- weave flower circle

Session 2
- paint background
- paint butterfly body
- paint butterfly cardboard
- dye coffee filter

Session 3
- paint drywalled pieces
- paint little bit on woven circles
- paint paper for flower petals
- glue dyed filter on butterfly shape and trim

Session 4
- cut out flower petals
- cut out leaves
- glue on pieces
- add eyes and mouth to butterfly
- add text

Take a section of newspaper and roll into a body shape.  Tape with masking tape.

Mix up some white glue and water (1 to 1 ratio).

Have some paper towel strips ready to go.  Our butterfly body is pretty small so not much papier mache is required.

Cover butterfly body with 2 layers of mache, just enough to cover it and hold it together.

Set aside to dry. (overnight)

With scraps of cardboard cut out a long strip for a stem and a circle for a flower centre.

I did not use the petal shapes in this project.

Working on top of wax paper or newspaper, coat the front of the pieces with drywall filler.

Set aside to dry, (6 hrs.)

In the meantime paint your background with blue acrylic paint.  Originally I was going to have them all taped so that we would also paint in the ground section.  I decided at the last minute to remove the tape, this gave us all sky and more room to place all our elements.

Set aside to dry.

Out of some extra corrugated cardboard I cut a butterfly shape.  For the kids I pre cut this for them, if I had more time I would have had them cut their own.

We painted them white.

Set aside to dry.

We painted some paper red for our flower petals.  I used some paintable wall paper to get that nice texture.

If you use paintable wallpaper you must use acrylic paint, the tempera doesn't stick.

I don't have a picture of the process, just the end product.  I had the students dye some coffee filters.

We used Easter egg dye which I always have on hand for Pysanky.

I put some different colours into little cups and gave them eyedroppers to use for each colour.

The colours are always spectacular!

We worked on top of a piece of newspaper that was on top of a piece of wax paper.  I kept the newspaper as it had wonderful colours to use in future collage projects.

When the papier mache body was dry we painted it black.

Glue the dry dyed coffee filter to the white butterfly, right on top of the white.  It needed to be painted white to show off those spectacular colours.

Trim away the excess to reveal the butterfly shape.

Paint the stem and the flower centre with acrylic paints.

To add extra interest I had each student weave a circle to use as a flower.

I use the technique I outline here in the woven eyed frog project.

Glue the pieces together on the background.  For fussy pieces you can have an adult assist with a glue gun.  We used a glue gun for the butterfly wings and the antennae.  Add 2 goggly eyes and a mouth if you wish.

I ran some green card stock through the paper shredder to make some long stems.  We also used scraps of green painted paper to make the leaves.

Finally we added the text "Flutter By Butterfly".

Some kids switched it to "Butterfly Flutter By".

That's it.

See you next time, school is almost done, counting the days!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Warm and Cool Butterflies

This is a project I did with 100 kinders last week.

They got to do some painting, some printmaking, cutting and pasting and they turned out terrific.

Here are some of the butterflies in process.


- canvas board
- paper
- acrylic paint in warm and cool colours
- pool noodles, paper rolls, and/or other round items for printmaking
- pencil and scissors
- tacky glue
- scraps of coloured paper
- buttons
- large glass gems, flat on one side
- pipe cleaners
- pony beads
- glue gun, to be used by adult only
- Mod podge


Whenever I'm shopping for supplies at the Dollar store (which is often) I pick up canvas board.

It is a great deal. The 5"X 7" pack gives you 3 boards for a dollar, the 7"X 9"gives you 2 for a dollar.

For this project we are using the 7"x 9". You could also just do this on paper if you prefer.

I had a discussion with the kids about warm and cool colours.

We want our background in cool colours and our butterflies in warm colours.

The kids picked either blue or green for the background.

They painted the canvas board with a big brush.

I then handed out light blue paint or dark green paint.  I advised the kids they had to stay in their colour selection, no blue and green mixed.

We then used sponges and added some variation to our canvas board.

Set aside to dry.

I handed out paper to all the kids, we discussed warm colours again.  I grouped the kids at the tables by what warm colour they wanted to use. (Red, Orange, Pink)

I held back yellow for our printmaking.

We painted the paper in our warm colour.

I handed out cut up pool noodles and paper tubes.

We switched warm colours between the tables and I added yellow.

The kids then stamped on circles.

Set aside to dry.  All of our papers and canvas board dried in about 45 minutes during which the kids had snack and recess.

Hand back the painted pieces.

Fold the warm painted paper.

I had the kids turn their papers so the fold was on the left.

I explained to the Kinders that we can make a butterfly using the number 3.

We wanted large 3's not tiny ones.

The kids then cut out their 3, cutting it while folded in one go.

They measured it on their background canvas, if it was too big we trimmed it down.  The butterfly could be horizontal or vertical.

We then glued them on.

I took some black card stock and ran it through my crimper.

The kids then cut the body of the butterfly from this paper.  We talked about how it is a long hotdog shape.

Glue this is place.

To make the head of the butterfly I gave a large glass gem to each student.

They traced around it on a little piece of paper.

The kids drew on faces on the paper using sharpie and pencil crayons.

The circles were then cut out.

Using Mod podge paint the flat side of the large gem.

Then place the face on the Mod podge.

The Mod podge will dry clear and you will see the face through the gem.

Glue head into place using tacky glue.

The kids glued on a few buttons.

I gave them scraps of coloured paper so they could add to their butterfly.

Take a pipe cleaner, cut in half and have an adult glue gun it in place above the head.

At the top of the pipe cleaner add a bead, fold over a little bit of the end to hold the pipe cleaner in place.

Glue a piece of ribbon to the back of the canvas for a hanger.

Finally you can add a coat of Mod podge to add that nice shiny finish and glue everything down really well.

That's it.

Great work Kindergarten!

See you next time.