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April 2007 Archives

April 7, 2007

Color Me Flabbergasted...

That it worked!!! Time has been bad/crazy/fractured/messed up since we got back, and so the things I really need/want/hope to do (like get the podcast pushed out) haven't happened. And so I dawdle around doing sort of inconsequential things. But, because it seemed "doable" even if not of the utmost importance, I decided to go ahead and clear up the blog hosting problem. And, the whole export/import thing worked. It totally worked. At one point, I said, "Okay. Best case scenario, I now have two blogs. Worst case scenario, the Creative Mom Podcast site is gone." But, it worked! So, I think everything is here on this site. It's just on a new server. Shouldn't impact your viewing of the site - but you may need/want to update the RSS feed. (Give it a few days. I still have to get the domain redirected here.)

In the interim, yeah! This has just been on the backburner forever. If you've been with me for the almost 3 years of the blog, you remember I originally owned threadedthoughts.com. I lost it during a mess-up with the host who had registered it. And oh, I still get really upset and red in the face when I think about it. I LOVED that domain. It was SOOOOO me. Then, the same host just went incommunicato. I don't need help much, but I would have been willing (back then) to renew my service appropriately. And, I couldn't. So, forever I've been needing to dump the site. Long story short... the site now has a new home.

April 9, 2007

Stuff is in progress

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Episode 43 of the Creative Mom Podcast is finally live, for those of you who've landed here before there. So, that's something.

And then, the above... just a sneak peek. I've got a bunch of things in progress/process right now that I'm excited about / feeling good about / finding are making me happy. Of course, having things going all at once (which is typical for "me") and spread in varying stages in the kitchen can be risky. But, it works. And though things have been busy, and I have this bad feeling that some of my ongoing up and down "funk" is probably something other than just creative temperament, I've been carving out time here, there, and whenever to work on things. And, the things I'm working on surprise me. But, they're feeling good - especially these 'little' ones. After this week, I've been having this total 360-degree change of heart in terms of my comfort level with working in what I call micro-mode. All of a sudden, I'm "all over it" as I watch a set of early morning sketches take form on the small cards. (I did, however, have to draw one little person a dozen times in progressively smaller versions to get her to scale!) I'll be talking about these small things (probably next week on the CMP), but I was feeling the silence (my own) on my blog again and wanted to post something full of color and zest and vitality and ART. So, there it is. Fragments. Peeks. Snippets. Hints. Teases. All good.

April 12, 2007

Yeah! A Box Arrived

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You probably already know what half of this box is about... The time for the kindergarten auction project has finally arrived, and so I ordered some inks and a few brayers (to have for personal use, too, and in case I couldn't get my hands on enough via the school art closet). I struck out when it came to ordering plates (to roll ink on) and trays (to roll ink in). But, having the ink and brayers at hand is exciting. The two new books were an impulse. I've had "issues" with the Moleskine watercolor format (even though I've realized what a great value that book is), and I've liked the larger format spiral watercolor books I've used - even though they don't have quite the same feeling of portability (e.g., they won't fit in my Timbuk2 as easily). The other book is a HAND-BOOK journal, which I heard about from one of my favorite Flickr contacts (whose work I admired immensely). When I saw the books were available at Dick Blick, I couldn't resist trying them. They have the same size as the Moleskine watercolor (which Dick Blick also carries, of course), but I got all excited by the idea of a square book, so that's what I got. (And, obviously, I went for the green cover rather than black or blue.) I haven't broken it in yet, but it's got a nice white paper, elastic strap, and attached storage envelope on the back inside cover.

As for the monoprinting... Day 1 of it was actually today. So, I have to fill in details on the testing we did this week - and I'll post a photo or two of the prints the oldest did last night testing things for me. I did some ugly prints. He did two fabulous ones. (Typical.)

(I'm actually exhausted. I ended up with maybe 25 minutes with 9 kids to explain the process and have them do prints. It then took me about an hour to clean up. What a mess. Next week, I'll see the other 9. I'm going to try and streamline how much I have out and how they approach it. Lesson learned.)


Another Library Stack

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Click through to the Flickr image to see notes on titles. But, a few highlights and direct links here...

  • The Art & Craft of Hand Lettering: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration - great information/resource and the examples of sample artwork with hand lettering are quite wonderful and beautiful.

  • The Kitchen Knight: A Tale of King Arthur (by Margaret Hodges [Author] and Trina Schart Hyman [Illustrator]) - second from this team that we've read. We just discovered this one. It's wonderful for those with knightly interests - not aimed at the youngest crowd... longer story. But excellent retelling and illustration.

  • Saint George and the Dragon (by the same duo noted above) - when we first got this one last year, we had to read it repeatedly, many times, to satisfy the initial enthusiasm for it. Beautiful artwork; great medieval story.

  • Nate the Great - If, like us, your child has exhausted the Magic Treehouse series, almost finished the A to Z Mysteries, and is looking for something new, give Nate the Great a try. The stories are a bit shorter than the other two series - but perfect for early reading-on-my-own time - or great for a quick half hour sit with them in your lap and share a mystery moments. Second half of the book (in some versions) has activities prompted by the story (I assumed all versions had this - but the library ones don't - they are nice, hardback, and with full-color illustration - so, versions vary!).

  • Watercolor Pencil Magic - I know I've checked this one out before, but I thought I'd look at it again. I respect Cathy Johnson's work and love that she's a frequent participant on the Everyday Matters Group.

April 14, 2007

IF Interview with DG

I really enjoyed the interview at Illustration Friday with Danny Gregory. If you missed it, head there now...

April 15, 2007

He'd Rather Read

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A bit of a run of nice, sunny, warmish days put us at the park an unusual number of times this week. On the last day, we had a "plan" to go after an afternoon snack. They had the snack and then the oldest picked a few books from the shelf of "reader"-level books, which we've had forever because we used to read them, but now suddenly, they're accessible to him in a different way. So, I spent time recently sorting a few of the living room shelves and clustering those for him. He picked a few and was reading to his brother in the chair (yes, a poppy one). I was taking advantage of the time working in the office, and I could hear the reading as well as the frequent, "If you don't listen, I'm not going to read" because the little one is not as impressed with the fact that his brother can read to him as he might c/should be. I got called in once because he wanted to know what "KUH" spelled. Since it, obviously, spells nothing, I went in to see. He was reading a construction book (one of his favorites from when he was 2-ish), and he'd been able to sound out/read the word "excavator" but hadn't known what to make of the pronunciation guide that followed it in parentheses!

When it seemed time to go, I asked if everyone was ready to go to the park, and the oldest yelled down the hall: "I don't want to go to the park."

"You don't?" I asked. Surprised. They've had the best time recently playing Pokemon (the newest craze in the house for all of us) at the park (together).

"No. I want to stay and read."

Wow.

We did go to the park. But I did sit and savor the moment and the comment.

The stages of learning to read have fascinated me, and I've seen various different "points" along the way where I realized things had suddenly changed - something else had "clicked." It's been amazing. It is amazing when we sit down to read together that he spontaneously wants to read the first page or so to me before he has me continue reading.

I wonder how long before he'll be tucked away in his room, no longer needing/wanting us to read to him at all. I hope a very long time! And yet, at the same time, there's a monumental feeling to the whole reading thing - like once they can, they've crossed this invisible threshold.

April 17, 2007

Robo Man

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From today. In the car. There's a house I'd really like to sketch/paint - it's a wonderful green and has the greatest purple thing growing right in front of it. Great combination. But I couldn't find a spot to park with a view. No where I tried to park had a view of anything, and I only had maybe 20 minutes to kill. So, I glanced around the car and spotted this little robot guy. Okay. He'll do. A good "test" for me. And, I followed a hunch and pulled out the 1.1 Rotring Art Pen instead of a PITT pen, and I had a super good time with the lush ink flow - and the thick nib worked out okay in this instance.

April 18, 2007

Congratulations Knitting Cook

Faith (AKA The Knitting Cook) and family welcome Baby L today. Congratulations to them all. If you're a podcast listener, pop in her site and leave a message.

April 19, 2007

Pink Bottle

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This water bottle has become a favorite. It's a "happy" pink for sure. The aluminum top and bottom left me scratching my head just a bit. (Scanned color is a bit off, too.) Funny thing with something like this is that after I drew it, I was left with half a page - blank. If I'd centered the drawing, that would have been okay. But since I offset it, it felt like I needed to fill in the other side. And yet, with "what"? (I'd actually done a coffee history on the two preceding pages with a different sketch - so that would have been logical but redundant at this point.) Just one of those moments in this kind of journaling that left me thinking well, hmmmm. (Same thing happened with some mini tea pots that are on the bottom 1/3rd of a page. I ended up leaving them. Added a title. And just left the space. It's JUST a sketchbook!

Printmaking Recap

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(Print made by 6-year old.)

Today was the second of two days in which I had a bit more than 20 minutes to monoprint with the kindergarten class (because I volunteered to facilitate the class auction project via monoprinting). It went much more smoothly today - which I didn't expect. And, I think today's prints turned out amazing. I'll do a more thorough update on the process and prints soon. For now... a bit of a recap...

I recently reviewed a number of books on "printmaking techniques" in preparation for a monoprinting project I was planning to do with a group of 20 kindergarteners. I've monoprinted before, but I wondered if there were other things I could be doing and adding to my own technique that would work with kids and in the classroom setting. I ended up getting really excited about printmaking - especially by the idea of cutting my own lino blocks or even cutting erasers to make custom stamps. The following titles are ones I found most useful, most inspiring, and most comprehensive for the average (maybe at-home) artist.

  • Simple Printmaking: A Beginner's Guide to Making Relief Prints with Rubber Stamps, Linoleum Blocks, Wood Blocks, Found Objects by Gwen Diehn
    This one, more than any of the others I reviewed, got me really excited about printmaking - and left me really amazed at the wonderful prints shown throughout the book. This title is chock full of amazing examples of various types of printmaking as well as good and interesting pullouts on the history of printmaking as well as famous printmakers throughout art history. The book begins with in-depth discussion and illustration of the process of developing a design (from found objects to doodles to photos to drawings) and then moves on to coverage of the techniques. Techniques includes are: Found Objects, Distressed Block, Negative Carving, Positive Carving, Multiple Block Print, Sawn Block, and Collagraph. At the end of the book is an assemblage of functional and everyday projects you can make using printmaking as the chief medium. Some of them are a birth announcement (and jigsaw puzzle), a book cover, luminaries, lampshades, labels, notecards, and more.

  • The Instant Printmaker: Simple Printing Methods to Try at Home (Watson-Guptill Famous Artists) by Melvyn Petterson and Colin Gale
    The focus on printmaking techniques that are easy to do and can be done at home and with accessible supplies is only one of the strengths of this book. The step-by-step directions are very well done and well illustrated, and each technique is also accompanied by a gallery of sample prints made by other artists so that you see a good range of application. The authors also cover some (maybe unusual) basic (and kid friendly) processes like foam prints, vegetable prints, and prints made with oven-baked modeling clay. They've got a section on relief printing with erasers (carving your own erasers to make stamps, basically) that is just fabulous and has totally put a bug in my ear about giving this technique a try. One thing I liked about this book is a feeling of innovation - not everything is brayer-dependent. Lots of brushwork is shown, and the section on "Collagragphs: Printing from a Collage" yields a stunning piece of art. A comprehensive title, in addition to the techniques already mentioned, the book covers Linocuts, Woodcuts, Boxwood Engraving, Screenprinting, Drypoint (on various mediums), Etching (various formats), Aquatints, and Lithography.

  • The Encyclopedia of Printmaking Techniques by Judy Martin
    This book is full of wonderful examples of a wide range of printmaking styles. Each topic covered is accompanied by really good step by step annotation and photographs of what has been added in each step of an often multi-step process. The section on monoprints follows the creation of a really beautiful print. I found the sections on woodcuts and Lino cuts fascinating and really inspiring to watch the prints evolve in the samples. The book also covers Intaglio printing, Lithography, Etching, Drypoint, and Screenprinting. An excellent resource.



April 25, 2007

Busy But Still At It

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A happy garden gnome.

Just popping in to say I'm still here. I've got a lot to show - lots of work to post and ideas to share. Things are just busy. My mom is coming in today. And I'm sitting her right now after doing just a 15 minute morning sketch trying to resolve March ATC issues and scan in 40 kindergarten monoprints before I start trimming them for framing for the auction. I've also got two web projects to do, so there's just a bit of a crunch. This always happens right before my mom comes.

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