Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Blessed food for a blessed day. Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Make your own fossil! Birthday party idea for kids.

We had a 4-year-old birthday party last week for my daughter and a bunch of her friends. She loves dinosaurs, so we were using that as a theme. I wanted to have some kind of fun craft for the kids to do while they were here and did some searching online. I saw some good ideas about having the kids make their own fossils with plaster of Paris and plastic dinosaurs that they would 'bury' and then uncover later at home.

I went looking for plaster of Paris, but came across air-dry modeling clay instead. A glimmer of an idea took shape. What if the kids could make their own fossils with this? I have some sea shells at home and my daughter has a bunch of plastic dinosaurs of various shapes and sizes and they could use those to make impressions in the clay. It takes 2-3 days to dry, so they could play around with it all they wanted during the party and then take it home. It was easy, not too complicated and would give the kids something fun to do.

So I bought two small tubs of the modeling clay and split it up into small lumps in plastic baggies for easy distribution at party time. I had over 20 bags of clay from both tub. We had about 16 kids at the party ranging in age from 20 months to 6 years and some of the younger kids did not do the craft, so it worked out well in terms of quantity.

I bought some small, plastic plates and each child got a lump of clay and a plate. We put all of the 'fossil' materials in the middle of a blanket on the floor and everyone just sat down and made their own fossils. Dinosaur footprints were pretty popular! 

The kids seemed to really enjoy it. When they were done, we wrapped some foil over the plate and put the child's name on it with a marker. They were able to take it home later when the party was over. Aside from a little bit of clay residue on their hands and a few clay bits on the blanket, it was not very messy at all. Perfect!

ASBA Member Profile is up!

I have been a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists for a few years now. It is a wonderful nonprofit organization "dedicated to to promoting public awareness of contemporary botanical art, to honoring its traditions, and to furthering its development." 

ASBA Membership is open to all artists and others interested in furthering the development of botanical art and members currently include over 1200 professional artists, students, botanists, collectors and gallery owners, and botanical institutions from throughout the United States and 25 countries around the world.

Members have the option of having a profile page appear in the online Members Gallery, and I finally got around to creating a profile and choosing two images to post. I am very early in the process of developing my botanical art skills, but am proud to be listed among so many talented and amazing artists. 

Take a look around! It's a wonderful feast for the eyes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Stickers and Preschool Presentation - How to tell 3-year-olds about drawing?

So today I did a presentation to my daughter's 3-year-old preschool class about drawing. 

How do you keep preschoolers interested in a short talk? Interactive and hands-on!

Ask Them Questions
I only had about 10 minutes, and so I did some back and forth questions and answers with the kids, asking about drawing, what they liked to draw with, etc. I told them what I like to draw, including houses, animals and flowers, and explained some of the materials I use. 

Give Them Something to Touch
While I was talking, I passed around different paper (rough drawing paper, smooth hot press watercolor paper) so that they could feel the difference, and I showed how a crayon mark looks different on each. I also passed around some printouts of drawings I have done.
I think the biggest hit, however, were the daffodils that I brought. I told them how I especially like to draw flowers and gave them each one to look at up close. We talked about what shapes they saw in the center or in the petals and how that is a good way to draw something - by looking at the shapes you see. They liked pulling them apart, of course. :)

Something to Take Home
I gave them each a small piece of the rough and smooth papers to take home along with some stickers (of my tulip, daffodil and camel drawings--yeah for Zazzle stickers!) and a coloring page of the one daffodil drawing so that they could color at home if they want. I figure that if they took nothing else out of the little talk, maybe they would have fun coloring later!

Overall, not a bad first attempt at presenting to young kids! I owe a big thank you to fellow Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI) members who gave me some great suggestions for making the presentation a success.
Have you ever presented your art or craft to young kids? How did it go?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CCreech Studio featured on ArtPlantae Today!

I am happy to share that I have been featured in an interview on the blog ArtPlantae Today, a wonderful online resource created by Tania Marien whose aim is to increase botanical literacy by encouraging an interest in plants and nature through illustration. It is and educational website to connect artists, educators and naturalists.

Tania graciously offered to interview me about my experience with Zazzle, and how I use it to introduce my art to a broader audience. Read the full interview here!

While you are there, feel free to browse around - there are many fantastic posts interviewing very talented contemporary botanical artists, classes near you, and a store offering books and more.

Hope you enjoy and thanks to Tania for the opportunity!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Stickers! Book plates for your personal library and more.

Do you ever lend your favorite books to family and friends and worry about getting them back? Consider adding personalized book plate labels!
I have created a whole line of library book plate stickers in several different shapes and designs. Zazzle recently added new sticker shapes including square, rectangle, oval, heart, star and triangle, and they are now 25% off through April 11, 2011.  Use code: STICKERSHAPE upon checkout. 
These would be great for special sets of books in your home or business such as cookbooks, art books, gardening books and more. Take a look!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Circle of Art 2011! Turning Art into Food.

Circle of Art is a wonderful local fundraiser hosted by the Saline Picture Frame Company in Saline, MI. This year is the 7th annual event. Local artists donate small works of art that are posted online for bidding. On May 15, a party is hosted by Saline Picture Frame Company where all the art can be seen in person and further bids accepted in a silent auction. All of the proceeds go to benefit Food Gatherers

The money raised over the last six years from the sale of these small pictures, sculptures, fiber works, jewelry and more has enabled Food Gatherers to provide more than 125,000 meals to local people in need.

If you are a local artist, consider donating something! Artists can donate up to two pieces and donations are accepted through April 29.

Check out all of the wonderful donated artwork! You can see my original purple cyclamen drawing that I donated today. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Enjoy Your Own Art! Creating a Home Gallery

Do you have finished artwork hiding in drawers, on shelves or other unseen places because you haven't had the time to figure out how to display it?

I do! Like many part-time artists, I don't have a formal studio, but rather a nice little corner in our living room where I have piles of sketch pads, works-in-progress, and finished pieces carefully stacked on my bookshelf to keep them up out of the hands of my curious young children. This means that I tend to forget about pieces or tuck them away in a portfolio until "later". 

Well, I finally decided that later was now, and I wanted to see what I could do to get some of this art up on the walls here at home! I feel sort of silly when family and friends come over and I have to dig through my piles to find anything to show them. :)

So, I started thinking about what I needed to put some of my pieces and came up with a couple of basic points. I wanted:

  • A simple, neutral color for frames - this creates a unified display and puts the focus on the art.
  • Frames that included mats, glass (or plexiglass) and were ready-to-hang.
Recently, while out and about for the morning, I decided to stop by Michael's to browse around. Not one to be very vigilant with coupons or sales, I was happily surprised to wander in while they were having a 40% off frames sale. Yeah! 

I was able to find some very nice, affordable black metal frames that have a great double mat inside. I really like double matting as I think it tends to showcase the art nicely, especially the botanical illustrations that I have been doing lately. 

I chose to go with the double white mat (rather than double black) and found several different sizes to fit pieces I knew that I wanted to frame. I bought just two on my first visit and then went back later in the week to get three more when I saw how nicely they worked.

The frame backing is just like any photo frame with the little metal tabs that slide under the grooved edge.


The framing process took just a few minutes for each piece of art. I had a little trimming to do to make sure the art fit into the mat/frame. I did not even tape the artwork down, though you could use framer's tape to make sure it stays in place. Once that was done, I just replaced the backing and voila! Beautiful, framed, finished art, ready to put on my wall. 

(having a bit of trouble with the blog orienting this picture vertically, instead of horizontally, but you get the idea...)

Now what? Well, fortunately, we have a great open floor plan and lots of wall space. I chose to hang the whole lot on our staircase wall. It can be seen well from both the main and upper levels of the house.

It's amazing how nice it feels to have my own art hanging on the wall! 

And the finished pieces look so nice showcased in the white mats and black frames. You may notice that I have an oddball black mat in the middle. That particular drawing was a little too big for the mat in the new frame, so I repurposed an old one for the time being until I can get one that matches the rest.

Though these are not sealed-up-custom-framed to be preserved for all eternity, they look pretty darned nice, if I do say so myself. So, don't let your beautiful work languish in a drawer or in a folder somewhere on your desk! Pick up a frame or two here and there when you come across a good sale and in no time at all you can have your very own art show to enjoy at home.

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