Cousins Art Lesson

girls art lessonWhen my sister’s family visited in August, I wanted to take time to do some art with my niece, who has always been interested in learning to try mixed media art. The family drove all the way to British Columbia from Michigan in five days, and we spent 4 days together. It wasn’t until the very last evening that I was able to squeeze in a mini art lesson. My daughter and her cousin really enjoyed this experience together.

2015-08-09 21.40.12

My niece’s painting of an ocean and shore (in progress) – the finished painting included a tree on the shore.

I’ve never really taught an art lesson (OK, I guess I did in my daughter’s Grade 1 class last year). But I sure learned lots from this experience. For example, with only an hour or two (or five) to work on the painting, it would have been good to paint a simple scene, and have all the students work on the same thing. This would have made it easier to coach the group and use a limited palette of colours and supplies. It was also interesting working with the personalities of young girls (giddy tired young girls) and to help them have fun and finish their project that they would feel proud of.

My daughter's painting, in progress.

My daughter’s painting, in progress.

Etsy Shop and Facebook Artist Page now live

As an artist, this is a big day for me! I’ve finally gathered the images and information to launch my Etsy Shop and a facebook artist page.

Promoting yourself is one of the hardest things to do as a creative person! It’s vulnerable. I hope I will be able to make lots of newer works now and sell some prints too, once I’ve experimented with reproducing some of my watercolours to get the quality up to standard.

Thanks for all your support!

Delight Filled Leaves Art Studio

End of the Lego Series

Remember my son’s Lego from June? Well he continued to create Lego vehicles and line the up on the piano, and later my art work space….

lego all over art tableClearly the situation was getting out of control, so in mid-July, with my brother and sister’s families planning to visit from Ontario and Michigan, I had to finish this job. His vehicles were getting more and more complex. I finally had to say I could only paint a few more. Here are a couple of them.

2015-07-23 10.02.47 2015-07-23 10.07.23 2015-07-23 11.57.57Of course, one last picture of himself with the ones I couldn’t draw:

2015-07-23 10.11.07On that note, it’s time for the weekend! Parents, go have some fun with your kids…this project meant so much to my six-year-old.

Peonies: Mixed Media on panel

I made this painting over the course of one week (that is, in about 10 hours probably). It’s easy to just let the days slip past without painting, so I decided to be intentional about it and work during the baby’s nap time. Luckily my 6 and 7.9 year old are fairly independent and love biking around.

mixed media floral abstract painting

Peonies – 20″x20″ Mixed Media on panel

Now the funny part of this painting is that the panel is a found object – this is probably something I should not publicize since I’m going to be selling this, but I love telling these details – we were walking at Granville Island with my sister’s family when they visited from Michigan (yes, they drove all the way here to Vancouver!). By the time we got there, it was already 7 pm, so the market had just closed. We were just walking around looking into the windows of the art studios, when I noticed a “free scrap” bin. My son and nephew enjoyed picking through that, claiming a couple pieces of wood. I happened to find a couple of perfectly good pieces of doorskin, and this is one of them.

Now for a little creative process…

Gesso on panelI decided to paint something – anything – without belabouring the subject. Sometimes the sculptural, playful act of applying gesso to the surface inspires a painting. I used a palette knife and some other tools I keep on hand to play with the wet paint, and as part of my signature style, included some espresso grinds to create texture. I decided to paint some peonies. I love these flowers, though they tend to harbour lots of ants, as someone pointed out to me. But in a painting, there doesn’t have to be ants! Just the delicate, soft, layer-upon-layer of fragrant petals.

Acrylic painting in progressThe next day I started to add some colour. Did I mention I was sick with a terrible chest cold, and my baby was cutting his first two teeth? This took serious dedication, friends.

Acrylic painting half finishedHere it was starting to come along. I really don’t like these early steps, before I see clearly where this is going to end up. I think it was a good experiment to give myself a time limit – one week – so that I couldn’t wallow too long here. This is about as far as I got during two subsequent days of “baby nap time” – between cooking and cleaning and diaper washing and baby feeding.

peonies painting in progressHere I was starting to have fun, adding in more texture and colours.

detail showing texture of peoniesWacky angle shot to show some of the texture. I love playing with unexpected colours. You can’t see some of them from a distance, but it creates visual interest up close, and a richness of detail that I love. I collaged some of my papers into the piece, as well as some dried plants that I keep around for this purpose. Usually all of my paintings have some sort of leaves worked in.detail mixed media paintingThis last shot is a detail of the finished painting. I hope I can paint something else soon! This was fun after all.

Etsy shop coming soon!

What a summer! I told my kids that this may just be the best summer of their lives: first of all, both my husband and I have been home a lot; we’ve been on countless adventures camping, swimming in lakes, hiking and sightseeing; we’ve hosted lots of relatives and the children got to know most of their cousins better; the weather – did I mention the weather? – just beautiful; and we have this adorable baby. Be sure to follow me on instagram @delightfilledart to see all the moments I try to capture.

artist working in studio

Me, bustling in my “studio” corner, photographing artwork.

All this to say we’ve been having a grand time, but I haven’t had much opportunity to get at my creative stuff. I was able to start my etsy store in June, but didn’t get back to actually preparing any listings! I have so much to learn, from pricing to packaging to reproducing work in the form of prints. This week I finally had time to photograph about ten existing pieces of original artwork that I am ready to sell. I have been amassing artwork for the past ten years, and I am finally running out of space! So I am ready to start selling and, at the least, create space for new works. I’d also like to make some money to pay for more paint and brushes.

artist working at table with baby

Multi-tasking is fortunately one of my strengths. Here I was writing some descriptions of paintings while my six-month-old fed himself a strawberry from the backyard.

Now that I have several images edited for each painting I plan to list, I’m working on the descriptions, tags, and prices. So it will be another week or two before I will be ready to “launch” my shop officially. Creative writing with a baby and two kids out of school is pretty challenging. I started this post at about 10 am, and didn’t get back to it until 10 pm.

I am planning to move on to creating smaller new works to sell, and also to reproduce some watercolour paintings to sell at lower price points than the original paintings. This is a big step for me, and definitely a new direction, so I’m curious to see how it goes. Stay tuned for more details soon!

Painting my son’s LEGO inventions

One day I decided to paint some of my son’s LEGO creations. He has dozens of these vehicles on the go right now, and I thought it would be a fun way for me to practice illustration by creating a small series. I am using ink and watercolour on rag paper so far. I’m planning to create a photo book for him when I’m finished. I might do the same thing with my daughter’s Calico Critters displays.

My son was very impressed with the first painting, and immediately lined up all his other sculptures for me on the piano. Whenever I finish one, he takes it away and puts the next one on my art table. I love being able to collaborate with the kids and include them in my artwork.

Here are the first two:

Lego painting

First Lego sculpture and painting combo

lego painting

DIY Ergo Accessories: Drool Pads

ergo with DIY chew pads

My giant four-month-old in the ergo with chew pads.

My favourite baby item from the beginning has been my ergobaby carrier. It was the one main baby item I didn’t get rid of when we had decided to stop having kids. But I still bought another one because I liked this teal colour. I used my ergo until my babies were no longer toddlers. I even carried my daughter when she was four on a hike one time because she got such a bad blister. I love walking everywhere I can and not having to stick to the sidewalks like you do with a stroller.

I saw these DIY drool pads that people had made for their carriers, and I didn’t think I’d ever use them. But I’ve had this lovely bird cloth since I went to Cannon Beach last summer and hadn’t found the right use for it. I noticed that it goes well with the ergo’s teal colour, and after washing the carrier because my four-month-old has been drooling all over it, I decided to make them. It was easy to whip these up in a couple hours. I did not use a pattern.

Cut cloth and an old towel to 8x11 size

Cut cloth and an old towel to 8×11 size. I also cut a square not pictured for the backing.

ergo baby chew pads

Sewed the pieces together inside out, and rounded the corners slightly. Sewed a loop of ribbon on one for toys. Sewed on velcro. I purposely didn’t sew the velcro all the way to the bottom so that the pads can spread out at the bottom a little.

teal ergo with DIY drool pads

Drool pads completed

drool pads for ergo carrier

Homemade teething toy for baby to play with.