(scroll to the bottom of the post to download your FREE coloring page)
So we are on week, what, 480? of this crazy new normal called covid19? I have been trying to organize a room where I store art supplies at home. I’m also trying to make some videos to share art activities with my students, making take-home kits so my students can finish projects at home, cleaning and disinfecting the studio, making coloring pages and trying to find my peace painting. I have definitely not been bored. But I MISS MY CLASSES! Its amazing how much energy and joy those young artists bring to my life!
As I am trying to figure out where to place my camera, and how to edit videos for my students to watch and learn from, I procrastinate by making coloring pages. Ha! So in the meantime I wanted to share a blog by a wonderful, fun, zany, whimsical art teacher (who obviously has been making art videos for a while now) named Cassie Stephens.
You can find her by clicking here or on her photo above. This will keep your kiddos plenty busy until I get the hang of making my own videos. Have a wonderful social distancing day!!! Keep those spirits up, and find your peace! Also, check out the FREE coloring page below!
I’m sure you all have art supplies at home, some of which are easy to bring out and use and others that permanently reside in the back of the closet because they are a pain to deal with. You open the closet bright-eyed and excited to make art, and then those ugly, hard to deal with supplies growl at you and you back away slowly. But the best way to encourage yourself and your kids to make art is to have everything you need, easy access and easy clean up right there. I’ve been teaching art for more years than I care to admit, and I have learned many tricks along the way. Yes….I even used glitter with my kids…but I used it the easy way. I have added a downloadable supply list to make it easy to remember.
My first tip is to take some time and set everything up in one place.
I put everything in PLASTIC BINS. Bins that are sized so I or my kids can easy take them out and put them away. I put smaller containers in these bins, and I have found that several medium sized bins are easier for me than one huge on that no one can lift until dad comes home. Now they make those wonderful CARTS with three tiers that you can just roll away.
Find a PERMANENT HOME for your stack of bins or your cart. I used the bottom of our coat closet. It was reserved for my stack of art bins. The kids new exactly where they belonged. And the door closed so the little ones couldn’t do independent, Jackson Pollock style art!
PLASTIC FELT-BACKED TABLE CLOTH- this is by far my best investment. The one you see above I have had for 20 years. It is the largest I could find. The reason this is so genious is because there is no more hunting for newspaper or whatever, to cover your kitchen table. It is waterproof and even sharpies don’t bleed through. It is so easy to clean: Just let the paint DRY right on the tablecloth, you heard me right. If you are working with acrylic paint it will just be permanent. If you are working with watercolor or tempera paint once the paint dries you can take the whole thing outside and shake it out. The paint just flakes right off!!!! I HATE washing tables after making art!!!! So do the kids. You can also take it outside to spray paint on, or do water crafts, or even just to hose it down.
EGG CARTON OR OLD ICE CUBE TRAY- These will last forever! You pour your paint, use, and that’s it. DON’T THROW AWAY! Yep, just let the paint dry in the egg carton. As you can see above it will crack and dry out. No biggie, the next time you paint pour the same colors into the same cup. If you are using tempera paint it will actually reabsorb the old paint. If you are using acrylic a hard shell forms and you can just keep adding paint on top. The first time you use the egg carton it will seem very soggy on the bottom. That is ok. After that the shell that is formed makes it stay dry.
PLASTIC “STUFF”- If your tempera paint comes in hard to squeeze bottles you can use a squeeze bottle instead. –plastic container with a rag folded up inside. This is to dry off paint brushes after rinsing so that the brush isn’t all drippy when you put it in another color. As you can see I just keep reusing the same rag. When the top gets too dirty I refold it so a cleaner side shows. When I am finished painting I lay it on top of my bins to dry out. Every now and then I throw it in the laundry. No more wasted paper towels!!! –plastic food container lids– I use these as palettes when I want to mix colors. Rinse off to clean. Or even easier? Put it in a plastic baggie before using. Then when you are finished painting you can just take the off and throw away the baggie. No need to rinse! –easy to handle water bottle– I keep a water bottle filled in my art supplies. When I am ready to make art it is right there. Just make it one that the kids can easily handle on their own. -plastic container to rinse off paintbrushes. I actually use old butter containers.
OLD SHIRT OR APRON- self explanetory.
PRINGLES CAN or plastic water bottle with the top cut off. I store paint brushes in an old pringles can. This way the bristles don’t get smushed in storage.
TOILET PAPER- I always have a roll of toilet paper with my art supplies. I use it to quickly wipe up drips and spills, and to blot wet paint from my paintings, and as a blending tool when I draw.
MISC TIPS FOR MAKING ART LIFE EASIER:
If you are using tempera paint add a couple drops of dishwashing soap to the bottle before using. The texture will stay the same and it is easier to get off clothing, floors, walls, ….
Before using glue, take off the orange tip, and coat the inside with either vaseline or vegetable oil. This keeps the tip from clogging.
OR….. take a small plastic container with a good lid and put a damp sponge cut to fit at the bottom. Then pour about a 1/4 inch of white glue over the sponge. Let it sit overnight. Now the kids can just wipe the piece they want to glue over the sponge and WA-LAA! No messy fingers. And these keep a VERY long time.
Keep a little piece of sandpaper with your crayons. Once the crayon is flattened to a nub you can “sharpen” it using the sand paper.
Store markers FLAT. Yes, flat. This will prolong the life and juiciness of the markers. You can also store them in a plastic baggie on their sides to keep them from drying out.
Store acrylic paint upside down. This way you can see exactly what color is in the bottle and they won’t dry up as fast.
You don’t always have to buy paper. Use the back of magazine pages, junk mail, flyers….just have the kids, or you, coat the paper with a layer of acrylic paint. You have to paint a background anyway, right? Just blend several colors together and coat that paper. Once it dries you can use crayon, oil pastel, chalk and paint in any way you want. (watercolors and colored pencils will not work)
Make a drying space for those masterpieces by hanging a clothes line and clothes pins.
If the paper dries wrinkley and warped, just get out your iron. Place the art face down and covered with a paper towel. Iron it using a low heat. Works every time!
Glitter…..YES…..Glitter, every mom’s nightmare. Before you shake that glitter on your project fold a larger piece of paper in half. Unfold and fold in the opposite direction. Sprinkle the glitter over this folded paper and when you are finished you can easily pick up the paper and pour the glitter back into its container. The creases make it easy!
And my last tip for today is to pour glitter into old salt and pepper shakers before using. It comes out a little slower and controlled. Instead of trying to pour the glitter back into the shaker after using, have an empty parmesan cheese container. The lip is really big and much easier to manage. Pour all the colors into this and you now have a rainbow glitter!!!
So, for today I have another coloring page for you. I was planning on sharing a post with more content, but ….. Apparently one must have one’s photo’s organized enough to be able to find them. So, it looks like tomorrow I will help you set up a kid AND adult friendly home studio. And I will give you all my best studio hacks to make art with kids easier and more organized!
Stay tuned because next week I’ll be sharing some art projects FOR BOTH ADULTS AND KIDS!!!! For now, “Llama go make some art!” You go make some too!!!!
I know, I know, we NEED our kids to get back out into the world. WE need to get back into the world. But, after sending out a survey, there just are not enough families ready to send their kids back to in-person camps this summer. BUT I HAVE A PLAN!!!
Please listen to my plan before making your decision about your child’s summer camp. And after seeing the projects I have to offer. I hope you will have a positive perspective on at home camp!
I will be offering “Art-Camp-Kits”…… before you click delete let me tell you how I am planning to address the many concerns expressed in the survey: (All Projects come with a video geared specifically for kids. Parents DO NOT have to get involved in any way! As long as your child knows how to work the computer, press start and pause they will be able to work right along with me! I even tell them how to set up and clean up!!)
Cost– part of why you pay what you do is for the “experience”. I get that, and I mourn the loss of that in-person experience. I have not come up with the exact numbers as of yet, but I am going to try to give you what you pay for! I will be offering more projects-for-the-price. For example, in art camp we are able to complete about 4 projects in 4 days. We work a little bit each day on each project to allow for drying time ect. But in the Art-Camp-Kits, to make up for the loss of in-person time I am adding more projects, draw-alongs, worksheets, coloring pages, ect. And if you aren’t interested in the whole camp, I will be offering project-kits individually. But you will get the most “bang-for-your-buck” with the whole camp. I will be working to keep the cost per project as low as possible by “loaning” my reusable tools. You will get a refund when the tools are returned.
“I can’t or just don’t want to try to teach my child art, I don’t know how, ect”– No worries! Every project will come with a video tutorial. My goal is to have ME still be the teacher and all you have to do is make sure your child knows how to press the start and pause buttons. They will be able to work along-side me by pausing the video to work and starting to get the next step.
In-Person Experience– I will be offering Face Time one-on-one time if your child would be interested in that. But I want to keep the “camps” flexible for families. You will be able to sign up and reserve a time for your child to talk with me, to show me their progress, to ask for help, ect. If you have more than one child in the “camp” we can zoom. I want to be able to offer the individual attention I give when the kids are here.
Friends– I know that many of you signed your children up with their friends. My thoughts are that maybe those friends can still get together to create and we can zoom by appointment.
Family– Also, many of you have registered multiple siblings to age appropriate camps. I am planning projects with a “youngest age recommended” tag. For example I have a giraffe painting planned. I will be supplying video directions for every project, and I will show you how your 5 year old and your 14 year old can work side by side on the same project but with different goals. I can make even the easiest concept more challenging.
Projects– right now I have over 20 projects I want to offer.
Choosing your camp– You will have a choice as to how you want to order your camp. You will be able to order project by project. Or you can order the age appropriate camp that I set up. Typically I try to introduce as many different mediums as I can during camp with my hope being a child tried something new and has yet another way to create. But I realize that as a parent you may not want to tackle trying to get them to try something different. So I will offer to make up the “kit” for you as I would teach it, with lots of different mediums….or you will be able to pick and choose which projects you want to have in your kit. Because supplies for some projects are way more expensive than others, I will assign a point system to each project. So if you want all clay projects, which are more expensive, you may only be able to chose 4 lets say…..but if you wanted painting , well they would be cheaper, so you may be able to order 6 or 7. Depending on if its offered on canvas or paper. But all the kits will include the “extras” I plan to throw in.
And get this…. If you buy one camp this summer, and you want more…all the rest of the kits you order will be at the camp price! (which is about a 20-25% discount)
So please check back here soon to see even more information on ART CAMP FROM, not at, STUDIO VIRTU!
I hope this finds you healthy, at home, and cuddled up with those you love…..or a glass of wine, whatever you need! I am actually at the studio in my pajamas pondering the eternal question, “Is there a proper time of day to change from day pajamas to night pajamas?” For me it seems that I change once I have paint all over whatever I am wearing. Anyway, I am missing my student artists SOOO much right now. And I can’t help but wonder what is going through those creative minds about all that is going on right now. As for me, I am focusing on the time I have to paint, draw, and organize. Yep, that’s right, I love to organize at home. You would never know this by the sight of the studio though. And throughout each day I can’t help but be filled with hope. I believe from the bottom of my soul that God has a master plan for our best selves. So I know that at the end of all this we will be better people. I do miss all those little faces though! I find that if I begin to feel stressed all I have to do is ART!! I paint, I draw, I color, I make clay “stuff”. I am lucky because I have all the supplies I need both at my home studio and at Studio Virtu. But not every home is decorated in “Total Art Mess” like mine. So I want to offer some relief if you need it. Here is what I “plan” to do. (I mean everything changes day-to-day, right)
I plan to post, here, various Art Activities that you or/and your kids can do from home. I’m hoping to make these activities kid-abled, meaning they can do them on their own. Sometimes it will be a free coloring page (like today), or an acivity/project, a tip or shortcut, or a list of You Tube channels or websites appropriate for kiddos, but still interesting for all ages.
I am hoping to put together some “art-kits” and supplies that you can pick up curbside so you have the means to do these projects. (and tempera paint doesn’t last forever, so we might as well use it up). And there MAY be a small fee for the supplies as I have to try to stay in business, ugh. More info on this to come.
I will make some supplies available to “rent”. Which means you can leave a down payment which you will get back when the supplies/tools are returned.
Please be patient with me as I am just now learning how to make videos, thanks to Lauren O!!! Posts may remain in all photos if I can’t get the hang of it; or I just plain hate the way my voice sounds, which is a very real possibility! My goal is to post three times a week. But I do admit to being easily distracted by an empty canvas, unused clay, an unpainted wall, garbage can, rug, floor, table, chair….you get it. So I will do my best just like you are doing in these crazy times!
For today, DON’T BE A SLOTH, MAKE ART! And enjoy this free downloadable coloring page! Talk to you soon!
Registration is now open for Weekly Ongoing Fall and Winter Art Classes! This is the way to get the most art instruction for your money. We will be painting, sculpting, printmaking, working with glass and ceramic clay and the list goes on! Don’t have time for art classes right away? No problem, registration is ongoing. For more information click the link above for Classes and Workshops!
Workshops will also be offered this year. These are for those who cannot commit to a weekly class. More information and registration for the workshops will be coming soon, so check back!
I know I said April 1st I would post classes, workshops and registration for this summer…. But apparently the computer demons have other ideas. Please check back on Friday! I am crazy frustrated with trying to get all the technology working to accept registration. (as of last night things were working….today they are not! ARGHHHHHH!!!!)
Please remember, THINGS ARE DIFFERENT THIS SUMMER….
I will be adding workshops throughout the summer. If there is a workshop your child is interested in and it fills up I will simply add another date for that workshop! So you won’t have to compete to “get in”.
I am so sorry to be breaking my word on when registration begins. I appreciate your patience more than you can imagine!!!!!