do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

weekday workshop

In awe at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

We began the afternoon by creating our own textile art.  The children decided what they wanted to embroider and then embellished their work with ink and watercolor.

After a picnic outside the MIA and time to walk about and explore, the children identified one piece in the museum that inspired them.  We returned to the classroom to create a painting of our own.

Urban Couch inspiration
piet mondrian inspiration

cy twombly inspiration

The next WEEKDAY WORKSHOP is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, August 12 + 14 from 2:30 - 5:30.  If your child is interested in attending, it is helpful to let me know as soon as you are able.

Here are a few photos from our class on Tuesday:
more road maps!

popular drawing exercise

drawing in the MCAD sculpture garden

Thank you!  
Happy Art Making!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Education of a Wandering Man

My definition of a good vacation is having the ability to start and finish a book.  This particular one inspired me.  Here are some excerpts I chose to highlight from Louis L'Amour's memoir, Education of a Wandering Man.

...for to live well one must live with awareness. was interfering with my education.

We teach a child to creep when he should be running: education becomes a task rather than excitement...Personally, I believe children should be taught to see, to observe, and subject what they have seen to analysis...Very young children will often learn a difficult subject easily unless someone tells them it is "hard".

We do not at present educate people to think, but rather to have opinions, and that is something altogether different.

It is not necessary to travel in order to write good stories.  It is only necessary to see, to understand and reveal.

Start writing, no matter about what.  The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.  You can sit and look at a page for a long time and nothing will happen.  Start writing and it will.

...a writer owes a debt of authenticity to his readers

It is not enough to have learned, for living is sharing and I must offer what I have for whatever it is worth. is a labor of love, and I would relinquish no part of it at any price, I do not need help; I need time.

It seems to me that every written word is an effort to understand man's place in the universe.

Most of us hold the dream of becoming something better than we are...

Too often, the way taken is the wrong way, with too much emphasis on what we want to have, rather than what we wish to become.

One hopes the way will be clear, the road open.  So as one pilgrim to another, I leave you with that wish: "May there be a road!"

Quotes L'Amour chose to incorporate into this book:

Do what thy manhood bids thee do,
From none but self expect applause;
He noblest lives and noblest dies
Who makes and keeps his self-made laws.
-Sir Richard Francis Burton

Much is not dared because it seems hard; much seems hard only because it is not dared.
-Prince Wenzel, Anton Von Kalintz, Austrian statesman

A book is a friend that will do what no friend does - be silent when we wish to think.
-Will Durant

Talent is nothing but long patience. - Gustave Flaubert

No choicer gift can any man give to another than his spirit's intimate converse with itself.
- Schleiermacher

art class

Yesterday we started a new art class series inspired by Sara Fanelli's My Map Book.  This illustrator uses bold colors and words, modeling another form of autobiography.  Her illustrations spark imagination and prompt her "readers" to imagine a bigger story.

Two children mapped out their bedrooms and two others created treasure maps.  The bedroom maps tell a story of what the points of interest are in each room to each individual at this time of their life.  The treasure maps take the viewer on a journey throughout the page, one with islands, boats and monsters and another with a dinosaur at every turn.  

We will be creating other works of art inspired by Fanelli's book and her illustrations every Sunday afternoon in July.  Contact me if your child is interested in attending on any of these particular dates.

Sundays, July 13, 20 and 27
3:30 - 5:30

At our next WEEKDAY WORKSHOP, we will be creating paper mache sculptures as well as textile art.  Each class involves a walk, a snack picnic and an art making session.

July 15 and 17
2:30 - 5:30
$95 for 2 afternoons

view photos from our last WEEKDAY WORKSHOP here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

creating while away

Summer is in full swing and there is nothing better than a little summer vacation.  My husband and I haven't traveled much the past few years (except to our favorite destination: the shores of Lake Superior) but this year, we are already on our third get-away.

We just returned from a reunion with my family in California and it was lovely, fun and beautiful.  I had to pack light.  I am used to bringing my art bag properly stocked with small selections from many art making materials.  In this case, though, there was only room for a few books, a journal and pen.

In Encinitas, CA, I found an art store and without knowing what I was going to purchase, felt completely satisfied with this selection: one kraft color paper sketchbook, a set of soft pastels, one bottle of india ink and a brush.  I was on a roll.  This was a good reminder and proof, once again, that when I limit my materials, it is so much easier to just start.

My husband and I are currently in Montana (another love of ours).  I am needing to create, again, as soon as possible.  I have a wish to do what this inspiring, creative soul did - create a piece for my birthday (already past - but it's never too late, right?).  Anika Starmer (otherwise known as a is for anika), creates EVERYDAY and she created this piece on her birthday with a LOVEly and inspiring dedication (we share the same day).  I follow Anika on facebook, instagram, flickr and her blog.  Check her out!  It's a great way to give yourself a kick start!

The originals of these drawings as well as fine art prints are already available in my etsy shop.

I only had my phone but taking photos is always another source of creativity for me too.  
You can view these here.

Happy Summer to ALL!  I'd love to hear what you've been up to.  Send me a message or comment and let me know.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

weekday workshop

What a day. 

The children walked through MCAD on their way to the MIA, 
stopping to draw the sculptures they saw in their tiny sketchbooks.

I just happened to have a friend (another art teacher) who is visiting the Twin Cities while taking an experimental drawing class at MCAD.  She invited me to visit today with our weekday workshop.

The children were able to meet Ti (aka T. Besonen), see a lot of the students' work...

 as well as touch "the largest pencil in the world".

When we arrived at the MIA, the children would ask if they could stop and draw.

It was hard to leave, but the walk back to the classroom was fun!

When we returned, we created work inspired by our visit.

interpretation of Your Dog by Yoshitomo Nara

interpretation of Phillip Guston painting

Check out Ti's work here.

The next create everyday weekday workshops are
Tuesday and Thursdays

July 15 + 17 from 2:30 - 5:30
August 12 + 14 from 2:30 -5:30

$55 single day/ $95 for 2

contact me here to register

Also, drop in on any Sunday afternoon class in July:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

the "send me your cow" project

Now that winter has passed and summer has (finally) arrived, you may find yourself out and about much more often. If you have stopped  to visit a cow recently and have taken her photo, I hope you'll consider sending it my way.  

If you've had a favorite cow photo for years, I'd love for you to send it my way.  

If you know of a friend who has photos of cows and is interested in seeing one of them painted, I hope you'll share this post with them and they will send a photo my way.

My hope is to paint your cows and put together an album on my facebook page where I can feature your cow photographs and the corresponding paintings once they are complete.  

No purchase necessary!  I am just looking for other ways to become inspired and create (everyday).

Sound fun?  Send your photographs to me!  Look!  I've already been sent one.  The one featured above is c/o melisslyss on instagram.

I look forward to hearing from you (and seeing some cows)!

Happy Summer to all!

flash flood painting sale

Before I make another gallery shipment/delivery and in honor of the flash flood weather we have been having this past week,  I am offering a flash flood sale (35% off) on specific listings through Friday, June 20.  If you live within the Twin Cities metro, free delivery is included.

young at heart, 24X24 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
(original price $1350 FLASH FLOOD SALE through Friday, June 20, $875)

big red, 24X36, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
(original price $1800 FLASH FLOOD SALE through Friday, June 20, $1170)

she'd have a story to tell, 24X36, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
(original price $1800 FLASH FLOOD SALE through Friday, June 20, $1170)

just like butter, 24X30 acrylic on canvas, framed
(original price $1550 FLASH FLOOD SALE through Friday, June 20, $995)

like water on rock, 24X24 acrylic on hand stretched canvas
(original price $1350 FLASH FLOOD sale through Friday, June 20, $875)

funnel of hope, 24X18, acrylic and white charcoal on canvas, framed
(original price $995 FLASH FLOOD sale through Friday, June 20, $650)

Purchasing art is similar to purchasing furniture for your home.  Hopefully, it's viewed as an even larger investment.  Original art can live beyond the life of household furnishings.  If you wish to invest in one of these pieces now and are feeling hesitant about the entire dollar amount, you can place a one third, non-refundable deposit by Friday and still receive the sale price. This will reserve your piece and we can arrange for further payments in the future.

Contact me here for purchase information or for further inquiries.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

weekday workshops

INSPIRATION and BRILLIANCE at work today at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts 

frank stella inspiration

and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design sculpture garden

weekday workshops are in session! 

Tuesdays and Thursdays

June 17 + 19
July 15 + 17
August 12 + 14

2:30 - 5:30 
the Create Everyday Classroom

2 afternoons/$95

Coming EVERY Sunday in July.  Only commit to the dates that work for you.

Monday, June 16, 2014

me, the INFJ

Last week I read A Look Inside a Rare Mind by Jennifer Soldner.  I have known that I am an INFJ since I was a young adult.  I have felt rare my whole life.  Soldner organizes this read under characteristics and behaviors of an INFJ.

Here's what I have to say about some of them.

self consciousness - Because I am hyper aware of my surroundings, the people, their behavior and their energy (oh, by the way, furniture can have energy too), I am also hyper aware of my place within that environment.  Because of this, it takes constant vigilance for me to remain present most of the time.

perfectionism - Similar with the author, I also have much more tolerance for other people's human-ness, idiosyncrasies, and mistakes.  It is challenging (all of the time) to give myself the same tolerance.  I have mentioned this before, but this is why I love making art.  The only reason art works for me is because I am self taught.  Had I known any "rules" or "proper technique", I never would have started to create in the first place.

anger - People who know me well, know that I am not an angry person and if I have anger, I find the proper and constructive, most healing way to express it and let it go.  Anger, however, can work in my favor.  It can fuel me to take back my power when I have felt I have lost it (a familiar feeling when I feel depleted).

protection - I have found that headphones (the big ones that fit over one's entire ear) can feel like a suit of armor.  See also "a strong handshake and solid eye contact"

a strong handshake and solid eye contact - The author doesn't discuss this at all but I thought I would.  I consider myself a confident, socially appropriate human being.  I cannot remember how young I was when I learned the importance of a strong handshake (probably when I first shook someone's limp hand) and solid eye contact.  Both of these behaviors are quite natural for me.  However, if I avoid your eyes, it's not for lack of confidence.  It's only a matter of protection.  I may avoid eye contact altogether after a while for fear of picking up something that is not mine to carry.  Even though I know it's not mine, if I look into your eyes for too long, it can take days (and more vigilance, which requires more energy) for me to shake whatever was yours (and not mine in the first place).

shut down - Shut down mode is not fun for me but I find it continues to happen and, at this time, is necessary for my ability to function.  Shutting down is different than sitting quietly on the couch.  I need to do this everyday.  This is actually a very "active" time for me.  Shut down, though, is not being able to think straight or carry on a conversation.  Shut down is being so depleted of my energy that I don't even have any physical energy either.  I don't appreciate shut down mode.  In fact, I am usually depressed and miserable during it.  Without it, though, I wouldn't be able to "do" the next day.

physical activity - Yes, similar to Soldner, the physical part of my life always takes the back burner.  I know and have experienced that physical activity is a great release and distraction from my tendencies to over-think anything and everything but, sometimes, because of my need to process everything internally, by the time I do so, I am too tired.

simplicity - I am constantly simplifying our home.  It has a tendency to get cluttered up quickly.  It is small and needs daily maintenance.  I find that if I am near shut down mode, any unfinished housework can appear chaotic to me.  It can push me beyond shut down mode (into irrational anger, irritability, unwelcome emotion, in general) Ironically, in shut down mode, I don't have any energy to take care of this.  What I've found is it's best to maintain and avoid this altogether.  By the way, this doesn't ever mean our house is clean.  Having clear and orderly surface areas, though, can mean all the world in my sanity.

change - I would refer to this as my difficulty with transitions.  I don't like to be thrown any curve balls that I need to deal with on the fly.  I have learned that most of these curve balls can be redirected with a response such as "I don't know" or "Let me give that some thought" because, honestly, I have no idea what's best for anyone when I am put on the spot.  I am like a deer in the headlights.

shopping - The idea of entering a clothing store and shopping makes me tired before I can even identify where I would go.  I do all of my clothes shopping online.

social media - Thank goodness for this.  It allows me to make who I am known without having to take in an uncensored amount of energy (that isn't necessarily mine).  I can't imagine what INFJs did before social media.  I imagine that a lot of them were/are writers.

the creative process - The author doesn't refer to this but she does refer to her creative process, writing.  Art making is extremely important to me.  The creative process is the only outlet I have found (that fits) as proper communication for all my internal processing.

holidays - This topic wasn't discussed in the book either.  As an INFJ, I dread holidays.  For me, holidays feel like a marathon (and I am NOT a runner).  The mass amounts of people and energy involved are tiring for me.  I also, in general, like to avoid feeling busy or in a hurry.  During the holidays I find myself surrounded by people who thrive off of being in a hurry.  This can deplete me more.  My only coping mechanism for holidays is to treat them like an important work event.  I practice taking extremely good care of myself a few days before and after.  You can read my introvert's survival guide to the 4th of July here.

I really appreciated Jennifer Soldner's efforts in putting together this collection of her personal experiences and revelations.  If you can identify with any of the above, it might benefit you to take a peek into her book.  Start by following her on pinterest. After all, we INFJs need to stick together...

How to be an Explorer 3

We started class yesterday with a new drawing exercise.  The children spent time feeling objects I had placed in a bag before their arrival.  The instruction was to draw what they could feel (without using their eyes).  Every child was so excited to reach into the bag, again and again, searching for something they hadn't felt before.

Some children spent time playing with paint until everyone was finished with the exercise.

Some of the children wanted to work more with the objects after they had been revealed.

Children worked on their tiny collection journals.  Some wanted to make an entry or decorate their covers.  Summer is such a good time to keep a collection journal.  These are tiny pages the children can use to record their treasures.  

Our main project consisted of an attempt to grow our own art.  The children created a painting or drawing, enclosed it in a plastic sleeve, added soil, some water and their seeds. 

Given the proper sun, everyone should experience at least one sprouting seed over the next few days.

Unless your child is attending the WEEKDAY WORKSHOP (this coming Tuesday/Thursday afternoon), art classes will resume every Sunday in JULY.  Children can drop in for one or several of the Sunday afternoon classes.  Find more information here or contact me with any questions - anytime.

Happy Art Making and Happy Summer!

Also...a HAPPY (belated) FATHER'S DAY to all!