Category Archives: Art

Art with Kids

Some of you may be curious as to what I’m doing with these children I’m teaching. Four days a week, I teach them English. On Fridays, I get to really enjoy myself, teaching art in English to second and third graders. Here’s a glimpse into a typical Friday as well as some of the work my students have produced.

We began with some basic color theory and a study of Piet Mondrian. Students then completed their own Mondrian-influenced piece. Here’s an example by one of my third graders:


Those kids really loved using their rulers. Some even tried to work in Mondrian’s technique, which was without a ruler. Either way, students made really unique pieces and enjoyed the project. I’ve also taught the third graders about background, middle ground, and foreground. They created still life pieces using oil pastels to work in a background, school supplies to draw a still life in the middle ground, and paper flowers to place in the foreground. This project was completed over a couple of hours and students did really well:

Our first Friday in October saw our class interrupted by a theater production, so creation time was very short. Kids worked in watercolor to create an autumn background. They then used marker, colored pencil, or oil pastels to draw in trees and leaves. Here is a work in progress, created by my newest student, a boy from Russia:


And here are my beloved third graders in action:
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One of my second grade classes designed mandalas on Friday. They seemed to really enjoy this project, using our study of lines to guide them. Some were very intricate for second graders. Others added spiders to their pictures because the mandala format reminded them of webs. These kids have great imaginations and love creating art.

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Canvas: May Flowers

As I continue to play with this new style of my artistic creations, I’m utilizing my older photographs as guides. One of my favorite photos is of my mom’s spring flowers after a good rain. I decided to recreate it, choosing my own colors as opposed to those in the photograph. The piece below is 5×7″ and is an ink drawing with colored pencil. I was curious to see just how far I could manipulate my basic Crayola pencils, and I am in love with the results.


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Canvas: Ireland

I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law this week and was reminded of two 5×7″ ink & watercolor pieces I made them for Christmas. I neglected to photograph them then, so please forgive the image quality below (it’s from a phone). Both pieces are ink drawings on paper with watercolor washes. These are the smallest dimensions I’ve worked in a while, and using ink so delicately was a challenge. Overall, I’m happy with the framed results.

This is based on a photograph of Greystones, Ireland, where my sister and her husband both spent semesters of college.


This piece is based on a photograph of the DART, the train that runs from Dublin. As the dimensions of the pieces were so small, working in the details with ink was an intricate challenge.


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Travel: Girls in Grand Rapids

My college roomies and I reunited for our annual Columbus Day weekend adventure. This year, we went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of the roommate I had all four years of college. This occurred during Grand Rapids’s famous Art Prize, so we, of course, ventured into the delightful downtown. We had gorgeous weather, art was everywhere we turned, and downtown Grand Rapids has many wonderful dining options and coffeehouses.


Here are my girls on a rooftop, where an interesting exhibit commented on America and war.


This wall reflected light and dazzling color. Upon closer inspection, it was all made of plastic bottles!


I am always drawn to water for the peace it brings me, so I was naturally interested in pieces that evoked water. Below is a graphite pencil drawing. Please excuse the poor image quality, but consider the fact that someone has captured a substance that constantly ebbs and flows with a mere pencil.


Beyond Art Prize, we enjoyed great food and a beer fest at Founders during their Oktoberfest bash.  I am completely ashamed because we went to this amazing coffeehouse and I cannot remember its name. All I can tell you is they handcraft each cup of coffee, and my life-changing cup was black with honey. HONEY. I had never tried this before, and I cannot tell you how much I loved the combination. Also, this coffehouse was super busy, so they apparently have a reputation for well-crafted hot drinks. We also spent some quality time at Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery, enjoying an autumn lunch, cider, fresh, hot donuts, and, for a couple of us, the wine-tasting room. Our weekends are never super expensive or fancy, which is proof that with some research and know-how, you can have a great mini-vacation anywhere you go.


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Canvas: Roma Cafe

Okay, I did do a painting before last Christmas. A co-worker gave me a photo of her favorite spot in Rome and asked me to turn it into an ink-and-watercolor piece. I’d never done this type of mixed media, and I was relatively happy with the result. This project rekindled my interest in drawing and forced me to become familiar with watercolor, a medium that has always intimidated me.


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Canvas: “The First Light”



Acrylic & oil on stretched canvas.

“But the heavens, wrapped in wonder, knew the meaning of His birth…”

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Canvas: “Cloud of Dust”


Acrylic and oil on stretched canvas.


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Canvas: “Splatter”

Sometimes, I am possessed by a bit of crazy and I do something like a massive splatter painting using only a liner brush. This is one of those pieces. I had speckles of paint all over me for days, but I love all the layers:

Oil & acrylic on canvas board.

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Canvas: “Dragon Nebula”

Oil & acrylic on canvas.

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Canvas: “The Fall of Icarus”

Oil & acrylic on canvas. SOLD.

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