Friday, November 28, 2008

I've gone and done it...

I threatened to do it earlier this year, and times being what they are, I decided to take the plunge and open up an etsy store. I have way more ideas than I have time, but please stay tuned as new items are going to be added daily. I am most excited about the Sculpey Nativity Christmas ornaments, dolls, and figurines. As you can also see there are original art pieces for sale, and if I may say so, at a very nice price.
Even if you just window shop at my store, please be sure to leave me some feedback.

I must apologize for my lack of posts lately. "Busy"ness and sickliness are to blame.
Hopefully I will be back up and running soon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Very Vermeer- An art Lesson on Jan Vermeer

Jan Vermeer

(1632- 1675)

Jan Vermeer was born to an art dealer father in the city of Delft in the Netherlands. His father's position afforded him an early advantage of contact with artists and art buyers. Vermeer painted mostly portraits, completing only 40 or so paintings in his lifetime. More have been attributed to him, but their authenticity can not be established. Other painters so admired his work that they tried to paint exactly like him and this has confused many art historians. It was some 200 years after his death however that the general public took any notice of his work and began to realize its importance.

Vermeer was very much a "starving artist". He worked hard to support his wife Catherina and their 15 children(only ten survived childhood), though it was never enough. The family lived with Catherina's mother Maria Thins and Vermeer still had to borrow money just to feed his children. Financial devastation overtook the family when the government allowed widespread flooding in order to rid the country of the Spanish that had overtaken their country. The family farm was destroyed, as was Vermeer's health and he died a short time later, leaving his wife a widow with ten children to care for all alone.

There was a time when his portrait work was in demand and evidence of this can be found in his paintings that have blue in them. The main ingredient used to make blue paint in this period was extremely expensive and most artists couldn't afford to use it. Another clue to a period of prosperity lay in the maps that frequented the backgrounds of his works. Having a map in one's home was an indicator of wealth, education, and possible world travel.

Only a few of Vermeer's paintings were not of people. Most were of indoor scenes with women, a window to the left of the frame casting a strong light on it's subjects.

How Very Vermeer- The Lesson Plan

Materials Needed
watercolor or cardstock paper
black Sharpie@ markers
oil pastels
baby oil
Examples of Vermeer's Paintings

Vermeer tended to paint indoor scenes. There was usually a woman or two strongly lit from the left by a large window. In some of the paintings he did there was a map on the wall and a diamond shaped tile pattern on the floor. In his most famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring, the subject is wearing a pearl earning (obviously) and has the color blue in her headdress.
These will be what the project needs to be based on.
The end result should be a a project with these criteria:
1. An indoor scene
2. One or more figures in the scene
3. A large window in the left hand side of your picture
4. A map of some kind in the picture
5. Include a pattern of diamond shapes somewhere in the picture.
6. Include jewelry somewhere in the picture.
7. Include the color blue in the picture somehow.

My suggestion is to look at as many Vermeer pieces as you can beforehand. Ask the students if they notice any other patterns in Vermeer's work that they may want to include in the guidelines.
If your students require more direction, then you can print out a Vermeer print and have them trace it to a blackline. From there they can create their own version on a new piece of paper(or they can use it as a homemade coloring page) and personalize it to her satisfaction. For the faint of heart in the drawing department, never fear, the desired result of this lesson can also be achieved through making a collage from Vermeer prints or even from magazines. This lesson is all about the "criteria". If your student has met all of the requirements in the guidelines, then their pieces are successful.
After they are satisfied with their drawings, they should outline all the pencil marks in Sharpie. Then they should color the pictures in with oil pastel. Once all the color is on, have then take a Q-tip dipped in just a little baby oil onto the oil pastel and rub it around. The oil breaks down the pastel into a more liquid, spreadable, and bendable form. Try to use a new Q-tip for each color and to use the oil sparingly as the picture can get greasy quickly. If it has too much oil, simply blot the page with a paper towel until the oil is absorbed. The Q-tips offer much more control than a brush for student hands. This is a great technique and I use it alot in my classes.
Hopefully your students will love their pieces and they will probably be able to tell you and everyone you know for a very long time the specific elements that help make a Vermeer standout!
Tomorrow I will post some of the student samples of this project.

A special thank you to Jessica at Art Smart for Kids fro her great post on Vermeer which inspired this lesson!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blog Changes

If you are looking for my proverbs posts, family life events, or homeschool commentary, please visit and bookmark my new blog at Drawing the Lines.

I realized this blog was a little all over the place, so I thought I'd narrow it down a bit and dedicate this one to art lessons only and Drawing the lines will be a more personal blog.

You'll notice on your subsequent visits that posts will be disappearing over here and reappearing on the new blog. I can't move it all at once because I spend too much time on the computer as it is so it will just have to happen gradually!

Kids Art Show in La Quinta, California

Greetings Art Lovers!

During the month of November, be sure to stop by the Old Town La Quinta Coffee Company to check out all the great artwork done by the students at Miss Julie's Art School.

The show will up from November 1st through the 30th and most of the pieces are for sale.
All the proceeds of the sale will go to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

There will be a special reception to honor all the artists and their families
on November 9th from 2 to 4pm at Old Town La Quinta Coffee Company.
Please join us if you are able!

Please pass this along to all the art lovers you know and let's support our only local rescue mission this Thanksgiving season.

Just because you don't live here, doesn't mean you can't buy the artwork and help our mission, I will be posting pictures of the pieces for sale and if you must have something, then email me and let me know and we'll make payment arrangements.

The Giotto Plaster of Paris Fresco Project- Finally!

I must apologize for my tardiness in posting this. Moving covers a multitude of indiscretions however and I will stick to that excuse :).
What you will need:

Plaster of Paris
Giotto Black Line
Plastic Plate with at least a half inch well
Tempera Paints
Paint brushes
Acrylic Glaze/Varnish

1. First prepare the plaster of paris. Directions usually call for a ratio of two parts plaster to one part water, but for this project equal parts works best.
Start by putting about one cup plaster in the plastic plate(you could also use a cheap and small disposable aluminum pan) and then add one cup of water. Stir with a plastic fork until all the powder is liquefied and then let it set. It should set up rather quickly, about half an hour or so. Because you want to paint on it while it is still a bit wet, don't wait much longer than that.

2. Tape your black line picture to the outside edge of the plate. I cut mine to the same size and shape of the inside of the plate which was a cool geometric shape. The plate itself was interesting enough to become a nice frame.

3. Trace over the image in the black line with a firm hand. Not to hard or it will crack the plaster but hard enough so that you feel the pencil pushing in to the soft plaster a bit. When you are all done you will have a relief of the black line image on the plaster.

4. Now you can paint! You can either use the tempera paint straight from the bottle on to the plaster or you can use the egg yolk mixture method that artists like Giotto and Michelangelo used. (Go here to see the how to and whys of the method).

The last thing the artist was about to say was how permanent the medium is. ( I would say so since Giotto's frescoes are over 400 years old!)
Most books will tell you to use tempera powder and mix that with a mixture of egg yolk and water, but I have mixed the egg yolk straight with regular tempera paint with excellent results. Generally you will want to mix one teaspoon of water per egg yolk and then mix with an equal amount of tempera paint.

5. When you are done you can add an acrylic glaze to protect the piece and make it shiny.

As the plaster and paint dry, the paint will become part of the plaster. It is a really cool process though definitely not one for sissies! It is not forgiving of mistakes or slow workers. This piece is pretty small and it will truly make you appreciate the wall and ceiling size murals of fresco painters like Giotto, Michelangelo, and Diego Rivera.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Miss Julie's Art School Art Exhibition at Old Town Coffe Company in La Quinta-The Artists Reception

Sorry, this one's sold!!!

Well the art show has been pretty successful so far. To date four pieces have been sold and we have only been up for a week! Today was the artists reception.

Below are pictures of artists and the art they so graciously donated to help support our local rescue mission.

This is what Taylor and Ryan think of gallery openings.
(So much like their dad!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fine Art Fridays #6- Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli was born in the year 1444 or 1445. He was born in Florence, Italy. He was part of an art period in history called the Renaissance. His real name was Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi. He earned the nickname of Botticelli because of his brother's nickname Botticello which means "little barrel."

Though he was originally apprenticed as a goldsmith to his brother, when he was fourteen he was sent to work with a master painter named Filippo Lippi. He learned Lippi's techniques well and his early work looked very much like that of his masters work, but soon he developed his own unique style and became a master in his own right.

Botticelli soon came to be noticed by a rich and powerful patron named Lorenzo de'Medici. The subjects of his paintings are mostly religious as deemed by the requests of his patrons, churches among them.

Patrons of the day were also fascinated with Greek and Roman mythology. Perhaps, Botticelli's most famous painting is of the Roman godess of love, Venus. "The Birth of Venus" was the title. Botticelli used extraordinary linework with his paint brush to give the scene movement. The figures seem to float and are outlined against the background. Though less realistic than some his comtempories works, his painting technique sought more to capture a dreamy fantasy rather than a true to life scene.

He lived to be sixy five years old.

To print just click on the image and it will appear larger. You can then save it to your computer or click on print preview before you print. You will probably have to scale the image at 70% or so.

Art Smarts 4 Kids: Sandro Botticelli
Botticelli Coloring Page

Later today I will post a tutorial on how to draw the face of Venus using the correct facial proportions. *Hint* It's all based on the eye!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Read the instructions

He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command will be rewarded." Proverbs 13:13

Almost every product comes with a handbook, a users manual of some sort, or assembly instructions. Whether or not we understand its contents or even bothering opening its pages is our choice. For those who don't choose to check out the users manual , frustration is usually looming not to far off.
How many times have you put something together and then have five or six extra parts left over that you have no idea where to put? And no it's not always because the manufacturer just put extras in the package.
Well, our lives came with a users manual, believe it or not. Whether or not we choose to check out the contents and try to understand it is our choice. And for those who choose to ignore it, it's contents, or its author, frustration, pain, heartache, and grief loom near at every moment.
God gave us His word as our users manual, so that we might heed His instructions and obey His commands, so that we might live more abundantly in this life and be able to experience the never-ending joy of His presence in eternity as well.
How can we ever know about all the wonderful features and options God has designed and woven into the fabric of our lives if we never check out the contents of the users' manual He provided?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So here we go...

I am endeavoring to finish my study of Proverbs, so today I will share with you my thoughts on Proverbs 6:6, which reads in the NIV
Go to the ant you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

In studying the bible it is imperative to not just look at verses by themselves, but to look at whole passages and contexts. Verses by themselves can be twisted to mean entirely different things than what they were intended. In our modern day, a good example would be sound editing and the "sound bites" they create. But here, I think it is safe to look at the verse by itself, although the passage of Proverbs 6:6 through 6:11 gives greater depth and clarity to this first verse. However, I digress.
When I read this verse, I am overcome with guilt. I know I can be lazy. The number of hours I have logged with the tv and internet are testimony to this fact, as are my weight, dishes in my sink, and piles of dirty laundry. Granted, I am pretty busy, and you moms and especially home schooling and working moms know where I am coming from. The job we have is a 24/7 thing and just when we think the laundry is done, there on the bathroom floor are this morning's outfit and dirty socks. Just when the dishes are all done and put away, there also magically appears a cereal bowl and drink cup. So am I being lazy when I steal away to watch my recording of Gilmore Girls? Sometimes. Sometimes not. The ant eventually rests too. His work is for a season. The summer is his time of gathering. In the winter he can not work and must use the fruits of his labor. The ant also does not work alone, he is part of a team. If the team members did not do their work, there would be no winter food supply either. What can we glean from this? If we look at the example Christ set before us, we see a couple of very interesting things. First of all, Jesus rested. He was fully God, and fully man. He got tired and he also needed downtime. Of course, His choice of downtime activities(there's an oxymoron for you) were what we should be choosing too. When He got to be alone, which was almost never, he spent that time with His Father in prayer. We mom's can relate to the never being alone part. There are days when I really don't understand why solitary confinement is considered to be such a drastic punishment. Those are the days when I wish my husband would make good on the threat to call in the men with white coats, xanex shots, and a nice padded room just waiting for me. Maybe if I followed Christ's version of downtime, I wouldn't feel that way. Or at least not as often. The other thing I notice in the life of Christ, was that He chose not to do his work alone. Just like Mr. Ant. Does this mean that like the ant He needed the team members in order to get the job accomplished? No, but He chose to have a team and to not do it all Himself, so that we would understand that He doesn't expect us to do that either. I think we probably all need to ask for help a little as well as be a helping part of the team more often, whether in our home, community or church. We also need to make better downtime activity choices. At least I do.
One other thing I think we need to remember, that we need to also choose our work wisely. The ant does not engage in any activities that are contrary to achieving the mission goal of adequate winter food supply. Christ did not engage in any activity that was not part of His original purpose in saving humanity and glorifying the father. There is this demonstration of priorities. First you start with a large jar.
In it you place water, then sand, then rice, then lots of rocks. What will happen?
If you guessed that the jar would overflow, then you guessed right. Now let's take the same jar, same ingredients, but let's change the order they go in the jar. This time we add the rocks first, then the rice, then the sand, and then the water. Guess what, it all fits! How is this possible? Without meaning to be trite or cliche, when you start with the rock the rest will be added unto you. It all comes down to prioritizing. As I was just looking for a video somewhere to embed in this post to illustrate my previous demo description, I saw this man on God Tube. He said that we actually need to quit trying to manage time. Time belongs to God, it is His to control. What we need to do however, is to manage ourselves within that time. Back to the ant, I bet he doesn't have a date book.

PS I just found this object lesson. It is worth checking out. Life is like a jar of rocks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

He is Not Surprised

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. the authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1

I am not happy. I am not surprised, but I am not happy. God is not surprised either. In fact, He knew who would win this election before He even created the earth. I do believe that God has given Americans what they wanted, what they have been clamoring for. Of course, getting what you want does come with consequences as well.
Think of the nation of Israel in I Kings. They wanted a leader, they wanted a king. A judge appointed by God was not enough for them, they wanted a protector, a general who would fight against the invaders trying to overtake them. More than anything they wanted a king because all the countries around them had a king too.
God listened.
God told Samuel to anoint Saul as king over all Israel, yet even as the people celebrated because their new leader was tall, strong, robust, and handsome, Saul warned the people that this choice they made did not come without consequence. It was not the way God would have done things, and anytime we veer away from the original plan God intends there are consequences, sometimes cataclysmic ones that have an impact on eternity.
Saul was a man of the people. Unfortunately, what they really needed was a man of God. Saul was willing to cut corners in obedience to God in order to meet the demands of the people. It eventually brought about his ruin and downfall, spiritually and physically, as well as threatening to tear a great nation in two.
As we know, David reunited that great nation and between himself and the reign of his son Solomon, Israel enjoyed a golden age. Yet that golden age did not last, again because God gave people over to the desires of their own wicked hearts(beginning with their leader himself) and eventually into slavery.
So as a new day dawns here in America, we can in fact have hope, though I do not believe it is the "Hope" Obama has to offer. I believe that unlike Israel, we have the hope of our Messiah available to us now, and it is in that I hope in which I will rest.
I will continue to pray as well, for the president-elect, his family, his wisdom, and his salvation. I will also pray for this nation as a whole just as Abraham pled with God not to destroy Sodom for the sake of just ten righteous people, I will pray that God will not sweep away the many millions of righteous believers in this country with the many millions more, who have been given over to their desires. I will pray for a revival, for a nation that will turn their hearts back to God. If God does not give me the desires of my heart, I will know that is for my own good, and that it will be to fulfill His greater purpose, perhaps the purpose of ushering in a new Kingdom here on earth, a truly golden age that will last no less than a thousand years!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Behind the Blog Ball

I know. I said I would write about Proverbs everyday and here it is the 4th day of the month and I have only done one post. I have not forgotten, or procrastinated. I just have not had time to sit at the computer and write. I will make the time though!

First though, I must update you on how the art show is going. I will be taking some pictures tonight and I will post them later. The big news is that we've already sold two pieces! And just for the sake of bragging rights, guess who the pieces were done by?

None other than the Taylor man himself! So so far he has raised $40 for the rescue mission. Way to go!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two and one

...turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding... Proverbs 2:2

How often do we really understand something or someone? For that matter, how often do we really hear something? There is a game used to illustrate the dangers of gossip and how the human race as a species should not be trusted to relay accurate information. "Telephone" is an excellent and enlightening method to show what poor listeners people really are. In case you are not familiar with it, it goes something like this... A line of people are put together. At one end a person is told a bit of information like "The blue cat jumped over the log". By the time it gets to the last person in line it might sound more like "The Bluetooth was eaten by a cat in the fog."
Our brains are like supercomputers. We can process ten times more information as we can hear. That means that every seconds worth of information we hear, our brain has nine seconds left to fill in. Depending on how well our thought life is captured to the obedience of Christ and our knowledge of the Word of God, Satan has a great big playground to get a foothold in. Many of us are so busy formulating what we are going to say next, we don't even really process what we just heard.
What if however, we purposefully use our ears to really listen? To repeat the words in our minds. To summarize them every so often back to the person who spoke them. To make sure we get the clear picture. To hold the message up to God's wisdom and to answer in love and understanding, the understanding that comes from knowing Jesus personally.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
If we do those things, then Satan's playground gets a little smaller doesn't it? It also makes putting our foot in our mouth a little harder since a foot can't go into a mouth that's not opened so big. Remember, God gave us two ears and one mouth- so listen (at least) twice as much as you speak!

Satan's foothold,
A nine second playground.
Truth's one second old.
The tongue's unbound.
I know what I heard.
Do you really?
Or did that "little bird"
Create your reality?
In the playground,
It's all about me.
My opinion,
More than understanding.
Words already formed
Before the last one spoken.
A blank page already torn,
Your thoughts only a token.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quotables by Ryan Age 7

Next Generation Nursery Rhymes

Ring around the Rosie, A Pocket full of Posies
Ashes, ashes,
They all blow up!

Dinner Conversation:

Mom: There is a quote that says each child comes with their own gifts, some just open theirs sooner than others.

Dad: Yeah, and some haven't been delivered yet.

Ryan: Some haven't even been ordered yet.

Proverbs, Particulars and Possibilites...

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding. Proverbs 1:1,2

Start at the beginning for the beginning is a very good place to start. I believe that is from the Sound of Music, and though it may seem trite, it is in fact very true. These beginning verses in Proverbs do at least two things for us, they let us know who is giving us this information and why. This is more information than some of us get before we agree to a date with someone. All joking aside though, these are two very important bits of information that actually give us more information if we look a little closer. Because the author is identified as Solomon, we get a general idea of when the book was written, and if we know that, then we can also ascertain other events that were occurring during the writing of this text. Solomon reigned as King over Israel during a time of peace. Because there were no battles to wage or kingdoms to defend against invasion, introspection was allowed. When you're busy fighting a war and trying to survive you don't often get a chance to look inward and examine the motivations of your soul. Likewise, if you're so busy that you wonder why solitary confinement is supposed to be a punishment, then Satan has got you right where he likes you to be.(B.U.S.Y.- Being Under Satan's Yoke) It is these times of introspection that often lead to edification and spiritual growth. Even in the history of civilizations we can see that a people did not become great until the times of peace where education and culture were cultivated as much as the crops needed to sustain it's population were.
So it was during this time of peace that Solomon chose to instruct his readers as to where and how they could acquire wisdom and understanding, and who better to disseminate these vital truths than the wisest man ever known. I wonder if his purpose were not partially self-serving as well. If you have read the banner at the top if this blog, you know why I write much of what I write, which is not to instruct others so much as to remind myself what I still need to learn and put into practice. It is through writing about these subjects that I meditate on what they truly mean and in so doing I come to an understanding of sorts.
So as you begin this proverbial journey with me. let me give you my version of a road map. For each of the next thirty days, I will post a devotion that I have written based on a verse in Proverbs. Each chapter and verse will correspond with the day of the month. For instance, today is the first of the month so I chose to explore Proverbs 1:1 and 2. Sometimes, I will explore more than one verse like that so as not to take important material out of context. On the second I will look at Proverbs 2:2, the third, 3:3, etc. Please know that I hold no special theological degrees, I am simply writing about what these verses mean to me. I do try to do my homework though before I write here, but as I am a very busy homeschool, art teacher, mom, I am fallible and I make mistakes. I do however welcome comments that offer gentle correction and criticism if warranted.
Thanks for taking this little road trip with me, and I look forward to exploring these proverbs, particulars, and possibilities with you! :)

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