Sunday, August 2, 2015

3 Reasons Why Play Is Important (It's NOT Trivial)


My whole reason for being is to PLAY!  Oh yes, I believe in PLAY!  If you've read any of my About Page on this blog or on my website, you'll read over and over again, that I'm a believer!  I know PLAY has helped me get through fears that I'm not good enough and helped me to not take myself so seriously.  So when I hear or read things that supports my view, of course, I have to share it.  

The book  I'm reading , "The Essentialist",  actually said there are 3 Important Reasons to Play!  You know I highlighted that and had to share it.  Here's what I highlighted in "The Essentialist" (My comments are in the parentheses):    
  1. First, play broadens the range of options available to us (We think outside the box to come up with innovative solutions).
  2. Second, play is an antidote to stress and this is key because stress, in addition to being an enemy of productivity, can actually shut down the creative, inquisitive, exploratory parts of our brain (When you get all worked up and scared, just go and play).
  3. Third, as Edward M. Hallowell, a psychiatrist who specializes in brain science, explains, play has a positive effect on the executive function of the brain (You just run a better brain when playing).
The book further explains:
Play stimulates the parts of the brain involved in both careful, logical reasoning and carefree, unbound exploration.
Those efforts challenge the Nonessentialist logic that play is trivial.  Instead, they celebrate play as a vital driver of creativity and exploration. 
It made me very happy to hear this.  I hope it does you too.  Now, go play!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

My NEW, IMPROVED Sidewalk Chalk ( Drawing Right Before the Rain)

If you'll remember from last week, I'm on a sidewalk chalk drawing kick.  I started out with a bucket of chunky chalk from the grocery store in only 5 colors: white, pink, blue, green and yellow.  It's a fun challenge to limit myself with only a few colors and to see how I can stretch what little I have. BUT I wanted to get detailed and have slight shifts in colors and sometimes, intense color, and dark colors, and....well....more colors.  So I went to my local art store and talked to my friendly and knowledgeable salesperson.  She recommended chalk pastels.


We looked at all the sets.  Some had 12; some had 24, but that still wasn't enough colors.  We kept hunting around the store and finally found a big box of 48 lovely, intense, sometimes subtle pastel chalks.  I was very excited to go bust them out and draw on the sidewalks of downtown.  My salesperson asked me what I was going to do with them and I told her I was going to do random acts of sidewalk drawing.  


I was so excited to do some sidewalk drawing, I didn't care that is would start to rain in an hour.  I figured it was at least enough time to test a few colors and to snap a few photos.  When I talked to my salespeson, she said, in her experience, it took a heavy rain or a strong spray to get out the chalk pastels from the sidewalk.  That sounded good to me.  So maybe, my drawing will having a little more staying power----even in the rain.


Here's hoping for the best in this first test of the new sidewalk chalk.  This bunny is going to try and jump over the obstacles.  Wish him luck, won't you?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How I Got in a Film Drawing on the Sidewalk


My favorite thing in the world to do is drawing!  Yes, you can take everything else away from me but you'll never be able to take away my love for drawing.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE drawing (I cannot say this enough times).....so when I saw a big bucket of sidewalk chalk at the grocery store, I said yes to it!   I thought it would be a great way to draw outdoors while enjoying the summer sun.  


I took said bucket o' chalk and went out into the park by the art museum (because the art museum is right in my neighborhood....yes.....I feel very fortunate to have it so close by).  There was a festival going on to celebrate the French Bastille Day, so there were all kinds of folks out and about enjoying art, music, food and performances.  This was a fun surprise, so I poked around and watched all the fun activities.  Amidst this commotion, I plopped down on the sidewalk and started drawing a bunny.    


I stuck with the bunny theme and drew a bunch more bunny rabbits along the sidewalk in the park district.  My friend drew with me and he drew a fire engine and a bike. He said he couldn't draw, but he obviously, has proved that wrong.  The fire engine was drawn next to a fire hydrant and then he had me draw a little fire man on the back of it.  He drew the bike next to the bike lock up.  Pretty clever, huh?  Yeah, my friend is like that----clever and fun.

While drawing to my heart's content (yes this is the part you've been waiting for about the film), a guy with a camera came up to me and asked me if he could film me while I did my thang.  What?  You mean capture me doing the thing I love most in the world?  Well, sure!  His name was Andrew Hida and he was making a film about Portland, Oregon.  

Sometimes, I just attract wild, weird, wonderful things and this day was one of them.  As I drew, a few people came up and also watched and asked me questions.  I didn't mind because I was in my element.  One person plopped down on a bench and played guitar for us.


The following day, I remembered all the fun I had and wondered how all the sidewalk chalk drawings held up.  As I made my way to the park and art museum, I noticed that it had rained over night.  Yep, all our drawing had become ghostly smeared pastels.  You can see the before and after of the drawings in these photos.


I thought it was sort of fitting that the love bunnies melted into each other and become one.


The sunflower on the stairs somehow maintained its sunflower-ness the best out of all the chalk drawings.


Oh well, that's the nature of the sidewalk chalk drawing, right?  You don't know what will happen to it.  And it just means, I'll have to go out and draw more.  Maybe next time, I'll draw a bunny on a bike.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Art Projects: Papier-Mache Elephant PART 4

Yep, I started this elephant papier-mache art project back in February.  It's some slow, slow, slow progress I'm making.  I've moved a few times since then ( read problems with roommates) and I got a full time day job (read a lot less time to do art).  Despite these changes, I have found a little time here and there to do a little more work on the elephants.

On the LEFT-BEFORE.  On the RIGHT-AFTER.

You'll have to look closely to see the difference.  I worked on the elephants' faces.  They didn't have eyes or brows before and I wanted to make their trunks to be a little bit thicker.  

On the LEFT-BEFORE.  On the RIGHT-AFTER.

Do you see the eye and brow?  Yep, I'm down to the details.  Next, I need to find a place to do some sanding.  As you can see below, I've got all the protective breathing gear to do it because when I sand, there is so much that it is dangerous to breath.  

Me in my protective breathing gear so I can sand the papier-mache elephants.

I just don't have a place to do it yet.  I've talked to a few people and they say to check out some maker spaces where they get down and dirty to make some amazing designs and art.  I'll check it out soon, so I can make some more progress on these sculptures.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Famous Artist Marisol Paper Puppet Commissioned for a Memphis Art Museum


Last summer, the Brooks Museum in Memphis, TN contacted me and asked me if I'd create a paper puppet doll for their exhibition of famous artist sculptor Marisol Escobar.   They found me when  they did a search on Etsy for Andy Warhol and discovered my Famous Artist Club paper puppet shop.  You see, Marisol was one of those New York artists who hung out with Andy Warhol at his art factory.  Of course, I said yes to creating a paper puppet for this museum.


They showed me the photo they were using to advertise the exhibition of Marisol, so I created my paper puppet to look like that.  I tried to capture her intense eyes in my little paper puppet portrait.  Since she's a sculptor, I made sure she had her hammer and chisel to show what she does.  I only had a black and white photo as reference so I made up the colors.  And I didn't know what kind of shoes she was wearing, so I had to make up that too.  I figured if she was working on some sculptures, she would want some sensible, comfortable shoes.  


What would an art museum do with a paper puppet of their exhibiting artist?  Well, they were passing it out for the opening art party of the exhibition.  The guests were given a printed out PDF to cut out and assemble.  It would be like taking Marisol home with them to cherish and remember the wonderful time they had at the exhibition.


They told me it was a great opening art party.  Afterward they were out and about and spied a Marisol paper puppet hanging from someone's rearview car mirror.  It was so random and fun to discover that.  

It took a lot of work to create a great exhibition and art party, so they wanted to give the volunteers something to show their appreciation and gratitude.  They decide to give them framed and signed prints of my Marisol paper puppet.  I signed them all and was happy to be a part of this gesture of appreciation.

Would I do it again?  Would I create another famous artist paper puppet for a museum or institution? If it was half as fun as this one, you bet!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Famous Artists Paper Puppets Help Teach a 2nd Grade Art Class


I'm really good at creating portraits of people, so a few years ago, I created some paper puppets of famous artists and sold them in art galleries around Los Angeles.  Eventually, I opened up an online shop and sold them at my "Famous Artist Club" Etsy shop.  I don't promote it much because I think it's so different than what I create at my"Artist in LA LA Land" Etsy shop and I create more paper puppets for the "Artist in LA LA Land" shop than I do for the "Famous Artsist Club" shop.  Sometimes, I get some messages at this shop requesting that I create portraits and other times, I get messages like the following:



We studied famous artists this year in my second grade classroom. Imagine my excitement when I discovered the puppets available through your shop. After studying the artists, I allowed students to select an artist puppet to create. I printed the puppets in black and white, and the students were very creative with colors and designs! Having students assemble puppets provided extra fine motor work as well as puzzle solving. 

We studied Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Henri Matisse. I am simply wondering if you plan to create a puppet for Henri Matisse as well since some students wanted to select him, and he's not available at this time. 

Thank you so much for sharing your creativity! Our class loved it!
Lucy (the teacher)

 I was so happy that my paper puppets could help this art class.  It was a wonderful message to receive.  I wrote back to this teacher that I was tickled to hear that my famous artist paper puppets could help teach her art class.  I also told her that I have too much freelance work at the moment to create a Henri Matisse paper puppet.  But maybe sometime I will.  You never know.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Art Projects: Solar Paper Prints with Pretty Leaves and Natural Things


I bought this solar paper months ago, but with it being summer time, it seemed like the perfect time to break it out and do a summer art project.  I wasn't sure if I'd have to be extra careful with the light sensitive paper----you know---like----would it instantly develop before I had a chance to actually do something with it?  Turns out this is super duper easy to do and lots and lots of fun!


First, my friend and I gathered all kinds of pretty leaves, branches and natural things like fallen bird feathers.  Above are some mint plants that I thought had some pretty leaves and stems.


Next, we busted out the solar paper and placed our collected leaves and branches into a pretty arrangement on the solar paper.  After that, we placed this in the sunlight.  If there was a breeze, some of the things got moved, but it turned out to be an interesting and ghostly affect. 


Once the blue paper turned almost white, we brushed away the leaves and saw that they left a blue silhouette.  Finally, we rinsed off the paper in water.  That's when the blue parts turned white and the white parts turned blue.  It was so fun seeing this transition.  We made a few different designs as you can see above.  When they dried, I used some of it to write a letter to a friend.  

My friend and I are super excited to do it again.  We're thinking of taking to on a hike with us or even camping.  It's just so easy and fun.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I'm Taking Time to Do Nothing This Summer (Which Means Time For Art & Fun)!


I've been reading a book called "The Essentialist" and what it boils down to is that you gotta design and make the time to do the things that are most important to you.  Part of that time needs to be spent just doing nothing.  Yes, nothing.  During that nothing can be the most beneficial time because it's time to relax, think and figure out what is most important to  you.  Without it, you're just running around doing what other people are imposing on you and probably not even knowing that's what you're doing.  I know I've been doing that.  So this summer, I'm deliberately going to take the time to do nothing.


And by nothing, I mean taking the time to relax a lot with cups of tea in the morning and ice tea in the afternoon since it will be hot, hot, hot this summer here in Portland, Oregon.


By nothing, I mean I'll go get wet in the water like a fish in the Willamette River or a sea turtle at Cannon Beach and enjoy the coolness while the sun is shining high in the summer sky.  I might just run through one of  the many fountains that have in Portland.  I see kids doing it all the time!


And by nothing, I mean taking the time to go to my favorite beach (it's a secret beach, so I cannot tell you where it is), and looking out at the waves and making sandcastles on the shore and just thinking and contemplating about what is most important to me.  Probably, I'll figure out what are the most important art project to me.  Maybe, that will be daring to do art that I know no one else will like except me, but I'll know it's what my heart desires the most.  Maybe, it will be daring to break away from art and things that just don't satisfy me even though they gave me some success and worked for a while.  But life is too short to stay tied down and not explore and not have fun.  During this nothing time, I know I'll do some good art and have fun!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

3-D Interactive Origami Animals to Bring Endangered Awareness


I know that you and I both love cute animals.  And I bet you share my distress about endangered species and animals.  So when I came across this interactive 3-D exhibition to help bring awareness about 30 endangered animals, I had to share it with you.   Not only is this an opportunity to learn something new, but it's done in such a way that the animals look like they're paper art or origami.  I believe that's part of why this exhibition is called, "In Pieces".  




As you can see above, I captured some of the animals in screen shots, but they are all moving and they swirl together from separate pieces when they come onto your screen.  I encourage you to take a look at the beautiful designs and to learn more about these cute endangered animals.  It definitely was worthy of my attention and time.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hush, Hush---My Paper Art Is in a Canadian Movie

Every once in a while, I get some pretty fun and interesting proposals for my Artist in LA LA Land paper art and printables.  Sometimes, I'm asked to be a part of an art and craft fair.  Once, I was asked if my printables could be featured and shared in an Australian newspaper.  This time, I was asked if my paper art could be used to dress a Canadian movie set.


The set that they would be used for would be a little girl's room. The little girl liked doing papercrafts, so they wanted to use my paper art for it.  I accepted the offer and they downloaded a bunch of them plus they paid me for limited rights to use them in their movie.  I was excited to share the news with my blog followers, so I asked them if I could do that.  

They said no.  I could not disclose the movie company or the title of the film.  They said my paper art may not even make it into the edited scene.  Oh well.  It was still a fun offer.  Now, I can say that my paper art has been in the movies!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Art Projects: Cut Paper Art for Homemade Notebooks


Did I mention I've been going to a lot of parties?  Some have been birthday parties, others.....well....this one was a Mexican Fiesta themed party.  Guests were asked to bring things for tacos, margaritas and also for the pinata! For the pinata?  I was very excited to bring something fun to put in it.  But what?  I thought about shopping and finding cute little games or art supplies like colored pens or pencils.   


Then I thought better.  I realized I could make something really fun to add to the prizes and candy inside the pinata.  I had a bunch of colored ball point pens that I hadn't been using, so I decided to make little homemade notebooks which had a little holsters for the pens.  I cut paper and stapled and glued them together.  


The black covers were fine, but not fun.....not yet!  I looked at the clock and I only had a couple hours left until the party.  I thought I'd make cute animals and cute characters on the covers.  I would need to cut a few corners if I was to finish them in time.  Fortunately, I found some puffy stickers and googly eyes to help me make some cute monsters and animals much quicker.  


I finished perfectly on time and rushed to the party.  I gave my cute homemade notebooks to my friend, the party's host and he stuffed them into the pinata which was a goofy looking yellow ducky.  When the pinata was knocked to the ground and the prizes spilled out, no one took the chocolates or candy.  Instead they hustled to claim my homemade notebooks. I was surprised.  When I told them that I made them, one girl said, "I like you; you're a maker!"  That was fun to hear.  Needless to say, I had a great time at the party.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Post-It Cut Paper Art: What Sold and What Didn't

I learned a while ago that I sold 7 out of the 9 Post-It cut paper art pieces that I created for the 2015 Giant Robot Post-It art show.  I was happy that most of them sold, but I didn't know which ones until I received the unsold ones in the mail.  


If I had to guess which ones no one liked, I would have said the walrus and the angel fish because I thought they didn't have as much punch and fun power as the other ones.  But I was wrong, wrong, wrong. 


Surprisingly, the shark and the whale were the ones that no one bought.  It's funny because I thought those ones were the best ones.  They were my favorites out of the bunch----which is fine by me that they didn't sell since they are now in my possession again.  

Oh wait!  I gave them away to a friend. Oh well!  Easy come, easy go---or something like that!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Art Projects: Cut Paper Bunny Card

Apparently, I know a lot of Taurus's because I'm having a bunch of birthdays to go to.  Last week, I went to a friend's birthday who was having a roller skating party---how fun is that?!  It really was a ton of fun.  

But I wasn't sure what to do for her.  I thought about picking up a card----because there are so many cute cards out there.  Then I realized that I make cards---super cute ones, if I do say so myself. I paused and asked myself, "What should I make her?"  


She has two kitties and a bunny she calls, "Rascal Rabbit".  How fun is that?!  So I thought she might appreciate a bunny card.  Sketches, and a couple exacto blades later, a bunny finally emerged from all the paper.  Yes,  I cut it out of paper as you can see above.  


I used more of that cool double decorated paper.  The outside was a vintage pattern and the inside was black. I had to write my message to my friend in white pen.  I love how that looks, don't you?   She thought it was really cute and really appreciated it.  I had fun making it and giving it to her.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Art Projects: Paper Cut Kitty Cheese Cake Birthday Card


It takes me time to come up with a clever design and to create a special birthday card for a special friend.  But I got this crazy idea to make a fat cat holding on to a cheesecake.  The card would be the cheesecake and it would flap open up to say my happy birthday wishes.   I didn't know how this art project would turn out, but I decided to go for it.


You see, my friend has a fat kitty named Oreo because she's black on the outside and white on the inside.  I like Oreo's mask like face and thought she'd make a great kitty card.  And the cheesecake is my friend's favorite cake. Put them together and you have this whimsical card. 

I bought some double sided paper at Paper Source (I love this store! Don't you too?!).  One side was black and the other side was very light.  Using my above template, I traced the shapes of the cat on my double sided paper. Next, I cut them out with my craft knife.  And finally, I glued them all together.


My friend thought it was pretty cute and even recognized his kitty Oreo.  He opened the cheesecake and read my happy birthday message.  He likes cute things like me.  I think when you like kitties, you just have to like cute things too.

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