Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Painting the Week with Techniques

This past week I had the opportunity to take a watercolor class at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. While there I learned several different techniques--

Graded wash: Painting a line of color then wetting the brush and dragging that line of paint down.

Rubbing Alcohol: Spraying a little bit of rubbing alcohol on a section of painted paper, causing it to turn white wherever the alcohol touched.

Sponge: Applying paint with a sponge.

 Plastic Wrap: Laying a sheet of plastic wrap over a painting while it is still wet and scrunching the plastic wrap into interesting patterns. You let it dry overnight then peel off the plastic wrap, leaving white lines.

Paper Towel: Dabbing a freshly painted area with a paper towel.

Variegated wash: Several colors of paint swirled together.

Flat wash: A layer of paint applied on the paper evenly.

Layering brush strokes: Painting over a flat wash with different colors and patterns.

Salt: Sprinkling salt on a newly painted section of paper and allowing it to sit there. Once the paint has dried, you brush off the salt and it takes part of the paint with it, making the page have little dots and patterns.

In an effort to both use and remember these techniques, I decided to try one of them in each square of my calendar painting for this week--

Saturday-- variegated wash, Sunday-- sponge, Monday-- paper towel, Tuesday-- salt, Wednesday-- flat wash, Thursday-- graded wash, Friday-- layering brush strokes

Unfortunately I forgot one thing-- to use watercolor paper. Watercolor paper is made with fabric that helps absorb all the water needed to paint with watercolors, whereas the regular paper I used doesn't have any fabric and, therefore, doesn't react well to water. I am hoping to use watercolor paper next week so the techniques work better. Until then here are the two big pieces of art I made at the classes--

Happy watercoloring! ~Megan

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cookie Crumbs, Happy Birds, and Broken Blessings

Youngest Sister helped my mom bake bird cookies on Thursday. She stirred together flour, eggs, birdseed, and a few other ingredients in a big bowl before scooping out little balls to bake in the oven. When they were done, Youngest Sister grabbed two of them and set them beside the bird feeder. Afterwards she bounced around the house singing, "We're going to make the birds happy!"

The next morning she looked out the window and the bird cookies were just as she had left them-- uneaten. Throughout the day she continued to watch for birds to try her cookies, but there was only one that even attempted a peck. They were too timid to eat anything bigger than the usual birdseed. 

My mom noticed this predicament and had an idea. "Why don't you try crumbling the cookies?" she asked Youngest Sister, "Then the birds may have an easier time eating them." Youngest Sister did just that, and since then our backyard has turned into something of a bird sanctuary. Big blackbirds and little, gray sparrows have joined the robins that usually visit. They have snatched up the crumbs of the bird cookies and, as far as I can tell, seemed to enjoy them.  

As I continue with my gratitude list, I see this simple scenario in another instance. I see the Maker baking blessings and, knowing my narrow-mindedness, breaking the blessings. He wants me to be happy and makes me so in little, nourishing ways.

Turning my blessings into bite sized pieces. . .

449. Bird cookies

450. Happy, eating birds

451. Sleep and safety through storms

452. An early morning jog 

453. An encounter with a dog named Gabriel

454. Expanded horizons

455. A visit with good friends and a trip to their Barbie world

456. Middle Sister's dream of putting a donut hole in a donut coming true. Sort of. Unfortunately the donut's hole wasn't as big as the donut hole. Oh, the complications dreams include!

457. An afternoon with a friend who also (very conveniently) has two younger sisters

458. Cousin back safely from a mission trip

459. Hearing about her adventure

460. Home-made pretzels

461. A birthday celebration for my two boy cousins

462. Stories told every year (yes, this one never gets old :)

463. Reece's Pieces and Ande's M&M's

464. Silly faces with Photobooth

465. A dad who refills bird feeders and really is worth celebrating

466. Tea with my aunt and cousin

Happy, broken blessings to you~ Megan

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Painting the Week Through Scattered Showers

Rain and sunshine have been taking turns controlling the weather this week, usually alternating several times each day. This inspired me to do a simple rain drop effect over the bright pictures on my calendar painting--

May you always find sunshine behind clouds~ Megan 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Joyful Gratitude

Yesterday my family and I went to a local nursery. I had my camera with me and started snapping pictures of the lovely flowers. As I took the pictures, I realized something-- taking a picture helps me appreciate what I'm photographing. The brief pause and focus the process requires helps me see things more clearly. 

I'm finding my gratitude list more and more like taking picture. Both practices capture beauty and make me stop to appreciate it. They also supply me with the ever-elusive joy.

Sharing pictures of flowers and counting my blessings. . . 

 427. S'more and firefly catching time

428. Summer sleepovers

429. Deep sleep 

430. Pinterest fun

421. Boxes wrapped up in ribbon

432. Walking by the 20 Items and Under check-out line in Wal-Mart just as a focused lady directed her husband to it saying "Yes, we can go here. We only have 18 items." Made me smile.

433. Spectacular storytelling

434. Thunder and lightning adding special effects

435. Bubbling laughter

436. My dad's quiet encouragement as we jog

437. Spontaneously meeting good friends for frozen yogurt

438. Coincidental remembering

439. Decorated shirts

440. Waking up and remembering my dream. It had something to do with a character I made up (one that I know and have been trying to create a story around) who was meeting the Queen of England in Morocco. I don't know any thing about the Queen of England or Morocco, but I wondered if I should do some research and write a story about it.

441. A clean face

442. Flashlight tag

443. A dear friend teaching me how to line dance

444. Hearing Les Miserables music drift out of a neighbor's house while we were on a walk

445. Family walks

446. Old dresses

447. Supplies from the library

448. Long reading time; pages turning quickly

May your week be full of joy~ Megan

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Painting the Week Again

A few pencil marks 
and brush strokes
To remember the week
   through art. 

                                           May your weekend be full of time to create~ Megan

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Iced Tea Day

Even though our Ingredient magazine says National Iced Tea Day is not until Friday, today felt like an iced tea day to me. Now sipping my drink, I realize it has the splendid effect of balancing off the unusually warm weather we're having. Summer has arrived without warning!

 Linking up with Donna. . .

May your day be refreshing, whatever drink you feel like enjoying~ Megan

Monday, June 6, 2011

Simple Thanks

A week full of blessings, 
                    simply beautiful things, 
                                               that made me smile. . . 

411. Another safe trip to a visitation 

412. Going to a restaurant we've been wanting to try

413. Nails painted ballet pink 

414. Lunch with my mom

415. Two new Lucy shirts

416. Bunny-proofed morning glories

417. Youngest Sister singing "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" before bed

418. A fire pit

419. Melt-in-you-mouth marshmallows 

420. Swimming in the heat and feeling refreshed 

421. A visit with the waterlilies 

422. Youngest Sister tapping around the house in high heels

423. Seeing my cousins who live a few hours away

424. A sleepover with a dear friend

425. A sliver of the moon

426. The feeling of summer 

Simple blessings to you~ Megan

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Painting the Week of Summer

Due to my dad being off of work, no school, and sunny days, this week has felt like summer. Inspired by the cheerful weather, I used bright, happy colors. First, using a white crayon, I drew a sun on the blank sheet of paper. Then I painted a rainbow over the crayon with my watercolors. The crayon resisted the paint and allowed the sun to show through the colors.

Next week we go back routine, but I am very thankful for this break. May you be able to soak up some summer this weekend~ Megan

Wednesday, June 1, 2011