Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Liquitex Paint Markers

Who says kids have all the fun at Christmas time? I was gifted some Liquitex Paint Markers and along with my Montana ones, I was set to have some fun! For those who aren't aware, these markers are acrylic based so they go swell with any type of acrylic or mixed media type of artwork. Most can be refilled as well and Montana carries the empty ones so we can mix our own colors as well, which is even more golden. 

I first chose to test out my markers in my mixed media art journal and worked o a page using Golden heavy body acrylics with my Liquitex markers. I LOVED the way they gave me control over the details, had great opaque coverage, and flowed smoothly. They didn't blend as well as I had hoped but they did offer the ability to cover in layers which turned out to be a nice way to use them. Because I have chisel tips, writing was easy and I could see they would lend themselves to lots of journaling, which is something we all love. To view all of the entries in this journal click HERE

Once I knew they would work well in my journal I wanted to see how they performed on watercolor paper. I opted for 300lb. rough, and right from the get go they were a bit sluggish. My graphite and crayons went down first, but the flow that I found on the slick paper just wasn't there on the rough surface and the paper seemed to soak the paint up too quickly at first. Once I had an initial layer of acrylic on the paper though, they performed quite well and were a joy to work with in adding details out the gazooba! 

This was the first test using the 300lb. watercolor paper. I just sketched, made marks, and played with color. You can see the texture pretty well, and the paint seemed to just not move well in this. I opted to turn the painting upside down and take it in a different direction this morning. 

First layers using Golden Heavy Body Acrylics

Next layers, adding details with the markers. 

"Practice Time" 9" by12" acrylic on paper

Final version, added some warm glazes and balanced out the details. Overall, the control the markers gave me are something my style works well with, that makes my day! 

There are applications I plan to tinker with using the markers, but for now, I am pleased as punch with how they work. I hope your Christmas and holiday was blessed friends. Looking forward to some huge changes in the new year as well! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Trumpet Angels

When I was a child a couple of my aunts had trumpet angels above the doorways and I was always taken by them. They made me smile as I walked through the doorway knowing an angel was above me. I also love that trumpet angels share the good news of Christ's birth. After many years I decided I would paint a few and have so enjoyed the process of walking down memory lane with these. 

 (This one is x-large)

My trumpet angels are painted on tar paper, sealed, and mounted on 3/4" oak and birch panels. They can be painted with custom colors as well. 

 (This one is x-large)

Unmounted (frameable) - $75
Small is 6" by 12" - $85
Med is 6" by 18"-20" - $100
Large - 6" by 21"-24" - $120
X-Large 8" by 28"-30" $140
Shipping is $8 unless you are local, then we can meet for a pick up. 

Orders are taken up until December 16 (

Monday, October 14, 2013

21 Secrets 2014 Presale!

Over the past few years one of the most important habits that I have in helping me become a better artist, person, and teacher is to keep an art journal. I have many types of them, sketchbooks, journals about cats, watercolor journals, altered books, even a journal called "Fractured" that I share with no one. The process of sketching/creating daily, writing my thoughts, ideas, prayers, and intentions on my pages, and embracing the practice of letting the paint flow without expectations has been a HUGE force in my growth as an artist. 

As I started my first journals, checked out books about how to make them, and tinkered with different ideas I longed to have a connection with other artists sharing the same love I had. Through the networks of Facebook and Google+, and from my IRL classes, I began to meet and get to know other journalers, students, teachers, and creative beings sharing their lives through their pages, and the experience has been life changing. 

A few months ago one of those artists who I have adored and followed, Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studios, contacted me about being one of the 21 teachers in her HUGE 21 Secrets Online Workshop. Although I was ready to jump at the chance, I took a deep breath, spent some time praying about it, and then felt an overwhelming peace that this was my path and the timing was perfect. With glee I accepted and have been on pins and needles waiting for the big launch today. 

I am guessing, especially if you have never taken an online workshop, you are thinking, what does this online class entail and who would it benefit? If you answer yes to any of the questions below, this experience would be a meaningful one for your personal art journey: 

1. Are you interested in learning new techniques to use in an art journal or incorporate into your personal painting style? 
2. Are you interested in exploring ways to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the practice of writing, mark making, and painting? 
3. Are you interested in taking risks, trying new techniques, and stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to working through concepts and ideas in your art journals? 
4. Are you interested in learning about new tools and practice methods to build your own artistic skill sets? 
5. Are you interested in connecting with a community of like minded artists at all levels in a private, safe environment? 
6. Are you limited in your own community in having art classes and events to engage with other artists? 
7. Are you interested in learning from 21 different teachers who each share a different point of view, way of practice, and passion for helping others reach their potential through the journey of art journaling? 
8. Are you looking to learn specific art techniques to help you improve your overall artistic skills? 
9. Are you crunched for time and can't attend an in person workshop due to time/job needs?
10. Are you interested in finding your own, personal artistic passion and breaking through the negative, internal self talk that holds you back? 
If any of these questions are YES for you, then this type of workshop will be incredible! 

On the other hand, if you are looking to view the artistic process of others and copy their style then I would say, this is not for you. 

Now, I know it is October and this workshop doesn't start until April 2014, so what's the deal? Today we PRE-LAUNCH, which means you can get it at a really, really discounted rate if you are one of the first 500 members. Here is the breakdown of the pre-sale discounted prices: 

$59 for buyers 1-50 
$69 for buyers 51-150
$79 for buyers 151 - 300 
$89 for buyers 301- 500 

After 500 members, the cost goes up to $98 so getting in early is the best idea ever! 

April 1, 2014 the workshop kicks off and this year each member will be able to download the entire course in a PDF/Ebook format to follow and revisit, which is an amazing opportunity. You can read all about the specific details of 21 workshops, see the (awesome) teacher bios, and sign up HERE, and the courses and teachers are some of the most interesting I have seen offered, which thrills me! 

(Each instructor has an affiliate link and when you sign up we get credit, which is how we get paid. Please use my affiliate link in blue above to sign up, THANKS!)

Ardith Goodwin

DeAnne Olguin Williamson

Jes Belkov Gordon

Lisa Sonora Beam

Natasha White

Petrea Hansen Adamidis

If you have any questions about 21 Secrets or the workshop I will be teaching, message me at or through my social networks. Leading up until April, Connie will be showcasing each instructor and their classes, and I will share that information as well. The countdown begins and I have never been so eager for April to arrive! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


For the past month one of my dear friends, Terri Keller and I, have been swapping canvases back and forth in preparation for Art(ology)'s Collaborart Show for Artwalk October 11th. We each started the canvases with random marks, collage, or paint and added our own influence with each swap. This was WAY harder than I thought because I was worried, "Am I covering up too much of her work?" The entire process was a great learning experience because it made me really evaluate how I go about deciding what is important enough to keep in a painting and what is worth letting go of. 

Here are the process images for each piece! They are now on display at the gallery and will be part of the show Friday evening. 

First Round of Ardith's Marks

Second Round of Terri's Marks

Final Version of Ardith's Piece

First Round of Terri's Marks

Second Round of Ardith's Marks/Collage

Final Round of Terri's Piece

Up Close Detail

Our pieces are hanging next to the collage Phyllis Henson and Lynn Weeks created, amazing work all around! Hope you will come out and join us Friday evening!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Simple Tip - Use Your Non-Dominant Hand

As I teach young ones each day I pay close attention to the process they use to create art, especially the intuitive process. Because my grades span from 3-6, I pick up on the distinct difference of a young child creating from pure imagination to the older child wanting to get it right and asking, "Does this look good?" In a very short time span kids seem to really lose the ability to create with reckless abandon and by the time the child has grown and become an adult, many of us lock ourselves into the notion of "I can't draw, I can't make that, I can't, I can't, I can't..." 

Giving ourselves permission to create without any expectations whatsoever, to simply play with our marks, our color, our lines, is VITAL for the artist. If only the child in our adult bodies was given permission. My
#simpletip  of the day is to create something with your non dominant hand! Let go of expectations and play with your paints. Get back in touch with that part of you who's artistic voice was at one time.... POWERFUL! By using your non-dominant hand it forces you to give up control and simply let the line, pattern, and mark evolve. If you are really feeling your inner child, use your fingers too, :) 

These abstracts were made by my 3rd graders in our study of Kandinsky. They amaze me with the power of their artistic voice and I so pray that I will help them hold on to it for as long as possible. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Daily Practice of Setting a Timer and Sketching

Simple Tips Post! 

I can't tell you how many times I have heard the phrase,"But I want mine to look like that," when I teach adults. I totally get it, we want our work to look like we have accomplished something, look like a finished painting, look like it should in own own minds. The biggest problem with that way of thinking is that many years of practice and study, not necessarily formal study, have gone into those inspirational paintings and that 'leg work' must be done to create at a level that 'looks like that.' 

With that said, there are tons of strategies new artists can use to help build confidence in their own mark making, their own designs, and their own artistic voice. 

(Ardith turns and grabs her bag of 'MUST DO THIS' items)

Kids are instinctive mark makers, especially younger kids. They lack the sinister voice in their head saying 'they are doing it wrong,' and they simply create with reckless abandon. I am lucky enough to see this process every day because I teach little ones, and I so wish I could bottle that ability and share it with my adult students. One of the best ways, and I call this one of my MUSTs, is to set a timer EVERY DAY and draw something. 

If one wants to master drawing faces, sketch faces, weird faces, pretty faces, long and short faces. Just sketch faces. Set the timer for 10 minutes tops and go! If one wants to master the palette knife then just use a palette knife. Work on gessoed paper, in small sizes or one large size over several days, but work consistently, 10 minutes tops and stop. If one wants to master color theory then play with colors. Set the timer, choose a palette, and mix and play for 10 min. then stop. Does that mean you can't paint the rest of the day....of course not. 

What this does, if one commits to it every day, is build up "leg work practice" which every practicing artist must have. Matisse and Picasso did study after study of the same image before committing to a final piece, the leg work had to be done. Every artist must come to terms with that and it is especially hard for new artists who really want to be successful from the get go. 

Here is an image that I sketched in today's 10 minute practice session. I wanted to simply draw a character, but I had no pre-planned idea of what I would draw. I used Portfolio oil pastels and opaque paint for the background, a watercolor pencil for the lines, and I just played. Timer went off and I stopped. The result left me with a unique character that I could use in an illustration, in my art journal, or not at all. 

I went on to sketch him two more times, just noticing his outline, and his personality resonates with me. Over the course of the next few weeks I will share with you his evolution as I use this character in lots of other pieces, just to show you how important those 10 minute sessions can be. 

Giving yourself the time to evolve as an artist is so important and overcoming the voices or desire in one's head to 'paint like that' is a concept that new and evolving artists must come to terms with. If one puts the leg work in every day, their own artistic voice and style will begin to develop much more quickly which is really the path we all want to be on. It is great to have the ability to "paint like that" but what I love so much more is seeing an artist find their own style and painting like their heart is moving the brush....not the voices in their heads, :)  

*I want to give a shout out to my dear friend Gayle who is one of the many artists who daily strives to move forward in her new journey. She paints every day, gets frustrated, has 'aha' moments, and embodies the spirit of one who has chosen a path of creativity and is beginning the process. BRAVO TO YOU! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Oyster Trail and Marine Life Lesson

Holy Cow it is going to be an amazing week in the art studio! Not only is it our Homecoming Week, but my 4th Graders have wrapped up their Marine Calendar paintings and I have had the great pleasure of teaching the kids about the Mobile Bar Pilots and their contribution to our Port City, as they are the sponsor of our oyster! As part of The Oyster Trail, I was asked to paint one of the oysters that will become part of the permanent trail downtown. My students are getting to experience the process of painting within a theme and learning all about Oysters and the bay! 

(The Alabama Schooner which will be part of the painted oyster!) 

I decided to let the students write their name in water soluble graphite or add a few brushstrokes to the base coats so that they could participate in the creation of the piece. When it is revealed, it will be part of the Oyster Trail which is a scavenger type activity in downtown Mobile, Alabama, revealing all of the oysters to date. 

This comes on the heals of my 4th graders working so hard to research sea life that lives in the Gulf as part of their entries into the Marine Calendar Contest. I love that the lessons link up and the students are all reaping the benefits of celebrating the variety that our coastal town has to offer. 
Each student completed an initial sketch, a base painting, and then worked on adding stippling and/or crayon and pencil to increase their depth and details. I have been wowed by what they accomplished in such a short time! 

 Looking forward to sharing more sneak peeks with you on how our oyster evolves! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tree Spirit Art Journal Page

29 Faces Day 19 

Sometimes I come across an older art journal page that I started but failed to finish, or an image that calls out to be worked into my journal and this page was one of those that called. My hubs is building a cottage in the woods made of recycled materials and is a total tree hugger, literally, it pains him to cut a tree. It has given me pause in our many years to connect with him in that way and understand the link he has with living things. He sees them, he respects them, he honors them as equals, and I do believe he loves them. 

It is inspiring to watch a soul walk this earth with a connection to nature that is so deep, so instinctive. I chose to consider all of that as this page evolved, the roots we all share with every living thing, and the beauty of life itself. If I could reach out to the younger generation I would share with them how fragile and spectacular life is, every living thing, every essence of life. 

From a technique point of view, I used fluid acrylics, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, and red and black ink. The timer was set as well, meditate, listen, consider the inspiration and then let the paint flow. #grateful 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Love My Art Classroom!

I just need a moment to swoon folks! My classroom has been a work in progress since August and I finally have it flowing and set up where we are able to totally enjoy it. When we walk in we smile, when we make messes we grin and clean it up, and when we make fabulous artwork we cheer and lift one another up. Makes for a totally blessed day, blessed way of life, and I am deeply grateful to the big guy upstairs for the gift. 

My 6th Graders have been learning to isolate contour lines and then visually transfer the image without tracing. This is one of the best ways to teach students to draw quickly with great confidence so that when they tackle actual sketching and three dimensional drawing their brains already have markers in place. They are doing a great job! 

My 3rd Graders are finishing up their geometric robots and organic monsters on tar paper. They are turning out to be a total hoot! 

Hope you all have a blessed day friends!