Optical Echoes, Entry 19

Do you remember this spring when I mentioned a new collaboration of which I'm taking part? I have added my most recent contribution, entry number 19, inspired from a drawing by Katherine Wheeler. I started with a flat pattern and soon abandoned that for gesture. I wanted to include the blue and repetitive marks, garnered from Katherine's piece, as well as triangular shapes. The piece became quite layered as I worked on it, and I did a bit of subtractive work, lifting pigment from the paper then painting back over it to create depth.

It's interesting to me to see what each artist gathers from the previous entry to inspire their response. You can follow along as the project progresses at opticalechoesproject.tumblr.com

Participants include: @katherinearts @tielsk @cathymcmurray @lariwashburn @mazeandvale

Summer film

During our Santa Fe trip last month I finished a roll of film that sadly, had been in my camera since last summer. These summer shots are of our garden, about town, a nearby sunflower field, and an afternoon trail walk. I have loaded a new roll of film and hopefully it won't take me a year to shoot it.

Art For All Seasons by Susan Schwake

Today I'm happy to be a stop on Susan Schwake's blog tour sharing about her fourth and latest book, Art For All Seasons. Susan is an art book writing wonder. Perhaps it comes from her many years of experience as an artist, instructor, and arts advocate. Her writing style is accessible, the projects are creative and easily adaptable to include materials that you might have around, and fun for all ages of children, and adults. There are projects in this book that I want to make! Plus, the images are great too, the intro spreads make you want to get out art supplies and make something. And the photos of the project steps are clear, colorful, and explanatory. Credit for the photography and design in Art For All Seasons goes to Rainer Schwake. 

As you may know, I teach with preschool aged children (ages 3, 4, and 5) in an arts-based preschool at the Lawrence Arts Center, so for this stop on the blog tour, I thought it would be fun to do one of Susan's projects with the children. We made May Baskets!

Art For All Seasons by Susan Schwake.

Art For All Seasons by Susan Schwake.

Making May Baskets with instruction from Susan's book. 

Making may baskets is a fun activity that can be done with a variety of available materials and at any time of year. It is always fun to make a cone shape with paper, and gather treats or flowers to share with someone. In her book, Susan clearly shows how to simply make a cone and handle from a piece of paper. I like her idea of using watercolor and oil pastels on white cut card stock and if we had more time in our classroom we would tried that. We adapted by using markers, stickers, and gluing cut shapes of watercolor painted paper the children had made throughout the year. (With a classroom of twenty children and multiple activities going on, in an hour or so of work time, you adapt!) Once the basket was made, we filled it a bit shredded paper, a couple candies, and the children selected a flower or two. Even with simplified materials, the children had a lot of fun making them and as always, were quite creative. This project is great for all ages.

Project spread for making May Baskets from Susan Schwake's book Art For All Seasons.

Project spread for making May Baskets from Susan Schwake's book Art For All Seasons.


I have known Susan for a number of years, and am grateful to the ways she has represented my work in her gallery, Artstream, and for her invitations to include my work in a couple of her books, including this one. Below is a project for Drawing Nature with an image of one of my watercolor paintings. Many of my pieces, even the ones that are more "abstract" in appearance, draw some bit of inspiration from either observation or nature. This project would be engaging for older kids, as they become interested in drawing what they see.

A spread of the Drawing Nature project in Susan Schwake's book Art For All Seasons, with my work as "inspiration".

A spread of the Drawing Nature project in Susan Schwake's book Art For All Seasons, with my work as "inspiration".

Thank you for stopping by on this blog tour and I hope you'll check Art For All Seasons. I can truly recommend any and all of Susan's books. They inspire children and adults, and provide ideas for ways to make art with the children in your life. Thank you, Susan for sharing your expertise with us!

Peonies, catalpa, roses, and honeysuckle

Short on words lately, tall on neighborhood walks and taking pictures.