Sunday, June 17, 2018

Updates From the Studio: Book Release!


Hello everyone I have a quick announcement from the studio today. I do freelance illustrations for the indie publishing company Orange Hat Publishing based out of Waukesha Wisconsin, and my latest book "Nutty and the Treasure Map" has just been released! "Nutty and the Treasure Map" written by Jim Bayer, is the tale of a squirrel named Nutty, his friends Smitty and Gary, and their quest for treasure. This is a book is the second adventure in the series the first titled "Gary the Garbage" can was released in 2015.





Nutty and the Treasure Map is available here.


You can also find Gary and the Garbage Can here.

For all other titles please visit my Books Page.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Happy Summer! I Have a Free Coloring Page for YOU!

Hello everyone! We wrapped up our homeschool year last week and are ready for have some fun this summer! To celebrate and say "thank you" to all who have been following my homeschool art lessons I have a free coloring page for you to download. I will keep posting fun projects to do with and without the kids throughout the summer, and will have a homeschool art curriculum to share once the new year begins. 

Just download, print and have fun coloring! Also, don't forget to print one for your kids this is a nice project to do with them at the table while taking a break from schoolwork.  


To download click the link here.



P.S. I just added a new follow button on the right. Don't forget to follow so you can get more coloring pages, project ideas, and art lessons!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Homeschool Art Lesson: Botanical Print Making

We live in rural Wisconsin where the winters are beautiful, as well as long, and cold. It is because of the winters that makes the warmer weather such a treat, and when it is here we like to soak it all in. With the warm weather I like to take our homeschool lessons outside whenever we can. I especially like heading outdoors for our art class which leads me to our homeschool art lesson for the week.

Botanical Print Making


Taking art class outdoors is great for a few reasons first,  nature is abundant with inspiration and supplies, we went to our backyard for supplies to complete this project. Aside from that, working outside also helps strengthen a bond and appreciation for the environment through observation, the fresh air helps the kids sleep better, and clean up is super easy. I feed the kids outside a lot for this reason alone there is less to sweep and the chickens eat the leftovers. 


The supplies needed for this project are easy and inexpensive:
  • Paper: any paper will do even newspaper if that is all you have just something to print on
  • Rollers:  I used paint rollers that are normally used for house painting use what you have
  • Brushes: if you don't have rollers a wide brush can be used instead... or experiment with both
  • Paint: I use craft paint with the kids. The color is vibrant, it is water soluble for clean up and super cheap. I don't like to spend much on their paint because they use it very liberally. The only downside is that it isn't washable so make sure to wear smocks if you use it. 
  • Greenery for printing: this is the fun part, go outside and gather any plant that lays flat and has and interesting shape.
Looking for things to print is a big part of this lesson it is great for plant identification or scavenger hunts. Play with this step, have fun with it, and do what works for your kids. This would be a great time to teach kids about what plants are edible or which ones are dangerous.


After you have your supplies together get printing. Take your greenery and center it on your paper,


Load your roller with paint and paint from bottom to top with firm steady pressure also, be generous with the paint because the roller will soak it all up. Your kids will probably need help with this part because they have a tendency to want to roll like crazy. Rolling in one direction will keep the print looking nicer and keep your wildlife from ripping. 


After you roll one side flip your leaf over and roll it with a clean roller or brayer in the same manner. This will make a mono-print which is a print that can be made only once. It is also a point to teach positive and negative space with both prints next to each other.



Hang them up when you are done and enjoy! A fun way to work with these again is to look at your prints and try to find the plant they came from. These can also be put in a art journal or science binder for plant identification. I like to find ways to merge different subjects and lessons this is a project that can also be made during a lesson on plants.


Have fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Homeschool Art Lesson: Making Paper From Nature

Last week I posted a homeschool art lesson on teaching kids how to use a sketchbook with art making. Using a sketchbook is an important fundamental skill in art making so I teach that lesson multiple times throughout the year. When it comes to teaching art lessons I like to teach the basics as a good foundation, then add some fun projects to introduce new skills. My hope is that my children will remember bits and pieces of these lessons over time,  and will be able to use these techniques in future projects and creating. I don't think they need to grow up to be artists, but I do believe that art lessons will promote creative thinking which is useful in any field. 

In my journey homeschooling my kids I want to help my them develop a strong appreciation for nature, in my attempt to do this I often blend my curriculum with outdoor exploring. Trying to blend art and nature brought me to the lesson I want to share today.



Making Paper From Nature

This lesson requires little store bought supplies which I love because teaching  can get pricey. The only thing I would suggest to buy is a blender from the thrift store... it's not a good idea to use your kitchen blender with art projects... other than that all supplies can be made or found at home. 

Supplies Needed:
  • Blender
  • Dish bin or tub
  • Sponges
  • Towel
  • Deckle from old picture frame (or make your own frame)
  • Screen
  • Newspaper
  • Dried natural materials
  • Warm water
  • drying rack or old window screen (If you don't have this just dry them on a towel)

You will need to make a deckle, which is a frame used for paper making. To make this take an old picture frame remove the glass and tightly staple old window screen to cover the opening. I didn't have a frame to I staple gunned pieced of 1x1 pine together to make an 8x10 frame. I chose 8x10 because I like that size but make whatever size you want. The only requirement is that it fits inside your dish bin.

This lesson can take as much or as little time as you want it to. We did this lesson in two parts hiking and supply finding one day, then paper making a different day.


Step 1: Go on a hike and find your materials this can be done anywhere outside that you can gather natural dried materials. The things we looked for are leaves, bark, dried grasses and flowers. This project will work best with dried materials if you want to use anything green that will require boiling to break down the fibers. 



Step 2: Set up supplies. This can get a bit sloppy so we went outside but it can be done indoors too. My handmade deckle is in the bottom left.


Step 3: Blend up materials. Cut up all materials on 1 inch pieces to keep your blender happy. Add warm water to the blender after your materials are in just enough o make your ingredients float.


Step 4: Pour Mix into the dish pan. Depending on your bin size you may need two pours. 


Step 5: Place your deckle into your bin and make sure your screen is covered with the mix. There should be a layer that is thin and even, but thick enough that there aren't any holes. This project is good for younger kids too as a fun sensory project. I did it with kids ages 3, 6, and 9.


Step 6: Pull your deckle out of your mixture and carefully sponge off any extra water trying not to tear the paper. If it does tear place it back a=in the bin and swish it around to close the gaps. 


Step 7: Carefully and quickly tip the deckle over on your screen (he screen should be on top of a towel), and sponge off any remaining water.



Step 8: Set your paper out to dry on top of the screen. Air should be able to get underneath the screen.

Once your paper is dry it is fun too look for pieces of the materials that were added to it.


We added newspaper to some of our patches which changed the texture and gave us different elements to hunt for once it was dry. We also pressed a feather into a piece and added dandelions and wool from our sheep to see what would happen. This is a fun project to experiment with, some papers will turn out better than others and some materials produce nicer textures, you just need to play with it.







These papers ended up pretty rough so they are not good for writing on. I often use these papers for art journals or collages instead but they can be nice just leaving them as it. You can find more of my art journals with handmade paper on my Instagram

I hope you like today's lesson! 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Homeschool Art Lesson: Sketchbook Drawing

Something that I have learned about homeschooling over the past year is that other moms (me included) love to ask questions and share homeschooling ideas, lessons, and curriculum. One question I have had people ask me is how I teach my homeschool art lessons. Since I am a classically trained artist, as well as someone who has been creating art her entire life, I feel I have something to share in this department. So for those that have asked (and for those who haven't) here is an example of something my kids and I have been doing for art class that I feel any homeschooling mom can do with her kids regardless of art experience.  

I am teaching this lesson kids ages 3,6, and 9 but this can really be useful at any age as long as they can hold a pencil. The reason I began with this lesson is I wanted to start our homeschool art with fundamentals of art techniques, and then I will go on from there for future classes.

When it comes to art making one of the most basic starters is learning how to use a sketchbook. Sketchbooks are important because they teach the artist how to observe the world around them looking for details they may miss if they are not looking. It is also great for record keeping, journaling and planning... I will share examples on using sketchbooks for those purposes in future posts.


To begin, there is really no wrong thing to draw when you are using a sketchbook. A sketchbook is for sketching not for final drafts, and knowing that helps relieve some of the pressure of making art that "looks good". When I teach this lesson I have my kids go outside and draw anything they see that interests them. When the weather is bad we do this same project inside... it really can be done anywhere. My goal isn't to guide them too much on subject matter because I want them to find it on their own. This may be uncomfortable for kids at first because it is new, but in my experience it becomes easier over time, and the kids love finding things to draw. Whether you as a homeschool parent know how to drawn or not you can still have your kids look for interesting things in and outside of your home and draw it themselves. here are examples of work my children have completed.


 This is from my 3 year old. I think its our chicken coop. The subject is not as important to me as the experience of looking for interesting things to record in their sketchbook is.


My baby helping me take photos of another chicken coop drawing.


This one was drawn by my 6 year old in his bedroom. He and I just drew what we saw from where we were sitting.


This lesson is great because it can, and in my opinion should, be done over multiple art lessons as a way to make using a sketchbook part of the artistic process, and it is very low cost. I use simple 5x7 wire bound plain sketchbooks for the kids that were very inexpensive. Here is a link to one that I bought and like. This one was nice for me because it came in a 3 pack and I have 3 kids but it does come in smaller quantities. Other than a sketchbook the only other supply needed is a pencil.

So this is an inexpensive way to get your kids looking for details in the world around them, it will help teach planning, record keeping, and note taking that can be used in future lessons It will also help improve their overall drawing abilities naturally over time. I go out with the kids a few times a month and they always enjoy it. We live in the county but the same principles can be applies no matter where you live or where you draw. 

I have more examples of my children's work and mine on my Instagram page linked here.

I hope you liked today's post thanks for reading and happy drawing!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Update From the Homestead in Pictures

Although I use this blog primarily for showing my artwork and what is happening in the studio I know a lot of people are curious about what takes place on our homestead. So, for that reason here some updates from our little homestead in pictures.


Our Icelandic have birth to twins earlier this spring. We still have one pregnant and expect her to deliver soon.


They grow super fast and have been bouncing all of the pasture.






The kids made friends with a neighboring farm cat and she stops by to play once and a while,


I have been working on larger pieces inspired by the homestead little by little. This one is now available in my Etsy shop

Not too much to show this time but the season is still young I will have more to share by August.




Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Studio Now Comes to You: Crooked Feather Classes

Over the years I have had a lot of people ask me if I have plans to start teaching classes or if I will start hosting wine and paint nights. I have always loved the idea of doing both, since I homeschool the kids I'm sure it's not surprising that I like teaching, and since I am a mom of 4 I'm sure it's no surprise that I love wine. What a great way for me to put these things together right? I have finally come up with a few lessons and began my journey into art teaching. 

Recently I taught my first adult canvas painting class at Splash Martini Bar in Oconomowoc Wisconsin. It was a fantastic experience and I can't wait for my next class.  Here are a few pictures to show my set up, design, and the final products of my students. Although everyone was given the same instruction it is amazing how different the paintings turn out.








Prior to my canvas class I taught some fantastic women how to distress and paint on wood.



I also taught a group of 7 girls how to paint a unicorn. For this class I had the design all drawn out on the canvas and taught the girls simple blending and outlining techniques.

I am still coming up with different designs and will post them as I have them however, I am booking classes and anyone interested in hosting their own class can contact me. 

These group classes are great for:

  • ladies night
  • team building
  • bachelorette parties
  • kids parties
  • birthday
  • homeschool art lessons
  • paint and wine night
  • paint and tea afternoon
  • bible groups
  • any other reason to get together with a group and so something productive

Here are some of the details for booking your own class:

  • I come to you and provide all art supplies including but not limited to paints, prepared canvas or wood, brushes and/or any other tools needed, tablecloths, and easels
  • I do not provide food or wine
  • I take care of all set up and clean up
  • All canvas designs are drawn on the canvas ahead of time for all kids classes and most adult canvas classes
  • Kids canvas size is 11x14
  • Adult canvas size is 12x16
  • Distressed wood size vary
  • Adult canvas classes cost $30 per person
  • Children classes cost $25 per child with no charge for the host child (limit 1)
  • Distressed wood classes prices vary
  • Classes take about 2 hours of painting time plus time for set up and clean up
  • After date and design are agreed upon you will get a link for payment online
  • All classes must be paid in full prior to class date unless otherwise discussed
  • No class limit
Thanks!