Friday, January 31, 2014


Catching up on the blog reading that got neglected over the holidays, I came across the work of Tara Andris, an artist in Kansas City. The majority of her work is made up of cloud studies painted on canvases that she has primed with gold or silver leaf. My favorite part of these is forgetting that they're images of clouds and just enjoying their textural beauty. Here are a few of my favorites- I hope you enjoy them!

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In My Classroom

There are loads of blogs out there dedicated to the job of art teaching. As an art teacher I absolutely love these blogs and am constantly getting new ideas from them. Recently I came across a tooth fairy project. A lot of my kindergarten students are currently losing teeth so I wanted to do a project that touched on this age-specific topic. 

First I asked the students to raise their hands IF they've lost a tooth. Then I asked the students to raise their hands IF they have a wiggly tooth right now. Then I asked them to raise their hands if they have never lost a tooth and don't even have a wiggly tooth. This got the kids excited. I then read the book Dear Tooth Fairy (above). It was a smash hit. This whole introduction took 15 minutes in all and then we got started on our project. 

This is my tooth fairy that I put up on the board. I drew it first in pencil, then traced over my pencil lines in thick black Sharpie. Next I colored in the fairy and drew the stars in oil pastel. Finally I painted the background in watercolor. The kids loved my fairy and I then demonstrated to them how to draw both a girl fairy and a boy fairy. I told them to use their imaginations and that mine was simply my interpretation of the tooth fairy. 

Here are some of the results. Adorable, right!? Some boys did girl fairies, some did boys. But all in all, even the boys loved the project, which I was a little nervous about. This project was definitely a hit and I'm going to keep it in the slam-dunk art project pile.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Art Board Books

Graham has acquired a lot of thoughtful presents over the year. If you asked him what his favorites might be, he’d probably cite the soggy corner of that sweet tasting Amazon box or the Styrofoam packing blocks that made such a satisfying squeak against his teeth. But some of MY favorite things that he’s received are books. And he’s collected quite a few great ones. While sifting through the big pile he’d recently flung off the shelf, I noticed that he owns several art-themed board books that, while perhaps are not the best written of the bunch, contain amazing works of art I am so happy his curious eyes and growing brain are already being exposed to.

Whether you have a child of your own or are searching for a gift for someone else’s kid, these books are sure to please adult reader and baby listener/looker alike:

Counting with Wayne Thiebaud is one that I have already given to a few new moms, and was so excited to find under the Christmas tree from our friends Nick & Janie. It’s chock full of pretty pastel paintings of food (one of my favorite subjects as a kid) and is written in a lovely lilting rhyme.

So Many Stars is more free-form, as it’s really more about stringing Andy Warhol’s simple illustrations together than following any sort of narrative. But it’s pretty cool that many of the images have never been published before. This one was a birthday present from his Mimi. 

Magritte’s Imagination is page after page of the Surrealists’ paintings paired with fanciful possibilities that will spark a reader's budding wonderment. Our friends Victor and Andrea sent this one from Brooklyn with love

Charley Harper 123s features 10 of my favorite illustrator’s graphic drawings of animals, fish, and bugs. (With a couple of vague, redundant “creatures crawling” on page 5 and then different “creatures frolicking” on page 9---but all is forgiven knowing that the book was put together after the artist’s death and that they were just working with what already existed.)  It is one of Graham's most-read/chewed on.  

Matisse Dance for Joy is a book of the artist’s bright collages set to a song of disjointed sentences calling the reader to action. It's nice! I just kind of wish it rhymed.

Something else I like to do is write the name of whomever gave the book to us inside. Then every time Graham chooses a book from his little library, he is reminded of the someone who picked it out just for him. 

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Beauty of Sports

Ali vs Cleveland Williams
For some time now I have collected digital copies of sports photographs and saved them in a folder on my work computer.  I never really had a plan for the images and didn't use them for desktop wallpaper or a screensaver. I didn't Pin them or post them onto other social media sites.  I just wanted to keep them because they were stunning and I never wanted to forget they existed.  Now that I post on S&A and the Olympics and the Superbowl are fast approaching, I thought I may as well share some of them.

Very recently I noticed many of the shots I saved were boxing photographs.  There are endless images from all of sports that are breath-taking, but there is something about boxing that stands above the rest, in my mind.  Capturing action, in any form, can be beautiful and sporting events give photographers the chance to be close to the action with little to no obstacles.  You can see several different sports in the photographs below, but boxing always takes the cake. There are a few reason why, I think, this sport always offers the most beautiful images.  First, boxing is vicious and a physical battle between two opponents that closely resembles the natural battles between animals in the wild. Second, unlike most sports, boxing is confined to a very small area and photographers are able to be extremely close to the action.  This not only helps with close ups but you can shoot with a wide angle and still keep the action close. Third, because the fighters are on a raised platform, photographers need to shoot from a low angle looking upward. This makes for some amazing angles.

Excuse the length of this post but I wanted to show images from as many sports as I could.  I tried to have images that were both beautiful and important sports moments since this type of photography is both artistic and photo journalistic.

Could be one of my favorites and don't know who it is

No helmets. Crowd is great.

Lots of Jordan shots that are absolutely stunning.

Dr. J
As if it were rehearsed. 
Lighting is awesome

The Classic

A battle


Saddest yet greatest baseball speech



Monday, January 27, 2014

Artwork of the Week: Flowers for Susie

Flowers for Susie by Lulie Wallace
acrylic on birch wood panel, 16 x 20"

It was warm enough to pull on sweatshirts and go for a walk outside yesterday. It felt like spring was on the edge of the breeze as we bounded up and down the hills in our neighborhood. I even saw a few little shoots peeking out of a flower bed or two. Obviously these expectations will all come back to bite me when the temperature drops down below freezing again in a couple of days. It is still January after all. I get so sad seeing those premature pops of bright green on the ground knowing that those early buds will soon catch cold, some of their lives stamped out before they even had the chance to stretch and grow.

Let's shake off that morbid thought, shall we? This painting is an early shot of springtime in the face of the gloom that February probably still has in store for us. Lulie Wallace is a painter based in Charleston, SC who also produces some pretty textiles and lunch boxes. You can see more of her work on her website:

- Cathleen 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Southwest Envy?

I'm almost always 100% convinced that being an East Coaster is the best. I love the Atlantic Ocean, I love having cities packed up and down the coast, and I love, Love, LOVE seasons. I'm firmly entrenched on this side of the country and I feel good about that.

Cleo and Clementine- photo by Christine
Cleo and Clementine shop- image by Christine

 But every once in a while, my conviction gets a little shaken. I have several friends (and friends of friends) that live in Phoenix, Arizona and through them I get glimpses of what the other side is like. They go swimming on Christmas, they have peach trees in their backyards, and their city is packed with amazing places and fun things to do.

Mint Deco Inspired Geometric Hand Pleated Sweetheart Floor Length Tulle Wedding Gown

Sleeved Geometric Cutout Floor Length Maxi Dress- OMG!

The latest lure for me is a shop called Cleo and Clementine. It is a bespoke dress shop by Monique Sandoval that specializes in gowns and wedding dresses that have officially blown my mind. Ms. Sandoval's designs have a classic feel but still KILL it in the modern and edgy department.

Deep V Neck Floor Length A Line Tiered Tulle Wedding Dress

And she uses tulle like crazy. And SEQUINS! Ahhh, it's my best life ever in dress form(s). Does it seem ridiculous that I rethink my commitment to a region of the country based on a dress shop in another region of the country? Maybe. Am I concerned about my apparent fickleness? Not really. Is Cleo now in the running as a future child name? Possibly. Do I need to incorporate some tulle into my wardrobe immediately? DEFINITELY.

Have a sparkly, gauzy, floaty weekend, Friends! I know I will be.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Viking Beer Mug

Viking Mug

I have always wanted to learn more about wood working  It is one of those skills that is acquired by owning the proper tools as well as trial and error.  I have made a few things in the past, but I really want to try more, and this project seems perfect for beginners.  The only tools required are a hatchet and knife (I would use some other power tools to assist me at times).
Here is the link to the full instruction, but I will also post a few images so you can see a summary of the process.

Start with a solid, knotless log with a diameter that measures the same as your hand (top of wrist to tips of fingers).

The trick is to "hollow" out the log by means of splitting.  You split into 8 sections and then trim each of those wedges down from the inside, all while keeping the outer shape of the log the same.

Wedges reassembled and tied.

Find branch for handle.

Trace out shape of mug and cut a piece of wood to fit snugly inside for the base.

As you can see in the image, you need to cut notches into the wood so the straps or rope fit tightly and creates a tighter seal.
In the online instructions, he seals the cracks with a resin called propolis, but also points out that you can soak it after assembly which then will expand the wood and seal itself after drying.  That is what I plan to do.
When I make my own, I will post the results on S&A....hopefully it won't be one of those Pinterest fails.
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