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Heartfull Art

Heart prints by my Little Geniuses aged 5-7 years

Nothing fills my heart faster and more completely that making art with kids.  Little kids who are in the moment, acting out their pure joy with complete un-selfconsciousness abandon. Here is what we did today in preparation for Valentines for their families. 

Charlie's Wild Heart

Charlie's Wild Heart

Sophie's Full Heart

Sophie's Full Heart

Baby, It's Cold Outside! Well...sort of...

Baby, it's cold outside.

I have frost on my windshield and my butt is so cold in the seat of my car that it goes numb until the seat heater fires up. Okay, it's not like being on Kilimanjaro at 19,000 ft.  That's another story of cold that I'm trying to forget.

Out in the dog parks of America and abroad, it's the fashion parade of cold weather gear for dogs.  This guy actually had little booties too.  I'm going with bare paws. The clown/party hat is my addition to his ensemble. 

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Mother Daughter Art Time

A good way to start a new year, don't you think?

 

 

Making art for me can be a very solitary experience.  Hours pass...me alone in my messy studio...which is how I like it. I also enjoy being around other art makers and experiencing their process. Yes, there is lots of mess and maybe a little chaos. I find that refreshing and energizing. THEREFORE...I teach or at least facilitate these super fun "art camps".  And every time I get to witness each artist's personal journey facing doubt, fear and apprehension (or not) and finding her way to a happy artful ending. 

But I'm not an ARTIST, you say?

When an adult or young adult says that to me, I always ask, "What happened?"  There is almost always a story. Something negative was said or done (I hate to say it, but usually by an "old fashioned" art teacher). Some trauma that resulted in the decision that it is safer to say "I'm not good at art. I can't draw a straight line. I'm not an ARTIST." Sad I say because we are all born artists. If you don't believe me come into my classroom with 5 and 6 years olds.  Art making is a native talent that gets killed off through the process of growing up and becoming adults.  If you hang around with me or with kids you get to try being a native artist again. Picasso actually said that he spent most of his time trying to get back to his 5 year old self again. Dude, I totally get it. 

Gorgeous women artists with their creations. 

To Commission or Not To Commission?? that is the Question.

Greta for Laurie

Greta for Laurie

I love painting the dogs and cats that I meet (and try to meet). Commissions is another animal. And not what I ever intended to do.  

It's a little bit more intense and a touch less fun. Why? Expectation. Making images for the sake of doing it is the most nourishing to me. When other people's expectations come into play, a little of the joy floats away and is replaced by dread.  That's when I have to sit myself down and have "the talk."  

Joy for Susan

Joy for Susan

Here is how the talk goes.  "C'mon Karen. Don't worry. Lose the fear. They'll love it."  Uh huh.  "And if they don't love it, so what? Do another one."  Yah, ok.  And that is how I end up doing 3,4,5 images of the same dog for every commission.  To lose the fear and enjoy the work.  But what is the fear really about I wonder.  I think it's about looking good and pleasing other people. Sad, huh? But so human.  Sometimes (a lot of times) I wish I were a dog.  woof. 

Arting Around at the Holidays without Fear

When I feel a little blue, I know what to do. I throw a Holiday Art Camp in my house and invite KIDS!  The place is small, extremely messy and not set up to have groups, but OH WELL....we did it. And now I have a little bit of my holiday happiness back. And so do they I hear.  

All girls, all day, making art without worry.  Fear makes your art ugly I say. Lose the fear and go forward. It will all be OKAY.  And if it not, you learn something. I know it's true about art. I hope it's true on a larger scale too.  

Happy New Year everyone.  Let's do what we can to make it a good one. 

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Have a Fearless 2017.

Since Tuesday November 8,

 I've been in a negative space

 along with a lot of people here in my Northern California bubble.  In fact, the following afternoon I taught my after school art class with 20 kids between the ages of 4 and 7 all about negative space (of course never mentioning the "T" word.) So what is negative space in the visual world? Not an easy concept to understand for kids and some adults, it's the space AROUND something. The space that is NOT that thing.

We started with the first letter of their first names.  Here is what they did:

1. Each child artist drew her letter with small white soap onto black paper.  That letter is the "Positive Space."

2. She identified the spaces around the letter. Those spaces are the "Negative Space."

3. Using oil pastels, each artist filled the negative spaces with color and pattern, whatever she wanted to do, as long as the negative space was completely filled. 

4. The final step was to quickly wash the soap off the art work revealing the letter, the positive space.

Voila!  

So what is so important about seeing the space between things? The negative space? 

Seeing the space between letters, the space between front teeth, the space between people is a skill we all need to practice.

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Five years old is the perfect time to start...

because we're all connected. 

I felt so much better after spending my afternoon with 20 five and six year old artists who see the negative space as a possibility for color and pattern and complete joy.  I love these guys.  Thanks kids

I met a great dog today

I met a great dog in front of Peet's Coffee in Oakland. I think he's a regular. His name is Mitty which his owners shortened from Mittens when they adopted him from the Milo Foundation. Good move. Mittens is not a cool name for a party animal. 

Mitty's friend is a neighborhood regular who I call Fanny even though I haven't yet made her actual acquaintance. Most cats give me a lot of space since I am usually accompanied by the devastatingly handsome and bilingual Javier Jorge Juan de Valencia, my Jack Russell terrier who has a very high prey drive.