Thursday, April 24, 2014

creating with a kid

Becoming a mom has been one of the most inspiring and profound things to happen to me as an artist. And the older Lucy gets, the more fun it is to share all kinds of creative experiences with her. While I am not an expert I have been creating with this kid since she was born and over time and lots of trial error, I continue to discover new ways to foster her creativity. Once in a while I like to share some of my favorite tips and insights about creating with a kid and with mothers day right around the corner I thought it would be appropriate to share some more of my favorite tips for creating with a kid!

As I have mentioned in the past it is important for both my husband and I to include Lucy in as many creative projects as possible. At 2.5 years old this kid has witnessed me making art every day since she was born. And while it makes no difference to us if Lucy grows up to be an artist, we do want her to be a creative thinker. We feel that including her in our daily art-making process is one the best ways we can teach her to do this! 

Making time to be creative is so important for anyone at any age. Even even though I make art for a living, we have a busy life and still have to find ways to structure time for creating with a kid. The way that works best for our family is incorporating Lucy into the projects that we already have to tackle. If I am heading to the studio, I take her along. If my husband is working on a drawing project, he sets her up with her own drawing project.  Over time she has become very accustomed to participating in creative tasks and loves making art along side of us. 
I am not gonna lie, I struggle at times with patience when I am creating with Lucy. Letting a toddler be expressive and go wild with paint and art supplies is INTENSE and can be really frustrating and messy. But the practice of letting go and giving her creative freedom while enforcing some boundaries, is slowly making me a more patient person and a better mom. I know she won't be a toddler forever and some day (maybe) she won't try to paint the couch or draw on the cabinets or spray me in the face with water. Until that day comes I will continue to try and be as patient as possible!

While it would be really easy to show Lucy exactly how to pick colors or mix paint or draw a flower, I believe one of the most important gifts I can give her is the freedom to think and create independentlyYes, there are times when I have to fight the urge to correct or make something for her but I always try to limit showing Lucy the "right ways" to create. As an artist, I know all too well that there is only one time in your life that you are truly independent and free from expectations and rules in creativity and that is when you are kid.

While it is easy and pretty standard to hand your kid a box of crayons and a piece of paper, I say mix it up and try letting them create with different materials and supplies. We will draw and paint on anything- from cardboard boxes to noodles to rocks and sticks to old furniture to paper of all sizes. The result is that Lucy gets crazy inspired and excited about trying something new like painting inside of a shoe box or drawing on a leaf and spends a lot more time exploring new materials.

This is a little easier for me because I am a messy artist and when I am creating I need to get swept up in the moment and let the mess happen. With that said, there is no mess like the mess that a toddler makes- but embracing the process and giving your child permission to explore materials and get messy is a wonderful way to foster and encourage creativity. I use drop cloths and old sheets to cover anything and everything that could get messy.

Collaboration with a toddler is much easier said than done (hello patience) but working with Lucy on the same surface has been a process that has helped both of us learn from each other. I like to keep a couple of large canvases around that we always work on together. The paintings in the photos above are pieces that she and I have been slowly working on together for the last year. We layer, draw, scribble and paint over things. She knows when we show up at the studio that these paintings belong to both of us and always grabs my hand and leads me over to paint together.

In our family it is important for us to have a lot of supplies on hand. I keep paper, crayons, paint and pens in just about every room of the house (and in plain site) because I know at any given moment one of us will may have the urge to create. When the moment strikes you gotta take advantage- I want Lucy to know that if she has the desire to create she can grab her things and get going! You can read about my favorite supplies for kids HERE

The most important advice I can give is to have fun creating with your kids. Making time to share the joy that comes with the creative process is one of the best gifts you can give to a child!

This post is collaboration with the Creative Council by UGG Australia
Photos by Alisa Burke and Andy Gunthardt
My shoes: Cayha Woven  Lucy's Shoes: Aubry Metallic

P.S. I am SUPER excited to share that I have designed some exclusive Mother's Day greeting cards for UGG Australia stores! The cards will be an accoutrement to any in-store purchase over $100 from May 1st- May 11th. Head on over HERE for more information!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

another collaboration

Once in a while my husband Andy and I like to collaborate on a project together (see here and here). And as many of you know, we are creative opposites. He has a serious gift for drawing realism and portraits. I am an expressive and colorful artist who loves pattern and making a mess. Somehow our creative strengths work really well together and when we collaborate on a project all of our differences fall away and we make magic! Here is a peek into our latest work:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

baked and glazed doughnuts

I am obsessed with doughnuts and few years ago I shared a yummy baked doughnut recipe. Since then I have been experimenting and playing around with different doughnut recipes and I think I've got one that I'm happy with. I tried it out over Easter weekend to my delight the doughnuts were a hit!

While I love anything fried, I really like using a doughnut pan because baked doughnuts are a little bit  healthier than fried (and they make me feel less guilty about splurging on toppings).

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a doughnut pan.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.
Whisk the wet ingredients together and pour into the dry.
Stir until combined.
Fill doughnut cups with batter.

Bake for 10 min or until the edges are lightly browned.

I decided to have a little fun creating a few different glazes:

plain glaze:
1/4 cup of milk
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

orange glaze:
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons orange juice

strawberry glaze:
handful of strawberries- pureed
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups of powdered sugar

Combine the glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Whisk until the glaze is smooth.

chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon milk
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Monday, April 21, 2014

watercolor blooms

My latest online class Sketch Into Spring is well underway and while I can't give away everything away from the class I thought it would be fun to share a little peek into one of my favorite lessons on watercolor blooms-

Watercolor blooms result when pigment spreads on a wet surface, creating a bleed effect or "bloom". While many traditional and technical watercolor painters don't like the "bloom" effect, I LOVE it! In fact I use this technique most often when I am creating loose, abstract and messy watercolor backgrounds that I sketch over the top of. The technique is super easy and really fun for artists of all ages.
Start by wetting down the surface of your paper with water. 

Next, dip your brush into pigment.

Drop the pigment onto the wet surface and watch that color BLOOM!

Add different colors and have fun letting everything run and bleed into each other.

Take it a step further and use rubbing alcohol to make those blooms change. Simply dip your brush (or any tool) in the alcohol and drop it into the wet pigment. Alcohol repels water and will push the pigment away creating circular shapes.
The result is very loose and expressive way to apply color to your surface!

Sketch Into Spring is a "mini class" online class, it is structured in 30 small but inspiring posts. The concept is that that you have one simple idea, prompt, inspiration or technique to work throughout each day for 30 days. All of my online classes have unlimited access which means you can register at any time!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

the backyard project

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we have been hard at work for the last couple on months on a backyard project. Now that we have been in our home for almost two years we are starting to make time to tackle bigger projects. The project that has been topping our list is turning our backyard into a place for all of us to play! We have lots more work but we are happy that stage one is complete! Here is a little peek-

We live on a lot around the corner from the beach and our yard is WET because we back up against acres of wetlands. And while these wetlands are beautiful, they also provide some tricky obstacles for landscaping. The ground is wet and very full of clay and our yard also slopes into the wetlands so we had to figure out what would work best with these challenges. The plan we came up with was to split up the space into different sections- a grassy play area and then a fenced in garden.

The project started with clearing TONS of berry bushes, beach grass and small trees. This was a HUGE job that Andy tackled all by himself!

When everything was cleared, it was time to level things out. It was at this stage that we discovered the back of our lot was MUCH MORE wet than expected which meant we had to rethink a couple of our plans but it was only a minor set back.
Once the ground was leveled (as much as possible) and the soil turned, it was time to start the garden. Last year we built raised bed planters  for our front yard and now that the backyard is clear (and the dirt way too full of clay for planting vegis) we moved our planters to the back yard.

Last, Andy built a picket fence around the garden. We still have some decoration to add to the fence posts, a pathway to the garden and LOTS of planting in and around the garden but we are so thrilled with the results and even more thrilled that our back yard project is moving along. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

bird nest eggs

My favorite projects always include materials that I can collect from the yard and transform into something new. With Easter right around the corner I couldn't resist creating some cute eggs topped with a bird nest and eggs. The best part...I simply had to walk a couple steps the front door for my supplies!

I gathered up a handful of dried flower stems, a little bit of moss and some pea gravel

Using hot glue I built a bird nest on top of my eggs. I always use eggs that have the yolk blown out.

Last, I painted my rocks blue and added them to nest.

Looking for more egg decorating inspiration? 
Have a look at all the tutorials I've shared over the years!


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