Thursday, July 31, 2014

Too Many Goals.

Here comes August 2014 and I am resolved to continue blogging as I work through my projects and goals list. Along the way I will continue to share little things I am trying out with my iPad.
The watercolours below are from photos I snapped with my iPad camera. The second step, by using Waterlogue App, the images have been magically converted to watercolours. I find this rather addictive but it is so much fun to see what will happen to my photos.

I have also decided not to apply to Art Starts for the fall art with kids programs. I took a good hard look at what I have on my list of goals and I realize I want to take my own work seriously for the fall months. I spent two days putting together an application and then, at the last moment before the deadline, I decided not to hit send. I felt so good afterward. I know it was the right thing to do.
So, this week I am working with my finished manuscript and developing characters and backgrounds for the book I have been working on with my dear cousin John, an elderly gentleman who lives in Ireland. I/we hope one day to find a publisher for our collaboration. Maybe we actually WILL find a publisher. Now that is positive thinking! In the meantime I am beginning to think this just might develop into something wonderful and fun. Back I go into the 1930's.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Stuff

Another great book to study if one would like to learn wisdom about creativity is Twyla Tharpe's book, The Creative Habit, Learn it and Use it for Life. A friend suggested it a few years ago and I found it so helpful at that time in my life. So after doing a Google search for books on creativity and seeing it listed at the top, I booked it out of the library. For two weeks now, each morning after breakfast, I have been treating the book as if it is a course, taking notes and doing the exercises. Now it is overdue but I am determined to get through the entire book in the next two days and it will be worth the fine.
I had a little time to fool around with my iPad trying to create a decent selfie head shot to update my blog. I tried adjusting some head shots using Adobe PhotoShop Express APP and I find it rather satisfying to use the dream feature which smooths out my face and makes me sort of shiny looking. Better than the real me.
I emailed the image to my computer and with Adobe Photoshop Elements, I superimposed my face over a clip from the UNICEF card I designed for the Hallmark contest last year. The top of my head is flat and maybe I will fix it next week. But for now this is  a start of adding new information to my blog.




Friday, July 04, 2014

July Thoughts

I had the company of my beautiful grandson the other day. He asked me if I always talked out loud to myself. That made me laugh because he was right. I talk to myself all the time. LOL!
My dog has not mentioned it, but she is a great listener.
It seems to me my total focus was with the projects with students since January. Now I am trying to get back into productivity for my own stuff and I am finding it hard to get into the routine again.
Looking for inspiration, I checked out a few books on creativity. I have found that reading about how others create has always been a sort of back-up plan to inspire me when my energy gets low. After reading over a book by Austin Kleon, 'Show Your Work' I thought maybe blogging the process of getting things done might force me to post more often so I can start moving in the direction of trying to organize and get things rolling again.
My new goals are
1. To apply to Vancouver Art Starts because I would love to continue working with kids this fall.
2. To create three sample illustrations to go with a 1500 words manuscript submission I have been working on.
3. To create a layout and plan for a little picture book idea I have. The 500 word manuscript is done. Now the art part.
4. To revise a story I wrote a few years ago for middle grades. It is 10,000 words at the moment.
5. To do something with a 450 word picture book idea.

So I really do have a lot of projects in the works. I just need to FINISH them and MAIL them out.
And I am going to document the process here on the blog. Can I do this? Do you think?




Friday, June 06, 2014

Good Things Must End

The last day of my adventure with the class at Moberly Elementary School was a week ago. I took a chocolate cake and a carrot cake and we had a party. The kids were thrilled about the cake. I hope their moms didn't mind too much.
It's a good thing we ended it at that point because the teachers and the government have been having a huge disagreement and schools have been in and out of session according to picket lines here and there across the lower mainland.
One of the nicest things that happened this week is the post on the Biennale website about our project. I had no idea they would say such nice things about me for heaven's sake. But it sure feels good to think that it all worked out in the end.
If there is anyone out there interested you can check out the Vancouver Biennale assessment of our project here. The Biennale post includes, in the text about half way down,  a little booklet in pdf  form that I put together for the conclusion of the last part of our project.Great kids. All of them. I will miss them.




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our Biennale Project

It seems like it's been a long road getting to the end of a project with a class of wonderful kids. We have been on a field trip to Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver. We looked at the sculpture Minotaur and Hare and then we visited the maze.
We also walked around the grounds to see the beauty of spring blossoms and in between trees we saw more sculptures. The children took photos all along the way.
Back in class we discussed feelings and other responses to the Minotaur sculpture and we thought about what kind of characters we might invent. We examined graphic novels to see different styles of illustration, we found information about comic book artists, and we looked at picture books. We looked at stories and we focused on building written profiles for our own characters. We had the support of the school librarian Gwen Ingham, who provided more books and resources. Some students discovered how much fun it is to read books like Captain Underpants and other chapter books.
We discovered that pastels were the best way for our class to create from the heart and mind and hand. We now understand that by using only pencils on small paper, we might become self conscious and worried about making mistakes and we might come to a stop because we have been trying to be perfect. We have had questions about animation and how a character can be made to move by looking at books by different animators.

We created some really neat animal characters for comics and we had ideas for stories in our heads and we were almost ready to use the iPads to make our comics.
But then we changed direction.  The comic book idea was left on the shelf and we moved into pastel portraits of our new stories and new characters instead.

And this week is our wrap up week. So we are going to have cupcakes and take a look back at what we have accomplished.

I would like to say thank you to the Vancouver Biennale for making this creative process journey possible for Mr. Vanwynsberghe's class, Division #6 at Moberly Elementary.

Mary Jane

Friday, May 09, 2014

Experimenting with iMovie and the iPad

This week I had some time to noodle around with the iPad. Yesterday I tried using iMovie for the first time and just for fun I made a couple of little promos for the students and their work. The promo videos are made from iMovie's cool templates. All you have to do is to fill in texts and photos and after a few trial runs you have a little one minute promo video for a project. I hope the kids like this. I posted my video to vimeo and hopefully you can watch one from here . The watercolour like images are created with Waterlogue app from photos taken with the iPad camera.
This is a very digitized version of the class. I can't get detailed faces because of the usual rules. We are working on a project associated with the Vancouver Biennale Program.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Last Weekend


These images are created with my iPad camera plus Waterlogue App plus Type Drawing App. From a family gathering last Sunday. Easter.





Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Watercolor and Waterlogue

Cherry blossoms are out in Vancouver this week and they have turned grey muddy days into magical pinks with yellow daffodils in full bloom too. Spring. At last.
I wandered all over the neighbourhood yesterday and I took about 200 photos and with my ipad turned them into watercolours using my new APP Waterlogue which converts a photo into a watercolour painting like this. Very cool! And there is a lot of room for adjustment of colour and style.
 But now I wonder if this is such a good thing. It certainly is fast? It might make a great base for finer paintings. I am not sure. What do you think?
In any case it was great fun. I almost want to get out my real watercolours to see if I could pull off one of these babies.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kindergarten Art


I am a little over the top happy with the way the Percolator APP on my iPad manipulates simple drawings by darling K's. They are magical.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring in Vancouver


I got these photos with my little camera while walking around my neighbourhood on Sunday. Spring is finally here while the rest of the country is still enveloped in cold temperatures and snow and ice. I thought this might cheer up a reader or two who are still looking at snow.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Percolating Kindergarten Art



The children I have been working with made some sweet drawings as backgrounds for their imaginary finger puppet plays. On a whim and with my iPad, I thought I'd see what Percolator app would do with their art. I think it is quite an amazing treat to see the results. Now what to do with all the beautiful images?

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Funky Finger Puppets

This was one of those light bulb ideas that wakes you in the night. At least that's what happened to me the other evening when I asleep after days of pondering about what we could do with the wonderful big sheet pastels the children made a week ago. I suddenly had this idea! If I reduce the photos I took of each drawing and then if I reduce them down to finger puppet size, the children would have their characters transformed into finger puppets. So I gave it a try since I have CorelDraw as a way to create this.
There were twenty cats and I managed to get eight on each sheet. Once I was satisfied with how the looked and how they worked when cut out and positioned on my fingers, I took them to a local printer and had a bunch run off.
I raced to the school for the afternoon with the class with the puppets printed on sheets of light weight card stock. But before the cutting out part, I talked to the kids about finger puppet shows and I asked them what kind of stories they might make for their puppets and what kinds of backgrounds they could make for their little imagined plays. I used crayons to make a short demonstration for them (since they always want me to draw for them and it seems to inspire them to want to draw their own stuff! ). And then the teacher and I encouraged them to think of what their scenes might be. They had lots of ideas and soon they were at their tables drawing a variety of adorable scenes on large sheets of paper.
Once completed, they received their sheets of puppets and they cut them out. They love their puppets and I think their teacher was pleased with the afternoon's project.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Up To Elbows

At the request of the teacher, we made pastel drawings of Splat The cat, a popular character with the kindergarten crowd. The first thing I did was to draw a big Splat with my pastels, because as an illustrator, I know that children love to watch an artist draw or paint. I keep it simple always. First, I showed them how to draw simple shapes and then I showed them how to blend with fingers. I showed them how dirty my fingers get. Once I finished the demo they couldn't wait to give it a try.
As expected, it was messy and the children were up to their elbows in black but the joy in the room could almost be measured by the sound of  laughter and happy conversations between the kids as their characters developed on their sheets of paper. We could have followed a more controlled template plan but I am so glad we let them loose to draw their own interpretations.
Each drawing seems to be enhanced by the small finger print smudges. I am in awe of their creativity.  I am hoping the parents don't complain about children arriving home with faces covered in soot looking as if they worked in a coal mine.



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Paint and Brushes

I took a few photos and played with Adobe Photoshop Elements trying for a comic book style to document a few images for the blog. The children seem to get so much satisfaction when the paint is out and the brushes are sweeping across big sheets of paper.



Monday, February 17, 2014

Funky Faces


I have been playing with a new APP for kids but I think a lot of adults who want to find that kid inside again might enjoy playing with it. These have my old lady face but it takes off twenty pounds and gives me back a neck. Laughing out loud here. My grandson loves Toca Boca APPS for young children and this one is really fun for anyone.
Here's me. Should I use one as an Avitar?
I suppose it takes off a lot of years and I look sort of like the kid I once was. I suppose you can call me a narcissist, but it was so much fun to play with it when I needed a break from a writing assignment yesterday.
If you have an iPad with camera version you can Google Toca Boca APPS and find Toca Hair Salon Me. It is an advanced version of the original Toca Hair Salon. I think it costs about four dollars. Worth every penny if you want a time waster with endless creativity. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day



Wishing everyone out there a Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you get lots of love and as much chocolate as allowed.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Art Project at Maple Grove

Here are a few photos of the January / February project with Maple Grove Ks and Ones. After it was finished, the teachers sent me photos of a display of the project placed in the main hall of the school right beside the office. I hope the children are feeling proud of
their work. The school's PAC group sponsored this Artist in Residence opportunity and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with two dedicated teachers and their classes.