Athens Sketches and a giveaway

Head over to my Instagram for another original art postcard giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found there. I am in Athens Greece with my paint kit always by my side! I've been sketching my way though this city and my family has been super tolerant of me slowing them down or disappearing for periods of time as a result. An artist must create, especially in a place like this.  


For the many teachers in our lives. Happy Holiday gifts.

Each child has multiple teachers. How can I make a meaningful gift for so many when time and money is limited? Of course gift cards to our favorite local bakery and handmade watercolor art cards. Boston we are going to miss you so much. 


Thank you Altoid (watercolor) Lovers!

Wow! There has been quite a response to my DIY Altoid Watercolor Kit Tutorial last week. I hope it inspired people to make their own travel kits and then get outside and make some art. I hope to do more posts of this nature on a semi- regular basis so stay tuned. Any ideas? For now I wanted to be sure to thank all the people that responded to my first illustrated tutorial and welcome them to my blog. Also, after being disappointed in how the spray paint pallet wore I replaced it with a white waterproof sticker. I would love to see kits that have been made either inspired by mine or on their own. I am constantly tweaking my travel supplies as my needs change and love getting ideas from others.


Tiny DIY Altoid Watercolor Travel Tin

Make one of these and you can carry a little bit of color wherever you go.  It's super tiny and if you fill it with high pigment paints those tiny dots of paint can go a long way in a sketchbook (or two). Below the illustration is detailed instructions on how to make your own. My gift to you. 

Altoid Watercolor Travel Kit:

  • Altoid SMALLS tin (sugarfree) is the right size and shape with NO EMBOSSING on the lid!
  • Press Sculpty of other polymer clay in the base of clean tin about 1/4-1/3 of an inch high.
  • Mints pressed into Scultpy form reservoirs. I can comfortably get 12 with the tiny square mints. 
  • Bake according to clay instructions or around 270F for 15 minutes.
  • Wash out mints under warm running water. Dry.
  • Spray glaze on hardened Sculpty paint pans. Let Dry.
  • Tape to cover the sides of the lid and any other area that you do not want paint on. If you skip this step the lid will not close properly and scrap the spray paint and possibly get stuck. 
  • White spray paint the lid. You want a few even coats followed by a glaze to make this surface smooth and durable.
  • Dry completely.
  • Fill reservoirs with the paints of your choice. I highly recommend artist grade paints if you can afford them.
  • Leave to dry a minimum of overnight longer is better.
  • Voila! When you use up the paint just refill it.

Arty Gifts!

One of little girl's Montessori teachers is an artist and a sketcher and she told me at end of year picnic that she is trying to form a sketching habit and showed me her Moleskine. I recommended the Visual Journals for affordable quality mixed-media paper that can stand up to paint and ink. Then I surprised her by giving her my tiny Altoid watercolor travel kit (the one with the bikes was a bonus since I know she's into biking). She didn't want to take it but I wanted to give her a gift that she would love and I knew I had another waiting for me drying at home. Another mother suggested that I start selling them and maybe I will put a couple in my shop, but mostly I want to start making them as gifts for art loving friends. Here's to a great Friday and a great weekend! Surprise somebody with a small gift if you get the chance and feel inclined. 

Tiny travel paint kits make great gifts.

Tiny travel paint kits make great gifts.

Give it away! ATCs and a generous spirit.

When I started making Artist Trading Cards or ATC again and carrying a stack of them around with me and simply giving them to people it was a little bit scary. Giving away my artwork to strangers and near strangers is not something that I am supposed to do. I started out giving them to friends but now I have moved on to people that fall in my social circles. So I am not coming up to strangers on the street and handing them cards just yet. I don't have enough confidence or handmade cards for that. But these cards are teaching me a lot not only when I make them but when I give them to others. I am learning how to talk to people about my art and I am really enjoying making people smile. I think I will keep this habit up for awhile. 

How do you feel about artists giving away their art? Normally I am not a fan but I think for me 2.5"x3" ATC are the perfect size to keep in my bag and give out freely. I get more from making them than I ever could from selling them and I truly enjoy giving them away when I am done with them. I don't like taking pages out of my sketchbook so tiny individual cards are the perfect option for me to give out. 


Working small : Artist Trading Cards

Also known as ATC or ACEOs (art cards editions and originals) when sold. I have been making and collecting these little treasures for years now. I have most of my collection that I traded for back in my Etsy prime framed together and hanging in my studio. It is fun having all those different artists playing together in a single space. Always around to inspire me or just make me happy. Making them myself has also gotten me through many a creative block and helped me try out new ideas in a relatively quick and easy way. When I am printing from a large block I usually find spaces to put a couple of black cards down and voila instant art background. For years I never drew on them and thinking back I must have had some reason for keeping them pure prints but now I can't see a reason why I should stick with that idea of purity. Pen, paint and who know what is next when it comes to these little works of art. No rules. Pick one up on Etsy or maybe if you are in the Boston area and run into me I might just give you one. But not this one. 

It may be little but I love it.

It may be little but I love it.

Busy Days

Busy days are sometimes just filled up with stuff that needs to get done but isn't all that rewarding. Sometimes, like today they are filled with joyful time spent meeting with my child's Kindergarten teacher and volunteering at her school. One of the local colleges came and put on a play in the cafeteria for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students and I got to help them set up and help supervise the children and watch their delight. It was a lot of fun and very rewarding but it also kept me from my usual routine and that can be hard for me. Sometimes after it is all done and I don't have time to go home and work so I just end up having a lunch date by myself and a book. And that feels pretty special right now.


Haystack was Wonderful

A week ago yesterday I was driving up to Maine with a stranger. What we had in common was a desire to be creative and knowing that Haystack School of Craft in Deer Isle Maine was a great place to let that creativity loose. And after four days there it certainly was just that for all of us lucky enough to be there. I focused mostly on learning how to build a loom and weave a tapestry, hiking and photography while others focused on jewelry making, forging with Iron, ceramics and printmaking. There is something really special about that remote location and having access to so much nature and studio space and not having to worry about feeding yourself or others. As the mother of two young ones not having to cook for a few days was a much appreciated vacation. The bell strikes at eight, twelve and six and wonderful food magically appears. Everybody pulls themselves away from their work just long enough to go eat and socialize before getting back to work. We were all there to work. The weather was too warm and gorgeous to not get plenty of hiking in while I was there. Whenever I felt the need to clear my head and be inspired I would go for a walk in the woods or by the ocean. Wonderful. Already planning a trip back next year.  

violin on the beach

violin on the beach