Cyanotype Art. “Pot”

Wow! its a super rare art post.


I continue to work on making my own handmade negatives  on transparencies to use in cyanotype printing.

This morning’s work “Pot”

Here is the transparency. I’ve been tracing pictures and then working on shading mostly but this one is completely free drawn.


I had three 5X7 pieces of watercolor paper left and decided to test different exposures at 5, 6, and 7 minutes.


Then I decided to add color/contour to the 5 and 7 and seven minute exposures using ink pencil, sharpe, and copic marker.

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Last week I made three different designs and a process video:


My fav. from last week is this one:




Working with Stop Motion Studio Pro (apple app)

Morning! It’s my 100th post! Woohoo!

I’d have some sort of give-a-way but I haven’t the slightest on what ya’ll would like. Maybe I’ll have a better idea when I get to 1K followers.

So instead you get an app recommend.

This past weekend I added a stop motion app to the I-pad called “Stop Motion Studio Pro”  for 4.99USD.

Click here to get to the app’s I-tunes page.

We’ve been making ultra short stop motion movies this week, and have plans to keep going with it to make longer creative shorts and for educational projects.

This is little bee’s animation:

Here is Pete’s:


-The basics (taking shots, playing it back, sharing it) are easy to learn.

My son with major language impairment learned how to use it in less than a minute.

-It orders and animates the pictures for you (no need for photoshop or complex video editing suites)

-It has a green screen option, but we haven’t tried it yet.

-Sound and sound effects can be recorded or imported.


-Beyond the basics  (further editing) takes awhile to figure out and the “help” section isn’t all that helpful.

We needed to delete sound at one point and it took awhile to find out how to do that.

Taking it Further

Yesterday the children watched a video (free prime streaming) about making figures for clay animation and want to give that a try next.

I also have ideas for using as an option for the children in demonstrating learning.

Here a teacher explains how she uses it with her high school students.

Rain, Christmas movies, and big canvas dreaming

The weather outside is frightful, but my dears, it isn’t delightful.

It is not exactly the winter wonderland you see on Christmas cards, nor the chestnuts by a roasting fire scenes from carols.

I’m half tempted to write a Christmas carol including lyrics like “tires on wet streets noise,”  “drops  patter on the roof”, “icy chill and darkness.”

The rain has been going for days now.

Of course its not  Christmas yet.

It’s the build up, which to me is just what Christmas is all about.

People are shopping, trying to outdo each other in presents and decorations, and partaking in large quantities of baked treats .

Except here.  I try to avoid all that.

Now you may think reading this I’m some sort of scrooge.


We have Christmas traditions and the children are very excited and dreaming of presents as they do every year.

This year I have planned

– making homemade ornaments

– going to see the huge lights display the local hospital puts on every year

-making goodies to eat at a pre-Christmas/ Tree trimming party on solstice night

-a nice morning opening presents with my children before their father arrives to pick them up

-me seeing a movie and appreciating that I don’t need to cook or bake or be social at all if I don’t want to

This is the most difficult time of year for me for depression and anxiety. That isn’t unique, many feel the same way. It is the time of year I want to push away.

I also have this intense itch to paint on big canvases. I’ll do that to get it out of my system until my mind flies back around to a different obsession.

Fighting the desire to art has only left me with unfinished drafts, neglected writing projects, and an unsettled feeling.

Internal me races in thought, interest, and intensity.  Flying associations and the need to create and a constant shifting define my inner life. I find that humoring inner me and going with it works out best because then I have peace of mind to take care of things that must be done on the outside of my mind which stay fairly constant.

Homeschooling continues on, we have just a few weeks till we take our month of break. I’m reading new things, and plan some more reviews very soon.








Create NOW, no bliss required.


Wow. That phrase IRRITATES me.

Often  it is used to encourage people to do what they love to make an income. Being able to do for a living what brings one “bliss” is often (not always) a thing of the privileged. Resources not available to most of the  world’s  population are often a necessity to get to that point.  We can’t all walk off to wander the globe or commune with the orangutans just because its what we want to do.

Circle of No

In other cases, finding one’s bliss isn’t always a moral or healthy pursuit.  Meth making chemists do well I hear and take pride in a product that creates lifelong addiction.

I’m not against the idea that we should strive toward our goals. I hope to someday support us with my “art” without need for assistance.

Yet, the philosophy seems to forget the “now” and our immediate circumstances.  

Now and then  I re-watch Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech “Make Good Art.” He talks about the need to keep making art, everyday,

Make good art.

I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

Make it on the good days too.

For the non artist it should be phrased,


It is available to you whether or not you are blissful.

I live in a house that is 70+ years old.  Something is always breaking. When I bought it, it was with the belief that it has been refurbished.



I’m not sure what the seller’s definition of refurbished was, but when a house needs asbestos removal, plumbing, electrical wiring, and roofing work, the word “refurbished” doesn’t apply.

One contractor I hired to help fix the mess would tell me stories about her remodeling projects. One day after looking at my artwork,  she said to me, “You are so creative, I wish I was, but I just don’t have it.”

Thinking on it later, I wondered why she couldn’t see the creativity in her work.

One feature of the human brain that separates us from other animals is that we are able to take previous knowledge and remix, improve, and expand upon it.

We problem solve.

We create culture.

Everyone has creativity, no bliss required.


How do you use your creativity?






A Masterpiece Mystery – Practicing observation

I mentioned this book series when discussing art appreciation.

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The book is out for the kids to look at on their own, but a more interactive way we use them is to sit together and yell out as fast as we can all the differences. We have a few books so it hasn’t gotten old as yet.

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Can you spot all ten differences? Sometimes the kids with ask for a “clue.”   I’ll hint, “Something is different about the ground, can you see it?”

This has become a good “joint attention” activity for Patrick (and Tessa), encouraging back and forth communication.

A level up from that for older children  is to use a table or (for more complicated play) a room. Players get to look at items on the table for a certain amount of time.  Have players leave the room, change something (or a few things) by adding, removing, or just moving items, and invite them back. See if they can tell what has been changed.  Give clues if necessary.




If I knew a Picasso -would he art with shikabob sticks?

I should have known my attempt to develop portrait skills would get weird.

I can never seem to keep with a plan.

The plan to practice realistic portrait this summer because I suck at it and feel intimidated by faces, became rather fauvist rather fast.

I’m not wringing my hands over it… I stil think I’m doing well, errr, a little better.

basic idea down with oil pastel with acrylic over the top blotted with scrunched up coffee filter for that mottled look, details scratched in with a shishkabob stick.



oh well. The point was to try to feel less intimidated in trying, because faces are so very…complicated. That has gotten better.

Picasso wasnt too into realistic eitherself-portrait-1907

Picasso self portrait 1907

Today We’re Gonna Print it Like its 1842

Over the weekend I picked up this kit.  solar-print-kit-big

“Solar printing” is really nothing more than making cyanotype prints.

Cyanotype printing was invented in 1842 by a dude by the name of Sir John Herschel. He used it to make copies or “blueprints” of his work.

The first person to use it to make prints other than blue prints was botanist Anna Atkins.


She placed the plants she wanted to document straight onto the paper. This is called contact printing.


Atkins is believed to be the first to publish a book of prints, and quite possibly, the first woman photographer.

Today we gave it a go.

Step 1 – Arranging the print

This is a shady spot under a picnic pavilion.


Peter seemed to really enjoy this, we WILL do it again.

Step 2 -Exposure to direct sun


waiting for the paper to turn white

Step 3 – Rinsing in cold water




Everyone wanted to help with the cold water bath.

Step 4 –  Drying

I wish I’d brought a line and clothespins- this table is dirty.DSCN9998


Overall it was a success. Next time though, I’ll skip the kit and buy the chemicals which are very affordable. That way we can use better paper and get something heavier like glass or plexiglass to weigh the print down during processing.  This should improve our print quality.

Next time we might try drawings on transparent paper and see how that goes.