Nature in The Round 2020

As the months go by and seasons slide from one to the next, nature cycles through an array of delights. I chose items that I saw each month to create a bit of nature in the round.

  • Slides of each painting

Each element had to be something that caught my attention. In January I started out thinking I would collect pieces and create the arrangement on the ground, take a photo and then paint. Life got in the way and I only had time to look and paint. Sometimes I looked at reference photos on my phone.

The first designs were made with Copic markers. I love to blend with them. These designs were all done on 11 x 14 Bristol board which absorbs more than marker paper or photo paper. When the markers started to dry out I couldn’t find refills online. I suspect the pandemic had something to do with that. So I continued with colored pencils, ink, and watercolor.

I included the following natural material:

Januarytwigs, frozen berries and pinecones
Februaryfrozen berries and branches with a cardinal
Marchforsythia, daffodils and hyacinths
Apriltulips, phlox and dandelion
Mayirises, poppies and hydrangea
Junepeonies and petunias
Julylavender, echinacea, snap dragons, beebalm and lily
Augustcatalpa leaves, Queen Ann’s lace and chicory
Septembersunflower, ironweed, thistle, and unidentified wild flowers
Octoberacorns, locust leaves, oak leaves and maple leaves
Novemberdried grasses, leaves and bittersweet
Decemberholly and birch berries

I’m glad I kept going with this project each month. In a year when so much went wrong, it was a constant reminder that there is still a beautiful world around us.

I have a different plan for a monthly series in 2021. Stay tuned!

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a very merry and healthy Christmas. It may look a little different this year, but the message is still the same. We still celebrate the coming of Christ into our world with light and joy! Remember His love even in the darkest of times.

Creative Kits for Homeless Kids

A sample for the Christmas tree kit

It’s officially the off-season for plein air painting and I have been bouncing between some minor creative projects. I’m going to share the one I’ve spent the most time on lately.

Columbus has several shelters for people who are homeless and one of them takes in families with children. I can’t even imagine how scary and confusing it must be for those kids. They don’t understand the adult situations that left them without a place to call home.

In a conversation with their volunteer coordinator I found out that the children’s group activities were curtailed by the virus and they needed little projects that the kids could take back to their family’s room and do individually. I told her I’d see what I could come up with.

Angel kit sample

So I was off to the dollar store that afternoon. I selected some basic supplies that could be packaged in zip-lock bags and easily turned into a fun activity. I found packs with a dozen die-cut felt Christmas trees and others with die-cut foam angels. My blank canvases! Then I loaded up on bling. Shiny pipe cleaners, sequins, etc. Dollar Tree happened to have more craft supplies than usual and the deals were much better than the craft stores.

My mom contributed more bling from her stash of craft supplies and I had some flat wooden ornament shapes left from an earlier project. Each kit needed a sample picture and instructions. Once I had those ready I set up an assembly line on my table and bagged the kits.

Ornament kit

The directions provide a literacy element but there’s room for creativity. The main goal is provide a little enjoyment and distraction for kids who are in a very tough spot.

I also did some kits with cans of clay and some with USA puzzles. I’m planning some winter crafts for January and some that can be used at any time of the year. I hope they bring a little cheer to some kiddos who need it right now.

This is the perfect volunteer job for me. It combines my teaching skills and artsy/craftsy bent with a bit of technology. It doesn’t seem like work. With other creative activities limited due to COVID, this will fill a gap for me and provide a bright spot in a child’s stay at the shelter.