Today marks nine months that I've been home. There is so much that I miss. But I am thankful to live with family that I enjoy and we have certainly found some new ways to entertain ourselves. I haven't gotten to paint as much as I'd like, but I did get into watercolor during this time.

I started in May with Let's Make Art's watercolor kits. Sarah's tutorials on YouTube are great. I generally watch once through so I know what's coming and then watch and paint along, pausing as needed or stepping away if I have to let a layer dry.

My biggest struggle is finding uninterrupted time to paint. Watercolor is a little unforgiving to interruptions because things dry when you don't want them too. Even without interruptions that's a bit of a trick.

This little beetle is a mashup of my drawing from Art Starts with a Line (affiliate link) and some watercolor.

Starting this week, I'll be working through the book 15 Minute Watercolor Masterpieces (affiliate link) by Anna Koliadych. I've joined a group with Lori from One-Per-Week. It's basically a pacing group to stay motivated and share our work as we work through the same book at the same time. She has a private Facebook group for the community. If you're interested, you can connect with Lori to join the group here. There's no fee beyond the cost of the book and supplies. I don't have the book in my hand yet, but the first assignments are landscapes.

And last night I received A Field Guide to Color: A Watercolor Workbook (affiliate link) by Lisa Solomon. So lots of painting options in my future! (Don't worry, I won't stop quilting.)

Thanks for visiting.



I follow Tinkerlab on Facebook. TONS of creative ideas. Occasionally I nab one for use in our house. I was drawn in by this post on How to Use a Sketchbook to Boost Creativity from two years ago. I loved the idea of sitting down alongside my littles to be creative. Tinkerlab's DPS Challenge that year was born out of her desire to make time for art and to inspire her kids to be creative. Awesome! I'm sure I pinned the idea. I even put a tiny sketchbook I had around the house near their art table for my use. I never used it.

tinkerlab sketchbook challengeFast forward to this weekend. I took note of Tinkerlab's newest challenge, the Tinkerlab Sketchbook Challenge. Sounds great. The kids LOVE the art table. And in a recent conversation with The Boy about what kind of extra-curricular activities he might be interested in, he loudly exclaimed "art studio!" in reference to a birthday party we attended in November. So I figure he'd be on board with a new artistic endeavor at home. I've also decided that my husband might want to join us, though he doesn't know that yet. ;-)

sketchbooks for allSo, this morning The Girl and I made a run to buy new sketchbooks for the entire family. I decided to go with large size, inexpensive kids sketchbooks from Target for The Boy and The Girl. My only criticism is that the pages are not thick. We should be fine for all crayon, pencil, marker activities, but it might be touch and go if the pages get wet. For Evan and myself, I hit the art store and picked up a couple higher quality sketchbooks, with heavyweight drawing paper suitable for wet and dry media. I opted for 6" x 6" for myself and got Evan a 6" x 9" figuring it was the happy medium of larger for creative flexibility and small enough to be portable if he chooses.

When I picked up The Boy (age 3.5 years) from school I talked with him about our new sketchbooks and the challenge. I told him that today's challenge was circles and we brainstormed ways he could make circles in his book. He talked about doing different sizes and colors. I suggested that he could trace items from around the house (and he suggested items he'd try). I told him I'd probably find some circle stickers for The Girl (nearly 2 years) to use. When we got home, they helped to clean up the art table and I presented them with their new sketchbooks. The three of us settled in and created for... okay, I lost track of time. Maybe 30 minutes. Here's what we ended up with.

The Girl's:sketch day1 The GirlShe started with a couple of the blue circle stickers I gave her. Then quickly moved on to lemon-scented marker to freehand draw some circles. There's some evidence in there of her tracing a circle around the cup in pencil, inspired by The Boy who was tracing around a cup as well.

The Boy's: sketch day1 The Boy

Without prompting, The Boy declared, "I am so proud of myself," as he was working. Yup, this was a good idea. He started by tracing some found circular objects there in the middle and then his creativity took over. When I asked him to tell me about his work he told me there were "lots of different shapes" and went on to tell me that there were apple shapes and pear shapes and rocket shapes and "lemon shapes with long stems" and that there was "a thing that looks a lot like a giant lentil." He's just gotten to the point where he colors (mostly) in the lines and he draws things that are intended and actually do look like something. I love watching his journey. Just before naptime when we were talking he declared that he wants to bring his sketchbook to school when it's done to show everyone and that he plans to bring it for sharing next time he's snack manager.


sketch day1 meNothing too much to report here except that this was my image when I thought about the inspiration of "circles." I used the 08 micron pen (I bought 3 different sized black micron pens from the art store).


sketch day1 EvanWhen Evan got home, The Boy explained to him that we had a "gift sketchbook" for him and I sent him the link to Tinkerlab's challenge. Evan was willingly roped into joining us for the sketchbook challenge and sat down on the couch after dinner for a few minutes to do the first challenge. I love his Spherical Chicken and especially love how differently the inspiration of "circles" can be interpreted.

Day 2's challenge is White on Black. I'm a little more intimidated by that than circles... and wondering how I'll help my kids implement that one. We might have to go with White AND Black instead. Any ideas?