Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 31....Micro Art Mini Challenge

The end of the road...Y and Z

The final day of my one month Micro Art Mini Challenge. 

I'm grateful to the lady I met in a local frame shop a few months back who bemoaned the fact that she never had time to make art. The combination of her busy schedule, lack of time and not wanting to drag out all the messy art materials was discouraging her from making anything at all. She seemed very frustrated as she felt the creative tug every day to make something, but wasn't able to bring it about.

That got me thinking that making micro versions of things might be the answer to having more fun, being creative and answering the call to play with art materials and ideas.

Today's Project:  Y and Z

  • For the letter Y, choose an image you like. I wanted something a little different so I went to a website that listed unusual words beginning with y and chose Yabby, a fresh water crayfish. Sketch your image on the 3x3 card.
  • Use your favorite art materials to add color. Today I used watercolor and embellished with ink.

  • For the letter Z, I chose the word Zest.  I painted it and put it out where I will see it daily and remind myself to add more fun and Zest to each day. Simple touches in the way we do things can make the day better, for ourselves and others. One guy who adds ZEST to his and his son's day by drawing on his kid's lunch bags.

  •  Create an image that represents Zest to you and allow it to inspire you to have more fun.

Y and Z Mugshots

Cigar Treasure Box holding a month of micro art

 I've collected all the little bits I've made this month and packed them into my cigar box. Some possible uses for all these tiny works you've made could be:
  • Fridge Art Gallery
  • Tucked inside letters to friends or relatives
  • Popped into tiny frames and given as gifts or for yourself for your home, office or studio. I've even seen incredible Bathroom art galleries.
  • Bound into a tiny book
  • Left in a public place somewhere for anyone to pick up and enjoy
  • What other uses can you think of for your tiny works of art?

And now as it has come to the end of another month, I've posted a little thing I heard as a kid and as quirky as it is, I find myself doing this ritual on the first day of each month. 
I have been saying this for a number of years now and love to hear what little rituals other people have, if any, for getting off to a running start in the new month. What do you like to do?

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24..."X" Micro Art Mini Challenge

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.” ~Pablo Picasso

With today's letter being what it is, I found a site of unusual words beginning with the letter X. This is a collection I wouldn't use on a daily basis and I wanted something other than X-ray or xylophone. What I found most appealing was the xanthareel.
 Today's Project: "X"  Something new with X
  • Select an image that begins with X. Use a favorite or go find a new word that appeals to you in some way. I had to go with the yellow eel as I love the way it looks.
  • Make a quick pencil sketch of that image on your 3x3 card. Fill in the whole space.
  • Add color and details.  
  •  We are almost at the end of the month and if you've done some of these micro pieces, think about what you can do with them. They make great little gifts for someone, can add a special touch to a handmade greeting card or could be a keepsake for yourself to remind you it's possible to be creative and have fun with simple materials and a few minutes of your time.                                             
My version of a micro xanthareel

Xanthareel Mugshot

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23..."W" Micro Art Mini Challenge

Water is to me, I confess, a phenomenon which continually awakens new feelings of wonder as often as I view it.
Michael Faraday   1791-1867

Water. An integral part of our daily lives. How often, though, do we really focus on it?

The past few days, I've been making a list of the places water shows up:
  • Noticing the dew on the grass and plants in my garden
  •  Warm shower water
  • Drinking water for pets
  • Water used in appliances
  • Water used in preparing food
  • Making coffee and tea
  • Water for daily self care
  • Living near bodies of water
  • Water as a holiday destination
  • Fish Tanks
  • Fountains
Today's Project:  "W"  Water
  • Think of a specific use you have for water. Might be something you use on a regular basis or a once a year thing, like a beach vacation or trip to a house by a lake.
  • Make a quick sketch on your 3x3 card of an image that represents this source or use of water to you (cup of water, a waterfall, fish tank, droplets, a lake, etc)
  • Use color if you like. I like the look of tiny water droplets so that was my image for today's paper.
Water droplets
Water Droplets Mugshot

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22..."V" Micro Art Mini Challenge

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new  dream.   C.S. Lewis

Dreams, goals and wishes. There are so many ideas on how to create new possibilities for ourselves. Some people keep journals, writing detailed descriptions of what they'd like to have manifest. Some repeat affirmations daily to keep themselves on track and get where they want to be. Others use visual imagery to create some form of Vision Board or Treasure Map. They build it either using a digital format or a more hands-on method, assembling papers and pictures that represent what they desire most. I've played with all three of these and sometimes use a combination to visualize my plans.

All of these things seem to have a main goal of keeping us inspired and continuing to focus on our dreams, reminding us that it's all doable.
My dream to live by the ocean again

Today's Project:  "V"   Vision Board in Miniature

  • Think of something you'd like to have manifest for yourself. Could be in work, health, finances, belongings, relationships, etc.
  • Select one idea. Make a quick sketch on your 3x3 card. Draw an image to represent what you'd like to see or have happen.
  • Use your favorite materials to add color. Embellish with a pen. Write the name of your wish or dream on the back and add the date. Set it aside where you can see it daily.
Ocean Dream Mugshot

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21 "U" Micro Art Mini Challenge

What Crawls Beneath
I don't know about you, but as a kid I loved to turn over rocks and see what was living underneath. I felt like Gulliver, reaching out and lifting up a boulder to reveal all the tiny beings living there. Whole worlds living in the moist darkness. They'd scuttle about, scattering in all directions, looking for the nearest place to hide. I was amazed at the variety of buggy things I found under there. Not wanting to disturb them too much, I replaced the rock and I would continue on my search for more insect colonies.

Today's Project:  "U"  What Crawls Underneath
  • Imagine you're a kid and you've just found a big rock. If you lifted it, what kinds of creepy crawlies would you see living there? How big would they be? 
  • Method #1: Use a pencil, make a sketch of an imaginary insect you'd find living under a rock. It could be a combination of several kinds of bugs.

  • Use paint to add color to the bug. When dry, add details with a pen
  • Method #2: I dropped some paint on my paper and tilted the paper until the initial blob shape got distorted.  When it was dry, I turned it all directions and tried to "see" an insect in the form. Then I added spikes, eyeballs, claws, etc.

  • On the back, jot the name of the bug you discovered.
Bug Under a Rock Mugshot

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20 "T" Micro Art Mini Challenge

T for Terror


I saw the word, "terrifying" last week in a movie review I read. This film was taking fear to the next level. It made me think of things that used to terrify me when I was little. Things like scary stuff under the bed, dark closets and fun houses with their moving floors. Camping was fun but there was always the very real possibility of big wolf spiders lurking around the sleeping bags or clothing. Or worse, hanging on the walls of a latrine.
Male Wolf Spider        
Credit: Cathy Keifer

One of the biggest fears came from a place I also loved- the ocean. Going to the beach was my favorite thing. Swimming and rafting were great, but somewhere along the line, I developed the fear, not of being gobbled by sharks, but that crustaceans were crawling around on the sea floor, waiting to grab at my feet.
This actually prevented me from going into the water where I couldn't see the bottom. I became so fearful, I begged my parents to get me swim fins and I refused to go in the water without them.
Even with the fins on, I scared myself imagining all the hard-crusted creepy crawlies were inching toward me anyway. My own mind was convincing me I had something to fear. I soon realized I was scaring myself way more than anything else possibly could. I did reach a point where I was able to go in barefoot and loved the way the smooth sandy bottom felt on my feet. And no crabs to pinch my toes.
Fears will always pop up and as I take steps forward to do what scares me, I realize things are always working out in the end. Consider tackling something that scares you and see if it turns out to be less terrifying than you imagined.
My beach terror as a kid
Today's Project:  "T"  Tiny Terrifying Thing
  • Think about something you were terrified of as a kid. Some people have mentioned things like spiders, clowns, germs, needles, monsters, mall Santas, dentists, etc. Or, pick something that scares you now
  • On your 3x3 card, draw a quick sketch of an image that represents this fear. It doesn't have to be the entire thing, you might just draw part of it (like the mouth with sharp teeth on a dog, or the tail of a snake)
  • Use colors, if you like, to fill in the card. Add decoration and detail with a pen.
  • Write the name of the fear on the back. 
Beach terror Mugshot

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19..."S" Micro Art Mini Challenge

Star Wishes
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.    Harriet Tubman

Summer nights with stars sparkling and frogs singing, we'd catch jarfuls of fire flies, temporarily holding them prisoners to watch them twinkle for a few minutes before releasing. If we were lucky, we'd see a falling star and make a quick wish. As an adult, I still feel like doing it and it's especially wonderful if I can do this while standing on a beach. Tossing that wish out there while watching a star cross the sky makes it all the more powerful. Stars fascinate us, we watch them, name them, and sing nursery rhymes about them. Wishing on them somehow seems right.
Today's Project:  "S"  Star Wishes
  • Make a quick sketch of your version of a star on your 3x3 card using a pencil.  I made 2, one a bit starfish-like and the other a geometric star someone showed me as a kid how to draw. I drew them on everything and was thrilled at the time that I could make something pop off the page in 3d.
  • Use your favorite materials to add color to the star and the background.
  • Add details with a pen
  • Remember when you were a kid, what kinds of wishes you made on stars? Make yourself a wish now and write it on the back of the card. 
  • Set it out somewhere where you will see it often and remember what you'd like to see happen for you
Star Wish Mugshot

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 18...."R" Micro Art Mini Challenge

Seeing Red

If one says 'red' - the name of color - and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different. (Josef Albers

According to color psychology, having red nearby increases heart rates, energy levels, and the release of adrenalin. People who gravitate toward red are described as confident, energized, powerful, and determined. In some cultures, it symbolizes good fortune. I've always liked red and keep some of it around, in clothing, home accents and dishes. Some restaurant designers encourage the use of red accents in dining rooms as it is known to significantly boost sales due to increasing people's appetites.

Today's Project: "R"  Seeing Red
  • Think about the color red...what does it represent to you? Is it a color you want to see daily? How many red things do you see every day? 
  • On your 3x3 card, using mostly reds, create an image you like. Could be a favorite red item, something from nature or a non representational picture.
  • I used watercolors and after wetting the paper, drizzled paint and let it spread out on its own. 
  • Set it out where you can enjoy it
Seeing Red Mugshot

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17..."Q" Micro Art Mini Challenge


I'm a big believer that words you need will appear right when you most need them. They show up in places like song lyrics, signs on shops, trucks or park benches or even something in the paper that catches your eye.  Some days, I come across quotes that, for me, are perfectly timed. They were exactly what I needed in that moment, often answering questions that were floating around in my head or providing me with insight.

Today's Project: "Q"  Favorite Quotes
  • Choose a favorite quote you have. Sketch it in pencil on your 3x3 card. Draw in a picture if you'd like it to go with the saying
  • Use paint, markers or colored pencil to create a colorful background for the quote.
  • Next, using a pen, write in your quote. Set it some place you can see it often and allow it to inspire you in some way
Favorite Quote Mugshot
  What are some of your favorite quotes?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 16..."P" MIcro Art Mini Challenge


Once a week, I join a group of others who like to paint. We meet on the grounds of a local sailing club where a summer camp is now finishing its final weeks. We paint for several hours, eat lots of snacks, listen to music and then hold an informal critique.

I sat outside last week, painting near the water and some kids in the sailing camp sat down to have their lunches. A few came over to have a closer look so I set out a few 3x3 pieces of watercolor and invited them to pick up a paintbrush. One girl hesitated and then told me she wasn't very good at painting. I could see they all wanted to paint, but were holding back. I told her I felt the point of doing it was simply to play with the paint and have fun exploring what she could do with it. Never mind expectations or worries about the final outcome. She liked how small the paper was and decided to join in. After a few minutes, every kid at the table was busy making tiny paintings. 

We can get so caught up in what we feel the final product "should" be that we lose sight of getting lost in the fun of the process. Kids' work is often assessed by well meaning adults, who have their own ideas on how they feel things need to look. Products get compared, talent levels are compared and suggestions are offered on how to make the work "better." This doesn't help when someone is feeling a little skittish about making something in the first place.

 Doing all these micro projects is about enjoying the process and allowing yourself the freedom in simply making something on a small scale.
Micro Doodle Patterns

Today's Project:  "P"  Patterns and Process
  • The subject for this one is Patterns. Look at all the ways decorative patterns show up on a daily, home goods, etc.  What types of patterns do you like most? Geometric shapes, designs inspired by Nature, color vs black and white?

  • Take your 3x3 paper and sketch a pattern or series of patterns across it in some way. Make your favorite designs...are they in something you already own or are they something you'd like to have in some particular form?
  • Stick with black and white or use color. See how tiny you can go with details. Think of this as a quick exercise to focus on your favorite pattern and surface decoration ideas. Where would your designs be seen?
Pattern Mugshot

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15..."O" Micro Art Mini Challenge


Tell me, O Octopus, I begs, Is those things arms, or is they legs I marvel at thee, Octopus If I were thou, I'd call me Us.
(Ogden Nash)

Scientists behind a recent study aimed to answer the question: why don't octopuses, with their sticky suction cups, tie themselves in knots? Pictured: Key West octopus. (Photo : Flickr) 
 Octopuses fascinate me. The way they move, and how they look with all those suction cups and delicate, subtle colors. Contortionists, they can wiggle their way out of jars and in between tightly spaced rocks. They can even deactivate their suckers, preventing themselves from becoming completely entangled with their own arms. 

Today's Project:  "O" Octopus's Garden
  • Do a quick search for octopus images. Find one whose colors and shape appeal to you. Use this to generate ideas for making a small version.
  • Make a quick sketch of an octopus on your 3x3 card. Consider placement on the page and adding details to suggest background imagery. Will your animal be realistic or more of a caricature?
  • Use color (or stick with black and white). Add details with a pen. 
Octopus Mugshot
Daily Hugs for Longevity

Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14..."N" Micro Art Mini Challenge

N for Numbers (lucky, that is)
“Million-to-one chances...crop up nine times out of ten.”
Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites  

Today's Project:  "N"  Numbers (the lucky ones)
  • Think of a special number that you attribute to good luck. It might a birth date, or some number that keeps showing up for you in different ways.

  • Sketch this lucky number on your 3x3 card, making it large enough to fill the space

  • Paint or color the number and the background. Add decoration if you wish.

  • Add the date on the back in addition to a few notes about why this number is special to you.  Set it out and see how often and in what ways this number appears today. 
Lucky Numbers

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13... "M" Micro Art Mini Challenge

To be an artist is to believe in life.” Henry Moore 

I've seen some unusual miniature art lately. Lorraine Loots' fingernail sized realistic oil paintings and Salavat Fidai's architectural landmarks (at 3:57 in the video) carved in the tips of pencils. All of it incredibly detailed work on a miniscule scale. Simply amazing.

Today's Project:  "M"  Creating Miniatures
  • Think of a topic that interests you. You'll create miniature versions of it in a micro art activity
  • Sketch tiny versions of that subject on your 3x3 card.
  •  Using your material of choice, add color and tiny details to your drawing. See how small you can go.
Miniature Fish and Leaves Mugshot

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12...Micro Art "L" Mini Challenge

Lucky Charms
Do not fear mistakes - there are none.” Miles David 

In the last few years, I've met some people who were able to locate four leaf clovers as easily as a blade of grass. They simply went into a grassy area, and within a few minutes, walked out with one or more of the coveted lucky charms. The finders made quite a few people happy by discovering the elusive leaves and giving them as gifts. 

People show me their lucky items which they swear brought them good fortune. This included everything from lucky coins, to articles of clothing (the bowling shirt?), stones, keys and assorted other whatnots. 

Today's Project: "L"  Lucky Charms

  • Think about any type of lucky charm you might have had as a kid, or have now.  How did you get it? What kinds of experiences has it brought you? Can you attribute anything to the power of this little charm?
  • On your 3x3 card, draw a picture of your lucky charm. 
  • Using your materials, add color or  leave black and white and just sketch with pencil and pen. Add a background or  leave it by itself on the page. What are its special qualities?
  •  Add the date and jot some notes on the back about why your charm is special to you.
My lucky rock and 4 leaf clover Mugshots


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11...MIcro Art "K" Mini Challenge

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso 

Years ago, I walked into a neighboring teacher's classroom. She sat at her desk, a large golden, jewel-studded crown on her head. Her third graders sat in silence.

I approached, wanting to go over a schedule change. When I eyed the crown, she told me it was how she shielded herself in silence, and was able to get work done without interruptions. Wearing it made her king and no one was allowed to approach her. She gave that time to herself each day to finish things, relax and get it together before moving on with the all the scheduled activities.

Today's Project:  "K"  Feeling like Royalty

  • Get out your 3x3 and quickly sketch your own version of a crown. Could be very detailed and ornate or a simple shape.
  •  Use various materials to fill in with color. Add embellishments. 
  • Add the date and jot down a few ways you can treat yourself like royalty today (have a special food, take a nap, read something you enjoy, pamper yourself in some way). Keep the crown in a place where seeing it will remind you to treat yourself to something special once in while.
King's crown mugshot


Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10...Micro Art "J" Mini Challenge

Jazz it up
“The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it.” Banksy 

 Today's Project:  "J"  Jazz it up
  • Choose an alphabet letter that appeals to you. Maybe you just like the shape of it or maybe it reminds you of someone. Whatever the reason, pick one you really like.  
  •  Sketch a basic bubble type outline of your letter on your 3x3 card. Choose the size, upper or lower case and how it sits on the page (straight, angled, partially cropped).
  •  Using your favorite materials, fill in the letter (and background if you like) with color. 
  •  Now, jazz it up with doodling...add lines, shapes, and details to do a casual version of an illuminated manuscript letter. Be playful and have fun with it. Give it as a gift or keep it for yourself.
Jazzed up letter mugshot

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 9....Micro Art "I" Mini Challenge

Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol 

Today's Project: "I"  Create your own icon
  1. Design your own icon. Picture it as your business or calling card, using only an image. If you were to represent yourself as a picture of some kind, what would it be? Which of your unique qualities would be communicated to others in that image?
  2. After selecting your image, sketch it onto your 3x3 card. 
  3. Use your favorite materials to add color and details.
Icon Mugshot

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 8.....Micro Art "H" Mini Challenge

All About the Heart
Every person is creative. Discovering that is the challenge 

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” Marc Chagall 


Today's Project: "H" Put Your Heart into It
  1. Think of something you love...could be a food, a person, an animal, a place, an experience, music, etc. Really feel into what appeals most to you about that subject
  2. Make an image of a heart on your 3x3 card using pens, pencils, paint or whatever else you have. I used oil pastels
  3. Add details. Write down the name of what inspired you on the back of the card. 
  4. Keep your eye out for any heart images that might show up for you today

Heart Mugshot
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