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It’s In the Name

It’s a tad daunting to be actually making a commitment to consistently write. But I love writing and hopefully you will enjoy reading it. 

Here is a piece of my story. Let’s start with the name…a name is important to me…what it means…how it sounds…and it’s uniqueness. I have always attempted to name my 7 children with this in mind. Although a few of them at the time I thought were unique…it wasn’t long before it seemed EVERYONE used that name. Ariana, Jordan , Jesse, Joanna, Isaac, Asher and Kaeden. I am sure you are quite familiar with a few of those.

With much thought I chose Pieces of My Art. I had hoped no one had thought of it yet, but I was not the first. Oh well…I would make it known above all others! As a creative…my head…my heart is full of ideas…thoughts…plans…desires…PIECES…that’s what it was…many pieces, like a puzzle. They would all fit together. Not knowing how…or when…I just knew God had a plan, even if I didn’t understand it. And then…MY ART…of course it sounds like my heart…so appropriately this was the name.  Art fills my heart. 

In August of 2011, Pieces of My Art became mine, a gift from my Heavenly Father. I have held his hand as he filled my heart with confidence and ideas.

This dream actually begin back in 2006 when I was recently divorced and had no career path…nor college. I was a wife, mom and worked with my ex-husband at his printing company. Now scrambling to support my 6 children and be home when they were, I took a job as a para-professional in our home town. There was one student that I took to the art room for classes. Growing up as an art lover…it’s a smell I will never for get. A mixture of tempera paints and crayons…maybe a little glue! I realized then, that I wanted to teach art…have my own classroom.  

Here’s a newsletter from my 3rd grade class. I guess I knew then, what I was destined to be!  

I enrolled in college at age 41, I was thrilled! One class was all that I could do at the time. I took English, definitely better than math! It was a creative writing class. I found out I was pretty good at writing and actually enjoyed it. The problem was, with working…which was NOT paying the bills, let alone my house payment, and having such a large family…college was not going to work for me. I felt it would have taken me 10 years to get through school…and I had no desire to start a teaching career at 50. So that was it for my BIG days at college!

Over the next few years, I married Kevin…he had one son and we had one together…so we became a family of eight. WOW! For those of you who have met my husband…he is a true gift! I am so thankful for his love and commitment to me and our kids! 

During this time I did some child care. Love kids…but watching someone else’s everyday was not something I grew up dreaming about. Through a series of events…a book…and some paintings in a restaurant, God began stirring in my heart to teach art to kids in my basement. I was scared would be an understatement! I thought I was cheating because I was not a real teacher. I thought I was cheating because I was following someone else’s teaching style. I felt like a fake…and was terrified of being found out!

If it wasn’t for God in my life, and the way he had already been teaching me to trust him. I would have never stepped out and started. I had learned life is risky…but the BEST things in life take courage…love, hope, trust…need I go on? I knew without a doubt God loved me and put the desires in my heart…so I did it!

With no money to really start…I made flyers, dropped them off at the checkout line at the grocery store. I was soon teaching art classes to kids ages 4 years and up. I had a couple classes a week and I was bringing in a little extra money. I was able to pay for my supplies as people signed up and paid a monthly tuition. Each week I would come up with lessons…always trying to be completely unique to any thing my kids would do at school. Thank the Lord for Pinterest….already evidence of God’s good timing! 

I had a wonderful 3 years of teaching kids art in my basement. I even had a group of about 25 homeschooled kids I would go and teach…just like a real teacher. I would have two art shows a year to display the kids artwork. Along with some summer art camps, my little art business began to grow.  As different people came into my life…new paths were discovered and the fall of 2014, I had my very first wine and paint class!


Since then, I have taught in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, homes, garages, schools, churches, hair salons, green houses, farms, vineyards, assisted living and memory care facilities, stores….and now as of June 2019…I have this beautiful space at my home. My very own studio, that my husband, Kevin built for me!

I hope you get hope from following this journey. God does care about your heart…your desires…your ideas…He put them there. As each day unfolds, know it’s safe to hold His hand. He longs to take you on a grand adventure…because he loves YOU! 

With much love and paint,
Laurie

Painting with Kids | Keeping it Simple

I completely get it…I was the mom that was all about art, creating with all the fun mediums and techniques…painting with your kids can be simple.

but oh the mess…and the place to do it…and the time it takes to set it up…have them spend all of 10 minutes or maybe days on end…and then the clean up…so you can have dinner.

Sadly, I think I missed way too many fun painting experiences because of the struggle to fit it in…thinking it always had to be a big ordeal. I so wish some days could be repeated again. Just not to be so uptight…and hug my kids a few more times when they were little bitty.

I want to encourage you to let your kids create…with things they can touch  and feel. I bet we would all agree that our schools do not offer near as many creative outlets as back in our day. And our kids may spend way too much time with a device in their hands. In fact, right now my son is probably in his room on his, but hopefully he is building with his legos…like I asked him to do.


Here are some ways to make it happen with less expense for you and more fun for your kids.


If you have one…set up a small table…remember the card tables grandma had? Make up an art basket that’s totable with a decent quality plastic table cloth. That way you can use your dining room table and cover it easily. You can cut your table cloth in smaller pieces if you only have one person doing art.

Have good lighting…natural light is the best! 

And pick some fun music...

I like to use Pandora and have a couple favorite play lists: 

For kids…Disney Radio or The Piano Guys

For the older crowd…Jack Johnson Radio, Guardians Of the Galaxy Station and my most favorite when I am alone…Bethel Music Radio.

Next up, supplies… 


Paints…

Any type of fluid acrylics…craft paint or bottles of acrylic in the art section of a craft store. You do not need all the colors…black , white, red, yellow and blue make about any color you can imagine. But craft paints are cheap enough to grab all the favorite colors.
Tube paints are not necessary and can get quite expensive as they are heavier and you will go through them much faster. When you reach a point of intentional painting they are great though.

Also do not forget watercolors are so much fun as well. I have lots of simple watercolor tutorials on my facebook page

Brushes…

2 decent quality ones are all you really need at first. It is still all I use after 10 plus years of painting. I like a good flat brush about 1/2” wide and a small round brush. BUT if you do not take care of and clean your brushes after every time you use them you will ruin them. Trust me, I still think I can leave my brush in the water and come back later…which is usually much later than I plan..and it has left my brush in a not so great state.

Other things you can paint with:

fingers, old credit card, sponge pieces, old tooth brush, newspaper, paper towels…you get it!


Teach your kids early to take care of brushes like this…


Do not leave brushes in water when finished painting.
Use a mixture of dish soap and Murphy’s oil soap ( you find it in the cleaning section of most stores) 1:1 ratio is fine…you can have some pre-mixed in a squirt bottle for convenience. I rinse my brushes first, squirt a little soap right across the bristles in my hand, scrub with a soft swirly motion to loosen all the paint, and rinse until no color washes out. Repeat if necessary.
Re-shape bristles and lay flat to dry on a paper towel. 

Do not leave brushes in water when finished painting…I said that already didn’t I?

What can you…and should you paint on? 

For me? I paint on everything…walls…buildings…wood…paper…canvas…porches…

But for you, let’s start small…er! 

Of course there is a canvas to paint on, but that can get expensive and take up space if you use the deep profile ones. Value packs at an art supply/hobby store are great places to get them. Also canvas boards which are flat. The good thing about these are once they dry you can paint them again.

I paint them white…or black and re-use them often.

Other options are mixed-media paper, watercolor paper(these can be bought in pads), cardboard, boxes…do you get tons of boxes from amazon now?? Cut them up and paint a base coat of white and then use them. No shortage of those at our house! Also, the cardboard inside of picture frames, back covers of notebooks, book covers, cereal boxes…I think you realize now you may have plenty of free things to use. 

Other things to have on hand…

  • Wax coated paper plates
  • Paper towels 
  • A can of water or two
  • Old shirt or apron to wear
  • Pictures…lots of ideas! 

Now, what to paint?

Sometimes this is the hardest part…what to paint!???

Let your kids copy…copy…copy. Give yourself permission to do this too! It’s ok. I have all my life and still do often. It will be their best teacher. What a safe way to learn from our mistakes, right?! It really is safe! Trust me! 

Let them paint…

  • animals
  • famous painters artwork
  • landscapes
  • a still life
  • what they see
  • what they don’t see
  • what they hear…feel
  • abstract

Here is a great resource of 30 ideas of Painting…grab and print off your list here!

Let them learn the colors.

What they do when you mix them, layer them…don’t wait for them to dry…wait for them to dry…dark colors, bright colors…new colors and even more colors…add layers and more layers and repeat again.

There is no right or wrong in this process…just playing with color and movement. They may hate it or love it. Let them paint over the ones they hate and keep the ones they love (you may not not feel the same as they do…that’s ok let them be)

Super, super important to not get too “bossy” with how your kids paint…wait it out so they don’t want to give up because they think it’s not right…so so important!

SO I hope this helps open the door to more creative freedom in your kids and you as well.


Happy painting!

Laurie 

Here is a link to my favorite paint supplies that I use for ALL my classes. I am an affiliate with this company which only means they just give me a few cents for sharing their awesome stuff with you…at NO extra cost to you!

Tips and ideas for fun painting projects you can do with kids

Let’s Paint Tacos! | Simple Drawing + Watercolor for Kids

In this video I teach kids of all ages how to draw and watercolor a taco with all the fixings! This painting tutorial features easy-to-follow step-by-step instruction as we draw with a sharpie. We then add a colorful table and wallpaper. Finally we watercolor our drawing and I will show you some fun ways to use watercolor to get different textures.

A fun and easy step-by-step draw-and-watercolor painting project

My Favorite Art Supply Store

Since we have been spending so much time together playing with watercolor…I thought I would give you my connection for my favorite art store…plenty of watercolors to pick from!

https://www.dickblick.com/categories/painting/watercolor-paint/

For the Facebook Live daily tutorials I have been doing I use Crayola Educational Watercolor Pan Sets.

***Yes! I am an affiliate for them…which basically means they pay me a smidge to tell you about their goodness! And I can buy more art supplies!

A Hope That Will Not Disappoint

Last night, I sat in the living room looking at all the decorations, christmas lights, the beautiful Renaissance style manger figurines.

My heart filled with a mixture of sadness and joy, longing and disappointment.

For many this is a difficult season as another year draws to an end. Hopes dashed, again, if any glimmer of hope is present at all. It seems Christmas is really just a bitter reminder of all that hasn’t happened. Or of something lost, an innocence maybe.

The oldest of Christmas Carols seems full of waining hope of what once was. Will it ever be right again?

If we do have money to spend, even if it’s borrowed to feel like it’s afforded, we keep busy. Purchasing, planning, decorating, attentive to every detail…checking our list’s twice.

It seems easiest to keep busy, than to rest or reflect…allowing the deeper desires to surface…because even in our abundance, there is a longing for something more…something bigger, something that still cannot be purchased, or created, or arranged for. What is it?

We can’t put a finger on. Like waking from a dream that we can’t really remember the details of or watching a beautiful party through a dirty and frosted over window. As we stretch up on our toes we can hear bits of beautiful music and laughter…

but we…can’t…quite…see…through…the glass…

Knowing there’s something bigger going on, we want a clearer glimpse of it.

We have all had our share of disappointments. So now as adults, we take control of our desires by managing them a bit better. We walk away from the window, thinking we had better get along the best we can…being more content with the duty and obligations of working harder to make for a smaller Christmas.

We start with tossing away the many secular holiday practices, the childish fantasies. After all, Christmas is really only about Jesus being born in a stable…and no crying he makes…and shepherds, and kings with 3 gifts…oh, and yes his mother was a virgin…sinless, pretty much. (We really must try harder at being good!) No wonder we feel so hopeless inside!

Merry Christmas. That’s it.

Now make your New Year’s resolution…

How can this perspective sum up the season and just five lines? There is really SO much more to this story…in fact, a whole book has been written about it!

Here is a quote from it…. “I am telling you once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” (Matthew 18:2, The Message)

What if I could recover the heart of a child? I look at Kaeden, he just turned eight the other day. Yes, we say he’s spoiled, but he knows how to ask his dad for things.

His hopes are endless and innocent. He still dreams of things without consideration of practicality or cost. He believes anything is possible. His perspective of the future is full of joyful anticipation! Yet, his life is being played out in the presentness of his surroundings.

Kaeden is untainted by cynicism or resignation that things will never get any better… “this is how life is, I will just get by and make the best of it” His young tender heart has not yet experienced much of life’s cruel disappointments. As his mother, I wish I could keep him from ever knowing disappointment…but not in this world.

As I celebrate this Christmas season, I want the heart of a child, the heart of my youngest son.

I will fill my house the decorations, lights, and evergreens. I will purchase and bestow as many gifts as my purse will allow. I will sing Jingle Bells, Rudolph and O’Come, O’ Come Emanuel. (My favorite!)

I will bake cookies and food. I will make gifts. I will shop and smile and tell everyone, “Merry Christmas!” I will watch movies, play games, and laugh…and maybe even cry.

I want to ask of my Father for the desires of my heart, fearlessly…”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matt. 7:7 And he answers me in return “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10

So above all else, I will believe in the hope and promise, that Jesus will come again!

With joyful anticipation, I will be reminded by baby Jesus lying in the manger, the angels singing, and Santa bringing gifts, that one day the best Christmas ever is yet to come… when all broken hearts will be fixed, all that holds us captive will be released and all our deepest dreams and desires will come true!

May joy and hopeful expectancy fill your heart with childlike anticipation for better things to come!

Merry, Merry Christmas!

~Laurie 👩🏼‍🎨 (From my archives 12.17.15)

Best Christmas Gifts for your Artsy People

Nothing better than getting your favorite art supplies…or maybe that one thing you always thought would be fun to play around with. Here’s my favorite go to site for all my creative ideas!

BLICK Holiday Gift Ideas

Hope you have the most creative Christmas ever! Be sure and share what you are creating in the comments!

Laurie 👩🏼‍🎨🎨

Yes, I am an affiliate which just means I get a little back from your purchases…so I can get fun things to create with…but it’s no extra for you🤗

Where Do I Get My Supplies?

My favorites for teaching!

After YEARS of being asked this…after MUCH procrastination…after THINKING, “it’s just TOO hard!!”…

🎨🖌I FINALLY put together a QUICK list of my favorite painting supplies that I use in my classes! 🤗

***discloser…I do receive a small compensation on sales through Dick Blick Art Supplies…BUT there is NO extra cost to you!

🛍So let’s go shopping! 👉🏼 General Painting Tutorial Supply List

I FINALLY put together a QUICK list of my favorite painting supplies that I use in my classes!

Pieces of My Art Studio Opens

From a one stall horse barn to an art studio…

Being a creative, I am always dreaming. Many nights I lay awake and dream up things I would love to do. Places to see…spaces to create…then comes morning, and I am grabbing my cup of coffee and my Bible for a slow and easy awakening. I am much more organized in my head. In reality, often I am busy keeping my family functioning and my household maintaining. A struggle to leave enough time in my day to work on my dreams… “those are for another day” and I continue to hold onto that hope!

We found this jewel three years ago, tucked into a corner completely hidden by trees…lots of trees…overgrown with years of neglect. Kind of like our hearts…don’t neglect yours! So many projects to do here, my husband Kevin and I just began…one area at a time. We have still quite a lot to do…but the difference is amazing already. We have uncovered so much beauty…your heart has much beauty to be uncovered.

Out behind the house was a barn…or a stable, I guess. No doubt years ago a horse happily ate from a bag of oats in the one stall and the black snakes contentedly kept the rodents away. The snakes still lived here when we arrived.

When you dream about something long enough and put actions to your dreams, they start coming to life. For me, it was teaching art…painting…anything creative…to anyone who has a passion for the same. So 8 years ago, I did just that, but I’ll put that in another story. Kevin soon caught onto my vision. It began stirring in him and a year ago, he got to work making my bigger dream a reality.

Piece by piece the stable came down…rotted wood…old rusty tools…some bones(not human!)…snake skins…and lots of horrific smells. I was kinda sad to see it go…I had managed to fit it in my dream…so now I needed to update my ideas.

On May 31st of 2019, I celebrated the grand opening of my brand new beautiful art studio…all built with love from my husband. We had no idea what it would look like when we were finished. But I can tell you it’s grander then we ever imagined! Kevin took the most beautiful pieces of the old barn and built them into this new space. It wasn’t all stars and butterflies…there were times of tears and doubt. We made it through and as I sit here at my desk…I am thankful for a faithful God who blessed me with so many precious gifts. God wants to do this in your hearts too!