Art Corner for On-the-Go Art

When I visited one of my alma maters recently I saw that they have a space dedicated to taking a short break for art. A wide range of mixed media art materials are all there including cards, pretty papers, scissors, paper punch, ribbon, stamps stickers, glue sticks and various ephemera. The idea is to create a card for a friend or just take a short art break. It is a great visual reminder to slow down and do art. That is exactly what I paused to do in the middle of the academic seminar that I was attending...slow down and do art.

Confirmation Class Visual Faith Statements

Mixed media works great to express visually for a mixed age group of kids in my current confirmation class. First we read the (short) Confession of 1967 and talked about what it says about belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Then we talked about how to use symbols to express faith.

Experimenting with 99% Alcohol and Pastels

I've been wanting to experiment with 99% isopropyl alcohol as a medium to "set" pastels to reduce or eliminate the need to use sprays. I'd special ordered the alcohol from a local pharmacy but had never gotten around to giving the technique a try. When my artist friend Tanya arrived for our Saturday art play day it was the perfect opportunity. She'd brought a box of pastels and I introduced the alcohol concept which she embraced as willing to experiment. 
I about had a heart attack when Tanya opted to begin the experiment in the center of her art! She poured alcohol in the lid of the bottle, dipped a cotton swab in the alcohol and gently applied. 
Once the cotton swab became too tedious she switched to a foam brush.
I'm the spirit of experimentation she lets excess alcohol from the "dirty" foam brush drip onto one strip of art which I had used to clean my rollers (I was mono printing with latex house paint). The alcohol puddled up on the latex paint. Once dry the pastels were adequately embedded on the surface and the splattered look "set" without further need for spray.
Mission success! A new way to "set" pastels. Beautifully.

Trialling Times and the Art as a Ministry of Presence

The hand symbolizes the mother's desire to be with her older son in the courtroom during the trial for her younger son's death.

Art is a wonderful ministry of presence during tedious sessions of much waiting, such as a hospital waiting room or (this week for me) while sitting in the victims waiting room during the murder trial for a child. Given the choice of hearing the grim details in the courtroom or hanging with the parents (on the witness list so on terminal standby & no talk/news about the trial allowed) I opted for the latter. I'm much happier doing a ministry of presence.
I experimented with the Jane Girls Petite Series 4-stencil set; I love the simplicity of the outline of the face.

After a week of waiting with them I finally remembered to put some art supplies in my bag. We opted to do art for art's sake. No agenda. I hadn't brought much: card stock, watercolors & brushes, colored pens & pencils plus a few new mini stencils I'd bought recently. We doodled & diddled. No agenda. 
Cramped quarters and limited supplies, but a great way to pass time during a long day of waiting.
I'm not sure where my art journal entry will "go" as it evolves, but I like the powerful symbolism of the cross and the face.

Zentangle Inside a Detention Center as a Ministry of Presence

It has been a privilege to do art with women and children who are incarcerated inside a detention center (while they await the slow process of seeking asylum in the U.S. from the violence in their home countries in Central America). Zentangle is easy to prep and pack and really requires only basic art supplies. (Of course you can snazzy it up with all kids of materials, but it also works very well with just the basics.) I wanted to do an art process which could be easily done without me present in the future/in-between visits. The basic supply list included:

  1. 4.5"x 6.5"black/white card stock used for scrap booking. Each participant received one piece of each color and they were invited to do one design on the front and one on the back of each piece.
  2. Black lead pencils. 
  3. Colored ink pens.
  4. Simple student set of watercolors with 6 small brushes to be used to embellish details.
  5. A pitcher for water and four cups.
  6. Half a dozen Zentangle books to help the participants with ideas.
In addition, I also had a small tabletop chalkboard (a trendy item from Hobby Lobby that a friend had given me as a gag gift for my birthday). My Spanish is "polite conversational Spanish" without the necessary vocabulary to use words to teach. Instead, I used the chalkboard to visually demonstrate the basic concepts of doing Zentangle.
Ages for participation ranged from 5-15. A few mothers participated too.

The most difficult concept to get across was the small size of the paper. Small is GOOD!

These ideas were copied from books. It was very empowering for the kids to produce cool images.

Watercolor on black paper was a popular/spontaneous addition to the art experience.