Art In Progress (Part 3)

I’ve been working as a Teaching Artist for five years now. Wow! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I started out applying for grants through the Nevada Arts Council. I designed creative exploration workshops for adults and children. Then last summer I applied for a Youth Collaborative Art Workshop and Temporary Installation project through Clark County Public Arts. “Songbirds Of Hope” was born! I created a design and wrote a detailed proposal and lesson plan for the project. I was interviewed a few weeks after the submission period ended by a selection committee who eventually chose me and a dozen other artists to facilitate workshops throughout the county. I didn’t know where my project would land, but luckily it ended up at the Desert Breeze Community Center which is only a few miles from my home.

A few months ago, I attended a meeting with the program coordinators at the community center, and we discussed the location of the artwork, the schedule for the workshops, and how to prepare according to their COVID safety guidelines.

Then I got to work preparing the background canvases, vinyl lettering, sound recorder, and of course, 50 cut-out birds to be painted by the children.

After 50, I’m getting the hang of drawing birds.
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Art In Progress (Part 2)

I’ve been preparing for my Youth Public Art Project for Clark County. The project itself will take place over Spring Break at the Desert Breeze Community Center. I will be facilitating the creation of fifty little birds with the help of fifty children. I call this project “Songbirds Of Hope,” because it is inspired by all the birds I heard singing after lockdown. That’s right… FIFTY unique birds cut out from mat board! I’ve been cutting a few each day and currently have 19 finished.

As I showed in my last post, the background layer was brushed in loosely. Here are my seasonal canvases after adding in the “happy” trees. I used my palette knife to create the textured tree trunks.

Then I painted in the leaves. Now my little world just needs some birds to live in it. Back to cutting out those little guys!

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

Art In Progress

I thought I would share a little behind-the-scenes today. I am in the middle of preparing a Youth Public Art Project for Clark County. The project itself will take place over Spring Break at the Desert Breeze Community Center. I will be facilitating the creation of fifty little birds with the help of fifty children. I call this project “Songbirds Of Hope,” because it is inspired by all the birds I heard singing after lockdown. Did anyone else noticed how quiet the streets were for a while? There was little to drown out the sounds of nature. It was the highlight of my day, listening to those little birds. It brought me small moments of hope during a frightening and unsettling time. One year later, the pandemic is far from over, but I continue to commune with my bird neighbors on a daily basis.

Photograph by Jill Wellington.

This weekend I have been prepping my canvases which will soon become home for fifty bird cut-outs. I have a canvas to represent each of the seasons. It has felt so good to paint large again after a few years of focusing on picture books. The act of spreading these canvases out in my living room and pulling out the big brushes and paints has brought a new sense of hope and optimism into my own heart.

I have limited space, so I’m using my walls to hang the canvases up. I pull them down one at a time and work on them in my living room. I started with a dark green base layer.

Next, I put down my background layer. I tried to keep it loose with broad brush strokes. I wanted each canvas to speak to the season. Can you guess which season is represented on each canvas?

Now comes the fun part! TREES! I’m using my palette knife and working them in, Bob Ross style. Soooo much fun! Awwww, what happy little trees! Here’s winter. I’ll post the others later. Until then, I encourage you to take a walk outside if you can and listen for messages of hope and optimism from your bird neighbors.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

HeART of Discovery!

I’m facilitating a collaborative mural project for the Discovery Children’s Museum! On Saturday, August 3rd from 10am – 1pm we will be in the Discovery Lab working on a visitor-created piece of collaborative art in celebration of Art Appreciation Month at the Discovery Children’s Museum here in Las Vegas. I’m so excited to be a part of it.

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The Lady of Shalott

I’ve been taking these old art postcards I’ve collected over the years and altering them in my sketchbook. “The Lady of Shalott,” is a painting by John William Waterhouse. It was inspired by Lord Tennyson’s poem about a woman who is an artist. She weaves in a tower and lives an isolated life. She can only watch the people living their lives near the city of Camelot. She can’t even look at them directly, only through their reflection in a mirror. Here’s a portion of the poem:

There she weaves by night and day, a magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say, a curse is on her if she stay
to look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be, and so she weaveth steadily,
and little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

One day she is tempted by the sight of Sir Lancelot who is very handsome. She breaks her spell, and looks upon him directly. The mirror shatters and she knows because of the curse that her time is running out. She takes a boat towards Camelot, but dies before it arrives. Lancelot looks over her tragic death with sympathy.

Lady of Shalott SM Continue reading

The Owl

Ever since I became a Mom my symbol for my relationship with my children has been the owl. Learning from the energy of the owl has given me confidence over the years. I can still remember how frightening it was to bring children into the world. I didn’t feel able to protect them and I questioned if I was qualified to guide them. Then I saw an owl in a meditation and many meditations after that one. It was a giant owl with wings Continue reading

A Friday Art Deviation

JeremielSM

This week has been pretty intense. I have been processing a lot of internal shifts as the circumstances of life change around me. The Archangel Jeremiel came to me strongly as we entered the month of June. This painting is a bit different than how I usually draw, but in a lot of ways it was very freeing to create without censoring what came through. I will show you the phases of the image so as to explain how it just kind of made its way onto the paper. I consider this intuitive painting. I often teach this method of creating art in my workshops. It focuses on freeing yourself creatively by trying new things and playful experimentation.

IMG_3101The first image is the paper collage. I knew I was going to paint an angel. That was my only intention. I wasn’t even sure it was Continue reading

An Experience, not another boring lecture…

Tomorrow is my first Facebook Live Event and it is going to be epic!

Epic… really, Bonnie?

YES!

NOT because millions of people are expected to participate.

NOT because I am that ego-centric and important and just love to listen to the sound of my voice and be the star of my own world.

… and NOT because it’s just another boring lecture.

It is going to be EPIC, for me on a very personal level. It will be a significant moment of growth where I will step out of my comfort zone and allow myself to be vulnerable. It will be me, talking heart to heart with other people about how I manage a limitation that has always been a part of my life. It’s a personal limitation that in the past has only ever been visible to the people closest to me. Tomorrow, I am going public with it. I’m no longer NOT going to talk about my personal experience with depression.

After it is over, I know in my heart, that an enormous personal shift will have occurred, no matter how well or poorly the actual event goes. Between 12pm and 2pm Pacific Time tomorrow I will let a childhood monster out of the closet once and for all. By doing so, this monster will no longer have the same power over me.

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If you also suffer from depression and would like to learn a few creative ways to manage it, I invite you to join me. If you know of someone else who may benefit from this experience, please feel free to share the link with them. This event is 100% free and open to the public. My intention is for the event to be interactive. I will respond to comments and questions live as we go. I am hoping that someone actually is there to interact with me live, but if not, I will try to make it as interactive as I can by including lots of prompts for you to engage with the presented materials, even if it is at a later time as you watch the recording.  Continue reading