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.
Continue reading

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.

Creating Your Coloring Book

©Bonnie Kelso and Creating Your Experience

I’m not going to lie to you. I have a natural repulsion to Adult Coloring Books. This is precisely why I chose to create one. I wanted to truly come to terms with why I didn’t like them by creating one that I could love.

Top 3 reasons I don’t like Adult Coloring Books:

  1. They do not engage your creative mind.
  2. They do not encourage you to think outside the box (or even color outside the lines).
  3. They waste your precious creating time.

This is what I see when I watch people coloring: They are focused on staying in the lines. They suffer over the decisions of which space should be colored which color. They are obsessed with Continue reading