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.

Puff and Groop

This year I’m trying to enter all the picture book writing contests I can. I’m determined to stretch myself creatively and besides, who can resist a chance at winning a prize? Here is my entry for Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words contest, and as you might guess, my story had to be 50 words or less. Not as easy as it sounds when you also have to include a compelling story arc. So, without further ado, here is my uber-short fish tale.

Puff & Groop

by Bonnie Kelso

Puff is a small fish.

Groop is a BIG fish,
gobbling everything in his path,
never asking questions.

When Groop gulps down Puff,
Puff goes…

POOF!!!

“Oooooooh,” moans Groop.

Puff closes his mouth,
holding his water as long as he can.

Groop opens his mouth wide.

BELCH!

Out pops Puff!

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There were a whopping 759 entries for this contest! To read them all go to Vivian Kirkfield’s website.

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.

Reading and Writing

As a writer I find it embarrassing that I was never an avid reader as a kid. I was much more interested in going outside. It didn’t really matter what I was doing, as long as it was outside. Mostly, I wandered. I looked at things, smelled flowers, tried to talk to the birds, and when I felt really brave, I would lift up a rock and see what I might find hiding underneath. I didn’t really become a recreational reader until I graduated from college.

Continue reading

A Greater Warrior Than I

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I was just wondering what to put in the frame when my cat returned proudly from the hunt.

Sending love to you and all the fearless warriors out there,

Bonnie


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates children’s books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique. Her book EVER OPEN is now available on Amazon in print and for kindle.

EverOpenCoverTilt

 

Deep in the heart of the Everglades, 26 tiny eggs are beginning to hatch in a giant nest under a tall cypress tree. The fourth alligator to see the light of day is about to embark on a classic hero’s journey. Join Baby D as he explores his world through the innocence and wonder of a natural dreamer. Discover what makes him special while pondering what it might be that makes you special, too.

Strength

strength

Strength is the tree that can bend in the storm without breaking. This image from my sketchbook and includes an art card featuring the painting “Tiger in a Tropical Storm” by Henri Rousseau. It’s hard to tell if the tiger is frightening or frightened. I like that about the painting. Sometimes we are both in the face of fear when we are trying to summon our own courage.

I wish you the strength of a tree and the courage of a tiger, or the strength of a tiger and the courage of a tree to help you through whatever it may be that is challenging you right now.

Love,

Bonnie


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates children’s books that celebrate diversity, creativity, and all the special qualities that make each of us unique. Her book EVER OPEN is now available on Amazon in print and for kindle.

EverOpenCoverTilt

 

Deep in the heart of the Everglades, 26 tiny eggs are beginning to hatch in a giant nest under a tall cypress tree. The fourth alligator to see the light of day is about to embark on a classic hero’s journey. Join Baby D as he explores his world through the innocence and wonder of a natural dreamer. Discover what makes him special while pondering what it might be that makes you special, too.

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