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My NAEA 2016 Debrief…

My NAEA 2016 Debrief…

By on Mar 26, 2016 | 7 comments

Did you miss attending the NAEA Conference this year? I almost did. Just two weeks before the event, I purchased my ticket after realizing that this might be the only chance to meet with my Art Workshop co-teachers, Cassie and Laura, before the summer. Plus I wanted to meet Christa from Faber-Castell who provides art supplies for my summer workshop and who I have worked with this past year creating lessons. I’m so glad I went. This is what I did…. I going to confess up front that I didn’t attend one single session. Not a single one. Time was short. I arrived late Thursday afternoon, took an Uber to the Hilton and grabbed a coffee before heading to a Faber-Castell focus group for art teachers. As I was heading up the elevator, I ran into Laura, Cassie, Ginger (Paintbrush Rocket) and Jennifer (Nashville). How fun to meet these ladies for the first time. And I really felt like they were old friends. Love the online world. After the Faber-Castell meeting, I went out to dinner at Ralph Lauren with the Faber-Castell crew. We had the BEST  time. It was St. Patrick’s Day and things were rather crazy. Let’s just say we had 250lb men playing the bagpipes as we sipped wine and ate braised short ribs. On Friday, Laura and Cassie and I had our Breakfast Brainstorming sessions, planning the lessons and refining our theme for my Summer Art Workshop. It was amazing to sit back and listen to these ladies come up with ideas. I just had to sit back and listen. Inside I was giddy-happy for everyone who is coming to the event. They have no idea how much they are in for! Meeting my blogging friends at The Art of Ed booth in the convention center was the hi-light. I got to see my friend, Donna, met Amy and Marcia for the first time and had a chance to talk to art teachers about their programs and projects. In fact we talked so much that I missed my chance to attend the last sessions of the day. On Friday morning a group of us headed to breakfast chatted over green eggs and ham & strong coffee and headed...

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

By on Dec 23, 2015 | 2 comments

Neil and I want to wish all of you a very happy holiday and bright and shiny new year. 2015 has been a year of growth, change and new directions. I can’t wait to start my podcast, open registration for my summer conference and offer you more tips and resources for creating art with your students and children. It has been a pleasure creating content for YOU. See you all in the New Year…....

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Books to Understand Your Creative Journey

Books to Understand Your Creative Journey

By on Oct 12, 2015 | 2 comments

A few years ago, a good friend was collecting nuggets of advice for her daughter’s 18th birthday. She created an album and inserted notes from friends, relatives and loved ones.  I happily agreed to share my advice. When in doubt-read a book-Patty My friend was put out over the brevity of my note. After all, I had known this girl since she was a baby. Didn’t I have more to say? But for me, if everyone who ever had doubts or concerns or was curious or intolerant, all they had to do was read a book. The perspective you gain from reading someone else’s words is one of the most enriching activities you can do. I thought the advice was the truest thing I could say. I love both fiction and nonfiction. I’m a crazy reader. I often have 4-5 books on my bedside table, by my bathtub and in my living room–all book-marked at random pages.  I’ll pick up what suits me. Lately, there has been a huge influx of amazing titles by some of my favorite authors who are speaking about creativity. Here are the ones I have loved the most: 1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear   I haven’t finished this book yet and there is a very good reason for it: every sentence needs to sit with you for a while. Elizabeth Gilbert is a wonderful storyteller. She wrote one of my favorite books, The Signature of All Things, and infuses her knowledge of creativity and fear with stories and personal notes. That’s what makes this book so worth reading. She is speaking to all of us. As art teachers or parents or teachers–whatever roles we take on–understanding the stories we tell ourselves really helps bring our own creative voice to our work. And when you are comfortable with your voice, you can help others bring forth theirs. I shared my love of Big Magic with you earlier this week in this post. DSS Newsletter subscribers may remember the video link of Marie Forleo interviewing Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s one of the best conversations I listened to in a long, long while, so grab a cup of tea, find a quiet place and listen to what she has to...

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The Happy Secret I’ve Been Keeping…

The Happy Secret I’ve Been Keeping…

By on Aug 18, 2015 | 54 comments

Last November I received an email that would literally change the way I think about Deep Space Sparkle.  An agent in New York wrote to me and asked if I would consider writing a book about art. Hmmm. Let me think about that… Sure! I was a little more excited than that. Books are a huge love of mine.  I spent ten years writing middle grade stories and as many years attending SCBWI workshops and conferences, meeting in coffee shops for critiques and revising every spare moment I got. But three years ago, I stopped. Deep Space Sparkle was really picking up steam. Managing the blog, my shop, teaching full time and raising my kids was more than enough. I always knew that publishing a hard copy of Deep Space Sparkle was something many of my readers were asking for.  I knew that going from blog to book was a very real possibility as many of my favorite bloggers were producing books, yet I still didn’t pursue it. Can I just tell you how good and validating it felt to have an agent approach me instead of the other way around?   What Its Like Writing A Book Proposal After a couple of calls with the agent teasing out a book concept, she asked me to produce a bio, a media kit and a few more informational pages about Deep Space Sparkle. Despite not really knowing what these pages should look like, I decided to design the media kit to reflect the visual elements of my blog. This was easy peasy (and a lot of fun) for me. Translating Google Analytics, especially when page views and user visits aren’t necessarily that important to you business, was hard. I felt like my numbers were abysmal. My social media stats were kind of pathetic. It’s strange how numbers twist your perspective on your self-worth because after looking at my social media and web stats and compared them with others popular sites, I felt like I had been wasting all these years building not trying to build my audience. So much for letting things grow organically. I vowed to put more effort into growing my stats (which I still haven’t done, by the way). After my media kit passed...

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Easy Ways to Create Images for Your Blog Posts

Easy Ways to Create Images for Your Blog Posts

By on May 23, 2015 | 5 comments

Have you ever wondered what goes into running a creative business?  This series is all about building and cultivating your own creative business from finding inspiration to e-commerce platforms to the nuts and bolts of operating a website. In March, a reader wrote to me asking for advice on how to photograph her student’s artwork for her blog. In today’s digital age it’s not just about how to take a picture anymore. It’s all about branding yourself and your blog. And if that’s scares you or sounds like too much work, rest easy. It’s the most fun part about running a blog. Let’s dive in…. Which camera is best? It has never been easier to create amazing images for your blog posts. You don’t have to have an expensive camera. Really. Your smart phone is capable of creating great quality photographs. You can edit your images directly on your phone and even publish to your blog. When I first began blogging, I used an inexpensive Sony camera. Phone cameras weren’t the best option so you really needed to take a camera into your art room. As I developed more photography skills I invested in a DSLR camera. I bought a Canon Rebel T2i and still use it for all of my photographs. The camera body is basic so I upgraded my lens. The lens I use almost exclusively is a 35mm prime lens. The prime means that there is no zoom. You are the zoom so you have to move your body towards your subject to fill the frame or pull back to include more in your image. Whichever camera you use, make sure you do the following: Carry in with you Clean the lens often (especially your camera phone) Edit all of your photos Tips for taking photographs of student’s artwork In my Teaching Art 101 e-course, I demonstrated how to take a picture for the purpose of a student gallery. The most important thing to remember is that the artwork needs to be flat and perpendicular to YOU. This may mean that you will have to stand above a piece of art when taking a picture or place the picture on a straight easel so you don’t have an awkward angle. I can’t stress how important...

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Spring Happenings 2015

Spring Happenings 2015

By on May 4, 2015 | 1 comment

It’s about that time of year when I get totally overwhelmed with all-things art and school and feel the need to organize my thoughts on my blog. Sort of like an online diary, which is what a blog really is, right? Truth is, I’m scrambling this week, so a new lesson post seems unlikely. First things first… I’m having a sale!   Teachers Pay Teachers does it up right. They are hosting a Teacher Appreciation Day Sale on May 5th and 6th and I’m invited. My entire store will be discounted 20% (excluding already discounted bundles). This is great news for anyone who has a TpT wish-list a mile long. Here is the link to Deep Space Sparkle on Teachers Pay Teachers plus… All of Deep Space Sparkle’s lesson plans, video packages, resources and posters are also on sale. For TWO DAYS only, everything in the DSS shop (minus e-courses and Art School for Kids bundles) is 20% off. Here is the link to my DSS Shop SALE CLOSES WEDNESDAY, MAY 6TH AT 12PM EST Summer Art Workshop   My Summer Art Workshop is almost at capacity. I have about 10 spots left. As long as the registration link is open, I can take you. As soon as I reach capacity, I will remove the link. I’ll create a waiting list just in case of cancellations. Many of you are opting to stay on campus. This sounds like so much fun! If I wasn’t 5 minutes away from the school, I portably would stay, too. Here is the link to the Summer Art Workshop Registration. Create with Clay e-Course Here’s the secret to staying sane when life gets busy: when you add something to your to-do list, something must be taken off.  I decided that my intended e-course, Create with Clay, will now be turned into a lovely lesson plan instead of an e-course. It won’t have the videos and forum and the exciting nature of an e-course, but the good content will be there. With the addition of my Summer Workshop, I felt I didn’t have time for the development of the e-course. Create with Clay lesson plans will be coming out this summer. 6th Grade Mural Project This is the most anticipated project of the school year. My...

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