we help adults teach art to kids

The Busy Season…

Springtime for teachers is generally the busiest of the year and it’s no different for me. Art shows, the BIG mural project, ceramic units…yikes! But add in a new e-course and a new site, and things start to look a bit frantic.


My house is suffering. I haven’t seen the bottom of my kitchen sink for 2 days…but it’s my mental state that is concerning me. I’ve  forgotten one doctor and two dentists appointments in the past month.  And that’s even with the reminder call!

What’s going on?


Spiffy new site…

Pretty excited about this one. When it’s done, that is. I had planned on hiring an outside design firm to restructure my site, add a new store and spiff things up a bit, but Neil talked me out of it. He convinced me that together we could make one heck of a site…and we can. It’s just taking a LONG time. He’s a busy man. He works full time as a software engineer/director and spends his evenings helping DSS customers, assisting with homework and softball plus tackles the laundry when the washing machine is buried under a mountain of clothes. And he is also a good site engineer. I design and he codes. It’s a nice arrangement!

But don’t worry. The site won’t be that much different from the existing one. We are improving the shopping experience and navigation so you can find what you want faster.

A new e-course…

I knew I wanted to create Beyond the Basics almost immediately after launching Teaching Art 101. The first e-course was a blast and I met so many amazing art teachers. It focused on simple lessons, simple supplies and simple techniques. Teachers walked away with a fresh approach to teaching art, new ideas, new lesson plans and confidence in their own creative abilities.

I knew my next course needed to expand on the basics, so Beyond the Basics was born.  I created my yearly curriculum developing lesson plans that focused on form, the elements of art, more advanced techniques (still for the elementary school child) and different teaching approaches. I’m 3/4 of the way through these lessons and I can’t wait to show you what I have learned, what works REALLY well and what is a waste of time.


New Art Curriculum Planner

This is my baby. I’ve been developing a workbook that focuses on creating your own art curriculum. I’ve created worksheets, guidelines, art timelines, lesson suggestions (complete with grade level supplements) and an approach to lesson planning that I find answers the hundreds of curriculum queries I receive. It’s a bit of a beast to produce (almost 10 months in the making) but I should have it ready to launch this summer.

Personal notes


I took a trip to Toronto last month with my daughter to visit my sister and her new little baby. To hold a little one after so long is one of life’s greatest gifts. Babies are designed to love. Their smell, squishy-ness and coos are irresistible. I was able to show Elly where I went to college. Toronto felt a little grey, cold and colorless in March, but it was fun seeing how Toronto has changed since I lived there over 20 years ago.

Art Show reflections…

Just writing this post is a bit of a breather for me. I have a long to-do list today, one of which is to go back to school and remove all the art from the art show displays. Kind of like cleaning up after Christmas. A bit depressing but cleansing at the same time!

I know many of you are gearing up for your art show. Although I’m glad mine is behind me, I’m already thinking of new things I could try for ext year. Don’t forget to write down all the things that worked for you and what didn’t. Take notes. Make a binder of instructions and then next year, it’ll all be a bit easier!

Good luck everyone!



  1. Patty, Congrats! I am so proud of your accomplishments and wish you more success! I understand the messy house because we are rebuilding from the inside out and hopefully will have some “normal” state of living in a few weeks -It has been 8 weeks so far! I know how hard it is to blog, have a family, and teach so adding both of these huge undertakings, the website and workbook, must be a stressful task. Many wishes to you and your family for a prosperous brand Deep Space Sparkle has and will continue to become!


    April 12, 2013

    • Thank you, Laura! I love the work you do as well and you have always kept me inspired.

      Patty Palmer

      April 13, 2013

  2. You are a superstar! It always amazes me that you can teach, run this website, come up with amazing art lessons that you share with the world and are a mum! It’s not wonder something has to give and if its the dishes then so be it. What you do is appreciated by so many people so from Australia thank you. Take some time ut this weekend to do something nice for yourself.


    April 12, 2013

  3. Hi Patty,

    I recently took your ecourse teaching art 101 and enjoyed it so much. I am looking forward to taking this next course… You’ve been a great inspiration to me and I don’t know what I would have done without your site( just taught my first art class!). Thanks again for all u do!


    April 13, 2013

  4. Patty, your blog continues to inspire me, I love all your posts and ideas. Love the pics of TO. We live about one hour away. U of T is my alma mater and my daughter just finished her first year there. We spent this past weekend with my sister and Emma, seeing old stomping grounds and packing up a dorm room. Sweet pic of your daughter. I had to tell you that once again, one of your lessons I used – birds inspired by Pie in the Sky turned out so beautifully. One of my student’s creations was chosen to decorate all of our school boards posters for our Art show. This happened 2 years ago with a flower lesson you posted. Thank you for sharing so generously. I love that art transcends borders and is shared all over the world.


    April 14, 2013

    • Thanks, Diane. Thanks for your comments and I’m so pleased that my lessons and blog has helped you. I love U of T. Beautiful campus!

      Patty Palmer

      April 14, 2013

  5. Thanks so much for enduring a chaotic household and mental state in order to produce such a beautifully inspirational blog. I’ve used your penguin, o’keefe flower, and oil pastel butterfly lesson and they received rave reviews from both the kids and the teachers. Visiting your blog is a joy– it’s so cheerful, artistic, and colorful. It makes me want to bust out the tempera paints and oil pastels every time I visit. 🙂


    April 15, 2013

    • Haha! You are welcome. Yes, the state of my mind is somewhat scary, but creating art lessons is just so much fun!

      Patty Palmer

      April 15, 2013

  6. Hang in there Patty! I thought of you as I cleaned out my paint cabinet last week. I found your directions for mixing new colors and mounted them on the door. You are a Super Star Art Teacher.

    Beth Carter

    April 21, 2013

  7. Your lessons have given me new excitement after teaching for 21 years, so thank you for taking the time to share. You also inspired me to set up my own blog for my two art rooms and I have had fun posting our projects and pictures. I refer people to your site whenever a lesson came from you, even if I changed it a little. Sharing on the internet is so helpful when you are the only art teacher in a district as I am. Keep up the great work and thanks so much.


    May 11, 2013

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