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Book Reviews

Retirement Dreams & Children’s Books with Sparkler Gloria Mathews: AME 050

Retirement Dreams & Children’s Books with Sparkler Gloria Mathews: AME 050

By on Apr 19, 2017 | 15 comments

Today’s episode is special. Deep Space Sparkle member, Gloria Mathews is the quintessential Sparkler: creative, sharing, and kind. She is always the first one to comment, cheer on and celebrate other’s success in their journey as an art teacher. Gloria is a retired classroom teacher who transitioned to teaching art a couple of days per week to her group of students in grades K-2.  Hear how she designed an art program that suited her lifestyle and goals and how you can do it, too. Gloria and I chat about what makes a children’s book successful, how to get started writing your own children’s book and how letting go of one dream allows you to find the space to achieve another dream. IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:  How Gloria designed her life after retirement and how you can, too. How text and illustrations play off each other when writing children’s books What is SCBWI and how it serves people who have an interest in writing children’s literature Why it is so hard to publish a picture book How having a tribe of like-minded people fills you up   SHOW NOTES:  Gloria’s Facebook Page  Eric Carl Website Peter Reynolds Website Oliver Jeffers Peter Brown Chris Silas Neal www.scbwi.org Draw with Joan Miro Rachelle  Doorley & Tinkerlab It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond by Julia Cameron (affiliate link)...

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My Favorite Books: AME 046

My Favorite Books: AME 046

By on Mar 22, 2017 | 1 comment

Whenever I find myself stuck for inspiration, I always turn to books. Picture books are a secret passion of mine. I love looking at the exquisite illustrations as it puts me back in touch with why art is important. Children learn much about the world through books and as educators we can use books to help children understand what we are teaching. This episode shares my list of favorite art books not just for the art room but for everyday inspiration. LISTEN TO THE SHOW Subscribe to Art Made Easy and receive new episodes directly on your phone via your podcast App.  Note: If you have an iPhone, subscribe in iTunes. If you have an Android phone, subscribe in Stitcher.   Books Referenced in Show Laurence Anholt’s Art Series Illustrator Veroniqué Massenot Website and Instagram  Octavia Monaco’s Website The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel and Amanda Hall Child’s Introduction to Art: The World’s Greatest Paintings and Sculptures by Heather Alexander and Meredith Hamilton Modern Art Adventures: 36 Creative, Hands-On Projects Inspired by Artists from Monet to Banksy by Maja Pitamic and Jill Laidlaw The Museum by Susan Verde and Peter H Reynolds Dianna Hutts Aston Books/website A Rock Is Lively A Nest Is Noisy Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal Over and Under the Snow plus project on Deep Space Sparkle Botanicum: Welcome to the Museum curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle Ladies Drawing Night: Make Art, Get Inspired, Join the Party by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, Rachael Cole A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Alaska to California Not discussed in the podcast, but this book is a new discovery! Above and Below by Hanako Clulow Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life by Todd Oldham NOTE: these links contain affiliate links SHOW NOTES Deep Space Sparkle Summer Art Workshop (June 23-24, 2107) Become a Sparkler! Click to sign up for a free lesson and waitlist for The Members Club Todd Oldham’s Product line at...

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Best Books to Read on the First Day of School

Best Books to Read on the First Day of School

By on Aug 22, 2016 | 1 comment

Art and books are my biggest loves. Starting off any art class is best done with a book, but reading a book on the first day can help gauge a child’s listening skills, introduce art concepts in a lovely way and give the student a chance to get to know you. Watch this video to learn what books I love most…  Here are some links to Amazon to see the books Beautiful Oops! The Dot The Dot The Museum Shape Shift Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature The Rainbow Book Art The Shape of My Heart...

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Creative Books to Read This Summer – Art Made Easy 024

Creative Books to Read This Summer – Art Made Easy 024

By on Jun 15, 2016 | 9 comments

Today is the last episode of Art Made Easy Season One! When I embarked on this podcast journey, my intentions was to test out the platform, see if anyone was interested in listening to what I had to say and to share my love of teaching art through others. I’m proud that the show has over 65K downloads and has been in the New & Noteworthy section as well as the What’s Hot section in iTunes (K-12 education) since we began. That means that many of you tune in every week to listen. Thank you! To me there is no better way to begin summer, than to have a stack of books at the ready. Teachers need this time to recharge their creative batteries, take a break from the rigors of teaching and to explore new ideas and pursuits. Books can help take you there…to the place where anything is possible. Today’s episode shares three of my favorite books: One to help you form new habits, another to take you on a creative journey and the final one to allow you to step into the life of an artist/entrepreneur. Season Two of Art Made Easy will start in late August. See you then!   IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN: – What I’ll be doing this summer (including exciting plans for Deep Space Sparkle)! – Which book can be used as a guide to help you get past “sticking points” in the creative process – What inspired me in different phases of my life & how creativity is literally a “living, breathing thing” – How visiting museums, libraries and nature will open your mind up to new ideas – What is a “morning writing commitment”? – If you really need to be an artist to teach art to kids – Why you need to listen to your instincts and that little voice inside your head – Why you can do anything, whenever, when it comes to creativity – How really knowing yourself is needed before you change any of your habits – Why you need to understand what others are motivated by   LISTEN TO THE SHOW: SHOW NOTES: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (affiliate link) Better Than Before: What I Learned About...

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Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

By on Jun 13, 2016 | 5 comments

MATISSE’S GARDEN My favorite activity is popping into a book store to browse. I hardly do it anymore mostly because bookstores aren’t as plentiful. And doesn’t Amazon make it easy to buy your favorite books? But as I was walking down Sate Street last week with my daughter, we popped into The Santa Barbara Museum of Art book store. Nothing makes me happier than being immersed in colorful children’s book covers, except maybe art books written for children. Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman is a must have book for your art room library. It moves past Matisse’s back story and dives straight into the process of creating art, choosing colors and seeing art in a new way. And if you don’t have any of Matisse’s works of art nearby, there are eight reproductions you can use to show your students. Nice, huh? I love the illustrations by Cristina Amodeo. Perhaps a little less saturated than I prefer but still lovely and appealing. I was so inspired that I decided to draw my own little Matisse Garden inspired by Amodeo’s illustrations. Here’s a video that shows how to use basic markers to draw organic shapes and create a composition of your own. I used a simple sketchbook and Faber-Castell broad-tip markers. I tried really hard to leave the colors flat, like Matisse, but I couldn’t resist. In the end, I grabbed a Sharpie and outlined the flowers. I think you are either in one camp or another. I almost always outline but I love the organic beauty of not outlining, too. I know. So many tough decisions in art-making. Which do you prefer? Outlining or not? SAVE THIS POST! ARE YOU A SPARKLER? JOIN THE MEMBERS CLUB AND GER ACCESS TO OVER 300 ART LESSONS, VIDEOS AND...

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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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