Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Reasons to Take Chalk Pastels on Vacation

With everything else you need to prepare for vacationing not to mention you’ll be on vacation doing all sorts of fun things, why take the time and space to pack chalk pastels (or any other art supply) for Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels? Here are a few of our reasons:

  • Makes a great rainy day activity- Sometimes you get a wash out on vacation and bringing art supplies changes things up and keeps kids engaged when you can’t run around outdoors.
  • Feeds the creative soul in your midst- Rebecca hadn’t sat and created anything in a few days but was delighted to sit for an afternoon and paint. It was a balm to her vacation weary soul!
  • Provides a quiet activity when everyone needs some down time- At about the midway point in any vacation, tired kids begin to wilt. An art activity can slow the busiest person down so there is rest even for a little bit. My other go to for this is reading aloud- which we always bring on vacation!
  • Ensures a low cost way to enjoy your vacation environment- Some of us vacation on a tight budget leaving behind the attractions for something simpler. Make a memory by drawing your favorite spot while on vacation.
  • Add to Your Vacation Journal- Make a journal for your kids to have fun recording their favorite parts of vacation. Rebecca has one going for this trip to Maine and it’s been a lot of fun. You can include your memory making art in the journal and add some collages of brochure pictures.

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Materials to Pack for Art Fun on Vacation

Whether you are flying or driving, save room for some art essentials. Our list includes:

  • Chalks- Since we flew to Maine, we packed a new package that was still nice and flat rather than our box with the smaller pieces.
  • Chalk Tutorials- We’ve been taking our Hodgepodge tutorials with us for years and whether we are camping or staying in a vacation house, they always come in handy.
  • Tablet- In our case our Kindle Fires so we can easily follow along with the pdf tutorials no matter where you are. This inexpensive tablet has been invaluable to us in our homeschool this year. If you don’t already have a tablet, this is a great investment without being too costly!
  • Drawing Paper- Rebecca likes to cut them into quarters making it easier to travel with and easy to fill space on when she draws.
  • Watercolor Paper-We like to travel with several media and watercolors are also easy to travel lightly with.
  • Watercolor Pencils- Much easier to be on the go with, watercolor pencils are fun to use on nature hikes and excursions. Then you can add the color later.
  • Drawing Pencils- Easy to carry on vacation if you have a sketcher in your family.
  • Sketch Pad- You can use any of these media in a sketch pad. Especially if you have one one meant for wet and dry media.

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Rather than a sandy beach, Rebecca modified her beach to match the rocky shoreline here in Maine. That’s the beauty of chalk pastel tutorials, you can make them your own along the way.

I think one of her favorite parts of this painting was to outline the clouds in pink to indicate sunset. We always learn something new with each tutorial!

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Just in time for summer traveling, Hodgepodge has released a new chalk pastel ebook! I downloaded it specifically for our trip to Maine and it has not disappointed. Rebecca spent an entire afternoon reading the book and making some chalk paintings.

Fill Your Sand Bucket with Art for All Ages!

If you are new to Southern Hodgepodge’s Chalk Pastels, you might be interested in a full bundle of books. These will provide you with a year of art curriculum which is guaranteed to be enjoyable even by your kids who don’t enjoy art. My 15yo loves to work with chalks and he finds art to be very effortful. It’s a forgiving medium and very pleasing to use.

From now through June 10, 2014 you can get $10 off. Just use the code: TCC614.

A Year of Art CurriculumSo, what are your vacation plans this summer? Be sure to put your art supplies, especially chalk pastels, on your packing list!

5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun

Bright Ideas Press: 5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun

Perhaps spring is halfway to summer where you are, but in upstate New York, we are slow to burst into spring, especially this year. Enjoy a little spring inspiration with these resources even if you are well into the season.

Click on over to Bright Ideas Press for 5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun- you’ll find ideas for nature study, art, and science along with our favorite websites, books, and art products.

Many thanks to Bright Ideas Press for the opportunity to contribute!

Project: Middle Ages History & Fashion

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks always for your support!

This year our 8th grader, Rebecca, has been working through history with an emphasis on fashion. She researches the history of fashion during that time period and then designs her own garments. During her study of the Middle Ages, Rebecca worked on two separate fashions- one from the early Middle Ages and another from later in the same period.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Research on Middle Ages History & Fashion

I’ve had fun looking for resources on the fashion of different time periods of history. Rebecca loves to explore and construct the most authentic garments.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

The Pattern Drafting Process

How does she go about making a dress from an idea?

  • Using her research, Rebecca comes up with an overall vision for a garment.
  • She sketches the dress starting with the basic shape and adding details.
  • As she chooses her design, she considers construction techniques and does more research and/or watches tutorials
  • Then it’s time to measure the doll and begin drawing the patterns.

Need help on learning to draft patterns? I shared our resources in Rebecca’s Steampunk Project post.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Constructing the Garment

I admire her bravery! Her skills are confident and she’ll try something new with no hesitation.

  • Use authentic fabric if possible- though I have to say she did not enjoy working with the wool.
  • Use a serger- If you have a serger, you can use it to finish the seams before putting the pieces together. If not, then be sure to finish the seams carefully.
  • Frequently read tutorials- Rebecca spends a lot of time learning by reading sewing blogger tutorials. It’s free and it’s a great way to learn on your own! Her Kindle Fire is usually by her side when she is working on something so she can refer back to the tutorial easily.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Facts on Middle Ages Fashion

Rebecca uncovered some interesting details in her research of Middle Ages Fashion. Here are a few:

  • During the 13th century tunics were the base of all outfits.
  • Cloaks were a staple of the Middle Ages and worn over the tunic.
  • Children wore the same basic style in smaller sizes.
  • The longer your garments and cloaks, the more money you had. Peasants wore short length garments.
  • During the 14th century waist lines rose and women’s clothing became more fitted – some sleeves were so tight they had to be stitched together once on!
  • The 15th century showed the empire waist being popular.
  • Men’s garment length was shortening while lady’s lengths were increasing.

Rebecca chose to make a gown in keeping with 15th century fashion. The collar is made of “fur” and forms a V that goes to the waist and it has a thick belt which was popular at the time.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Reading List for the Middle Ages

Along with her research in fashion, she spent time immersed in both fiction and non-fiction titles about the same time period. A brief list of the titles she’s read include:

Some of these titles chronicle the end of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages that followed.

Studying fashion and learning how these garments were made and put together is a great way to focus on one aspect of history. Rebecca has had a very focused year and it’s been great for building her sewing project portfolio. She’s learned a lot of techniques which are useful for full sized fashions.

I’m looking forward to sharing two of her latest projects with you soon. She has a fashion due this week for a local contest. Rebecca is hoping to do well enough to make it into the fashion show. Stay tuned!

Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art!

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Happy Spring! The weather in upstate NY has been seasonably cold this winter and we are ready for warmer weather. Around here though, you have to wait for that. Consistently lovely days don’t arrive until May. In the meantime, we enjoy the few special nice days we get and we turn our attention to the coming of spring. What better way to celebrate than with some spring art with nature study? We took some time enjoy more of Hodgepodge’s art tutorials using A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels.

Chalk Pastels Are for The Whole Family

One of the things I love about Tricia and Nana’s art is that all of our kids can enjoy the projects from younger to older and from art challenged to art gifted. Chalk is a very forgiving medium and even my 10th grader, who doesn’t enjoy art, has a good time and is pleased with his results.

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Tools for Chalk Pastel Art

You don’t need much to get started. Here’s our list.

  • Chalks- we use a set from the local craft store. I bought two since we have four kids. Less sharing is required that way. I like to ease stress during art times!
  • Paper towels- damp ones too (baby wipes work but we don’t have those around anymore and no…I don’t still buy them!)
  • Mats- something to work the art on so you don’t worry about the table. If you are a worrier about tables where art is concerned.
  • Paper- I really like the sulphite drawing paper from Discount School Supply. It can handle wet and dry media.

Bonus Item: Not necessary for the success of your time with the chalks, but you need something to read along with the tutorial.

  • Kindle Fire- or another tablet on which to view your tutorial. I used my laptop in the past, but the Fire takes less space and is easy for all the kids to see.

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Acrylic Art Challenge Included

According to Tricia, Nana wanted to add some challenging assignments for the art experts among us. I’m so glad she did! The assignment is for a spring tree in acrylic and my daughter took the challenge. This is a fabulous activity for kids who want to take their art to the next level. Here are some of her results:

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Tools for Working with Acrylic Art

Here are a few things we’ve gathered as we’ve begun to work with acrylic paints. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is what Rebecca has asked for which she has put to good use!

  • Acrylic paints- I’ve always used craft acrylics, but the art acrylics are thicker and more vibrant. Lovelier all around! We have the three primary colors plus a dark and light green.
  • Palette- Rebecca asked for one and it’s been a well used tool for her.
  • Brushes- A must! I’ve always had a variety of sizes and types from a large assorted package, but artsy girl asked for open stock, quality brushes for Christmas and we delivered. I hit a 60% off sale in December and stocked up. Wow! What a difference a brush can make!
  • Canvas- Tricia uses the canvas board, but we’ve enjoyed using stretched canvas in the large packs.

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Color Mixing & Brush Technique for Acrylic Art

One of the best parts of this project was the color mixing! It was just a few sentences of directions from Nana that tell your student how to mix up a nice gray for the walkway and the brown for the tree trunks.

The messier, the better as far as Rebecca is concerned and mixing her own colors and shades was part of the joy.

After mixing the colors, Nana mentions the magic of using a brush in a particular way. Your student gets to test it out while putting down layers of the painting. Fabulous results! There’s a bonus technique when it comes to the dogwood blossoms. Wait until you see that fun!

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels Giveaway & Purchase

You can get your own copy of A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels for only $7.99. What a price for endless art fun! Rebecca will often sit down to Hodgepodge tutorials on her own to learn and practice. It’s been a quality investment for our art school. If you haven’t tried any of the Seasonal Starts, you can purchase the bundle for $19.99.

Tricia has graciously offered three copies of A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels to give away! Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. The drawing will end next Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Celebrate Spring with Art for All Ages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tips for Botanical Illustrating

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for Botanical Illustrating

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

We had the distinct pleasure recently of attending a workshop on botanical illustrating through our 4-H Plant & Environmental Science committee. Rebecca loves to draw plants in her journals and has been honing her talents. The workshop was a fun way to reinforce skills she’s been working at on her own.

Botanical Illustrating Has a Long History

Our artist instructor shared reminders about people drawing plants throughout history. We know that Lewis & Clark took with them naturalists and they themselves kept extensive journals on their journey west in 1804.

She also mentioned that Charles Darwin drew many pictures of plant life during his infamous sail aboard the HMS Beagle.

In addition, Beatrix Potter is well known to have been a natural scientist and an illustrator of the natural world in addition to writing stories for children.

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for Botanical Illustrating

An Artist’s Advice for Drawing Plants for Botanical Illustrations

Botanical illustrators are still needed to provide detail that a photograph may not easily reveal. Cross sections are drawings because the artist can render an accurate image of the many layers of detail in the plant. So, how do you approach making a botanical drawing?

  • Pay attention to detail not the plant’s surroundings.
  • Box off quadrants of the plants and focus on drawing the shape of one quadrant at a time.
  • Notice and draw individual shapes not the plant as a whole which will lead to the best accuracy of the specimen.

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for Botanical Illustrating

Opportunities for Illustrating Plants

Need a reason to draw the plants you find?

  • Keep a garden journal and draw the various stages of growth.
  • Illustrate your leaf collection.
  • Improve your nature journaling by drawing the plants you see on a walk.
  • Collect for your nature table and draw what you find.

Rebecca has already requested one garden upgrade for this next season and she’s working it out with Dan. They are going to make a cement table top from the directions in The Family Handyman. Before the slab sets, she will draw plant designs into the cement. It’s going to make a fantastic garden table. She can hardly wait to sit out there in the warm weather to observe the garden and do her school work outdoors!

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for Botanical Illustrating

Resources for Botanical Illustrating

We enjoyed a look at some of these books. I added a few of my own discoveries on the topic. Pick them up at the library for an added bonus to your nature journaling.

Tools for Botanical Illustrating

Where art is concerned I prefer to provide the best tools we can afford. It’s frustrating to any budding or seasoned artist to work with inferior implements. I’ve also noticed the better the tools, the better the results.

  • Drawing pencils- not just your ordinary #2 pencil, but a set of drawing pencils ranging from soft to hard. Rebecca recently got her first set and it’s made a big difference in her ability to shade. With this being her first try with them, we went with a modest priced set.
  • Watercolor Pencils- Our favorite moderately priced sets are the Prang pencils. They have thick color and you can use them in a variety of ways. Have you ever seen Harmony Art Mom’s Watercolor Pencil 101 Tutorials? This post opened up some new ways of using the medium. It’s a must view!
  • Colored Pencils- We use Prismacolor pencils for our art projects. They lay down the color so nicely and they are worth the investment if you take care of them.
  • Pencil Sharpener- I like the Prismacolor sharpener because it is kind to the expensive pencils!
  • Watercolor Paper- Nothing beats water color paper for when you are using this medium. I find it helps to take in the water and leave the pigment nice and brilliant in the finished product.
  • Sketch Book- Rebecca loves the smaller sketch books with a hard cover and thicker pages for use with wet or dry media. The hard cover lets her sketch out on the trail which is a favorite past time for her.

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for Botanical Illustrating

Plant & Flower Anatomy and Taxonomy

Before we drew our botanical illustrations, we were given a review of plant anatomy. Understanding the various plant parts and where they come together is important for making an accurate drawing with labels.

Floral formulas help to identify what family the flower is in- is it a rose? A lily? Orchid? Flowers have a certain number of petals (corolla) and sepals (calyx) along with the reproductive parts- the stamen (andrecium) and pistol (gynecium). Of course floral formulas only apply to angiosperms (flowering plants). Do you remember the taxonomic name of non flowering plants like conifers and ferns?

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for Botanical Illustrating

Botanical illustrating is a great way to combine art and biology. Of course, as children grow, their skills will change. Not all of my children love to sketch, but they have all done it. I find that Rebecca can be very inspiring to her brothers and she will often take them out on excursions or rope them into helping her collect. Enjoy these resources and get ready…spring is right around the corner, right?