Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Great Challenge

Weeks ago I talked about how I needed to get past the artist trading card sized artwork and expand into something larger. I need to grow as an artist and the small size is preventing that.

Two months later and I still haven't done anything. So it is time to challenge myself. During the month of September I will complete a drawing or painting at least 11 x 17 inches in size. Since people are one of my biggest challenges as well as one of my biggest interests the piece must be of a person, but not a portrait.

I don't expect to make a masterpiece, but I expect to increase my skill at least a small amount. Feel free to challenge me by asking how it is going. The project will start after September 5 (Caleb's first day of school)

Art Card of the Day: What I feel like doing right now!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Buttons and Popcorn

When I was a teenager in Royal Rangers (the Assembly of God's scouting program)I really wanted to get a button machine to make those cool 1 inch buttons. I figured I could sell hundreds of them to buy my way to a big camping trip in some exotic place like Canada or Missouri.

Now that I'm working with Cub Scouts I'm considering actually doing it. It is that time of year when Scouts turn their eyes to popcorn sales. It is the primary means of funding our Pack activities. The problem is that many people find paying $20 for a bag of popcorn to be a bit pricey. I know I do.

Caleb has a goal of $350 minimum this year with all the cool prizes kicking in around $600. I have no doubt we will make that amount. But I wonder sometimes if we had a booth at a craft fair selling $1 buttons we could make more. They cost 10 cents to make plus a minimal amount for printing. A booth full of cute grade school kids in blue uniforms and I think we would make a ton of money. I have been doing a lot of small scale art that would look good on a button (I think).

Of course to do any fundraising other than/in addition to popcorn sales requires a lot of paperwork to get the council's approval.

But then we could use the button machine for making custom event badges and "demerit" awards also.

Until I can afford to drop a couple hundred dollars on a button machine I guess we will stick to popcorn sales. Fortunately we have a new tool to help. We can now sell popcorn online with delivery to the customer's door.

If you feel so inclined to help Caleb reach his popcorn selling goal please feel free to peruse the website. That link will give credit to Caleb for anything you buy or donate to "Popcorn for the Troops."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Now Hosting New ATC swaps

This is just a quick note to let you know that I am now hosting 2 new artist trading card swaps. "What are artist trading cards," you say? They are original art pieces 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches on heavy paper. For my swaps they are all hand drawn or painted. Other swaps can use collage, stickers, stamps, and all sorts of other things.

You draw 3 cards (or 6 in some swaps) on a specific theme and mail them to a central host. You might also draw an extra card as a gift for the host to thank him or her for all the work involved in running the swap. That is optional. Many other people also do the same thing, sending their art cards to the same host. Every swap has a deadline and when that deadline hits the host will swap the cards with the other players' cards. So if you sent 3 cards you will receive back 3 cards. All will be from different artists all over the world.

"I'm not that great of an artist." Everyone starts somewhere. This hobby is pretty nurturing and encourages you to do your best. We accept that. If along the way your best gets better then that is awesome!

I have completed and collected more than a hundred individual, original pieces of art this way. I know it sounds interesting to you. How do you get started? First, go to and start a free account. Then browse through the open swap forum and find a swap or two that interests you. Post in the thread that you want to sign up. Start with 3 or less swaps until you get used to it so you don't over-commit yourself.

You can also sign up for the swaps that I am hosting. I have a swap called "Big and Tall Ships." I also have one called "Open Theme Nudes."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This week has been one to both strengthen the spirit and weaken the body. It has been Cub Scout week. Day Camp dominated our days and left us happy and exhausted at night.

Caleb joined Den 2 (of 16): a pack of Wolf Scouts. Every day, Monday through Thursday they did cooking, woodworking, and archery. He also got classes in fishing, knots, citizenship, nature, science, leathercraft, and sports. He made lots of friends, learned new songs, and made paper crafts. The week was capped off with an egg drop. He put his egg pilot "Yolkie Eggleston" in a box filled with dry oatmeal. The Boy Scouts launched it from a rubber tube catapult. Caleb was very proud that Yolkie survived.

The only real drama of the week was Caleb pounding his thumb with a hammer in either woodworking or leathercraft. He had an impressive amount of blood but he refused to be kept from the fun for very long and was right back on the line hammering.

I spent the week teaching knots to groups of kids as large as 16. I was amazed by a few things. First, the older the kids the less easily they were managed. With one exception all of the Webelos dens were very difficult to teach to. The second is that the kids that wanted to learn absorbed everything I had to teach and wanted more. They learned a disappearing knot trick and how to tie between 5 and 7 knots (depending on the age and willingness to learn). The last day I brought my yo yo and did a couple of tricks for them at the end of class if they cooperated. Many adults also learned a few knots which I find very fulfilling because I know they will now pass that on in their own packs.

Thursday night after Day Camp was over I went to Romio's Pizza for a Pack 31 leadership meeting. We learned about the popcorn sale coming up. Then we planned a few events and spent a lot of time gabbing. Unfortunately I ate dinner there. I had beef ravioli and I never did find much beef. I've eaten spaghetti there too and it was pretty bad as well. I hope their pizza is better.

Today the pack got together for a "welcome back" picnic in the park. We drank root beer made by our Cubmaster. We completed a very fun scavenger hunt and the boys learned about the popcorn sale coming up. We were going to play flag football but the field was soggy and the kids were already having fun on the playground.

As Caleb and I enjoyed Scouts all week, Jill and her parents were busy painting the bathroom and replacing our bathroom floor. The previous owners (in order to sell this place quick) put a linoleum tile floor directly over the existing linoleum floor. None of it was water sealed. We recently had a leak in our toilet that got under both floors and caused the particle board sub-floor to expand. So all of it had to be ripped out and replaced. Jill and her dad worked themselves to exhaustion but the floor got in. We are letting the grout cure before sealing the whole thing and installing our new low flow, duel flush toilet that my in laws gave as a gift.

Jill and Caleb have become addicted to the Angry Birds game and spent most of the day playing.

Art Card of the Day

The two art card swaps I have been hosting are done. Probably tomorrow I will be starting two more. One will be an open themed nude swap and the other large ships. The card above I did a few years ago. I'm going to try for more detail this time around.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Art Week

This week has been filled with art. I've been racing to get cards done for many of the artist trading card (ATC) swaps I'm committed to. 4 Sailor Moon and 3 Teen Titan cards have been finished as well as 4 random themed ones. Next are 4 based on the worlds of Joss Whedon.

I'm getting better in some areas and not progressing in others. I think some of my portraits are getting better. I love the Raven card and the Sailor Mars one is pretty good too.

I'm still struggling doing full bodies in such a small format. I need to get some smaller pens which will help a little but 2.5 x 3.5 inches is smaller than I'm comfortable drawing people.

I'm contemplating my next swaps to host. Artistic Nudes and Teen Titans end on Wednesday. I've really enjoyed the nudes swap and I will likely do another, perhaps broadening the theme. I'm thinking of a sailing ship themed one also.

Here are some of the cards I've completed this week:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Art Times

Summer in the Seattle area sometimes comes with about a week of sunshine bracketed by weeks of chilly weather and rain. This weekend summer hit and we ran north to Anacortes. A family tradition for as long as I can remember has been to go to the annual Arts (and formerly Crafts) festival. Temps went over 85 as we patrolled the canopy lined streets filled with artisans hawking paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and arts and crafts of all sorts. Caleb played with a wind up wooden boat, and we watched painters, chainsaw carvers, glass blowers, metal smiths, print makers, and musicians demonstrate their art. My foot held up pretty good until near the end when it started hurting and I had to go home.

We saw my brothers Bud and Mark, my sister-in-law Kathy, my Mom, and my niece Katie which made the day even better. I don't get to see my family nearly enough and I treasure when I am able to see them.

Now I am home again. Caleb stayed in Anacortes to attend vacation Bible school. My job today has been to clean my den from top to bottom. I need to put a couple dozen items on eBay this week and get some art cards done too. Perhaps I should turn off the computer and get to work on that.

Card of the Day