Monday, July 22, 2013

DIY/Kids & Creativity: Line, shape and color

by Andrea Mulder-Slater


It's been said that creativity is the key to happiness and that by doing something creative every day, we can boost our moods (and productivity) tremendously. When you are fully immersed in a creative activity, your focus shifts away from day to day worries and stresses as you instead put all your attention on the immediate task at hand.

Some people like to write in a journal while others enjoy baking cookies. Still others express their artistry by arranging fresh cut flowers in a vase...

If you are looking for a simple, non-intimidating way to be creative today, have a peek at the following tutorial. It's perfect for all ages and uses items you will already have in your home :)

All you need is a piece of paper, a straight edge, some circular objects (a cup, a bowl, a yo-yo, etc.) a permanent pen or marker and watercolor paints (or crayons, or pencil crayons, or markers).

Start by drawing between 12 and 16 straight lines across the paper. They can go in any direction, just as long as they travel from one edge of the paper to the other.

Next, place your circular objects on the page and start tracing them. Add as many or as few circles as you like and let them overlap in some areas.

Now comes the fun part. Grab your watercolor paints - or crayons, pencil crayons, markers, etc. -- whatever you have on hand. I used watercolors.

Begin filling in every other space with color. Take your time and don't panic if you "mess up" just continue on and "go with the flow".

Before you know it, time will have flown by and in the end, you'll feel relaxed, recharged and... you might even have a funky work of art you'll be proud to hang on your wall.

Got kids? Looking for more creative art ideas? Visit our art education website - - where you will find 1000s of art lessons and activity ideas for kids of all ages. And, it's FREE!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Musical Interlude: Not Coming By

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

The day began with a walk on the shore. Actually, several walks on the shore. Somewhere along the way, we picked up the neighbour's dog and after a few loops to the beach and back, we made our way to the cabin next to us to deliver the happy drooling pup who had given us a run for our money.

When we got back to the studio, this song was playing on CBC Radio and now, the French horns are stuck in my head for the day.

Hope you enjoy it! Here's "Not Coming By" by Emma-Lee...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When a plan comes together...

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Last year, Geoff was approached by the Atlantic Salmon Federation to see if he could spruce up the migration map located in the Irving Display Hall located in the organization's interpretive centre.

He jumped at the opportunity.

First, a sketch of the map was created using watercolour paints.

After discussions with conservationists at the ASF, Geoff had the idea to add just a little  more to the map.

Special mural panels were brought into the studio where they were hung and prepped for paint.

The rest, is best described with photos...

Once the majority of the mural was complete, Geoff installed the panels at the Salmon Federation.

The final areas were painted...

And a grand unveiling took place...

photo: Tim Ostrem

Below is the self guided mural tour brochure. You can also pick one of these up at the Atlantic Salmon Federation. 
If you are ever in the St. Andrews, NB area, be sure to stop in at the Atlantic Salmon Federation's Interpretive Centre. In addition to being able to "meet" salmon face to face, you can also wander through the beautiful nature trails on the property. It is a must see attraction!

Atlantic Salmon Federation -

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DIY Tutorial: A pretty place for paintbrushes

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

As artists, we've amassed a large collection of paintbrushes and - in my case - palette knives, and all of those tools need a place to live. Typically we use old coffee mugs, glass jars and whatever else we can get our hands on. The result is a bit of a mismatched mess!

A while ago, I found some terrific unfinished wood vases at a yard sale. I bought them not knowing at the time exactly what I would use them for. Then, I had the idea to paint them and use them as mini storage containers.

For this project, I used our paint of choice - Stevenson - a Canadian made acrylic paint which is extremely durable and colorfast. It is the same paint we use to paint all of our murals.

I've always liked the combination of chocolate brown and  pink and chocolate brown and turquoise. For my containers, I used Burnt Umber (for the chocolate), Phthlao Turquoise (for the turquoise) and a combination of Titanium White and Quin Red (for the pink).

(Tip: If you don't have turquoise paint, you can easily mix it up by adding a teeny tiny touch of red to blue & yellow. As always, lighten your colors with white.)

I painted the inside of my wooden cylinders with brown. Then, I did a base coat of pink on one and turquoise on the other.

Once dry, I painted chocolate brown rings on the containers freehand. They are not perfect, but that adds to the charm. To complete the design, I dipped the end of my brush into white paint and made little dots around the inner and outer edges of the rings.

A quick coat of water-based sealer completed the project.

Next I will be tackling our empty coffee cans!