Saturday, January 26, 2013

No One Expects the Kraken: 30 in 30 Days, Day 25

The other day, my friend Casey was lamenting that he'd called Sears Eye Care and was put on hold for seven minutes before being outright hung up on.  I tried to cheer him up letting him know that sometimes the system will automatically disconnect if someone doesn't return to the phone, and sometimes in as little as two minutes.  He said he's have preferred two minutes as seven was a long time to wait before being hung up on. I happened to be in a particularly quirky mood when I responded, "So on the one hand, I want to be all sympathetic and 'aww'...on the other, your response makes me want to laugh because I suddenly envision funny reasons =why= she couldn't get back to the phone.  The most hysterical involves donning a cape and fighting off unexpected kraken.  No on ever expects the kraken."

And =that= is how we get to today's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge (:

'No One Ever Expects the Kraken' 9" x 12" Acrylic on Sheet Music.
Prints and other merchandise available for purchase at

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

So you may have noticed that today is the 25, making it the 24th day of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  You might also have noticed that the last painting I posted was for the 21st.  But Janin!  That means you are -three- paintings behind!  And you were right.

I knew I wanted to paint a lion and I was considering painting a bear--and when I had the two thoughts at the same time, I knew I would use this 'need to do 3 paintings in one day' as an opportunity to quote the Wizard of Oz. (:

And so here they are, Lion:

'Kings of Africa' 6.5" x 10" Acrylic on dictionary page.
Prints and other merchandise available for purchase at
It's both the king of beasts as well as the King Protea flower.

Then Bear:
'Ursari' 9" x 12" Acrylic on Sheet Music.
Available as prints and other merchandise at
So part of how this painting got it's name is directly related to Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear and not calling a bear a bear.  I read that story for the first time when I was seven and it's one of my favorite series.   I particularly liked 'Ursari' because it's Romani.

And finally, Tiger:

'War Eagle'. 6.5" x 10" Acrylic on dictionary page.
Available as prints and other merchandise at
And it's (obviously) a tribute to the Auburn tigers.

And now I've quoted the Wizard of Oz, promoted The Clan of the Cave Bear, called a tiger an eagle, and caught up with the challenge!  Whew!

Ready for tomorrow's painting (:

A Martin Luther King project and experimenting in watercolors

We had the second weekly art class at Studio 116 yesterday evening (:

In last week's drawing lesson, we focused on observation and shape.  This week, we focused on value and tone and how to see it.

We started by making simple tone scales of high light, middle light, middle gray and dark:

Then we moved into using a still life to help see tone.  One of the most awesome things about getting to do the lessons in Studio 116 is the variety of things that can be used for models!  These gourds were -perfect-!

To help them understand tone, I had them squint their eyes-- it makes the lightest lights and the darkest darks that much easier to see.  And working with the white gourds made seeing the gray tones that much easier.

 Then, we used a still life in color.  The kids decided they really wanted one of the funny mugs that's available for purchase at Studio 116 in this one (:

And then we moved into the take home project (:  We took the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday from Monday.

Here's what you need to do the project:  you take a black and white photograph with high contrast and at least 4 tones (in this case, two versions of Dr. King), a sheet of drawing paper, a glue stick and a pencil.

I found these two great images online:

You tear the image roughly in half, anyway you choose.  But only -1- tear.  Then you glue one half to your drawing paper, and draw in the other half using the paper as a reference.

They did fantastic!  I was really impressed and proud of all of them!

You've probably noticed that we're working our way through the Elements of Art (:  They are some of the key foundations to the visual arts.  Next week, we're going to be focusing on line-- types and varieties with a project (or 2) that helps understand and develop line.

For the second hour, we continued our lesson in watercolor.  Last week, we focused on color theory and how colors are blended.  This week, we moved into awesome techniques!

We started by dividing a sheet of paper into 6 sections and labeling them:  wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry, wash, blotting, and gradual.

Since we weren't working on color theory, each child was allowed to choose the color they wanted to work in.  We used 3 paintbrushes-- a large soft bristle brush, and 2 smaller fine tipped ones.

For dry on dry, we used a dry small brush to draw.  Then for wet on dry, using the other small brush, we dipped it in the water (hence the wet), then the paint.  For wet on wet, we used the large brush in clean water to wet the paper, then the small wet brush to draw.  I loved hearing all the "Whoas!" and the excitement as they did this.  We discussed the differences between the three techniques.

For wash, we use the big brush very wet and worked in single strokes for a nice even coat.  For gradual, we loaded the big brush up with a lot of paint for the first stroke, then dipped it in the water, did the second stroke, back to the clean water, third stroke (et cetra) and they noticed that each time you come back it gets lighter and lighter and lighter.  Which gave us the perfect opportunity to talk about the translucency of water color.

For blotting, we did a wash, then I had them clean their brush and squeeze all of the water out then "negatively" draw as the brush soaks up excess paint and water.  I let them know this is also a great way to fix little mistakes.  Then we used paper towel to blot the same area and see the pattern this created.  On of the girls said it was like watching stars or clouds appear (:

The second half of technique focused on wax resist and salt:

 For was resist, we turn to our friend the white crayon (:  Just draw on the white surface any shape or design desired, then wash over it.  It works best if your wash is thin, but you can always swipe with more water if you've added too much paint.

For the salt, a little goes a long way!  Just a pinch is all it took.  Once the paint dries, the salt is brushed off and beautiful star bursts remain in their place.

And to end the evening, we experimented in combining techniques.  I demonstrated using wax resist, wash, wet on wet, dry on wet, and salt:

All in all, we all had a fantastic time!

Next week, the second hour will be about using all these wonderful watercolor techniques to make our own artbook/ story (:

Hope to see you next Thursday at Studio 116!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Open Faced Italian Sloppy Joes

There's nothing more dangerously creative in our house than a tired Janin...and tired Janin was apparently seriously missing garlic. The result is open faced Italian sloppy joes. We got lucky because they are epically yummy (:

I started by browning ground beef with salt, too much pepper, a thin coat of onion powder, a thick coat of garlic powder, and a brief dash of paprika.  Once it was browned, I added a can of tomato soup with 1/2 a can of water, about 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a small can of sliced mushrooms, parsley and almost 4 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic.  (I -did- mention I was missing garlic, right?)  While that simmered, I preheated the oven to 450 and buttered 6 slices of oatmeal bread, then sprinkled them with garlic salt (remember?  craving garlic here!), paprika and parsley and baked them on an oven sheet for 10 minutes.  Then I served the sauce over the toast. And viola:  open faced Italian sloppy joes!

Inspiration, Contest and Giveaway!

At the beginning of the year, right around the time I started participating in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta on her blog Slice of Life, I decided that, as a graduate with an art degree, it was time for me to go ahead and make myself an artist's page on facebook.  So I did.  It's called Wise Ramblings:  The Art of Janin Wise.

Shortly after that, I read a site that said it never hurts to ask.  That you should feel alright in promoting you-- that you have to be your own fan.  Now, the author of the piece was talking about self publishing a novel, but in my opinion, this would hold true for all the creative endeavors!  ...and I realized that could possibly include mine...

But I let it stew in my head a bit.

Now, if you're on facebook, I'm sure you've had the Country Outfitter's boot giveaways show up in your news feed.  It shows up in mine from people who don't know each other at all.  And it dawned on me that by doing their giveaway-- they're actually bringing people to their page.... but I'm an artist...

So I came up with an idea earlier this week.

It's a contest running through Tuesday morning (January 29th):

If Wise Ramblings: The Art of Janin Wise gets 250 'Likes' by the end of Monday night, one winner will get to choose a critter to inspire the last painting for the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge on Wednesday, January 31st, AND that winner will get the signed original!

All you have to do to enter the contest is like the page. 

I even made two easy to share options (:


I'm actually excited and hope we make it.  I'd love to find out what the winner chooses (: