Welcome to Ardent Reflections Fine Art

  1. Mystical Mountains, My New Class Painting

    • A New Asian Style Painting Today I spent the day in the studio, and worked on a new sample painting for my classes.  I was really pleased with the results, it is a series of mountains in the mist in t[...]
    • A New Asian Style Painting

      Today I spent the day in the studio, and worked on a new sample painting for my classes.  I was really pleased with the results, it is a series of mountains in the mist in the background, a branch of cherry blossoms overhanging the top corner, and some silhouetted foreground bushes in front of a silhouetted Asian styled building, that resembles a Buddhist temple.  When I showed the painting to the Studio manager, she helped me come up with the title “Mystical Mountains”.  One of the other artists at the studio has told me she wants first dibs at buying the painting, so once I figure out how much I am going to charge for it, I just might already have a sale.

      Of course, I can’t tell you all about my painting and not show it to you. The following photo was just taken with my phone, so its not really the best quality, but it still gives a pretty good idea what the painting looks like.

      The painting I'll demonstrate for my next painting class. Buddhist temple, misty mountains, cherry blossoms, sakura
      The painting I’ll demonstrate for my next painting class.

       

  2. A Day in the Life – A Homeschool Family

    • I’m not just an artist, I’m a homeschooling Mom too. So, I know that this is usually an art blog, but today the suggested topic for the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to describe a day in you[...]
    • I’m not just an artist, I’m a homeschooling Mom too.

      So, I know that this is usually an art blog, but today the suggested topic for the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to describe a day in your life.  I decided to describe today, a typical Thursday for my family. A typical Thursday for a homeschooling family.

      This is a typical Thursday for our homeschooling family. Click To Tweet

      Thursday is homeschool co-op day.

      Once a week my family goes to homeschool co-op, where they get a chance to experience a classroom setting with other kids. I works out nicely for us, because it also lets me outsource some of the subjects I’m not as strong in.  For example, while I enjoy science, once it gets to High School level I’m not really comfortable teaching it.  Now, I could manage, a lot of homeschool curriculum is designed for the child to mostly do independently, but its nice to bring my kids here, where some of the parents actually have degrees in various sciences, and let my kids be taught by someone who can actually answer their questions without taking a trip to the library to look it up.  Of course even though homeschool co-op is only once a week, the kids take home assignments to complete at home all week long, so they are really getting a full year’s worth of work in  these subjects.

      Homeschool co-op gives my kids a chance to get familiar with a classroom setting.
      Homeschool co-op gives my kids a chance to get familiar with a classroom setting.

      Morning Routine

      Our Thursday morning routine is rushed.  As homeschoolers, we aren’t exactly used to having to get everyone out the door by 8:30 in the morning.  We all do our best to stay out of each other’s way, and to help each other get ready.  We have to get up, take care of all of our morning’s bathing and grooming needs, all with only one bathroom.  We also need to crowd into our kitchen for breakfast and for packing our lunches.  The kids have to gather all their books and things, though often they do it the night before, and I have to gather supplies for the class that I’m teaching.  I usually get most of it together the night before, but always have to run around grabbing last minute items.

      This year I’m teaching a preschool-Kindergarten class, and today we are doing activities that involve, cooking oil, water, glitter, food coloring, shaving cream and bubble soap. Also I needed the book that outlines the activities, a Children’s Bible story book, a sheet… sounds like a lot of random stuff but it all is related as I’ll explain a little later.

      After we gather everything up, we pack into my van, my teenage son drives us to co-op.  My daughter usually sits in the back and listens to her iPod, but today she sat in the back practicing her speech for her public speaking class.  This morning we arrived just a couple of minutes late, but not by much.  The kids rushed out of the van and into class, and spent a few minutes trying to get my purse, my class supplies, my laptop, and my lunch all loaded into my arms at once.  I didn’t have to rush as much because I don’t teach until the last “block” or period.

      Our morning routine on Thursday is rushed, we have seven people and one bathroom. Fortunately, only three of us are getting ready for co-op.

      The co-op day.

      The co-op is structured into four “blocks” or class periods, plus a lunch time and a chapel time.  My kids have various classes all through the day, but for me I have a lot of time to sit and work on personal things before my class.  Many times I have all day until the last block to myself, just doing whatever I want in the parent room, but today a lot of families are out sick, so I’ll have the first two blocks free, but will be helping out in another class third block, and then teaching my class fourth block.

      First Block

      The first block of our co-op day goes from 9:00-10:00 in the morning.  I sit in the parent room, and work on whatever I want, lately its been my blog.  Meanwhile my son is in study hall, and my daughter is in her Public Speaking class.  That’s this year, in years past the classes have varied, last year my son had a High School biology class first block

      Second Block

      From 10:05-11:05 we have second block, again I’m in the parent room. My daughter is in study hall and my son is taking American Literature and writing.

      Lunch

      Lunch is from 11:10-11:45 in the morning.  Not much to say about this, obviously we eat.

      Not much to say about lunch, we eat whatever we packed. Today that would be ham sandwiches.
      Not much to say about lunch, we eat whatever we packed. Today that would be ham sandwiches.

      Chapel

      Our co-op is a Christian co-op, so mid day we have chapel. There will be singing, prayer, then a short bible teaching, then important announcements and information, then we close in prayer and dismiss the kids.

      As a Christian co-op we have Chapel in the middle of our day.

      Third Block

      Third block I often have to myself, but technically I’m a “floater” during third block, which means that I go where ever another person is needed if someone else is absent.  Both my son and daughter are in Intermediate Drawing and Design.  That is an awesome class taught by an artist who used to be with Disney.

      Today I see that I will be helping at some drawing class, I’m not sure if its the same one my kids are in.  I’ll have to ask and make sure.

      Fourth Block

      Fourth block is our last class period of the day. My son is in a class called “Creation College”, which is mostly an apologetics class. My daughter is in a Bible Study class.  My daughter’s classes are all elective classes this year, but many years she is in a lot of academic classes.  My son also is only in one real strong academic class this year.  That means we are doing the rest of our academics on our own at home. In years past co-op has really been helpful in getting our core classes taken care of, but this year not so much.  We are questioning whether we want to continue with co-op next year, since my son will be taking college classes through dual enrollment, and unless my daughter can take academic classes it will just be one less day to work on things at home.  We are waiting to see what classes are offered for next year, and then we’ll decide.

      At any rate, fourth block for me this year is the one block that I am teaching.  In my class today we will be reading the story of when Jesus’s disciples were fishing all night and didn’t catch anything, but then Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and they caught nets full, too much to bring the boat in.

      Pre-K classes are fun to teach!

      From that story we are going to start talking about the oceans, rivers, lakes, and about water in general.  We’ll make a “wave bottle” with the oil, water, food coloring and glitter, and we’ll watch the waves move back and forth in the bottle and about how waves move.  Then we’ll probably also make waves in a pan of water by making drips into it, and we’ll talk about the motion of the waves and ripples, and how they bounce off the edges of the pan.  We’ll blow bubbles and catch them on paper.  We’ll talk about how water sometimes makes bubbles but how too weak to float on the air, they break as soon as they reach the surface of the water most of the time, but how soap has a stronger surface tension, like a skin, that allows the bubbles to stay together and float for a while without breaking.  We’ll also take the shaving cream, color it with a few drops of tempera paint, and finger paint with it, making peaks and “waves” on our shaving cream.

      One thing that’s fun about teaching Pre-Kindergarten is that we don’t have to really get into anything too complicated, the kids are learning all the time, even if all you do is hand them play-dough.  Everything is still new to them, and observing waves and pointing out how ripples start from a center point and travel out in all directions until they bounce off the side of the pan is actually an activity that introduces them to basic science concepts, in a fun way.

      After Co-op

      Most weeks we are all pretty much tired and ready to go home after co-op.  This week that isn’t really an option for us though.  Today after co-op my husband will show up to pick up my son and drive him across the county to the county clerk’s office so he can apply for a passport.  That is because, if all works out, my son is going on a missions trip to Nepal in March, and we need to expedite a passport for him so travel plans can be finalized.

      My son may get a chance to go to Nepal.

      While my husband and son head to the county clerk, my youngest daughter and I are heading to Target to do some shopping for my oldest daughter’s baby shower this weekend.  Then we’ll rush home so my oldest daughter can use my van to go move some things into her new rented house. Also because the faster I get home, the more likely that I’ll be able to answer questions if my husband needs any information for the forms at the county clerk’s office.

      Once home my two daughters will go together to move some stuff into my older daughter’s new house, and I’ll watch my granddaughter and make dinner for me, my son, two daughters, husband, granddaughter and son-in-law.

      At least, that’s the plan… whether that is what really happens today only time will tell.

       

  3. Half a Face, Plus Some Blogs I’ve Found During this Challenge

    • Way Back Wednesday, Half a Face So, I am continuing to share my old art from Junior High School Art class, which puts this way back in the early 1980’s.  Some of my artwork from so long ago has[...]
    • Way Back Wednesday, Half a Face

      So, I am continuing to share my old art from Junior High School Art class, which puts this way back in the early 1980’s.  Some of my artwork from so long ago has been lost, and most of it is damaged at least a little.  One assignment I remember involved taking a magazine picture of someone’s face, cutting it in half, and then trying to draw the missing half of the face. I’m sure this is probably a really good way to improve your portrait drawing skills.  At the time I was happy with the results the way I did them, but now I look at it and really wonder why I didn’t do  more details in the eye, I mean I just colored in the entire iris and pupil in gray, and didn’t give her any eyelashes at all!  Oh well, I was just a kid after all..

      half face drawing lesson
      When I was in Junior High, this looked pretty good to me, but now the eye looks all wrong!
      The original magazine photo has faded and has glue streaks all over it too, so its harder to see any detail in it.

       Some Blogs I’ve Enjoyed Reading During the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

      The January Ultimate blog challenge is almost finished, and today’s suggested topic was to share some of the blogs we’ve enjoyed reading during the challenge. I have enjoyed several. These aren’t in any specific order, just because I list one before another doesn’t mean I like it better.

      • Jane Porterfield always gives lots of great SEO and website tips, I know I really need to take the time with her blog to try out all her suggestions, its like a crash course in Search Engine Optimization.
      • Chondra Rankin is a blog that is great to go for personal development and positive thoughts!
      • The Martha Review gives great book and product reviews so you can find out about an item before purchasing it.
      • Nita Beshear is a blog about life from the perspective of a widow who still manages to be postiive most of the time.
      • Words of Encouragement is a blog that, well, give you words of encouragement from a Christian point of view.
      • Cerebrations is a business blog by Roy Ackerman.
      • My Creative Wings is all about creativity of many different kinds from art to writing.
      • Biblical Parenting is a blog all about parenting from a Christian perspective.
      • Design with Kelly is all about design, art, and home decor.
      • Digital Maestro is a blog all about websites and online strategies.
      • My R and R Space is a personal blog reflecting on all aspects of life!

      So, I hope you will visit some of these websites, and let them know you learned about them from here!

  4. So I GOOFED!

    • Wrong day of the week. Okay, so I goofed when I posted yesterday.  You see yesterday was Monday and I posted my “Tips on Tuesday”, oh well, I posted so late that it probably wasn’t r[...]
    • Wrong day of the week.

      Okay, so I goofed when I posted yesterday.  You see yesterday was Monday and I posted my “Tips on Tuesday”, oh well, I posted so late that it probably wasn’t read until today anyway, but still you’d think I’d know one day of the week from the next!

       

  5. The Three Most Important Steps to Preserving Acrylic Paintings

    • How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations. Click To Tweet How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations. If you’re an artist and you are any[...]
    • How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations. Click To Tweet

      How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations.

      If you’re an artist and you are anything like me, you want to see your artwork last.  You want to know that if your great grandchild is one day looking at your painting, it is still going to look as wonderful as it did the day you finished it.  This art tutorial post will show you the three most important to steps to take to make that possible.
      Now, I want to make clear though, that if you’re an artist and you don’t do these things, it doesn’t make your art any less valid. Some art doesn’t last, some artist do elaborate carvings in ice, knowing it will melt, and their art is still valid as art.  However, if you do want to make your paintings last, this post will show you three important steps to preserving acrylic paintings.

      1. Get the best paint you can afford.

      I’ve met a lot of artists who buy the cheapest paint they can find, and still manage to create very beautiful works of art, so why would I recommend buying pricier paint?  Well, its an unfortunate fact that when you paint with cheaper craft or student grade paints, even if the paintings looks great when it is finished, time will eventually show the difference.  Cheap craft paint or cheap student paint will fade a lot more than artist paint, and the painting will lose its vibrancy.   I’ve also seen cheap paint peel right off of a canvas when it is applied thickly, and this happened when the painting was only a few months old, cheap paints are also more prone to cracking and flaking.  Artist quality acrylic paint though, adheres to the canvas, can be applied thickly or thinly, and really resists cracking, peeling, fading, and flaking.

      In addition to not preserving as well, cheap paint often uses impure pigments, or mixes of cheaper pigments to imitate the look of the pricier pigments, and when you try to mix your own colors you often get inconsistent results and muddy colors, but even if you do manage to get the look you want, remember that it isn’t likely to maintain that look several decades from now.

      2. Protect your paint with an isolation coat before varnishing.

      Most acrylic painters know that it is a good idea to varnish a painting in order to protect it, and yes, varnish is a great way to protect a painting from soiling and fading, but it should never be applied directly on the acrylic paint. An isolation coat creates a non-removable, physical barrier between the paint and the removable varnish. The purpose of an isolation coat is to protect the pigmented paint from the solvents used to remove the varnish if it becomes soiled or discolored. The isolation coat also seals any absorbent areas of the canvas, providing an even, uniform surface to apply varnish to.

      How to mix and apply an isolation coat.

      To make an isolation coat, mix 2 parts soft gel gloss acrylic medium to 1 part water, mix well, and allow it to settle until there are no bubbles in the mixture, then apply it with a brush that you use for no other purpose, not even for the varnish.   The isolation coat will appear milky white when applied, but will dry clear and glossy. Do one layer brushing one direction back and forth across the canvas, let it dry, and then do a second layer, brushing back and forth across the canvas in the other direction. Later, if you wish to have a matte finish, just use a matte varnish, and the glossy appearance will go away.  (Note, I prefer Golden brand soft gel gloss, but any soft gel gloss will work, also I am not being paid to promote Golden, I just like the product).

      3. Finally, protect your painting with a fine art quality, U.V. resistant removable varnish.

      After the second layer of your isolation coat completely dries, you can apply your varnish.  I prefer the Golden Brand polymer varnish, but other brands will work as well.  Just make sure that you get a varnish that is intended for fine art acrylic paintings, and that is U.V. resistant, since this will further protect your painting from fading.  Mix the varnish according to the directions on the jar, and apply it with another brush that is used for nothing else.  With the varnish, you’ll want to apply it gently and somewhat quickly, avoid over working the varnish because that is how you get brush strokes and bubbles in it.  Like the isolation coat, you’ll want to do one layer brushing on back and forth one way, let it thoroughly dry (for varnish this will take about 12 hours), and then apply a second coat brushing it on the other direction. Another option is to use a spray varnish, just follow the directions on the can, spray it on, let it dry, and repeat to make sure you have full coverage.

      Now if your painting becomes soiled, for example if some irresponsible person spills coffee on it and doesn’t tell you about it, so that you find it after its dried on, or even if over time dust just becomes too hard to fully remove by just wiping the canvas, you can remove the varnish using household ammonia diluted with water. You can do so knowing that the ammonia solution will never touch the actual paint, because you had the forethought to apply an isolation coat.  Then after you remove the varnish, rinse all of the ammonia off, and apply a new coat of varnish. Whatever was on your painting will only be in the varnish, so when you remove the varnish, you remove the stain.

       

      My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.
      My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.
  6. 3 Things You Should Know About Me

    • Lets Get Acquainted Since this is primarily an Art Blog, I don’t often share much personal information, but I am starting to realize that most readers want to know at least a little about who is[...]
    • Lets Get Acquainted

      Since this is primarily an Art Blog, I don’t often share much personal information, but I am starting to realize that most readers want to know at least a little about who is writing, and most art buyers want to know a little about the artist.  So I decided I should write a post telling a little about me, not just as an artist, but as an individual.  Without getting too personal, what three things would I consider important for someone to learn in order to start to understand who I am? Not surprisingly what I came up with touched on the areas of faith, family, and vocation.

      1. Before all else, I’m a Christian

      The first thing you would need to know about me in order to understand who I am is that I am a Christian woman.  What I believe is pretty much in line with a typical evangelical Christian.   I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and I’ve given my life to Him.  I live for Him, though not always perfectly of course.  I think one of my greatest weaknesses is that I often don’t live my faith as openly as I should.  The world of art tends to be very liberal, and sometimes it is easier to be silent than to be ostracized, but when push comes to shove, I side with Christ.

      Its easier to be silent than ostracized, but when push comes to shove, I side with Christ. Click To Tweet
      Religious Gift, Spiritual Artwork, painting on canvas, textured pink cross, cross painting, girls room decor,cross art painting, Item #SPFO1 Easter gift, Christian Art, nursery decor, church decor, small paintings, original Christ art Meet the own
      This painting can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

      However, I differ politically from many evangelical Christians

      Where I perhaps differ from many other evangelical Christian women is politically.  When it comes to politics, my mottoes tend to be, “to each his own”, and “no harm no foul”.  “To each his own”, because while I believe certain things are right or wrong because of biblical teaching, I do not believe that I have the right to force anyone else to live by those standards.  “No harm no foul”, because as long as someone is not harming another human being, I don’t believe it is my business, or the governments business what they do. So there are some political things I stand for, but those largely have to do with protection of human life and human rights.

      2. I’m a wife and homeschooling mom.

      My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.
      My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.

      I’m the wife of a wonderful, supportive husband.  People often tell me how lucky I am to have such an awesome husband, and believe me, I am well aware of that! While like any marriage we’ve had our ups and downs over the past 25 years, my husband means the world to me and wouldn’t trade him for anything. I’m also a homeschooling mom, and now also a grandma.

      From Left to right, my husband Bob, myself, my son Samuel, and my youngest daughter Danielle.
      From Left to right, my husband Bob, myself, my son Samuel, and my youngest daughter Danielle.

      My family comes first after my Lord, and before my own wants and desires.  The decision to homeschool my kids from kindergarten to graduation was partly motivated by faith, but that was not the only reason.  I had a very negative experience with public school as a child, and wanted better for my own kids.  While I support public schools and think most teachers deserve more pay and more support, as a whole I think the public school system in America is broken, and while I hope that someday it is fixed. I didn’t want my kids waiting out their childhood in a broken system, waiting for a repair that may never happen. Homeschooling has meant a lot of sacrifices, I’ve had to stay home except for a little bit of part time work through the years.  This has meant less money available for things like cable TV, vacations, gym memberships, and even art supplies.  Its also meant that furthering my own education has been on the back burner since the birth of my oldest child.  That’s okay though, they come first and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is nothing else in our earthly existence that means as much as family, so I’ve poured myself into mine.  The homeschooling phase of life is almost finished now though, and I imagine that I’ll need to spend some time evaluation my main purpose and goals when it is done.

      My oldest daughter Eliana, my son-in-law Dustin, and my granddaughter Cosette.
      My oldest daughter Eliana, my son-in-law Dustin, and my granddaughter Cosette.

      3. I’m a (mostly) self-taught artist.

      I’m an artist and a painting instructor, but I’m mostly self-taught. While I had some art classes in Junior High and High School, beyond that everything I know about art I’ve learned through reading books, watching tutorials, and practice, practice, practice.  I’m still learning all the time, new methods, new techniques, new ways to make my work have more depth.  I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I feel like I know it all and can’t learn any more. The main reason I do art is that I have a passion for it, so whether my art sells or doesn’t sell is secondary to me, but I do love when it sells and at least pays for its own creation. Some day I’d love further my education as an artist, to get some formal education in art, and maybe in God’s timing that will happen, but for now I’ll continue to do art for passion, and keep learning as I go.

      Artist V.J. Maheu in the studio
      Me in the studio.

       

      Feel free to give me your thoughts on this post, and if you want, share three things about yourself as well!

       

  7. Making Something Old New Again

    • Sometimes A Painting can be More than Just One Thing This isn’t the first time I’ve re-worked a painting, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember when I redi[...]
    • Sometimes A Painting can be More than Just One Thing

      This isn’t the first time I’ve re-worked a painting, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember when I redid a painting that had one element in it I really liked, but I really hated everything else, so I covered everything except that one thing with white and redid everything around.  I told about that in Metamorphosis of an Old Work PART 1 and PART 2. In that case I was reworking the original to try to bring it in line with the vision I’d originally had for it, but which I failed to achieve the first time around.

      This time though, I did the original exactly as I wanted, or as my daughter wanted, since I did it for her. The original is still hanging in her room.  It is titled Eiffel Tower in Pink.

      Eiffel Tower, Paris architecture,Eiffel painting,Paris room decor,Eiffel wall decor,Eiffel decoration,Eiffel wall art,Paris art, Item #EPP-1 eiffeltower wall art, Paris decor, Eiffel Tower Print, Eiffel tower art, pink decor
      A print of this painting can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

       

      I thought it looked nice, and I made several archival prints of it. For some reason though, of all my prints, I sold fewer of these than any other.  So lately I’ve been looking at it and wondering what I could do to use the prints I bought.  Well, with Paris being the city of Romance, and with the pink background, and with Valentines Day being around the corner, I decided to take a print and modify it for Valentines Day.  So, I added paint on top of the print, which I will later scan and have greeting cards made from.  The photo below is just taken with my phone, I’ll do a high-resolution scan to make the cards from. And this print with the paint on it?  Well I think I am going to get a piece of poster and make a giant card from it, and ask the same as I would have asked for the print in the first place.

      I took one of my archival prints of Eiffel Tower in Pink, and painted on a heart and greeting to make it into a Valentine's card.
      I took one of my archival prints of Eiffel Tower in Pink, and painted on a heart and greeting to make it into a Valentine’s card.

       

  8. Should Art Be Publicly Funded?

    • The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for day 20 was to post something controversial.  Normally, I try to stay away from controversy on my website, especially political controversy. I figure that if no ma[...]
    • The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for day 20 was to post something controversial.  Normally, I try to stay away from controversy on my website, especially political controversy. I figure that if no matter what political side I take, I am probably alienating 50% of the people who see the post.  So, why would I want to do that?  However, some of the stories I’ve seen on social media in the past few days had me thinking about this topic, so I decided to write an opinion post on…

      Should Art Be Funded with Government Money?

      When we talk of publicly funding anything, or government funding of anything, I think it helps to put in clear terms, it is taxpayer funding of the item at hand, the U.S. government has no money except what we the people have paid out in taxes, except of course what has been borrowed from other countries, which is, technically, debt belonging to every single American citizen.  So, whether you support or oppose government funding of something, its good to understand that American People are actually the ones funding, or not funding it.  With that in mind, lets look  briefly at both sides of the issue.

      If you are a working US citizen, government money is YOUR money.
      If you are a working US citizen, government money is YOUR money, and when the government fund something you are footing the bill.

      Some oppose any taxpayer funding of the arts.

      Those who oppose public (taxpayer) funding of art say that our taxes should be spent on more essential things, that funding the arts is not important enough to spend tax money on.  They say that paying for things like defense or healthcare is more important.  Or they may say that cutting back all unnecessary spending, and instead taxing people less, is the way to go.  They also believe that if arts are going to be funded, it should be done through donations by those who want to see more of the arts in society.

      Some support all taxpayer funding of the arts.

      There are those who think that the government should be spending more on the arts.  They feel that if the government would offer support of art and artists, it would free up artists to create.  They believe that art enriches lives enough that it should be supported by tax dollars.  They want grants and endowments given for artists. They want the government to pay to put up sculptures in public places.  They want a slice of tax payer money to go to museums, theaters, and musical ensembles. They like art, and therefore they feel that government should support it.  They also don’t think the government should really limit the kind of art or the subject matter, if large numbers of taxpayers are deeply offended by what is payed for, they figure that those people just need to get over it.

      Some fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

      Then there are  people want to see some funding for art museums, some funding for public art, some funding for art, theater, and music in the schools, but they also believe that there should be limits to what is funded.  The exact limits may vary from person to person, for example, one person may believe that only traditional art should be funded, another may feel that only the most modern, cutting edge art deserves such an honor.  Some may believe that Art Education in grades K-12 should be fully funded, but that if one wants further education in the arts, one should pay for it themselves.

      My own opinion on public funding of the arts.

      The arts, visual art, theater, dance, music, all are of value to society.
      The arts, visual art, theater, dance, music, all are of value to society.

      Art is Valuable to Society

      Of course as an artist I believe that art can do a lot to enrich society, I also believe that art can be useful in drawing attention to and raising awareness of various issues.  Besides, art is just fun.  What a boring world we would have without art!  Want to type up a letter?  We would only have one, very basic font available, because all of the fancier fonts are thought up by artistically minded individuals.  Advertisements would be text only, no pictures to draw attention. Packaging would be black and white, no pictures.  Just a white label with the name of the item in black.  A can of soup and a can of dog food would be identical except for the words on the can.  Even names of products would be boring because no one would be creative enough to come up with clever names.

      Magazines, books, and even advertisements rely on art.
      Magazines, books, and even advertisements rely on art.

      No music would play anywhere, because music is an art form.

      No theater, no TV, no movies.

      Yes, society needs art.

      Art beautifies and enriches our lives.
      Art beautifies and enriches our lives.

      Arts Education is VITAL for Children

      There are numerous studies that show that children who are exposed to the arts, including classical music and visual art, benefit in ways that go beyond their understanding of the arts.  They do better in math, they think more creatively and therefore write more creatively, they think more deeply about things.  They are better able to visualize information from their History and Science texts. They do better socially.  Exposure to art, music, and drama helps them in so many areas because it helps their brains to grow lots of varied neural pathways, many of which can be used in other, seemingly unrelated subject areas. In short, it expands their minds and keeps their brains flexible and growing.

      Education in art helps in other subject areas as well.
      Education in art helps in other subject areas as well.

      For that reason I believe that the arts should be funded in every public school, from Kindergarten to grade 12.  Every grade level should have enough good art, music, and drama teachers that every child in elementary school should experience these subjects every year, at least one day a week, in the elementary grades, every student should experience all of these subjects, unless they have some physical barrier preventing that (for example, a deaf student wouldn’t be able to participate in music class).  It should just be expected that every student gets at least a basic “literacy” in all three of these areas in elementary school. That doesn’t mean every student will be producing a masterpiece or playing an instrument, for some students music might consist of simple rhythm instruments and music appreciation, and art should be done for the process not the product.  Drama class builds public speaking skills and confidence, even if the school play isn’t performed to perfection. So in elementary school it should be required that every student participates in all three areas if there isn’t a disability preventing it.  In Middle School and High school though,  every child should be able to pick for themselves which of these three areas to focus on every year, and there should be plenty of choices in all three.

      The arts should be funded in K-12 just like math and reading are, and incidentally, all subject areas need better funding than they now get, especially in the area of teacher pay.

      All children should achieve a basic literacy in the arts.
      All children should achieve a basic literacy in the arts.

      Arts degrees should receive equal access to financial aid.

      To me this is just fair, if a person who dreams of being a doctor can get financial aid, and a person who dreams of being a political analyst can get financial aid, and a person who dreams of being a journalist can get financial aid, then a person who dreams of being an artist, actor, or musician should be able to get financial aid.  I do think that someone who changes their mind and changes majors over and over again should perhaps lose financial aid, but that is another issue.  Once a person shows that they qualify in all other respects for financial aid, it shouldn’t be denied based on what they want to become when they are finished with their education.  So, while I am not sure whether college should be or should not be funded with taxpayer money, if it is going to be, then arts students should get their fair share of that funding.

      An art student has as much right to financial aid as a science major.
      An art student has as much right to financial aid as a science major.

       

       Community Arts Organizations should qualify the same as other community organizations do for funding.

      If there is a non-profit community group that does good for a community, helps other organizations, provides a valuable asset to the community, then they should be funded equally to other, non-arts community organizations would be.

      For example, if there is a community organization that consists of a group of artists who seek to be an asset to their community.  Offer educational programs for kids, help raise funds for charities, provide social activities for elderly or disabled people, they should be given funding on the same basis that any other organization doing such things would be funded.

      If a science museum that offers kids classes and summer camps qualifies for funding, then an art organization that offers similar things should be funded.

      Arts funding should have rules and limits

      This is where I depart from a lot of artists.  I am all for government funding of arts education, especially in grades K-12. I am all for funding of community organizations that enrich their neighborhoods. I am all for grants for art, music, dance, theater, or literature.  But I think there should be some lines drawn.

      If someone thinks its artistic to drip pig blood all over the Koran, I call foul.  I say they have just disqualified themselves from any government funding by committing such an act of hate and mockery of another’s religion.

      If someone thinks its artistic to drip pig blood all over the Koran, I call foul. Click To Tweet

      If someone thinks its artistic to take photographs of a child in a sexually compromising way, I say that person has not only disqualified themselves from public funding, but that they have committed a crime and should be arrested.

      If someone thinks that it is artistic to drop a crucifix into a glass of urine, again, I call foul.  I say they have just disqualified themselves from any government funding by committing such an act of hate and mocker of another’s religion.

      If someone thinks that it is artistic to drop a crucifix into a glass of urine, again, I call foul. Click To Tweet

      I also don’t think that publicly funded art should side with a specific political candidate or party. Just like religious organizations can’t do so if they wish to remain tax exempt, if one wishes to receive tax money for art I think that art needs to be politically neutral.

      Understand though that I think artists are free to do all of the things listed above, on their own dime.

      I also think that federal arts funding really should be limited to education, to museums, and to community organizations.  Other funding such as putting sculptures in a city park should be voted on by the local people who use that park.

      And public funding of individual artists, well, I think it needs to be limited to artists who are giving something of value back to the government.  For example, the government is funding a library, and the library will purchase art for its walls with some of that money.  The artist who creates the art will be paid for their work.  So in a sense that artist has gotten public funding, but the artist has gotten in exchange for something that was needed by the library.

      This is different from an artist who enters a publicly funded art contest, wins, and is awarded a grant to spend however he or she wants.  I really don’t think that kind of taxpayer funding of art should exist.  For one thing because there is no requirement that the winner does anything beneficial to society, and two because it is, by its nature, unfair.  For every artist who gets funding their are thousands more, just as talented, who never will.

      I also think that public funding of the arts needs to be kept in perspective, if there are disabled veterans who are homeless, and the choice is putting a sculpture in a park or housing them, then I think the sculpture can wait.  If there are children in school who haven’t had a decent meal in three days, and there is a choice between feeding them or buying paints for their class, then feed them first. But really, it shouldn’t be either or.  So much money is spent on useless bureaucracy in this country and in its education system, if that money was not being thrown away, there would be enough to do both.

      With proper management I believe our society can both fund art in schools, and help those who truly need help.
      With proper management I believe our society can both fund art in schools, and help those who truly need help.
  9. Thursday Thoughts – Bucket List?

    • Bucket List? The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for today was a bucket list. I am not really sure what I would put on my bucket list, other than a trip to Hawaii at some point. I mean sure there are th[...]
    • Bucket List?

      The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for today was a bucket list. I am not really sure what I would put on my bucket list, other than a trip to Hawaii at some point. I mean sure there are things I want to do, but none really seem major enough for a bucket list. Things like trying oil paints (I currently paint in acrylic).
      So instead of a bucket list I thought I’d just share some thoughts about projects I hope to do in the next year. These are not in order at all.

      Goals for the Year

      ⦁More Sculpted Paintings

      My Dixon Wings was part painting, part sculpture, and I want to do more of these hybrid types of works. Only I want to take it further, I want more sculpting. I’m planning on using paper mache to do some of the sculpting, a bonus to this is that I can utilize some of my damaged canvases and it won’t have any negative effect on the final artwork. A small tear in a canvas isn’t going to matter after the entire canvas is covered in strips of paper mache, since paper mache is strong enough to hold up on its own once it is dry. Then over the paper mache covered canvas I will take paper mache mulch (also known as paper clay), and sculpt whatever I want over the paper mache platform. I can also use undamaged, but previously used canvases, such as some that have demo paintings on them from my classes. I can use those for sculpted paintings, because I’ll be covering them with enough layers that the existant texture of the demo painting won’t show through the sculpture.

      Daryl Dixon inspired art.
      Here the Daryl Dixon inspired wings are pretty much finished. All that remained at this point was a little touch up in a few areas.

      ⦁ More Volunteer Work 

      Some of my most enjoyable times have been painting sets for KCMT, somehow I want to carve out more time to do that. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it work or not, because often the times when the work is done is during my shifts at the studio, but I plan to contact the person in charge of sets and try to work something out.

      Alladin Sets
      The finished wing panels, still sitting in the painting room at KCMT, and without their caps.

      ⦁ Compile a Portfolio of my Demo Paintings

      Every time I teach a class, I come up with a demo painting for that class, I know I need to start compiling a portfolio of those sample paintings, so that if someone wants to book a private party they can choose a painting from that portfolio.

      This class was a lot of fun, and I got to meet someone I’ve known online for years, but never met in person. She came to my class!

      ⦁ Mural Size Paintings

      I’ve already done some mural size paintings for sets, but I want to put some on canvases. I recently purchased some very large canvases, and I am giving careful thought to what kind of painting I want to put on them. I’m just not sure where I will put them once they are finished, if I had a guaranteed buyer it wouldn’t be a problem, but to complete them and not know if I have room to hang them makes me a little nervous, I guess I’ll give it some thought, and once I decide on where they can hang, I’ll get started on them.

      ⦁ Uploading all my Completed Works to my Website and Etsy Shop

       I still have so many completed works that I haven’t uploaded anywhere. I really need to catch up and stay caught up. I think for smaller works such as jewelry a tabletop whitebox for my photos would really help, right now getting set up to take good product photos just takes so long, but if I had a whitebox for those photos it would really streamline the process. So I guess that gives me another item for my list.

      Jewelry Pendants,peacocks,circle necklaces,bottlecap necklace,green blue peacock,art print necklace,peacock necklace,bird necklace,Item #PN1 Jewelry Pendants, peacocks, circle necklaces, bottlecap necklace, green blue peacock, art print necklace, peacock necklace, bird necklace, bottlecap bottle cap, bottle cap necklace, girls necklace, gift for girl, teen tween girl
      This necklace can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE

      ⦁ Build or Buy a Product Photography White Box

      See my explanation above.

      ⦁ Establish a Regular Schedule for Blogging

      During the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I manage to blog daily, but for some reason when the challenge is not going on, despite the fact that I really want to, I just don’t set aside the time to write regular blog posts. I want to remedy this and start keeping a regular schedule for both this blog and my weight loss blog. For the weight loss blog weekly updates are all that is really needed, but I really feel that I should be posting on this blog at least three times a week, if not daily, and all I lack is the discipline to do it!

      So there are the things I really want to do this year, how about you? Is there anything you really want to do over the coming year? Let me know in the comments.