Category Archives: art journaling

Washi Tape Giveaway

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I recently ordered a roll of Washi Tape from Aimee at Artsyville – it was the first design from her new Washi Tape line.  Rather than just order a single roll, I purchased two, so I could give one roll away here on my blog.  I know it’s an itsy-bitsy giveaway, but hey – who doesn’t like free stuff?  :]

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In order to enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing one way you might use your tape if you’re the lucky winner.  The winner will be announced a week from today, on Tuesday, September 24th.  Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

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My Art Supply Drive: There’s Still Time to Donate!

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Greetings!  I hope your week is going well thus far.  I just thought I’d pop in and share that my annual Art Supply Drive is winding down.  This is the last week of my official drive.  Next I’ll do some shopping, and will then move on to creating a kit of supplies for each child.  So far I have enough supplies to teach two classrooms of children – my goal is six classrooms.

There’s Still Time!
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Did you plan on donating – just haven’t gotten everything together yet?  Fear not!  Whether you plan on sending in assorted supplies, a check, or gift cards, I’ll happily accept your donations after August has come to an end.  However, I’d really appreciate it if you could email me and tell me what you plan to send – and your donation’s ETA.  :]

These are the items I currently need the most:

You’re welcome to send just about anything, though.  Whether you pull items from your personal stash of art and craft supplies or purchase something especially for the kids, it will all be put to good use. :]

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Big thanks to those of you who have already donated supplies for my at-risk students – SO kind of you! I’ll be sure to post photos that I take when I go in to teach.  I wish you could be there with me to see how excited the kids get, and to hear their many thank yous.  I’ll do my best to capture some of the fun and excitement by posting here on my blog after I’ve visited the classrooms…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Kicking Off My 2013-14 Art Supply Drive!

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Greetings!  I’m kicking off my annual Art Supply Drive to benefit at-risk public school students, and hope you’ll participate and help give my students the gift of art!  You may notice that I’m starting my Art Supply Drive earlier than usual, which I’m doing so the drive coincides with the back to school sales that are going on right now.  There are great deals to be had on some of the items I use in the art supply kits – perhaps you’ll be so kind as to purchase these great deals when you see them. :]*

Program Basics
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I gather donations and art supplies, and teach as many classroom of students as I have supplies for (three classrooms in the 2012-2013 school year).  I provide each student with a blank journal and a packet of art supplies when I first visit the class.  I teach the children art journaling in the early part of their school year, and then return to the class during the last month of school for an art journal show – to see what they’ve created and to celebrate their artistic accomplishments!

Why I Do This…
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My mission is to provide as many children as I can with art journaling instruction and supplies.  Not only does this program nurture their creativity and provide art instruction that would otherwise be missing because of curriculum and budget constraints, art journaling also helps get the children excited about their overall educational experience.

And, perhaps most importantly, art journaling gives the children a constructive way to express themselves and process the world around them.  This is particularly important for these at-risk students, who are sometimes facing the effects of poverty, abuse, neglect, exposure to gangs and drugs, and absent parents.

I, too, faced many challenges when I was a child, including abuse and poverty, and know from experience that creative self-expression can be a lifesaver.  I know that a trustworthy adult taking a special interest in you can make a big impression, and that a proverbial pat on the back can really boost one’s self-esteem.  I also know that art and writing have the power to strengthen, nourish, and heal, and hope to plant a love for art journaling and creative self-expression in the lives of as many children as I can.

Though donations aren’t yet tax-deductible, I hope you’ll help provide art journaling supplies for the children.  Thank you for your consideration!

Wish List

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Here are the top 10 items on my wish list, along with links to specific items (in some cases):

1. 9″ x 9″ spiral top sketch books, which the children will use for their art journals (Office Max gift cards)
2. Michaels gift cards: I will use these to purchase mini ink pads and mini paper punches
3. Glue sticks
4. Scissors
5. Crayola crayons – 8-pack
6. 2.5 Gallon Hefty OneZip bags to hold each child’s supplies
7. Fabric squares – 5″ x 5″ or smaller
8. Pencils – unsharpened
9. Alphabet Sticker sets (any complete alphabet sticker sets are welcome – this is just an example)
10. Ball point pens

To see my overall wish list, which includes more of the items I like to include in the supply kits, please click here.  The list is towards the bottom.

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A Bigger Goal = Art for More Children!
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Last year I taught three classrooms full of students, with your help and donations, and am hoping to double that this year.  The principal at my Santa Ana school would love me to teach ALL FOUR of their 4th grade classes this year, and I hope to teach in two classrooms in Ontario as well.  With six classrooms I’d be teaching approximately 220 students, and love the idea of bringing art journaling to hundreds of students this coming school year.  I’d really appreciate your help in reaching my goal of 220 art kits.  I know we can do it!  Naturally I don’t expect one person to donate 22o of any particular item – am just letting you know what my total student goal is.    :]

Mailing Address
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You may send any supplies, gift cards, or checks to me at the following mailing address:
Melody M. Nuñez
P.O. Box 60030
Irvine, CA 92602

Art Supply Drive Deadline
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Please mail your donation for this year’s drive by August 31st so I can log, sort, shop and assemble all the supplies into kits for this year’s students.  That said, I accept donations year-round, so if you can’t mail by August 31st, I’ll happily accept your kind donation any time of year.

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Thank you!
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Big thanks to all those who have donated in past years.  Extra big thanks to those of you who donate each and every year!  I appreciate your support, and the kids, teachers, and administrators do, too.  If this will be your first time donating to my program, please know all supplies and donations are used happily by the children and are SO appreciated.  Please feel free to post a comment or to email me with any questions.

I hope you’re all having a great week, dear readers…

Warm regards,
Melody

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I Love to Doodle!

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I love spending time working in my art journal.  It’d been way too long since I’d last played within the pages of my current book (#15), so I recently sat down with my journal, some black Micron pens, my watercolor pencils, a small brush, and a cup of water.  The images shared here are the results of my doodling: loose, sloppy, colorful, and fun.  I tried to use a variety of color combinations…

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Have you been creating lately?  If so, please share.  Whether you’ve tried a new recipe or made a greeting card by hand, I’d love to hear about it.

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Journal Shows for My 2012-2013 Students!

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I recently had the pleasure of attending Art Journal Shows for all three classrooms of students I taught and brought supplies to this school year.  The shows for my Ontario students took place on May 16th, and the show for my Santa Ana students took place on June 4th.  All three shows were fabulous!  I wish you could’ve been there at the shows with me, dear readers.  There’s almost nothing better than seeing proud students showing off their artwork – full of excitement, enthusiasm, and pride.

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As you may remember, these children are “at-risk” and often face a number of challenges in their lives. It’s my pleasure and mission to be able to bring a positive form of self-expression to them, and I hope that art journaling will be a tool they use for the rest of their lives.  On a more basic level, my program provides art materials and education that are lacking in many public schools, and it’s a thrill to see the children respond so positively to this creative medium.  The art journaling program gets them excited about their overall educational experience, and allows them to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge in wonderful ways.

Here are some of the pages that were created by my 2012-2013 students.  They were all 4th graders, and they did a fantastic job!  They never fail to impress me with the inventive ways they use the materials they receive. For example, one artist used a business envelope to create a house on her page (below) .  The envelope’s window is the house’s window, the girl in the house is behind the window, and the artist even added fabric pieces for curtains!  :]

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THANK YOU!
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I offer my most sincere thanks to all of you who donated supplies, funds, or gift cards. I truly can’t do this without your help, and appreciate your enthusiasm and support for what I do.  The kids are always SO thankful for the supplies and for the chance to create, and I must pass on their thanks to you. Thank you – thank you – thank you!

The photo below features a journal page one of my Santa Ana students created to thank me – she included bits and pieces of many of the supplies included in her art supply bag.  However, she’s not just thanking me with that page – she’s thanking every person who donated – every person who helped spread the word about the art supply drive.  :]

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Exciting News – Expanding the Program!
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I visited with the principal at my Santa Ana school during the Art Journal Show, and he expressed interest in expanding the program during the next school year.  We laid tentative plans to add my art journaling program to three more classrooms at the school next year – to bring art journaling to ALL FOUR 4th GRADE CLASSES!  Obviously this will require more supplies, resources, supply kits prep time, etc., and it’ll be a challenge, but I’d love to make it happen and am excited by the prospect.  It made my heart SO happy that the principal sees the value, wants to expand, and is committed to bring the arts to more students.

I also hope to teach one or two classrooms of 4th graders at my Ontario school.  If I’m able to pull off a total of six classes between the two schools, over 200 at-risk children will benefit.  :] I’m crossing my fingers – please wish me luck!

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My Upcoming Art Supply Drive
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Historically my annual art supply drive has been in September or October, but this year I’m going to move it up in hopes that some of my wonderful and generous donors will take advantage of back-to-school sales.  Basics like crayons, glue sticks and pencils are often priced super low during these back-to-school sales, so I’ll be switching my art supply drive to August and September.  Please keep my students in mind if you hit these types of sales – we’d so appreciate your support!  And please remember that I happily accept donations year-round, so if you’d like to donate now you’re more than welcome to.  :]

Warm regards and many thanks,
Melody

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Sketching at a Nursery

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Do you ever head to your local nursery to ogle the plants and drink in the amazing colors and textures, or is it just me?  I love to check out the plants and stop to smell the roses when I visit nurseries and gardens.  I find such places very inspiring artistically.

So, when I visited a nursery a few weeks ago, I took along some basic art supplies and made myself at home.  Not only did I take my iPhone to snap photos, I brought some sketching supplies: my art journal, micron pens, and watercolor pencils.  I passed on using water on site, and opted to blend the colors at home later in the day.

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There I was, plunked down next to some potted protea plants.  I was out of the walkway, so I took the liberty of spreading out my colored pencils for easier color selection.  I loved the colors and texture in the protea plant, and took some time to both sketch and color.

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I’m definitely not a natural when it comes to sketching and drawing, but I really enjoyed playing. Sketching requires slowing down.  Really looking.  Being in the moment.  And since all those requirements are positive, I consider the process a success and a worthwhile way to spend my time, regardless of how the resulting image turns out.  In this case, I think it turned out well.

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After I blended the color at home with water and a brush I added a bit of  silver metallic ink (gel pen) to really emphasize the silver/gray coloration near the tip of the protea bud.

Folks can be curious when they see something out of the ordinary, like someone sitting on the ground sketching a protea plant, but I don’t let that stop me.  So what if I look silly or get dirty?  I’m not shy when it comes to creating and going after what I want, and I hope you aren’t either.  If you love plants and nature as much as I do, I encourage you to get out there, get dirty, and enjoy the process!  Whether you’re sketching or taking photos, taking time to create out in nature is always worthwhile…

Warm regards,
Melody

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My Recent Art Journaling Classes for At-Risk Kids!

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As you know, I gather art supplies, gift cards, and monetary donations in order to provide at-risk public school children with art instruction and supplies.  This year’s donation drive went well, and I was thrilled to have enough supplies to teach three classrooms of students for the first time ever – this is one more classroom than last year/ever before.  Woo hoo!  Three cheers for all my donors!

I taught all three of my classrooms over the past two weeks, two in Ontario and one in Santa Ana, and it all went incredibly well.  The kids are always SO excited to get to learn about art and to actually do it, and they take to the art and writing involved in art journaling like little baby duckies to water!  They’re super excited when they each get their art supply kits, and are especially happy when they learn that they get to keep all the supplies and take them home at the end of the year.  It was a thrill for me to see all the kids so excited, happy, and engrossed in the activity.

Many of these kids don’t have anything like this in their lives, which makes it that much more important to them.  In fact, in one class, two girls sitting next to each other were overheard saying, “I’ve never had this many art supplies!” and “I think I might cry!”  (Happy tears, mind you.)  All the teachers I talked to were very thankful, too, saying they’d never be able to provide/buy the supplies they received.  In addition to the three classes I teach in, at least five more teachers received boxes of assorted supplies to share with their classes.

FUN STATS
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Here are some numbers for you, so you can get an idea of what all went on, and how many supplies were passed on to schools that desperately need them:

Number of people that donated supplies, gift cards, or funds between June 2012 and December 2012: 31
Number of boxes and bags of assorted supplies that went to the two schools: 20
Number of art supply kits provided, so each child would have their own set of supplies: 125
Number of individual pieces/items in each art supply kit: 60+
Total number of 4th grade classes I taught: 3
Number of children who’ve received the gift of art via my program this year: over 85

Awesome, right?  I’m so thankful that so many of you lent a hand and helped me provide for the kids.  I can’t do this alone, and am so pleased so many of you got involved!  :]

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A truck full of supplies – and this was only some of what I was able to take out to the schools!

Here are some photos from the three classrooms I taught.  I don’t show the faces of our budding artists for privacy/safety reasons, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the art speaks for itself.  These images are of their very first art journal pages and journal covers.

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I hope you’re as charmed by their artwork as I am!  I’ll be returning to both schools before the school year ends to have art journal shows for the children, and will be sure to share photos from both events here on my blog.

If you’re interested in donating supplies to help bring art, writing and positive self-expression to children in need, please contact me.  I accept donations year-round, and appreciate any supplies, gift cards or funds I can get since I have no budget, volunteer my time, and provide some of the supplies.  Thank you for your consideration. :]

Warm regards,
Melody

 

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Sketch, Color & Blend!

Remember the doily-inspired mandalas I created in my art journals?  I’ve created a few more since that first post, and thought I’d share a recent creation with you.  I decided to take photos as I worked, to show the three main stages of my process:

1. Sketch the design
2. Color the mandala with water-soluble colored pencils
3. Blend color with a paintbrush & water

My sketch was very loose and rather sloppy.  It’s obviously not precise, symmetrical, or to scale, but that’s not what I’m striving for.  I’m focusing on interpretive renderings, more stylized designs, and am just having fun playing!

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Thus far I’ve added color with water-soluble crayons or water-soluble colored pencils, but will likely add acrylic inks and other media into the mix in the near future.

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I love seeing the colors come to life when they’re activated and blended with the water.  Making these mandalas is a great way to try different color combinations.

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Are you ready to make a doily-inspired mandala of your own yet?
Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Doily-Inspired Mandalas

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I recently purchased (ahem) a “few” doilies and crocheted pot holders.  I originally intended to use them to make a wreath modeled after one I’d seen online, and have since expanded my scope.  I’ll likely post some of these creations in the coming months, and thought I’d start things off with the simple “project” I recently worked on in my art journal.

I’m still recovering from my two hand surgeries, so I’m limited on what I can do, but working in my art journal with my right hand has been do-able.  Last week I selected a doily from my stash, and decided to sketch it.  Though it’s far from perfect, I’m pleased with the way the page turned out.

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I sketched out a stylized version of the doily’s pattern and design with black micron pens, and then filled in some areas with color.  I used water color pencils, some water, and a paint brush to “render” the color.

As I continued to work I realized that the image looked like a mandala of sorts, and since I’m pretty bad at creating mandalas from scratch this is a good way for me to work with pattern, color, and to relax.

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OOH, I LOVE THIS!  LET’S TRY ANOTHER…

I decided to work on a second doily-inspired mandala last week on election night, and like how this one turned out as well.

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Instead of using bold black ink pens, I decided to use a water-soluble pencil to lay down the pattern.

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The softness of the lead pencil marks dividing the page into segments reminded me of the leading in a stained glass window, and that sense grew as I used watercolors from a pan set to add color. Does it remind you of a stained glass window too, or is it just me?

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GO AHEAD, GIVE IT A TRY!

If you like the idea of working in your art journal and creating a design and pattern on your page – in color or just in black and white – consider using a doily for your starting point.  As you can see, the color schemes I put on my page aren’t based on the doilies’ actual colors – that was me using my artistic license.

Do you have any doilies laying around?  Will you give a doily-inspired mandala a try? Have you ever used other textiles or pieces of needlework to inspire other types of artwork you’ve created? Do tell…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Adventures in Sketching

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: drawing is not my strong suit.  I’m decent when I practice regularly (which, prior to this, was only for a few quarters in college), but I’m not a natural.  I’m not a whiz. And I’m definitely not a prodigy.  But I am an eternal student.  I want to continue to learn, grow, and progress until I draw my last breath, so I recently enrolled in an online class focused on sketching.

Please don’t laugh, but this is my first online class.  I thought taking the class might help keep me focused on the positive and help keep me occupied after the surgery on my left hand since my right hand was pretty functional by then, and I’m glad I signed up.  The combination of video instruction, photos, and text works very well for me, and I’ll definitely sign up for more online classes in the future.

Alisa Burke’s Sketchbook Delight workshop really has been a delight, and has inspired me to take time to look, play, and practice.  And while I may never be amazingly fantastic when it comes to drawing and sketching, I will be better.  I’ll likely be able to do enough to satisfy me artistically, and to expand my creative output and options.  And that’s enough.  It’s worth the time spent and the uncertainty that comes along with embarking on an adventure in sketching.

Here are four of my sketch pages from the last month, in chronological order…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my sketchbook/art journal.  Have you taken any online classes that you’d recommend?  Please share…

Warm regards,
Melody

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