Montessori Printable Sets

Parts of a flower Monocot montessori
A tulip is a Monocot because it has petals in sets of three.
Parts of a flower parts of a tulip parts of a rose montessori.
These are Printables, ready for your classroom with a custom order from Diamond Montessori.
Parts of a Dicot flower monte
Parts of a Dicot- kids are easily able to absorb new vocabulary. Montessori teaches them the words in a clear and beautiful way.

My friend Ashley and I have been working hard on creating beautiful language learning materials for Diamond Montessori and are delighted to announce they are now available.

 

I’m very pleased with everything I’ve illustrated and Ashley’s writing is perfect for kids, and it’s all to Montessori specifications- beautiful, clear, and straightforward, to inspire little ones to grow and learn.

 

 

Painting Lake Joy Plein Air

When we first moved up to Washington a few years ago, I did these paintings. I was talking about them and couldn’t find them on my website anywhere so I’m sharing them today. These ones sold right away when I shared them on https://m.facebook.com/artistkatana

Original acrylic painting sold for $75
This is the same composition, painted a second time, the next day at the same hour. Acrylic on canvas board, sold for $75.
Original acrylic landscape painting photographed plein air
I painted this original acrylic painting plein air and photographed it inside the scene.
Palette for plein air original acrylic painting
This shows the palette I used for the painting. Cyan, path all blues, titanium white and three greens, burnt umber.
Plein air painting two versions
I used the same palette for the second painting, and this version was smoother than the first day, speaking to the power of iterations and artistic studies.

How to Fix a Dent in Canvas Artwork

I’m incredibly clumsy which is one of the reasons why I really like painting acrylic on canvas. It’s durable and it’s basically Katana proof. Once I even sliced open one of my canvases (how did that even happen?) and had to stitch it up and paint over it.

Don’t worry, a fix for a dent is a lot easier. It just happened to me so I took some photos to share the repair.

I just finished painting a landscape and put it down on a table; I didn’t even see the keys that were sitting on the table. The keys left a dent in the surface of the artwork which doesn’t look good.

An unsightly dent in the finished artwork.
An unsightly dent in the finished artwork. Don’t worry we can fix this. I took a picture with glare so you can see the dent more easily!
Here is the dented canvas from the back. In a previous life it was a demo canvas so I used the back to show an example.
Here is the dented canvas from the back. In a previous life it was a demo canvas. I used the back to demonstrate a brushstroke which is why there’s paint here! 

Take a note of that curved line because in the next picture you can’t see the dent.

Repair ruined canvas art by adding water on the back
Just add water to the back of the canvas. It will bead up, so massage it a little to make it soak in. And just like Kelly Clarkson, it’s Already Gone.
The canvas dent is fixed
And now the canvas dent is fixed!

On Not Being Good Enough to Paint

“I like that.” I’m standing behind a woman who is diligently following my instructions in one of my classes.

This painting is not perfect but it's still beautiful.
Our inspiration, Roses in the Sun demo painting.

So of course I like it; we are painting together, sharing inspiration. I feel a warmth for each painting even more than my own. My little idea of a picture, all grown up and being shared with the world and interpreted differently by each pair of eyes.

“But it doesn’t look like yours-” Her face twists up because she can only see the shortcomings, the place where her brush isn’t practiced. “I’m not good enough,” she says;

But she ignores the little zip of red that looks like the edge of a petal, the transition from blue to sea glass green. Those little beautiful moments that I’m looking at. Or even the way that she held the brush that’s different from mine- a little more of the corner, that I’m going to try myself next time I’m experimenting at the easel. That’s what I like and that’s what I tell her.

Sure, I can recommend using more paint or a little more white (seriously, it’s always a little more white paint) or use the edge of the brush. But clarifying those things doesn’t diminish the loveliness of what’s already been painted. And a few wayward marks doesn’t ruin the paintings future.

And I know that nasty voice, I’ve heard it in my head. Wandering through art galleries, where just a brush stroke looks like a shadow, where scribbles look like scudding clouds, that voice says to me “you’ll never be able to paint like that…” I’m sure that voice is why Van Gogh cut off one ear. 😜

I hear it whenever I’m looking at artworks which have credibility because of the wall where they hang and the people who talk about them.

I remind myself that the Salon des Refusès was full of marvelous artists who experienced rejection also, that perhaps there was a time when not even the artist holding the brush believed in its brushstrokes.

There’s no way to know the life the painting will take on once it leaves the easel. Because those rejected works are now the post Impressionist masters.  Or maybe your little masterpiece will become a beloved heirloom. You never know.

The factory that turned out urinals never knew that one particular urinal would one day be signed ‘R. Mutt‘ by Marcel duChamp (to say nothing of the fourteen! replicas) And if that counts as priceless art than I think our charming two hour tipsy flower paintings count as art, beautiful art, at that.

I think when you put your happy feelings into the paintings they take you somewhere happy even when the lingering sadnesses of the world are at your door.

Magic carpet painting called floating through the clouds
Floating through the clouds acrylic on canvas. 18×24″ – it’s a painted over demo painting with many more hours invested.

Thats my favorite part of this painting “Floating through the Clouds” – it takes me somewhere else when I look at it.

It’s not perfect. It doesn’t look like Dali painted it, and it doesn’t look like either Manet or Monet were involved. James Gurney could have made it in half the time and twice as real. Khalo would have a better brow game and O’Keefe wouldn’t have painted a magic carpet at all, ever. The eyes are too small for Keane but so are my own. I painted it, and it has a piece of my soul in it. It’s a dream.

I’ve painted many things and had to practice appreciating my own work, looking at it and finding what I like about it, even when my blending isn’t smooth or my colors are too loud or the proportions are wrong. I’ve had to hear that voice saying “it’s not good enough” about my own work many times. Every time.

One day I was sitting looking at my paintings. I was annoyed that the clouds were too symmetrical and they were dividing the sky in half instead of leading the eye up the canvas to the stars.

But then–!

My perspective shifted. Casteneda would say my assemblage point moved. Suddenly I could see they were beautiful.

The stars twinkled, the colors were beautiful. It really shone. And I could see what I needed to change in the clouds to help them sing with the canvas.

Siver Lining Galactic Sunset Acrylic on Canvas - the sunset rises into the night sky where the stars come out. Fluffy white clouds lined in silver speak to the magic of the universe. Mountains rise on the horizon.
Siver Lining. This is about the point I was really frustrated with it. This painting is lost. It was being shown in San Luis Obispo and then the hair salon closed while I was away. So I never got it back and I don’t know where it is.

That’s the artist eye: being able to see what’s beautiful while still imagining an improvement. That something can be beautiful and not finished yet. It’s both.

That’s what I see when I look at my Paint Nite students/partygoers. I can see where their painting has beauty and where they have let the muse hold the brush for a bit- and I can see where just a little more paint would help it sing more clearly. And that, being able to see both the beauty and the room for growth, is why I’m never bullshitting when I say I like someone’s painting.

I am still wondering, How is it possible that this beautiful painting has appeared in front of my paintbrush? That’s the great mystery that artists are after- Like Van Gogh’s high yellow note and Bruce Nauman’s Divine Truth.

I think that, like the people who paint them, every painting contains beauty, regardless of technical skill. I’m not looking for skill- I’m looking for feeling.

At the end of Paint Nite the woman I spoke with poses for photos with her finished work. The photo gives her some distance to see the truth of the painting, separate from the physical paint marks on canvas. Then she realizes it really is beautiful and the negative self talk evaporates into a joyful giddiness over her beautiful painting.

She’s laughing, I’m laughing. It really is beautiful.

 

A Simple System For Getting Creative

Sometimes I have so many paintings in my head- until it’s time to paint. Here’s how I get creative without getting side tracked.When I just jump right into painting, I don’t feel settled and don’t focus as well. I also like to set aside three or four consecutive hours.

  1. A Clean Work Space.
    Nothing is more appealing than neatly laid out art supplies, a clean surface, and brushes that are ready to go. It’s also good for clearing your mind and getting excited about what you’re about to do without jumping into the deep end.Being organized as a painter is a challenge but it feels so much better to be busy when there’s not a lot of mental clutter in my space. This is also an invitation for the cat to join in.

    Serious artist at work. This is Phoebe, who has a knack for sitting down as soon as her humans stand up.
    Serious artist at work. This is my creative cat Phoebe, who has a knack for sitting down as soon as her humans stand up.
  2. Burn White Sage or a few candles
    I used to work at a white sage farm which is where I met Jeremy. So I prefer white sage to regular incense, which makes me sneeze. I buy my white sage from Amazon. It creates a pleasant, relaxing environment for painting. Candles are nice, too.
  3. Put on some music
    More often than not my background noise is the television in the other room, so I’ll put on some music or an audiobook or a guided meditation to listen to while I’m painting, so I get the calm happy thoughts into my paintings.
  4. Pour a drink.
    A pot of tea, a glass of juice, a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee; water’s healthy as long as you know which one is paint water and which one is not. Drinking acrylic paint won’t kill you (I’m still alive!) but it tastes terrible.

    saturday night paint and sip
    Saturday night in the artist studio.
  5. Get to work!
    By now my studio area is looking so appealing that it’s easy to let time vanish and create with my paintbrush.

Commission Painting: Estonia

So this painting started off by painting the canvas grey. Because there were so many small shapes here I wanted to cover the canvas with a flattish color.

This is just after all the blocking in of main shapes has been completed. You can still see the under painting and the grid lines on top.
This is just after all the blocking in of main shapes has been completed. The ocean is Ultramarine Blue, Golden Acrylics. The greens are made with Pthalo Blue, Primary Yellow, & Hooker’s Green, Stevenson Acrylics. I use  mix of my primaries to get grey. I also use Pyrrole Red (Golden) for the rooftops but later on add some Burnt Umber.
blocking in the main shapes estonia painting
Working out the main shapes and trying to find how all the little puzzle pieces of greys and squares result in looking like buildings. Little attention has been paid at this point to the trees and distant harbour area.
The reference photo my client sent me.
The reference photo my client sent me.
The finished commission.
The finished commission.

It just arrived at its home!

Painting an Impressionist Monet Bridge Over Lilies

This is the second Monet painting in a series that I’m creating to teach at my Paint Nite events. This new one is called “Impressionist Monet Bridge Over Lilies.” You can search the title  + ‘Paint Nite’ to find out if it’s being taught in your area.

See the first one, “Impressionist Monet Water Lilies” here.

paint dark red areas to map out painting
Map out the composition. Using dark red I outlined the three parallel lines on the bridge, the reflection of the bridge in a smile shape, and that scrubby line under the three rainbows is the shoreline. I would make these all a bit thicker when I teach it.
Working from the dark red over to blueish purple, scrub in with the drybrush technique the shadowy areas. While the edges are fuzzy, the shapes should be opaque.
Working from the dark red over to blueish purple, scrub in with the drybrush technique the shadowy areas. While the edges are fuzzy, the shapes should be opaque.
I load my brush with blue and yellow and it mixes to a streaky green right on the canvas. Fill in the pond area around the reddish colored reflection. Its blue with a little teeny bit of white in some areas.
I load my brush with blue and yellow and it mixes to a streaky green right on the canvas. Fill in the pond area around the reddish colored reflection. Its blue with a little teeny bit of white in some areas.
Here you are with the finished emerald green painted pond.
Here you are with the finished emerald green painted pond.
Next up, chartreuse. Its lotsa yellow and a little little bit of blue, and it just piles right on top of the shoreline. Theres a little bit above the bridge but not much. Use vertical brush strokes, let it be streaky.
Next up, chartreuse. Its lotsa yellow and a little little bit of blue, and it just piles right on top of the shoreline. Theres a little bit above the bridge but not much. Use vertical brush strokes, let it be streaky.
Finish the top of the painting with more of that emerald green - teal combo.
Finish the top of the painting with more of that emerald green – teal combo. Use that dark green to add in some grassy texture along the shoreline, too.
Go over those dark red arcs with light blue. Its okay if that dark red shows through. Then add four vertical lines for the posts on the back of the bridge. IT looks good, but its a little flat.
Go over those dark red arcs with light blue. Its okay if that dark red shows through. Then add four vertical lines for the posts on the back of the bridge. It looks good, but it’s a little flat.
Use regular blue to add partial shadows in the bottom of the arcs. You dont have to completely paint over the light blue.
Use regular blue to add partial shadows in the bottom of the arcs. You don’t have to completely paint over the light blue.
Light blue again, but with just a tint of yellow to get seafoam. Put in the front railings of the bridge; four vertical posts and a rainbow overtop. They are above and beside the back railings.
Light blue again, but with just a tint of yellow to get seafoam. Put in the front railings of the bridge; four vertical posts and a rainbow overtop. They are above and beside the back railings.
Use white to highlight the front posts and railings. The white paint will make it pop forward!
Use white to highlight the front posts and railings. The white paint will make it pop forward! You can see this is where I added more paint to the red shadows, but I recommend teaching it this thick to begin with so you don’t have to go back. Every color change takes time.
Now were on the home stretch. Pale green streaks with the round brush begin the lily pads.
Now we are on the home stretch. Pale green streaks with the round brush begin the lily pads.
Layer those lily pads in varying green all the way to the bottom of the canvas.
Layer those lily pads in varying green all the way to the bottom of the canvas.
The lotus flowers are little three petaled Ws joined at the bottom. They are just three little brush strokes pivoting at the bottom.
The lotus flowers are little three petaled Ws joined at the bottom. They are just three little brush strokes pivoting at the bottom.
Add in some more streaky grasses in the shoreline if youve got a few more minutes.
Add in some more streaky grasses in the shoreline if you’ve got a few more minutes.

Painting the City of Angels in Acrylic Paint

I created the City of Angels and it is now licensed to Paint Nite for other Paint Nite artists to teach it across the continent!

Here are the main steps. While I was painting it, I started with a smoggy gray but went back and brightened all the colors near the end (not shown). Learn from my process and paint yours with fully saturated color from the beginning!

paint the background in pale blue acrylic paint
Paint the background in pale blue. I mixed the acrylic paint color on the canvas so that it would streak.
use pthalo blue and titanium white to paint rectangles I use golden acrylics
Using pthalo blue acrylic paint and white (in my home studio I use Titanium white from Golden acrylics), create different shades and layer on many rectangles to create the idea of buildings in the background. It looks grey in this photo but you really want it to pop so use blue.
use black brushstrokes to create the painting ground
Use black acrylic paint to create a fuzzy ground. I start the brushstroke at the bottom of the canvas and let up at the end of the stroke to create blades of grass. Again, this photo is quite desaturated.
palm trees painting
Place your palm trees with blue-black lumps.
paint palm tree trunks in acrylic paint
Pull the acrylic paint in downward brush strokes to create the ragged ends of the palm trees, than use horizontal brushstrokes to create the tree trunks. They can bend and wobble as they grow.
Use green and yellow paint to add the highlights into the grass and the treetops
I missed a few photos adding the green and brightening the blue. Hopefully you didn’t use any black in the background so you didn’t have to adjust it later. Once you’ve got the shadow parts of thee palm trees in, use green and yellow to fluff up the tops of the trees and brighten the grass.

Tarot Thursdays at Walks Within

Beginning this year, Mary Malinski, the Prosperity Priestess at Walks Within, and I, have been working on our deck of Tarot Cards. Every Thursday we are releasing a new Tarot card. If you’d like a chance to model for a tarot card (the more variety of persons the better the deck will be!) than send a few poses and faces to us. It’s helpful if you are posed as the figures on the card may be, but I can amalgamate images as well. Costuming is not necessary.

The idea is to fill the cards with art, love and light, and they are all digitally illustrated to create a clear story to help you read the cards accurately.

0-The-Fool-blog
The Fool Tarot Card
8 of Swords Tarot card
The 8 of Swords
3 of Wands Tarot Card
3 of Wands Tarot Card
Temperance Tarot Card
Temperance Tarot Card

 

How to Paint Water Lilies like Claude Monet

I created this version of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies to teach at Paint Nite. It’s called “Impressionist Monet Water Lilies.” Click here to find it on the Paint Nite schedule near you.

I’m providing the steps for other Paint Nite master artists to teach their own version, or for you to have a sneak preview of how easy it is to follow along at Paint Nite.

View more of the paintings I teach on Pinterest!

Step one pthalo blue green white acrylic paint
The first step is starting with pthalo blue ragged streaks across the top of the canvas, than green, than white. Then light blue to the bottom of the canvas. The more ragged and streaked the better, so you don’t need to wash your brush between colors. Use lots of paint so it stays wet.
How to paint reflective water
While the paint from the last step is still wet, sweep your brush back and forth across the canvas to drag the paint back and forth and flatten the reflections.
How to paint water lilies
How to paint the water lilies: Using blue white and yellow, mixed, dab ovals in groupings across the canvas. Mix up the paint in different quantities so some are darker and some are lighter and some are brighter!
Dabbing color on the lilies
Start adding blue and yellow dabs on top of the lilies.
Paint lotus flowers
Add red and white W’s wherever you want to paint the lotus flowers.
Paint nite tickets
Your completed water lily painting. If you’d like more instruction and all your painting supplies provided, look for this painting on the Paint Nite website – use code SEATTLE for $25 tickets!