iPad nature art challenge!

After over a year without my monthly nature art challenges, I’ve decided it’s high time to shake things up with a new challenge. This time I’d like to present a series of weekly challenges, all centering around the technology of iPads.

Since my school’s purchase of several classroom sets of iPads, I have become increasingly interested in their potential as an art medium and tool for nature exploration.

For the next four weeks, I will be posting my iPad art explorations, beginning with an exploration of line and color in the natural environment. For these explorations, I will limit myself to free apps only. As always, I invite you to join me on this new adventure–via iPad or smartphone!

Happy explorations!



AUGUST: Where’s Waldo Nature Challenge!

In honor of my birthday month, I will be shaking things up a little bit, Waldo-style! For this month’s Nature Challenge, we will be exploring the environment through the creation of a “Where’s Waldo”-style drawing!

Unfortunately (sort of) I will be living the unplugged life on a beach in Mexico during this challenge, so will not be able to post my daily challenges. I will, however, still be participating in the challenge during my trip. When I return from my vacation, I will post my results of the challenge! Since I won’t be able to post a daily tip for the challenge, I’ve included a tip for each day below:

DAY ONE: Since your drawing is going to be fairly detailed for this challenge, begin with a smaller paper (no bigger than 6″X6″…unless you are inspired to work on a larger canvas!) Today, focus on your background. Try to draw from the environment around you. Go for a walk; look out your window; sit on your porch; create a simplified background from your observations (i.e. If you’re looking at a neighborhood background, complete with yards, cars, roads, trees, and houses, try to sketch what the land would look like WITHOUT the houses, trees, and cars, and other “props”). Do not worry about shading or coloring your background yet. Focus on pencil outlines.

DAY TWO: Time to create your “Waldo!” Since this is a nature challenge, your “Waldo” should be something of the environment around you. Perhaps it is an interesting leaf you see on a walk. Maybe it is a funny little squirrel that lives in your yard. Take a walk for some inspiration. When you find your character, practice drawing it several times until you find the version you like best. Remember that we are drawing in cartoon-style, so focus on outlines rather than shading or too many details.

DAY THREE: Now that you have your “Waldo,” it’s time to work on hiding him/her! divide your paper into fourths, using light pencil lines. For today, select one section of your composition to fill with small characters, objects and details that you see throughout the day. Rather than focusing on a small area of this section and moving up, I would recommend first spacing out your drawings in the section, and then filling in the space between your drawings (if that makes sense). You may begin adding some color to this section as well (using a medium of your choice: colored pencils, crayons, markers, watercolor, etc.).

DAY FOUR: Select another quadrant to “Waldify!” Try drawing from a location than the previous day’s drawing. Be sure to include a variety of sizes and textures in your drawing. Add color.

DAY FIVE: Begin adding characters and objects to the third section of your drawing. Add color.

DAY SIX: “Waldify” your fourth and final section of your composition. Add color.

DAY SEVEN: Try to add a few objects to overlap your four sections and tie everything together. Finish adding color and details. Finally, in classic Waldo-style, add a map key with the objects that need to be found–your main character being the star ingredient!

As mentioned above, I will post my own challenge results when I return in a couple of weeks. If any of you decide to take on this challenge, I would love to see your results–and possibly feature them on my blog! Enjoy the process of this challenge!  

‘Til later…happy explorations!


Nature Watercolor Challenge: DAY SEVEN!

Well, we once again find ourselves at the end of another challenge. I must say I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the watercolor explorations! 

For today’s challenge, I focused my attention to interesting leaves (on the ground!). About 2 minutes into my walk, I stumbled upon an interesting little leaf. The thing that grabbed my attention most was its shape. It was bone dry–bent and twisted into a dance-like position. So, taking that leaf home–as well as an extra emergency leaf of the same type, I painted the following:


Once I began exploring the leaf, I decided to use the interesting, jagged edge of my emergency leaf as a stencil to create my background–focusing on the dancing leaf as my main subject. Very enjoyable exploration!

I hope you all have enjoyed this challenge as much as I have! As always, if any of you gave this challenge a try, I’d love to see your resulting explorations! And now…off on my trip! 

‘Til later…happy explorations!

Nature Watercolor Challenge: DAY FIVE!

With every new challenge comes the risk of failure. No, failure is too strong of a word. The word FAILURE would suggest that the end result has no redeeming value; the word FAILURE has no place in the art world. So rather, let me say “With every new challenge comes the opportunity for GROWTH.

Today’s challenge proved to be one of those “growth opportunities.” I say that because the result, while successful, was very different from the one that I had pictured in my head. That being said–if I were to do this challenge again, I would change the following things:

1.) Use a thinner paper (or canvas/cloth) or wet both sides of the paper before beginning the texture rubbing.

2.) Use several different colors and consistencies (darker colors for deep areas in texture)

The subtle textures in my finished composition were surprising, but still successful in accomplishing the goals of the challenge. Most importantly, the tactile process of rubbing the textures from the bark onto my paper brought be closer to the intricacies of the tree that I was studying. Here is my resulting composition:

For tomorrow’s challenge, we will explore with our other senses. Take a 20-30 minute walk. Breath in the air. Soak in the weather of the day. Follow smells. Look around at the colors, shapes, and textures around you. When you return from your adventure, use your watercolors to reflect on everything that your senses gathered.

‘Til tomorrow…happy explorations!

Nature Watercolor Challenge: DAY ONE!

Happy Friday night! Thank goodness the first day of this challenge was a quick one–as I spent the majority of my day apartment hunting! Nevertheless, the small amount of time spent exploring watercolor painting was worthwhile.

Here is the result of today’s explorations:

I had a wonderful time exploring different texture possibilities and types of washes using small thumbnail-sized boxes for my experimenting.

For tomorrow’s challenge, explore some special effects that can be achieved using items such as paper towels, salt, and the scratching effects that can be achieved through the sgrafitto technique.

Enjoy tomorrows explorations! Have fun with the process! Tomorrow will be the last day of paint technique explorations before we head out to explore the natural world through watercolor!

‘Til tomorrow…happy explorations!

Banana Bread and Watercolor Paint! (not together..)

Mmmm… today has been a good day. Not JUST because THIS delicious thing just came out of the oven, but also because it has been a day of relaxed, stress-free productivity! Don’t you love days like that? Especially when you’re actively doing things that you WANT to be doing! Thank you, summer vacation!

So, that being said, I’ve decided to make the most of my motivation and give my blog a little TLC! It’s been several weeks since my last post, but those weeks have been put to great use! Over the last few weeks, I have been working on a series of mixed media paintings (fun!) and also managed to order new business cards! Here’s one of my most recent works:

My creativity is now running on full, ready for the coming Nature Art Challenge!!

For July’s challenge, we will be exploring the natural world through WATERCOLOR PAINTING! Since I will be leaving for a trip at the end of next week, the challenge will begin tomorrow, Friday, June 29, and last through Thursday, July 5th. As always, if you do not have the supplies for this challenge, you are welcome to follow along with me and then try your own challenge at a later time!

I’m really excited about this particular challenge, as I have not explored watercolor painting much myself! Something about the loose, free-flowing nature of watercolor painting freaks me out! So, this should prove to be an interesting challenge!

If you are not familiar with watercolor painting, here is an excellent website that demonstrates some techniques that might come in handy for the challenge!

For tomorrow’s challenge, EXPLORE YOUR MEDIUM! On a piece of thicker paper (watercolor or mixed media paper preferred, but cardstock–or even plain old computer paper would work too) explore Flat WashesGraded Washes, and Glazed Washes. While the first  two days of this challenge will not involve outdoor exploration, they will provide the foundation for the remainder of the challenges explorations!

‘Til tomorrow…happy explorations!

Nature Crochet Art Challenge: DAY FIVE!

For today’s challenge, I continued adding the large shapes of color to my canvas. Here is today’s resulting explorations:

Since my design had overlapping leaves, I decided to use two different colors for my leaves. For tomorrow’s challenge, using a thinner yarn, add details to your larger shapes.

As promised yesterday, I would like to share a recycle art collage lesson idea with you.

To prepare your surface:

1. Cover surface with glue. Add newspaper/magazine clippings to create collaged background. Apply glue to cover surface and let dry.

2. Cut shapes/designs out of cardboard and use painter’s tape or wax to temporary attach to dried collage surface.

3. Paint over surface and cardboard stencil. Remove stencil and touch up edges with paint.

4. Once dry, add details using pen.


‘Til tomorrow…happy explorations!