Nature iPad Explorations: Color and Line

During my first week of the iPad nature art challenge, I discovered some wonderful apps to enhance explorations of color and line in nature. Here are a few of my favorites:

Color Vaccuum

True to its name, this is a great app to help explorers collect, and in the process discover, the wide array of colors in nature. If you’re wanting to create something, this isn’t that kind of app. However, your color discoveries can definitely inform future works of art. This app would be particularly useful in elementary art settings.



This popular social media app can be a great tool for nature photography explorations. This week, I used Instagram to document my explorations of fall colors.


Pic Stitch

This is the last app I’ll mention for this particular portion of the ipad challenge. Pic stitch is the perfect tool for collecting and comparing images from observations and explorations. Here are a few shots from my line and color explorations:




For the next week of ipad explorations, I will be focusing on iPads as a tool for recording observations. Cheers to another fantastic week of explorations!

Wonder Walk-inspired Mixed Media Art!

What a busy last month this has been! Finally spring break has come–giving me the time I needed to finish my wonder walk-inspired artwork promised so many weeks ago! Below is my finished work, inspired by the chirping, lively bush that I happened by during one of my wonder walks (see previous post). 

To begin, I prepared my canvas. I had already decided on a mixed media interpretation of my explorations, so decided to create a very busy surface to reflect my observations. 


I then began adding some of those talented singers that seemed to breath warmth and vitality into the chilled winter air.


Drawing from my observations of both the sparse, skeletal bush and the tumbleweeds filling the sidewalk, I began adding complexity to the composition:



Last of all, I added one more chickadee to the composition (collaged to add contrast). Here is the resulting work:

ImageWell, I hope this post leaves you inspired to take some of your own artful explorations this week! This being my spring break (one of the perks of teaching), I plan to take advantage of my time to its fullest! I will report back, should I discover something particularly inspiring over the course of the coming week!

‘Til then…happy explorations!

New Work!

I forgot to include this in my earlier post, but below are a couple of new pieces that I’ve been working on in my studio! Although they are not technically examples of “artful explorations in nature,” the work is most definitely fueled by the clarity of mind and flow of creativity that has stemmed from my lovely Wonder Walks! To check out more of my mixed media works, click on the new “Mixed Media Art” tab in the top menu of this blog! Cheers!

"Sunny Day Ride" (2013)

"Two Sides" (2013)

Nature Crochet Art Challenge: DAY SEVEN!


Although it only lasted a few minutes, the overcast, rainy day gave me a great excuse to make art and relax! AND–as an added bonus, my father-in-law showed me how to make my own yogurt (which, turns out, isn’t quite as complicated as I imagined!)

By tomorrow morning, this will be thick and ready to eat! Yum!

Although the rain slightly deterred me from my initial brainstormings for a frame, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my father-in-law had a box of branches in his garage! Perfect! So, with a newspaper spread on the table, I attached my crocheted canvas to 4 branches. Here are the results from today’s explorations:

Another successful and interesting nature challenge in the bag! I hope you all enjoyed this challenge as much as I did. Working with yarn in crochet embroidery has definitely given me other ideas for similar projects–and this challenge provided a most excellent chance for me to explore the natural beauty of windy Wyoming!

As always, if anyone decided to give this challenge a shot, I’d love to see your resulting works or hear your insights!

To close this post, I’d like to share another work that I recently created, using the same multimedia recycled art techniques I talked about a few days ago! For this canvas, I recycled pages from an old math book (gotta love math!) and attached my cardboard cut-outs to the surface using painter’s tape.

I then sponge painted over the top of the canvas, which I found to be less time-consuming than using a brush. Here is the finished piece:

For more detailed instructions on this process, check out my post from a couple of days ago!

‘Til later..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!


Nature Painting Challenge: DAY SIX!

Although not the sunny, blue sky day that I had envisioned for today’s challenge, the cloudy weather turned out to be perfect inspiration for my painting!

Here are today’s additions:


Well, looks like it’s time to wrap up another month’s nature challenge! Tomorrow is DAY SEVEN of the painting challenge. For tomorrow’s challenge, add your finishing touches to your painting–including a border around the edges of your composition.

‘Til tomorrow…happy explorations!

Nature Video Challenge: TOMORROW!

Tomorrow begins January’s Nature Art Challenge, which will focus on exploring the natural environment through video art! For those of you wishing to participate with me in this weeklong challenge, I will be posting daily suggestions for subjects and techniques to explore. As always, regardless of whether or not you participate in the art making process of this challenge, I invite you to participate with me through your comments and viewing of my posted videos!

Although not directly specific to Nature Video Art, offers some helpful tips for video production. Here are a few of their tips…abridged:

1.) Get physically close to your subjects. The visual perspective and sound is better when you physically get closer to your subject, as opposed to using the zoom. Although the sound may not be AS important when filming nature, the effects of physical proximity to your subject might be interesting to explore.

2.) Film scenes using more than just one shot. Showing the same objects from multiple perspectives and magnifications can make a video a little more interesting–though this style should not be overused.

3.) Film more than just your subject. This adds interest to your film as well–and makes editing a little bit easier as well. Just make sure that what you use as a “cut away” from your subject relates in some way to the overall theme of your video.
4.) Film at the same height as your subject. This provides a much more natural look for your subject. Experiment with different heights and angles as a way to create dramatic effects in your filming.

To check out the rest of these video tips, click on the link I’ve provided above! Just to give you a little head start in brainstorming for tomorrow’s challenge, here’s my suggestion for tomorrow’s video:

Choose one subject to explore from multiple perspectives and magnifications. If you have video editing software, try creating a moving collage of sorts, by piecing together short video segments from different perspectives and angles of your subject.

As always, my suggestions are just that–SUGGESTIONS. Feel free to film whatever and wherever the wind may take you!

Till tomorrow…happy explorations!