Mad Lib Illustrations

I had a substitute a week or so ago, and while I was gone I had my students do mad lib illustrations.  I got the idea from Organized Chaos.  So my fifth graders would randomly pull from three different cups–one for subjects, one for actions, and one for places.  Then they would make a sentence out of the 3 words/phrases and illustrate it.  When I got back the following Monday, I laughed out loud at what I had waiting for me.  The kids said they enjoyed it too.  The word cups are now apart of my “free draw” station where kids can go if they finish early. Here are some of my faves.

An octopus baking a cake in the North Pole.

An octopus baking a cake in the North Pole. (This kid is a fantastic artist)

Santa Claus playing checkers in the forest.

Santa Claus playing checkers in the forest.

Penguins sneezing in outer space.

Penguins sneezing in outer space.

A shark eating spaghetti at Six Flags.

A shark eating spaghetti at Six Flags.

Mrs. Maxwell eating at Chili's.

Mrs. Maxwell eating at Chili’s.

I have a nice, artsy dress on, no?


Thanksgiving festivities were fun and full!

Playing games at Ryan's Grandma's

Playing games at Ryan’s Grandma’s

Fajita dinner at my folks'

Fajita dinner at my folks’–with Will & Bailey and their sweet daughter.

Passing around Princess Nell

Passing around Princess Nell

So many wonderful things and people and food. We are so very blessed.

And we are about to head out and get a Christmas tree!



This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Texas Art Education Conference in Dallas.
It was great fun–lots of awesome workshops, and ran into a lot of old and new friends. The Hilton Anotole itself is beautiful. And they were in the midst of Christmas-a-fying it this weekend.
One of the main speakers at the conference was Magda Sayeg. She has an exotic sounding name, but she’s a Texas girl–from Houston and currently lives in Austin. I really enjoyed hearing her story. She started the yarn bombing phenomenon.

She enjoys changing everyday objects so that people notice them again. And how yarn bombing kinda reveals and conceals things at the same time. It’s brings something warm and human into a cold urban environment. And it’s pretty. Cool stuff.

We saw some in Dallas a few years ago, in the Bishop Arts District.  Ryan was all dressed up for his grad school interview.


Maybe I should start knitting something today. It has been awhile.
And I’ll close with a thank you for the buyer of all those mugs! I have an idea of who you are…. Thank you!

Keep Calm and Paint Happy Trees

Whenever I do chores–cooking, mopping, vacuuming (in case you don’t know what a chore is)– I like to entertain myself.  It keeps me motivated.  Like when I’m cooking, I also almost always watch a TV show on my iPad (alliteration!).   And when I’m doing something that requires me moving around the house, I’ll listen to an NPR show on my iPhone.  This actually kind of makes me look forward to the chore.

Well, I just finished mopping, and while doing so I  listened to a really interesting/ awesome Radiolab podcast about rabies–Rodney Versus Death.  I would highly recommend that particular Short (they call their podcasts “Shorts”).  And something else awesome about it, was that it lasted the exact amount of time I needed  it to; it ended while I was pouring out my dirty mop water.

And speaking of Radiolab, I had my 5 seconds of fame by reading the credits at the end of another Short–Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  Listen to the whole thing, and then you’ll hear, “This is Laura Maxwell from Dallas, TX. Radiolab is supported by……” So, if you have a chore to do or somewhere you need to drive in your car–or perhaps you need to exercise– you should download or stream one or both of those podcasts to listen to while doing so.

In other news, I had something encouraging happen yesterday.  I got an email from Society 6 saying my Pirate Peril art print had been selected to be in their print shop.

So this is what that means. With Society 6, anybody can create a profile and sell their artwork from their profile page (like this is mine).  But there is also just the regular website, where you can sift through tons of artists’ work to buy prints, bags, pillows etc.  They select the works that will be in this shop–just the ones they think have a good chance of selling, I suppose.  And now one of my drawings is apart of it.   So you can buy any of my drawings by just going to my personal shop, and now the above drawing is also available in the official Society 6 shop.  So that’s nice and encouraging to me 🙂  Thanks Caroline, for commissioning this!

(Sorry, being a teacher I am used to saying the same thing multiple times in different ways.  That’s what just happened in the above paragraph.)

Now, I want to do more awesome drawings that will be selected.  But I also need to remember.

I don’t not need to be obsessed with what people think about what I draw, I just need to do it because I like to.

And one more for the road.

Autumn Pretties

Yep, I’m feeling better than I was during my last post.

And then I had only three days of school this week and now its already the weekend again.  Say what?! Pretty awesome. I feel like I don’t even deserve the weekend, but I’m not complaining.

So last week I started a new drawing with this..


Then I played around with it on Pixelmator and created this.

I am a fan of asymmetry, so I prefer the original drawing, but I’m happy with both of them. And both are available at my shop. For instance…

And since then, I’ve been adding to the original flower.  Here is the work in progress ..


I also wanted to share a pumpkin. Because there are a lot of pumpkins going on in my life right now…
And speaking of pumpkins. Here are my 1st graders’ finished pumpkins (I showed an in-process photo a bit ago). They are so adorable! (Click on the image to make it bigger.)
IMG_2135 - Version 2
They are hanging up next to some kindergarten fall trees. The fall trees have finger-painted leaves.  Lots of teachers have told me how much they love the pumpkins. You know, that really means a lot to an art teacher–complimenting students’ artwork.  So, if you have the thought, you should tell them (and of course that goes with any compliment–if you think it, you should say it).

My 6th graders are also working on some beautiful Southwest Landscapes in chalk pastel. Once I upload some photos I will have to share.

So much wonderful eye candy in this post.   Here is one more, by an illustrator I like named Tegan White.  It’s called “The Last Acorn of Autumn.”


Mind Blown

Finished my second “Collaboration” piece. It started as a drawing by a toddler friend of mine…
And then I finished it off.

After scanning and editing the original drawing on Pixelmator (really just enhancing the colors and removing a food smudge), I started playing around with some of the other effects. Like inverting the colors.
And like taking this drawing
And turing it into this.

Mind blown.

And that was just me messing around for like 5 minutes.

I’ve often wondered how some of the people I follow on Society 6 can post so much art, so often. I think I know now.


A few months ago, some of our good friends visited. They have two precious babes, and one of them–who is about 2 1/2 I think– occupied himself by drawing for a few minutes. At the time, I had just gotten into Zentangle, and so I saved the drawings, thinking they would be great starting points for a zentangle piece. First I worked on this one.
IMG_1791 - Version 2
Which I recently completed.
I call it “Collaboration.” And I’ve started working on the second one.

Meanwhile, my students and I are getting excited about fall. 1st graders are drawing and painting pumpkins, mixing red and yellow to make orange.

Next week they are going to cut out the pumpkins and leaves and glue them to a black paper and draw stars. Night time pumpkins. Got the idea from Deep Space Sparkle.

4th graders are making some beautiful moonlit pumpkins, learning about making tints and shades (making a color lighter or darker depending on the light). I forgot to take pictures, but can share some next week. Kinders are making fall trees and finger-painting the leaves. Again, forgot to take pictures.

I feel like I share more 1st grade projects than anything else. I guess I really like 1st grade.

And I like my job.

I'm thinking/hoping that by "live" she meant "leave"...

I’m thinking/hoping that by “live” she meant “leave”…


First, here is the cutest frog ever. Perhaps you have already seen this, but if you haven’t, now’s your chance…

It’s the Desert Rain Frog, found in South Africa. Akon got really excited when we were watching this video. He likes all things squeaky.

He also likes to cuddle with our feet.

He also likes to cuddle with our feet.

I was commissioned by my cousin to make a drawing for her sweet son’s pirate-themed bedroom.  Here is the finished piece.

I’m pleased with out it turned out. When people ask me to draw things for them, it gets me out of what I would normally draw and stretches me. She will get the original, but it’s available in my store if you like it too.