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!


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.)
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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.”



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.
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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”…

Lots of fun things to look at.

I drew another “zendala” doodle..
And I stold a “Lamppost” framed print. Thanks whoever you are!

(AND there is free shipping, worldwide, at my shop through tomorrow, just saying. You have to click this link though to access it.)

My first graders talked about how the primary colors are SUPER because they make all the other colors on the rainbow, so we made primary colored SUPER HEROES.
IMG_2068They loved it. And they loved this song to go along with it.

And I’m working on a pirate ship..

Using micron pens and watercolor pencils.  Watercolor pencils are so fun!  They are like magic. Art magic

This is what happens when I don’t blog in awhile. I have to hit you with a lot of little things at once.

I found the above on Society 6, by artist Bianca Green. I also like this one.

Every day’s a good day when you paint.

This past week I started painting with Kinder-3rd, which of course is always very exciting for them.

A very blurry picture of some 1st graders painting

A very blurry picture of some 1st graders painting

When we paint, we like to watch this Bob Ross remix which the kids absolutely love. We watch it as least twice every class. I think I’ve shared it on here before.

One first grader said, “This song really helps me focus!.” And a second grader,”This is a thing of joy!.” Another second grader, “Why does he keep saying ‘Ibalee’?.” (as in “I believe”).

In closing, happy birthday to my wonderful Daddy!

Taken when I was 17, at the Spanish Steps in Rome.


Well, it’s happened. I’ve done it. I finished my first year as an elementary art teacher. And I feel really good about it.


I feel good that it is summer, of course. All of this free time is beyond amazing. And I also feel good about the year. I’ve learned and grown so much.

I have felt so much gratitude these past few weeks, reflecting on things. I’m so amazed to be where I am and doing what I doing and ENJOYING what I’m doing. I really enjoy it. And I am so thankful for THAT.

I didn’t know, starting this year, if I would really like this whole teaching thing. Even a few months in, I wasn’t so sure. But now I do! Not that like going to work everyday–most days I would rather not. And not that there weren’t days I would go home in tears of frustration and exhaustion–that happened quite a few times (especially in the fall). But when all is said and done–I’m really loving it (easy to say now that it’s summer,right).


And I am having fun planning what to do differently next year–to actually go into the year having some idea of what I am doing. To change things in my classroom (they are replacing my carpet with tile which is awesome). To do some of the same lessons, some different. Im also excited to see all my kiddos again–a few months older.


There is also some fear about next year, because we will have a new principal and the one that is leaving has been SO awesome. She will be hard to replace.

But for now, it is glorious SUMMER. I have some things planned, and lots of things not planned. Right now, I’m sitting next to Ryan at Mudsmith ( an east Dallas coffee shop). I will probably be doing a lot of that this summer–sitting next to Ryan while he studies. He has lots of that to do.

And hopefully I’ll be sharing lots more art, and adventures, and books. Fun summer things.

Zoom Zip

I’m going to stop calling these things doodles.  That’s just me being shy.


They’re just art, ok?  Whether they are awesome and world-changing or not.

I need to take better pictures though. I’ve been using my phone camera.  Having uploading difficulties with my Canon.


I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but part of my inspiration for filling up these sketchbooks is this book.


In it, you peak into the private sketchbooks of various artists, illustrators, and random joes.

One artist (Rich Beerhorst) is quoted in the book as saying “Perhaps the best thing to do is draw often and everywhere. See it as an opportunity to live more deeply.” And Christin Castro Hughes says, “Once in a while I make a masterpiece, but usually, I just make a mess.”

I am also inspired by my students.
I feel like I’ve been working on this blog post for way to long. And it’s not much. Just publish already

Art is Smart

I feel like all I really talk about on here recently is art, but that’s my life currently. And art is pretty cool so that’s ok.

Ryan and I are amateur art collectors, and we have some recent acquistions. The first is this lovely giclee art print by artist Joe Sorren (one of Ryan’s favorite artists, mentioned also in this post). It is the first print of just 50 made of this artwork, so that is pretty special.

When She Was Camera

Here it is in context, on our gray wall.

Here it is in context, on our gray wall.

The other art I just hung up are original paintings done by none other than Ryan’s own brother. The top one he gave to me for Christmas, and the bottom he gave to Ryan for his birthday. Ryan and I love having original works of art–in case you are thinking of giving us a present any time soon. So here the watercolor paintings now hang in our study.

Had to include BU sock monkey and the blanket I knitted this past summer.

Had to include BU sock monkey and the blanket I knitted this past summer.

And here they are up close. These are terrible photographs from my iPhone, but at least you can get a closer look. There is such rich, surreal, interesting, and perplexing details in these paintings.


You’ll just have to see them in person (if we know you, that is, and invite you).

And here is some more art! I was so fearful of teaching clay to my elementary students, but now it is my favorite. My second graders made some clay fish after reading …

Such a cute book!

Here are some of their pout-pout fish.
And here are some glazed.
They have such personality!  I love them.

They have such personality! I love them.

I got the idea for the lesson from Art With Mr. E.

And then here is a self-portrait I drew last Sunday in pen.
I usually draw in pencil, and I was pretty scared of the whole not-erasing-thing. But it was a good challenge! I need to draw more in pen.

A Bad Dog and Sweet Snowmen

I caught Akon eating out of Olive’s bowl this morning. He wasn’t even sneaky about it! I was right there. And he definitely knows better. So I scolded him and had him sit and stay. He plopped down under the table and looked pretty pitiful for awhile.
You may notice that it is snowing on my blog now. Even if I don’t get the real stuff, at least I can have some virtual snow. And painted snow. My kindergarteners have been painting snowmen this week.

My mom my notice the disposable-food-containers from Thanksgiving being put to good re-use.

My mom may notice the disposable-food-containers from Thanksgiving being put to good re-use.

It resulted in a glorious mess, but also some stinkin’ cute snowmen.
I’m also super excited about seeing some real snow when we go skiing in Angelifre. We leave in less than two weeks! And Christmas happens even before that. And I still have barely started Christmas shopping . . .
Akon at Angelfire last winter, during our snowshoeing adventure.

Akon at Angelfire last winter, during our snowshoeing adventure. I believe it was the best day of his life.