Monday, May 23, 2016

Voting Is Open: Pet Portrait Contest

Please consider voting for my pet portrait entry in the Blick Art Materials contest. I chose something a little different than my usual pet portrait style. It is a rather modern style painting I did of my cat back in undergrad (not so long ago) that is actually the first painting I ever sold. Since this one elicited an unasked for offer to buy, I figured it might have some appeal and get some votes.

Here is the painting:

And here is the link to vote:

You can vote once every 24 hours.

Much thanks if you do!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

April Vacation Week Art Camp At Holten Street Creative Spaces

This super fun vacation week camp was designed to encourage artistic growth, creative problem solving and personal expression. Young artists will explore drawing, painting, printmaking and textile arts through intensive studio work.

Space is extremely limited to only 15 young artists so registering early to get into the lottery is important. The deadline to be considered is March 25th.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Two New Workshops for February Vacation Week

These classes will run at Holten Street Creative Spaces in Danvers.

Call 978-549-8831 to register.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

If Picasso Went to the Zoo Is Available!

Why am I so excited that a book by Eric Gibbons is available? Because it isn't just by him, not really. He invited lots of fellow art teacher to contribute illustrations and I was one of those lucky ones to be included. This is the first time an artwork of mine has been used as an illustration and it is in such a terrific book.

The premise of If Picasso Went to the Zoo is that many famous artists see animals at the zoo and depict them in their known style. Well, in this case the artists are actually a group of art teachers emulating the styles of different artists. My artist was realist Gustave Courbet and my animal was a chimpanzee. Gotta love the alliteration (Courbet's Chimpanzee).

Courbet's Chimpanzee 14 x 14 Oil on Panel Copyright Margaurita Spear 2015

Truly I have been sitting on this secret project for so long because the book was not yet published, but since it became available last month I can share.

The book is available at select retailers, as well as Amazon at this link: If Picasso Went to the Zoo - Buy on Amazon

Each animal is accompanied by a poem (tie in to literacy) and includes leaves to represent its status (endangered, etc.).

This is the second book in the series. The first was If Picasso Had a Christmas Tree. And there are more in the works, but that's still hush hush.

If you get the book be sure to share a rave review.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Online Booking Now Available Through Wyzant

You can now book lessons with me in drawing or painting, as well as tutoring in art history.

Follow this link:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

New Partnership with Holten Street Creative Spaces

I am excited to be partnering with Holten Street Creative Spaces to offer some imaginative and fun art classes for kids, teens and adults. We are starting with a great selection of summer offerings and hope to offer more in the fall. See the poster below or visit the website at: Holten Street Classes

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Little Painted Birds

Some more little Artist Trading Card sized paintings... this time its all gone to the birds.


February Vacation Week Art Making

Over February vacation week, about a month ago ( I know shame on me for not posting sooner) I taught a selection of art lessons to fifth grade students. These students were attending math camp all morning and spent the afternoon in enrichment classes, like mine.

Here is just some of the art making fun we had...

We made ribbon bound books on the first day. These are artist trading card size when they are closed up accordion style. Normally we would have added something to the pages, but for this class the kids got to bring them home right away.

On the second day we made faces inspired by the graphic images of Alexander Calder. There was a Calder exhibit last summer at the local museum and I was so thrilled to hear how many students remembered attending it!

On the third day we made initial collages with fabric. For many students this project lasted into the fourth day so they could finish it up. In a regular classroom setting we would have worked much larger and outlined the letters with black paint so they would stand out more. But we did not have the time or space for that.

And on the fourth and final day I set up "art centers". One was for those students who needed to finish the initial project from the day before. Another was an art game called "Exquisite Corpse". And the third was one that required a little demo on how to make 3D lettering (as seen in these student examples).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Needle Felting Resources (for MAEA Conference)

This coming weekend I am presenting yet another needle felting workshop. I'm hoping that having done this a few times already, I come off as poised and polished. We'll see.

The workshop is for the Massachusetts Art Education Associations (MAEA) Conference. Not only is this my first time presenting at a state conference, it is my first time attending one. So, that means I'll have lots to post about my experiences in just a few short days.

In the meantime, I am creating this blog post as a resource for those attending my workshop (and anyone else).

Little felted frog. Using a design from the book Wool Buddies.

This link will bring you to a printable/downloadable information packet that I like to handout. Its packed with lots of tidbits of information that I painstakingly sought out and put in one place. There are also step-by-step photos of some of the needle felting projects I've done.

You can find more visuals of finished felting projects at these links:
Lots of Animals
Tuxedo Cat
Colorful Owl
So Many Bunnies!

And for older posts on needle felting workshops, check out these:
North Shore Art Teachers Association
Wenham Museum

Happy felting and always watch your fingers!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Sculpting!

So this year I did a little more than just carve a jack-o-lantern. I had a very over zealous plan to make a fully three dimensional bee hive with equally dimensional bees. I had to modify this plan due to time constraints (like having to go to work). So this project took me about 4 hours. I need sharper tools to make it go faster. The tools used were: clay carving loop tools, a scoop for the pumpkin innards, a vegetable peeler, a pumpkin carving serrated blade, and a standard kitchen knife.

Here are some of the steps:

First get a nice heavy large pumpkin. Find a shape that speaks to your creative vision.
Sketch out your already planned idea. It helps to use a source image that you've cut into a stencil shape.
Scrape away most of the rind (orange skin part) and begin carving out the details of the imagery. The clay loop tools were most useful, but would have worked even better if they were sharpened. Larger flat loops scrape away bigger areas and the smaller loops carve fine details.
***Cut the top off and scoop out the innards before the next step. ***

Finish carving out 3D shapes and go all the way through on some of the details in the bees. Then cover the still orange parts of the bees with black paint for added contrast.
Add a light to your pumpkin and relish in your creativity!

This pumpkin won first place in the most creative category.
Sculpting a pumpkin reminded me a lot of the way it feels to carve plaster. The texture is similar to when plaster is not fully set and the rind hardens up the more it is exposed to air, just like plaster.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Small Painted Cats

As I mentioned a few posts back, I've started working small (Artist Trading Card size). This weekend I decided to make some little cat paintings. Here they are:

"Orange Tabby" Oct. 2014 Acrylic Copyright Margaurita Spear
"A Mother's Love Is Purrfect" Oct. 2014 Acrylic Copyright Margaurita Spear
"Good Morning" Oct. 2014 Acrylic Copyright Margaurita Spear
"I'm Gonna Get You" Oct. 2014 Acrylic Copyright Margaurita Spear
"Grey Tabby Green Eyes" Oct. 2014 Acrylic Copyright Margaurita Spear
"Meowloween" Oct. 2014 Acrylic Copyright Margaurita Spear

Monday, September 8, 2014

Intro To Drawing

For ten weeks over the course of the summer, I had the pleasure of teaching a private art student. He is a teenager planning to apply to art schools and wanted to work on some foundational drawing skills.

The syllabus I developed was a slightly watered down version of the assignments I completed during my freshman Drawing I class in college. We covered so many areas, all with a strong emphasis on building observational drawing skills. All drawings were completed in charcoal on 18 x 24 sketch paper.

In addition to finished products (for his portfolio) we worked on some drawing exercises to help him loosen up a little (ink renderings with twigs using his non-dominant hand), and some that were just about seeing (drawing through objects to understand their forms). Here are some of his completed drawings. Can you guess what we focused on in these assignments?

On the last week we had a brief review of all the work he had created. We pointed on strong and weak areas, things that had noticeably improved, and we talked about how he was now seeing things a little differently. He was picking up on subtle compositional elements and nuances of light... how exciting! This is the last of his drawings. It was not completed during the time we had on the last week because he discovered a better viewpoint and started over half way through, but I think it shows a keen eye for composition and placement. It also incorporates most of the things we worked with over the ten weeks (form, ellipsis, perspective, drapery, composition, value (there was a strong light source that would have given some wonderful gradations and shadows), and texture (the candlesticks were very textured).