Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone x x

That's it!  A big Merry Christmas from me, Carl, Hugo and Martha.

BIg love and wishes for a very happy day

Sam x

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Chasing Santas and finding creativity everywhere

This morning I had a job to expel the bionic energy in my children so, off we went to the wonderful hash harriers group that we have here in our village.  It was proper shedding down with rain but the babes still need exercising so out of the car and on with the games!

It was dd's first go and thankfully she loved it.  Ds showed her the ropes and both were soaked through in minutes.

It being the last session of the year, two Santa's appeared at different posts in the field.  The game was to run to each of them, do your exercises that Santa gave you and gather in the sweeties, it was so much fun (to watch especially).

It got me thinking about creativity in all different walks of life, not just art or craft.  To my mind creativity is all about keeping things fresh and finding new ways of coming at things in the everydayness of life...Chasing Santa's?  Utterly brilliant.

Much love

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

My lovely moment in silver glittery shoes...

I had a lovely moment this weekend.  We were in London visiting our dearest mates to eat Samuel-Peypesesque celebratory nosh, drink our own bodyweight in fizz and red wine, sing carols by the tree (whilst knocking off all the decs as we brushed past the table laid fair for 16) laugh stupidly, talk stupidly, engage in secret-santa's,climb out of silvery glitter heels at every opportunity and eventually dance to 'don't you want me baby' too loud and far too early in the morning..we had a ball.

Ah yes, my lovely moment.  Seeing my 'Londonisms' in Town & Country Living Magazine, as just popped through the door of my friends house...thank you Gods...nice touch!

http://samanthabarnes.co.uk/home/all-paintings-and-prints/londonisms.php  follow the link to find yours special place in The Big Smoke.

Much love

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

and this Certificate is awarded to....

Children LOVE rewards.  Sometimes when we (as adults) get out of whack with things, we can learn a lot from children.

My after-school artypops art group finishes next week and its time to look at what worked, what didn't, what can be learnt from and what can improved on...something of a SWOT test (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats? am off too google...be back in a mo)  thats right indeed.

Firstly, the children LOVED all the activities, from dip-ink drawings using peacock feathers to making decs for the tree, all the activities were enjoyed.  They particularly enjoyed not knowing each week what they were going to be doing, they loved the surprise...perfect.

Secondly, they loved the snacks - marvellous.  Jammy dodgers win out every time..

Thirdly, the singing....I know.  Helped along am sure by Christmas play preparations but am thinking of taking a small iPod in for the next classes...there are only so many times I can hear 'Away in a Manger' in one day.

Fourthly, the carrying system for getting all our wee treasures home once we bought them.  Must get some more paper bags, they worked a treat...(swoon) just imagine if I had 'artypops' printed onto them...they would be just gorgeous...yummy.  (get the logo sorted first Sam).

Lastly, certificates.  Ah yes, I deliberated but in the end I remembered just how much my babes love recognition.  All the children in my class have done so well, kept themselves beautifully occupied and behaved wonderfully, they all deserve one.  I have written them out and encapsulated them (not a big fan of lamenating as its not very eco-friendly, but for longevity have gone ahead and done it.)

So there we have it, the first official course of 'artypops after-school classes' are completed.  Well done everyone.

If the children get certificates...do I get a medal?  And, is it normal to feel quite so sad about them being over?

Much love


Saturday, 8 December 2012

All hail the 'Christmas print-out' (perfect emergency activity for the Christmas hangover)

Good morning the world

Ah yes, the morning after Christmas party number one...ouchy heads all round.

No pinchy craniums for the babes of course and off they are with their lovely (loud) voices and excitable babbles about our installing a Christmas tree today... time for emergency bacon and eggs me thinks.

Back in 20.

Much better, yum and groan.

My post today is in celebration of the Christmas print out.  Very very simply...we're talking about these at cbeebies among others (you'll find some more listed below at the end of this post.)  The only downside to these is that your printer has to have both ink and paper in... if you're luck is in and you have both, print away dear hearts and occupy little minds for as long as it lasts.

Below is a quick screen-shot of some of the many gazillions on offer. Invest in good felt-tips and have them on stand by at all times.  I bought dd some Crayola tips nearly a month ago now and they have survived a bashing twice to three times a day and are still going strong.

I wanted to find some really gorgeous ones but alas I can't find any that really stand out from the crowd...hmmm, perhaps next year I will make some of my own as I love to produce line-drawings.  Here are two that are consistently in my best-sellers list 'Polar Bear' & 'Goosey Goo'.  Hope you enjoy!

Other places to find Christmas printables.  (will be adding to the list)


Monday, 3 December 2012

So... what was in the box?!

The box.

The box jammed in between the children contained the sweetest pressie I think I have ever been given.

My mum and dad together made my family a hand-knitted nativity set...aw.  Not only had they made this for us, they also made one for my sister and family too.  Mum knitted the wee figures and Dad (a cabinet maker and joiner) made the cot and the shelter.  I can't tell you how much I love it, we all love it.

On with the photos.

And then, onto the very essence of what Artypops is all about.  This is a drawing that darling daughter has done of the nativity set...I LOVE to see how these things naturally get digested into the minds of our little ones and spring-off new ideas.

Even the box was a mega success...

Well done the olds..we love it x x x

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Pushing, lifting, bending, scooping, walking, scoffing, Grrrring and woofing...read on, read on...

Ah yes, it's all getting proper snuggly, cosy and baltic.  Yesterday, as much of the family as possible was summoned to my aunt's house, who lives deep, deep in the countryside to help stack the huge pile of logs from pile to 'dry-log-room-in-shed' (all very rural.)  We worked like little elfs, loading up the wheelbarrow (flat-tyred wheelbarrow of course) tipping out, stacking and bending over and over again..and again...singing merrily as we worked.  

And then there was the real version.  Summoned to my aunts house in the freezing freezingness with teenagers and toddlers to move a gazillion logs...marvellous, yay...no really.   Our part of the family swung in to our local bakery to purchase hot pasties, sausage rolls and mince pies for the whole team to scoff once our work was done.  They tasted goooood and we ate them next to the real fire with the (really) big dog looking lovingly at us/our pasties.    After nosh, we walked said massive lab dog in beautiful countryside.   Our bellies full and thoroughly exercised, we waved, laughed and jollied ourselves into our cars to reverse through the garden and back onto the lane to be off our our merry ways...Oh such fun, tra la la.  

The car didn't start.  Nice.

Butting up to two cars to try and jumpstart said motor, no avail.  Rush into nearest town to purchase new battery..an hour with the babes in the cold..nice.  Hurray they are back, battery in...no start.  Bugger it.  Left car in the village and went home driven by aunt.  Grrr.  

Home, hot baths all round.  Hot choc all round.  Bed by 8pm for all apart from Daddy to watch two lots of The Killing (apparently brilliant but bit too gruesome for me in places).  Woken at 10 for two lots of puke from darling son and then back to bed, via a quick dip into twitter after loading wash 1 of 20 in the w. machine.  

Hurray for rescue services.  Fresh-faced and jolly once more (it being the next day) we all arrived at the broken down car at the same time...  The nice man started our car and instructed us not to stop or stall until we get to our local garage (no pressure there then).  Once there, dump the car.  We did as told.

Back into the maroon Corsa that we purchased last week for 450nicker to be runabout for me, allowing me to get to art classes, etc etc.  We jammed ourselves in, along with a big big box that my mum had given me sheepishly and told us to open when we get home.

Back at home, babes (one very white one) jammed in the back of tiny Corsa with massive box, out we spilled..or planned to but snap - the handbrake on the Corsa snapped, amazingly this time...I didn't and neither did Darling husband.

Once untangled from the far-too-bigger-bodies being in a far-too-smaller-car for us...home home home.  Sofa day for wee boy, wee gal on and off it too all day in sympathy.

So where is the art in this post then eh?  Well, dearest readers. the art is in the everydayness of life. The beautiful countryside that we walked the dog in.  The fire that we scoffed our pasties by...from every situation we have to find the  good bits...

My best bit was seeing my teenage nieces pushing the car, along with my mum, aunt, massive dog, Darling husband and babes!  It felt distinctly 70's!

A new post coming about what was in the box...its very very special.

Merry December everyone...no really!


Friday, 30 November 2012

New Saturday Morning 'Artypops' Art Classes in Kingsclere, Hampshire...

Hello all.
It's looking mighty likely that we are going to be running some Saturday Morning Art Classes in the very beautiful village of Kingsclere.  1hr 30 minutes of making, doing, drawing, glueing, and model-making.  Ages from 6 - 11 years.  Prices and actual dates to be confirmed but...likely to begin early February and lasting until Easter holidays...yay!

Register your interest for your little darlings at info@samanthabarnes.co.uk or call me on 01256 773 552.

Marvellous stuff!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Easy-Peasy Hangy-uppy Christmas Signs..P.E.A.S.E.Y (promise)

Hangy-uppy Happy Christmas Signs..

You will need:  
Labels (any size is good)
Paint/stickers/etc etc
Beads of some sort (if you have them)

Lovely to hang over any pictures you have in the house, to give away to Granny or perhaps to hang on the tree..

Gather your bits and bobs.

Paint up your labels.  I have used acrylic paint here making it really bright and strong, but it's great to use poster paints too.  I have only painted them on one side.  Once painted, leave until bone dry.  When so, paint on your letters in any colour you wish...white on red is great too.  I left them to dry then redid the letters with a second coat to make the colours stand out big and strong.

Once dry, remove all the strings that came with the labels and begin to thread the labels onto the ribbon on each side of every label, I have used a bead to make more of the decoration (this also fleshes out the activity for the youngsters to enjoy).

Tricky bit I know.. but to hold the labels in place, I have attached a tiny bit of selotape/masking tape to the back of the label to making it secure - bit fiddly but very doable.

So there you have it...if you wanted to you could keep adding and make ceiling decorations...using the bigger labels...ooooh, I may have to have a go at that one!

Much love, Sam x

Beautiful Birds by Mark Hearld...LOVE.

In terms of finding thing that inspire new collections, thoughts and new ideas..these birds by the very talented Mark Hearld 

These go a long way to getting my creative juices flowing.  They are just fantastic!  Outstanding and outspoken, I can imagine them hanging everywhere in my house and making me smile each time I biff my head on them.

Believe it or not these are greeting cards. I know.  £3.00 from this link  I will be ordering some for sure.  

Monday, 26 November 2012

Uber lovely Paper Snowflakes and Stars...

In preparation for my children's art-classes am doing all sorts of research for good art activities that last about an hour, keep little fingers and minds busy and hey presto...make something gorgeous to take home.  Suitable for all ages between 6-11, not too expensive and plentiful in materials.

Am struggling.

Last weeks class if proving hard to beat...we had a ball, making these Christmas Hearts & Stars.  So..onward.  This week am thinking Paper Snowflakes...I LOVED making these when I was little.  The best ones I have found are here by Vintage Junky.  They are beautiful, so beautiful in fact that am going to have to show her picture of them in situ...swoon.

See beautiful.  Now all I need is a super sharp pair of scissors, a beautifully painted wall, some original cornicing like hers and we are away.

Back to the drawing table.

Scroll down for next possibility....

I loved these stars too.   Please forgive me friendly blogger, I can't refind you anywhere to link this to you but please rest assured, I love them.  These are distinct possibility for my class.  Very doable, although am probably going to have to cut a gazillion stars out myself first me thinks.  Great to paint and decorate, lovely with ribbon.

Onward with my quest.

Will bring you results soon...I promise.

Much love

Sam x

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Making 'Doodle-balls' (LOVE them...as do the tweenies)

It was after-school art session number 3 yesterday.  The heat was on.  The children were tired as, (am sure its the time of year) so out came the choccy biscuits (SO not homemade however good my intentions) as a bribe  treat to bolster them all up for some making.

I actually needn't have bothered with the biccies, the children LOVED the activities this week.  We made Christmas Decorations, the green Decorations from this tutorial (See below) and also...(See even more below... we made Beaded Hearts...


The Session practically ran itself and the children found it impossible to tear themselves away.  Its incredible how much these offerings engage them.  They LOVED doing them and loved watching them.  The immediacy of the making definately had a part to play here - they could see their makings coming along nicely every step of the way.  To find out how to make hearts, click here.

Further to the beading and sequins, I also ran an option to make a 'Doodle-ball'  I think the idea of these is truly inspiring and love the way it stretches out our thinking about drawing.   Pure thanks to these fabulous people at Accessart for coming up with the idea.

Righto, a 'Doodle-ball' is just that, a ball covered in paper that you can draw on and all over, letting your thoughts wonder as they will.  They are FAB for active learners and can be added too at anytime...just pick them up and carry on.

To make a Doodle-ball you need:

A hand-sized ball.  A tennis ball or Christmas dec is good, try to remove the nobbly bit first though.
Glue, PVA is best
Mid-sized paint brush
Paper, cut up into double-stamp sizes
Pen or Pens for drawing..

Gather your wares together...

Take your small pieces of paper and layer them onto your ball, all over until its completely covered. Two layers is great too.  Lashings of glue here until the paper is flat with no sticky-uppy bits!  Then dear hearts, when its fully covered pop it into the airing cupboard or on a radiator to dry.  Don't do any drawing until fully dry..


Here we have our ball fully covered and about to dry.

Once your ball is dry it's good and ready to go.  Begin drawing and let your drawing go where it wants to go.  Enjoy the process, its a lovely way to draw.

Here is a 'Flower Ball' made by the originators of this fab idea at Accessart.

Enjoy x

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The (occasionally dreaded) Christmas run up and Let's get making. Starry Stars for the Christmas Tree! (Tres simple I promise!)

It's coming, we all know it.  

Sadly, I catch myself going off on my instant reaction to Christmas.  You know the old 'Oh Blimey no...already?  Am not ready...where are we going to find the extra few hundred that dribbles out of my wallet into someone's else's, etc etc etc...in short, proper MRS MINUS thoughts about the forthcoming Season)  Easily done and with good reason, especially in current climates with two freelance parents.

BUT, dear readers it doesn't have to be this way.  Christmas day is really just a day, when thought of as a proper snuggly Sunday, we get to be with those that we love, eat good nosh, play games, watch movies and lounge en famille under a duvet on the new (second hand) sofa that now seats all of us (at a real push!)

Hmmm, am beginning to feel a flicker of excitement.

My children now are 8 and nearly 5 years of age.  This means that they have now reached an age where they can actually get involved, get excited and get making independently given the materials, some instructions and a finished article to work to.  

I don't know about you but previous to this age, when doing creative activities with my babes, the art session was much more of a 'damage limitation' hour that involved, setting up, manhandling the mess created by the (very happy it has to be said) children and then another hour clearing up.  All for the five minutes of actually doing the activity, until darling children lose interest and off they go - I know ALL about that trust me.  

But, once again dearest reader, for however long, for very little thanks and in the name of creativity...puhleeze continue with said activities for all ages of your babes.  They LOVE it, will remember it and guaranteed when they are older (like me now with DS) you look at the odd thing that we haven't lobbed out as it was broken (& quite crap) and think aww...I loved doing that with them, its a trick of parenthood, you may have a rubbish time making with them but guaranteed you won't remember it this way!

So...onward to making.

Dead simple to start with.

'A Starry Christmas Tree Decoration'

You will need:

3 x lollypop sticks
Lashings of glue
Sequins or can be made perfectly nicely too with buttons.
Cotton or fishing wire (to hang star on the tree with)

Take your lollies and glue together one on top of another in starry-like fashion.

Apply lashings (love that word) of glue, stick by stick.  Take your sequins and place on one by one.  I wouldn't try the glitter effect (that is pouring the sequins over the glue) as they stick in all the wrong places.  I did it by hand but with the help of a wee pen (with the lid on) just to help me place them.  Once your lolly sticks are covered, step away from the decoration and leave to dry for a good 24hrs...


The only thing left to do with this baby is to hang my cotton from the top of one end of the sticks and  it's all done and ready to hang on the tree.

Well done everyone!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Silent Sunday

Making idly-biddy tiny nativity sets with the children (magic for Granny's Christmas pressie)

It's coming around to that time again.

If I were to come on strong dear reader, I could fool you into thinking that my perfectly pointing (Farrow & Ball) painted house was having a retouch before the silly season comes around again, whereby my beautiful house will be smelling of cinnamon & orange and my 'warm glow' fairy lights on my perfectly John Lewis Christmas-decked tree sat oh-so-beautifully in the window.  Yeah right.

Meanwhile in the real world, the babes have been murmuring more about Christmas and dh & I are beginning that - Oh gosh..where are we going to find that extra £200 for the presses and another £200 on nosh and a couple of stunning bottles of vino.  Fret not, we will find them...we always do somehow or another.

For my after-school art class group of 8 little faces (I love doing them) I realise that my minor punters have to take home somethings Christmassy, preferably made over two weeks to enhance the anticipation of their delivering it on Christmas morning...queue...clay.

Researching through my books, I found the sweetest little nativity set in my '101 things to make a do' book, by Parragon.    I love this book, given to DS around his 5th birthday, we dip in every so years and find motivation to make all sorts of things I wouldn't normally dream of.  One Christmas we made everyone in the family a velvet-fabric crown...this was quite probably the dawning of my realising that I rather enjoyed making things with children...who knew?!

So...in preparation for my art-class, I decided to test out said project with my own.  Both DS and DD loved it from start to finish.  My question really was air-drying clay or air model-fix (more expensive) so we made two (like we said..perfecto for the grannies gifts from the babes)


Things needed:

Air Clay or Air Modelling Clay.    A good handful
Paint, the list states acrylic but I used thickish watercolour too.
Black marker pen...(not essential but handy if to hand)

Warm up your clay/substance in your hand for a good while until its soft to play with and shape.

Firstly make the cave, shape the arch to be about the size of your hand cupped.  The figures should be about thumb sized and quite rounded.  Baby Jesus is fantastic, to make said figure, roll your clay to a thickish flat oval about the size of a 50p coin at the largest and give it a push with your thumb...thats it!   The cot is to be big enough to fit the baby in and bed-ish!    

To begin with we made Mary & Joseph, the cot and baby Jesus, along with 3 sheep, Granny will be delighted with that!  On later models (ahem) I will add in the Three Wise Men and some more animals me thinks.

Once you have your wee figures, stand back!  Put onto a tray or a plate and leave in the airing cupboard overnight (it's quite exciting)

Time to paint.  Here is the interesting bit.  I had expected the clay to be much easier to paint but the modelling air stuff was good too.  Either is fine.

Am sure you don't need me to tell you that you need a face, some arms, a head scarf and a headband on your wee figure.   The sheep were fab...will draw up a simple template this afternoon and scan it in...for now...herewith one two we made earlier (have ALWAYS wanted to say that!)

Well done everybody, dead simple, very engaging and perfect for doing together.

Enjoy x 

Friday, 9 November 2012

The reasons I am proper in love with working in Collage....(easy-peasy-easy-peasy & fast results) BRILLIANT to do with the kiddiwinkles...

Cut and Collage is a proper delight to work in.   I thought it might be good to give you a bit of background  about this wonderful medium in order to inspire you, dear readers to dig out the glue and let rip yourselves...(nice pun eh?)

Drawing can be complicated.  Its horribly easy to give ourselves a right-royal hard time if our drawing doesn't look exactly like that thing that we are drawing from.  

When teaching beginner classes (from about age 12 up)  or, when I'm supporting an Artist making a return to drawing after some time... I make it a large part of the session to get ripping, glueing, felt-tipping and painting, building confidence easily and rapidly.

Collaging, I feel, is akin to printmaking.  It's not so much about the marks as the composition, the looking at objects in relation to each other.  When we look at our still-life or view, we take down other details that aren't quite so literal - as we would do when drawing.  

The Cubists were a collection of Artists that worked from different views, all onto one painting.  One of the most successful ways they found of researching their still-life was by working in collage.  It has an immediacy that moved them on in leaps and bounds...to go on make those beautiful works of art such as GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963) and this stunner too.'Violin and Jug', 1910 (oil on canvas)

Below is a large piece of work that I did a couple of years ago for my children's bedrooms.  This one is called 'Pooches Parlour' and is just that..  the other is below and is called 'Doggies Day Out'.  

They came about from my feeling really inspired from all the Summer Fetes around here now that we are in the countryside.   Those joyous occasions that look beautifully English from afar, where sales meet scones, and you lose £20 in the bat of an eye, along with the children...yes those.  

I wanted un-prescious detail in the final works and a feeling of one-ness over the whole piece, however detailed they were going to be.  Actually, when I look at them now, I rather think that I made them as master pieces for a set of silk-screen prints that one some level I had imagined making into a series..that would work.

So there you have it, my true reasons for working in collage, fast, furious, and wonderfully liberating.  Go on...make one of your own...MUCH MUCH easier than you think.  x