Painting On A FREE Canvas – Tips, Tricks, And Fun Ideas For Painting On Rocks

By Nicole Tinkham

Rock-Painting.jpg

Did you perk up when you heard the word “free”? We also love a great deal especially when quality supplies may not always be in the budget. But as artists we’re able to get creative with what is already available to us. One type of artwork that we are totally in love with these days is rock art. That’s right, painting and creating on found rocks out in nature. This isn’t just a children’s craft (although it could be!) but is also perfect for any artist and we’ll tell you why. Read on to discover our favorite tips, tricks, and ideas for painting on rocks.

First off, let us explain why, out of all things, we love creating on rocks..

1.    Perfect project for all skill levels and ages.

2.    Unique shapes and textures produce different creations every time.

3.    The unique shapes can also spark your creativity and give you new fun ideas.

4.    You aren’t limited to painting. You can also use markers and collage materials.

5.    They’re useful (we’ll explain the different uses of rock art later).

6.    They’re FREE! And even if you do pick up a rock from the store, you won’t be spending an arm and a leg on it.

7.    There’s no pressure for perfection. The rock itself is imperfect 🙂

What you can paint on rocks: ANYTHING! Here are a few ideas.

•    Faces
•    Animals
•    Abstract designs
•    Motivational messages
•    Landscapes
•    People
•    Solid colors
•    Flowers
•    Patterns
•    Zentangle

Let’s get started! Here’s the how-to for rock painting:

Step #1: Choose your rock. If you have a particular idea in mind, you may have to find the perfect size and shape for that idea. But you could also leave it open for ideas after you choose your rock. A smooth surface will make your life easier.

Step #2: Clean off your rock. Soap and warm water will do the trick but you can also use an old toothbrush to do some additional scrubbing. Dry it off before you get started on your project.

Step #3: Sand down any rough patches to make painting easier. If you chose a very smooth rock, you won’t have to worry about this step.

Step #4: Draw your design. You can practice drawing out your design on a piece of paper first if you want. Use a pencil or chalk for making marks on your rock before painting.

Step #5: Now you can begin painting. We suggest working from the largest areas down to the finer details. Just remember to let each layer dry before moving onto the next one.

Step #6: Sealing your design. You can use Mod Podge to seal your painting to keep it lasting long.

What to do with your rock once you have it complete

•    Use it as a paperweight
•    Decorate your garden
•    Give it as a gift
•    Frame it (Yes, this is possible. Just ask our framer Mark for ideas!)
•    Use them as holiday decorations
•    Turn them into magnets
•    Make it your pet rock 🙂
•    Sell your rock creations

When it comes to rock painting, the ideas are endless. You don’t even have to use paint! Grab some fun colored Sharpies and doodle away. Use this as a way to relieve your stress. Most of the time (depending on how detailed your project is), rock art is a quick project that you can use your creative mind on without putting too much pressure on yourself. It’s a fun way to get the creative juices flowing. Whenever you find yourself in a rut, refer back to this blog for helpful tips, tricks and ideas for painting on rocks.

Do you have any experience with rock art? Please comment below and tell us about your creations!

5 Simple Steps To Just Being There, In The Moment

By Nicole Tinkham

being-there

“Being there” sounds like the easiest thing on the planet to do, right? You are where you are! It’s as simple as that. But are you really present in the moment? That can be a tricky question. Here’s what I mean. Have you ever been in a boring math class and totally spaced out? You were physically in the classroom but your mind was elsewhere. That boring math class may not seem very important to you (unless of course, you love math) but what if you caught yourself zoning out during a family dinner? This is something important to you but for some reason you’re not there in the moment. Why? Because you probably have a million things running through your mind and just can’t seem to focus no matter how badly you want to. Once we release the challenges spinning around our head we are able to focus on the moment and enjoy pure happiness. If this is what you want more of in life, read on for 5 simple steps to just being there, in the moment.

The biggest problem: Stress and worry over the past and future. You need to stop! You cannot change the past nor can you predict the future. Let it go and only be concerned with the moment right now.

1.    Plan your day out

Are you ready for this? We are going beyond creating just a typical to-do list. This is something I personally do to organize my day which helps me focus on the task at hand and actually relax on my time off. Here’s what you need to do before the start of each day: Take your daily to-do list and schedule times you will get these things done. Be careful with how much time you allow for each task though. Don’t give yourself too much time where you find yourself off-task but don’t limit your time either where you don’t have enough time to finish the task. Having allotted times for each task allows you to only concern yourself with one thing at a time. If you’re outside of those time slots, take your mind off it and move on.

2.    View and speak about your time differently

How many times do you catch yourself saying “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” when asked to do something? You need to stop that right now because what you say becomes your reality. Keep saying these phrases and your life will only become more hectic. Remember that there’s always time for things in your day. But it really depends on the things you choose to do. You can’t do everything so focus your time on what will move you forward with your goals. With anything else, you can say “I appreciate the invite but must decline because I made a promise to myself to reach my goals”. This will free up so much of your time, relieve your stress and allow you to focus on the important things, like being present with your family. From now on you should be telling yourself “I have an abundance of time”, instead of worrying over not having enough.

3.    Clear your head

Make the most out of your quiet alone time. Get in your zone. Get focused. Think about your goals and plans for the day. Always know where you’re headed. Do some soul searching and make sure you’re on track with where you want to go in life. Meditation and yoga are two excellent ways to get in touch with your inner self. Allow your stress and worry melt away. I recommend doing this every single day, even if it’s just for just 5 minutes at a time. You can always work your way up to longer sessions.

4.    Really listen

I don’t know about you but I can get really good at tuning people out when I have other things on my mind. If you’re striving to really be in the moment though, you’ll need to drop everything going on in your head, shut your mouth and really listen. Try this activity. When talking to someone else, start repeating things they say back to them. For example, you can say “So you’re saying it made you feel this way, right?”. It shows you’re paying attention and it keeps you focused.

5.    Notice the little things

There are so many small joys of life that are often missed due to simply being too busy to notice them. We wait around for something big and exciting in our lives to make us happy when really happiness lies in the things right in front of us, like a beautiful day or a smile from a stranger. Be aware of these things and it will help you be more present. One thing I like to do is picture something (like yellow butterflies) and focus on my surroundings throughout the day to see how many I notice. It turns your attention to what’s going on currently, so you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Being there, in the moment not only has a big impact on your own life but on those close to you as well. Your relationships will improve, your communication skills will get better, and you’ll become a more thoughtful and caring person. To have this time where you can just enjoy the moment plan your day out being very specific with what you’re doing at each hour, view your time differently (remember, you have plenty of it!), clear your mind during some quiet time, pay close attention to what others have to say, and take note of the little things in life. Of course this won’t come naturally to you right away. Work on being present little by little each day and you’ll get the hang of it.

Tell us, are you living in the present moment? If not, what habits will you pick up from this blog to help you do that?

5 Surprising Things That Make A Sketch Great So You Can Proudly Show Off Your Sketchbook

By Nicole Tinkham

sketchbook.jpg

Have you ever looked at another artist’s sketchbook thinking they make it look so easy when yours always seem to be a struggle? Why is that? Often times when we compare ourselves to others, we walk away feeling defeated and ready to throw in the towel. “Is this whole art thing even worth it”, you ask yourself. Ok, time to take a deep breath and just STOP for a moment.  It’s completely normal for you to feel this way. Thinking you’re the only one who has their setbacks is ludicrous. This is exactly why we need a community of artists who aim to spur each other on. If you’re looking for ways to develop a sketchbook that you can show off with pride, read on to find out things that make a sketch great- the answers may surprise you!

Let’s start with the definition of what a sketch actually is just so we’re all on the same page.

Sketch
skeCH/
noun

noun: sketch; plural noun: sketches

1.    a rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in making a more finished picture.

“a charcoal sketch”
synonyms:    (preliminary) drawing, outline;

We wanted to first make that clear because so many artists beat themselves up over simple sketches when really, sketches are meant to be rough and unfinished! While they don’t have to be perfect, there are a few specific qualities that make good sketches good (in our opinion, anyway). Read on for what those 5 qualities are and how working on them can improve your sketchbook.

1.    CREATIVITY!!

In any piece of artwork, the main thing that catches the viewer’s eye is how creative it is. When people see a bunch of the same things over and over again it becomes dull and they don’t think twice about it. But the more creative a piece is, it stands out and causes people to stop and notice. This works with paintings, sculptures, photography, digital art, and anything else you’re creating. Good artwork can often be subjective but one thing we can pretty much all agree on is that it must be creative.

2.    Perspective

Perspective is such a tough thing to master and we know many artists who struggle with it. Unfortunately, if the perspective is off even by a little bit the entire sketch looks a little strange. Take the time to learn and practice perspective to strengthen your skills.

3.    Emotion

When you sit down to sketch, your feelings and emotions show through in your work. If you’re just doing it to say you got it done, people will notice. There will be a lack of enthusiasm in your line work. But put passion into it and your sketch will jump off the page. It’s the same thing when talking to someone else about your artwork. Your confidence and excitement is all in your tone.

4.    Roughness

Your sketches should not be perfect. That is not the point of a sketch! They should be loose, rough, and quick. We love sketches for one simple reason; we can see the way the artist thinks and works through the piece all within the lines. Your sketch lines are the most important part so don’t go erasing all of them. Be confident with the lines you put down. When you’re unsure, that also shows through in your lines. Be loose, have fun, and don’t stress out over whether or not your sketches are any good.

5.    Progress

Sketching is all about learning and improving. Most often the point of looking through old sketchbooks is to see that progress. To see how far you’ve come between the very first pages to the end of the book. You’ll go through a lot as an artist, many difficult times, struggles and failures. Use your sketchbook as a way to share the journey with others. We’re all at different points so you really can’t compare your sketch to another artist’s. Focus on your own journey and you’ll discover that your sketches are more incredible than you gave yourself credit for.

You may not be where you want to be in this creative journey of yours but you are getting there. When it comes to your sketches, or any type of artwork you do, keep learning and practicing. Come up with some super fun and creative ideas, work on your perspective (take a class if you need to!), put emotion into your work, get your line work on point with a nice flow, and track your progress along the way. You too can have amazing sketches in a sketchbook you love showing off.

6 Reasons Why You Should Adjust What You’ve Been Told And Start Talking To Strangers

By Nicole Tinkham

strangers

How many times in your life were you told not to talk to strangers? Like any child, I was told this all the time growing up and even today by my husband. Of course your safety is always the main priority. Before getting into the 6 reasons why you should talk to strangers, we must stress the importance of talking to the right kind of strangers. Use your common sense and stay away from anyone who looks suspicious. Also, don’t give your personal information to any strangers you talk to. In this post, we’re referring to friendly small talk to people you come across in your day to day life like while on the bus commute to work or in the grocery store. Avoiding contact in these types of situations is silly! There are so many benefits to wishing a perfect stranger a nice day. Read on to see what they are.

1.    Learn from others

When you engage in conversation with someone new, you’re not only learning more about that person but also other valuable info that may interest you. Maybe it’s the weather forecast for the week, an interesting statistic, or a trick on preparing your spaghetti squash (if you happen to be at the grocery store buying one). You never know who you will meet and what type of things they have to offer you.

2.    Make new friends

When we’re in school surrounded by our peers, it’s so easy (or at least easier) to start talking to them and making new friends. But once we enter the adult life, things change and it’s more difficult to get out there and meet new people. I speak from experience after leaving my childhood friends in Pennsylvania to move to Florida. One way I was able to make some new friends is by meeting up with like-minded people through a website called meetup.com. We choose an activity and get together as a group, all of them being strangers at first. You don’t necessarily have to do this group method but the point is you have to get out there talking to others if you’re looking to make new friends!

3.    Build confidence

Talking to complete strangers is terrifying at first! Although it’s extremely uncomfortable, the more you do it the better you will get at it. Aim to talk to one new person for every day that you venture out of the house. Engaging in conversation almost every day will build your confidence even if you’re shy and it’ll make interacting with others come more naturally to you.

4.    Become a better listener

Remember to be all ears when talking to others. This goes for both new people and people you already know. Ask questions and actually listen. You will get the most incredible information this way plus people love talking (especially about themselves) so it’s a surefire way to get others to like you. Do you have the tendency to cut people off mid sentence and put in your two cents? Talking to strangers and practicing your listening skills can help you control that habit and understand people on a deeper level.

5.    Improve someone’s day (including your own)

I find it rare these days to run into friendly people. Everyone seems to be lost in their own little world or they’re in such a rush that they don’t even notice you. But when I’m out and someone smiles and says “hi”, it’s so refreshing and instantly puts a smile on my face. If you feel the same way about friendly people, it’s time you pay it forward! Spread joy and you’ll not only make others happy, you’ll also be working on your own happiness.

6.    Make everyday tasks more interesting

Do you ever feel lonely even when you’re surrounded by a ton of people? Time seems to stand still and you become bored out of your mind. Think about the frustration of waiting in a long line or the dreaded commute on a bus. We don’t like these things because it takes up time in our day and we get nothing accomplished during that wait time. However, if you start a conversation with that person behind you in line it makes time fly by and the wait will be worth while. Make life interesting by talking to more people!

You don’t have to be a chatty Kathy and talk to every single person you see to reap the benefits of talking to strangers. Start small by just smiling and saying “hello” to a few people. Then work your way up to small talk in your every day life. Before you know it you’ll feel comfortable chatting with more and more people. Don’t turn this into a chore. Have fun getting to know new people and always wear that smile of yours. It’ll help you light up the room and spread positivity.

Tell us, what are some of your best tips for talking to strangers and how has doing so made an impact on your life?

A Step-By-Step Guide to Moving Your Crafts

guest blog
Photo via Pixabay

You enjoy crafting. You often draw sketches, make paintings, engage in pottery, and knit scarves. You can’t imagine moving your entire craft room. The time, however, has come to move. You aren’t sure where to start.

Follow these six steps to packing, moving, and unpacking your craft room. Whether you’re moving to another home, or simply moving upstairs, you’ll be happy with the results.

1.    Organize Your Belongings

The first step is, of course, to organize your belongings. Crafts, artwork, and supplies are often strewn about in a haphazard manner. With garage sales and nearby craft stores, it can be easy to bring home far more than you actually use. Take this time to go through your supplies and determine what you actually need to keep. Bekins has a great article that can help you downsize and organize your craft room before the big move. You can also learn about de-cluttering your art room through Shiny Happy World.

2.    Contact a Professional

It’s never a good idea to go through this process alone. Contact a professional to learn more about moving your artwork and supplies. At the very least, you should ask your family and friends for assistance. The more stressed and overwhelmed you are, the more mistakes you could make. Mistakes when moving a craft room could end with something important breaking. Since you obviously don’t want this to happen, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed or stressed. Ask for help. According to The Card Castle, communication is key throughout this process. Keep that in mind as you move forward.

3.    Obtain Necessary Equipment

You’ll need a number of items before you can begin packing. Carrying cases, organizers, packing tape, shipping supplies, bubble wrap, packing paper, cardboard, and packing peanuts are just a few of the many pieces of equipment you’ll need to get started. Learn about the function of each piece of equipment and make sure you are using everything properly. You don’t want anything to break before you’ve even started moving.

4.    Move Piece By Piece

If you have multiple pieces of artwork to pack in boxes, take it piece by piece. Don’t try to multitask, or something could get unnecessarily damaged. Instead, set up a table or floor space for wrapping. You can also use a countertop. Whatever you choose, make sure the space is large enough for your heftiest piece of artwork. You’ll want help during this part of the process. It can be difficult to wrap artwork alone.

5.    Hire Experienced Movers

You are trusting these professionals with your entire craft room – including all of your supplies and artwork (unless you choose to move certain pieces in your personal vehicle). Make sure you hire a company that truly cares about your belongings. Some companies only care about getting the job done and going home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak with managers at moving companies until you feel you’ve gotten it right. Some moving sites will allow you to compare labor prices, so keep that in mind as well.

6.    Unpack ASAP

As soon as the moving process is over, begin unpacking your artwork and supplies. High or low temperatures can affect your belongings. You also don’t want to find out several days too late that a packet of paints has exploded on your favorite sketchbook. As you unpack, consider this a new opportunity to organize your craft room. Brit + Co recently published an article that can help you come up with useful, fun ideas for your new space.

Moving the artwork and supplies within your craft room can be nerve wracking. However, if you make the process organized, fun, and flawless, you’ll be grateful for the experience.

Author: Aimee Lyons

Aimee Lyons loves crafting, refurbishing furniture, remodeling rooms, and landscaping. She is passionate about DIY projects and sharing tips about them. Aimee runs DIYDarlin, which provides DIY project resources and tutorials.

This Art Supply Is YUMMY – Find Out Why!

By Nicole Tinkham

spackle

We don’t often describe our art supplies as “yummy”. We might use the words funky, creative, or exciting but never “yummy”. Not unless of course, we’re talking about Gelatos by Faber Castell or the supplies that go with them. If you’re not familiar, Gelatos are acid-free pigment sticks that glide and blend easily on paper or canvas. We’re really in love with the vibrant colors; they’re simply delicious. While they sound good enough to eat, we’ll actually be talking about the icing on the cake today in what is known as “Whipped Spackle”. Read on to find out why this art supply is so yummy and how you can use it in your next project!

What is it?? –> Designed for mixed media projects, whipped spackle is a textured gesso without the weight of heavy gesso. It’s ideal for creating dimension in mixed media artwork on any surface.

Just a few ways you can use it…

•    Swipe Whipped Spackle over a stencil for a raised texture design

•    Press textured items into it (bubble wrap comes out really cool), and it will hold that texture

•    Add COLOR to your Whipped Spackle creation by using powders, inks, Gelatos, and more

•    Use for art journaling, cards, mixed-media canvas, and just about anything else you can think of!

Best way to apply it: Palette knife! This is ideal for mixing in color and spreading it over a stencil.

Can you eat it??

NO! Unfortunately, Whipped Spackle is not edible. It does look delicious though with it being light and airy with an icing or whipped cream-like texture. We know the temptation to take a taste but we urge you to save it for your project 🙂

Don’t believe us that you may be tempted to eat Whipped Spackle?? Just check this out. YUM!

Want to try out Faber Castell Whipped Spackle for yourself?? Just stop into Keeton’s in downtown Bradenton or give us a call at 941-747-2995 to place an order. By the way, you might want to try out Gelatos too while you’re at it!

Have you used any of these YUMMY Faber Castell products before? Please let us know in the comments what your experience has been with them.

4 Types Of Books Everyone Should Be Reading And Why

By Nicole Tinkham

books

Growing up and throughout school, we’re typically encouraged to read books often. Whether it’s a history book or teen fiction novel, it was always stressed to read more (in my school anyway). We had trips to the library, book clubs, special events and more. As we get older, reading books becomes a choice rather than a requirement. When this happens, it’s easy for us to slack off a bit and stray away from these good habits. Let’s face it; living in such a hectic world, it’s easy to find every excuse possible not to read. And if we’re not in the habit of making time, it feels nearly impossible to squeeze it in. If it’s been some time since your last book and you don’t even know where to start now, listen up. We’ve come up with 4 types of books everyone should be reading and we’ll tell you why. But first, let’s talk about the importance of reading so you understand the value before diving right in.

The Importance

Still need some convincing that we should all read a little more? Fist of all, reading teaches us the important lessons which help us survive life’s obstacles. This is true for any type of book you read (more book types next). You can learn so much from others. Reading also helps you communicate better, become a better writer and boost your creativity. If you haven’t done it in awhile, it’s time to expand your knowledge and soak in some highly valuable information. Ready to get started? Here are the four types of books you really need to be reading.

1.    Personal development

Personal development books are so important and probably not the type of books you read in school (although I really think they should have been). I didn’t even know what a personal development book was until a few years ago. Since then, they have changed my life. These are the kind of books that will get you thinking differently. They can help with your confidence, your self-belief, and with figuring out what your bigger purpose in life is. Basically, they help you become a better person overall. Since reading these types of books, I’ve grown as a person and in my business, I’ve become more positive, happier, and I’ve gained better relationships with those around me not to mention new friends who encourage me. Seriously, these books are a total game-changer.

2.    Instructional

Instructional books are the ones that’ll help you learn or improve on a skill. You can find instructional books on just about anything, from watercolor painting to dog training. While personal development books will help you grow on the inside, instructional books will help you grow on the outside as you learn how to do new things. There will always be something new to learn about so open up to new projects and ideas. If you’re looking to start your own art business, for example, there are a ton of skills you’ll need to learn such as promoting yourself, building a website, business finances, and more. These topics may not excite you right off the bat but remember the bigger picture and what learning these things can do for your future.

3.    Fiction

I’ve found that reading of any kind improves my writing but when it’s a fiction book, it instantly puts my mind in the creative zone. Reading a story (a really good one) forces you to use your imagination and paint a picture of what’s happening. It takes you out of reality and puts you in a whole different world. This can drastically help you with your artwork plus reading fiction is so much fun anyway and there are a ton of different stories out there. Find a genre that you really get into and enjoy 🙂

4.    History

Learning about the past helps make improvements in the present and future. Expanding your knowledge of history really opens up your mind and gets you thinking. To be honest, history puts me to sleep but it is pretty incredible to learn about the past. I think everyone can benefit from exploring and learning from it.

Your homework now is to pick a book (any book) and start reading again. You can hang out at a Books-A-Million, a used bookstore, a library, download an eBook or borrow one from a friend. Just get started. If you can’t seem to get through the one you chose, pick up a different one. Choose something that speaks to you. Select a book that you need in your life at that moment. And once you find a good one, drop your recommendation in the comments below!