Soda Pop Wreath–31 Days of Halloween!

31 daysSoda Pop is the star of my book, I Hate Halloween, as well as Soda’s Christmas, and will soon have a book out called Soda’s Valentine!  He is an awesomely creepy black cat that lives with me, and I decided to create some sort of “wreath-like-thing” to hang on my front door.  I didn’t have a wreath form, and I knew I wouldn’t hang it outside.  BUT, I also knew I wanted to just use Soda’s image all over in a crazy, strange Halloween manner, and I came up with a sort of Soda Pop Rosette.

I used these printables–please feel free to download and print.  I printed on photo paper,  but you could use card stock as well.  You will also note from the photos shown that I had enormous print-outs–I have a large format printer.  But the printables posted here are scaled to 8.5×11 sheets for ease of printing at home for most folks.  Make sure you use a heavier paper like photo paper or card stock.  Anything else would be too flimsy, I think.

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I cut out all the Sodas, then played around with them, trying to figure out my layout.  After that, I used a hot glue gun to apply adhesive, though, depending upon your paper choice, you could use craft glue or school glue or even double-sided tape.

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I used these printables–please feel free to download and print.  I printed on photo paper,  but you could use card stock as well.  You will also note from the

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I lost count of how many I used, but I interspersed big Soda’s with little Soda’s and in between Soda’s.  I imagine that with someone who has more time than I do, there could be A LOT of different decor ideas you could accomplish with this very weird black cat photo.

Everyone who sees this is alternately delighted and horrified—especially the NON-cat people who come over.  I’m working on other ideas for these little cut outs, but, in the meantime, here is the finished Halloween decor!

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There is just something about all those green eyes staring at you….

Have fun with this one, and get to creating!

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

The Shape Of Things—31 Days Of Halloween

 

31 days

So, no Witch Of The Day, at least not yet.  I have a FULL schedule today, with homeschooling, editing, printing AND shooting on the list, so I am lucky to get this blog done!  ( I do have some things I’m imagining on, however–hopefully Witch Of The Day will get to join us soon!)  However, I have received a lot of attention for my Halloween Cut-Out shapes, and today I’m going to upload more.  But these are REALLY easy!

For Valentine’s Day, we all learn to cut out hearts by folding the construction paper and cutting HALF a heart on the fold.  Then you end up with a perfectly symmetrical shape, which is always the challenge when you want an even heart.  Halloween shapes–most of them anyway–work the SAME WAY.

For all activities you need construction paper of various colors, pencil, scissors, and I prefer a sharp craft knife for some of the “inside” cuts.  You will also need the Cut-Out Patterns posted here (right-click and download for free) or you will need to create your own patterns, which is easy enough. Little children can be shown how to cut the outside of the shapes with scissors, and then you can take over when it comes to craft knife cutting.

Pumpkins are particularly nice when created this way. They are pretty, and perfectly symmetrical.  So fold your construction paper, and cut out the shape of the half-pumpkin on the fold, INCLUDING half the mouth and half the nose

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You may unfold at this point and be impressed at how cool your pumpkin looks.  THEN, refold and cut out the eye shape ONCE, pressing HARD with the craft knife and making sure you have an old magazine or a cutting mat underneath all of this to avoid damaging your table surface.  If you have a sharp knife and if you press hard enough, both eyes will pop right out with only the one cut.  Unfold and admire the majesty of a perfect Jack-O-Lantern!

 

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Lather, rinse, repeat.  Repeat-repeat!  Have fun with it!  Make evil faces, funny faces, sad faces, sleepy faces!

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Then try a ghost–same idea!  There are some bats here for you to cut as well!
. Cut on the fold! Easy-peasy!

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How about a black cat!  Follow the pattern! Work on the fold! Cut him out!  Cut out his eyes with the craft knife, just like you did with the pumpkin, and trim off the extra tail–a little cat-surgery.  Again, simple!

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Have fun with this, and remember that ANY symmetrical shape can be done this way–and some, like the cat, can be altered a bit after cutting because they aren’t exactly symmetrical, but close enough.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

Bat-Haired Witch Coloring Page

31 days

Ah, so I haven’t been writing since last week, but OH have I generated some Halloween ideas!  I may not get 31 up, but I’m going to do better than last year!  More to come on that (maybe later today!).  For today, I have a fun Halloween printable that can be used as a coloring page or as a drawing guide for older kids.  I am a firm believer in kids learning to draw from the work of others, and line drawings are a wonderful place to start.

This one is a witch with a bat in her hair, hence the title.  The original drawing is below.  I love the colors and the style.  It feels like a bit of an etching.

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So, I decided to turn it into a coloring page here, for download.  Please feel free to save it to your ‘puter and use it in class or whatever floats your broomstick!

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I love witches.  Some days I feel I psychically channel them.  I’m sure my family would agree!  Have fun with this one!  MORE to come!

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

ANOTHER 31 Days of Halloween

31 daysLast year I started an ambitious project on the first day of October, called 31 Days of Halloween.  The goal was to write a blog each day during the month of October about some creative activity that could be shared with the children in your lives.  I think I quit after Day 17, or something like that.  The reason was that I received news that my Dad had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  After I got that phone call, I quit blogging.  There were other blogs after that time, all of different topics, but I left my Halloween Blogging project unfinished.

Now, Dad is doing pretty well.  Surprisingly well.  And of course, life just happens, you know.  I couldn’t have predicted it, and I found I couldn’t work through it in my blog.  However, it has been a year.  And, in the back of my mind, I have been considering doing my 31 Days of Halloween project again.  Apparently I don’t have enough on my plate or something like that.  Today, I’m feeling pretty sick–my joints hurt, my stomach is upset, I’m tired.  But I thought that maybe a little writing is the way to get through this day, which has already worn me out even though it is only 9 am.  I wandered over here to my WordPress login, not sure what I would say in my post, but just decided to wing it.

What to do today, that is creative, fun, and related to autumn, I ask myself.  What can I say to the folks who might chance upon this blog and love to do creative things with their kiddos, or grandkiddos, or student-kiddos?   The leaves are still on the trees here, but I can catch tinges of color on the edges.  The sumac is rosy red.  The weather here is….well, they say it’s warm, but I’m currently chilling a bit, so I can’t comment honestly.  Even Soda Pop is feeling under the weather right now–he seems to have a touch of something in his tummy, too.  A vet visit may be in order.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I am dog-tired and my stomach is either really hungry or really NOT hungry.

So, today, I’m going to do a little cop-out.  Not a big one, but a cop-out nonetheless.  All my blogs from last October are still here.  They are still good.  Here are photos from a few of them.

All different, and all beautiful....

All different, and all beautiful….

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Check them out today.  Pick something out that you want to do by yourself or with a child and do it.  I have a list of things I want to blog about THIS October, but no energy to complete the projects today.  Writing projects, art projects, illustrating projects, writing your own stories…..And they are coming.

Right after I nap a bit…..

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

Come With Me To Inclement….And Pack A Bag!

Today, I’m taking Inclement on the road.  Not in a big way, but still, I’m going to be out there talking to kids about my town, reading a book to them, and doing a couple illustrations.

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This isn’t one of our Creative Collaborations that I do with BETWIXT–gosh, I REALLY have to do a blog post on those guys.

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No, this is just a simple half hour at a Family Fun Night at a school nearby.  But although I will be there just half-an-hour, it is an important night.  You see, not only is Inclement just about my favorite place in the world to spend my time, and a place that provides so many ideas I don’t have time to write about them, it is also business for me.  And an important rule in business is that you have to get the word out that you ARE in business.  You have to let people KNOW what you do.  In half an hour, over the course of maybe two books, I hope to say something or do something or read something that sticks in those parents’ and childrens’ and teachers’ minds.  Perhaps they will buy some books.  Perhaps they will hire BETWIXT and me to do a Creative Collaboration at the school.  Perhaps a Mom or a Dad somewhere will sit down and draw something with their child instead of telling them to go play video games.  Whatever happens, whatever the outcome of half an hour, it can’t be bad.

Half an hour is a very short time.  In the scheme of the universe, it is like a baby-biscuit nano-second.  But the process for preparing for that half an hour is huge.

Here is my list today:

1. Pack computer equipment.  When I read to large groups, I do so with a laptop and a digital projector.  Makes it MUCH easier for everyone to see the illustrations in the books.

2. Pack the cords for computer equipment.  This is a biggie.  If I forget the cords, what is the point of having the computer?

3. Pack my illustration supplies–easel, BIG PAPER (sheets of 3 feet x 4 feet), chalk pastels.

4. Trim 150 bookmarks to hand out.  I printed them yesterday, and today, I have to trim them.  I hate trimming.  Oh, and I have to pack these, so I don’t forget them.

5. Money.  I have to get change and pack the cash box.  People may want to purchase books.  Can’t forget this.

Wonder how it will work for MY fiscal crisis...

Wonder how it will work for MY fiscal crisis…

6.  BOOKS.  I can’t forget books.  This is probably the biggest pain as far as packing goes.  I have 7 book titles now, and I’m going to take some of each.  Which leads to 7 different boxes of books, and I never know how many to take of each, so I always bring more than I need….

7. I forgot this in the first part of the list–check to make sure all the book presentations WORK on my computer BEFORE I pack it up.  If the book doesn’t run on the computer, there is NO POINT in bringing the computer.

8. Babywipes.  No, I don’t have a baby.  But, they are very handy in cleaning my hands after I use chalk pastels for 10 minutes or so.

9. Water.  I always get thirsty.

10. Carry everything out to the truck.  This is where my 14 year old son comes in, AND his father, after he gets home from work.

11. Get ready myself.  See, I have to tell myself to do this, because I get out of the house so infrequently.  I planned my wardrobe last night, fortunately.

12.  Oh, another thing I forgot–my camera.  I have to pack the camera so I can get pictures of me doing what I do, so I can BLOG about it tomorrow to whomever might be reading this.

13.  Eat.  When I get busy like this, I forget to eat.  Then I get really hungry during my presentation, and sometimes I feel like I’m going to “lose my cookies”, and that isn’t fun when I’m reading to families.  So, I must eat before I leave.

Tastes just like chicken...

Tastes just like chicken…

I think that is it.  Lucky 13.  All of this, to get Inclement out there, in front of families, to hopefully enchant them a little bit, to make people see what I see when I visit that little place in Southwest Iowa, from which all magic and wonder flows–at least for me.

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So, tomorrow, I may have a tale to tell about my brief half hour.  Perhaps I’ll have a booking for a Creative Collaboration for next fall.  Perhaps I’ll have a new idea for a book.  I will definitely be working on Soda’s Valentine.  Finishing layout, so I can turn the file into a pdf and upload it!  Yay, getting closer.  But for today, my focus has to be on this half hour that occurs around suppertime tonight.  Think happy thoughts for me!  And pray I don’t forget anything.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

31 Days of Halloween–Project 14

Another crazy weekend of photography for me, so I’m falling behind on my posts! However, we will persevere! Today, we are going to do some printmaking! You will need potatoes, paint ( I used orange and black, because of fast-approaching Halloween), paper, and small, sharp knives.

Small children will need an adult to actually cut the potato for them. My older kids–11 & 13, loved cutting their own potatoes for printing. First, slice the potato in half carefully, making a flat cut surface for your “stencil”. Then, come up with a plan. Are you going to make jack-o-lantern faces? My boys liked doing this, and, in fact, that was ALL they did.

So, play around with the potato and your knife, cutting out eyes, nose, mouth, and any other details. Obviously, the larger the potato, the larger and more easily you can cut your shapes. Our potatoes were not huge, but each potato “stamp” only took a few minutes to complete.

We then painted the surface of each potato stamp with whatever color we wanted to use.

Then, grab some colorful paper and stamp away! Experiment a bit with each stamp–because of variations in the cuts, each will require different amounts of paint, and different amounts of pressure.

Do NOT expect “perfection” from any one stamp or print. Have FUN with this! You can create Halloween cards for friends, stamp on fabric, or just make a whole lot of fun designs on paper!

And the magical part of all of this is that when you are done, you can THROW the potatoes away! This little project is quick, fun, and works with any theme or holiday. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables as well.

Check out my new children’s book,  I HATE HALLOWEEN, which can be purchased here, and visit Bug Summer on Facebook and post pix of your own Halloween art projects here!  Have a tremendous day!

31 Days of Halloween–Project 13–TGIF!

Today, after puppet making and photographic tinting, we are doing something simple! How about a Halloween crossword puzzle for the lil’ ones, based upon my book I HATE HALLOWEEN, which can be purchased here! Perfect for a little holiday fun without a major investment in time, supplies, or clean-up! Click the link below, print it out, grab a pencil and GO!

I HATE HALLOWEEN Puzzle

For those of you who don’t have the book, you may look it up an online pdf here to give you some hints!

See you tomorrow with another art project celebrating Halloween! You will need potatoes. That is the only hint I’m giving today! Look us up on Facebook here and like our page! Have a GREAT Friday!

31 Days of Halloween–Project 12

Have you seen black and white photographs with little “pops” of color added back in for accent? They are very popular, and as pro photographer, I perform “digital tinting” all the time. However, before there were computers, Photoshop, digital cameras, or even color film, folks wanted pictures with color in them. And the photographer would print a black and white image on special paper and use transparent oil paints to add flesh tones, eye color, tint clothing, and anything else they felt needed that little pop. I still perform “hand-tinting” today. It’s definitely a high level skill, especially with oil colors and large sized prints. However, it is a very fun activity for kids and adults alike when doing it on a smaller, more personal scale.

Today you will need a variety of colored pencils, and a black and white photograph printed on matte surface paper or cardstock. I’m including two Halloween photographs of Soda Pop, ready to print out that will be foldable into blank, 5×7″ greeting cards.

(Soda Pop is the star of my book, I HATE HALLOWEEN, which may be purchased here, AND the inspiration for my 31 Days of Halloween projects.) Print them on matte surface cardstock at the highest print quality. Let them sit for a couple hours or even a day before you begin tinting the photos to give the printer ink some time to dry and become permanent.

Now, the next part is easy-peasy. Simply pick some colored pencils, and get to coloring!

Use light pressure and build up your tones gradually.

Have fun making realistic colors, or go crazy and surreal, using weird colors in weird places.

Children especially have fun with this activity—give them black and white photos of relatives and they will have a BALL!

And for the adults who want to really take their time, feel free to explore this art form more thoroughly. There are pencils made especially for photo tinting, as well as a line of markers, and of course, photo oils for the advanced artist.

Have fun with this, and check us out on Facebook at Bug Summer here. Become a fan and post some of your own creative fall projects!

31 Days of Halloween–Project 11

Today is totally a Soda Pop day. For those of you who don’t know, Soda Pop is the star of my book, I HATE HALLOWEEN, which may be purchased here, AND the inspiration for my 31 Days of Halloween projects. He is a black cat with attitude. Today, we are going to make something that all children (and many adults) get a kick out of–puppets. Soda Pop puppets.

The supplies you will need are black felt–I got 9×12 sheets of it at the craft store. 2 sheets per puppet. You will also need a hot glue gun (for easy assembly), or craft glue (if you’re patient) OR needle and thread or sewing machine (if you want to be a perfectionist, which I am NOT). And then whatever kind of supplies you want to use to put eyes on your puppet, or any other decorations that you think Soda Pop would enjoy wearing on his person.

Here is a printable stencil pattern to get you started with your Soda Pop puppet.

Print it out, cut it out, lay it down on the felt and cut around it. DON’T cut out the eyes in the felt.  The eye marks on the stencil are there for guidelines for eye placement.   I was able to cut 2 sheets of felt at a time, but one at a time is fine. Young kids will most definitely need help with the cutting and glueing of this little guy.

After you get two Soda Pop cut outs done, it is time to add facial features/decorations or whatever else you can think of on the front of your puppet. My kids chose paint for the eyes. On your stencil, please note the two eyes delineated there. If you have a craft knife, you can cut those eyes out and have openings which you can overlay on top of the felt use as guides to paint/draw/sew your eyes on. You could also cut other pieces out of colored felt and glue them on for the eyes. How about button eyes?  Sequins?  Diamonds?  Hey, go for it.  Here you can see one of my boys painting the eyes on through his stencil.

Of course, you may ALWAYS freehand the eyes and facial features, which is what I did.  I added a nose, mouth, and paws, but you don’t need to.  The REAL Soda Pop’s features are totally black, so do whatever YOU like.

After you apply whatever decoration to Soda’s face/body, you may need to let any paint/glue dry.  Then it is time to attach the front and back cut outs together. I chose hot glue, because I feel it is magic. Really. Yes, you can burn the you-know-what out of yourself, but it is so darn FAST! Or you can use craft glue, if you have a couple hours.  OR, you can use needle and thread to sew the two pieces together, or even a sewing machine. Now, you will glue or sew the two pieces together, keeping the glue/stitches about 1/4″ from the edge, ALL the way around EXCEPT for the bottom of the puppet, where your hand is going to go.  Sew or glue right sides OUT, so there is NO “turning” of the puppet when you are done. It is simply finished with stitching (if you chose to sew) visible.  You will end up with a cat-shaped glove.

My kids love puppets. Even my teenagers, which some may find weird. Personally, I think it is one of the most creative things you can guide your children to make.  And there are people who make their livings doing things like puppetry (Jim Henson, anyone?). Not only do you MAKE something with your hands, but then you can create an entire world of activities/stories/songs/plays, whatever, that are all about the puppet you just made. I’m thinking about making felt “costumes” for my Soda Pop puppet, so he can be just as disgruntled as a puppet as he is when I dress him up in real life.

I am having my two homeschooled boys write stories about what their particular puppets do during the course of an average day. One boy named his puppet Cat Man (feline superhero). The other kid named his Just Regular Cat. I’m interested to read the stories they come up with, and I imagine they will be TOTALLY different, as my boys are themselves. ( I think another fun activity would be to have your Soda Pop puppet read I HATE HALLOWEEN to your children!) You can also have children write poetry, or even a play featuring the puppet.  Make more than one puppet if you like, in different colors.  Make different KINDS of puppets—cats aren’t the only critter out there.

 

Have fun with this, and check us out on Facebook at Bug Summer here. Become a fan and post some of your own creative fall projects!

31 Days of Halloween–Day 9

I need to preface this post with a personal note.  Like everyone else, I have big goals–posting every day for 31 days was one of them.  And last week, between 5 days of little or NO internet, my burgeoning fall photography jobs, and, last, but definitely NOT least, a couple personal things that came up, I simply didn’t post.  Not only didn’t I post, but I didn’t do IDEA generation on posts, or projects, or writing towards the blog (which I normally do so I’m ahead).  However, it is a new week, I’m still excited about Halloween, and I believe that we can get 31 posts up this month!  So, here we go!

Today is another fun, easy day in Halloween arts and crafts! All you need are some rounded rocks, paint, brushes, and of course, children.

Kids love to paint. For some reason, sliming their brushes around in sloppy, goopy paint and then making gooey marks with it on paper is one of the highlights of their lives–perhaps, because adults HATE paint. Paint, after all, is messy. It can ruin clothes, carpet, and furniture, and, as an adult, painting is a chore that we must do around our house, forget about being ARTY with it. But whatever the reason, kids find paint magical.

Kids also love rocks. They love to examine them, feel their shapes, learn about their composition, and, if not supervised, they will often find a rock that fits oh-so-perfectly in their palm and they will THROW it, causing possible property loss and/or emergency room visits.   Adults cringe when boisterous children pick up rocks.

So, I thought, why not combine the two—paint and rocks!  Give the kiddos something to do that they will find enchanting, and might make an additional, non-violent use for rocks.  Of course, because paint is involved, it will still be messy.  But, we are all adults here–we can get over it, right?  And, if it’s a warm day, the kids can paint outside.

So, here is the art part—get some paint, acrylic craft paint is fine.  Brushes are important as well, and they will probably need fine tipped brushes.  And let those kiddos create their own set of miniature jack-o-lanterns out of the rocks!  When they are finished, depending upon the age of the child, they may look NOTHING like recognizeable “faces” on pumpkins.  But, I guarantee it—the kids will be THRILLED!

Wash the rocks and dry them.  Let them air dry a little longer if you can.  Then, have the children slop on a base coat of paint, most probably orange.

This then needs to dry before they put on the faces, so send them out to play or something.  Then, give them whatever other colors of paint you have and let them go to town—my kids chose purple and yellow for their faces.

Depending upon the opacity of the paint, you may need to do a second coat both for the base and for the faces–you will have to be the judge.  You can also give them black permanent markers to do the face work, whichever they are most comfortable with.  Then, you may clear coat them with an acrylic spray, if you like, and display them.

Do NOT get hung up on how pretty the pumpkins are, or how perfect the faces are.  That is the WRONG direction for this project.

Not sure WHAT this face is, but I LIKE it!

Remember, with kids (and with beginning adults) it is about process, not product.  The children will be happy with their results, guaranteed.  Do not put your own “stuff” on that, saying it isn’t perfect just the way it is painted.

You can do internet image searches and find beautiful art pieces made of painted rocks.  And if you are tempted to pick up this hobby as an adult, go for it, and feel free to strive for the absolute BEST painted rock portrait you can.  That isn’t what this project is about for the kiddos, however.  It is for exactly this reason I didn’t go ahead and do a rock myself.  I didn’t want to get caught up in the perfection game, which I automatically revert to when doing my own art.  The children don’t need to carry my baggage.

Have fun with this—search for rocks, paint them, put faces on them.  Be free.  Be easy.  And come back tomorrow!  We will be doing more Halloween art!

Please see my new children’s book, “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.  Please find Bug Summer on Facebook here, and become a fan–post pictures of your own Halloween projects there as well!