Saturday, May 23, 2015

I don't think there's a lot to say here except that THIS is THE CAMP to sign up for this Summer.  I am again combining forces with the brilliant Andrea Felcone of Fearless Dragon Writers LLC to bring you this creative writing and art camp.  This summer's camp will be based in HOGWARTS!

August is almost sold out so sign up soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Time to give away one of my all time favorite books!

MADE BY DAD is a fabulous collection of amazing
"cool stuff" (direct quote) that you and your kids can make at home from ordinary household items: cardboard, paper, throwaway cups, straws, etc. Car launchers, sling shots, decorations, flying aliens, monsters, animals, all sorts of awesome insanity.

Toast racks, twisters, bookends, even Mother's Day Cards. All created by the marvelous Scott Bedford.
 What do you do to win this hefty fantastic book?

  • 1:  Leave a comment here telling me what you love most about my favorite material: CARDBOARD! Also leave some kind of contact info or YOUR blog info if you want me to see it!
  • 2:  If you are on Facebook LIKE my Picasso's Basement Page and I'll enter you in the raffle TWICE!
  • 3:  AND if you are on Facebook and post about my FB Picasso's Basement page to your friends (just tell me here you've done it) I'll enter your name THREE TIMES!
The contest ends April 1st!


Monday, February 17, 2014

A favorite class in a whole new place!

Working Hard
Some of my favorite people have offered me the opportunity to bring my classes to their new exciting business. BUILD IT LABS is a pretty amazing place. There are robotics classes for kids, programming for older kids and teens, birthday parties, etc. I hear they've added summer camps!

So to try it out I'm bringing back one of my favorite classes:
Kids ages 8-13 will learn to write stories, draw accompanying pictures, page out their books, add comic book elements and create an exciting finished project. Each week features activities that encourage the kids to think outside the box and help them strengthen their drawing skills. 
Playing Hard

Oh yeah, and when they're done we send their books to a real printer to be printed into a comic book!

It all starts up again this March 13th. CLICK HERE TO check out my flyer and registration form. I have yet to enter the new era and get online registration started so you'll have to use one of those retro envelopes and stamps! Just shoot me an email to let me know you are signing your kids up!

And check out Build It Labs programs too. Amazing things happening there!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Picasso's Basement Art Camps!

As I start planning my summer Picasso's Basement Art Camps it dawned on me that I'd never properly shared much about my camps from last summer. Time to change all that!

Space Day at Art In the Park Camp. The kids are blasting off with the jet packs we made out of recycled soda bottles!
To begin I'm happy to share that this coming Summer I will be featuring three camps: 
Make Your Own Comic Book Camp - a one week program in which kids create comic books, learn how books are put together, and play absolutely crazy games related to comic books, graphic novels, and comic book making.
Camp Olympus - this will the first collaboration between myself and my friend Andrea Felcone who runs the best Writers Club for Kids around. This will be a camp for fans of Mythology and Percy Jackson. It will feature creative writing and artwork all related to mythology. Campers will also play games and test their skills much like Percy Jackson did in Camp Halfblood.
and of course....
A Counselor and I at Comic Book Camp
Art In the Park Camp -  a theme based art camp. Last year we created projects to match each day: Space, Under the Sea, Pirates, Make A City, etc. But this summer will feature a WHOLE NEW group of themes!

Last summer was the first time I'd ever run a camp and it was possibly the most fun I'd ever had!  I ran the Comic Book Camp and Art In the Park Camp and both took more energy than I ever knew I had. But thanks to some outstanding friends and counselors (thank you Maia, Devon, Sarah, and especially dear friend Trish) and the kindness of the local Recreation department (thanks Bob!) we pulled it off. So here are a few moments from last summer.
PLEASE CHECK BACK when I am able to announce the start of registration for SUMMER 2014!
COMIC BOOK CAMP photos from 2013

Every comic book camp needs a phone booth!

Dry Erase hats with thought bubbles!
Some of the printed books

ART IN THE PARK CAMP photos from 2013

A group of photos from UNDER THE SEA Day:

Making Seashell Jewelry with another excellent counselor!

Some shots of Make A Recycled City Day in which we built a city made entirely of recyclables:
Minecraft fan makes a Minecraft Building! 

A group of new friends collaborated on a fantastic backdrop.

Royalty Day: 

Space Day: 

Every Space Day needs a Rocket Ship! 

To see the dates of my 2014 camp above check the CLASSES PAGE on MY WEBSITE which should be updated shortly!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Action Jackson

In one of my Preschool classes we are learning about famous artists. I like to start off with a story about the artist if I can find one. For our Jackson Pollock lesson I was lucky enough to find a copy of Action Jackson by Joan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan at the Library. It's a great little book, explains how Pollock worked and fit well into our lesson. about incorporating movement into our painting. The kids loved hearing how Pollock would spread the canvas on the floor and STAND on it while he painted. In a world where kids are told to be neat it was exciting to watch them as they listened and learned that some adults are OK with mess!

And then I led the kids to the paint table. There were canvases inside deep boxes. I told them to try to find the paintbrushes. They couldn't. Because we were going to be using paint brushes. We were going to use THESE:
NOT a paintbrush

BUT what amazed me was how hesitant they were!

They did not want to make a mess. 
They wanted things to be neat and orderly. 
But I changed all that. Yikes! I hope their parents don't hate me now.

Here are a couple of the cool paintings that they created! 

After that we made GINORMOUS spin art paintings with a spin art machine made out of a box fan. It was fun to watch and predict what colors we would make when we dropped in the paints!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Art Around the World at Preschool!

The most wonderful thing about 2013 has been bringing my classes to a local preschool. Our first session was ANIMAL ART followed by ART AROUND THE WORLD.  It brought a lot of new challenges. First of all, the kids were coming to me as an Enrichment Program so they'd all had a full morning of school AND stayed for lunch. Sometimes they arrived thinking it was time to head home.

So I learned that to keep them really interested.
My solution was to break up the classroom into stations!
  • We often read a related book first. In Art Around the World it was often a folk tale. 
  • The largest table is the place for the most involved and time-consuming art project.
  • The smaller table is for projects that are somewhat less structured.
  • We end each class at the Experiment Table.
  • Egyptian Necklaces

    Ancient Egyptian Headresses
    Mexican Painted buses had wheels that turned!    
    Swedish Dala horses

    African Shakera instruments
    Russian nesting doll next to Onion Dome collage
    Nesting Doll with mini dolls that fit inside!
    Glue some crayons on cardboard and let the kids take turns holding the hairdryer!

    Q-tip Paintings
    It's been a busy Fall and I'm excited that this Winter I'll be bringing my classes to an additional preschool as well. I hope I can repeat some of these projects with the new classes and work in a bunch of new projects as well.  But no fear, there is so much art to create that no class will ever have to repeat a project they've already done!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Self Portraits with Frida and the Scouts

I've been lucky enough to have worked with several Boy Scout and Girl Scout troupes in the past couple years. I've done a variety of programs with them but lately I've been helping several Girl Scout troupes earn their painting badges. Perhaps helping is probably the wrong word. I would have to say it was more like Guiding. These girls could clearly all draw and paint. My job was really to find a fun way for them earn a badge and perhaps give them a new way to look at themselves.

In an hour.  After pledges and snack. Easy? With THESE bright talented girls it was beyond easy!

  • Introduce them to Frida Khalo's self-portraits.
  • Give them all mirrors.
  • Talk to them about really looking at themselves: have them inspect the real shape of their heads. Are their eyes really dots or circles or perhaps more almond shaped? 
  • Ask them to think about composition: is their head in the middle of the page the only way to go? 
  • How about colors? Skin is not one flat color. Hair usually has different shades and tones in it. How can their artwork reflect that?
And more. Keep them looking. Keep them thinking. Lots to think about in under an hour. 

You might notice that these aren't your usual paintings. Because I never know what the setup will be in the various locations I often avoid actual paint with these projects. So here we worked with oil pastels and a medium that would help them use them in a painterly manner: BABY OIL! That's right, the entire room smelled like the beach in the 1980's.  (Some of you might remember those days. The days before we were told about sun damage and baby oil was our choice of tanning lotion.) But I digress...

Did I mention that they had to add the stuffed animal of their choice? Who better to accompany them to their meeting!

Excellent work, girls!