While you wait for Art for All Seasons

It’s nearing the end of apple picking season here in New Hampshire and the pies, crisps and sauces begin to appear everywhere.  It’s a time I always enjoyed with my children – walking the orchards and picking the best apples we could reach!

So today I want to share a tradition from our home and straight from my new book Art for All Seasons which will come out next month! We are going to make some apple print napkins or table runners for our harvest dinners with a few simple steps. Enjoy!

2 apples
Fabric ink
Brayer (affiliate link)
Old Cookie sheet
Cotton fabric or pre-made napkin
Paper towel
  1.  Cut your apples in half both from the stem side down and across the middle. This will create two different prints: one “heart” and one “star”
  2.  Spread out your fabric over a few layers of newspaper.
  3. Roll out some water based fabric paint or ink on a cookie sheet with a brayer until smooth. Be sure not to spread it too far as it will dry to quickly.
  4. Roll the smoothed ink onto your apple until covered.
  5. Press the inked apple onto your fabric in a desired pattern.
  6. Let dry and iron the fabric with a clean sheet of paper covering the design, to set the ink.

Art for All Seasons coming soon!

My fourth book and first in our new series Kids Art is due out in November! I am so excited to be working with publisher/artist/illustrator/mega talent Rebecca Emberley and Two Little Birds Books.
This book is filled with inspiration from the seasons and contemporary artists. I am thrilled with the look and layout that my designer (and husband) Rainer Schwake achieved with the book. It truly is inspiring and easy to use.
I have a few events in the works for the book launch and will be posting them here and at the facebook page as well.

Large Scale fish for littles

Making big art is super fun for littles – and this lesson can allow the littles in your life to succeed in both exploration of the resist technique and get to help with “big kids” tools like a stapler!

First – think about breaking this lesson up into two or three parts:
1. Drawing and Resist painting
2. Cutting
3. Assembling

For drawing and resist painting there is really no change in the lesson. Allow the littles artist to scribble and follow their own ideas about color.
For cutting, by age 3 a child may be ready to try out child sized scissors and with an adult holding the paper and guiding, they may have success. Work in short sessions and take a break when frustration sets in!

Assemblage of the giant fish is fun. Try a mini stapler with small hands or allow a large stapler to be placed or help pushed with big hands! Stuffing is a fun job for the littles, so make sure they get to squish up the paper and “feed” the fish!

Foamy Prints for Little Kids

One of the favorite lessons in Art Lab for Kids is “Foamy Prints”. It is exciting to make your own stamp and the 4-6 year olds should have this fun experience too! How to adapt this lesson:


Cut shapes from the foam if the child is not ready to use scissors. Use circles, squares, rectangles, ovals and shapes that the child requests.

Let the child peel off the backing and stick the shape onto the mat board.

Let the child make the marks in the foam with the ball point pen, having them check occasionally if they are pressing hard enough to feel the lines they are making with their fingers. Encourage dot making as almost everyone has success with that mark!

Use nontoxic ink pads and a good stack of newspaper under the paper which you are printing on. This cushion of newspaper really helps make a good print!

Baby wipes are wonderful for cleaning the stamps up and little fingers! If you have requests for lessons from the book which you would like to present to preschoolers, just leave me a comment!  Check out our facebook page too for other ideas!

While you are waiting …

I have had a lot of feedback on making the lessons from Art Lab for Kids useful for preschoolers. Well, I am happy to announce that Art Lab for Little Kids is on it’s way this spring to book sellers everywhere. In the mean time I will be posting here with some “helps” for using the first book: Art Lab for Kids with the younger set. I hope you will check back often!

Ink, paint, pastels – oh my!

It’s sometimes hard to choose which materials are the best fit for your work. I suggest that you try them all. Be daring and start a drawing in ink, then add some watercolor. Let that dry and then move to pastels. Even if you are not happy with the final piece of artwork, you will have experimented with the materials and can try the same (or different) subject matter again. No ideas of what to draw with ink? Let a scribble be your guide! Most of all – have fun with it. 



Workshop at The Eric Carle Museum

A wonderful afternoon at the Eric Carle Museum in Western MA! Back in October we hit the road and ventured out to the beautiful countryside of Western MA. There was a lovely crowd of families and children ready to make monsters …

Everyone got into the action! Grandmas, grandpas, aunts and friends – not to mention all the kids who really embraced the process. So much fun! Thank you to the Eric Carle Museum!




Found Object printmaking

First gather supplies: brayers for inking your objects and smoothing ink + neat stuff from around your house or studio! Use waterbased block printing ink for the best results.


Roll the ink out onto a flat surface then using the brayer, ink up your object! Press down onto your object with good pressure to insure a great impression! Have fun!





Let’s paint outside


Grab some crayons or oil pastels and go outside and draw your house! Try using some watercolor paints over the top of your drawing to add a summer’s blue sky or some rain clouds. Use plenty of water and spread the color across the lines you have already drawn. The waxy/oil crayons will resist the water and your lines will still show. It’s fun to paint outside!