Tag Archives: dandelion

Weekly Art Challenge: VAN GOGH

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is VAN GOGH! Van Gogh is famous worldwide for his expressive paintings and tragic life. He is a universal favorite for art lovers.


DylanThe Ear Selfie, Special effects and instagram

I love this! If Van Gogh was around today, I imagine his famous post ear-cutting self portrait would have look something like this! Only Dylan could make you envious of her mangled ear and blood splattered throat selfie!



Karri – Sunflowers, acrylic on canvas

 “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers have always captured my attention. I love that he painted them to decorate a room for his friend Gauguin. The sunflowers in Provence must be stunning. Wish sunflowers around here were just as plentiful.”

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are beautiful and one of his most iconic pieces! I love Karri’s loose painterly brushstrokes and soft color palette, she did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of Van Gogh and charm of sunflowers. I don’t think there is a person who can look at a a sunflower and not feel a little bit happier.  🙂


Karri Van gogh



“My rough interpretation of Van Gogh’s Skull with Burning Cigarette. Only I gave him a sweet tea with lemon and a little umbrella, which oddly looks like a flower.”  

If I were a skull, I’d prefer the sweet tea over the cigarette too! I love the personal and cultural (nothing beats Southern sweet tea!) twist to one of Van Gogh’s early and probably lesser known works, but what I like most is that Bethany decided to tackle the skeleton. Most people prefer to avoid drawing skeletons, they can be intimidating subjects. Bethany went for it  and with beautiful contour lines. Great job Bethany!


bethany van gogh


Emily – Quotes, monotype prints on paper.

“Here are my Van Gogh entries, my first layer of printing went well, then the yellow didn’t! Then I just ran with it anyway creating some strange messy pieces mixed with Van Gogh quotes, not technically amazing pieces but I kinda like the messiness!”

The prints are messy and I like that about them too! The messiness, in my opinion, gives off an energy similar to that of Van Gogh’s thick, bold and animated strokes. The composition, color choices and quotes remind me of street art. I can visualize these pieces becoming wheatpastes around a city. As a humorous thought, the blue piece looks like the sunflowers are growing out if Van Gogh’s head. Its as if his thoughts/dreams can no longer be contained within his head and are now becoming hair!






AmberDandelions, Acrylic washes and graphite on paper

I loved Van Gogh’s artwork as a kid. He was the first artist that I learned about in grade school and was able to recognize when shown his artwork; this was a major thrill and feeling of accomplishment for a seven year old me.

For this week’s challenge I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings, Sunflowers. Karri and I must be kindred Van Gogh spirits!

I painted dandelions (surprise!) in a teacup. Dandelions being my equivalent to his sunflowers and of course the teacup instead of a vase made obvious sense for me. Instead of painting with his preferred thick brushstrokes I chose to work in the muted washes that I lean toward. This piece felt like a collaboration between me and an artist that I greatly admire.


IMG_3054 (1)


Next week’s theme: SPACE


Weekly Art Challenge: CHANGE

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is CHANGE! 

RJChange Of Luck, Penny and pen on paper —

I think RJ’s piece is a beautiful reminder to the viewer that you have the power to change your luck by changing your perspective. I like the simplicity of line and stipple along with the proportion between the penny and the drawing. The enlargement of the drawing insinuates that making a change can increases the rewards for taking control of your luck!




EmilyStress/ Move Forward – pen on paper –

“Change is very relevant to me at the moment and I’ve found I’m awful at dealing with it, I get lots of anxiety and stress over it, yet I still always have this need in me that I want to be productive and moving forward in my life. So my pieces are just me realizing that it may be confusing and stressful for me but to move forward I need change

The energy in Emily’s piece reminds me a lot of her photos from FAIR challenge. The movement and use of bold neon color express the chaos of change and the resulting difficulty to focus. I can feel the anxiety and uncertainty of inevitable changes she is trying to express.

emily change

emily change 2

AmberWishes – Mix Media (acrylic, graphite, pen and ink) on paper

For this week’s theme I decided to literally change a previous Art Challenge piece from something that I was not too happy with into something that I am happier with.

One of the hardest lessons for any artist to learn is that it is OKAY to make mistakes. And yet a better lesson, those mistakes don’t have to be mistakes.






Next theme: FEAR!

Weekly Art Challenge: Repetition

Hey Folks!!

This week My fellow artists and I tackle the theme Repetition.


RJ: Repetition Rabbit,  pen on paper – Whether he knows it or not, I honestly believe that RJ is a natural printmaker. His rhythmic lines and marks always have that linear woodcut quality about them. I look at that rabbit head and I can see it printed multiple times and beautifully matted. His little rabbit silhouettes are precious and characteristically spot on. RJ used the theme this week more as a practice exercise and study of rabbits. The piece as a whole reminds me a lot of those beautifully drawn scientific studies of plants and animals in old encyclopedias. It shows his ability to pay attention not only to visual details of a subject, but to the nature and character of the subject too.

Repetition Rabbit


Dylan: The Study of Human Decomposition, Mix media (Clay, styrofoam wig base (deconstructed) tissue paper, various glues, and Great Stuff expanding foam) – I have known Dylan since college and she has always had a fascination and appreciation for the raw beauty of a bruise. While most people would be put off by the sight a discolored skin, she would love every bruise and bump on her body as if they were a gift. So when she sent me her images for this week’s challenge I was not in the least bit surprised. I think her words best describe the thoughts and process behind her current work created for a local theme park..

“I absolutely adore repetition and asymmetrical balance!

In my study of human skin decomposing, I found that many things had to be taken into account such as humidity, placement of the body for blood gathering, and how long the corpse had been a corpse. Upon doing a two year death in very low humidity, I assumed the body would look like this. 

The repetitive channels and the rippling form of the flesh convey an symmetrical pattern yet have unbalanced symmetry from the direction of the small channels and lines. I am eager to study the two week, high humidity form next. It is amazing the beauty that can be found anywhere if you look through an artist’s eyes.”


Study of decomposition


dylan rep 4






Amber: The Cycle, Pen and graphite on Paper – I am about 3/4 finish with this piece. All week my mind was running through several ideas that reflected the concept of Repetition. First an image would spring to mind, I would mentally play with it until my thoughts about the image would lead me to another idea and so forth with the cycle. Eventually I began to see how there was a creative repetition to my thoughts. An idea would slowly formulate and bloom until the inspiration began to wane and roll over to a new idea. It’s a cycle that can easily consume an artist.

While I was playing with ideas that would fade into new ideas, I was also doodling randomness in my sketch book with pen and pencil shadings. I have always loved my doodles that combined pen and pencil work and at some point I knew that my final image for the piece was going to be my old favorite, the beautiful dandelion, combined with my preferred doodling technique.

The continuous life cycle of the dandelion seemed to naturally fit the complex creative repetition that occurs in my head every week when faced with a new art challenge.  I am currently debating adding a hint of color to the image, but I def plan to work the background so that the image pops a bit more and shading in the leaves. Thoughts?


The cycle


That was this week, hope you all enjoyed the work. Next week’s theme : PARADISE!

Weekly Art Challenge: HEALING

Hey Folks!

Last week’s challenge theme is Healing! Sorry for the delay in this post, folks. I have been working on the road and my hours are limited! In fact it was a busy week for many of us so it will be only me posting work. 🙂


AmberMy Thoughts Were Too Loud, I Couldn’t Hear My Heart Beat, Acrylic on paper – The inspiration for the theme came from my niece, she wanted to give me a theme that she thought would be too hard! lol, she was shocked when I told her it was the perfect theme and it really was!

The idea behind my image is that there are moments when we are in such emotional pain and turmoil that we fail to notice what is happening around us. We become lost inside our murky thoughts and sometimes become dangerously isolated; but, if we can find the will-power to pull ourselves from our thoughts we will see that healing is possible, that life continues and we can continue with it.

I wanted my piece to represent the struggle and hope that comes with healing. The uncertainty to trust that there is hope, and the struggle to not loose yourself to negative hopeless thinking/feelings. Hope and the process of healing is represented organically via the tall grass, the ever resilient dandelions (notice the the cup and the one puffless aged dandelion?) and the wind turbines are busy bringing in a renewable future.

It was a therapeutic piece for me to create and I hope others are inspired by it to breathe and take care of themselves. 🙂


Next week’s theme: Heavy!

Weekly Art Challenge: SURREALISM!

Hello Folks!


This weeks art theme is Surrealism! I love Surrealism, its one of the most creative and thought provoking art movements of the 20th century. The movement evolved after WWI and was focused on exploring the inner workings of the mind through art and literature. In my opinion it was one of the emotionally liberating moments in art. People would let their imaginations fly as they looked inward for their inspiration.


RjHell Toast, Pen and ink on Paper – I have yet to decide if RJ is feeling excited for the upcoming Halloween festivities or had a very bad experience with his breakfast this week and THIS is his surrealist revenge! The details, as always, are impeccable. That toaster looks very hellish and cavernous; and I feel rather sorry for the toast. My favorite detail, the tiny hearts from the heavenly toast crumbs, the toast found peace after its hellish experience in the toaster! 🙂

hell toast


Tony: Mind and Self,  mix media on paper – Tony’s explanation of his piece:

“It’s about liberation, freedom of mind and being open to the possibilities of the Universe [ I drawn our Galaxy on the Lock to represent that ]. When you are attached to Love [ Heart ], or material things like money, or hurt feelings, you need to step back and think about more than all that and free yourself from those things. By doing so, your mind thinks [ thoughs are represented by the Energy on the guys’s head ] and those thoughs become acts [ Act = The guy’s big hand ] and you can detach yourself from everything [ water running out the tube and giving water to the flower which is a sign of nature, Earth. But also starts the mechanism that makes the hand moves towards the lock Then it unlocks the Brain – Mind, and the eyes in order to think and see more than what you usually think or see ]. The birds going out of the cage are obviously symbol of freedom that someone wants to reach. The phone is a part of things that makes us materialists, the chess-like floor is just a thing that is often used in Surrealism art so I took it as a symbol for this theme. The trains goes toward the left/future and is a part of the man [ smoke/beard ]. So it’s also one of the metaphors. The eye in the Hand is another sign. In Buddhism it is symbol of protection called Hamsa. I used Buddhism a lot in this drawing because my double theme represents something like reaching the enlightenment.”

Mind and self


Amber: Untitled Dreams, Watercolor, acrylic, graphite on paper – I still have some detail work to complete on my piece, but for now I am happy.  The inspiration came from a recent discovery of an old collage drawing that I started years ago, but never finished.  It was a terrible collage drawing of my yellow tea mug with a weird blue paper mosaic in the background. I thought that maybe I could improve it by using it for one of the art challenges, but I left home in a hurry for a work trip and did not bring the horrid artwork with me… I still liked the image I had in mind for the piece so I started fresh – I think it looks better than it would with the other piece.

For my piece I combined a variety of meaningful images into a composition that reflects a series of bizarre but relevant dreams I had not to long ago with my fear that should I settle then my life would grow stagnant and I would eventually begin to sink into the dreadful unseen.


Untitled Dreams



Thats it for this week, Next art challenge: BOLD COLORS! 

Weekly Art Challenge: NATURE

Hello Folks!

‘Nature’ was the theme for our friendly art challenge this week.


RJ’s: Nature Bulb, pencil and digital paint – RJ wanted to make an image that combined nature and technology. Its a great piece of work! the detail of the beetle in the lightbulb is fantastic, I absolutely love it! The image reminds me that as we push for the advancement of technologies we often find ourselves pulled further away from the purity of nature. Ironically, nature was the inspiration for so many in the pursuits of improving our world; but she has also fall victim to our tech experiments – from the pollution, loss of habitat and from unpopular genetic modifications. The question becomes, is it possible to find a harmonic balance between nature and technology? For one to prosper does the other have to falter?  Great Job, RJ!


nature bulb


Mikyla: View from the Window. crayon and pencil – Mikyla did a wonderful job illustrating the sunny view outside her window. There is a lot of movement with her crayon strokes, perhaps there was a warm gentle breeze blowing through the garden. I like that she filled up the entire piece of paper, it reminds me that nature is everywhere, no space can go long without mother nature returning. Great job Mikyla!


Amber’s: Busy Bees, Graphite, acrylic and paper – Still painting my lovely dandelions. For this week’s theme I wanted to exhibit the role of the dandelion within nature’s realm by showing the busy bees working hard collecting its pollen. What impresses me the most about nature is that every piece of it has an important role in keeping the whole thing working. When one part goes missing, or extinct, then the rest of the system has to readjust and is never quite the same. The dandelion, though given the horrid status as “weed”, is one of the most useful plants a gardener could have. they are edible, their taproot helps break up compact dirt which will help other plants grow better and they are just plain pretty!


busy bees

Thanks for visiting!

Next theme: HIDDEN 🙂

Weekly Art Challenge: Melted

Hello Folks!!

The theme for this week’s friendly art challenge is MELTED and I am super excited that we have a new participant! Rj’s very talented niece, Mikayla!! You are going to love her contribution!

RJ’s:  Frozen with pen. I love the glowing affect he achieved. The piece was originally larger but he trimmed it down to the present size. The original was to closer to the sketch seen below. I like that the finished product is focused so closely onto her face. The viewer then has to connect with her mournful violet eye and they must FEEL what she feels, and I do. I can feel the penetrating heat of a nearby fire and see its light reflecting off her skin as she thaws.


Melted Frozen



Frozen sketch


Mikayla’s: A Melting Olaf with pencil and crayon. I love how she captured Olaf’s jubilant nature as he melts beside the fireplace! Still wanting his warm hugs! She did a great job with Olaf’s face. I love the detail of the eye slipping behind the carrot, very clever. Can’t wait to see what she makes next week!

Melting Olaf


Mine:  I’m sticking with the same subject, the magnificent Dandelion, and created my weekly art challenge images by melting some of the billions of crayons my mother has saved from the billions of boxes we have bought for my young nieces onto sheets of watercolor paper.  lol, okay, we don’t have THAT many crayons; but, when you are fishing through a cookie tin loaded with purples and reds for the elusive yellow crayon, it certainly FEELS like a billion! The first image, Dandelion Puff, took longer than the second image, Dandelion Crowd, to create. I burned myself several times with the hairdryer and may have melted some crayon into the carpet – oops! I did have a lot of fun creating them; which is the main purpose of this challenge, to have fun trying out new ideas! I think they both turned out quite well for a first attempt. I may have to create some more and perfect my technique, already I am thinking of new ways work with melted crayons!!


Dandelion Puff


Dandelion crowd


Next week’s theme: TOMORROW

Weekly Art Challenge: Close Up

Our second weekly Art Challenge!! This week’s  theme, chosen by RJ, was Close Up.  We both had some fun with this theme and both presented a series!


RJ’s: Butterfly Wings – Acrylic on mini canvases.

I love the large loose brushstrokes seen in Rj’s Butterfly Wings. They remind me of tissue paper collages from my childhood art classes.


Butterfly Wings


Mine: Dandelion – watercolor and some pencil on paper.


Dandelion I


Dandelion II - Seed


Dandelion III