4th of July tee shirts


The 4th of July is one of my family’s favorite holidays. We have a great little parade that comes down our street the morning of the 4th. (Complete with homemade floats and dozens of kids on their bikes) On the night of the 3rd, we have our nieces and nephews sleep over in tents on the lawn with their Dads. We project a movie onto a sheet in the backyard and stay up too late having fun. Then all of the moms come over in the morning (hopefully a little rested from their night off) and we eat a giant breakfast before watching the parade. To the point: my cute Mother-in-law always does a fun activity for the nieces and nephews before the 4th, usually we decorate tee shirts. Tonight we did this by spraying bleach onto stencils on the shirts. IT looks great and is fairly easy and quick to do. Here are a few tips to try it out with your little patriots














Tee shirt (A darker color works best. We used mostly red, but navy looked great too. As you can see, the bleached area ended up red.)

Spray bottle with bleach (We started with a 50/50 mix but ended up using a higher concentration.)

Newspaper to put in the shirts so the bleach doesn’t seep through to the back.

Stencils (see Direction #1. below)

Paper towels

A bucket of water to rinse the shirt in was helpful

Glad Press and Seal wrap was also very useful!


*Wear old clothes for this activity!

1. Design your stencils. Here are a few methods that we liked: The first was to use store-bought stencils. Layer Glad Press and Seal wrap around the edges of the stencil and press lightly into the shirt to prevent overspray.

Cut shapes out Press and Seal wrap and press onto the shirt, then spray around to create a relief.

Draw a pattern onto a file folder or a clear sheet protector then cut out and use as a stencil.

2. Lay the stencil onto the shirt and hold it down if necessary, while you spray bleach liberally onto the shirt. Lay a paper towel over the top of everything before you pull the stencil off to absorb the excess bleach.

3. Once you have the design you want, let it sit a few minutes until it is as light as you like, then rinse thoroughly. Wash and wear!

*If you have overspray or just want a speckled look, spray the shirt directly with the spray bottle. Less is better here. You can get bigger drops by spraying slowly and a finer mist by spraying firmly and quickly.

*You could use a bleach pen to write, outline, or draw onto the design.

*Embellishing with puffy paint would also work well, perhaps the giltter paints.

Venture Outdoors Festival

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Last Saturday was the Venture Outdoors Festival. We had a blast! We loved watching the bike trials (those guys are amazing!) and listening to Brian and Chip. The girls couldn’t get enough of the blow-up slide and crazy catapillar. My art clinic went well. I loved seeing Kara’s friendly face and the cute Dalls! Here is an overview of what I taught. Hopefully, you’ll find some of the tips useful. We talked mostly about painting and the different types of media available.

a few general tips:
1. LOOK-Possibly the most important thing you can do to improve your work is to really observe your subject. It’s also a good idea to start seeing what you look at in general.
2. Perspective-Objects in your scene get smaller and closer together as they are further into the background. You should also pick a vanishing point and make sure that all objects line up with that point. Any object will also take on more of it’s complimentary color as it gets further away.
3. Atmospheric perspective-In landscapes, the scenery will get bluer and blurrier as it recedes into the background.
4. Portraits-Here is a quick guide for proportion: eyes should be centered about halfway between the top of the head the chin. The bottom of the nose should hit about halfway between eyes and chin; the mouth between the nose and chin. (Although this will vary slightly from face to face.) Don’t forget to leave room for the brain!

5. Color-Ideally, all colors can be mixed with red, yellow, and blue (the primary colors), except black (shade) and white (tint).

  • Complimentary colors are the those that are opposite on the color wheel. They create a striking combination. (blue/orange, red/green, yellow/purple)
  • Monochromatic-using various tints and shades of one color.
  • Analogous-Using hues that are adjacent on the color wheel. (ie. orange, red-orange, and red.)
  • Value-Most objects can be realistically colored with the hue, a tint and shade to give dimension. (Shiny objects will also need a highlight.)

6. Art is not about rules! The rules are there to help you be a better artist, not to intimidate you. Get in there and experiment! Read books, look online, art is meant to be fun, not stuffy!

Basic Materials: (with minimum costs)
Brush sets start at $15
Paints start at $4 per tube
Starter set for $35
Silicoil jar $5
Turpentine $10
Masterson Palette Seal $15
Masters Brush cleaner $3
Canvas board starts at $3
Canvases average around $25
A few helpful techniques:
1.Use turpentine (poured into the silicoil jar) to wet brushes and thin paint.
2.Lay down several layers of (usually) thin paint to create your composition. Start by blocking in the basic shapes and shadows, then work from background to foreground, and dark to light.
3.Most often, you will do several layers, to add details and give depth to your work. Wait a few days to let a layer dry then, add to it.
4.You can work on a layer for up to 12 hours. After that time, the paint is too dry to move around well, but too still to wet to paint over-it will smudge, give it at least 24 hours between layers, a few days is best.
5.It takes about 6 months for a painting to cure (or fully dry.) Usually, you will want to seal or varnish it after this.
6.Use white to lighten a color and the compliment of the color to darken it.
7.Step back often to see your progress. Keep in mind that things always look differently up close than away.

Basic Materials:
Brush set $8
Paint $3 per tube
sets start at $15
Palette $1 for open paint well
(I would use a Masterson Seal Palette if you might not finish in that session.)
Canvas board starts at $3
Canvases average around $25

A few helpful techniques:
1.Acrylics do well of many different surfaces, from paper to wood, glass, metal, canvas, etc.
2.Use mediums to drastically change the texture and consistency of acrylic. By thinning the paint down with water, you can get a watercolor effect. The paint can also be thickened and the texture look like anything from paste, iridescence, or a sandpaper feel.
3.Acrylics are very easy to work with (water soluble) and clean up with just soap and water.
4.To keep paint moist, use a spray bottle. You can also wet your paper to “float” colors have more work time. This works well for blending colors and shades.  Unlike, watercolors when the paint dries, it is permanent.
5.You will want to sketch out your subject first; as acrylics dry quickly.
6.Paint grade really matters with acrylics (actually it just really matters.) It is fine to practice with cheap paints, but beware of doing anything you want to last with them, as they are prone to fading.

Basic Materials:
Paint $4 per tube
(also comes in cakes and liquid)
beginner sets start at $35
Brush set $8
Palettes $2
Paper (16×20) $8
Pad $15

A few helpful techniques:
1.Wash: Wet the area you want to wash. Pick up pigment with your brush and glide it along the area; then start a new row. Do not work back over the area. As it dries, it will even out. You can create a a graded wash by varying the amount of paint used in each stroke.
2.A glaze is a thin layer of paint done on dry paper (or a dry layer of paint.) Layers of glazes are often built up in watercolors.
3.Paint onto wet paper to create soft, undefined shapes.
4.You can also load the brush with a color then set it down onto a wet section of the paper to allow the color to “bleed” onto the paper.
5.You can “lift” paint off once it is dry by wetting the area with water and blotting with a paper towel.
6.To create crisp lines, load a lot of color onto the brush and try to keep it as dry as possible. (Paint on dry paper.)
7.You can get unusual textures by stamping your wet paint with crumpled cling wrap, tissue paper, or paper towels.
8.Sprinkle with salt to get a splattery look. Sprinkle it onto wet paint, then let dry; gently brush off salt afterward. It will leave a white or lighter tinted speckle. You can also flick the end of the brush to get colored speckles.

Basic Materials:
Pencils-a good set starts at $5
Paper- sketch pads start at around $8

A few helpful techniques:
1.Sketching can be done anywhere at anytime. It doesn’t require many materials.
2.Loosen up and sketch individual lines quickly. You can always erase, but you can get the confident crisp lines by moving slowly on the page.
3.Don’t worry about drawing straight lines!
4.Focus on general shapes and values, don’t be concerned with sketching every little detail. The general idea will look more composed than a minutia of little details.
5.Use your finger or a blending stick to blur and blend lines, creating soft shading.
6.By using an eraser, you can lift off color, to create highlights.

Basic Materials:
Student grade start at $5 per box
$10 for a pad of pastel paper

A few helpful techniques:
1.Pastels are pressure sensitive, you can greatly vary the intensity and texture.
2.Use the end of the pastel to get a firm line, or the side to shade a large  area.
3.Lay down a thick layer of color, then softly use the side to Scumble an area for a very interesting texture.
4.Similarly, you can feather with another color, by lightly hatching over with another color.
5.Let the paper show through to give texture. Pastels pop when applied to darker colored paper.
6.Use hatches (and crosshatching) to give dimension; this can be left as is or blended with your finger for a nice effect.
7.You can create shading by scraping the side of a pastel crayon with a razor. When the dust is how you like it, press it into the paper with a palette knife.

As you can see, we covered a lot of ground in a pretty small amount of time, but we definitely had a good time!

*Sorry, for some reason, I still can’t upload pics. I am working on it–blasted wordpress update!

do you feel neglected?


I know, no one’s life is affected by my lack of posting. I have missed feeling connected though. Actually, I have had a ton of stuff to post about too: we went to the zoo, the girls moved into big girl bed (gulp!), we went swimming for the first time this summer, we went to Summerlin to visit Pamela and Nathan, Megan had a darling end-of-year preschool program, we’ve had playdates and tea parties, we’re having fun! We’re getting photo ops. (I can’t seem to upload anything, but now that I have broken the posting barrier, we can move to the next to-do item.) Maybe I will post highlights for you. The lack of updates come from the fact that I am tantalizingly close to having the proposal for my book done. I will put up a link when the site is done. Thanks to the very talented Andrew Burt, it shouldn’t be too long and should look pretty good. (You are the flash guru, Eddie!)

Also on my agenda is the Venture Outdoors Festival; where I will be teaching an art clinic next Saturday. If you are in the Salt Lake area, feel free to drop in. My clinic will be at 7:30p; but there is a lot of other really great stuff going on. I am excited to go to Peter Breinholt’s children’s music clinic and soak up some of Joy Bossi’s knowledge. Okay. It is midnight. I am really tired. My conscience is officially clear. I have posted. What? It was only a-er-few weeks.