Part III: Editing Files of Your Child's Artwork

Here it is, the next part of the Archiving Your Child's Artwork Series.  We've been over Part I: Photographing Your Child's Artwork and Part II: Scanning Your Child's Artwork.

Now we've got all our files on the computer, so what's next...... you guessed it Part III: Editing Files of Your Child's Artwork.  Today we are going to look at uploading and editing digital files of artowrk.  A quick tutorial or I should say overview of how I use iphoto and picassa to edit my files.

Nothing fancy here folks just the basics, by the way I had over 130 photos to edit after this project of archiving Cyrus's artwork got underway!

I uploaded all the photos I took of Cy's artwork and organized them into iphoto.  I usually try and divide them into files by season/year or this case labeling them artwork so I know where to find everything and put a date to it. 

To crop I selected the individual photos, edit and brought the canvas size down to the edges of the artwork so you don't see any back ground.  This is when the dark background, we were talking about when photographing work comes in handy- Part I.  You can see a clear defined edge and it's easy to crop.  You can also play around with sharpness, brightness, balances ect. when editing.

For editing photos I also use picassa, because it's easy and free!  For editing you can cover the basics like it iphoto from cropping, working with balances, contrasts and effects.  My favorite use of picassa are the collages, you can dock the images you want to work with and then select make collage.

In picassa you can select your canvas size from formatted 4 X 6 or 8 X 10 to a custom size.  Collage options are photopile, mosaic, grid to thumbnails.  My version of picassa also connects to picnick for more editing options.  I do alot of my fonts and borders for blog headers in picnik.  But I've seen them advertising picnik wont be available as of April- it'll be missed!

I've made collages in both picassa and picnik saved the work and then been able to upload the file to order prints online at walmart, walgreens ect.  Remember these....... (Great gift or holiday ideas!)

That's it, editing digital artwork files.  Just the basics, upload, save, crop and enhance or add a few effects.  Next week the grand finale a few ideas of how to display and use all these great artwork images!  Don't think I'll be able to use all 130 plus Cyrus originals but sure we'll get a few of them in!


Happy Birthday Cyrus!

Someone special turned 5 this weekend!
That's right Mr. Cyrus Richard Jones is officially a 5 year old, as of 7:53 p.m. Sunday March 18th!

I still can't believe we have a 5 year old.  Where did all the time go?  It's unbelievable how much he's grown up in such a short time.  Word cannot begin to express how much I love this kid and how he amazes me everyday.  

Cy definitely does things his own way.  He's the first to notice if something is out of place, even when we're driving he will inform me I am not driving in the right direction or a passed the place to turn.  He will remember verbatim what you said, usually in the context to use it against you or when it really does not need to be repeated.  

Cy will build anything he has instructions for in legos and put a puzzle together in a matter of seconds.  His favorite things to do are create, play and imagine.  He might dress up in the princess dresses at school but he'll stand up to the fact he can wear them if he wants to and make the other boys believe it.  We also just learned he's been telling one of the boys in his class all sorts of things he can or doesn't have to do, the little boy went home and informed his parents Cyrus said he didn't have to take a nap today. 

The way he sees the world and can recreate it absolutely amazes me.  I hope he can hold on to every ounce of his imagination and creativity as he grows up.  He is a special little boy with a huge heart and a smile you can't forget.

Happy Birthday my Big Boy, that will never outgrow being my BABY!


Part II: Scanning Your Child's Artwork

Welcome to Part II of my mini series Archiving Your Child's Art Work, last week we went over Part I: Photographing Your Child's Artwork.

Today we're going to do a quick run down on scanning images to archive your child's artwork, followed by a few short tips for preserving originals.
Scanning originals. When archiving children's artwork scanning works well if you don't wan to mess around with lighting and photographing each piece.  Honestly I think once set up, photographing is easier and goes faster.
Scanning does have it's advantages, especially when working with smaller pictures and light crayon or colored pencil drawings.  Additionally if the paper is wrinkled or warped, scanning will give you a clear, crisp image without worrying about crinkles and shadows.

Scanning pictures is pretty straight forward.  Scan your image and upload them to the computer.  Once on your desktop you have the option of saving them as a jpeg or pdf.  If you want to work with them within a photo editing program like iphoto, picasa, picnic or photoshop store them as a jpeg.  The option of saving it as a pdf or an additional pdf file will allow for the best quality image when re-printing, you can use the snapshot tool in adobe to resize your image canvas.

That's about it, like I said scanning, pretty straight forward.  Next week I'll feature a few simple steps once your images are uploaded to edit in iphoto and picasa/picnic.

To finish up this quickie post, here are a few tips for preserving your
children's artwork originals:
  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • Use a portfolio, binder or folder with plastic sleeves to organize & protect artwork
  • Consider laminating artwork so that it is sealed and protected around every border
  • Frame artwork to display, use protective glass so exposure to light doesn't fade pictures
  • Keep out of direct sunlight or fluorescent lights to prevent fading
  • Don't store inbetween cardboard, it attracts moisture
  • Remember to date/ mark descriptions for future reference (I never remember, at least this archiving project will help me with dates!)


Part I: Photographing Your Child's Artwork

Part I of the series: Archiving Your Child's Artwork, is going to touch upon the basics how to photograph your child's artwork.

I've found photographing Cyrus's artwork is a good and fast way to create a digital file of it.  Some of his paintings and work from school are just too big to fit in the scanner.  With the right set up this will be a quick way to take some shots and preserve it forever.  Added bonus you can turn their artwork into collages and prints, which I'll touch on at the end of this series.

 To start with we organized all of Cy's papers and tried to lay them flat.  If you plan ahead you can lay papers out ahead of time cover with some heavier books to flatten them out.  In a few cases I used some rolled tape to keep the edges down, because of course we started this project on a whim.

*Important consideration BACKGROUND.  Ideally you should use a black background or surface to lay artwork on and photograph.  This will make it extremely easy to crop later on, once you upload your photos.  You can use a black sheet, table cloth or large piece of black poster board.  Going with what we had I used my dining room table, dark maroon tablecloth.

*My very "professional" LIGHTING.  Lighting has to be the most important thing to consider when taking photos of 2D artwork.  You need a well lit room so you can get the best, most detailed photo of the artwork.  Pay attention to where your light source is coming from, watching out for shadows.  If your light source is above the image and you're shooting over it, your shadow is going to fall on the image and be in the photo.

For my set up I used a light source above, supplemented with a light (shade pulled up) on the left that lit the whole area I was working with.  It was also the middle of the day with natural light coming in the windows behind me.

FLASH.  Play around with using your flash to see what gives you the best image.  If you're shooting directly above with a well lit room you shouldn't need it.  However I had a few pieces with folds and creases, using a flash helped washout some of the shadows I got in them.  Don't use a flash with glossy paint or paper, you'll get a reflection. See potato heads.

*TAKING the PHOTO.  I shot directly above the artwork getting the whole image on the screen with an inch or two of the background bordering the image.  Shoot all your photos and then load them on your computer to edit- which we'll be going over in PART III of this series.

That's it for Part I: Photographing Your Child's Artwork.  Next week another alternative, Scanning Your Child's Artwork also touching on starting a portfolio to preserve originals.

Intro.: Archiving Your Child's Artwork Series

A little intro. for this month's feature:

Archiving Your Child's Artwork

If you don't keep an eye on it collecting your child's artwork can get about just as out of hand as their toys!  I hate having to go through Cy's art work and decide what stays and what goes.  But the fact of the matter is I can't keep it all.  Trying to get around this I've finally gotten it together to work on archiving a bit of his artwork from this past year.  I've put together a couple of posts to be featured on the usual EXPLORE ART Wednesdays. 

There was an attempt to keep it organized, until the portfolio records turned into.....

it ended up as the bag of stuff to be put away.

The beginning of our process, sorting through it all.

I've broken it down into 4 posts:
Part I: Photographing Your Child's Artwork
Part II: Scanning & Starting a Portfolio for Your Child's Artwork
Part II: Editing Digital Files of Your Child's Artwork
(and some fun) Part IV: Making a Slide Show & Prints from Your Child's Artwork

See you tonight for Part I!


I Hate Goodbyes

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

In a Bob Dylan state of mind tonight.  I'm in the process of processing all the changes that have recently taken place in my life.  As we transition into the new month of March I have started a new phase of my life and taken a new job.  While you might say a job is a job, I've been lucky enough to say mine has been so much more.   

To sum it up I'd have to say I just left a job I loved for a job I am excited about. For the past 3 1/2 year I've had the privilege of working with some truly amazing people that have taught me a lot about life, faith, friendship and myself.  

I've coordinated activities for a retirement community of over 100 people that have let me into their homes and lives.  I've played a lot of bingo, made a lot of crafts, baked endless amounts of cookies, listened to a lot of songs well before my time but most importantly I've made a lot of memories.  Whether they were good, bad, sad, happy or a little bit of everything in between they are all pretty special to me. 

I've been blessed to be able to share my life and my boy's life with all of these people.  They've watched Cy grow from an 18 month toddler, when I started, into a little boy now in school, and with Sage since before he was even here they shared the excitement and anticipation of his birth.  And I found a lot of love and support when Sean followed his dream of opening his own business.  From all the special moments to everyday moments we've all shared, it's meant something.

I'm going to miss my circle of co-workers, all special women that have helped show me how to lay the path that I think is so important to balancing work, children and family.  We've shared a lot over the last couple of years along with a lot of laughs along the way.  

I'm not a person that likes or is good with goodbyes.  I do see the new path that is laid out in front of me and for myself and my family it is a direction I want to take.  I've gone back and forth whether I was going to write this post and if I could even get myself to type it.  For someone that has wrote about almost every aspect of my life for the past year on this blog I thought it was right, it was needed, I had to bring myself to do it.  So bear with me for a little of this in between.  

I'm looking forward to getting into our new schedule and new routine.   I definitely need to get around to updates about my boys and their latest endeavors in life.  We have a big birthday, #5 for a special someone right around the corner in March.  The times are always going to be changing I'll take with it that's life and be thankful for where it turns.



Friday Finds: Abstract Art Project Ideas

I've been working on a new article, Abstract Art with Children.  Here were my top 3 project picks I featured in the article:

Abstract Stamp It Art, I did this project beginning of last summer with Cy.  Using kitchen tools/ utensils & recyclables and toys Cy dipped them in paint and stamp them on his paper making a composition.

DIY printmaking using styrofoam meat trays, dull pen or pencil to draw on.  Haven't done this one with Cy yet but it's on the list- photo/project link tinkerlab.com

If you have a salad spinner in your kitchen you HAVE to do this project with your kids.  I've done it with Cy and the EXPLORE ART class- haven't posted about it yet sorry.  Cut paper to fit and drop paint into spinner let the kids go.  So much fun, image/project link A Little Bit of Sunshine Blog.


EXPLORE ART: Sage's 1st Art Video

I've been waiting to share this short video clip of Sage making art.  It was a pretty successful art session, he didn't try and eat the brushes or paint and had fun exploring what they could do. 


EXPLORE ART: Mini Wassily Kandinsky Lesson

Wassily Kandinsky is a largely recognizable artist, many have seen his artwork- repeated circles in squares reproduced in many doctor offices and ideas for this project are all over the web.  Here's a little mini lesson, with a little background about Kandinsky with some fun facts for working with children.  He was a truly influential artist if you can take the time to read more about him, his theories and his influence on modern art. 

Kandinsky is quoted for saying Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.

Kandinsky is known for his associations of art/color with music.  He saw the opportunities that art had to make the impressions music can have on a person. Kandinsky was fascinated with the emotional powers of music and how they can be interpreted and transformed by one's imagination and emotional response. 

Kandinsky was one of the founders of the art movement the Blue Rider, which focused on revealing the properties of line, color and composition.  It also had ties and influences with cubism, fauvism, primitive and medieval art. 

Kandinsky related spontaneous paintings to "Improvisations" as titled the piece above and more concentrated works "Compositions".  Take a look at his abstract art work and open up discussion with your child.

What type of colors does Kandinsky use in his art work?  How does he use line?  What do you think of his composition and how he uses lines, colors, shapes throughout his art work?
And then get into some fun questions: What type of music does this work remind you of?  Is it real fast, loud music, maybe soft and slow?  Ask your child what type of music do they like and how do they think they could paint it?

If you have the opportunity turn on some music and let your children paint what they feel, hear in the music.  This would be a fun "Improvisational"  Kandinksy piece.  Cyrus and I worked on more of a "Composition" Kandinsky project last weekend.  I showed him several examples of his work and we reproduced his version of the circles in squares artwork.  

Cy used paper, crayons and watercolors.  I folded the paper in half width wise and then into equal quarters, to have eight squares.  I demonstrated how to draw different color consecutive circles in each square.

Talk about the different types of colors you can use in this project and the type Kandinsky used.  Kandinsky developed many theories about colors, their energies and spirituality in art.  While you don't have to get too deep in philosophical discussion with your child talk about the calming nature of the circles they are making.  Children like the recognizable shape, as it's something they are comfortable with they get to repeat it throughout this project gaining more familiarity with it.

Once they have drawn their desired amount of consecutive circles in each square with the crayons get out the watercolors.  They can paint their choice of colors over the colored circles.  This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about how colors relate and for them to experiment with how different colors look next to each other. 

Music and art are two great avenues for children to learn, explore and express themselves.  While I can't play a note or even hum in tune I'm  glad my husband is a "music freak" as he likes to say and presents the opportunities for both kids to be exposed to different types and kinds of music.  I know art isn't everyone's thing but like music you don't have to be able to create a masterpiece yourself to appreciate it.  

 Cy's developing his own appreciation for each, Saturday by his request he was listening to Sean's dub Pandora station and making sticker art pictures on the living room floor.  Pretty neat, unique 4 1/2 year old and I'm glad I can say he's mine! 

We're finally getting back into the swing of things for 2012, I've updated the EXPLORE ART page  with direct links to our last projects. We're even up to two baby/toddler art projects with Sage!  I'm excited to share another with you next week, a big first for Sage my 18 month old. 


Cyrus' 2012 Valentine's

The evolution of Cyrus' valentines for Pre-K

Stick with me, that's 12 silly mustaches........

on 12 cooky glasses........

with 12 goofy faces............

and what will they make with 12 kissy lips?

Cyrus adds in the finishing touches and .....

12 very silly, cooky, goofy, kissy "mustache" face valentines!
Happy Valentine's Day 2012-- may your day be filled with love and lots of little smiles!


Friday Finds: Valetine's

 We're finishing up Cy's valentine's for his Pre-K class this weekend.  I'll have to post pics, because well they're pretty awesome.  But in the mean time here's some other great ideas I've seen out there. Enjoy:

 love this idea, it's easier than it looks at makingitfeellikehome.blogspot.com


Explore Art: Mini Marc Chagall Lesson

I introduced Cy to a new artist this weekend.  Something fun that I knew would inspire a little art making.  Marc Chagall is a modernist painter who dabbled in a little bit of everything from expressionism, symbolism, cubism and fauvism.

Chagall is a great artist to look at with children.  His work is often "fancy free" and at times "childish" it is inspired by his own childhood, scriptures, Russian folk art and icon paintings.  Chagall provokes thoughts of fantasy, dreams and childhood imagination.

Chagall's Me and My Village is one of his most recognizable paintings.  It also illustrates a few of his styles, Chagall wastes no space in using every portion of his canvas, he is also well noted for bold, bright and vibrant color reminiscent of the Fauvist.  You can see Chagall's interest in Cubism in this image, his use of multiple view points and geometric shapes to create an image.


Chagall considered his style and images part of his own personal language, symbols and images that were meaningful to him.  He is also recognized for his everyday scenes and quirky motifs like the fiddler.  

Chagall is just a fun artist to look at with children, it gets down to their level. Images and scenes are recognizable while also being fun and playful.  They provoke creativity and imagination as children see it's okay to express yourself and dream in the world of art.

Google Marc Chagall and take a look at some of the images that come up from his paintings.  Let your child look on and open up an art discussion. 
What do they think of the artwork?
How does it make them feel?
What do they see?  Does it look like real life or a dream?
How would you make a dream/ fantasy picture?
What colors would you use?
-and so on, see where the conversation goes and if they'll be inspired for a little art making when you're done.
Here's Cy's Chagall inspired art work:
His pink circus girl who later turned into the ballerina.  He was using "mixed media" something else new we were talking about- crayons, markers and watercolors. 

You never know where art or life will take you -- enjoy the moment


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