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We hope everyone is healthy and well during this crazy time. In these challenging circumstances, retaining our creative flow can be difficult. 

Sometimes just taking a break from your usual routine can be enough to jump-start your creativity.  Below are a few simple, non-intimidating projects.  These are designed to be easy… non-stressful… get your creative juices flowing! 

(Remember that we are available 3 mornings this week – please feel free to e-mail us or give us a call Monday, Wednesday or Friday.) For details, see last week’s blog:

Just play and have fun!  

AND please send us an image of something that you’ve done in the last 9 days – We’d like to post a blog later this week of some of your “shelter-in-place” creations.  Please include your name, medium and if your art has a title, please include that as well.  We’d love to have children’s art, too – don’t be shy!

One of our dear customers sent this in to share with y’all.  I loved it.  Hope you do too.


And the people stayed home.

And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.

Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.

Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Let’s get inspired!

• Greeting Cards

• Book Marks

• Rock Painting


Suggested supplies:

• Strathmore Greeting Cards OR Construction Paper OR any sturdy paper

• Winsor & Newton Pro-Markers & Brush-Markers 

Create a unique card or letter to send to a friend using Pro-Markers and Brush-Markers. Draw something unique, or perhaps a funny caricature of your long lost pen-pal, then write a nice little message inside. In today’s fast-paced digital world, a hand written message can have a lot more meaning, especially during these times. Challenge them to write back and see how long you can keep your new pen-pal letters going!


Suggested Supplies:

• Matte Medium
• Glue stick
• Palette Knife
• Printer 
• Heavy Paper 

Book marks customized with a young reader’s favorite author make an excellent gift! This is a great little project to do with your kids as well. Help them create their own using images of the author’s book covers and portrait photo.

You can easily find images of authors and book covers online. Print and cut out a few images that you like. Draw a 1.5″ x 6″ rectangle on the heavy paper. Lay the cut-out images onto the heavy paper in a way that you like. Next, use glue stick or matte medium to tack down the images into a stylish collage. Once the images have been pasted in place, you can then cover the entire collage with matte medium to create a protective coating. When the matte medium is completely dry, you can cut out your new bookmark!



Suggested supplies:
• Posca Paint Pens
• Rocks
1. Be silly and paint the first thing that comes to mind : )

OR – You can’t relax enough to get silly?  Try one of these….

• Long Overdue Brush Cleaning

• Prime a Canvas with Gesso



• “The Masters” Brush Cleaner and Preserver
• Dirty Brushes
• Slightly Used Brushes

Let’s be honest. Many of us have that tan colored “hockey puck” container of brush cleaner in our art box, and have barely used it! Proper brush care is something every artist and hobbyist should do. Now’s a perfect time to pull out that little tub of “The Masters” Brush Cleaner and Preserver and put it to use. You could use any brush cleaner you like, I’ve just had really great luck with this particular one. Not only will you bring the life back to some of your neglected paint brushes, but even the slightly used ones will get that new brush feel. Follow these simple steps to revitalize your brushes in minutes.

  1. Wet the brush

    Get the brush bristles soaking wet.

  2. Apply soap

    Swirl the brush around in the soap to lather. Repeatedly wetting the brush may be needed.

  3. Rinse

    Rinse the brush in clean water.

  4. Dry

    Dry off the brush on a paper towel.

For heavier buildup, repeat steps 1-4. Generally speaking, I do this twice. For small and fine brushes, cup your palm under running water and run the soaped brush back and forth in the lines of your palm.

It’s extremely simple to do, takes less than 1 min per brush, and when finished you’ll feel like your brushes have been revitalized, ready and waiting to paint something new!



• Gesso
• Decorators Brush
• 240 grit sandpaper if you want to sand the layers in between each other.

What is gesso?

Gesso (pronounced ‘jesso‘) was traditionally used to prepare or prime a surface so Oil paint would adhere to it. Gesso is the same as a primer, as in ‘pre-primed canvas’. It is made from a combination of paint pigment, chalk and binder. Traditional Oil ‘glue gesso’ was made with an animal glue binder, usually rabbit-skin glue, chalk, and white pigment, usually Titanium white. It creates a surface that is both absorbent (particularly useful for ‘dead’ coloring with oils) and has a ‘tooth’ (texture) that allows paint to grab onto the surface.

So what is Acrylic Gesso?

Modern acrylic gesso is a combination of calcium carbonate (chalk) with an acrylic polymer medium (binder), a pigment (titanium white) and other chemicals that ensure flexibility, and ensure long archival life.

  1. Grab your tub of premixed white gesso and give it a stir.
  2. The first coat always needs to be diluted with a touch of water. This allows the maximum ‘bite’ into the raw canvas, providing superior hold.
  3. Allow to dry, then apply a second coat. This can be applied thinly and does not be watered down. If you want a more absorbent surface, add another layer.
  4. Work from the top to the bottom of the canvas, in parallel strokes from one edge to the other. When applying the gesso, turn the canvas 90 degrees between coats to ensure an even coverage. Example; 1st coat, up & down brush strokes, 2nd coat, left & right brush strokes.
  5. Apply a final coat using the pure, undiluted gesso.

Pro tip: Golden makes a hard gesso that can be useful if you are working on a board. Due to the limited movement on a board compared with a canvas, it can create a smoother finish.

Please stay safe, everyone –



  • jjacksonkcbxnet says:

    Hi Etty, How ya doing? I love this having people submit their stay at home art projects! A friends just sent me this list of funnys that made me laugh out loud. So I’m sending it to you to use as you see fit – even if only to make YOU laugh! Love you!

    _Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem._

    _I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe._

    _I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator._

    _Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter —– The Living Room or The Bedroom_

    _PSA: every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom._

    _Home-schooling is going well. 2 students suspended for fighting and 1 teacher fired for drinking on the job._

    _I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone_

    _This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog….. we laughed a lot._

    _Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business._

    _My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I urinate it cleans the toilet._

    _Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat._

    _I’m so excited — it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?_

    _I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to ”Puerto Backyarda”. I’m getting tired of ”Los Livingroom”._

    _Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun._

    _Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year”…. I’m offended._

    _Better 6 feet apart than 6 feet under…._

  • mljohnson805 says:

    etty, Thanks for the great ideas. I am using the time to update my website which has a page devoted to (you guessed it) calligraphy classes at Art Central. With dates to be determined.

    Stay healthy.

    Mary Lou

    Sent from my iPad


  • Pam says:

    Thank you for the great ideas….So many people in the art world are offering suggestions…MUCH appreciated. Take good care.

  • Linda Truax says:


    I love ‘ And the people stayed home’! I enjoyed playing with the colors in this watercolor last week. Linda Truax

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone Get Outlook for Android ________________________________