Turtle power! ~ Painting Party in Southern Maryland

This past weekend I packed up the easels, brushes, paints, and canvases, and headed down south to St. Mary's County in Southern Maryland. "Kate the Great" (as she is known by all who know and love her) celebrated her 6th birthday with her closest buddies who also happen to be rising artists - complete with the classic artist berets, too!

A few weeks back when I met with Kate and her mom to do her party consult, I helped her flip through the painting selection catalog and she confidently selected a turtle painting. Perhaps it's because she is a true-at-heart Marylander (Go TERPS!) that she decided on the turtle painting OR maybe it's just because she thinks turtles are really cool subjects that deserve a little more celebration than what are naturally given. (I don't blame you, Kate! I think turtles are pretty neat too and I have my high school years of obsessing over them to prove it. *wink*)

Kate and each of her good pals got their own canvas and easel set-up and they did a great job at getting straight to work with things.Some kept to a very specifically defined color palette in the way of a the cool analogous color family of blues and greens (mostly it was the boys who did this) but all the rest had a great time spinning the giant color wheel I always have on hand in order to learn proper color mixing recipes for bright and fun turtle shells.

All in all, everybody did their own thing and ran with their own personal inspirations and turned out beautifully painted turtles by the end of the painting session.

Thank YOU, Miss Kate, for having an awesome and FUN birthday party! Visiting Southern Maryland was fun for me and I hope to keep bring more painting parties down your way.

Kandinsky for kindergarteners ~ Painting party in Richmond

Today I traveled down south a-ways for the painting party of one special birthday girl who turned six and seven of her buddies from her kindergarten class. Since it was such a beautiful day to be outside, we set up "shop" on the nearest grassy knoll...

My set-up includes a finished piece, my field easel with a work-in-progress piece to demonstrate technique and color application, as well as my business signage. Today it looked like this...

Our inspiration piece was Wassily Kandinsky's color study of concentric circles in squares...

My students for the day worked to a soundtrack of Vivaldi and with the birds chirping, occasional breeze, and canvases with plenty of space to stretch out on, there wasn't a peep out of them for over an hour. The birthday girl's father noted that today's party was "the quietest kids' birthday party he has ever witnessed." What can I say? Art is amazing like that.

The pieces worked up in about an hour of time and every masterpiece maker was quite tickled and VERY impressed with themselves considering when we got started, most all of them noted that they didn't think they would be able to do it.

All in all, this was a wonderfully lovely way to kick off painting party season for the 2011 year. Richmond, Virginia is just on the outskirts of what I consider to be my service area (so it was a little bit of a drive for me) but I enjoyed myself so much that I look forward to traveling down there again and I'm glad that going there is both do-able and so enjoyable.

NURU International & YOU


The first charity/ministry/NPO that will be the recipient of the 10% stream of monetary donations from Make and Take Masterpieces' profit margins will be...

In case you didn't know already, NURU International is Ah-MAY-Zing! They are an ambitious fighting power in the world community against all things that contribute to extreme poverty.  Here is an official run-down of the answered FAQs from the official website...

Why was Nuru founded?  Nuru was created out of Jake Harriman’s and John Hancox’s desire to practically live out the teachings of Jesus and engage the crisis of extreme poverty. By partnering with impoverished communities around the world Nuru seeks to empower the poor with the means to acquire clean drinking water, food, healthcare, education, and micro-enterprise.  To learn more check out the Nuru Story. 
What does Nuru mean?  Nuru is a Kiswahili word meaning light (Kiswahili is the language of the Kuria people). 
How is Nuru different?  The fight against extreme poverty needs new ideas, fresh perspectives and innovative methods. Nuru is different than other humanitarian organizations in several ways, but in short, we’re students of history and have studied the successes and failures of the humanitarian sector from the past 50 years. From our research and experience we’ve compiled a groundbreaking new model that is holistic, sustainable, empowering, measurable and scalable. We’re also rallying the next generation in the developed world around the cause of ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes. To learn more, check out How Nuru Works. 
Is Nuru a Religious Organization?  Nuru International is not a religious organization. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public benefit charity committed to pioneering holistic, sustainable solutions to end extreme poverty in partnership with the poor. 
Where does the money go?  Nuru is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public benefit charity committed to pioneering holistic, sustainable solutions to end extreme poverty in partnership with the poor. Our goal is to become completely financially sustainable within fifteen years by developing revenue sources within our Seed Projects and volunteer tourism. However, as we begin this journey, we have many financial needs as we empower the Kuria people to end extreme poverty in their community. 
How do you choose Seed Project locations?  Nuru is committed to serving the over 1.4 billion people in the world living in extreme poverty (earning less than $1.25 a day) by focusing on rural communities. Seed Project locations are determined by a number of factors including community size (between 5,000-10,000), community commitment, the absence of other NGOs, the specific needs of the community in relation to our 5 Areas of Development, and the potential to maximize our organizational impact. To learn more, check out How Nuru Works. 

How do I get involved in fighting extreme poverty?  There are many ways to get into the fight. To learn more check out our Do Something page. 

How do I donate?  There are three ways to donate: here on our website, on our Facebook Cause Page, or by check. For specifics, go to our Donate page
(source of FAQs)

How excited are you to partner with NURU International now? I'm seriously bowled over to team up with them and share the gift of giving with you all. How amazing is it that your masterpiece created with your amazing creativity will be adding beauty to this world far beyonds the edges of the canvas you paint upon? Seriously! Every masterpiece made with Make and Take Masterpieces will be contributing to the ending of world wide extreme poverty with NURU International!!! I am really trying to take this in right now but it's hard for me to even sit still because all I want to do is go and paint and get started already.

Now, Make and Take Masterpieces could have picked a number of other charitable organizations to team up with (And we will - trust me! There are PLENTY more we want to get our paint-stained hands on so standby because your favorite charity/NPO could be next!) but NURU International was picked first because of the following reasons...

  • It serves the world community and doesn't limit its giving/providing in any way. (Make and Take Masterpieces wanted to go global with this first offering and giving!)
  • It covers a number of different areas of need - providing clean water, promoting education to be better stewards of the earthly resources we have all been given, providing healthcare, and encouraging better community economic development
I hope you all are excited (or are getting there and fast!) about this great partnership with NURU International. As I've stated before, this is only the beginning and Make and Take Masterpieces is looking to spread the creativity, paint, and LOVE as far as it can go. Let's not waste any more time, OK? How about we get to ending extreme poverty already? I mean... flexing those creative muscles and making some serious masterpieces.*wink*

Painting parties, individual instruction, and corporate team building events can be booked by emailing  
our booking department at MakeAndTakeMasterpieces@gmail.com OR by submitting your information request via 
the official Make and Take Masterpieces Website in the contact form section.

Not all brushes are created equal

Fact: a REAL artist can create a work of art anytime, anywhere, and with any media.

That being said, having the right tools definitely does make the making of any masterpiece that much more fun, simple, and enjoyable!

One of the gripes I hear more often than any other in my art instruction experience is this: There are so many tools of which to be used in art but I don't know how/when I should use them and - by the way(!) - what's the correct way to use them all?

Rest assured! Make and Take Masterpieces has you covered!

Designing and creating any masterpiece is a daunting undertaking for sure. I mean, have you been to an art and craft supply store? Have you seen the whole departments of these stores devoted just to canvases and drawing surfaces? It's very intimidating! Even for the seasoned and veteran artist! But we, at Make and Take Masterpieces, take all of the guess work out of those decisions that need to be made in order for your Masterpieces to take shape on your canvas. We know the right types and brands of paints that should be used, we've got the easel set-ups figured out, and come next week we will have brand-spankin' NEW sets of long-handled brushes for every Make and Take Masterpiece artist to paint their canvases! *YAY!!!*

(Did you know the length of the handle of a paintbrush can make a difference? Oh yes. It most certainly does! And I'll give you the skinny on that at your next painting event. *wink*)

By the way... have you bought tickets for the Spring Spectacular Auction at AACS yet? Up for auction will be that awesome package of a six person painting party AND an official Make and Take Masterpieces t-shirt! Get your ticket while you still can and support a great cause while you're at it. 

The gift of giving

Yes. Make and Take Masterpieces is a brand new company in the DC area. Just the same, I am no stranger to the business world and/or the realm of art instruction and education. Still for all of my years of experience and "seasoning," one thing reigns true and stays fresh in whatever I try to do in my life and work: Wholehearted and joyful giving and sharing is better than anything else the world could offer for me to have and keep for just my own.

I love to give. It's one of my favorite things in the world! And because of this, a major element of my business practices is one that is rooted in the act of giving. I've been busy doing all kinds of the important behind-the-scenes marketing and business administrative tasks but I've also been "plotting" how paths should be taken to actively give to others and reach out to folks.  Within the next few months, I'm actively giving to communities and causes of folks who not only need a little bit more art in their lives but also need to experience the joy and empowerment that comes with accepting that every single one of us has the power within to CREATE. Can I be a "superhero" who carries a paintbrush and an imagination fueled with endless visions? Because I'm thinking that's what I really want to be.

The acts of kindness I have aligned for the next few months include but are far from limited to the following:
  1. Giving away (1) three-hour masterpiece painting party for six adults to the Annapolis Area Christian School's Spring Spectacular Auction on Saturday, March 19th. Tickets and access to the event (via charitable sponsorship) are available online and all proceeds of the event will go to support the the advancement of technology within the school community.  The prize package I've donated is valued at $270 and can be exchanged for another party (for kids, individual instruction, etc.) in kind. Also included in the prize package is one of those fun and awesome official t-shirts I was hyping up earlier this week. The total value of the prize package including the official shirt is $300. 
  2. Hosting an event for a select group of young and promising artists at a local area church just before Mother's day. This is specifically geared towards those who have little pocket change but a ton of love for their moms so they can gift and honor their mothers with beautiful masterpieces of their making.
  3. A long-list of charitable organizations (based both locally and worldwide) who will actively take turns receiving a 10% monetary donation from every single Make and Take Masterpiece party, team building event, OR individual instruction opportunity that happens. This means that anytime you host/have a painting event, you will get to experience the amazing joy that is painting in addition to being able to actively give to those who actively have needs that are not being met. 
This is just a small sampling of the ways I am hoping to "practice what I preach," lead by example, and truly promote Art that isn't just about creating but is also about giving.

Wearable art!

*Drumroll PLEASE!*

I present the official Make and Take Masterpieces t-shirt design...

Here's the deal:

  1. Because I'm an artist, I rarely wear an outfit that doesn't have paint stains on it somewhere or another.
  2. I believe that art should be looked at and appreciated as much as enjoyed.
  3. One of the simplest joys in life for me is CUSTOM designed and printed clothing!
The short of it all is I'm always ALWAYS looking to flex my creativity. Now that this business is up and running in all directions, I thought to myself, "Why not create an official t-shirt design?" So here it is with our studio motto and tagline!

YOUR shirt (because I know you will want one to sport all about town!) will be digitally printed on both front and back of either a short-sleeve or long-sleeve white t-shirt. Sizes for every member of the family are available and if you want one? You only need to contact me through the official website OR email me at makeandtakemasterpieces{AT}gmail.com and let me know me what size(s) you need and how many you want! I've already ordered a bunch for myself and my family as well as one more to giveaway in a few weeks (more about this later so standby!) and I cannot wait to get mine! Print and delivery time is around 2 weeks or so the faster you order yours? Well, the sooner I can get it to you. Contact me please for pricing and quantity-based discounts!


Hello and how are YOU? Thank you so much for stopping by the blog even though this is the only lone posting so far. Since the official opening of MAKE and TAKE MASTERPIECES, I've been very busy with all of the following...

  • Getting new sample masterpieces finished and up on the official website for YOU to choose from for your first AND second masterpieces - because, let's face it, after you do one I know you will be rearing to make another ASAP!
  • Finalizing fun and cool t-shirt designs for you to wear some art as much as create it
  • Gearing up for two MAJOR painting party giveaways (that's right, it will be FREE for you and some of your buddies to become official masterpiece makers) to the Annapolis Area Christian School's annual Spring Spectacular event as well as to all of the fans on the official facebook fanpage.
  • Lining up what will soon become a constant flow of giving to many MANY charity organizations all through the act of YOUR creativity and masterpiece making!
Sure there's not a lot of content here now but standby(!) because that's going to be changing very VERY quickly since I know you don't want to miss the excitement, don't forgot to add us to your blogroll or list of favorite bookmarks.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get back to all of the to-do items on my list. *wink*