As we trek through 2019, I’m continuing to redesign this website. I’d thought about making this a blog again – since that’s how this site started – but then I realized it’d shift the emphasis away from my main goal for this site: To put creative ideas, tips, and resources in the hands of more people, whether or not they consider themselves artists.
So, in the coming weeks, I’m hoping to restructure this site so it’s easier to find the kinds of information and resources you’re looking for.
Expect more freebies here, as well.
Today, I’m sharing five different coloring pages. They’re 8.5″ x 11″ PDFs you can download and print.
All five are kind of hippie-style, as that’s what I enjoy drawing.
If you’d like to share this blog post with friends, use this URL: http://bit.ly/enthusiasm4u (On a PC, right-click on the link and choose “Copy link address.”)
*Starting at Earth Day 2018, I decided to spread some everyday happiness with my neighbors, the UPS guy, people dropping off Amazon stuff, etc. So, I began putting a daily, decorated motivational message on my front door.
This project started as my personal notepaper. Then… it sort of grew.
At first, I wrote my messages in the white rectangle in the middle. Then, I hand-colored the border design.
Last week, I realized I could print these for the children in my family, so they had an area to color, but also an area to draw in. (They’re at the age where they love coloring, but they also love to draw.)
And then, I decided to make these available to everyone, free.
Click on each image below, and the related PDF will open for you to download. (These are 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages, and each graphic is linked to a different PDF.)
And then… I realized my other neighbors might enjoy this writing paper, too. So, I got an easy-to-remember Bit.ly URL, Free2Color.
After that, I created the following sign, colored it (by hand, of course), and taped it to our front door.
This goes along with another recent, hippie-style project for my neighbors:
Every morning during the week of Earth Day, I put a new message in one of my front windows. I printed the signs large enough so passers-by could read them when they’re on their way to work, or walking their dogs.
Most of the messages came from late 1960s’ and early 70s’ songs… things from Woodstock and the hippie era, in general. Others reflected similar attitudes.
Here were a few of them, stacked on my floor.
If you like this window-sign idea, the font is Elsie Swash Caps Black font, and the size should be at least 120 pts to be read by people passing by your home. (For other signs, I’ve used Placard GF at about 150 pts, and a few similar fonts.)
Generally, I printed them on two sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, horizontal, and then I taped them together to make the window sign.
But then, I decided to create actual door signs, and color them. (They’re smaller and more fun to create. Generally, I design, print, and color them in one-week batches, in front of the TV.) You can download some of my door signs – already colored, or b&w copies you can color, yourself – at my Enthusiasm is Contagious post.
These projects come from my “still a hippie” soul, with the idea that doing nice things for other people – and putting more happiness into the world – is the right thing to do.
This Christmas – like last year – we started kitchen gardens for friends & family.
They’ve been a great success. (My own green onions have been thriving for over a year now. I just keep cutting them back – to use in recipes – and the plants regrow bigger & more flavorful every time.)
Today, we delivered four green onion plants (already started) as Boxing Day gifts to the four managers of the apartments where we live.
If this sounds interesting to you, here are links to the instruction sheets (PDFs) I created. They explain how to start your own kitchen garden, using items from the produce department at your grocery store.
Okay, I’m enthusiastic about coloring books. And, I’ll admit I’ve been carried away by the success of my “Bold and Easy Coloring Pages” series.
This series has wider lines that are easier to see if someone has a vision challenge. And, in most cases, the coloring areas are larger. That makes them easier to color by anyone with dexterity issues like arthritis or difficulty holding a coloring pencil, marker, or crazy.
(The cover at right shows the most complex coloring design in this book.)
They’re ideal for special education teachers, seniors with some disabilities, and anyone who wants a book that’s easier to see and has bigger areas to color.
But… last week, in my enthusiasm, I accidentally uploaded the wrong interior for “Bold and Easy Coloring Pages 4.” And, besides having designs I hadn’t planned to include in the final edition, one page actually had an error on it.
The word “embarrassed” doesn’t begin to describe how I felt when I made the discovery.
Fortunately, I found it so quickly, only one person had bought the book. (The book now selling at Amazon is the correct one.)
If you’re that one person who bought it, please contact me and tell me: What country you purchased it in, when you bought it, and how much you paid.
In return, I’ll send you an Amazon gift certificate so you can replace that book, and buy another one of my coloring books (or anything else you’d like to use the certificate for).
Okay, I’m so hooked on coloring books, I may need a support group soon. (I am kidding. I can’t imagine wanting to be pried away from my art… ever!)
My latest is Lovely Designs 1 (now out of print), and it’s a little different from my previous books. In addition to the 26 coloring pages (printed on one side of each page), I’ve included six “DIY” (do it yourself) pages.
When I draw my coloring pages, I don’t sketch anything ahead of time. Instead, I go right to work with a large pen or brush-style marker. I make broad, sweeping strokes to indicate the main areas of the design.
Next, I scan those drawings, so I can clean them up a little in Photoshop. That’s partly to erase any truly impossible lines I’d included. However, it’s even more useful to get a fresh look at the art… in a different scale (small), and in a different context (on my monitor).
It’s similar to how I used to explain my online diary, back when people thought that was weird. (Long before “blogging” became a trend.)
I used to explain how much easier it was to see what I was doing well — and not-so-well — in my life. On the computer monitor, it was like reading someone else’s story, not my own. (That may not be easy to understand, but — in those days — people weren’t so deeply enmeshed in social media and in each other’s lives. So, to read a “story” online was like reading a news story or diary by someone else altogether.)
Anyway, after I tweak my initial drawing, I print it so I can add embellishments and details, by hand.
Six of those un-embellished scans became part of Lovely Designs 1, along with three illustrated pages explaining how I embellish them… in case anyone else wants to try their hand at this kind of art, but needs a “head start” to gain more confidence.
Also, Lovely Designs 1 contains two mandalas and two repeating patterns based on the same drawings.
For my left-handed friends, I’ve also created a left-hand edition of Lovely Designs 1. (I’m trying to do this with most of my coloring books. In my opinion, nothing about art should be inconvenient, ever. That includes having to reach across a coloring book, just to color the picture.) That’s its cover, on the right. (See the double-L logo at the lower right side of the cover, indicating a left-hand edition.)
The search for the earliest “selfie” (self-portrait, as a photograph) seems to be at full tilt.
One of my favorites is dated around 1900. It’s shown at the right. The largest version I can find, online was posted by Sabine Niedola. (The largest, clear image is usually the first — or one of the first — posted online, and I like to give credit to the person who first found it.)
Frankly, the subject’s features look a lot like my own portraits from the 1980s. I’m also pleased to see her hairstyle. I’ve tried that kind of style — even with ultra-thick hair — and it turned out the same as hers. So, I wasn’t alone with the “pouf” issue. (I know about “rats” — long, sausage-shaped supports hidden under the hair — for better-looking versions of this style. I just wasn’t that committed to the style.)
Note: Since I posted this, my friend David Locicero pointed out authenticity issues. This may be a hoax or a cosplay photo.
Something looks a little like an outlet, on the lower right side of the photo. I’m not certain it’s an outlet, but it might be. I don’t know enough about household hardware from the early 20th century, to be sure.
My bigger question is about the matted photos on the shelves. The double-matted pictures are more consistent with modern-day presentations. In the past, someone who could afford that kind of matting would have framed the photos under glass.
There’s also the question of the light fixture (if that’s what it is) on the ceiling in the reflection. And, the high quality of the mirror reflection.
But, whether it’s an authentic photo or not, it’s not the earliest “selfie.”
One in the running is a self-portrait by photographer Robert Cornelius. He’s the dashing young man in the photo on the left.
The fashions are, of course, post-Regency, but I still see a little Colin Firth / Pride and Prejudice in that photo.
Ah, if time travel were possible…! (If he came through a time portal, like in Kate and Leopold, I’m sure many women would swoon.)
Then there’s the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia’s self-portrait, on the right, dating to 1913 or 1914.
The Daily Mail featured the picture in a really nice article.
I’d always hoped Anastasia had survived the attack on her family. Alas, DNA evidence suggests otherwise.
Nevertheless, I’m intrigued by the white blurry image in back of her. Online, that’s sparked some discussion with no firm conclusions. Very cool.
If you enjoy old self-portraits like these, visit Google or any search engine and look for “oldest selfies” and “earliest selfies.” You’ll find plenty, right now. (I’m not thrilled with the term “selfie,” or that it’s the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013, but if you’re looking for early self-portraits, the term makes online searching much easier.)