The artist’s role in society

picasso35I’d like to quote a blog post that I read this morning from Science major that draws. 

” . . . My point is that I enjoy drawing comics but I still didn’t quite understand what role that gave me in society. Scientists gather information for the public to use. Government officials provide a system of rules for the public to utilize.What do artists do for the public?

Answer 1: We distract them from their problems.

While that is a noble endeavor because it provides people relaxation, sometimes artists can be blamed for propagating escapism in our audience. Taken to the extreme, some people could end up admiring artwork all day instead of solving their problems.That might fill up the artist’s wallet but may or may not help society.

Answer 2: We educate them.

Some artists like to use their influence to communicate information about certain things to the public. This could be historical artwork or artwork that takes a stab at social issues or maybe even scientific illustrations. Though this information may also have negative uses such as war propaganda,hate speech or satire.

So that concludes this blog entry. Next time you see an artist thank them for distracting you from your problem and educating you. They won’t realize they’re doing it. “

Adding to this list:

Answer 3: We offer people an opportunity for expression.

Picaso quoteSometimes a person can better express what they are going through with art than with words.  This is especially true with children who often lack the vocabulary to express what is going on.  The difficult part for adults is pushing past the fear of failure, and not caring so much about the finished piece of art .

Answer 4: We challenge people to push boundaries and to think outside the box.

Artists are a breed of people who do not like to face limits.  We tend to question the way things are, how history played out, and how the future could be different. We ask controversial questions.  As artists, we challenge others to push their limits, and to step outside their comfort zone.

Answer 5: We record history.

For centuries the average person was unable to read.  It was the artists who were able to record, and therefore, preserve  history.

Abe-Lincoln-Riding-a-Grizzly-992x533Answer 6:  We give society a voice.

Throughout history, and even in some societies today, people do not have the freedom of speech.  It has been through art, that people were/are able to express themselves without the risk of punishment.


Is there anything you would add to the list?

Pentel Aquash Brush

aquashWater color painting is something that I’ve wanted to learn more about for a long time.  I’ve done a lot of painting with acrylics, but every time I’ve tried to play around with watercolors, it has been a frustrating experience.  It’s taken me awhile to appreciate the fluid characteristics of watercolors, but I still have not been able to find a level of control and comfort when using these paints until now.

Recently, I purchased an aquash brush made by Pentel, and have been playing around with it  in my journal.  Already, I feel like I have better control with my brush strokes, and  more consistent colors.  I went out and bought 2 more so that the kids could each use one while we were in Alaska.  They too have been painting more often and have grown in their skills.  I love how easy it is to pack up all that we need for painting on the go.  The kids can even paint in the back seat of the car, & I don’t worry about finding a big mess later.

Warren Dunes

Snake Grass Weaving

This is a great project to do with kids while camping!

Snake Grass Weaving


Snake grass likes a lot of moisture, so look for it near wet areas like creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes.  You will only need one long one that has at least 3 sections to it.



Yarn needle (optional)

1. Find a strong reed of snake grass and take it apart into it’s sections.   Make sure that it is big enough to fit the yarn inside.

2. The center of each section has a small “plug”.  I was able to use my scissors to scrape it out.  You could also use, a yarn needle or even a small piece of driftwood. You’ll find that each section also tapers a little where it joined the section below it. I used my scissors to cut of this section making it easier to slide up and down my yarn.

3.  Decide how wide you want your weaving to be.  The more strands that you have, the wider the weaving will be. Cut the yarn to the desired length and tie all the strands  together. Thread each strand of yarn through one section of snake grass.

4. Tie the working yarn to the last strand, and begin weaving.  When you are running out of snake grass, simply slide each section down to provide more work space.

When you have finished, pull the snake grass off and tie the ends together.  I just used one big knot to finish, but if you are doing a wider weaving, you may want to do several smaller knots across the bottom.

Have fun!

Creation from an artist’s point of view

While in Alaska, I was often in awe over the beauty that surrounded me.  From the rocky mountains, to the lush forest, to the icy glacier fed creeks, it is all magnificent and so very different than what I typically see in the Midwest. I found myself thinking about how much God must have enjoyed creating it all.

DSC_0622It causes me to believe that God did not rushed through the creation of life in just 6 days.  For just as I find joy in creating art, I know that God too finds great joy in creating.  I believe that  just like any master artist, God took His time enjoying each step of the process.  He let His creativity run wild, and in artistic abandonment He formed Earth.

Painted Driftwood

Painting driftwood is a fun summer project that is easy enough that kids will enjoy it too.  There isn’t much to it, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.  So, let your creativity run wild with this one.  If you feel like you would like some direction in doing this project at home, there are a number of tutorials that can be found on the internet.  These are some of my favorite pieces.  Maybe they will inspire you like like they have me.
il_570xN.352111341by Jessica Turnbow

265571709246095927WJTkBbtpcoriginal source unknown

painted drift wood mobileon Gracefully Frank

jesssticksJessica Turnbow, has a cute shop on Etsy where she sells her painted drift wood.


470a46c9d38ba61289b7286f304e1a04I first came across this image on the internet a year or more ago.  I was instantly inspired by it and used it as a desktop image for a long time.  It got my wheels turning, as I  thought about ways I could do something similar on our favorite beach.

a312fd478d6b21b1287bc76128e7e853It only seems fitting that I share some of this artists work with you here as I begin looking at driftwood in the Creating with Nature series.

NeSpoon_Goa_02The artist creating these art installations goes by NeSpoon and is from Warsaw, Poland. Much of her work is street art, but she also enjoys bringing her urban touch to the beach. Her work can be found all over the world.  Here is an installation she created in Goa, Indiana.


Mr. Sajid is a homeless man living on the beach in the Sinai.  Here, the two of them are working to add some art to his home.  More pictures of this installation can be found here.

I am a long time admirer, and avid scouter for street art.  I am the only person I know who actually enjoys waiting for a train to cross.  When you live in rural America surrounded by small towns, trains are the best place to find awesome street art!  Anyway, I am greatly inspired by this artist in her way of combining street art with fiber art.

4c17c28c6cdf213569a6e4ec67e862d8 05f52585d5fb57001e992ad67f54dc0d. . . and this is just awesome. . .


Tutorial: Macrame Stones

Macrame StonesThese are a lot of fun to make, and super easy. Here is how it’s done.

steps 1-5


click the image to view it larger.

1. Tie a “belt” around the stone.  Then loop 2 pieces of hemp over the belt, making a total of 4 strands hanging down.

2.  Tie a square knot.  To do this, take the strand labeled {d}.  Loop it behind the center two strands, and over the front of the strand labeled {a}.

3. Wrap strand {a} around strand {d} and pull it through the loop on the right hand side of the knot.

4. Do the same thing as before, only opposite.  So loop strand {a} behind the center two strands, and over the front of strand {d}.

5.  Wrap strand {d}  around strand {a} and pull it through the loop on the left hand side of the knot.

6. Slide the square knot that was just made to position it around the belt.

Repeat steps 1-6  as many times as needed for the size of your rock.  The rock in this example has a total of 5 square knots.

Round 2Using four strands from two neighboring knots, complete a square knot as before.  Continue around the rock using strands from two neighboring knots, until the rock is covered with knots.

finalTo finish, you can either collect all of the strands into one large knot at the base of the rock forming a tassel, or you can tie several knots along the base creating a fringe.

You could easily add beads to the macrame or tie on little treasures to the fringe. Be creative and have fun with it!