Share the wonder

"I teach to share the wonder of my discoveries and to exchange with my students the wonder of theirs."  ~Michele Cooper

'Wish I had said that!  Teaching art gives me the opportunity to share what I love.  I am fortunate to be able to interact with a number of unique groups, and each allows me to learn and grow as a teacher.  In my work with very young children, I love watching them discover paint, color, and patterns; seeing them make connections for the first time.  In my classes with 3-to5-year olds, it's their wonder-filled expressions as they work with clay, markers, oil pastels and paints to create what they've heard about in the stories we read.  And with older children, I love watching them include things they already know about the world into the art they make. 

In my work with adults with disabilities, all of the experiences I've mentioned above occur as well.  I encourage everyone to participate without judgment, and meet them where they are in terms of their skills.  The pride with which my students show off their finished work is fantastic, and my hope is that they enjoy the brief time I get to spend with them creating something beautiful. 

Here are some images of recent classes, with my proud students and their work.  Enjoy! 


Azad, Talisman of Freedom

I've just finished the newest piece in my Talisman Series.  This one's a bit different; it's on canvas instead of MDF.  The polymer elements have been colored with acrylic paints and inks, and a guinea hen feather completes the talisman. I have plans for two more canvas pieces in this series.  I'm also in the midst of applications for summer outdoor shows, and preparing for spring gallery shows (yes, good "problems" to have!), so...back to work!


Halle Cultural Arts Center show

I'm pleased to announce that I am the featured artist
 in the Spotlight Gallery at the
Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, North Carolina.
My show includes 24 pieces from my "Adornment" and "Talisman" series.
The opening reception is on Friday, February 26th, from 6 to 8 pm. 
If you're in the area, please drop by to say hello--I'd love to see you.
The show runs through March 18th.
Photos to come...stay tuned. 


As Heard in Art Class...

As frequent Artventuring readers know, in addition to my mixed media work, and art consulting, I teach art part time in the Raleigh Parks and Recreation system.  My students range from 18-months to 15 years old (the youngest attend with caregivers...I'm good, but not THAT good!).  Yesterday, I began my 6th year of teaching 6-week sessions at the Sertoma Art Center, with classes running throughout the year.  Here's my blog post about my very first class, written in 2011:  http://artventuring.blogspot.com/2011/01/baby-steps.html.  Wow, that seems like much longer ago than 5 years!

I've learned a great deal since that first class experience, and have come to appreciate and admire art teachers who provide instruction, inspiration and encouragement to their students every day. 

Young artist working on
Kandinsky circle painting
Luckily, I am able to craft my own curricula in a variety of classes, including:  Art Around the World, Monday Masterpieces (formerly Spotlight on Famous Artists), Wild Animal Art, Art-Rageous Prints, Game Creators, Petite Picassos, and Mini Monets.  So, in a 6-week session, I can have students creating their own board games, painting blue dogs like George Rodrigue, making potato prints, creating tiger paper bag puppets, painting ladybugs, and creating "smush" paintings.   It's fun, and never dull; the kids are a constant source of energy and amusement.

So, here goes... As heard in art class: 

"Ms. Michelle!  It's a beautiful day today!  Are we going to paint tigers?"  --3-year old today, upon bounding into class for the first time.  (Yes, it was a beautiful day, and yes, we did paint tigers)

"Look at our toucan hats!  We look beaky."  --4-year old, upon seeing the photo below. 
"My bird can't fly, but she's okay about that.  She has a purple feather on her head." --8-year old, proclaiming her bottle bird complete. 

No comment to report here; I just love this "fashion model" recycled tissue box monster with her pink pipe cleaner (or 'chenille stem', for the PC among us) bow, white feather, and pink shoes with yellow pom poms to match her yellow legs.
And, during this project, in Spotlight on Famous Artists, the general consensus among the 7- to 10-year olds was that Picasso was either "really creative," or "really confused".  When I asked if he could've been both, they answered with a resounding "YES!"

Off to prep for tomorrow's class...more from the art class files soon...


Polymer Clay Daily Featured Artist: Me!

Yesterday morning, I opened my email to a great surprise:  my work was featured on the Polymer Clay Daily blog!  I've been reading Cynthia Tinapple's blog for years; it's the source for information and inspiration for those of us who work in polymer.  My early polymer masks and boxes received mentions years ago, but this is the first time her entire post featured my work.  Here it is, with an image from my November 2015 UNC Hospital show:

Petelinz on PCDaily
North Carolina’s Michelle Davis Petelinz (KindredSpiritStudios) hangs six large mixed-media pieces across a display wall to make a bold statement. Polymer elements add punch, texture and dimension to the shallow painted plates.
Michelle often works in a series, visually exploring the significance of symbols from many cultures. The visual elements strike the viewer as both unusual and familiar, speaking across cultures. Her fusion of art, culture and media can be appreciated in many settings.
See more of her mixed-media series on her site, her blog, Pinterest and Facebook.

It was fun to be "famous" online for a day; I received many compliments on Facebook, lots of pins on Pinterest, gained "likes" on my Kindred Spirit Studios Facebook page (hooray, I'm over 500 now), and a bunch of new views here on the blog.  Thanks to everyone who made yesterday a memorable one! 

Now, back to work.


New Year, New Work, Old Questions

Happy 2016!
In Januarys past, my task has been to view the year ahead and make decisions about applying to outdoor shows, indoor exhibits, and other ways to get my work "out there".  This year is no different, but I'm exploring new options and new venues.  The same questions remain:  Where are the people who "get" my work?  What's the best way to reach them?  and, How can I maximize my marketing efforts, create work, and sell it?  Artists often ask these questions of each other, and we often discover solutions for each other.  For me, this year will be about finding those answers.

Chombo Vessel:
Meanwhile, here's what I've been working on: the Chombo Vessel series. Years ago, when I was creating desk accessories and painted furniture, Stan suggested painting vases. Back then, I was working out of our small apartment bedroom, and he didn't have access to a workshop. After doing some research, we discovered a wood craftsman in Pennsylvania who created hand crafted vessels, and I commissioned him to create some square and triangular ones for me. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of these early, painted creations (they sold pretty well). Fast forward to October of last year: I explored creating polymer to resemble horn and bone, and needed something upon which to mount them. I brought out the wooden vessels from my storage area, gessoed them with tissue paper, painted them to resemble a raku firing, and mounted the polymer pieces. Thus the Chombo (Swahili for vessel) series was born.  Each carries a natural element in its name, and at first glance, appear to be ceramic. You can find them listed in my online Square Market store.  Enjoy!

Chombo Vessel:  Fire 
Chombo Vessel:  Ocean

Chombo Vessel:  Earth
Chombo Vessel:  Sahara
Private Collection



"A Celebration of Color"

My current show, on view at the Women's Health Information Center of the NC Women's Hospital at UNC (say that three times fast!), is entitled, "A Celebration of Color," and it features work from my Leaf Dance, Sinuous Rhythm, Adornment, and Sashay series.  The show runs only until November 30th, at the 101 Manning Street, Chapel Hill location.

I was honored to have been chosen to display my work here; though not a traditional gallery setting, my pieces bring color and vibrancy to the walls, and I hope the families who frequent the center will enjoy it.