Painting a Coloring Book

Coloring was one of those things you did as a child. Taking your favorite characters and either scribbling all over their faces in colors that made no sense or meticulously choosing the right color and shading in the characters in a somewhat accurate way.

I’ve recently come to poses “Lost Ocean” a coloring book created by Johanna Basford that has lots of difficult designs and intricate patterns for coloring.

This is not mean for beginners with poor motor control to color but for a more practiced audience. Throughout my years at UofM I have heard the benefits of coloring as a child and as an adult expounded again and again. It helps relax people, it practices fine motor skills, and is an activity that requires just enough concentration but allows the mind to wander. In a sense I think it might even be like meditation for those who don’t want to sit in pure silence.

I really enjoy the art style of the book and am considering getting some of other coloring books by the same creator. When picking out this book I’ve decided to make the book a painting project. I enjoy painting, and have really wanted to work on creating depth with the medium.

The front cover of the book also inspired me with random golden highlights. I am a huge fan of metallic paints and how they show up much more to my liking than metallic colored pencil.

One evening I decided to break out the paints and start working. I have not gotten very far in my attempt yet. I discovered that some of the lines are so fine and the designs so intricate that I do not have a brush tiny enough to fit.

Trying to paint in such a small space with my thinnest brush really exposed some problems I’d never encounter before in painting. Sometimes the bristles of the brush wouldn’t be perfectly aligned creating random streaks where I did not want them covering over the original lines. It’s also easy to get too much paint on the brush, making weird blobs where I didn’t want them.

I am going to continue with this project after I find a thinner brush. I really think little projects like this really help gain new skills or just more patience. Practice makes perfect and being able to complete the whole book in the the style I want will be rewarding with having it look pretty but also hopefully improve my other skills, like patience and design work.


In conversation with a tattoo artist recently, and he had said something to the effect of not always having ideas. Which seemed odd to me as an artist I would think he would be overflowing with ideas all the time, but then I thought about it more and everyone is different in their creative process.

As for me I feel like inspiration comes from everything. It’s about looking at something and finding something that I want to interpret as my own.

I found inspiration for a found objects project from the Canadian flag. I liked the colors of the maple leaf and decided to construct a tree out of coke cans. There it was, I received second place in an art competition with it, and idea that started from something I’d seen a million times, I just at the time felt the urge to interpret it in a way that was me.

My freshman year seminar, “The Science of Creativity” had us read a book about a lady who had very specific advice on how to be creative. You had to set aside a specific time to be creative every day hers was 6am in her dance studio (she was a professional dancer) and to me this seemed like good advice though perhaps misguided. This is the kind of creative experience that worked for her. She needed to have a specific time and place every day to be creative.

I believe creativity depending on the style does need planning but placing such a specific rigid format onto creativity doesn’t make sense. For me, sure having a class with a devoted time and place helps me produce art work consistently, but that is not the space for everyone.

For some it’s a random happenstance of events that inspires them and for others it is always a specific kind of space that leads to creativity. In my mind it’s sort of like paper writing. Some people really do take all two weeks to write a paper, but others write it 4hrs before it’s due and to be honest I fall into the latter group. I do not think that one or the other is a better way of doing things. Having a deadline and pushing that limit produces a unique headspace for me where connections make more sense and my grades would agree. There is no right time or way to do it so long as the paper is turned in on time, and I believe creativity and art works in a similar way.

You can ask as many people as you want what inspires them but that only gives insight into their process not how to be creative for yourself. The secret isn’t held in one method. The secret to finding inspiration and producing work is figuring out a personal plan, for isn’t that art to begin with? Using your own method to show the world how you see it and who you are.

Bold Folds: The Art of Origami

Autumn is in the air. In the tap-tapping of boots on pavement; in the crackle of falling leaves; in the rumbling roar of maize-wearing Wolverines. Trees hang heavy with apples, ripe for picking. Coffeehouses waft invitations of pumpkin spice and cinnamon out into the streets. And then, there’s the chill – a blessing and curse at the same time. Some days are energetic. Grab a scarf and a walking companion and the cold disappears. But other days are drizzly, gray, and frankly, a bit seasonally depressing. When days like those hit, why not grab some perfectly patterned square bits of paper and fold away the stress of classes and decorate your room at the same time?

This past summer, while at home rummaging around the craft closet for school supplies, I came across an old packet of Origami paper and felt my childhood flash back. The hours I could spend, practicing patience, dedicating a long-attention span to folding and unfolding paper, to licking and nursing the cuts on my fingers. The pleasure of creating a menagerie of cranes, penguins, dragons, rabbits, fish, foxes, elephants, (but mostly cranes), and set them up on the table before me. Made from my own hand.

I remembered reading the children’s book, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr, for a first grade book report project. An inspirational book, indeed, that makes you want to go out and make something, do something, to put a smile on someone else’s face. My mom and I had toiled away to make a crane for each student in the class, and it was all worth the effort.

With such good memories folded neatly in my brain, I decided to bring the packet of multi-colored pre-cut squares with me to college this year. Every once in a while, I take out a sheet, put on a YouTube tutorial video, and focus on the folds – a great distraction from homework.

The word ‘origami’ comes from the Japanese ‘ori’ meaning folding and ‘kami’ which means paper. The art of paper folding is mostly credited to the sixth-century Japanese monks who created simple, religious designs for Shinto ceremonies. Paper folding spread around the world, to Spain, the Middle East, Britain and the US, and continues to be a flourishing art form today.

One of the great marvels of origami is that all it requires is one piece of square paper. Pre-cut squares, some plain-colored, some patterned, can be bought at craft and stationery shops for $1-4, depending on the paper count. Not too crippling an expense when you consider that no glue, scissors or tape are necessary! Ingenuity and patience is all that’s needed, that and some good, clear instructions.

Most origami packs come with some poorly drawn step-by-step instructions. But, we’re in the digital age and can and should take advantage of YouTube videos (it’s loaded with them!) and dedicated websites like and The trick is to master a few basic folds (inside and outside reverse, the petal fold, the valley and mountain fold) and a couple of bases (bird base, diamond base, kite base) and then a world of paper folding will, dare I say it, unfold for you. Soon you will be surrounded by ninja stars, hopping frogs and lotus flowers.

The great thing is that origami can be as private as you want it to be. No one has to know if your rabbit looks more like an earless rat. The art is in the doing and the concentration, the manual labor, the effort. Frustration and mistakes may come, but that’s all part of the art process. Of course, once you’ve mastered the crane, you will always have a party trick up your sleeve. A paper napkin can, with a bit of dexterity, be transformed into a thing of wonder! Your friends’ jaws will drop as you crease and sculpt and reveal a creature whose wings flap when they tug its tail.

And who knows? One day, you could be like Florigami founder and origami artist, Floriane Toultou!

Floriane Toultou’s “Silver Unicorn” (via goodstuffhappenedtoday)

So let the scarves, the autumn days, and your stress unfold – and indulge yourself in a little bit of paper magic. You’ll be glad you did!

Game-Tube-Thing: It’s A Thing

Yes, okay. I’ll admit it. I’ve been keeping a secret from you.

I, Jeannie Marie, am a game tuber.

Or…game tuber watcher. Game tuber-er? I don’t know what we’re called, but I watch GameTube. *gasp*

Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel, there’s a large percentage of people who know what game tube is. But for those of you that don’t know, which I’m still assuming is a large percentage of people, GameTube is the new Youtube website specifically devoted to gaming. Or rather, watching people game. And I mean game as in video games (like people actually play football anymore. Pshhhhhhhhh).

And yes, you can laugh. The thing I found the funniest about Jimmy Kimmel’s segment is that yeah…it’s stupid. I will be the first one to admit that. Watching people play video games is kind of weird and silly. So I’m not here to defend people who watch them, or even defend myself. I’m here to think. To wonder.

Is game-watching a new form of entertainment? And if so…can it be art?

Well let’s think about this. Art, of course, has to be defined before game-watching can be put in this category. And I have no clue how to define art. If you have a nice handy dandy definition, please share, because this is something I’ve been struggling with since coming to this university.

In one sense, I guess game-watching is art. I mean, it’s entertainment, and it’s on a platform where people can view it and share it. I know there are plenty of things on YouTube right now that I’d consider art, mostly of the audio/visual kind, for obvious reasons. There’s adaptations of novels, music videos, original short series, and everything in between. I don’t think you can call YouTube art, but it’s pretty dang close, especially when art is closely aligned (but not defined as) entertainment. So yes, game-watching is entertainment. Part of the reason why people watch other people play video games is because of the people, not because of the game itself.

But what is the game itself? Is that art too, or is that something completely separate from the personalities playing the games?

This, I think, is a bit clearer. Yes, video games are art – commercial art, yes, but art nonetheless. It isn’t fair to call the latest Pixar/Miyazaki/Dreamworks movie “art” and not call video game design art. There’s some dang beautiful video games out there, both in visuals and specs. Ever heard of Limbo? There’s also a lot to be said about the storytelling aspect. I mean, open-world games like Destiny or Grand Theft Auto might not really float your boat, but if you play a game with a really good story, you’re mesmerized.

So there’s the video game side. But then there’s people…some comedians for all intents and purposes. Are they art? Certainly entertaining…but art?

Hmmm. The world may never know.

About Art

I gotta be honest here, even though this is my last post, I’m so tired that I could probably pass out right here and now. But I’m not going to do that. Because this is my very last post.

What does that mean? Well, unidentified, detached voice, I’ll tell you what that means.

It means absolutely nothing. I will keep writing and I will keep seeing shows. I will keep listening to music and I will keep having opinions on said music. I will keep trying to convince my friends to go see movies and I will (probably) keep getting rejected. I will still dance in my room with music blaring, and I will still sing loudly in the shower. I will still curl up before I go to bed and try and watch the next episode of my show until I absolutely cannot keep my eyes open any more.

Sometimes I wonder why I write this column. Not that I’m suggesting that I don’t like it, because it’s probably one of the best things that has happened to me on this campus. But I wonder how this column fits into the grander scheme of things.

If I’m being perfectly honest, not many people read my writing. I’m lucky if I get even a few clicks on my page.

But then, I remember what I feel like when I listen to Walk the Moon’s new album. Or how I feel when I realize that Rabbit Hole (2010) is on Hulu to watch for free. Or how I’m going to have hours of free time this summer to catch up on New Girl or to watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And then I realize that this column isn’t about me, as cheesy as that sounds. Its about bringing awareness to something I love. It’s about adding my voice to the echoing din that already exists on the internet. It’s about shaping my skills as a writer, and pushing myself to write something new, something different, or to maybe look at writing in a way I never did before.

In short, it’s about the art, and how the art makes me feel. And it always will be.

Art Influences Art

I have always been a lover of high, avant-garde fashion. From Gautier, Louis Vuitton, and Yohji Yamamoto, high-fashion houses around the world inspired me as a child to think outside of the box when it comes to creativity. I used to wonder incessantly of how in the world did these designers come up with these concepts that enveloped no sense of practicality but all aspects of wonder, dream, and true artistic form?

Couture fashion, designs created for one special, statement-making purpose, is the prime example of how the concept of fashion should literally be considered an art form. Designs that are custom-made, intricately detailed, and sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars not only take a lot of time to create, but also take the creativity and talent of some of the most brilliant artists in the world.

In analyzing some of the designs that walk the runway today, many of which are torn to pieces (figuratively) because of their “over-the-top” nature and impracticality, are pure examples of art forms redefined by other traditional art forms. Paintings, photographs, nature, decor, all are influences of the gowns you see walking the Paris and Milan runways.

This concept of “upcycling,” usually referring to taking something “useless” or “old” and recreating something “new” and “interesting” with it, can be applied to the way in which some high-fashions come to be. Not to say that any traditional art forms are of lesser value to the fashions that are put on display today, but there is a connection as to how these fashion designers fuse the creativity in their heads with the powerful creative minds of the painters, photographers, and interior designers that we come to immediately associate as artists.

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The image above illustrates a comparison between a painting of a disturbed sea, with blue hues and deep blacks fading amongst each other, and a gown with a similar color scheme in an ombre-flurried effect. Similar aesthetic, different artistic geniuses.

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Broken, demolished, nature’s colors, all are concepts captured in both of these photographs, illustrating great techniques of the same inspiration board.

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When you can get the same effect from a painted/crafted wall that you do a dress and satchel, then you know you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Check out some of the Spring 2015 Couture looks for some great inspo!