Most students already attend a weekly art class in school.  Why should elementary, middle school, and even high school students take art classes OUTSIDE of school?  Isn't it the same thing?

There are many ways that our big kids benefit from regular weekly art classes OUTSIDE of school. Here are just a handful:
1. For some children, art is their THING. Not dance. Not soccer. Not girl scouts. They are makers and creators at heart. Orange Easel gives these makers a PLACE and a community. Here they will find like-minded peers!

2. For some children, art is an outlet. It's is freedom from failure and rules. They don't care what the finish product is and they need a place that doesn't judge them based on the outcome. Art is PLAY at its purest and safest form.

3. In elementary school art classes, PLAY and EXPERIMENTING is often frowned upon because time is limited and the ultimate goal of the course is to have each child demonstrate mastery of an art skill. Orange Easel as no such underlying structure. We are looking for our artists to demonstrate curiosity and a desire to create. Our ultimate goal is to create artists, not art.

4. For some children, ART is something they want to get better at. Maybe they were gifted amazing drawing or painting talents. Just like in sports, a great coach or instructor can help facilitate growth and shorten the learning curve.

5. Some children are timid and unsure of their own ideas. Art outside of the school environment provides a safe place to gain confidence...because there are no wrong answers. Only the next right one.

6. Art is BIG. Outside of school, we can explore just how BIG it is. Did you know that you can be an artist even if you aren't a strong painter or illustrator? Many adults falsely believe that if you can't draw, you "don't have an artistic bone in your body." Controlling a pencil--while useful--is not necessary for fiber arts, or pottery, or mixed media applications. At Orange Easel, our entire year is designed to give artists a sense of just how BIG the art world is. This way, they can begin to see that there IS a place for them.
Here's to all our young artists and makers -- you're going change the world with your idea and your courage!

3doodler Review


We've had out 3Doodlers for a month now and I finally feel comfortable writing a short review of the product.  If you're not familiar with the 3Doodler, check out the video link below for the newer 2.0 models:
Our studio invested in a few of the 2.0 because they were quieter and lighter and not too much more expensive than the older model.  We currently have three of the 3D printing pens.  We've used them for two classes and the our instructors have had a chance to play with them.  

Here's what we've learned:
  • It's really hard to draw in the air.  They make it look easy on promo video; it's not.
  • Like any art medium, there's a learning curve.  The more we practiced with them, the better we became at controlling the plastic.
  • We had the best luck "building" by creating flat pieces and the assembling them (see video below)
  • The type of plastic matter.  Some projects are great in ABS while others (like the butterfly below) worked much better in PLA.  The 3Doodler 2.0 came with both.
  • Dealing with mechanical issues...either jammed plastic and plastic not feeding correctly was incredibly time-consuming.  Patience and persistence is required.  Although there's no reason that young artists can't USE the pens to create, an adult would need to be present to keep things "flowing."
  • Youtube is your best friend for troubleshooting
Check out the video of the butterfly Miss Allison made from a translucent blue PLA plastic:

Want to play with a 3Doodler?

Our Emerging Artists class which meets on Wednesdays nights will have access to use the 3Doodlers whenever they wish.  We'll also be using them during many of our Camps and Makerspace Events
Our 2015-16 schedule will have a new class for adult artists who want to hone their drawing skills.  Fundamental Drawing will meet once per week and will focus on skill development, exercises, and instruction.   

And the best news, it's completely FREE.

Although, these are considered advanced classes, the desire to learn and grow is more important than the current skill level.  You can be a beginner in these classes and be JUST fine!

Drawing Fundamental class will operate on a 12-week curriculum.  We will repeat the lessons and drills every 12 weeks.  (Repetition is a wonderful thing.)

Each class is 60 minutes long; following each class, the studio is open for another 60 minutes for practice and additional feedback.  The second hour is completely optional.
  • Enrolled students (12 and up) who want extra instruction and focus on skill development
  • Adults who have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to draw and paint
  • High School students who are considering an art degree and need to create a portfolio demonstrating skills
The emphasis will be on drawing as REAL as possible--not because realistic drawing is better than abstract, but because realistic drawings demonstrate that we have command of our skill!

Our class meets four times per month (any "fifth days" will be taken as a day off).  After these 12 lessons have been taught, we will cycle back through them.  Artists may join at the beginning of any month, regardless of whether we are in Week 1, 5, or 9.

Below is the 12-week outline for our Fundamental Drawing class:
Week 1 - Drawing accuracy lesson 1
Week 2 - Drawing accuracy lesson 2 
Week 3 - One point perspective drawing
Week 4 - Two point perspective drawing
Week 5 - Drawing from photograph (non-moving objects)
Week 6 - Drawing from photograph (moving objects)
Week 7 -  Still life drawing (shading, highlights, textures)
Week 8 - Still life drawing (contour, scale, perspective) 
Week 9 - Figure drawing lesson 1 (from photo)
Week 10 - Figure drawing lesson 2 (life)
Week 11 - Portrait drawing lesson 1 (from photo)
Week 12 - Portrait drawing lesson 2 (life)
Tuition is always free but registration is required.
School starts this week and we're as excited as anyone else! Capturing the excitement of the first day is a important ritual for most families.  Soon our facebook feeds will be flooded with smiling kiddos with fresh haircuts and new backpacks.  Read below with some of our best tips for getting a great back-to-school pic!

be prepared

Great photos don't happen if you're stressed, running behind and unprepared.  If you want to capture a great photo, begin the night before!
  • Make sure your camera is ready...fully charged and space in your memory card.
  • Plan breakfast for the morning and have it ready to go.  We like something that can be make ahead of time like these egg muffins or overnight oats. 
  • Pack the lunches the night before.  Again, one less thing to do!
  • Lay out the clothes the night before.  While you're at it, lay out YOUR clothes too!  This way you'll be able get in those pictures.

The Big Day

  • Pick your photo spot.  If you're shooting with a manual camera, or just playing with some manual settings, take practice pictures a few days before.  Just be sure to practice at the same time of day so the lighting is consistent.  
  • We like to use the same spot every year so that we can highlight the growing kids.  The front porch is classic but there are many other options:  Under a favorite tree.  In front of the school sign.  At the end of the driveway with the family home in the background. 
  • Consider leaving a large blank space in the photo where you can digitally add the important milestone stats.  Apps such as Phonto and PicsArt or websites such a Canva and PicMonkey make adding text very easy!
  • Add a prop...whether it's a chalkboard sign, a printable, or a favorite toy. We made these chalkboard signs in the studio!  
We used paper templates to paint our wood sign. We uploaded our templates for anyone who wants to download and print paper ones like the ones below.  Completely free: [here]
We have templates for PreSchool through 12th grade.
  • Posed pictures are great but sometimes the best ones come with some silliness.  We like to grab a few posed ones and then switch to silly ones BEFORE returning to the posed ones.  The second set of posed pictures capture the excitement better after we've loosened up!
  • Zoom in and get the details.  Hands, backpacks, new shoes, etc.
  • Get in the picture!  Mom, dad, and grandparents need to be photographed too.  Candids are perfect for capturing all the important people in your kids' milestones. 
  • Remember to step back and capture the BIG PICTURE...get the bus, the hug goodbye, the wave from the front of the school, meeting the teacher, greeting old friends, etc.

Remember the purpose

Yes, we all want a perfect picture.  Remember the bigger purpose of this day.  This day is about celebrating and documenting the excitement of a new year.  Grab the photos but not at the expense of ACTUALLY enjoying your morning together and experiencing the excitement.  

But maybe your morning just isn't going well.  Scrap the photo ops and be present in the moment.  Second-day of school pics are just as good!
We were blessed this past month to host a number of groups for private events and classes.  Two northland elementary schools hosted summer workshops at the studio.  We have all the audio-visual equipment, tables and chairs to accommodate groups as large as 45.  They worked most of the day preparing for the upcoming school year, but we took a break to paint and be creative!  It’s so valuable for teams to learn and grow together creatively!

Working, planning, learning, and getting ready for a great school year!
Team-building on the patio
Painting on canvases. The creative challenge: A limited palette and NO brushes.
We also hosted a private class for the Epilepsy Foundation of Missouri and Kansas.  They needed custom artwork for their 5K banners.  We designed a special project to fit their needs.  Orange Easel provided the space, supplies, and instruction.  They provided the artists!  The result was our Faces of Epilepsy self-portraits.  Check out a few of them below:

Let us be your group’s Makerspace

Studio rental rates, project prices, and supply costs vary greatly, but we'd love to chat with you about customizing an event just for you!

Perfect for:
  • Girl Scout Troops
  • Boy Scout Troops
  • Baby Showers
  • Bachelor Parties
  • Playgroups
  • Moms Clubs
  • Non-profit organization
  • Networking groups
  • Schools and Preschools

To get the conversation started, [click here]

Orange Easel Celebration

Last Saturday, we celebrated our 1st year in business as Orange Easel.

Thank you to everyone who attended our Orange Easel birthday bash!  We had over 150 people come to our party.  The bounce house was a big hit with all ages (yes, we saw you grown-ups jumping in it!).  Our patio was perfect for outdoor art and play.  

And, Miss Sara and Miss Allison decided that we need to add facepainting options to our birthday parties since that is VERY popular!  We’re working on building up our techniques…maybe by winter we’ll have that as an add-on service! 

We are incredibly thankful for our community and our families who support us.  Thank you for an incredible first year.  We are blessed.

a few event photos

The Orange Easel Story:

Do you know the Orange Easel Story?  We didn't start here...
[Click here to learn more]