Mermaids! Seen one lately? They are easy to recognize: they are those bikini-perfect, half fish, half human creatures that always seem to pop up when you are about to be shipwrecked during some epic adventure. What’s not to love about a mermaid’s life? They are out there body surfing and sunbathing while you have to be at work, fading away under artificial lighting. And have you noticed that their hair never seems frazzled by the salt water?
FISH GIRL or MERMAID?
But not this mermaid! The model for our mermaid painting would be the average fish-girl next door if you were living some cool, underwater fairytale life. She is all about stopping to smell the roses instead of rushing home to fix her hair. She is the fish-girl you would want to take home and marry – if you were into cross-species marriage. This mermaid LOVES life, and she is happy with who she is and how she looks. No fake smiles or pretending to be who she isn’t. No “three hours in front of the mirror” episodes while she applies waterproof mascara before hitting the waves. This mermaid is wide-eyed and eager to learn and discover. Spunky and determined to enjoy life for what it is, this little mermaid would love to grace you child’s bedroom, playroom, or nursery wall, and set an example of quiet confidence.
This circular mermaid cartoon image is an ORIGINAL, one-of-kind acrylic painting on a circular engineered wood substrate. As with other paintings in the circular series of CHILDREN’S WALL ART (available at Zisubu Artique), the surface of the painting is lightly coated with sealant, and the artist (that would be me in this case) has signed and dated the back of the painting. The painting measures approximately 10 inches in diameter. The substrate resembles a solid wood block and has an approximate thickness of 0.625 inches. The edges of the block are painted black to serve as framing for the painting.
MERMAID STARS in VIDEO
Like moving art? This mermaid painting was featured in the “bubbles” in a music video of a trumpet duet composed by Eddie Lewis.
Coloring is not just for kids PLUS it’s good for your health. How many times have you heard that said recently? You know it’s true, but your nine-year old is adamant that he is too old to color, and dad… well, dad thinks he outgrew crayons before the turn of the century. Then grandma wants to color, but she says the adult coloring books are too detailed for her eyeglass prescription strength. The solution?
The MERRY CHRISTMAS FAMILY COLORING PAGES were created to bring families together around the kitchen table (or on the lounge floor if you don’t have a big table). The set of pages uses just one basic illustration built on the words: MERRY CHRISTMAS. The basic illustration is further evolved to include three additional skill levels. The result is an easy-to-print, coloring activity that is suitable for the whole family. Print one page for each member of the family. Choose the page that is appropriate for each person based on their age, attention span, dexterity, and ability to take on a challenge.
BEGINNER (Level 1): This is a basic, broad-lined illustration built on the words “MERRY CHRISTMAS”. There are large open areas to color, and the shapes are a mix of gently rounded and facetted. This illustration can be comfortably colored with wax crayons and colored pencils or markers. This illustration is best for the youngest members of the family or those with impaired eyesight.
INTERMEDIATE I (Level 2): The BEGINNER illustration is upgraded to include some smaller areas. The use of wax crayons may become more challenging with this illustration. This illustration is best for colorists who are comfortable with staying inside lines and need a little more challenge than a BEGINNER colorist does. INTERMEDIATE II (Level 3): The BEGINNER illustration now has many small regions begging for color. Fine pointed pens or pencils work best for this illustration.
ADVANCED (Level 4): This page takes the BEGINNER design to new heights. You will find LOTS of small details to color on this page. The small, open areas seen in the other illustrations now boast small patterns and embellishments. If you have a family member that thinks coloring is for little kids, THIS is the page you hand to them. This is a very detailed page and likely to be overwhelming for the youngest members of the family.
MAKE IT A GAME
Get the family together, open that extra big box of colored pencils (or invest in a couple of 12-pencil sets so there is no fighting at the table), and distribute the page assignments. The entire family will be working on the same illustration, just in varying degrees of detail, so everyone can feel that they are part of the same project. The activity can be made more fun by adding restrictions for the older family members. For example, let the youngest colorist choose the colors of the letters. Everyone else must stick to this color choice for their bases colors, but are challenged to use their imagination to integrate those colors in a creative and eye-catching way. If you have ideas for creative coloring restrictions that make this activity more enjoyable for the teens and adults, please add them in the comment section below.
CHRISTMAS BOOT CAMP
Coloring together stimulates conversation. Have you been longing for family chats, but have a family that is too glued to their phones to remember the archaic activity called conversation? Announce a Christmas Preparation Boot Camp (just don’t call it “boot camp” or they may take to the hills) for the family, set aside two hours after a weekend dinner (those “I am so bored” rainy days work best for families that are new to coloring), and just do it. Inevitably, conversation will flow. It’s difficult to maintain silence for a couple of hours when you are using your hands for more than just “swiping and clicking”. It might start with “stop stealing my red crayon!“, but eventually the debate about which color to use may lead to other more interesting topics. Give it a try. Download your MERRY CHRISTMAS FAMILY COLORING PAGES from Zisubu Artique.
Christmas. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Graduations. Hallmark has them covered, or so we thought. Store-bought greeting cards have a lot to offer: vivid color, cute one-liners, reminders to add extra postage to the envelope, and quite often a rather hefty price tag. But the truth is that the card you buy at the store is one of thousands of identical cards, some of which are sold all over the planet. In no way is the card in your hands unique, even if it does aptly express what you would like to communicate. Of course, sometimes it simply does not manage to say what you are trying to say. You spend an hour browsing the card rack only to conclude that nothing is quite what you want: either the picture is great, but the words are cheesy, or the words are beautiful and heartfelt, but the picture is just not appropriate for the person you want to give the card to.
When store-bought cards do not give you a perfect fit for the message you have to share, it’s time to widen your search net. What are your options? You could write a letter – but that wouldn’t have a fun picture to go with it. You could make your own greeting card – but what if all your paints are dry, you are too busy, or you don’t feel the tickle of the creative finger? You could make a phone call to communicate your message – but that wouldn’t qualify as a heart-warming, written greeting. Yet another option (and one of my favorites) is to invest in a hand-crafted greeting card that perfectly suits the recipient. You know the person you are buying a card for – invest in a one-of-a-kind card that will float their boat.
Hand-crafted greeting cards are widely available on international craft platforms such as ETSY. Artists, scrapbookers, and print boutiques around the world all have something to offer you that will put store-bought greeting cards in the shade. I want to put the spotlight on one category of hand-made cards, simply because these cards are one of my areas of interest. Original illustrated greeting cards – they offer fresh designs on cards that are guaranteed to be unique.
So why should you invest in an original art card? Let me start by saying that if store-bought cards meet your needs then the answer to this question is not for you. Definitely stay with what works for you. But if store-bought cards fall a little short of your expectations, it makes sense to spend roughly the same amount of money on a greeting card that is more than a greeting card.
Original art cards may be collaged, hand painted or illustrated directly on the card surface, or have an original drawing or painting attached to the front of the card. ACEO greeting cards are a good example of the latter type. In an ACEO-styled card, the art card is constructed by attaching a small artwork (ACEO) to the front of a blank card. I have recently begun work on a series of greeting cards that fall into the former category: illustrations done directly on the card surface. I enjoy monotone, so for this series I have chosen to work predominantly in black ink on a white card surface. The style is reminiscent of adult coloring books with detailed patterns, abstraction, and a central theme for each card. (In fact, I actually encourage my customers to color the card and envelope if they want to contribute their own brand of creativity to the card.)
By purchasing an original art card, you are purchasing a small work of art which in turn becomes a vehicle for your greeting or message. Wouldn’t you like to open your mailbox (the physical one in your front yard) and find a greeting card that is entirely unique – not a mass-production print or even a limited edition print, but something a real person invested significant time into? You can run your finger over the surface of the card and feel the texture of the media used to create the card. You might even spot real life smudges or slips of the pen that have not been fixed by a computer. You would be holding art in your hands. Perhaps not a grand piece you might add to your million dollar art collection, but art – small and unusual art – nonetheless.
If you have something worth saying by writing it down, why settle for some run-of-the-mill e-card or a glossy generic issue from your local Walmart? Put your words inside a card that the recipient will look at more than once – they might even hold onto the card (and your words), if they recognize the value of what they have in their hands. (And of course, there is always the chance that the inexpensive art card you paid a few dollars for is created by an artist that becomes famous during your lifetime. Wouldn’t you want to be able to say you still own or gifted one of their small artworks?) An original art card takes your words and upgrades their value by presenting them in a way that will be entirely unique to that moment. It’s a double delight gift: your thoughtful words and an original piece of art.
If you are interested in viewing some of my original art cards, please visit my ETSY store.