52 Paintings: Week 31-35 Murals and Draftpaper Paintings

Close up view of Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

Close up view of Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

It is getting close to the end of the year and I need to do several paintings before the end.  I have few that I have been working on.  One of them is a floor to ceiling mural of one of my favorite images of Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s where they are going off on an adventure together in their wagon.  It is for my son’s room.

Painting by Christy Berry of Calvin's Quote

Painting by Christy Berry of Calvin’s Quote

I also have painted a quote on one of the walls on the other side of the room.  It’s also one of my favorite quotes.

As I was moving stuff into our home I found some drafting paper.  I thought why not give it a try and see what happens.  So I took a photograph that I took of my children and drew on the drafting paper with a sharpie.  I then used watercolor and painted the other side.

Backside of Three Angels by Christy Berry

Backside of Three Angels by Christy Berry

Three Angels by Christy Berry

Three Angels by Christy Berry

I did two versions of this painting to see what I liked best.

Three Angels by Christy Berry

Three Angels by Christy Berry

Flower Experiment by Christy Berry

Flower Experiment by Christy Berry

I then also tried a flower.  I am not sure I like the results of the flower.  The jury is still out on that painting.  However, I like the painting of my children with the watercolor look.

These painting are what I have been working on along with 2am feedings and teaching full time. Please enjoy!


Mrs. Berry

The Creative/Artistic Process Part 3: Journaling


As a teacher of art I try to keep up my artistic craft and the creative process. I am still trying to define what is the creative process.  To assist with this process, I wrote down my thoughts while painting my latest painting. The thoughts are in a free write association and not edited.

How this could be used in the classroom:

  • As students are working on their artwork they could write down their thoughts and reflections on what they are doing.  This way when students were asked how they created their art; they can look back at their journal and describe their artwork.
  • The writing could also be an assistance in writing a formal artist statement.
  • After the student finishes the writing maybe used as a formal assessment piece.

Journal Entry

October 2, 2012

I’m starting my painting.  The canvas is 20” by 20”.  I am going to use a photograph that I took at the Dow Gardens of a mum.  The photograph was taken around 10am on September 30th, 2012.  I am going to use a 2HB beginners pencil to draw the image.  I’m not sure if I will paint it for it is 8:36pm.  I might get started now.

8:44pm:  What was I thinking?  There are so many petals.  REALLY?  What I was I thinking?  I like the photograph, and this will look cool when it’s done.  But dude?  There are so many petals.  Did I mention this is a mum flower?  Just one, they are so tiny.  Ok, I guess.  I will go back to painting.

9:04pm: Ok, there were lots of petals.  I don’t think I have all of the exact middle ones, but I have the main flowers.  I didn’t include the flowers around the main flower.  Middle is also not exactly in the middle.  It’s close but it’s a little bit off.  I think I like the square canvas.  I have never worked with this shape before.  My background is going to be dark and light green (it’s in the original photograph).  The drawing a good start.

October 3, 2012

8:25 Ok, I have all the paint set.  I Took a picture of the drawing.  Now to add cadmium yellow medium with a Grumbacher 8 brush #4722.

10:05pm Ok, there were bunches of more colors that I added after I painted my base coat on it.  Greens, yellow, white, orange.  But it’s late so now more information.  I guess you will just need to guess what colors I used.  I also used a smaller brush for my painting.  That’s all for tonight; it’s late.

October 4th, 2012

8:02 I’m starting early tonight.  I am going to work on the flower picture after I take a picture of it.  I have the base coat on, now to start making it my own. I am mixing white and cadmium yellow.

9:37pm I added a few more coats.  I started not looking at the petals after the third one. That’s it for now.

October 6, 2012

Mum Flower by Christy Berry

5:40am I’m up early and it’s quiet here, so I will paint.  I am starting with petals.

6:51am There are too many petals. I know that the original photograph that I am working from is different from what I am painting.  I am waiting to put the dew drops on the painting until all of the petals are done and the background is done.

5:33pm  The petals are more yellow.  I need to put another coat of yellow on.

7:55pm  I think I am done.  Now, I will just sit and stare at it and then figure out if there is any more paint that is needed.  So this painting took 376 minutes roughly or 6 hours and 16 minutes.  I’m not sure if I am done yet.

Christy Berry Mum Flower painting on the Dow Gardens’ profile picture

So what did I learn overall about the creative process, you might ask.  Well, how I see the world is different than reality.  I added and subtracted a variety of elements from the original image and made one that fits what I perceive when I look at something.  So what makes this creative is that it is different from the original. What I find particularly cool about this finished piece is that the Dow Gardens used my photograph of my painting on their blog and as part of their website.

Christy Berry Mum Flower painting on the Dow Gardens’ website

Enjoy finding your own images to perceive and create.


Mrs. Berry

The Creative/Artistic Process: Part 2-Example

As part of the series on creative/artistic process, I thought I might try to document what I do while creating art.  That seems easy enough, but I am sure I left a few parts out, or forgot to record what I did because I became immersed in the actual artwork.  Let me try to break down what I did.

I was blocked and wasn’t sure what I was going to do on the empty canvas.  I keep looking at different photographs that I had taken at one of my favorite places and I just couldn’t settle on a particular image.  Nothing was jumping out with excitement saying, “paint me, paint me.”  I started one sketch on a canvas and decided no, I didn’t want to do that.  Then I looked through hundreds more photographs.  I came across some poppy photographs that I liked, so I started to paint while listening to music.  I painted a small series of paintings (5).  That helped loosen me up and unblock my thinking.

I again, look through a couple of images that struck me as paintable. I finally settle on a close up of a rose that I photographed a few years ago.  I draw out the idea on the canvas using a B pencil.  I then draw out the plan in my sketchbook.  My sketch doesn’t look as good as the canvas drawing.

Before starting to paint, I gather my pallet (ice cream lid) and my water bucket (ice cream bucket), my paint, brushes, headphones with music.  It’s night time so I have no distractions. My first set of supplies consist of Grumbacher paint and brushes:

  • Cadmium yellow
  • Titanium White
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • #8 Brush

After that I lose track of the other colors that I used.  But the painting did take place over a couple of days.

After the blocking the colors and before I add details I get to the stage I call “The Yuck Stage.” The Yuk Stage is basically, I am not sure if I actually want to spend any more paint or time on this painting.  For this project, I continued because I wanted to get a start to finish in this piece.  I continued my lower left corner petal.  It was very time consuming.  I actually, didn’t want to take too much time on that corner or the whole painting.  I was still in the Yuck Stage.

The painting sat for a week and a half, untouched.  I only finished it because I made it a goal to finish that painting and another I started.  This painting has less of the Yuck Stage.  Most of my paintings stay in this phase until I get to the small brush stage (a two or a zero sized bush).  When I am using the small brush, I like to listen to quiet and soft music.  Then when I take a break, I will stare at it for a good five to ten minutes and just study the painting and try to see what else I will need to do.

For this painting I flipped it over to get to other areas; I often to this with my flower paintings because I like to see a different perceptive. I know I am done when there are no more brush strokes to put on the painting.

After I finished the Warm Rose I had some left over paint.  I do not like to waist paint, so I made another little painting.  I guess it’s a follow up to the painting.  Something that does not take much mental skill and just a fun; let me see what happens when painting.  I looked at another photograph.  But that photograph not necessarily my favorite flower but the structure is angular.  So I sketch out the outline in paint and then start to fill in with colors.  So I guess this second piece is a mental release.  Maybe next time I will write down everything I do with a painting.

I’m trying to work out examples for my students so that they can work through a process of creating art.


Mrs. Berry

D is for Dow Gardens: A Collection of Short Silly Tales


For the final of my writing class I needed to create some sort of writing piece of my choice.  Well, I thought about it, and thought about it, and did a bit more thinking.  I finally came up with an idea.  The story is called D is for Dow Gardens: A Collection of Short Silly Tales by Christy Berry.  I love alphabet books and the Dow Gardens.  I have been working on a series of painting from Dow Gardens.  I’m not done yet, because I want to paint all of the images in the story. But alas, I do not have that much time. The assignment is due in two weeks and paintings take a bit of time.  So, I have included my own photographs in the mix where there are no paintings.

I need to give thanks to the people that helped me put this book together:

  • My husband for ideas and editing
  • My daughters for listening to the stories
  • My good friend Erin for ideas
  • The Dow Garden volunteers and employees for marking an “x” on a map where I needed a letter or two
  • And God for making the trees and flowers.

I will give you a small sneak peek in a page of the story. 

The stories sometimes relate to one another and intertwine. This short story came from when my daughter and I pretended there are trolls under the bridges when we walk over them.

R is for Red Bridges

It be wise to stop and speak with the villagers before traveling through the kingdom.  They know how to tip-toe across bridges, for something big lives under each one.  Now it’s a well-known fact that trolls like the color red and years ago a family of these creatures heard whispers of a kingdom with red bridges.  They promptly packed their bags and moved.  When they arrived they were amazed at how many there were and they each took a bridge.  They were very happy to have found a new home.  Sometimes you will see them with large green waders as they are trying to gobble up their snack of duckweed.  If you meet one pay the proper toll of a greeting and ye shall be allowed to pass.

I have also made a book trailer for my book.  Please enjoy the short trailer below.

If you would like to purchase this book, please contact me.  I have only made one copy but I could make more.  Or, if you know a publisher who is looking for a nifty idea please let me know.  The stories are rather cute; some are short and others longer.

How you could use this in the classroom:

  • Read the stories and find where other stories are the inspiration for different letters.
  • Have your students write their own silly story about a place.
  • Read the story and then visit the actual Dow Gardens for a field trip (I’m doing this one this spring with my students).
  • Have the students draw their own pictures for places they visit or take photographs.


Christy Berry

Comprehension Presentation

For my reading capstone I presented information on reading comprehension and tools that you could use to help students understand text at BCA on Friday March 16th.  At the bottom are links that I used.  I have also attached a shortened version of my capstone project in a reader friendly format. If you have any questions or need reading/art ideas please let me know.  I love to share.
Reading Presentation

Reading Tools

Mrs. Berry

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