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I want to apologize for this month's newsletter being late. June was a very busy month -- with art camps! The first camp I had the privilege of teaching was hosted by our local nonprofit arts mission, and it was terrific. The focus was on recycling, so most of our crafts involved recycled materials. The camp ended with a free arts and crafts day for children in the park, where those who attended the camp could showcase their work.

As a teacher, I enjoyed talking with the other instructors, seeing the projects they were working on and finding lots of new projects to try out. Did you know you could make a bowl out of dryer lint or paint like Monet on the back of a piece of linoleum? I didn't know that before, but now I do! All of the teachers were willing to share their lessons and techniques with each other, and I learned a lot at art camp, too!

I'm sure they are out there, but I have yet to meet an artist who isn't happy to share a helpful tip with another artist. Everyone I have talked with gladly answered my question about a certain technique or the type of support they use. Even online, artists are ready to help each other. Forums such as provide places where both beginning and professional artists can discuss their work.

So don't be shy. If you have a question about your art, ask a fellow artist!

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BOOK REVIEW: Artist's Photo Reference - Landscapes

North Light Books has put together a number of these photo reference books, and this is one of my favorites. Topics in this book include skies, water, trees, flowers, mountains, rocks, deserts, and the seasons. You can use the photos as they are or combine them to compose your own original work. I used two of the photos, one of a waterfall and one of fall trees, to create a completely new picture. All in all, it's a great resource for any artist!

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Practice Drawing Pages

Over and over again, I tell the children I teach that the best way to get good at something, including art, is to practice, practice, practice. A great resource for children to use as they practice drawing are coloring pages. The shapes and lines are easy to recognize, and you can find pages to match your child's ability, from the very simple to the more complex line drawings.

There are tons of free coloring pages available on the Internet. One of my favorite sites for animal pictures is that of the National Wildlife Federation (look for their Kidzone page). They are realistic, and I've used them with both younger and older children.

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