Sunday, August 7, 2016

Is Being Creative a Dying Art?

When a primary or secondary school budget needs cutting what is one of the first subjects to go? Art. I believe cutting programs like art and music from our children’s curriculum will hurt their ability to think outside the box. It seems that people are recognizing the importance of creative thinking in education and why we desperately need to recognize it not as an extra-curricular but rather a necessary-curricular activity.

E-learning needs to use the element of creativity for the development of content-rich training and gives learners a whole experience versus one driven to the left brain.

Extracurriculars Are Central to Learning

Learning to Think Outside the Box

Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Consumer Experience Online - How to Make it Successful

I’m about to purchase what I think is a perfect pair of sunglasses online. I hesitate, unsure if I can trust they’ll look good on me, or if they don’t, that I’ll easily be able to return them. 

We’ve all been there, ordering merchandise online wondering if we’re making the right purchase. But what makes the experience five-star or one-star worthy? Can I, as a consumer, trust a company to take my money and deliver the product that I’ll be satisfied with, without actually touching it or speaking to a human? That is the eternal online shopping question. Even when I’m able to choose the product easily and add it to my shopping cart without fail, there is so much more to having a positive experience. 

Where is good help when you need it? If I have an issue or a question about what I want to buy, somehow it needs to be answered. Whether it be a thorough FAQ page, a live person available to text chat, videos, or a forum, the answer should be there. 

Back to my sunglasses. So, what would help me feel confident that I’m making the right decision about the sunglasses I want to purchase? A few things. If the technology allows, I’d love to virtually see what I look like with the sunglasses on, make sure they fit the shape of my face. Beyond that, it’d be nice if there were comments or photos from others that made the same purchase and had either a good or bad experience themselves. Because, let’s face it, word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods to drive the success or failure of a business. 

I close my eyes and with a press of a button, I jump. I ordered my sunglasses. The checkout experience was easy, no one tried to upsell me a Ferrari to go with my glasses, my credit card processed quickly, and I was able to do it all as a guest. What will put me in a happy place is if the company holds my hand until delivery: send me an email to say they’ve received my order; tell me when it ships with a tracking number; and when that wonderful box arrives, thank me for my order because I could have gone to a number of other vendors for the same pair. 

Now, heaven forbid something is wrong with my order, the consumer experience still needs to be sprinkled with warm fuzzies. I want it to be easy to return my unwanted merchandise for free, and receive a full refund. Perhaps an email or text asking how things could go better next time will continue me on a positive path.  After all, if the merchandise return goes as well as my ordering experience, then I’ll come back again, and tell my family and friends to do the same.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

This coming weekend, I'll be a featured artist and presenter at the California Art Educators Conference in Sacramento. My one hour presentation for the art teachers will be about how words inspire my artwork. Illustrations tell stories, but often times the images are a reflection of the story told.

Please visit my Web site for print outs useful to teachers.

Included is a handout that I'm giving to the teachers: a formula to the type of poetry I write in my books.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Changes Alter Camps

Hi Everyone,

I am sorry to say that I have to cancel my three summer art camp sessions this year. I just got offered a full-time job and will be starting in May. It caught me off-guard, but I have to take this opportunity and run with it. It was a really tough decision to make. I'm going to miss doing camps for all of your amazing young artists. I know a few have been waiting a long time just to be old enough to participate. I'll be sure to do a few art workshops after October, because I really enjoy doing them!

Thanks for your understanding and patience. It has been a wonderful adventure teaching young people art.

Please come to my Fine Art Sale and my house on May 23 & 24 from 9am-Noon. I'll have a table set up for kids to do art and would love to chat.

I appreciate that you gave me the opportunity to work with your children!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Take a Deep Breath - It's Art

So many adults tell me that they wish they had talent in art. My response? Art isn't about talent, it's about enjoying the process of creating something that isn't right or wrong. We spend so much time judging ourselves. Are we a good parent? Are we doing our job well enough? Do we eat healthy, or look nice? Doing art for ourselves is about stopping everything, if for just a few minutes, and create something that resonates with us. It is individual and no two pieces of art are alike. As every person is different so is every piece of art.

Here is my challenge for anyone looking for a piece of art to do. Grab a blank piece of paper, a pencil, markers or crayons. Now scribble. Let your hand move and don't think. Then randomly start filling in the small sections with color. And as my friend so eloquently put, "I can find beauty in the mess."

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Poem inspired by a Kindergartener

Don't Eat the Crayons!
By: Rachel Dillon

I love to teach art,
art class is so fun,
Except when art parts
became food for one.

“Don’t eat the crayons!”
I told Zack, on Monday.
With crayon in his teeth he told me, “OK.”

“Don’t eat your eraser,”
I told Zack on Tuesday.
He swallowed real hard and then asked to go play.

“Don’t lick the blue paint,”
I screeched on Wednesday.
Paint dripped down his chin which he then wiped away.

“Don’t taste the pastels,”
I begged Zack on Thursday.
He spat out three pieces much to my dismay.

Friday came along
and I was scared to teach art
I walked into class
slowly pushing my cart

And there at a table
sat Zack with a smile.
He gave me a paper
he pulled from a file.

It said, “To my favorite art teacher,
Art stuff tastes like gruel.
I’d rather make art,
cuz art is so cool.”