Blog Posts

Color Construct Create, OT, OT Corner, therapeutic side

Occupational Therapy and Art?

As I’ve said before, I am not an artist.  This may sound a bit odd coming from an art teacher, but I can think of no better fit for me right now.  By profession, I am a pediatric occupational therapist, but in my mind, I am the next Martha Stewart.  This combination has worked well when I want to have clients work out of their comfort zone during therapy.  We make play dough, we try new foods, and we craft away, all the while building fine motor, visual motor, and sensory motor skills.  When I was ready to transition out of the private clinic and school system, teaching art classes seemed like the perfect solution.  Lucky for me, my partner in crime is able to fill in my gaps of expertise in the art realm.  

img_4032If you sit down to think about it, there are so many therapeutic benefits to art.  In fact, there is an entire field dedicated to art therapy.  What we do, however, is not art therapy.  It is therapeutic art.  Occupational therapy was founded on the idea that there is a natural, therapeutic benefit to performing our activities of daily living, whatever those may be.  For example, to put on a pair of shoes, or make a cup of tea, you would need to engage many sensory systems, use several muscle and movement systems, and have the endurance to work until completion.  The same is true for art.  In order to complete a paint-by-number, you would need your visual system, fine motor control, and sufficient endurance for both to complete the entire page.
Coming up with the projects each week is one of the best aspects of running an art program.  Being creative, problem solving, and practicing the projects to “perfection”.  But even more fun that that is watching the faces of our artists as they show off their finished project, so proud, and so accomplished!


Color Construct Create, How We Roll, OT, OT Corner, Therapeutic Art

The Take Home

Each week, when our artists leave class, they get a fun and informative take home sheet.  This is our chance to share the “why” behind the projects we choose and how parents can support this at home.  One of the benefits to our classes is the suggestions we provide to assist parents so our artists can carry over the skills learned in art class to home and school.  Here is an example from one of our classes a couple years ago:


Sometimes the take home sheets offer ways to extend a project, recreate a project, or do it in a different way.  Other times it will provide community activities related to our subject matter, complimentary activities to build skills, or commercially available products that you can purchase to promote the skills worked on during class.

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

The weather outside is frightful!  Ok ok, it’s cold and a little damp outside here in San Diego which is about as frightful as it gets!  Not that we are complaining.  I, for one, am excited for the rain and the chance to turn off those sprinklers!  We hope all of our families have enjoyed this Thanksgiving weekend.  The chill in the air is perfect for sipping cocoa and decorating for the holidays!

As we roll into December, Kristin, Bonnie, Roni, Nessa, and I are all very excited for our upcoming holiday workshop.  Our December class has got to be one of our absolute favorites.  Last year, we embroidered tea towels, made custom snowflake candles, tea light snowman ornaments, and a few other cute things.  This year, we have even more in store for our kids.  If you haven’t tried a class at Color, Construct, Create, this is a great one to try.   The holiday workshop is a little different from our regular Sunday class.  We split the class up into 10 minute blocks and each child leaves with at least 5-6 different art projects, crafts, and homemade gifts to share.  It is a festively fun time for all!

Here are a couple of our projects from years past.

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, Therapeutic Art

Mad about Murals!

This month we are mad!  Mad about murals, that is!  There is something really special about art on a larger scale and something positively magical about kids collaborating to create something together.  We started with our O’Keefe inspired mural.  For this project, the kids studied the rich paintings of Georgia O’Keefe and were inspired by images from nature of beautiful mums and dahlias in festive fall colors.

With an analogous warm color palette (colors next to each other on the color wheel), we freehand painted our flowers in different sizes and shapes.  Our kids sometimes struggle with scale so this was a great opportunity to practice fitting your flower onto the paper by going all the way to the edge without going over.  I admit, we did have a couple of almost perfectly square flowers (the exact shape of the paper).  As any artist knows, sometimes mistakes provide the best inspiration.  With black paint and a tiny brush, the kids were able to add some detail that really made the flowers pop!  And those square flowers… it was a piece of cake to go back in with the black paint and define those petals.

Each child painted 3 or 4 flowers, depending on time.  After they dried, we cut out our flowers and picked our favorites to add to the class mural.  Ms. Kristin painted a vase on the a 6 foot sheet of butcher paper that was hung on the wall.  We used scraps from the scrap paper bin to cut out leaves for the spaces between the flowers.  We think the end result is stunning!  Do you agree?  It’s hard to tell in the photo, but our mural is about 6 feet tall!



Square art paper in multiple sizes

Tempera Paint: Red, orange, yellow, and black

Large and small paint brushes

Butcher Paper

Green Scraps for leaves

Color Construct Create

Art is Popping!

Hey there!  We are back in the art studio and, wow, our kids are amazing!  We are studying art of the 1950’s and 60’s and are having a BLAST!!!  Last week, we made studied the icon, Andy Warhol.  Check out our mixed media block prints! img_2424

Playing with color and shape (Woot woot!! Word of the Week!) is a great way to get kids to really engage in what they are making.  They are able to see things, like complimentary colors, before we are even able to teach the concepts!  We got messy with our second project.  The kids rolled glue onto card stock and made these stunning abstract bouquets.  I am constantly blown away by their ability to see the world in ways I have never thought of.

Doesn’t their art really POP!?!

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art

Let’s Get Going!

Who’s ready to make some art?  We are!  Our schedule is set, the art studio is ready, so let’s get going!  Color, Construct, Create Studios fall classes will begin the first week of September and continue through the remainder of the school year.  There are only a few spots left so be sure to sign up today!

Check out our schedule on the calendar tab of our website.


Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, OT, Preschool Art

Art Club and the First week of school

Intermediate Art started out as a regular drawing class.  We worked on all the basics.  In Intermediate Art, we also do a LOT of talking.  Mostly, I do a lot of talking.  The students in IA last year were very introspective and self-aware.  We had some very deep conversations.  It was really cool.  To quote my son’s kindergarten teacher, it really “filled my bucket”.  Something we talked quite a bit about is something so essential to art and identifying as an artist: communication.  Art is communication.  Whether it’s happy, sad, literal, or abstract, whatever we make communicates a message.  Intermediate Art is kind of like a club.  A special group of friends that bond over their passion for creativity.  Ms. Kristin and I decided Intermediate Art needed a new name that represents what it really is.  An art club.  This year, we have officially renamed Intermediate Art.  From today on, the artists formally known as Intermediate Artists will now be in Art Club!!!

Art Club got very clever last year with the use of line and space, making these beautiful contour line pumpkins filled with their own Zentangles. Aren’t they expressive?!

As my kids went back to school today, I left them and couldn’t help thinking all day about how they were doing.  Were they having a good day at school?  We all do this to some degree.  Perhaps less as they get older.  When my kiddos came home, I asked them about 100 questions and only a couple were responded to with more than a 1 word answer.  Good.  Fine.  Stuff.  It got me thinking, how can we communicate how we feel about an experience without being literal?  Through design!  Why not ask our kids to use lines and patterns to show us what their day was like?

IMG_5775 IMG_8458

Here’s an example of one that starts with a squiggly line and ends like this.


Another example!

Something so simple can tell us so much about how our kids are feeling.  Can you guess which kiddo felt tired when he got home?   Try it!  Give your kids a blank piece of paper with a 4 inch square drawn on it.  Tell them to draw a line that shows how their day went.  Fill it with lines and patterns to represent the different things that happened during the day. Show us what they make!

Color Construct Create, OT

I am sooooo not an artist!!!

Halloween Handiwork

Ten years ago, if you had asked me what I would be doing, it would certainly not be teaching art classes.  As a child, I loved watching my mom sew, I would make small projects with my Girl Scout troop, and remember sewing matching shorts with my high school friends.  I made my first quilt the summer before I went away to college.  I have always enjoyed crafting – making beaded jewelry, scrapbooking, and putting together fun projects for the kids I babysat or my own younger siblings.  My love of crafts has followed me into adulthood.  My home is scattered with a handmade decor, carefully assembled scrapbooks, and several memory quilts.  I love when I get the chance to make a Halloween costume or a Christmas or birthday gift for a friend/family member.  Despite my love for crafting, I readily admit that my drawing, painting and expressive art skills could use a bit  some a lot of work.  I remember painting a dresser with my college roommates.  One drawer had beautiful flowy flowers, another had amazing geometric designs, the other was an adorable cityscape.  Mine, well, mine looked like a kindergartner did it… star. heart. rainbow. cloud.   That dresser is now gone (good riddance), and my fabulous art skills remain.  Fortunately, I also discovered an alternate career path in the event that artist didn’t pan out.

That leads us to where I am today.  I find that I had less and less time for crafting as I am in the throws of homework, soccer, music lessons and scouting activities for my three very active children.  I am the co-leader of my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, manage my son’s soccer team, and found that I have very little time to spend making crafts and putting together scrapbooks.  I am a pediatric occupational therapist (OT) and have enjoyed every minute of it!  I love working with kids, helping them navigate their individual challenges to conquer their everyday activities.

Working on pencil grasp

Several years ago, I was feeling like I was constantly struggling to find “me time”.  I was working in the school district, treating oodles of children during the school day, shuttling my own children to the various and assorted activities in the afternoon and finally getting to my paperwork in the evening.  Although my crafting tendencies have carried over somewhat into my professional life, there was still something missing.   Kelly and I came to the same realization at the same time in our lives.  We needed to do something about it.  Our combined experiences and professional backgrounds led us to form Color, Construct, Create Studios.

Sensory fun

Now, using my background as an OT, I can facilitate our budding artists sensory, fine, and visual motor skills through art.  A pediatric occupational therapist facilitates a child’s whole body development through activities of daily living.  During art class, we work on pencil grip, scissor skills, sensory processing, drawing and visual perceptual skills.  We interact with our peers to share supplies, take turns on sensory equipment (yes, we have sensory equipment in our art studio… isn’t that wonderful!!!), and complete collaborative art projects.   Even better, I get to craft and play away!

~ Kristin


Color Construct Create

Our first post!

Here goes nothing!

I’ve always been creative.  Ever since I could remember, I was making sculptures out of my food at the dinner table or breaking into my dad’s spray paint cans to paint some bits of treasure I had found.  Creativity was easy for me as a kid.  You just go out and do.  You make things.  As an adult, creativity has become much harder.  Just like most people in my position, I have my routines.  I have the same thing for breakfast every morning, the same lunch, dinner, etc..  I comb my hair the same way, I even drive my car with the same habits.  Habits and routine aren’t bad at all but I have found that I don’t make time for making things any more.  Creativity is something that needs to be done deliberately.  I didn’t realize this until I started Color, Construct, Create Studios back in 2011 with my lifelong friend, Kristin.  

It started off as a way for us to both work while not sacrificing time away from our families.  Doesn’t every parent want something like that?  We both had little kids at home and were working as a special education teacher and occupational therapist in the public schools.  We were good at what we did but even the best teacher/OT is not able to find work life balance amidst the unmanageable caseloads and time demands placed on us.  

My bachelor’s degree is in Fine Art.  I studied at San Diego State in the late 90’s.  When I got my teaching credentials, I decided to go ahead and spend the extra time and money to get the art credential even though, in the back of my mind, I never thought I would use it.  There aren’t exactly a plethora of jobs for art teachers any more.  Kristin, on the other hand, became an Occupational Therapist.  Although she doesn’t have the formal degree in art, she is one of the craftiest people I know.  She makes quilts, paints, designs and sews all her kids Halloween costumes, and so much more.  She has a natural gift for figuring out how make things.  In another life, she would have been a mechanical engineer! It makes sense because you wouldn’t expect a person to teach fine motor development without highly developed fine motor skills!  I always envied her ability to make just about anything and everything.  Although I can draw a true likeness of someone, I have never been a crafter.  I tried to scrapbook, knit, and several other things I thought I was supposed to be good at and failed.  Miserably!!  

When Kristin and I sat on her sofa back in 2010, brainstorming what the heck we were going to do with our lives, it dawned on us.  Do what we both love, arts (me!) and crafts (Kristin), with the kids we love to work with.  Lightbulb moment!!!  Over the past 5 years, we have had regular weekly classes and met some amazing kids and families.  During this time, I went through a major self realization.  I LOVE to be creative!  I also need to be creative.  Coming up with lessons that will teach new things to our students while building their love for creativity at the same time is one of the most rewarding things I could ever imagine.  It’s like a part of my brain that has been asleep for a very long time is finally awake.  Watching our projects inspire kids has to be the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced.  Wow.  How many people can say this about their job?  This!  This, right here, is why Kristin and I do what we do!  We are so lucky.