First Encounters With Art – Caren Hackman Interviews Glenn Tomlinson, Lyda Barrera and Christina Barrera-Part One

To ensure continuity within The Arts, we need to teach and model each generation. The Rickie Report invited Caren Hackman to investigate how to best introduce young people to art experiences and at what age.  This is the first section of a two part article. For this article, Caren consulted with three experts. We are grateful to Glenn Tomlinson, Lyda Barrera and Christina Barrera for taking the time to share their experiences with our readers.  Caren Hackman is a fine artist, graphic designer and author of “Graphic Design Exposed”.  We hope you will share these articles with friends, family and neighbors.  Let’s Keep The Arts Alive!



First Encounters With Art

Part I



Glenn Tomlinson has served as the William Randolph Hearst Curator of Education at the Norton Museum of Art since January, 2001.  (   Prior to that time he worked in museum education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He lives in Jupiter with his family. The Q and A with Glenn will appear in The Rickie Report tomorrow.

Lyda Barrera has taught elementary school art in the Palm Beach County School District for 25 years. She and her daughter, Christina Barrera, also work privately with students to prepare them for auditions at Bak Middle School of the Arts ( and Dreyfoos School of the Arts (

Christina Barrera, a professional artist, is an Undergraduate Admissions Counselor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City ( She spent two years working as a Museum Educator at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland (



Barrera's Bird Project

Lyda Barrera’s Bird Project


CH:  How do you begin a first art encounter with your kindergarten students?

LB:  Shapes.  I start by holding their hands through basic shapes to make a bird. I give them a structured lesson, with steps, so that they can begin to see how you can draw a real bird with simple shapes. I show them photographs of birds and also samples of drawn birds. They can choose whatever colors they want for their projects. The lesson takes up about four classes and they get introduced to paint when they create a background, but not color mixing yet.

CB: There was another lesson I remember we did in the first grade, teaching vertical and horizontal lines, primary colors, and shapes. We used our fingers to measure equal spaces and learned the difference between horizontal and vertical lines to draw straight lines in a grid. Then we used stamps of different shapes that we stamped in a pattern with primary colors. It taught us about line, color, and patterns all at once.


CH: How long are the art classes at school? Is the length of time appropriate?

LB: All the classes are 40 minutes long. 40 minutes is enough for kindergarten and first grade, but later an hour would be better, or even longer would be ideal.


CH: Christina, with what age children did you work at the Walters?

CB: In the museum, we had different programs ranging from infants to adults. We had programs for 1-12 months, 12-24 months, 2-4 years, 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 9-13 years, teens, and adults. They start in the galleries and then go downstairs for some kind of activity, usually an art project, although for the babies it’s just free play, and the adults usually don’t go into the studio.


CH: How young are the children who visit the Walters when they begin to create artwork based on observations from the exhibits?

CB: The youngest we ever had in the Art Babies program was a four month old! They were typically closer to six months to a year at the youngest. They’re not making art yet, just looking, touching, and interacting with their caretakers.

The Art Tots toddler program, for two to three year olds, is the first program where, after their gallery visit and gallery activities, they make artwork related to what they saw in the museum. Each session has a theme such as animals, story telling, celebrations, food, and many others. During each gallery visit we viewed three works of art that pertained to main idea or theme. The art project that followed was based on the theme so that they could connect what they saw in the galleries and their own experiences to create a work of art just like the artists in the museum.

The primary goal was to make the art project something that had easily definable steps and was as simple as possible.  We want them to put most of their energy toward personalizing their work of art and being creative, as opposed to spending all their time trying to build it the right way or follow a series of complicated steps. Often we tried to have the basis of the project be so simple that we didn’t make a sample, so they didn’t have anything to copy. That meant they were free to make it in whatever way occurred to them.




Lyda Barrera's Student with Artwork

Lyda Barrera’s Student with Award winning Artwork


CH: You’ve told me that most children draw freely without instruction before they begin taking classes and that you ask them to draw from observation.

LB: Drawing from observation engages the brain in a different way than free expressive art, which is also important but is not engaging their brains the same way.

CB: It’s important to make sure that young kids be told that there is no wrong way to make art! Later, I think it’s important for students to gain skills and challenge their brains to learn to analyze what they’re seeing and draw from observation, but it’s also so important to tell kids that there’s no wrong way to make art — it can’t be “right or wrong.” They should be free to make whatever they want; however they want. This freedom is especially important for a child who likes to make art but might not be that dedicated or skilled. It helps prevent them from getting discouraged because a project doesn’t look “right” or they’re “not good”.  Seeing and making art, developing motor skills and creativity are all important parts of development and can enrich someone’s life forever if their creativity isn’t invalidated early on.

LB: A lot of teaching young children is teaching in a group so that they see what the others are doing and are learning from each other. Also it helps motivate them because the interested students motivate each other to work harder and improve. Students who are talented but haven’t had much of a challenge can have a hard time adjusting to observational drawing with higher standards because it takes more work and practice than free drawing.


CH: I’ve watched you teach students. One of things that I admire the most is how well you explain each project’s techniques and objectives.

LB: I have been teaching 25 years.  I learned early on that it is important to be totally precise in your directions. Students can behave like a swarm of bees and they all follow wherever you go. You have to have the experience to learn how to instruct in a very specific, clear way so as not to mislead. The more times you teach a project, the better you get at explaining it.


The Rickie Report shares Part II tomorrow.


Caren Hackman is a graphic designer and fine artist living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. and author of a book about Graphic Design and Good Business practice: Be sure to check out Caren’s wonderful artwork – Caren is a talented artist in her own right! She is a founding member of the Artists of Palm Beach County.



For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


Using Your Art Images for Lower Cost Gifts

The Rickie Report receives numerous emails and phone calls from readers asking a variety of questions. We’ve invited Caren Hackman, author of “Graphic Design Exposed”, to be a guest columnist to answer some of them.  Today’s topic is how to use your original images to create lower cost gifts.



Using Your Images to Create Lower Cost Items



Question:     I am an artist.  I’d like to give a personal gift that shows my work without giving away a high cost original. I’d also like to offer lower cost gift items, with my art images, that can be purchase during the holiday season.


Caren Hackman's "Water Lillies"

Caren Hackman’s “Water Lillies”



Every holiday season I print notecards and package them for friends, family, and clients. The cards offer me an opportunity to share a favorite image with others.




Deborah Bigeleisen ( an artist who creates large scale paintings on canvas and Nina Fusco, ( an artist who creates three dimensional sculptures with paper, shared their methods for offering artwork as gifts.



Deborah Bigeleisen's "Magic"

Deborah Bigeleisen’s “Magic”



Several years ago Deborah Bigeleisen began sharing her work printed on note-cards, using a fine linen stock with matching envelopes, and elegantly packaged. In addition, Bigeleisen offers archival pigment prints on museum quality paper in sizes up to 13” x 19” priced from $25 to $95. Because her original paintings are large, ranging from 40” x 40” to triptychs that easily exceed 80” wide, and are priced from the mid-$7000s to the mid-$20,000s, the prints and cards are a terrific way to own Deborah’s work at fabulous prices.


Nina Fusco explained, “To make my work more affordable, I started photographing it and making notecards. Original work such as “Reach” which is 38” x 26”, sells for $1,000. Signed 5” x 7” cards with deckle edge envelope in a cello bag sell for $5.00 at crafts shows. I never knew what designs would be popular that day. I decided that I didn’t  want to be a card printer and carry inventory. A fellow artist and great painter, Betty Laur, introduced me to This is a wonderful venue for artists to upload their artwork and have it printed on notecards, t-shirts, hats, bags, magnets, and even stamps. Zazzle does most of the work to get my artwork out to the public, giving me more time to create.”




Nina Fusco's "Reach"

Nina Fusco’s “Reach”

At no charge to the artist, Zazzle maintains the artists’ stores, takes the orders, and ships the product. All of the products can be personalized by the purchaser. The artists get a small percentage, 10-15% is common. Online vendors such as Shutterfly ( and Zazzle are expanding the possibilities for artist. My research turned up many online vendors that will create gifts with art images, however Zazzle was the only one that operated robust marketplace for artist.



As artists, we should ask ourselves if the quality of the gift item is compares favorably with the original.  Each artist must decide if it is preferable to order the items ourselves to gift or sell, or if we prefer to have an online vendor handle the the store for us.



Please send your questions, no more than 250 words to:




Caren Hackman is a graphic designer and fine artist living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. and author of  a book about Graphic Design and Good Business practice.  Be sure to check out Caren’s wonderful artwork –  Caren is a talented artist in her own right!  She is a founding member of the Artists of Palm Beach County.


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


The Art of Display

The Rickie Report has taken notes while walking through juried and non-juried shows.  It is clear that the artists’ approach to displaying their work, be it jewelry, sculpture, paintings, hand turned wooden objects, or hand made clothing makes a significant impact on the viewer and potential buyer.

We want to share some of the best ideas and some suggestions for those artists who are happy to have been accepted into a show but are overwhelmed  about displaying their creations.

1. Make your display stand out among your fellow artists.  Everyone has a white tent but yours can sport a colored flag attached to the valance.  When a customer wants to “think about” a potential purchase, it is so much easier for them to find you again in a sea of people and tents.  Better yet, have the flag show what you are selling!

2. Are your signs written in an easy-to-read font that is large enough to read at least 10 feet away?  They can be colorful and theme oriented depending on what you are selling.  Looking professional with typed or computer generated signs cannot be stressed enough!

3.  Is your space easy to access?   Bringing your display to the inner reaches of the tent will give more people space to explore your wares.  Do your shelves hamper exploration? Can you hang some items from the inside top of the tent to free up floor space?  We’ve seen hand made pillows hanging from the tent top which was quite eye-catching.  The display itself was so colorful, we stopped in to speak with the artist and hear more about her work. Clever marketing!

4. Are your walls so full of artwork, the pieces begin to blend into one another?  Choose a few key pieces for a focal point.  Move pieces around during the show.  You have an opportunity to surprise the foot traffic passing by your booth with different work. Put one piece on an easel and keep switching it out to keep your display fresh and noticeable.

5. Jewelry displays are easily purchased through many companies.  The Rickie Report, however, finds the best ideas are ones that use ordinary objects for a different purpose.  A metal colander place upside down is a great earring holder and makes your jewelry more accessible than being pinned on a wall.  We’ve seen a mesh metal wastebasket turned upside down for the same purpose.  Now you have space on top ( actually the bottom of the wastebasket) to put a sign or another display.

6. A floor mat makes your space feel more professional.  You don’t have to get fancy or expensive.  Purchase some sail cloth and use decorative duct tape to seal the edges.  Voila!  You have a “rug”.

7.  How many show attendees hang out at a tent because the vendor has a fan?  A lot!  A battery operated fan not only helps YOU keep your cool, but invites lookers to stay longer and become shoppers.

8. Florida is dog country.  Be kind to your furry friends.  Have a bowl of water nearby.  Consider wrapped hard candies for throat parched customers, too.  Put the candy bowl next to your sign-up book to capture email addresses so you can reach out to people when you are going to be back in the area.  And if you sell via the internet, you have their information so you can send them a jpg of your “newest work since the show”.

9. Is your display family-friendly?  It is understandable that no one wants children running through an exhibit with glass pieces.  How do you keep their parents there long enough to inquire and buy while the kids are itching to move on?  Show a video loop of how sand becomes a piece of glass.  Have a small box of objects available for children to touch.  They will be the future buyers.  Teach them while you entertain them in a safe manner.

10. Keep your mess outside.  Store your packing materials, extra business cards, and food in a container outside the back of your tent.

The Rickie Report is always eager to share new ideas with our readers.  If you have a great display idea, send us a jpg and a short memo about how and why you use it.


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


Getting Your Work Published Part II

The Rickie Report is waiting to hear from those of you who get the nod to be included in any of these publications!   Welcome to Getting Your Published Part II.  More to follow. 

Stampington Company

Stampington & Company offers anyone the opportunity to get their creations published in our standing or special publications. For all publications, please follow the General Artwork Submission Guidelines as follows:

All artwork must arrive at our offices on or before the published deadlines.  We prefer submissions of original art.  If original art is not available, our next preference is hi-res digital images (300 dpi at 8½” x 10″).  If hi-res digital images are not available, we will very rarely consider professional-quality transparencies or color slides.  Color-copy submissions are not accepted.

All artwork must be identified with the artist’s name, address, e-mail and phone number clearly printed on a label attached to each sample.  As artwork often gets separated from instructions during our selection process, we ask that you also inscribe your name and address somewhere on each piece of art.  If you desire acknowledgment of artwork receipt, please include a self-addressed stamped postcard.

For  collaborative projects, it is the responsibility of the submitting artist to obtain permission from each participant prior to submission.  In addition, each  piece of the collaborative must be labeled with contact information of the artist who created it.  Please be aware that the collaborative project in its entirety will only be returned to the submitting artist and must have sufficient return postage.

If the artwork is three-dimensional, please attach your identification with a removable string, or pack the sample in a plastic bag with your identification. Artwork without proper identification will not be considered

Depending on the publication, concise yet thorough instructions must accompany each art sample. Attach individual sample instructions to each piece of artwork and include credits for art stamp images used, as well as any other products of note. If you are able, please keep an electronic version of your instructions, as you may be requested to send those in if your work is selected for publication.  Please send submissions to: (Name of Magazine Title)   22992 Mill Creek, Suite B   Laguna Hills, CA 92653ARTWORK MANAGEMENT POLICY Sometimes, a piece of artwork submitted for one issue may be better suited for an upcoming issue. Other times, submissions are forwarded for consideration to the editors of our sister publications. For these reasons we may hold your sample for an extended period of time — 9-12 months is common.Rest assured that we will take excellent care of your artwork, but Stampington cannot be held responsible for damage or loss due to circumstances beyond our control. In the meantime, if you move, please send a postcard or e-mail to the editor with your new address.Due to the large volume of artwork we receive, Somerset Studio will return only those submissions accompanied by sufficient postage in the form of cash, check or money order made out to Stampington & Company.  We can not offer delivery confirmation; however, we are happy to put insurance on the submission. If you wish to have your artwork insured for the return journey, please include sufficient funds and indicate your preference in a postcard or letter enclosed with your submission. Please do not attach postage to packaging, and do not send loose postage stamps. Contributors from outside the US, please send cash, check, or money order in US funds to Stampington & Company.
For those titles that run feature articles, please see the following Writers’ Submission Guidelines:
WRITERS’ SUBMISSION GUIDELINESIf you have a unique artistic technique you’d like to share with others, please send samples of your artwork accompanied by a query letter outlining your article idea to the respective Managing Editor at:(Name of Magazine Title) 22992 Mill Creek, Suite B    Laguna Hills, CA 92653.  Managing editors also welcome brief e-mail queries. (E-mail address can be found on the masthead of each publication.)  No telephone calls, please.  Please note that the artwork itself often sells the article. Managing editors seek first-rate projects and encourage artists who have not published articles before to submit ideas, as editorial assistance will be provided. Competitive editorial compensation is provided for all published articles.Depending on which magazine you are most interested in submitting artwork to, you are encouraged to review any additional guidelines that are unique to each magazine, which are published in each issue of all standing titles.

Belle Armoire Jewelry 

          If you’d like to share your inspiration and detailed how-to instruction for creating beautiful jewelry with readers, we want to hear from you. Belle Armoire Jewelry covers a broad range of mediums, from art clay to polymer clay to found object to fiber to wire to beads and much, much more. Whether you are a creator of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, pendants, rings or other jewelry, we welcome you to submit your artwork for consideration of publication. Deadline for artwork to be received: Quarterly every October 15th, January 15th, April 15th, and July 15th.

Somerset Life

The Magic of Flour Sack Towels:  I’ve always been charmed by the timeless beauty of a simple flour sack  towel. I have a large stack of them under my sink to use in my kitchen,  and I’m sure many of you do too. For this challenge, we want to see you  take the flour sack out of the kitchen, and bring it into your everyday  life. They can easily be dyed, or ripped apart to make great fabric  strips. What can you do with them? We can’t wait to see. We’ll publish  our favorites in our Summer issue. Deadline: February 15, 2012

Celebrations of Life Summertime Fun:   This year, we’re looking for all things Summer. Do you have a creative  way to pack your beach towel? Do you make fun covers for all of your  summertime reads? Will you throw a party to celebrate the Fourth of  July? We hope you love Summer as much as we do, and will celebrate it  with us by sending in your best summertime ideas. Deadline: February 15, 2012

Welcome to Your Nest Kits:   We were so charmed by the kit Kristen Robinson developed for her new  neighbors that we thought it’d be fun to see what other items our  readers would include. Put your spin on Kristen’s idea and send us the  results. Deadline: February 15, 2012

Locales of Intrigue  This special department features stories about truly unique stores and boutiques across the globe. Stores that would like to be featured in this department are asked to submit digital images of the store with a brief written query to the Editor-in- Chief. If the submission is accepted, professional hi-resolution digital images (300 dpi at 8″ x10″) will need to be furnished by the store. Deadline: Ongoing.

Life Creative Spaces   Where do you create? Whether it’s a small table or breakfast nook, cleared-out closet, or an actual room dedicated as your creative studio, we want to peek inside. If you think your creative space is something that Somerset Life readers would like to learn more about, please submit digital images of your space with a brief written query to the Editor- in-Chief at If the submission is accepted, you will be asked to furnish professional hi-resolution images (300 dpi at 8″ x 10″). Deadline: Ongoing.

Mood Boards   Artists frequently create mood boards that contain scraps of paper or fabric or other assorted elements that they like to display on a wall or a large piece of cardboard or foam core. These boards provide a ground from which ideas for projects come alive. Aside from their functionality, mood boards can become incorporated as part of the décor. Please submit digital images of your mood boards with a brief written query to the Editor-in-Chief. If the submission is accepted, you will be asked to either furnish the actual mood board or to provide professional hi-resolution images (300 dpi at 8″ x10″). Deadline: Ongoing.

Artful Kits    We all love to collect papers, ribbons, embellishments, and other bits and bobs. More fun than collecting specific elements is finding creative ways to juxtapose the pieces together to create unique kits. Whether you create them to give away or to sell or offer to students in a workshop setting, we’d like to see your favorite kits. Please send in kit samples directly to the Editor-in-Chief as outlined in the Submission Guidelines. Deadline: Ongoing.

Miscellany    Sometimes, an image of something lovely is all we need to feel inspired. Have you taken a photo of something that makes you feel inspired? Perhaps it is a photo of your collection of vintage handkerchiefs. Or an old stack of books. Or your treasured stash of ribbons. Please submit your favorite digital images (5″ x 7″ @ 300 dpi) to be considered for Somerset Life’s special Miscellany department to the Editor-in-Chief.

Seasonal: We also encourage general submissions centered around the seasons.

  • Submissions for New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and other winter-related celebrations need to arrive every August 15th.
  • Submissions for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other spring-related celebrations need to arrive every November 15th.
  • Submissions for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other autumn/winter-related celebrations need to arrive every May 15th.

Take 10

We are looking for quick and easy stamped cards for this best-selling magazine. Send us your “ten minutes or less” artwork in any style, theme or color and we’ll send you a free issue if your artwork is published. (Due to the volume of submissions, artwork submitted to Take Ten will not be returned.) Deadline: Ongoing.

Quick & Easy Stamped Projects   Here at Take Ten, we are always on the lookout for quick and easy stamping techniques — but that’s not limited to cards! We’d love to see what you can create when you go beyond cards. Pick up your stamps, give yourself 10 minutes, and see what interesting stamped projects you can come up with. From tags and boxes to frames and gift bags, we want to see it all! Send us your best for a chance to be published in an upcoming issue of this quarterly publication. Deadline: Ongoing.

Artful Journaling

In every semi-annual issue of Art Journaling, artists open their journals and share creative techniques for capturing their emotions. From stamping and collage art to painting and sketching, each journal is filled with innovative techniques and inspirational stories. If you have an art journal that you would like to share with our readers, we would love to hear from you.

Create With Me

Experience the joy of bringing art into a child’s life with Create With Me. Create With Me is raising the bar by featuring Somerset-quality artwork made by both adults and children. Through easy-to-follow techniques, helpful tips and resources for artistic parents, this magazine is sure to inspire artists of all ages. If you would like to share your love of art with a child in your life, we would love to see the results. Whether you create a piece together, or create coordinating projects side-by-side, please send in your artwork for possible publication. Stitched, painted or altered, we want to see it all! Deadline for artwork to be received: Semiannually every February 15th and August 15th.

Haute Handbag

How do you carry it? That’s the question Somerset Studio would like to help answer through our new and exciting special publication titled Haute Handbags. Whether we use purses, clutches, totes, portfolios, sacks, bags, or attachés, there are many styles made with an astounding array of materials emerging from all corners of the creative world – all vying to be carried and used with style. You are welcome to construct a bag from scratch, or to purchase one that you embellish and alter with paints, beads, rubber stamps, ribbons, buttons, transparencies, and more. No medium or material is ruled out so use your imagination to make bags of leather, wool, fabric, paper, plastic, wood, glass, or any other materials that you love. Deadline for artwork to be received: Semi-annually every November 15th, and May 15th.

Green Craft

Finding creative uses for old items is nothing new to artists, but the spirit of preserving the planet is more important than ever before and GreenCraft Magazine is here to honor and inspire those who find artistic applications for normally discarded resources. GreenCraft will provide ideas for repurposing trash to treasure by showcasing projects where waste is repurposed into ecologically chic creations. So … have you found a use for cardboard rolls left over from paper towels? Have you cut up an old T-shirt and knitted it into a purse? Have you taken a burned-out light bulb and made it into a beautiful flower vase? Have you transformed old board games into notebooks? Then we want to hear from you! Submit your recycled, reused and repurposed items to GreenCraft Magazine today! Deadline for artwork to be received: Semi-Annually every September 15th & March 15th.

For coverage of your events, listing of announcements in our events section, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420