Saturday, November 6, 2010

Darwin R. Apel

Dear Friends,

We wish to thank all of you who have sent such kind and sincere condolences via phone, email, snail mail, and flowers. It's been a rough autumn for us here at The Paintbrush. Losing our bookkeeper would have been hard enough, but the fact that he was our father makes the loss that much worse. Knowing that we have so many friends out there has made the sadness a bit easier to bear. Our father was a well-loved man and he has left us a legacy of love with which to surround ourselves. We thank you for being a part of that legacy.

In our father's memory we have set up the Darwin Apel Memorial Sheets for Hospice Project to provide bed sheets for patients who are receiving home hospice care. If you would like to donate a set of twin size bed sheets (200 thread count or higher) or if you would like to make a donation so that we may purchase bedsheets on your behalf, please send or drop off your donation at The Paintbrush (address below). Checks should be made out to Melanie Apel. If you would like more information, please visit our website, send an email, call, or talk to Mindy in the studio. Again we thank you for your kindness, patience, and understanding during this very difficult time.

With great thanks,
Mindy, Melanie and Mrs. Carol

The Paintbrush
2856 N. Halsted
Chicago, IL 60657

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Back!

Not that I went anywhere. Though you might think I did since the last time I posted was in July. But with Summer Art Camp, adding new classes and a new teacher, I've been overwhelmed and neglected my lovely little blog.

What a busy summer! We had 4 wonderful weeks of Summer Art Camp throughout the summer months. If you didn't get the chance to try us out, don't worry, we have Art Camps throughout the school year and during the holidays in December. In fact, I think the next Art Camp day is creeping up on us soon....Monday, October 11th for Columbus Day in fact. Don't wait too long to enroll!

I want to thank Kristen who did an internship with The Paintbrush all summer. You may have met her during summer camp or seen her during my Thursday class. She has moved back to her hometown of MN and we wish her all the best!

For those of you asking for early morning or Saturday classes, we put them on our schedule! So what are you waiting for? Enroll!

Our Art Workshops for chidren ages 6 and up start again this week. We kick this week off with How Do I Draw That? drawing workshop on Mondays at 3:45. Remember, our workshops do have a start and end date, so if you haven't enrolled already, do so now!
To clear up some common confusion....Melanie is the voice on The Paintbrush's phone. You will NEVER get me on the phone because you're actually calling her cell. Yes, we do sound alike, but I'm the one in the studio and she's the one on the phone and never the twain shall meet! :)

And some big Happy Birthdays go out to.... Siena 2, Giovanni 6, Gabi 6, Christina 7, Anna 7 and Alec 7!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 27, 2010

We had a wonderful week of July Art Camp last week. Many of you asked about the children's amazing marble paintings. I assure you, they made them themselves! Here's an easy way for you to try the marbeling at home.
You'll need:
shaving cream
food coloring
tooth pick
popsicle stick

How to:
Spread shaving cream in bottom of pan. Drip a few colors of food coloring onto shaving cream. Drag tooth pick through food coloring making a marbeled pattern in shaving cream. Place paper ontop of shaving cream. Press gently. Remove. Scrape shaving cream off of paper with popsicle stick. Voila! You have a beautiful piece of marbeled paper!

Ok, so you missed out on July Camp or want to sign your kids up for another awesome week of Camp? No worries. We have 2, count them, 2 more weeks of Camp coming up in August.

August 16-20
August 23-27
ages 3 and up
lunch provided by Noodles and Co.
only $55 per day/ ask about weekly discount

call or email Melanie to enroll

And what's with all of the new classes you ask? Well, you asked for them, so we're giving them to you! Check out one of our new class times below. Same great classes, just more days and times to choose from!

Tiny Artists (18-48months)
Tuesday 9:20
Friday 9:20
Saturday 9:20

Little Masters (4-8 years)
Tuesday 5:15
Wednesday 5:15
Thursday 5:15

The Paintbrush wants to give a big Welcome to our newest addition, Miss Liz! Many of you have already met Miss Liz over the past few weeks. She will be teaching our new morning Tiny Artist classes. We are so happy to have her on board, we know you will be, too!

I big Happy Birthday goes out to.... Magda, 3, Sam, 5, Alessia, 4, Oleg, 3 and Giovanni 6!

Monday, June 14, 2010

June Summer Art Camp
June 14, 2010

What lasts 5 days, is 3 hours a day and is so much fun your kids won't be able to stand it? If you guessed Summer Art Camp at The Paintbrush, you're right! With the last of the schools letting out this week for summer vacation, don't be left wondering what your kids should do during their first week off.

June 21st-25th
lunch included!
$55 day/$270 week (currently enrolled students, sibs and Summer 2009 campers, ask for discount!)
3 to 9 years old
must pre-register/no drop-ins
Join us for 1 day or all 5 days, you won't be disappointed!

email us to enroll at or call us at 773-636-1968

I've had many parents ask what is the best way to showcase the beautiful art work their children bring home week after week. If you're looking for a more creative option, here are some fab ideas:
*snapfish them...this way no one has to fight over who gets which pieces!
*hang them on a clothes line in the playroom with decorative clips
*use larger artwork as a mat for smaller prints
*download pics of your faves and use as the slideshow on your computer
*create a low picture molding in your child's bedroom/playroom from a metal surface and hold up paintings with chunky magnets

And for those pieces that aren't simply done on paper? No problem. Anything that comes home on a canvas board or similar material can simply be propped up on a bookcase, nailed directly into the wall or anchored with picture wire.

Hope that helps and if you do decided to use one of the ideas, we'd love to see it! Send us a photo of your home art gallery to

This is the last week for the Lincoln School Kindergarten Art Class at The Paintbrush. It's been a wonderful year with all of you and I will miss this class dearly! You've each brought something special to our class and it wouldn't have been the same without you...Addie with your weekly change of clothes...Alec with your sense of humor...Anna with your peas...Christina with your ease for making new friends...Ellie with your ability to help anyone...Giovanni with your ability to put up with so many girls...Taylor with your quick grasp of new concepts. You're going to make great 1st graders, kids! I wish you all the best and I hope to see you all in the Fall!

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7, 2010
Summer Camp is just 2 weeks away! Enroll in 1 day or all 5, it's your choice. June 21-25. Email or call 773-636-1968 to enroll.
Our Drawing Workshop came to a close this week, but worry not, it will return in the Fall along with several other workshops for the older artists.
A big Happy Birhday goes out to Clare 3, Ellie M. 4, Morgan 4 and Clarisse 5!
The Paintbrush welcomes new students Ryan and Henry!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sofia, age 3
May 24, 2010
This wonderful painting by little Sofia was inspired by muralist, Diego Rivera. While we didn't paint right on the walls of the studio, the kids did paint on huge sheets of butcher paper taped to the walls.
Upcoming Events:
Summer Art Camp enrollment has begun! click on Summer Camp
for info, our schedule and to enroll.
Another Workshop is heading your way...School’s Out Scrapbooking/Father’s Day
Photo Frame-Up You choose! Scrapbook your favorite memories from the school year or
create a special Father’s Day piece for your dad, favorite uncle or grandfather, suitable for
framing. Bring at least 10-12 photos for scrapbooking or 2-5 photos for Father’s Day project.
Saturday, June 19 2:00-3:30
A big Happy Birthday goes out to Clare, 3 and Elizabeth, 4!
The Paintbrush welcomes new student, Henry R.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010
Happy Mother's Day

I hope all you moms enjoyed your lovingly decorated hands. I also hope they made it home in one piece!

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Sam B. 5 and Alexander R. 6!

The Paintbrush welcomes new students Ryan W. and Henry R.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Evi, age 5

May 3, 2010

Let's give mom a hand. Plaster of Paris hands inspired by sculpor Duane Hanson.

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Chloe, 2, Austin, 3, Colin, 5 and Miss Mindy!

The Paintbrush welcomes new students Alex C. and Rahul M.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Emma, age 7
Jackson Pollock's Splatters
Saturday, April 24, 2010

To celebrate The Paintbrush's 5th Birthday this past week, we broke out all the stops and did our messiest, funnest, most exciting art project that we have in our arsenal: Jackson Pollock Splatter painting! I honestly don't know who had more fun slinging paint this week, the adults or the kids. Many of you adults couldn't resist painting right along with your kids. If you want to try your hand at making your very own Pollock, we have parties for adults. Go to our website and click on Art pARTies for Grownups for more info.

Overheard at The Paintbrush this week..."Now this is what I call fun!"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Luca, age 4

We Don't Feel Blue
Sunday, April 18, 2010
We studied Pablo Picasso's famous Blue Period this week. Children chose one color in different shades to express a mood in their represented silly, yellow represented happy, etc.
Happy Birthday to The Paintbrush, Happy Birthday to The Paintbrush, Happy Birthday to The Paintbrush...sorry, I got a little carried away. It's just so exciting to be celebrating 5 years! Wow! We'll be celebrating all year long so keep your eyes and ears out for great deals on camp, classes and more!

But you don't have to wait long for some celebrating. In honor of our birthday, this week's project is none other than our signature birthday party project: Jackson Pollock inspired Splatter Painting. The kids will get down right messy dripping, splattering, shaking and squeezing paint onto their canvasses in the true Pollock-style. So much fun!

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Nami, 3!
Overheard at The Paintbrush this week..."My painting is all soggy."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gabi D., age 5

Spring Break Camp Has Sprung
Monday, April 12, 2010

How is Camp different from classes? During a camp week, we learn about a new artist every day. Last week, campers learned about contemporary and master artists alike. We looked at Salvador Dali, Maya Hayuk, Mustafa Duzgunman and Dale Chihuly, glass sculptor. You may recognize that name from his Garfield Conservatory 2001-02 solo exhibit.

And speaking of Camp, if you missed out on spring and are still kicking yourself, no worries, we’re not enrolling for Summer Camp! Join us for 1 day, all 20 days or anything inbetween. Each day will feature a different artist so don’t worry about repeating a project.
Camp runs:
June 21-25
July 19-23
August 16-20
August 23-27

Helen's Scrapbooking Spring Break Workshop was a hit with the kids this past Saturday. They're really adding to their photo albums. Don't miss our next Workshop, Saturday, May 1. This one is a special Mother's Day project.

For those of you who drive to class, Street Cleaning has begun this week. So much for the days of super easy parking...but don't worry, it will only be less than stellar two days a month, whew! I will send home copies of the street cleaning schedule this week. In addition, the days will be posted on the wall calendar as well as additional copies to take for your convenience.

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Addie D., 6!

And a HUGE Happy Birthday goes out to THE PAINTBRUSH! That’s right, we turn 5 on April 18! Melanie and I want to thank you all for getting us this far! As a thank you from us, send us a Happy Birthday email by Friday, April 23 and from all the emails we receive, we will draw a name to win $25 off your next 16-week session.

And hey, did you know that we are the easiest place around to Re-Enroll for classes?? No forms to fill out again, no specific days you have to re-enroll on, you don't even have to come in to the studio to re-enroll! So how do you re-enroll? Easy, return your re-enrollment form marked "Yes, I'm re-enrolling", tell me at the end of your class, call Melanie, shoot us an email. Easy? You betcha!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The website posts -- all in one!

Evi, age 4
Oodles of Doodles
Monday, April 5, 2010

"There is no must in art because art is free." Vassily Kandinsky
How can you tell if a painting is abstract or not? Just ask your kids....they know! If you can't tell what a painting is supposed to be, chances are, it's abstract! Kandinsky was the first abstract artist, creating his first abstract watercolor painting in 1910. Ask your kids to name another abstract artist!

Spring Break Art Camp is in full swing though it feels like Spring is leaving us. Sigh. I'll regale you with all the fun and excitement from camp in next week's blog! We have a few spaces left in our Friday camp, so it's not too late to get a spot!

We're also still taking enrollment for this Saturday's Workshop, Scrap Booking Your Spring Break with Helen. Older students (6 and up) can enjoy this 1 1/2 hour workshop with or without an adult.
You keep asking for them. Well, we have them! In fact, we've had them since February, so hurry up and jump on the bandwagon. This Tiny Artist class is from 10:30-11:15. Same great time, same great class as our week day classes.
Congratulations to Sloane F. on becoming a big sister!
The Paintbrush wishes Ellie B. and her family all the best on their move to Baltimore. We'll miss you!
The Paintbrush welcomes new students, Sofia Mia and Carlos C.
A big Happy Birthday goes out to Lucy and Ben, 4 and camper Samantha I., 5!
Overheard this week at The Paintbrush...."Is that artist a pirate?"
To enroll in any of our classes, camps or workshops, call Melanie at 773-636-1968 or shoot her an email at

Sloane, age 3

A Rainbow of Color
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
How do you make a colorful picture without paint, crayons or markers? You use colored tape! What a wonderful medium to work with and so creative. Looking at contemporary artist Maya Hahuk's painting, A Path For the Light, the children were inspired to make their own abstract "line drawings" on tiny 4x4 canvasses. What a powerful punch though....I think I found my new favorite medium!

The coolest thing about using a contemporary artist for my inspiration piece? I can email her or him! And that's just what I did. Ms. Hayuk was in the Netherlands launching her one-woman show and is off to London this week, but her response to my inquiries about her work was...."wow - thanks for connecting so hard with my work (especially as something you'd think kids would find interesting - woah)."

Camp, Camp, Camp, Camp.....Spring Break Camp is next week and we still have a few spaces available. If you haven't reserved your spot yet, do it now. You won't want your little Picasso to miss a moment of the fun we're sure to have. And don't forget about our Scrap booking Spring Break Workshop on Saturday, April 10, 2-3:30. It's a scrap booking one, so gather your spring break memories on film (you have a week to make them!) and feel free to join your child in this workshop led by Helen Wanderstock.

The next session of our Drawing Workshop with Carol, published children's illustrator, begins Monday, April 5th. This workshop is for the older students, so if you're looking for something for your child, 6 or older, this is just the thing!

Parents, we're still accepting photos of your at-home art galleries. I keep hearing about them, but now I want to see how you've displayed your child's artwork from The Paintbrush at home. Send a snapshot to me at subject: At-Home Art Gallery.

The Paintbrush welcomes new student, Polina M.

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Jacob, 10.

Tommy, age 4

Spring Has Sprung
Monday, March 22, 2010
What a perfect week to explore the beauty of Monet's water lily paintings. The trickling sound of water and birds chirping in the background gave students the feeling of painting outdoors, as Monet did, while creating their own peaceful water lily paintings.

Thank you to everyone who donated their gently worn shoes to the Haiti cause, Share Your Soles Your support was truly amazing. We are getting ready to sort and ship them off soon.

With spring break looming just around the corner, don't forget that The Paintbrush has Spring Break Art Camp, April 5-9. Join us for 1 day or all 5, you'll be glad you did! See our Camp! page for more details and to enroll.

The Paintbrush welcomes new students,sibs Giovanni, Alessia and Siena M!

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Helen B., 4 and Sophie W., 4! Girls, thank you for letting The Paintbrush help you celebrate your big day!

Overheard this week at The Paintbrush..."What you and Mindy do...for a birthday the best I've seen so far in Chicago (the children learn, create, have fun, and don't get hysterically excited!). You definitely met our standards."

Sam B., age 4 1/2

A Slice of 'Za
Monday, March 15, 2010
After many months of requests from students, they finally wore me down. The result of these requests....giant pizza slices inspired by Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Series. Students topped their pizzas with pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, green peppers, mushrooms, cheese, olives and spinach all made from a variety of materials.

This week we opened a new section of our Tiny Artists class on Wednesdays
at 11:30.

We welcome new students Eden V., Clare P. and Cilia C.!

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Helena Lee D., 3 and Grace K., 5!

Overheard this week at The Paintbrush..."Miss Mindy, you're the best picture-ist ever!"

Feeling Green
Monday, March 8, 2010
So we could have our art projects in time for St. Patrick's Day, we visited Ireland a little bit early. This very green art project was inspired by contemporary artist Sean Scully. Tiny Artists made a green collage using fabrics, papers, and other materials cut in rectangles to mimic Scully's painting, Wall of Light Heat.

Our workshop with Helen was a great success this past Saturday. Moms and kids decoupaged picture frames with a spring theme. Don't miss out on our next workshop, Scrapbooking Spring Break, Saturday, April 10, 2-3:30. Space is very limited, so call to enroll now!

Have you noticed all of the new class times we've added to our schedule? Beginning in the spring, The Paintbrush will offer earlier Tiny Artist classes, starting at 9:20am and later afternoon classes for the Little Masters at 5:15pm. So there's something for everyone!

We're also excited so announce that Carol's Drawing Workshop will be continuing in the spring....same time, same day.

And speaking of early enrollment, it's not too early to enroll in our Spring Break Camp. April 5-9, you can enroll in one day or all 5. See our Camp page for more info. And don't forget, currently enrolled students get $5 off!

Overheard this week at The Paintbrush..."This is so much fun, I want to do it all over. That's how much fun it is."

Taylor, age 6
Zebra Stripes
Sunday, February 28, 2010
How was this painting inspired by Morris Hirshfield's painting Zebra Family? It's all about the lines...curvy, straight, thin, thick, bumpy, swirly, etc. Using forks, spoons, sticks and other tools, our Little Masters created lines in this tempera and flour mixture to give their paintings wonderful texture and lines!

Our box of shoes for Haiti is filling up quickly thanks to your generous donations. Keep them coming in....let's see how many boxes we can fill!

Don't miss our upcoming Workshop, Saturday, March 6. The theme is Spring, so join Helen for an hour and a half of decoupag-ing fun! You can stay and play with your 6 and up child or drop her off. Check out our Art Workshops page for more info and to enroll.

I chatted with many of you about the possibility of having a 15-minute parking zone erected in front of the studio for easy drop-off and pick-up. In order to do this, we would have to pay the city a substantial amount to reserve those spots to make up for the "loss" they will take not being able to collect on people paying those meters. I think you all know my stance on the new meters and my jaw literally dropped when I received their response to my request telling me we would have to pay the city thousands of dollars (yes, they're asking for thousands) for you, my customers, to park in front of my business. So I offer my sincere apologies that we will not be getting a parking zone any time in the near future. I apologize for the inconvenience, but at least there's always available space for you to easily pull up in front of the studio and throw on your hazards (legal or not!).

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Ella, 7 and students Tommy, 4 and Van, 4! And we welcome new students Colin, S., Michael M. and Thursten Z. to The Paintbrush!

Did you know you can now follow us on Twitter and Facebook? Well, you can!

Overheard at The Paintbrush this week..."Thank you for making this the best birthday party in the history of birthday parties!"

Inez, age 7

Washington Didn't Chop Down This Cherry Tree
Monday, February 22, 2010

What do Japanese Cherry Blossoms have to do with Presidents' Day? In 1912, almost 100 years ago, Tokyo's mayor presented 3,000 cherry blossom trees to President Taft to celebrate the friendship between the two nations. Our campers created these beautiful tissue paper on watercolor blossoms and finished them off by signing their names in Japanese characters. Using a straw to blow on the paint to make the branches of the tree was apparently too much for one of out campers as she said "My eyes are getting dizzy!"

So many of you have been asking about that box of shoes in the greeting area. We are still happily accepting donations of gently used, washed shoes for the people of Haiti. Men's, women's or children's shoes, we'll take them all!

We had a busy weekend hosting birthday parties for Christian, now 6 and Lexi, now 8. I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my students Sloane, 3, Emma, 7 and Aviva, 3. Happy Birthday, kids!

What do the children remember from week to week? You'd be surprised! During our review of Rousseau's painting from last week when asked what was something that was interesting about Rousseau's paintings, Jackson, age 4, replied that "Monkeys don't live in conservatories." In fact, they don't Jackson! But Rousseau visited them often to paint his jungle and forest scenes, as well as the zoo to paint his animals.

I want to give a big welcome to Jennifer (Miss Jennifer to the kids) who is joining us from DePaul where she's pursuing her Master's in Education. Jennifer will be with us throughout the next few weeks, so be sure to give her a warm welcome.

Overheard at The Paintbrush this week...On her daughter's birthday party with us, "This exceeded my expectations."

Welcome Post
This week’s guest writer is none other than Miss Melanie, a.k.a. The Phone Voice, the one you’ll probably never meet unless you have a birthday pARTy at The Paintbrush, the face behind the emails...

We are so excited about everything at The Paintbrush this year because in April we will be celebrating 5 years! But heck, why wait til April to celebrate? The celebration starts NOW! Look for specials all year long to commemorate our 5th year in business. Our logo designer, Jen Gordon, designed a great 5 “sticker” for us. If you can find it in 5 places, email us and tell us all five places you’ve seen it and get a $5 gift certificate to The Paintbrush.

We’re off to a fabulous year already with a whole pallet of new students! The Paintbrush welcomes sibs Olivier, Clarisse and Maxime L., Oleg K., Eva B., Josh Z., Van C., CC. D., Tommy D., Chloe M., Ezra P,. Stella I. and sibs Jackson and Julia F. Our new students have capped several of our classes, but there’s still room for more budding artists in our other classes and workshops.

January was busy. We launched a campaign to get The Paintbrush featured on 190N and in Chicago Parent; we were featured on; our new radio commercial aired on 100.3; we have 74 friends on our colorful new facebook page; we launched a new lunch program with Roly Poly for our Camp Days and piloted it at MLK Day Camp (it was a delicious success); we put together an exciting and inspired series of ART workshops for kids ages 6 and up; we’re on Yelp! (got to to write your own review on us!); we’ve collected cash and shoes for the earthquake victims in Haiti; another radio commercial is in the works; and before you know it we’ll be on twitter! This is the year we put The Paintbrush on the map!

In class our Tiny Artists and Little Masters have learned about and created art inspired by artists Ansel Adams, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and Rick Doble. We have asked our little artists to submit photos of their at-home art galleries to be featured in online.

And we’ve hosted birthday pARTies for Hannah M., and Isabella C., as well as a fundraiser pARTy for the Cardinal Bernardin Early Childhood Center, and an adult wine&art pARTy attended by 14 adults who had an absolute blast.

Coming to this page at the end of this week... Miss Mindy from The Paintbrush!!