Sunday, August 29, 2010

So...these are cool....

Shh! don't tell anyone I'm blogging! Classes start tomorrow and the last thing I should be doing is blogging! Here's my ever so quick version of events...

These doors are from my parents house. It was a 1950's bungalow. That means small. When the house became mine I defied all disbelievers ( the auctioneers, husband and a slightly disbelieving but willing to give it a go- real estate agent) by remodeling it into a really cute contemporary little bungalow. These doors were to the front entry and two closets. "I want those" I told the builder. "You do?" He said before he could help himself. "Yep- all three." I had the yucky varnish and several layers of paint sandblasted off them. Hey, I don't fool around, I want no part of that nasty chemical stripper. Sandblasting them really made the grain of the wood pop out- kinda like driftwood.

I knew someday I would do something really cool with these and Saturday was that day. I painted them turquoise, hot orange and limey green. Of course, one color is never enough so I mixed in a few other colors. They went to Navigator Artisans where they will be fitted with chicken wire so ornaments and such can hang from them. Navigator Artisans is a grass roots group of artsy ladies are trying to get a small gallery and art classes started. More about that later...

This big little lady got her self a gown of sorts and boy did it take some doing! I spent hours trying to make paper mache' stick to screening. It truly illustrated to me the saying What is the definition of Stupid- doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. One would have thought I would have learned that lesson dating but apparently, stupid me, I forgot!

I could not get the mache' to stick. Now- I should tell you this is not typical armature screen but rather typical window screen because- well, armature screening is expensive and I'm cheap and she's 4' tall.

So, I thought about it and thought about it and finally purchased some cheesecloth and plaster of Paris. I draped the cheese cloth over the screen and poured on the plaster. I had to work quickly- that plaster sets up so fast and I was working with a large amount. DAYS later when this new method was finally dry I tried the paper mache' again and guess what- it stuck.

I was kinda mad that it wouldn't work just on the screen. Why didn't I know that? It had worked on other screen! The paper mache' just kept falling or peeling off but I was so determined that I just kept sticking it back on- for at least two hours I tried! The more it fell off the madder and more determined I got! Oh well, lesson learned. Well, I said I'd make it quick but quick isn't my strong point!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Think Before You Speak

Brooke was delighted to see a frog on top of our grill. "Get it off. I'm about to turn the grill on." said my husband. She tried to catch it but it hopped away and Kayla was able to capture it. Annoyed by the commotion my husband said "Enough! Put it in the grass!"
Kayla is on a new medicine that I call the agreeable pill.
She's much more agreeable.
We love the agreeable pill.
Kayla was happy to co-operate and proceeded to 'put the frog in the grass'.

Unfortunately- the grill that the frog was on resides on our deck. The deck is approximately 12' above said grass.

Kayla may be more agreeable but she's still Kayla.

Perhaps the wording would have better served the frog if it had been- "Kayla, take the frog down to the grass and gently let it go. Yep, probably would have been better for the frog.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Helen's Neighbor Ladies finished!

Just thought I'd take a minute to share the results with you..... I have just a couple of more that didn't make the photo shoot. One got dropped on the brick landscaping stone and she's in for a little repair.

This lady was a swap submission for cloth paper scissors. I wonder where in the U.S. she'll end up?

This saucy little brunette now lives with my friend since third grade- Rhonda. Happy be-lated birthday! Its weird but she picked it herself out of the line-up and that's the same one I would have chosen for her.

This next little blonde went to Ireland and I hope she loves her new country!

Hoping to open an Etsy store soon and these ladies are tagged to go in it! Do you have a favorite? Love to know....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feelin' pretty jazzed about this!

Yep! Uh huh, can I get a....
ok, Hannah Montana I am not! But wow! Encaustic is fun and I want you all to run out and buy yourself all the supplies you need and get started on this! What are you still doing here? Go now!

Attention folks: The following are the results of an encaustic play date and yes, you should try this at home.

Friend Barb and I started with this one. We used a pre cut board with a small lip that I found at Michaels in the unfinished- pre cut -wood area. I also bought several plaques because they had a nice routered edge. This one, with the slight edge seemed a natural way to contain the wax and have a frame around the piece.

First we laid down a layer of wax as a base.
Next we laid in a sheer piece of fabric with a scroll design. Then we went over it with the heat gun which promptly melted the polyester. Lesson One.

Lesson Two- do not point the heat gun at Barb or other co-hort as "I'm melting...I'm melting" is not something you want to hear being screamed at you. My apologies, Barb.

Lesson Three- other than the material covered in lesson two- there are no mistakes in this art form, only opportunities. Our burnt edge of poly became a place where we could hang up wax creating a nice break in the surface. You can see this brown area in the picture. It creates a strong visual center and kind of pulls the eye along the curvy line created by the fabric. We dropped in a couple thin bamboo sticks to contrast the movement of the other lines. The flowers you see are dried Queen Anne's Lace- a personal favorite of mine. The shells gave us some needed three dimensional bulk.

Then we played around with adding encaustic to a paper image. Barb had the very cool thought to cut copper screen and add just a couple of squares which made the color pop. We lost a lot of the original image while we were pushing wax around. I scraped it off the bird and stem of the flower to keep those prominent. this time around the bamboo sticks served to create a foreground as they appear to be in front of the bird. Barb added a Queen Anne's Lace blossom but it got kinda smooshed up and I think it looks like a nest. Like it. The original flower was much smaller but in this medium things have a way of growing larger not smaller. Like it! The brown you see in both these pieces is instant tea mix. You can pour it on while the wax is wet and it will be very dark burnt umber-ish. Let the wax almost dry, pour it on and then shake off the excess and the color is more golden. Like that, too!

Barb tried her hand at a floral but discovered that working 'small' is not easy in encaustic. I do like how the wax went over the edge and the visual depth created here. Remember- no mistakes, only opportunities.

I, too, tried my hand at a floral and when things went awry I just grabbed my friendly heat gun and started blowing wax around. I absolutely love this little mess! It makes me want to do a big abstract for my living room wall.

WHAT? DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TWICE? GO NOW! Go get you some wax, baby!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hate it!

Hey- I've been missing in action for awhile! Stuff at work had me mentally bogged down. If I had to describe my boss's mood as a odor it would be some where between a fart and the smell of death and decay. Weekends have been taken up with family re-unions and quick little get-aways. But the good news is I had a playdate with friend Barb and we tried our hand at ENCAUSTIC painting and I fell in love like a teenager the first time a cute older boy showed her some attention. Wait- maybe that's too much of a visual for you...skip that...I just plain fell in love- it was like the seas parted and a great light shone down on me and angels sang in the back ground.....ok, so I get a little carried away. But wait till you see what we did...wait you will- till Barb e-mails me the pics!

Just hate these! Maybe I am being oversensitive but I had such high hopes for these and they just didn't turn out as fabulous as I thought they would.

I wanted to evoke that forever summer/hippie feel and I dunno' I just don't like them. So I will finish the other two and put them away for awhile and who knows, maybe the next time I look at them I will see something different. Do you ever do that with your art?

'till next time ladies!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I have no will power!

So I broke down and purchased this book. Man, is it ever cool! I had no clue there were so many ways you could get an image from one surface to another. A whole new world has opened up for me. Alas- still just me in this world, the portal didn't come equipped with a magical never-ending limit credit card or anything like that.

So the official name for this kind of transfer is called a 'skin'. I typed a phrase on regular paper with my regular ink jet printer. I think it probably works better with heavier weight paper. I coated it with matte gel medium. If you use gloss you get a more 'sheer' skin. I'm out of gloss so thought I'd experiment with matte. It seems that there are no wrong results- only different results.

my intention is to glue the skins on top of the previous transfer attempt. Really the way I was doing it was more of a cross between transferring and decoupage. Then I will embellish the feet further with three dimensional objects- shells and such.

Remember the 'whole new world' bit? These are "vintage" handkerchiefs from my mother's side of the family. We never threw anything out. When I cleaned out my parents house to sell it took three dumpsters. Big ones. No kidding. I kept some things but it was overwhelming to even decide what had value. So what to do with them besides just pack them away and pull them out every few years to look at?

WELL....they will make great backgrounds (already vintage- no need to embellish!) for crafts or stationary!

And...all those photo's I have been taking and hoarding (the fruit didn't fall far from the hoarding tree) can now be background material or incorporated into art. I have a thing about using images that don't belong to me. I want whatever I create to be mine from conception to completion. So- now I have a bigger pool of 'material' to draw from. Yay!!!!

MY final analysis is- Run, don't walk, out right now and buy this book. It will be a valuable part of your library!