Monday, July 30, 2012

The Matriarch and the Maiden

Well, I don't know what you guys were all worried about!
She turned out just fine.  I gave the Matriarch an underskirt and now you can see the Maiden.  There.  Simple, easy, done.
   Ok, so really it was me that was in the proverbial quandry, I admit.  Sometimes it gets near to the end of the project and you think you should have been done already but you know things aren't quite right.  And, if you are a busy person this can be a bit frustrating.  After all- I'm on to my new challenge.  Haunted Bride!  Do you know if you research these words on the internet there's really not much out there?  I thought the internet had it all but I was dissaopointed.
 I took a bazillion pictures because I'm insane that way.  Plus I wanted to try back lighting behind the fabric which the above shot shows quite clearly.  Not sneaking that one past anyone.

and I should have brightened up the picture of the back for you but I'm a little lazy.

But feast your eyes on the little Maiden!  Isn't she wonderful?  As long as she stays up on her little hook I promise to love her unconditionally.  (See what I did there- ha!)

You know how I usually have a story with the sculpture?  Well, I don't.  Just the title- The Matriarch and the Maiden.  So how's about you make one up for me.  Tell me what you think this sculpture is all about?  Why is the matriarch so still?  Who's really in charge here?  I suspect it may just be the little person.  What kind of creatures are they, anyways?  Boy, you have some work to do.

She really has a lovely face.  This is my first use of glass eyes and while I still am a big fan of the painted eye, for this project- the luminosity and depth was perfect.

Yes, she's done.  Sigh of relief and accomplishment.  I should probably clean a bathroom, or two, now.  Or find a job.  Or pay bills.  Or develop the story of the haunted bride.  She's from the 30's or 40's and was a war time bride.  She was waiting for her husband to come back from over seas and thought she'd surprise him by greeting him in her bridal gown.  Only he never got off the ship.  Knowing deep in her heart this was a bad sign she decided to wait right there on a bench on the pier.  And there she is to this day- waiting in a beautiful white gown....creepy, huh???  Well, ok, I guess the yucky bathrooms could come first.

Now- tell me what you think the story behind the Matriarch and the Maiden is!  I can hardly wait!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Remember how I said I was painting the girl's room a shade of turquoise that was so pretty I wanted to lick it?

Well, this is it.  I don't know if it shows as well in the picture- perhaps you have to be right on top of it to fully enjoy its depth and luminosity.  Maybe you do have to lick it.  Just sayin'.

Accessories are the finishing touch so I had to get rid of their old jewelry boxes and came up with something new.  By 'came up with' I mean 'wasted a whole Sunday on them'.

Thought I'd share with you- but be kind- I am not the queen of decoupage.
A couple of heart shaped paper mache' boxes and some glass drawer pulls and my stash of images and I was set to go.  For Brooke's box I had altered photo's of the queen herself.  

For Kayla's I used her drawings- the super cute blue line drawings of fashionable ladies.

This way they each had a reflection of the individual girl's personality yet they look great together. 

The last touch was glitter- which really didn't mesh with the vintage-y, paper-y feel of the project but once its on...there's no getting it off so I embraced it as well- GLITTER!  Because in the land of glitter MORE IS MORE!  

Happy Monday, Everyone!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You, too, can do this....

Yes, I do believe that.  And to help you along I am going to give you instructions.  First off- you must have photshop and be able to open it.  You must already be able to open a file in photoshop.  Laugh if you want, but I had to take a class to even do that.  

Start with an image that speaks to you.  I thought this one would give some interesting contrast because of the light on the face.  Open it as a new file.

Then start messing around with those filter options.  I like to pull down the filter gallery.  In my humble opinion filters are the very best part of this program- SOOO FUN!  Now, I'd like to tell you how I made the image look like this.....but I don't remember.  Actually it went something like this....hmmm, yeah...this is ok...but let's try another option....Oh...COOOOL!  Uh, crap!  How'd that happen?  (Yeah, its that kind of tutorial- did you expect anything else from me???)  It may be 'bas relief'.  With that filter you choose a color and it it will alter the look and color of the image.  Or it may be two effects combined.  If you look down to the right while the filter gallery is up on the screen you will see that Photoshop lets you combine filters, you can turn some off or even delete the filters you don't like.  Its really sweet.

I started seeing this altered image as a sleeping maiden and went in that direction.  I wanted to eliminate the sections that screamed modern day.  The sofa, the blanket, the tank top.  So I brought in those butterflies again.  

This is a different butterfly.  I have been having a lot of fun using a site called The Graphics Fairy.  Tons of copy right free or royalty free images- vintage, mostly.   I opened this as a new file and deleted away everything but the butterfly.  This can take some time and there are several ways to do it.  I'd love to use magnetic lasso but its tricky and gets away from me.  To get the large portions out of the way quickly you can use elliptical lasso and hit delete.  I do the large areas and then zoom in and get into the really tight areas.  To clean it up I use the eraser and kinda roll it over the areas.  I know there's better ways...I just don't know what they are.  Yes, this is a stunningly professional and helpful tutorial.  Once its cleaned up I selected it with the selection tool and dragged into the maiden picture.  From there you can turn it in the direction you want by grabbing the corner boxes.  Wait for it....I mean the two headed arrow to show up that's the one that lets you turn vs. changing the size.  

I also went to the edit tab and chose "transform" which lets me distort, skew, warp, add perspective, etc.  This is one you want to use- a lot.  I twisted that butterfly all kinds of up and down and sideways and the image looked great no matter what I did to it! 

But I needed more than one butterfly right?  Well, wish I would have thought of that a little sooner.  Like right after I brought the butterfly into the working file (that's what they call it- the original file- the maiden- good tutorial, right?) because I could have just duplicated the layer. Which I did, anyways, it was just kinda already twisted up but who cares- this is just practice.   So on the bottom right of my screen in the box where all my layers are I clicked on that layer to make sure I was in the right one (ha, Yeah, that's crucial- know which layer you're in) and right clicked to get the duplicate layer option.   From there I twisted and turned it using 'transform' in the Edit menu.

What else did I do?
There was a flower under her face.  I made a new copy of this layer. Selected that flower and deleted everything else but the flower.  Then I copied that layer two more times.  See how there is now three flowers? 

 I also messed around with the properties of the flower layers- one I brightened and one I faded out the opacity so it was not as dominant.  I added a directional source of light but am not sure it helped as my focal point is a little lost and the butterflies dominate a bit too much.  These actions were performed in the layer box- on the right side, down to the bottom.
At the top of the layer box there are drop down menus.  Opacity it to the right and all these really cool effects (not filters- effects- you won't find them in the filter menu) are located in the drop down menu to the left.
Whew.  I'm going back to bed.  Oh, don't forget to save the finished file as a jpeg so you can do your own stunning awesome tutorial someday.  By the way- there are lots of REAL tutorials on YouTube.  Nothing helps like actually seeing what's going on.  The only way to learn this program is to use it- a lot.  I recommend taking a class to start know, so you can even begin to open a file?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pssst...I did it again...she's gonna kill me!

My girl doesn't like it when I take pictures of her when she's sleeping.  "Don't Sleep." Says woman who gave birth to her.  This time, two years later, its morning time that I caught the light on her face.  This is rare- me up before her...I'm a night owl and she, like her father is up with the birds.  Today it must be the dream of butterflies keeping her in this slumber.

Ok, so really I'm trying to learn photoshop.  Before you are too impressed this took me two hours and I haven't showered yet.  On the to do list- everything!  I just got the newest edition of ADQ- Art Doll Quarterly and the challenge is BRIDES.  Why so excited?  Because the idea of doing a haunted or forgotten bride has been hanging around the edges of my creative mind for months!  So haunted- forgotten- perhaps war time bride it is!!!!!

Then there's those paintings in process...can't sell them if they never leave the basement....
But first....have to remove the black from my hair.  uhhh, yeah, that's a story.  For two weeks I have been doing my own personal impression of Kim Kardashian.   Or Elvira would be more like it.  Or Elvis.  Either way- its gotta go.  
I took my hair to a job interview, by the way.  And I looked that woman straight in the eyes, did not back down and acted completely natural.  For a 43 year old woman with Goth hair applying for a sales position, anyways.  Hey, I can only control so much at one time.
And then there is the girls bedroom that I also spent two weeks painting.  One week of prep time, one week of painting two shades of turquoise.  Folks- if I have said it to one person, I have said it to everyone- these two colors are so yummy I could LICK them.   As a designer- with a degree- I am qualified to make statements like that.  I will post pictures as proof but I am way behind right now....must something and then shower...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Second Commission Completed

Remember this?  I sold it.  And then commissioned one.  Yes, a man was so saddened when he had learned that he missed his chance to buy this that his darling (and she was a sweetheart) wife contracted me to create another one.

You know what's hard?  Commissioned art.  At least with a personality like mine.  Will they like it as much as the one they saw?  Its not the same.  Not exactly the same.  Will she like it as much as he did?

OMG, what if she hates it? 
What if it doesn't go with their furniture and then she hates him for it?  And every time she looks at it all she can think is 'God, how I hate that!'  What IF??????  Really, I like it when people just buy the one in front of them.  Sure, it sounds fancy to say "I've been commissioned...." But is it worth the stress? Well, farts and feathers, folks- I sweated this one.  I even drove over to the new home of the first painting and held them side by side.

But in the end, I think the second one was better and I delivered to said client to give as a gift to her significant other and hopefully..........I may never know...Why?  Why doesn't the client call and let me off the hook???Why I ask you?

Monday, July 2, 2012


You haven't seen this one in awhile! I deviated away from my general course and just came back round to her.  I think her name is The Matriarch.  

I looked on my blogger profile and it said I hadn't posted since June 14th!  Well, all I can say is that things are not normal around here.  I am not used to being home and do not know how to structure my time.  I'm like this at the 'all you can eat' buffet.  I take a little bit of everything that looks good, in no particular order and in the end I have way too much to eat- can't get to it all.  That's my life right now.  The plate is still overly full- just with different stuff.

I thought I could organize myself to share this little bit with you.  Sometimes I am happy with her progress, sometimes not.  Its my first creature and as I really didn't follow a predetermined design concept- well, its been a wandering path to say the least.  I did not know she would be so costumed.  That kinda happened last night around midnight.  And, who knows, it may all be ripped off tonight at midnight.  

See- there's a problem.  As much as I like the gold skirts- they block the light.  Without the light its really hard to see the tiny little butterfly fairy in the belly.  Not only is that visually distressing its just plain distressing because I went through something like reverse child birth to get her in there.  

I thought and thought before I even attempted it.  How would I attach her?  She'd have to hang.  How in the hell would I get a hanger in there- in the right place, of the right length and how would it stay attached?  Then how would I get her up in there on a hanger and make her stay?  This is why you haven't seen much of her....I've been devising ways to get this delicate surgery done and done right.  

My first attempt included wiring her upside down to two chair backs (back to back, each had a back rail that I could wire to) and dripping glue down a straw.  There was way too much glue.  I had decided to try to make things simpler by attaching the hook directly to Madame Butterfly and lowering her into the glue.  Then the plan was to leave her there until everything was dry and then flip her over to a successful end.  Not so much.  I thought everything was ruined.  There was glue all over everything especially Mme. Butterfly who got soaked.  For sure she was ruined!  I WAS SO MAD!!!!!  I thought I would never get that glue out of the sculpture either.  I stomped around and cursed- a lot.  But it turns out the glue was water based and a few days of hanging around upside down between the chairs again, this time with water, was conducive to the removal of said cursed glue.  And Mme. Butterfly was just a little stiffer than before.  Oh, the angst!

When I tried it again I used E-6000 glue and separated the hanger. It dried quick and strong.  I love E-6000 and promise to never stray again.  Then I devised a contraption that would hang the butterfly and gently let go of her once hung.  SEE?  That's what's keeping me from all of you- the maniac in my brain! Why, I won't even go into how I didn't like the lack of color relationship between the yellow greens and the blue-er greens and spent hours dotting tiny daubs of color to try to make them better related only to wipe most of it off the next day.  Long story short- do you think I should do an underskirt of cream fabric so that the teeny butterfly fairy in her belly can be seen better?  And can you believe a 43 year old woman is writing a sentence about a teeny butterfly fairy in a belly?  I think I need a real job........

By the way- friend Melanie from The Positive pessimist may be the one that drove me over the proverbial edge.  She nominated me for two awards and then tagged me for an 11 things about you post!  Man, it takes time to do the bio for those...and its really maddening when the power goes out and you lose everything because you know, you just know that you never ever go back and finish what you started....the pressure is just too much!  Sorry Mel!  There is only so much cleverness in this girl and I think the storm took it.

So the Matriarch remains a work in progress but so much closer to the finish line and I remain hunched over in a dark corner wringing my hands and twisting my brains into pretzel shapes to figure her out.  I don't even care that I almost poisoned the dog with flea medication and that I bought hair coloring that was way too dark and now my hair is just as dark as Elvis's was.  I don't care.  Yep, think I need a job....