Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just some art

Now, I know some purist would beg to differ. Not everyone would consider the following beads actual works of art, but for today we will.

I tried several techniques since I last posted. Much of my time is used playing Mad Scientist with my clay. I have several great books and while I know their techniques work, I'm always wondering "what will happen if I try this?" I learn a lot, but lab work does eat away at your creative time.

Today's art is faux bone. I based several of my pieces on the ancient art of Scrimshaw. Scrimshaw was originally done by whalers on the bones and teeth of whales and walruses. They used the tools at hand to engrave designs and then rubbed the design with pigment to bring out the image. If you like to do scrimshaw, you are a scrimshander. These days artists certainly don't use bones and tusks from endangered animals in their art, so it is often referred to as faux scrimshaw or faux bone even though the technique is still the same.

This may sound odd, but I haven't seen a piece of actual bone in years. I remember ham bones and chicken bones from my younger days, but since all the meat I cook is boneless, I'm not really sure what color bone is. With that in mind, I relied on the color combinations mentioned in my various clay books for my faux bone polymer clay. I came up with these...

The piece on the left was done on raw clay using a needle to punch tiny holes into the clay in the design of a tiger. I wasn't sure how to initially get my image onto the raw clay to go by, so I printed out a small picture of a tiger and took the needle tool and punched holes through the paper to outline the tiger. I pressed the picture onto the raw clay and was going to go over it with a soft lead pencil in hopes that the graphite would go through the holes. Well, it didn't...but something even better did happen. Due to the light burnishing of the image, the holes themselves showed up on the raw clay giving me a perfect dotted outline to start my project.

The tile on the left was done by pressing an un-inked rubber stamp into the raw clay. On both of the pieces, I baked the clay at 225 in my little toaster oven. I use a lower temperature than recommended and it seems to work quite well and I don't get much scorching. After curing the pieces, I used brown acrylic paint over the entire piece and then wiped off the excess with a cloth before it dried . If your image is quite deep in the clay, you can sand any remaining paint off of the piece. If your image is not that deep, and sanding would obliterate your image, you can lightly spray rubbing alcohol on a smooth cloth and go over the top of the piece. Rubbing alcohol removes acrylic paint, so don't spray it directly onto your piece, or you will have to start over. But it's good technique if you don't like the paint that you used to antique your piece, as you can use the alcohol and an old tooth brush to remove that color.

Whew, I'm wordy today, aren't I. Sorry about that. On to the next one...

On this one, I simply rolled the bone clay into a somewhat large ball, then flattened it slightly with my hand. I textured the clay with a needle and lightly pressed an oval shaped cutter onto the clay, giving me a frame for my picture. I baked the clay, then antiqued it. For the picture, I used a copyright free, laser printed image left over from my library art club days (thanks, Marnie!) and a piece of clear packing tape. You place the tape down on the image, and use something to burnish it. I used the back of a teaspoon. After making sure the image is burnished completely, you then place the whole bit into a small bowl of water and walk away from it. It usually takes about five minutes for the paper loosen and you can then start to remove the paper carefully from the tape, using your fingers, re-wetting as you go. I use my non dominant hand, so I won't be tempted to scrub the image from the tape. After all the paper is gently removed, the image is completely transferred to the clear tape. I used a bit of gel medium to glue the tape transfer to the pendant, added a few gold paint highlights and it's ready to string.

Lastly my personal favorite is a grungy faux bone heart.

I roughly shaped the clay into a large heart and sliced it flat down the middle (think of filleting a fish) and then roughly placed them back together. I wrapped thin wire around the hearts, pressed in some grommets, roughed it up some and also used various shaped pieces of wire for texture. Cured and cooled, I removed the wires and applied the paint to antique.

While blog surfing earlier this morning, I checked in on a favorite, Pink Crayon Studio. Suze Perrott is a marvelous artist and today she shows a picture of a stack of her fabric that reminded her of a deli sandwich. That got me to thinking what a great way to find colors that go together. If you are in a bind and can't think of what colors to use, think of your favorite foods and the colors that they contain. The colors of a juicy hamburger, with shades of ground beef brown, tomato red, lettuce green and that off white colored onion, would make great colors for beads for a new necklace. Ok, now thanks to Suze, we're hungry and off to the store.

Take it easy this week. If you're expecting more falling weather, prepare for it and remember spring is right around the corner. It has to be...tell me it is!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still hanging in there

Not a lot going on here. Did get a few beads and buttons made...

but I just can't come up with anything I really like. I prefer my work to be original, but there comes a time when you need to get out the books and practice techniques using another artist's work as a sample.

I want to make some canes and create some jewelry similar to that of Karen Lewis (Klew) and Kim Cavender. The best way to do this is to condition a lot of clay ahead of time, so you can proceed uninterrupted with the building of your canes. Conditioning clay is my least favorite part of the process, especially the stiffer clays, like Cernit and Fimo.

If you are not familiar with the process building a complex cane from polymer clay, check out the the free tutorials of Desiree at Desiree's Desired Creations.

There are as many ways to use polymer clay as there are artists and crafters that use it. There is no right or wrong design, and once you learn the techniques you are really not limited by much. It is an inexpensive art material and requires few tools, and can be cured in an inexpensive toaster oven. If you find that you really like polymer clay and want to subscribe to some really helpful and professional videos, be sure to check out Cindy Lietz.

All that being said, I'll leave you to check out yet another picture of me. An unretouched full length shot of me standing in front of our door.

The reason I'm mentioning this is that this shot really shows that I have packed on some winter weight and I'm going to be using this as my "before" shot for the huge amount of weight that I plan on losing. Wish me luck and keep track of my weighty musings over here if you want.

That's it for today. Hang in there and try not to let the acres of snow drive you batty. It has to melt sometime! If you don't have snow...enjoy that fact and act accordingly!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Frivolous Friday

Frivolous because I really don't have anything much to say. Got out today and ran some errands...

Piles of snow everywhere, even at the bank (snow bank, get it?)

Went to see Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges, liked it a lot, but I kept thinking that Jeff Bridges was Kris Kristofferson, I got a bit weepy at the end, but it was really good and the music was good, too.

Went to Merle Norman to get some nail polish, but they only carry OPI nail color now, and I can get that cheaper at the mall, so no new nail color today. I didn't realize that Merle Norman was discontinuing their brand of polish, or I would have stocked up. Grr.

DH took a picture of me in my new glasses with relatively good hair today, so I'll share that with you.

Other than going out to lunch yesterday and to a movie today, DH and I aren't doing much for Valentines Day. I'm kind of funny about Valentines Day. It started back in grade school when we were supposed to give those little Valentine cards to all our classmates. It actually started when I was in first grade, my Mom, after trying to deal with me and my siblings waiting till the last minute to address the valentine cards, decided it would be a lot quicker if she wrote the names on the cursive. That meant that the next morning in school, six year old me couldn't read any of the names on the envelopes, and had to traipse back and forth asking Mrs. Henderson, the teacher what each envelope said. Needless to say, thirty trips back and forth to the boxes would have been too much for her, so then she takes over and puts them into the boxes. Not a good way to start Valentines Day, huh? Then fast forward to sixth grade and yes, we still have to put a valentine in those stupid boxes. But the cards they got me to give out all said I love you on them, or be mine and that didn't sit well with me. Man, I couldn't catch a break, I just wasn't into any of the boys in my class, or many of the girls for that matter, (they all teased me because I was the chubby girl). It never occurred to me to not put a valentine in every box, I mean how rude would that be?...anyway, I took my pen and crossed out love on the cards and wrote like instead. For some reason, the adults thought this alteration was hilarious when the teacher ratted me out the next day.

As an adult, it didn't get much better when my boyfriend of almost ten years, waits until after Valentines day to pick up left over candy that was on sale...the reasons for not liking Valentines day go on and on.

Blessedly, as you know, I now have a wonderful, loving husband who would go all out on Valentines Day and would take me where ever I want to go, by I'd rather stay at home with him, watching shows that he tapes for me and feeding him my homemade chili and watching him doze off in front of the tv. That's what Valentines Day is really about for me. He has bought me jewelry and perfume and candy and clothes over the years, but sitting beside him watching our shows is the best present anyone could get. Like the song says, who could ask for anything more?

So what started out as a frivolous post, turned into a happy post about my sweet hubby. If you haven't seen him for a while, here is an older picture of us together. I think he looks so cute here.

So there you have it. This little photo is my Valentine to you. Hope you have a great weekend and a wonderful Valentines day. If your day doesn't turn out the way you planned, remember you could be forced to send love notes to kids you don't really love. In other words, it could always be worse. Take care and embrace and enjoy what the day brings, I know I will.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, Monday

The sun is shining and although there is a lot of snow, the roads are clear and dry. DH had to dig out some, but thanks to our neighbor, our driveway was mostly clean. I had errands to run before the next storm (Tuesday, grr) so I got chauffeured around town all morning.

Went to Michael's for a new clay blade. I have tons of dull ones and haven't figured out the best way to sharpen them, so I had to fork over $5.00 for one blade. Yikes.

I think I'm going to take a break from the collage work and make some jewelry. Making jewelry is what I always go back to and I think my polymer clay is calling to me. Hopefully, I'll have something to post later in the week, jewelry-wise, but until then here is the only art I've done recently... my last two collage journal pages.

My pages are fairly large, 11" x 14", so I have lots of room for my images and lettering. I may have mentioned that I'm participating in a Flickr Collage group, where we all download the same image and create our piece. I'm getting a bit stymied in this type of collage art. For some reason, none of my pages look anything like the others in the group, and I'm constantly comparing myself to them. The group leaves positive comments on my art, but for some reason, I feel like they are dancing around the fact that I'm just not like the other kids. I have always been a bit different, and have been called crazy, weird and my all time favorite...colorful. Ahh, but again, I digress.

Here are my most recent submissions.

The guitars and the necklace were my addition to the supplied images, as were the words and the doodles.

This week's sheet was mostly party images with cake and balloons and vintage photos of fancy ladies. I had some really nice watches cut from a fashion magazine ad, and I added them, but I really never got a feel for this week's images.

With all this in mind, I think I'm stepping away from collage for several weeks and going to play around with wearable art, mostly necklaces. I've done a bit of research on what the new trends in jewelry are and will be trying my hand at a few new ideas.

We picked up my new tri-focals today and am trying to get used to them. I can see much better than before, but there is a learning curve. Maybe if I can come up with a cute way to camouflage my turkey wattle, I'll post a picture of me actually wearing them.

Well, that's it for today. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't get any more snow, but I'm thinking we will. If you get any of this next storm, try to stay warm and safe and enjoy it.

Hang in there and remember to be creative in some way and to love life.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Yes, I'm snowed in

I am snowed in, but I'm not unhappy at all. It started snowing early Friday morning (about 3 a.m.) and now at noon on Saturday it's still snowing. Due to the fact that at times it has been quite fine, we haven't gotten the accumulation that we did on Christmas Eve, but this is a heavy snow that is sticking to everything. Our neighbor had a new blade he was itching to try and he pushed and plowed everyone's driveways. After working (playing?) for hours, he finally realized it was an uphill battle.

He is a great guy and I'm sure when it finally stops, he'll be back out helping us all.

Here is the view down into my back woods...

A neighbor's tree sags from the weight of the snow...

A close up of a tree holding the snow, as if she loves it.

This shot, taken from my deck, shows even the tiniest branches grasping the it's some kind of winter game. I love it.

It's a good thing this red car has no where to be this weekend. It will take quite a bit of sweeping and a lot of hot cocoa for this neighbor to go out.

To help deal with the weather, I love to do art, especially coloring. I'm so glad to have such a talented artist friend as Jenny, who graciously shares an image to color. Please stop by and visit her and see my take on Jenny's art.

So, that's it for me today. I'll be staying in, having fun and counting my blessings. Power, cable, food and love...things we might take for granted, but really appreciate on a day like this.

Enjoy your weekend and have fun!

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's monday again...

Well, it's Monday again. We had another major snow storm over the weekend with frigid temps. I don't mind at all. I would show you a picture of this new storm, but surprisingly enough, it looks a lot like last month's storm. So I won't bore you with that.

As you know, I am a very lighthearted and happy person. There have been several really sad things happen in our region lately, the finding of Morgan Harrington and also finding little Aveion Lewis. These were two local missing persons cases, that have been on our news recently.

Both of these cases are now murder investigations and we are all saddened by the events. Last week I was going through some of my previous essays and I came across one that I want to post for you today. Approximately one year ago, two similar events happened that prompted me to write this, and it still holds true.

Sometimes when I stop and think about all the pain in this world, I wonder is it OK for me to be so happy? I know He wants His children to be happy, but is it fair for me to be happy when others have such grief in their lives?

Babies being killed by family members. Ridiculous. Families being torn apart by the sudden death of a loved one just doing his job, killed while at work, by someone doing something stupid. The people that caused these deaths? How can I feel for them? Is it Evilness? Madness? Spirits...from a glass vessel? What causes their pain, what causes people to change? From the decent souls that you thought they were, into instruments of pain? Instruments of death?

Can I live with myself for being happily married for over twenty years, with hopefully and prayerfully, many more years in the future? Can you be happy for me? Or do you hate me for my happiness?

How can I ease your pain, how can I not think of you, all of you? I am only one person, one silly little girl. Am I masking my empathy for you with my happiness? Do I bury myself in my own interests because your pain makes me physically ill? I have to stay healthy, so when it is my time to do my part, I will be able. Please don't hate me because I'm happy. Love me for it. It is a gift from God....this capability I have to always stay positive, to be able to remove myself from your pain. I have to, I know you don't want me to falter... I have to be here for you.

If I don't cry when I hear your grief, it's because I must not. I would cry all the time. I have to grab the bootstraps on my pink patent leathers and give them a tug. I am here to help you and I can't do it if I am in pain.

Don't hate me because you think I'm happy, or beautiful, or rich or blessed or fortunate. What you may think of me, what you may think I am, have you considered that you just might be wrong? I love you, I love you all...maybe too much.

Thank you for the music. Thank you for the art. Thank you for the healing. Thank you for being you.

It's ok to grieve, just don't give up. Grab the rope and hang on. It really will be ok. I know that in my heart.

Faith, Hope and Love...


So that's it for today. I'll be back soon with some art and something lighter and happier, I promise.