Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Found!

 In the madness of moving it's sometimes hard to find everything. I had a mission though, to not let this Halloween go by without having my decorations out at least for a couple of days. You can see my fabulous black cat lantern from Lori of Retro Rudolphs sitting next to my hand painted candy bucket.
 My reason? I acquired two new and beautiful pieces to add to my collection. First is the Autumn feather tree I bought from Benita Giacherio of Willow Springs Family Farm. I absolutely love, love this tree! It has various shades of Autumn and I can't wait to make some beeswax turkeys and such to hang on it for Thanksgiving. I decorated it with my favorite ornaments from Suzanne Urban and Linda Quintero, both American Holiday Artists artisans. They are amazing painters and creators of whom I'm so glad to know and work with. You can also see the adorable pumpkin candy cup from David Everett of Chicken Lips.
My second acquisition was this delightfully fun Halloween doll from Jo Dismukes of Lacey Jane Primitives. Isn't she delightful? I love her sparkly dress, her spider web lace cape, and all the little details on her. I won this sweet dolly at the PFATT blog. I must also mention and give kudos to Ginny Diezel for my 3 handsome little Halloween clowns, aren't they adorable, as well as the Holiday Queen, Melissa Valeriote for her whimsical little stacked Jack O' Lantern fella. I'm carefully adding to my collection and am looking for new work so I will be on the look out....... I hope you enjoy my budding collection as much as I do.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winter Has Blown In? An AHA Studios Marketplace Update...

 There's no doubt about it, winter is trying to blow in early here in the NW desert of Utah. We went to bed with the sound of the trees rustling loudly outside our window, and rain pelting the glass panes. We woke up to cooler temperatures and...... look what blew in!!!!
Snerdly the Gourd Snowman he says is his name, and winter time fun is his game. Okay, that was a bit corny, but I couldn't resist. :-) Snerdly had heard from his friends at the North Pole that winter was well on it's way there with snow on the ground and the forecast for today at 33 degrees for a high and 9 above for the low. Snerdly could see by all the arts and crafts goodies I have scattered around our just moved into apartment that I could help him dress up for the season. So he asked me if I would make him a nice button up coat with fur and also a stocking cap to keep him toasty. I gathered my clay, paper mache and paint and to work I did go! To make him feel more at home I dusted him with a bit of vintage mica "snow". You can see how to make Snerdly a part of your snowman collection by stopping by our American Holiday Artists Studios Marketplace. In the meantime, Snerdly and I will be looking through my cookie recipes and planning the goodies I might want to bake up for the holidays. It's amazing how much a snowman knows about baking!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Favorite Pumpkins - What color should a pumpkin be?

 Where did all the colorful varieties of pumpkins come from?! If you do a search on the internet it can be interesting to see who says what about this or that variety. I remember growing up thinking all pumpkins were orange. Really now, were there other varieties out there being sold in the US, but we somehow missed them in all our travels?
 Then I discovered the Lumina pumpkin while leafing through my seed catalog one frosty January day in North Pole. Oooooh, I thought! White pumpkins with a bright orange flesh. Supposedly tasty pumpkin as well. I found out that I could grow the Funny Face bush pumpkins easily in Alaska, but for some reason it doesn't matter where I am, either here in Utah or there in Alaska, I just can't get a Lumina to grow. I did get a tiny Cotton Candy variety to grow last year, but it wasn't any bigger than an apple. Not quite what I had in mind.
Over the past 5 or so years, I've seen many different varieties and colors of pumpkins which for someone who loves color, I'm thrilled! I can't believe we've not seen these before so I'm just guessing living in Alaska for 20 years and living in the west desert where nothing is grown except by a few of us brave souls, kept me in the dark until now. I really love the different colors, from the blue green Jaradales, to the creamy white Lumina and Cotton Candy, to the multi color miniatures that are out there. Martha Stewart had a magazine spread a couple of years ago with some very rustic burnt orange and brown pumpkins as well as the above mentioned. I want some of those! Yes I love the traditional orange pumpkins but it's fun to have a choice of color and shape. Are you a traditional pumpkin lover? Does it matter?
With all that in mind I tackled a painting that's been waiting to come out from the recesses of my tiny brain into the light of day. The colors show up brighter than they actually are, with the blue having more of a soft tint of green as well. I picked my favorite colors of pumpkins and let my brushes do the rest. A fun labor of love. I hope to create more, but we shall see.

What do you get when you combine a gourd with a vintage oil can?

I love to gather collectibles and see what they can be re-purposed into. I found a couple of intriguing oil cans at an antique store in Tooele. I couldn't resist bringing them home to see what they could be used for besides sitting in a dark garage. Here's what I came up with. Perhaps he's not the most creative use I have found for re-purposing something, but he was sure fun to put together. Do you like to re-purpose items in your creations? What have you done that you were especially pleased with? This fun and funky Jack O' Lantern can be found on EBAY until tomorrow. Thanks as always for your comments. I do enjoy hearing from you. :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Painting Fun!

 Do you have a certain color that you love to use all the time? I really love Payne's Grey, although the name doesn't really fit in my estimation. Payne's Grey is a cool, dark, almost black shade of blue. In all my fruit paintings with a dark background, I've used this color and it seems to make things "pop" in the foreground.
 Every time I see round paper mache boxes I think of snowmen and how cute they would look painted on these little treasure "keeps". So I started with Payne's Grey for the base coat of the lids and Red Violet for the base coat of the rest of the boxes and the hats on the snowmen. I then used a light shade of red mixed with the red violet and then the red alone and then red mixed with pumpkin orange and then a soft touch of the orange for highlights. I used the same technique for the green sweater, but with shades of greens and yellow for the highlights.
I tried to keep the design loose and as free as I know, so that the under colors show through. I didn't care whether the different elements in the design covered all the background color as I'm trying to learn to let each shape speak for itself by layering rather than the usual shading. I also wanted a  It was a fun exercise, and now I want to do a framed wall hanging to match. I'm not sure if the colors I used are in the 2010 trend palette or not, but I was looking for something a bit lighter and brighter than the usual "prim" look tends to be. Inspiration was also found the purple and orange combo you sometimes see in Autumn fabrics and such.
So what are your favorite colors to use in your art, and how do you like to use them?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Gallery of Santas

 Lighting the Way Santa
A gourd and a bit of clay here and there are what made this Santa come to life. He has been painted with layers of color and dusted with vintage mica "snow" to add some extra sparkle. He carries a cast metal lantern and bottle brush tree to add to his charm.

 Shiny Brite Santa
Here's a Santa that had a humble beginning as a Tapatio bottle. You would never know that he's glass underneath the clay, and you can also feel good about purchasing a "green" collectible. His name was chosen because he was inspired by my collection of vintage ornaments including indents and striped glass pieces.
 Jolly Santa

I've discovered the fun of creating Santa heads with some of my gourds. This fellow's smile will melt the heart of any scrooge this holiday season.
Holly Jolly Santa
Another gourd and clay creation this Santa is destined for Reasons to Believe. He and many of my newest pieces are up for sale at Reasons to Believe. The others listed above will be traveling to Oregon soon unless otherwise claimed. The opportunity is open so if you're interested drop me a line.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Running Jump At Art

 Last night I attended a Fireside at church that was quite uplifting. I got there just as the meeting was starting though so I ended up on the back row with a family who has a toddler who loves to color. It was interesting watching him as he would lay his paper on the floor and then back up quite a ways. He would then run towards the paper and jump just before he bent down with his crayon to add color to his picture. He did this over and over again and was quite entertaining. No, he wasn't the best part of the night, but a fun part none the less and got me thinking.
 Is this how I and others sometimes approach our art? I have a tendency to have an idea, but rather than sketch it out I will often rush right into the creating. I will have to back up and jump in again and again until I have a finished piece.
 Sometimes I'm pleased, and other times I have even better ideas after the fact. Is that how it is with you or do you always sketch your ideas out to see whether they are what you are wanting? Some folks like the spontaneous feel of just going at it, but is that a good thing to do?
As part of a challenge we were given last night we were asked to think of a bad habit to give up and or a virtue we want to develop. We were told to write it down, but not to reveal it until Christmas day as a sort of gift to the Savior. So I want to apply this to my ability to create. I'm wondering if I can improve and grow if I'm willing to slow down and really think and sketch my ideas out. I believe our talents, what ever they may be are a gift from God, and that we have a responsibility to develop them to the best of our ability, and then learn to rely on divine inspiration to fill in the gaps of our human shortcomings. Am I saying that this will be a part of my challenge response, well I'm not sure yet. I will say this, each of the pieces above were done on the run so to speak without a real plan. I just wonder......
So how do you approach your art? Are you always on the run, or do you plan each piece with careful deliberation. As an FYI all of these are now on ebay. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Santa in the pumpkin patch?

 When you have a traveling art studio like I do you have to find any place available to let pieces dry.
 Sometimes you share counter space with garden goodies such as these big pumpkins. Sometimes...
 you have to find creative ways to sit things up so they won't get smashed in the drying phase.
Then there are times you have to utilize any protruding implement to hang things from. Would things be any different if I were home? Probably not, but I know where all my good hanging /sitting places are there. Thankfully the folks I tend the twins for are very supportive of my artistic efforts. :-)
These Santa's are a commission for a friend who wants to give them as gifts for Christmas. I would give her name, but one of her family members might stumble upon this post and then there would be no surprise!
The update on the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers is that it was so corny,  a bit creepy and worth watching once! We got two car loads of stuff moved, and some stuff put away as well as finishing up the canning on tomatoes and applesauce. Alabama, here I come!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The applesauce is simmering on the stove while Wesley gives Kelcies juice bottle a ride down the slide in the Barbie car. He's a smart little fella for a one year old. Kelcie is leafing through an alphabet book so I'm taking a moment to post. This week has been so hectic that creativity has been pushed to the back burner. I'm waking up at 3 am every morning with a running list of things to sort, box up and get ready to move, plus getting ready for a trip. My husband asked me this morning why I don't just go back to sleep......?????? It probably has to do with the fact that he says he will move some stuff next week while I'm gone AAAAAAAHHH!!! That could mean the dumpster will get filled with what he deems not worth keeping so I will have to make sure he knows that he's only to move the food storage and leave my stuff alone. I really do intend to get rid of things, but I want to be the one to decide what to keep....:-)
After work today we run another load of stuff over to the new place and unpack the boxes to re-use. I will need to pick up a few baskets or tubs to keep some things in as storage is tight. Then we run back and eat, and then pack more stuff to move tomorrow. Then.....the movie. Kent asked me if I've ever seen the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers to which I replied no, so we added this to our October line up. It should be scary movie month, although I'm such a wimp that I won't watch anything that's not G or PG for the most part. R rated is out of the question. I hope this doesn't have any airplanes or crashes or anything in it otherwise I'm not getting on the plane Saturday without drugs. So popcorn with lots of salt and butter(no it's not microwave, yuck!), iced Tang and a movie for tonight. Am I going to be scared???

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween art making it's debut on ebay

 Mack the Black Halloween Cat is making his debut on ebay this week. No time to work the etsy magic, I've decided to show him off in a different venue. Wish I could think of something clever to say, but I'm all out of cleverness for today. Sleep and magic fairy dust to get me moved would be nice... I wonder if the winning bidder could just pay me in that way?
I've also put this mini painting up for your consideration. If they don't go to a new home, they will become a part of my Halloween collection so it's all good, but if you would like to add one of these to your collection visit my ebay thanks!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Things that go bump in the night.....

It seems that we all had our childhood fears, some of clowns, which baffles me as I always think Red Skelton, some of creepy crawly things, and some of things that go bump in the night. One of my best friends never let her children watch The Wizard of Oz because of the flying monkeys. A big a chicken as I was growing up, they never bothered me much. Sure the part where they swoop down and carry Dorothy off was a bit frightening, but I was much more afraid of whatever lurked in the open closet, or under the bed with the dust bunnies. True confession time here, I would take a running leap unto my bed at night to avoid the grasping hands I just knew were waiting for me right under the edge of the bed. Oh yes, as chubby as I was, I could jump quite far if scared enough. Having a weak bladder didn't help any as I often woke up in the middle of the night with a need to make a potty run. I would lay there until I had listened intently enough to make sure there was nothing out there, and then step waaaay off the end of the bed and tip toe quickly to the bathroom. When I came back, I would stop at my normal launching spot, take a deep breath and jump. I was also careful to not let my hands or feet get too close to the edge of the bed as I lay there. What would stop me from leaving the bed for a very long time was when the closet door was open. The images you conjure up when you are trying to peer into the darkness can be quite frightening, but I would listen as well. If I didn't hear anything, the coast was clear. What was your biggest fear when you were growing up? Did the flying monkeys frighten you?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reasons to Believe a dream come true....

I just want to pinch myself every time I get a photo from Scott. It just tickles me to pieces to think that once upon a time, in little old North Pole, Alaska, I would dream over the BHG Santa Claus publications while I perused the different artists work such as Scott Schultz and Dennis Brown, Kathy Cornell, and many others that are so very talented. When Ginny Diezel, a talented artist herself, urged me to contact the folks at Reasons to Believe I thought, oh, there's no way I will be accepted, these people have been doing this for years, and so on. You know all the self doubt stuff you tell yourself. While I've been creating Santa figures of one sort or another for years, I didn't settle on gourd and sculpted clay Santa figures until a couple of years ago. I decided to stop pushing myself to finish a piece quickly and just concentrate on the design and painting. It sure paid off, and I'm so thrilled.
As a side note, I noticed when I visited the site for North Pole that they are working on developing a theme city again. If you get a chance, click on the link above and see what they are up to. Here's my contribution to the idea, implemented 15 years ago when I was on the NPEDC.
The candy cane light poles were an idea I never thought would come to fruition, but here they are!  I would also love to see a cute gingerbread house or two, but they would have to be done carefully, not cheesy. Anyway, just my ramblings for the day. Hope you have a great weekend. :-)