Sunday, October 24, 2010

Latest Find

Having some of these beauties around me in one of the shops I'm working for today, I've been reminded of my love and appreciation for mantle clocks.  The image of one, itself, to me is beautiful, but they also bring memories of a clock my mother had in her home.  When she acquired it originally, it drove me nuts with its half-hourly strikes of noise, especially at night, but thereafter I began to appreciate the sound, and now associated it with memories of times gone by with Mom.  So...I wanted one, to remind me of those times, and Mom, :)

(A side note that I must add here, for my own amusement, to reflect on in years to come.  When my Mom past, my niece inherited Mom's clock.  I assisted in hauling my nieces inheritances home [a two-hour trip], Mom's clock being one of the pieces that went into my car for the travel.  On our way home, the clock sounded its half-hourly "ding, ding, ding" in my car, and it startled me with such amusement, as I forgotten I had the clock in my car, and thought Mom was "showing herself to my presence" lol!  Quickly, I realized I had her clock within the load of stuff in my car, but for a split second, I thought, "OMGoodness, Mom is HERE!"  What a fun, happy memory for me!)

So, this clock, and the ones in the shop where I'm working a few hours/week today, are much more elaborate than the one Mom had, but I LOVE them ... and want to hear their striking noise.  I couldn't afford the ones in the shop, but I found this one on ebay "that works, but is in need of minor coil adjustments," so here it is!  I'm LOVING its beauty .... however, I've yet to determine how to make it "tick!"  So it is currently doing nothing more than driving me NUTS, lol!  I can't get the key to do anything more than fit into the holes, and I'm online researching for how to "make it work," while emailing the seller to inquire about the same.  I know it needs some "minor coil adjustments," but heck I'm so disappointed that I can't even get it to tick!

However, even if I never get it "tick," it was worth the purchase because, not only does it bring back great memories, but it also can be disassembled and become some awesome accessories to other pieces!

But, if you know anything about these old mantle clocks, how the keys work, and how to make them tick, PLEASE respond with any info you can provide me!  Mom's didn't have a "key," so I'm clueless as to which prong to place the key onto, and how hard to turn it, but I surely want to hear it ticking ... if not clanging its beautiful noise!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Completed Birdhouse Chair

It's done ~~ the zebra lives!  One thing I learned; detail painting at the height of chair arms can be uncomfortable on your back.  If there's a "next time," I hope to have a platform of some kind to raise the chair's height a bit.

To me, the chair has a "Caribbean," and somewhat "whimsical" feel; something that truly doesn't coordinate with the shop's style.  Perhaps it will appeal to someone, besides me.  I sure had fun painting it and, if nothing else, perhaps it will attract someone new into the shop ... or I can daydream of being in the Caribbean while viewing it, ;).

Wishing each of you a beautifully peaceful weekend filled with lovely moments with friends and family!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Zebra Birdhouses

What fun this was!  I went with my idea to do zebra print, and started with the birdhouse roofs, as seen here, on the chair back.  This made the whole chair come "to life."  It was looking very weird yesterday, but once I added the zebra print roofs, it all came together, and confirmed that I want to do the arms of the chair in zebra print also.  The arms are a project for tomorrow...

I have them base coated with their first coat of white here, just prior to leaving work today.  Hopefully this won't take too long to complete, because I've found my next project!

This plant stand is, more than likely, ... going to end up with a zebra print on its surface too!  It's been my paint can holder for the last several days, but I will sand all the "evidence" off, and start with a fresh surface ... with something.

I leave you with a scene captured on the way home from work this evening.  Unfortunately, here in Piedmont North Carolina, it seems all the beautiful fall leaves seen are usually in the midst of power lines ... but they are still beautiful, nonetheless.

Chairs And Such

Well, both my boss and coworker are sick this week, as so many others are also.  It's some type of respiratory virus, apparently, and I've told them to PLEASE stay home ... and not share the germs.  So I'm working a full schedule this week, that doesn't leave time for artfulness in my "free time," ... so I'm "creating" during my working hours instead!  We have several pieces of outdoor furniture around the shop, that haven't sold "as is," so I'm "recreating them," with new paint finishes.  The above photo is a bar stool that was previously painted solid with a burgundy shade.  I love the zebra print top here!

I'm using paint that my boss and I had on hand, trying not to purchase any new colors (gawd, that's so hard!).  This chair is almost complete, except for the arms.  I'm thinking I will do the zebra print on them, so it will coordinate with the bar stool.  We'll see what results!

I hope these pieces are adding a bit of color to the front of the shop.  Since it is supposed to rain today, I may work on completing the gourd birdhouse seen hanging from the awning here.  It may get a zebra print too, ;).  I love animal prints, can you tell?

Hoping each of you are well, and free from sickness, and enjoying your week!  Happy creating to each of you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Next Phase...

Inspiration is striking full throttle this week, whether it's good or bad, is yet to be determined ... but I'm moving on with it.  As recently posted, I have acquired several vintage frames, and truly didn't know what I was going to do with them.  However, one of the things I love about blogging, and reading others' blogs, is that I see SO much productivity and creativity from others whom inspire me to "get busy" with "something!"  I suppose the fact that I have so many "pieces" in my stash that are just waiting to become "something" is part of what slows me down in being artistically productive ~~ "what should I work on completing, or using, today?"  Also, having recently begun a second job that I'm truly enjoying, I had envisioned myself having less time to create; much to my surprise, my new schedule is forcing me to prioritize my time and "organize" time and myself more so, so that I can be more productive, perhaps even more so than when I was only working one job ... at least for now!

So, this week, I wanted to do "something" more, after the piece I created Sunday that I thoroughly enjoyed creating.  I thought, "what should I do now?"  That stack of vintage frames was calling my name, so I pulled two more from the stack, and decide I would attempt to create coordinating pieces to the one already completed.  I chose two more frames from my stash, and went to work, with the only thought being to create coordinating pieces from whatever supplies I had at hand.  The "feel" of the first piece was kind of "Parisian" or "Regal," and what better symbol to use than the Harlequin pattern with the Fleur de Lis on the second piece!  So the above piece os the result of that inspiration.  I chose not to add "color," as the Glimmer Mist I had used in the first piece was not the most popular interior design shade, and may be difficult for others to incorporate into their home.  So I'm "thinking" I will leave the next two pieces more "neutral" in tone/shade (not being an art major, admittedly I need to research the meaning of these two words again, as I do not recall the difference).  But the above image is where I'm at on this "triptych," if you will.  This frame originally was had a bright gold finish, but I used the same method of finishing it, as I use in the original piece completed earlier this week.  I thought, "if I painted the frame an off white color before faux finishing it, I could obtain a more 'true' coordination with the first frame," however my appreciation for preservation of some of the original "vintage" feel told me to go with what I had, and work from their.  So I used the same methods of finishing the frame, with it's original gold finish.  The third frame is gold, in its original state, also, so hopefully the two will "balance" each other ... or that is my original thinking.

However, after attempting to "group" the three frames in various fashions, the best "fit" seemed to be to put this current piece in the middle.  Its shape and size just seems more appropriate in the middle, so who knows where this will lead me with completing this piece, and the next recantgular one!  I suppose that is only a portion of the fun in creating art, and life.  We're given certain pieces to use in the puzzle, and it's up to us to determine how they will evolve and become part of the "larger picture!"

I'm loving this project as, for me, it totally relates to life ~~ "how will I fit all the pieces together harmoniously, will I be able to make it 'work,' or will they become individual pieces, separate from each other, with no particular interaction, totally dependent on their own?"  At this point, I have no clue, and am "going with the flow," just as in life itself.  I'm currently not sure how my family and two jobs will fit together and flow, but I'm moving on, hoping for an outcome that is harmonious to all, and "going with the flow" for the moment, hoping it all works out for the best of all concerned.  I'd love for all the pieces to "fit together" and work harmoniously together, but realize there is more than "one piece" that needs to function within the total picture, and I'm currently not sure how all the pieces will "fit together."  This is life, to me.  We move on with good intentions, hoping for the best for all concerned, and see where it takes us, and them.  I'm not gifted in any particular area, but feel the need to move forward from yesterday, and make the best of today, with what I have and all that surrounds me, hoping the end result will be for the greater good of all concerned, and all that results.  But I claim no expertise on this path, and admittedly I make many mistakes, but I hope my mistakes do not hurt others in permanency.  I see it as, all I can do is the best with what I have and am given, hoping for growth and success for everyone and everything surrounding me, and I hope others see it the same.  I hope all the pieces fit together in harmony, but if they do not ... we can regroup and rearrange.  However, if we do not attempt growth and cohesiveness with the pieces we are given, we'll never know what the outcome could have been.  Again, did Monet, Rembrandt and other great historians whom have gone before us not struggle with this?

May you all find success, cohesiveness, and peace in all that surrounds you today and always.  Big Cyber Hugs ~~ Jeanne

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Process of Art...and Life, For Me

Good morning, fellow bloggers, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those in Canada!  I love the Thanksgiving holiday, still a month away here in the States.  But I'm already looking forward to it.  It's a great time to reflect on all there is to be thankful for, and to share thanks with family and friends.  Today, I am very thankful for finding "blogland," and each of you within it!  Sharing with each of you has made my life much more fun and pleasurable, and I thank each of you for the part that you play in my life, and blog, today.

The above piece is what I did yesterday.  This is one of the vintage frames that I obtained recently that was originally some shade of off white when I began this project (original frame in a photo below).  There wasn't a back on this piece, and I didn't have a 12" round canvas board to use, so I improvised!  I found an old fabric swatch book in my stash that has a really hard piece of cardboard on its back.  It was plenty large enough to cut a 12" circle from it to use as my base, or substrate.

I had no clue where this was going, but I wanted to begin with a base of book pages.

I used pages from an old book recently purchased on the 650(?)-mile yard sale; I love the cover of this book (and hope to find a purpose for it in the days ahead).  So what to do next?

A coat of Titan Buff seemed like a good idea.  While attempting to rush the drying stage of the paint, a bubble appeared that irritated me.  So I began rubbing it, and it began to peel up.  Initially, I thought, "oh crap!"  But I kept rubbing, and the "bubble" continued to grow larger until one entire book page was uncovered.  It then seemed like a happy accident, that I liked!  The paint was a bit too "thick" for my liking, as I wanted more of the text to show through, so I got out the sandpaper, and sanded it down to a smooth surface, and liked the effect.  Hmm, what next, I asked?

I love using Glimmer Mist; the shimmer it adds is luscious, so I found a bottle that had enough left in it to spray, not truly thinking about what color it was.  But I still wanted to leave some of the background "white" so I used some Glimmer Chips ~~ the crown and Fleur de Lis chips ~~ placing them over my background before misting away.  (I added a bit more Glimmer Mist in a blue shade, that you will notice in the next photo.)  Hmmm, I was liking it, but it needed much more of "something."  I was thinking "texture" but knew that I would place it behind the glass within the frame, so dimensional pieces wouldn't work ~~ like the Tim Holtz Grungeboard pieces I wanted to use, ;). So...

Stamping seemed like a great option!  I attempted to choose stamps that would "fit" with the "regal" feel of the Fleur de Lis and crown, still not really having a plan for where this was going, but I truly wanted the Fleur de Lis to "pop."  I just love the shape of a Fleur de Lis!  Okay, this was working, but the stamps were too prominent, even though I had chosen to use Staz-On brown ink, instead of black.  "Sand it again, silly" was the thought that popped in my head!  So I sanded away, and was happy that the stamping wasn't as prominent anymore, but sad to see the shimmer from the Glimmer Mist fade away.

This is when the "resistance phase" hit, something I had just read about in Anahata Katkin's Older Post after seeing it mentioned on Lorrie Spot's Blog this weekend.  Gosh I dislike this phase of creating ~~ when our inner critic speaks loudly saying, "you're going to mess it up if you move forward now!"  But Anahata tells us that she recommends pushing on through this phase, not giving into our inner critic, as that is what true artists do.  Well, I want to be a "true artist," so I kept pushing on ... even while my instinct was to leave the piece and come back to it later, hoping a different time would provide a different perspective and idea.

 So, after sanding the background down again, I still wanted that Fleur de Lis to pop more, and I wanted that shimmer of the Glimmer Mist to return.  So I used a "white/clear" Glimmer Mist, that only added shimmer ~~ easy enough to solve that dilemma!  Hmm, then I found myself asking, "can I hand draw a larger Fleur de Lis?"  That inner critic said, "heck no!"  but I didn't listen, and decided if I free handed one side of it, then used a ruler to mark off the reference points on the opposite side, perhaps I could do this!  Voila!  It worked!  I used the Glimmer Chip Fleur de Lis as my inspiration for its shape, and while my "tails" are a bit exaggerated, I went with it.  Paint seemed like the more obvious and effective option for filling in the outline, so paint it was!

After painted the Fleur de Lis a Burnt Umber shade, I still was missing the "dimension" I was going for in the piece, so I shaded it with a charcoal pencil and then used Tim Holtz Rock Candy Crackle Paint over it ... and waited for it to dry.  While waiting, I worked on the frame, first using the dark brown Staz-On ink pad to highlight the high points on the frame, then adding some of my favorite Golden paint color, Quinacridone / Nickel Azo Gold, to the inner circle, and then spraying the entire frame with Glimmer Mist (in an orange-ish color that I had used on the base of the artwork).  Oh, it was "coming together, but I still wanted the Fleur de Lis to pop and have more "dimension."  Hmmm.

So I chose to add some Tim Holtz Distress Stickles over the Fleur de Lis!  (Have I mentioned that I love Tim Holtz anything?)  And, Voila!

In my humble opinion, I had reached the "Completion Phase!"  And then I asked myself, "did Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Anahata, and all the other famous artists, have so many stages and struggles before completing a piece of art?"  I suppose they did, or even more so.  Art, and life in general, have so many stages, and questions to ponder along the way.  I suppose it is whether we stop to question ourselves during those stages, "what should I do next, what could I do here, what effect would that have," that makes all the difference in life and art.  With life in general, I fluctuate between asking too many questions, or asking no questions of myself at all, before moving forward.  I suppose I do likewise with my art ~~ fluctuate between asking no questions, or questioning myself too much.  Yes, I suppose I'm an extremist, seeking a happy medium, ;).  Today, perhaps, I found one for this piece of art.

If you've made it through this post, thanks for sticking with me!  I'd love to hear about your process of creating; have you found that happy medium between questioning too much, or not at all?  Wishing each of you a happy medium within life, and your art, today and always!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sketchbook, Doggies and Twilight

Happy Day, Blogging Friends!  "Don't Worry...Be Happy!"  My latest Sketchbook Project 2011 spread ... with only 1 1/2 spreads left to go before filling my sketchbook!  This one is complete, minus a 3D bow around the band in her hair, and perhaps something in that blank yellow area on the right.  Her eyeball is a bit "wonky," but it speaks to me of her imperfections, ;), and I'll keep it this way.

I've never been a "scrapbooker," but this was a Twilight Kit I couldn't resist.  I completed it months ago, and filled it with photos of my family, and gave it to DH.  I don't think he has much of an appreciation for scrapbooks either, as this has been sitting on our entertainment center, beside of the grande TV for months now, ;).  Before I put it away, it seemed fitting to add a bit of it to my blog.  Here is one of the interior spreads filled with memories of our first years together, many moons ago:
Perhaps this is something we will appreciate more, as we grow older and need something to reflect on.
Lastly, I want to include my two babies in this post ... more for my own reflection in the years ahead, perhaps, than for anyone else's pleasure, I suppose.  Our babies are our true loves (we don't have "traditional" children), and life will never be the same now that we've grown to love and appreciate doggies in our home.  I can "feel" them aging, and know there will come a day when they won't be around, and so I include them here so I will always have them "around."  Needless to say, they will always be in my heart, and I hope they will be with me for at least another 10, or so, God willing.  The only draw back, I see, to having doggies for children is that they do not live as long as "real" children, unfortunately.  But their unconditional love more than makes up for that fact!
Boomer, a 4-yr-old black lab, is our "first born baby," after 20+ years of parenting kitties.  How could one not love that sweet face???  Boom is Mama's Boy all the way, and follows me everywhere I go while at home, ... with some limitations.  He tore his knee ligament (ACL) at 9-months old, had surgery to repair it, and recovered nicely, but has not attempted climbing stairs since then.  (We feel certain he must has torn the ACL while climbing the stairs on our back deck, and thus the hesitation today; we're truly not sure.)  So he won't go off the upper level of the back deck ... to get to my art studio (in the back yard) unless I take him out the front door (where there is one very small step), and around to the back yard. Poor fella; but Mama spoils him rotten ... and responds to MOST of his demands!

Gracie is having her forth birthday today (Happy Birthday Gracie!!!).  She is a yellow lab, much smaller than Boom, but TWICE as feisty, ;).  She followed Boom and I home from one of our morning walks nine months ago, and found herself right at home here immediately, when she saw that I would pet her and tend to her needs without hesitation ... while it took Boom several months to accept her.  In fact, we were sure Boom would never accept her, and we actually tried to find another good home for Gracie during her first months with us, to no avail, thankfully.  We had found her original owners immediately upon discovering her, whom clearly stated they did not want her, and had obviously neglected her (she had a shock/bark collar embedded into her neck when I found her and LOVES attention like she's never had it before).  Thankfully, today, Boom and Gracie play together like true brothers and sisters; she taunts him with toys, and he chases her like there's no tomorrow.  In fact, Boom lost nearly 15 lbs. after Gracie joined the family (pounds that desperately needed to go, especially with his leg problems).  Strangely, when they are full-throttle-ahead with playing, if either of them goes to the water bowl, its an instant "time out" for both of them, and they quietly leave the other alone.  Gracie is Daddy's Girl through and through, but has stolen my heart also, and receives much more "blog time" than Boom, simply because she is much easier to photograph with the lighter fur; poor Boom. 

So these are the two whom fill our nightlife at home, with much love, fun, and affection.  Our nights are filled with play time with the children, and they LOVE for Mom to get on the floor with them in the living room(something Dad won't do for fear that he'll receive a broken nose, or black eye, both of which have happned to Mom).  Mom on the floor with these babies equals "play time" for everyone!  Not much art, or anything else, gets accomplished during these hours, but we form many happy memories during this time.

So, as I reflect on my family, I wish each of you a memorable week with family, filled with much happiness, many laughs, and lots of sloppy, loving kisses!  Let's hope there's a bit of spare time for creativity mixed in there too!  Until next time, happy creating to each of you ~~ Jeanne

PS: I've tried to "comment" on SEVERAL blogs today ... only to receive "Error 503" messages that I initially couldn't get past!  Is anyone else receiving these messages, or is it my computer???  If I don't receive any comments on this post, I'll assume it's a worldwide problem with blogger!  I've slooowly figured out, that if I'll clear my cache/cookies, I can get the comments to go through, but oh my, how many did I try to post beforehand that didn't make it to their intended destination ... or how many did I "double post?"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Latest Finds and Stuff

I've loving this ole chest!  It was a gift from my boss a couple of years ago that has been sitting in our garage for a couple of years, and on this fall day, it just seemed like the perfect day to sand it down and see what happened with it.  I'm loving it!  I sanded it down, thinking I would paint the whole thing ... but then, after I got to sanding, it just seemed like it wanted to keep part of its origins, ... with a coat of very light blue glaze on its surface (that is difficult to see in the pic).  It's the perfect IMperfection!  All is needs is a couple of drawer pulls/knobs, and it will be complete!  Here is the "before" pic.
Doesn't it look happier now, in its distressed state?  I think so!

And here are a few finds I discovered this week ... from a client whose mother-in-law is cleaning our her stash ~~ frames!

These were just a FEW frames ... from her home stash, but she has storage buildings FULL of stuff that I'd LOVE to go through!  The tin pieces on the right have gorgeous patina, and my boss suggested cutting the "inner'eds" out and using them to frame a piece of artwork!  What a brilliant idea.

Then there was this frame with the concave(?) glass that I just HAD to have!  The frame will definitely have to be painted, but hopefully the glass with show off a beautiful piece of art day soon!

Lastly I can't resist sharing this link to an awesome video my niece compiled.  She and my great-niece are both Type 1 diabetics, whom will be walking in the local walk for diabetes later this month.  What a great cause, and ... Taylor's Hope.  If you have time, please watch the linked video; it's a beautiful video with pics of my beautiful 9-yr-old niece, and her Mom.  If you feel inclined, they can definitely use some encouragement with comments on their video and/or donations to their cause.  I'm so thankful I'm blessed not to have diabetes, or any life-changing disease, and hope you don't either.  But, for those whom do, may we all support their causes!

Wishing each of you a beautiful week ahead, filled with blessings, treasures and all of life's best for you and your families.