Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun in the Sun

The Children's Art Expo was held this weekend at the Dorothy Hart Community Center.
On Friday, I helped Sherry Donley build a Greek Temple out of boxes. Temperatures of 105 degrees were predicted for Saturday. We couldn't help wondering...

If we build it, will they come?

Despite the high temperatures, the little ones turned out in droves. All the rest of the activities were indoors, but many of the parents told us that this was their child's favorite activity last year, and they couldn't wait to come. So the parents braved the heat, while the little ones didn't seem to mind it at all. Many had to be coaxed inside, with the promise of a cool drink, more activities and the chance to use... glitter!

As an artist, it was refreshing to see these little ones painting for the pure joy of it. They had no fear of "making mistakes" and they didn't worry about what anyone else was doing. They were in the moment and making the most of it.

I learned a lot from them!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Here is what I did with the water bottle, toy doll's eye and teeth. His beaky nose is a dinosaur skull.

Here is a view from the back. He has a "spine" going down the back of his head, running through his shell and protruding, tail-like, underneath the shell.

And here is he with some color added.  I need to go in and do more with the colors. He's a little bit monochromatic at the moment, and probably a little too bright as well.

He definitely needs some kind of environment to stand in. At the moment, he's in a little brass soap holder. I think my family is starting to like him more. The kids have named him Squidonaut. To me, he looks like a diver merged with a squid, and left under the sea for a long time.
Stay tuned for more adventures with Squidonaut.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

At the Junction

It is hot-hot-hot here in the 'burg, and I feel like I'm doing everything in slow motion lately. I had a ton of work to do on Sunday, but I just couldn't get motivated. So, I decided to join my family on a trip to Squash a Penny Junction in Ashland Virginia.

Squash a Penny is an old general store, chock full of antiques and they're all for sale. Suzanne, the owner has the most amazing collectioin of items that I've ever seen in one place, and she shares my appreciation for the offbeat, the rusty and the downright creepy. She also knows what I like, and helps me navigate the maze of items that she has for sale.

The little tin and doll head (above) looked to me like they belonged together, so I had to buy them both. I'm thinking she will be one of my first resin jewelry projects.

Here are the rest of my Squash a Penny treasures. The brass tag in the middle says Jet Tillie Lace. I wonder what the story behind that is? I am anxious to do some jewelry with those optical lenses, too.

This is my latest project. Everyone in my family hates it so far. I haven't decided if that's a good thing, or a bad thing. The glass eyes came from a previous trip to Squash a penny. The false teeth were purchased from Maria's store at Art and Soul in Hampton. They look and feel amazingly real.
The octopus toy was something that we found when we were cleaning my daughter's room. It probably came in a kid's meal or something. I have lashed it to a spaceman water bottle that I found while I was junking. I put the eyes and the teeth on it last night, and it's looking very sinister. I'll show it to you again when I'm done. Unless one of my family members suceeds in ecouraging me to throw it into the trash!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wedding Wishes

This is a piece that I created as a wedding gift for our friends Raven and David.

I had originally envisioned a freestanding piece with a bird as the centerpiece. I love Julie Haymaker Thompson's Steampunk Lily piece and was hoping to do something along those lines. Unfortunately, my original bird just didn't have the "it" factor that Julie's pieces have. Her bird was whimsical - mine was cartoony. Her  bird was artsy and mine looked like it came straight from a dime store -- not what I was going for, and certainly not something I wanted to give as a gift.

So I scrapped the original piece altogether and started over.

I layered paint and graphite on a 6 x 12" birch board. Then I added pieces of a vintage map. The groom hails from Devon, England, and I was lucky enough to find an old map of Devon at one of my favorite junking locations. Then, I added a decorative metal piece, reminiscent of the flourishes on their wedding invitation.

I still wanted a bird of some sort, so I painted a little wooden bird that I had, and gave her hardware features (a la JHT.). The rick-rack flowers were salvaged from a pair of vintage earrings that I had on hand. Their black color was too stark, so I toned them down with a metallic silver paint.

I added a metal house shape on top, and a part from a perpetual calendar --My wish that they will spend all the days of their lives in a happy home.

As you can see in this photo, the calendar piece was originally too dominant. There was too much brass showing, and it looked heavy on top of the bird. I went back in and lightenend the center with the metallic paint and graphite, and watercolor pencils. It helped it to recede into the background a little bit. I also repositioned it so it wasn't sitting right on top of her head.

It was interesting to see how quickly the piece came together once I was able to let go of my original vision, stay true to my own style, and focus on the recipients of the gift.