Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back at the Scene of the Crime

Finally it seems our family is at the end of this piggy flu thing. It's been a long two months. It sorta just lingers, this thing... you think you are fine then POOF, you feel like crap again and suddenly have another earache or sore throat or are coughing up God Knows What.

So today my daughter talked me into having one of her friends over, even though I knew it was too late in the day and a bad idea as Rick and I spent the day in the kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving. We were tired and grouchy. Any parent knows not to let their children have friends over in that state of mind.

But, I don't always think.

So we called her best friend. Coincidentally, she is the one who I believe gave us the piggy flu in the first place, two long months ago. I can't prove it, although I seriously wish I could.

So she comes in and we hang her coat up and the conversation goes something like this (names are changed to protect the little germ-spreader):

Me: How's everything, Katie?

Katie: Ohhh... okay (she looks down at her chubby little feet and sighs).

Me: Uh-oh, doesn't sound good (me trying to get the latest dirt on her parents).

Katie: I was hoping you'd invite me over here today. I needed to get OUTTA MY HOUSE!!!

Me: Why's that? (Ooooooh, this is gonna be good!!! I continue to frost my cut-out cookies so I don't look so obvious).

Katie: My brother's sick and I am getting tired of taking care of him!!! He's puking and has diarrhea and I had to serve him his lunch in bed today and change his pukey sheets!!! (she moans).

Me: Oh my. (gulp)

Katie - being the perceptive little thing that she is, she says: Oh don't worry, I washed my hands when I was done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

front page LOVE

woohoo! Must be how it feels to win an Oscar! The coveted front page appearance is what all us etsiers want... if someone tells you different, don't believe them. (that's my little wooden doll there, in the red, with the star...).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Clock Making

A very nice woman contacted me through my etsy shop and asked me if I could make a clock for her daughter's bedroom. I took pics of some of the different steps and thought I'd share with you!

First, I cut the birch wood to the correct size (well, dh does... i'm terrified of the table saw and try to avoid it when possible). Sand the edges well and lightly sand the front with fine sandpaper.

When I shade the face, the watercolor pencils I normally use are raw sienna, burnt sienna, venetian red, turquoise blue, rosey pink, flesh pink, white, slate blue/gray and black.

Cover the stamped area with the neutral color light paint in varied thicknesses. Leave some peaking through.

I like to use tissue paper for some of the layers. I've also used tulle', scrapbook paper, magazine paper, vintage text (use this a lot, love dictionaries and encyclopedias), or any pretty or cool paper you can find.

This piece I left pretty translucent, since the customer wanted it mostly green and pink. I applied the green paint in different hues, using the darker greens on the outside of the piece more. I normally add a tad of yellow (very translucent) to most of my paintings as I like the warmth of it. It adds a lot of dimension. I use my fingers a lot to rub in into the creases, etc. I also use sponges, clay tools, texture tools (bubble wrap!), etc. I have a box of goodies that creates texture (old cookie cutters, shelf liner, etc... I really like this part ... creating all the texture).

More layers of paper!

I normally paint the entire eye with white first. This way I can let some of the white shine through part of the iris area paint if I want it to. This helps the eyes to be really bright and alive. Eyes are very tricky and it's taken me a long, long time to get them to where I'm happy with them. Initially my eyes were more harsh, with sharper lines. Now they are softer and more natural looking. Of course I'm continually learning and refining my style!

I think a good artist is well aware of their strengths and shortcomings. My biggest shortcoming in my opinion is composition and the laying out of my "scene". I struggle with this and normally paint very simple scenes. I think sometimes I'm too restrictive and I play it safe too much.

I think I have two strengths:

The first is COLOR. I love color. As most artists do, I have colors that I use more than others. I love greens and pinks and black! I remember reading once that some artists think black is not necessary and shouldn't be used. WHAT???!!! I love BLACK! I love the contrast it provides.

I feel that my other strength is DETAIL. Once I have the main character(s) completed and the colors and texture done, I get out my ink pen and my teeny tiny paintbrush and GO TO IT! This is when I shine! I love this part so much!!! I call it the "doodle" stage. I feel so free during this time and it's just natural for me. I just keep writing and drawing and doodling and painting and it just flows. No hesitations. Ahhhh....

Here I cut the text out of an old dictionary that my mother-in-law gave me many years ago. This dictionary literally weighs probably 15 lbs! It is HUGE! You all must be laughing at me cutting up my mother-in-law's gift! Don't worry, she'd approve!

I have my husband attach the clock mechanism. Then I stamp or draw out the numbers (or letters, in this case). This clock says "how time flies" starting at 12:00 and going around (clockwise, of course!).

After the clock part is done, I antique it a bit with some warm brown/sienna wash. I wanted to keep the green really pure in this piece, so I used very little of the antique wash. I normally apply it with a tiny sponge that I've cut into a sort of round long piece.

Then I sign and date it and paint the back. Then a nice layer of varnish is applied. This makes the paint and ink and all of it POP and really come alive.


Sunday, November 8, 2009


I know you all are so tired of seeing Halloween pics of kids. But I guess I don't care enough to not put you through it again, LOL.

Samantha decided to be a witch. This fit her well as she is so grouchy when the camera comes out! She got right in character.

So here's Miss Witchy (although she was sweet enough to leave me a little bag of M&M's on my (unmade) bed.