Holidays

Ornament Class Coming!

Hi Everyone,

I often have people ask me at shows whether I teach classes or not.  Right now, I don't teach my reverse painting at my home studio.  I will be in several locations throughout the US next year, however, teaching that technique in a 4 day workshop.  I encourage you to check those dates and locations on my Workshop page.

BUT -- If you are interested in trying out some other glass fusing techniques, I hope you will look at the ornament class I am holding on Tuesday night, November 29th from 6 to 8pm at Junque in Bloom in Bend, OR.

This will be different than other fusing classes you may see around town because of the techniques we will be doing. 

First we will play with paper and glass.  Normally paper will simply burn up at fusing temperatures in the kiln, but we will be making snowflakes from a special fiber paper that will stay white when fired between glass.  They make gorgeous ornaments and you can get  as detailed as you like with your paper cutting.

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Second, we will have fun playing with glue and crushed glass (frit).  By simply drawing with the glue and applying different colored frit you can create pictures and words for a fun, colorful ornament.

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Lastly, you will have the opportunity to play around with glass paints.  These are tricky sometimes, but worth the effort, I think.  Paint a picture, a snow scene, a dog or cat, whatever comes to mind for you!

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There will be some light refreshments so if you need that little kick to get you in the holiday spirit, this is it!  AND, you get to make up to 6 ornaments to keep or give as gifts.  Can't go wrong with that!

All ages are welcome and since we won't be cutting or handling any sharp glass even kids can get in on the act.

Go to www.JunqueInBloom.com to sign up.  If that day doesn't work for you, please submit a request for another day/time that does!

Hope to see you all there!

 


Something Missing

Okay, so I have titled this blog post "Something Missing".  I don't really know why.  I always write a title before I start writing a post and for some reason these words just popped out.  Let's see where this takes us.

I have been very busy.  Fall is always tough because it seems to be my busiest time for shows and keeping my local shops stocked.  I have had some very successful shows in October and November and am now gearing up for the last two of the year in December. 

The first show in December is the Harvest Festival at the Pomona Fairgrounds on Dec. 5, 6 & 7.  It is more of a fine craft show in the terms that it is mostly for people coming to buy handmade gifts rather than fine art buyers looking to add to their collections.  Knowing this fact, I have been busy making as many of my gifty items as possible - bowls, plates, leash hooks and ornaments.  I will also have some of my reverse paintings available, though, for those looking for more of a one-of-a-kind item.

Three Hook - Dog

Red 8 inch Spirit Plate

8 inch tree plates 2

The last show for me this year is the Christmas Tree Lane tree lighting and Arts and Crafts Fair in Altadena, CA.  It is on Dec 13th from 2pm to 8pm in the Altadena library parking lot.  It is a fun one to end on for the season because it is outdoors, at night, with tree lightings, music, food and the warmth of other vendors and guests.

Then, I will finally feel like I can get working on what is missing.  I have ideas all the time.  I have thought many times this year about the direction of my art and I feel like I know what I want to create, but also know that it changes all the time.  The art pieces are wonderful and time consuming and thrilling to pull out of their final kiln firings and get them on their displays or finished for display and sale.

As a "selling" artist, though, I frequently spend time making smaller, more quickly "saleable" items in order to pay the bills.  I don't know any artist who has not struggled with the different pulls at our time, energy and skills.  

I am considering challenging myself in 2015 to accomplish more than I think I can. There is something missing in my work.  I am looking for more depth and dimension.  We will see if it can be found.

This piece here, "Chickadee and Seed Pods", is one of my latest large art pieces and I LOVE it.  I am hoping to expand on these techniques and details.  I hope you will stick around to see what comes next. Every new piece is a learning experience - finding what I like or don't like and seeing the possibilities of what can be done.

Chickadee and Seed Pods 1 with gradient background


Miniature Workshop

I have told you before about the great co-op gallery I belong to in Lake Arrowhead.  I don't think I have mentioned the wonderful artists that belong to it.  One of those folks is Jon Olson, a very accomplished painter who specializes in miniatures.  He does shows and gallery displays all over the world and is a fun and interesting person.  His wife, Natalie is equally fun.  So, when they announced that they were offering a free miniature painting workshop I jumped at the chance.

Although I don't have any formal painting experience and don't paint in the "normal" way on paper or canvas, I think I held my own.  I was a bit slower than the others so only got 2 paintings out of 3 completed, but I am pretty happy with the technique and the results.

We started with 3 canvases that are 2 x 3" of different kinds of paper and coatings and chose our reference materials.  He wanted us to try out different substrates to see what we preferred.  My favorite was the first one that I finished on Yupo paper.  It is very smooth and shiny and I am told the paint will end up scraping off if it is not allowed to dry and is sealed properly. 

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I have never used oil paints, so chose to try my hand at them today and really loved the color vibrancy and feel of the paint.

The first step was to draw the sketch of what we were going to paint and then using a dark umber color (acrylic) we painted in the oulines and shadows of the piece.

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I then dove into the oil paints and just started going to town.  The whole technique is to use the initial shadowing as a base to control the lights and darks.  So you paint in nice thin transparent layers of paint and build up color as you go.  It's fun to see the painting take shape as you add to it.

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There are many things I would change or do better now that I have a little practice, but I learned quite a bit and had fun doing it.  Thank you Jon and Natalie!!


It's a jungle out there....

And it's also a jungle here in my studio!  I have been busy getting ready for my upcoming show tomorrow in Altadena at Christmas Tree Lane.  People gather for hot chocolate, coffee and to see the annual lighting of the beautiful trees along one section of road in Altadena.

The arts and crafts booths are all set up in the parking lot of the Altadena Library and while it is outdoors, there is a feeling of warmth and coziness all around.

I have been busy creating some animal pieces to display and sell --

Endearing 2"Endearing"  Young raccoon

Mates Box 2"Mates" Barn Owls Box

On Top 2"On Top"

Regal 1"Regal" Bald Eagle

Ursus"Ursus"  Brown Bear

 


New Year - New Thoughts

I don't usually actually make New Year's resolutions.  I like to make goals for myself all of the time, so it seems sort of redundant.  

But, this year there are a couple of things that I really do "resolve" to do.

1.  I resolve to eat as "vegan" of a diet as I can.  This can be difficult when eating out or with friends.  And reading all of the ingredients on packages is quite tedious.  But I feel very strongly about this in my life and hope that I can make a difference in my health, the invironment and for farm animals everywhere.

2.  Secondly, and I just thought of this today, I resolve to try to live every day as if I am on vacation.  I thought about how I slow down my movements, my thoughts, my interactions when I am on vacation.  I tend to enjoy moments more on vacation.  That could be because I am away from regular surroundings where people and things become mundane chores, but I think it might have more to do with a state of mind. This one will be tough.  I think I am up for it. 

As for goals - those will start soon and continue throughout the year.  I am really looking forward to a very healthy, happy and fun 2012.  Hope you are, too!

IMG_0590New Year's Eve dinner with hubby.  :-)


Lighting My Life

Although I have built in some down time into the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, I am not sure I will be able to stick to it.  

My dear husband has given me an LED light table for my glass painting.  I am forever having to lift up my glass pieces to get light to shine up through the glass.  It is the only way I can see that my colors are getting right up to the edge of the black outlines.  I am really looking forward to using the light table.  It will make the coloring and shading so much easier!

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I have some new ideas to work on, also.  These rectangular sketches are a bit rough, but are just ideas for a new display I want to try.  If all goes well, they will be somewhat larger pieces - maybe about 10 x 12" and thicker - 1/4 to 3/8"??  I plan to do them in layers, fused together and bent over a stainless steel mold.  I can picture them being lit from behind, or just set into a sunny window.  

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Itching to get started on some new things - like I said, not really sure my downtime is really going to go as long as I anticipated.

And isn't this little guy just a cutie?? He might pop up somewhere soon....

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Trees, Trees, Glorious Trees!

I finished 9 more pieces last week, just before my last show of the season in Altadena, CA.  I made 7 trees, an owl and a hare.  

Fall Moon
"Fall Moon"

I have discovered a new way to layer the background frit using transparent colors and creamy vanilla to make subtle, but vibrant skies and backgrounds.

Serenity in Red
"Serenity in Red"

Some of these were very hard to even put price tags on - I would love to keep them all!

Harmony in Red
"Harmony in Red"

Nurturing
"Nurturing"

Simplicity 2
"Simplicity"

Windblown
"Windblown"

Intensity 3"Intensity"

Wish Upon A Star
"Wish Upon A Star"

 


Finally Pictures!

As promised, here are the pictures of my latest completed ornaments and Christmas lights.  We bought our first fresh cut tree in about 15 years yesterday.  It is sitting proudly in my living room.  We are expecting a snow storm today, so it will be just right for sipping cocoa (with Kalua?) and hanging lights and ornaments!  I am looking forward to it!

Blue Snowflake Ornament

Green Reindeer Ornament 2

Tree Ornament 2

House Lights


Flowers of the Season

We spent a little time this week putting up our Christmas lights outside.  We hung 6 strands of white icicle lights along our short fence that runs along our driveway and for the first time, we put our big colorful bulb strands along the front deck railing.  I just love coming home in the evening to the house lit up like that!

I also trimmed back my rose bushes.  For two reasons - I am hoping it makes them come back full in the spring, but also so that we would not get scratched to death while maneuvering around them to put up the lights.  There were a few gorgeous roses still in bloom, amazingly enough, and I cut those to bring inside.

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The little owl card was a Thank You card from my nephew, Ryan.

A couple of months ago I repotted some of my older house plants.  They were quite root-bound and the Christmas Cactus hadn't bloomed in at least 2 years.  I ended up moving the cactus to a different window, also.  I understand they like the west facing sun, but I don't have any good window space on my west side, so they went into a north window.  I wasn't really sure how that was gonna work.  I was going around watering a couple of weeks ago and was so excited to see that it had big, juicy blooms on it again.  And then last week they all popped open!  

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And on the glass front, I have sold quite a few of my ornaments at the Mountain Arts Network Gallery in Lake Arrowhead.  I really wasn't sure how well they would sell, so I only made 15 or 20 of the glass ornaments.  I had one woman come in and buy 13 of them in one day!  Well, I don't expect that to happen again, but I did make some more, different ones, and took them up to the gallery the other day.

Unfortunately, I took pictures of them after the clear glass was hand painted, but before firing, but forgot to get any finished pictures because I was in a hurry to take them to the store.  But, you can see the new images I painted - a Christmas tree, reindeer and snowflake.  They were all fired onto a vanilla colored background and I hung glass beads beneath each one.  I will have to get some photos for you. :-)

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I like the reindeer, but the red ones are another example of how the red paint can be so tricky. During firing, the red blurred out and became very thin in spots.  I was not able to actually use them to sell.  I am planning to try to repaint and refire them, so we will see how that comes out.

Enjoy the Flowers of the Season!


Thankful

Gold and Gray 3"Gold & Gray" 


10 Things Artists Should be Thankful For
Passed on from Sylvia White  via Kristin Shields at Stitching Hands Studio

1. I am thankful that I am not one of the majority of people in this world that wakes up every morning, goes to a job they hate, just to come home and do it all over again.

2.  I am thankful that when I am away from my studio, my ideas come with me, they keep me company everywhere I go.

3.  I am thankful for this passion that gives me so much joy (and angst) but mostly joy.

4.  I am thankful that when I have left this earth, I will leave something meaningful behind.

5.  I am thankful that I have a mind that can not sleep, I will never be bored.

6.  I am thankful that there is a part of my life that nobody can control, except me.

7.  I am thankful that no one in the world can ever take this gift from me.

8.  I am thankful that I am brave, it takes courage to pursue my gift.

9.  I am thankful that I am never satisfied, it forces me to move forward and grow.

10.  I am thankful I discovered this list!  Pass it on.

Happy Thanksgiving All!!