Trees

Bird Bowl

I had a wonderful evening yesterday sharing a space at the Tetherow Holiday Bazaar with my sister, Kristin.  We had a cute little corner spot with 2 tables - one for my glass work and one for her beautiful art quilts, fabric journal covers, hats and small paintings.  Now that I live closer to her I hope we can share more days like this as we both find our way to selling more of our handmade goods.

Yesterday I sold several pieces including my large Bird Bowl.  It truly was a favorite of mine and it was nice that a woman who was thinking and thinking about it had a wonderful husband who came along behind her and bought it as a surprise for Christmas.

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One of the other sales last night was this cute little doggie plate.  The man who bought this was buying something else, then suddenly said - Oh, I'll take this, too.  It looks just like our dog!   It's fun when people see things they just relate to immediately.

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I have updated my Etsy shop with the sales from last night, so take a look around.  I will be sending some items to Artisan's Etc. in Big Bear very soon as well, so catch it now if you are interested!  I also plan to add a few more items tonight or tomorrow, so check back if you think about it.  ALSO - don't forget, you can use coupon code HOLIDAY15 for 15%off any purchase over $40  now through Dec 20th! 


Blue Couple

A week or so ago I received an email from a past client.  She had just finished doing some work on their lake house and she has a spot that she would like a custom piece of glass made for.

After some back and forth on sizing and design, I came up with a sketch.  She wanted two Stellers Jays and so this is what I sketched up.

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This is just an outline sketch.  The glass will have more detail and, of course, color. This is a really fun project and I am looking forward to firing up the old kiln for the first time since the move and getting it done for her.

I will keep you posted as this piece come together.  

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More Paint

I recently started trying something a little bit different with the backgrounds of my painted glass tiles. My normal process is to used glass frit (crushed glass) as the backgrounds behind my paintings.  

Like this:
Desert Dancing

I drew a picture of a little scene recently and drew in these layers of sky.  The process of applying the frit is not terribly precise, but in my mind I could see very precise, colorful sections of sky working in this piece.  So, I decided to paint it as I saw it and this is what I got:

Sunset Beauty 1

Coloring the pieces this way is a little bit more time consuming and uses a little more paint.  But, as you can see, the effect is stunning.  I don't think it works for all pieces (maybe it would) but I definitely know that I will be doing it alot more in the near future. 

Here are a few more pieces with the painted backgrounds:

Late Winter 1

Hare in the Daisies 2

The Simple Life 2


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!!


Swing Time

I saw some art from an artist recently that I just loved.  It was a drawing of a bear with a little girl.  The artist is Graham Franciose and you can see his blog here.  And you can see other artists I love on my Pinterest Boards here.

I love illustrations like this and it got me thinking about my art.  I personally think that my style looks a little like carved stamp impressions.  The texture work that I am doing now has that etched/carved look.  And it reminds me of an illustration style similar to what Graham is doing.  

Now, I know it's not anywhere near the same.  The medium, subject matter, style, etc.  But similar to my eye all the same.

I decided to try my hand at some more whimsical/surreal styled birds.  The first image came to me at once.  A bird in a tree swing.  The original drawing took up the full page of my sketchbook.

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I chose a long, tall dark piece of wood to put the glass on, so the finished piece had to cut off a little of the tail and a lot of the tree, but it still tells the story.

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You can see how the drawing, while detailed, does not have the texture and depth that the finished piece has.  That is all done in the shading stage of my painting. 

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I am having so much fun with these little birds.  They can be doing so much!  This idea came to me while running on my treadmill the other day.  It originally had a regular umbrella, but it didn't look 'right', so I made the umbrella from leaves and it works now.  A photo of this one finished will definitely become a greeting card.

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This one titled "Warm and Dry" is in the first stage of painting in the kiln right now.  I painted this one on a large square (8" x 8") that I will frame when it's done. The birds appear to be floating in mid-air here, but rest assured, I placed them on a twig-lined pathway in the final picture.

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This one is called "Fly Away Home" and shows my bird relaxing at home with a good book.  This is an example of the "reverse-ness" of my art.  You can see the title of the book had to be written in reverse so that when the image is complete and turned over, it is correct. 

This one is actually also in the kiln now.  This photo was taken before the nest was finished, but the final piece is a smaller oval and that portion of the nest and most of the leaves will not be in this finished glass painting so it didn't matter for now. 

Can't wait to see these last two designs "fleshed out" as well!


Tree Boxes

I had a brilliant idea!  Well, we all have them from time to time, don't we?

Turn some of my glass on wood pieces into boxes!  These could be for jewelry, paperclips, found shells, pet ashes.... the list goes on.

Early Dawn Tree Box 2

Early Dawn Tree Box 3

I took chunks of tree limbs, cut off the bottom, slice into the edges of the rest of the chunk to create a cavity, then glue all those pieces back together.  Then take a slice off of the top of the piece from the inside to glue onto the bottom of the glass for the lid. Then, of course, make the reverse glass painting to fit the box.  Once glued together, the box is heavily sanded and has a coat of satin varnish to protect the wood.

Remember Me Tree Box

Remember Me Tree Box 3

So far I have only done some of my tree designs, but I could see all kinds of animals and even pet portraits for pet urns.  They are all around 4" in diameter and varying heights from 2-1/2" to 5".

Willow Tree Box

Willow Tree Box 3

Love them!!


Clay Fun

So, a couple of weeks ago I had decided I was going to try making some of my jewelry pieces with porcelain clay instead of the precious metal silver clay.  I kind of knew a little about porcelain, but really not much.  After some research about firing it and looking at info on my glass kiln, I realized my kiln does not safely fire to a hot enough temperature for porcelain (over 2200 degrees).  Bummer.

So I bought another packet of silver clay.  It is very expensive.  I have not opened it yet. 

Today Mark and I were at Michael's and I decided to see what they offered in the way of clay I might be able to use.  I settled on an extremely inexpensive packet of white Sculpey III clay.  Some of you may be familiar with this clay.  It is used for everything from jewelry to buttons, sculpture and a lot more.  

I did not know much about it and found a couple of interesting articles and videos, but nothing that really told me exactly how to do what I wanted to do.  Most of the online info is about making millifiore canes or beads.  So I just went for it.

It's properties make this such a wonderfully workable medium.  And the best part - it only has to cook at 275 degrees and DOES NOT SHRINK!!  I can insert my glass with absolutely no worries.  I am very excited and thrilled to present my first piece of polymer clay and glass jewelry. 

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Like I said, this was made from white clay.  I layered a base sheet, stamped it with this attractive tree shape, then centered my glass on the front of that, wrapped a "snake" of clay around the glass, then layered strips across the top all the way around the glass.  With my fingers I smoothed it all around, poked the holes, trimmed it up a little bit, then cooked it in my oven.

Then the work began.  I used a tiny carving tool to carve all of the grooves in to the face of the frame.  I also used an exacto blade to trim all the way around, round the corners and clean up the inside edge of the frame.  I sanded it all over with a very fine sanding pad.  

As I was carving I accidentally carved a hair too deep on one of the corners and the glass poked through.  I thought "UhOh" but did a tiny little patch and refired it and it came out perfect. 

I then put some black acrylic paint on a rag and just basically painted the entire piece black.  Then I took a clean rag and rubbed it all over so that the black stayed in the texture and crevices.  After the paint dried I brushed on a coat of clear satin acrylic finish to protect it.

In some lights it actually looks like silver, but it is very lightweight and not as shiny as silver is.  I attached silver filled chain with beads and a lobster clasp to finish it off.

I am bubbling with excitment and looking forward to making a whole series!!

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I Was Framed

Several weeks ago I sold a framed glass tile piece at the Mountain Arts Gallery in Lake Arrowhead.  I have a small section to hang some of my art on there as well as a glass display case.  Since most of my work is 3 dimensional and does not need a wall, this is perfect for me.  

I had not made any framed pieces in some time, so when I looked in my inventory at home I realized I needed to get to work.  I went down to Michael's and picked up 6 frames.  (I love their buy one, get one 50% off sales.)  I looked for some frames that were more long and skinny than usual in order to accomodate some tall tree paintings.  I ended up getting one that I really love the shape of - it is 10-1/2 x 16" overall and I cut a mat with an opening of 4-1/2 x 10".  

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Here is the close up - much better to see the glass

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"Twist and Shout" 

In another long, tall frame instead of a tree, I ended up going with this gorgeous Scrub Jay.  I drew this one from a photograph taken by a friend of mine - Lee Reeder - he has been doing some wonderful bird photos lately and gave me permission to use them as I needed as reference material.

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"Long and Tall"

I painted 3 more birds and another tree to fill all 6 of the frames.  

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"Morning Song"  - Purple Finch (also from a photograph by Lee)

Rusted 2

"Rusted"

Western Tanager 2

"Western Tanager"

Full and Round 2

"Full and Round"


Leaf Coasters

So, I have made coasters in the past and they usually sell fairly well.  Usually as gifts around the holidays or for housewarmings.  But, I have been so focused on my glass paintings that I hadn't made any in a while.

I am currently getting ready for the season of shows coming up and thought coasters should be on my to-do list.  Several months ago I purchased a couple of sheets of 6mm clear fusing glass with the intention of figuring out a new technique for coasters.  

Well, after rolling it around for some time and peeking at one of my favorite books - Richard La Londe - Fused Glass Art and Technique - I decided to try a layered frit idea.

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I know it is hard to see in a photograph, but what you see here is before the first firing.  I lay down a thin layer of vanilla colored fine frit, then carefully layer one color of frit for the basic shap of the leaf.  Next I sprinkle on two other contrasting colors of frit, then break and lay down the pieces of stringer for the veins. Finally, a 4 x 4" piece of the 6mm clear is laid on top and it is fired to 1480 degrees.

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After the first firing I paint a black outline around the leaf edges and veins, then fire it again to 1450 degrees. 

The final coasters are bright, cheery, smooth and have a really cool almost double image where you are seeing the black paint "floating" above the colored leaf. 

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All Seasons Coaster Set

After a pretty long hiatus from Etsy, I have decided to post my new coaster sets on there for sale.  Click Here to see my shop.  I will be adding more of the leaves and possibly some other designs soon.  Enjoy and Drink Up!

 


Sage and Songbirds

I am very excited to announce that I will be showing and selling my art at the Sage and Songbirds 15th Annual Festival and Garden Tour.

I plan to have lots of bird and butterfly pieces.  I am also working on some glass plant markers that should be a great hit.

Come on down to beautiful, sunny San Diego county for a weekend of fun!  

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Celebrating Alpine, CA -- 
America's First Community Wildlife Habitat

hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

Private Home Garden Tour - May 4-6, 2012 
(sneak-peek photos & garden stories coming to this site soon)

FREE Festival - May 5-6, 2012 at Viejas Outlets

FREE Events and activities include:
•Educational Seminars 
•Caterpillar Races
•Butterfly Release
•Live Birds of Prey
•Live Hummingbirds
•Snakes, reptiles, bugs & other critters
•And featuring the awesome illusion of "Sleeveless the Magician", performing his sleight-of-hand magic & comedy show both days of the Festival!

ALSO:
•Garden Mart!
•Plant Sales!
Scavenger Hunt!
•Opportunity Drawings!

More!