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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Mantles of Resiliance in the Transformation of Eventualities on: August 29, 2017 05:10:46 PM
I was planning on making further changes to this one, but I needed to varnish it for an upcoming show and the varnish fixed much of what I was worried about.  The painting was originally painted for an invitational show at one of the area art museums.  Each artist was given a color from the beer scale (light beer to dark beer) and the work we produced had to be created using mostly our assigned color.  I'm sure you can gather which beer shade I was given....LOL!  I was thinking that after the show I might want to lighten up the foreground, but I've decided not to.  I kind of like the flat appearance.

I had multiple reference images to work from, but none of them had my model in this position so it took a lot of trial and error to get it all to work.

It's a 40" x 30" oil on canvas.

I think my favorite part is her hand.  It's also the part that went the quickest.

I am also pretty proud of these books!  I had a stack of cook books that I needed to make into medical books.  I think I managed to make them passable.  Then, of course, I always love to paint birds.
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Locker name tag on: December 11, 2016 08:29:47 PM
The only Christmas we do is through gift exchanges so I created this for my Sectet Santa at work.  I used to set up the phone assignments at shift change for my hospital unit.  When I had the time I would draw up quickly decorated "name tags" to clip to the phone.  They were so much more fun than just scribbled post it notes.  Coworkers LOVED them and started putting these paper phone tags on their lockers.  I regularly get bugged to make more.  For my final SS gift I decided to create a fancier name tag  and make it specifically to hang on a locker.

I Used a thin 3" x 4" piece of basswood that I cut, sanded and gessoed.  The flowers were inspired from some vintage fabric I have, but when I sketched it out I adjusted the size, color & positioning of the pattern (so that it didn't compete with the lettering)..  I transferred my sketch and a tracing of the lettering using graphite paper.  I then hand painted the entire thing with acrylics, sprayed it with a clear coat, and added a magnet on the back.  it's now locker ready!
3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Embroidered bird on: December 10, 2016 10:15:02 PM
ANOTHER project finished today!  This one is for our Secret Santa exchange at work.

I wanted to do another bird, but wasn't sure if I had the time to create my own pattern.  I thought this pattern:
would be great, then (because I can't leave well enough alone) I recreated the pattern with LOTS of revisions.

He stands only a little over 4" tall.  There were lots of mistakes, but I learned some good stuff.  It also took me ALL day!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Unplanned embroidery on: December 09, 2016 11:57:22 PM
Just finished a Secret Santa project for a friend in Denmark that I thought I would share.

The fabric swatch is about 5 1/2" x 6" and I painted the bird before throwing a few stitches over the top. Other than the size,shape and location of the bird nothing was really planned.  I just kind of started stitching and hoped it would turn out.

The text is supposed to be a Danish phrase that roughly translates to:  "The young birds sing like the old ones".....I'm hoping it's similar to our phrase "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree".  If not then well.....

I just finished framing  it in a kind of shadow box frame I picked up on clearance ($3.99....BONUS!).  The frame uses tiny clothesline clips (intended to hold a photo) and it's now ready to ship out!

5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Freyja: A Circumstantial Reflection on Precious Things on: December 09, 2016 11:33:18 PM
Finally finished another painting!  My work schedule has been brutal and combined with continued work on the new house I've had NO time for art. I made the decision to change over to a position that allows 12 hour so I only need to work three days a week!  For the first time in years I actually get to see my husband AND I've been getting some art done! 

 This is another painting referencing myth stories....this time with the goddess Freyja as the subject.  With stories of Freyja's chariot being drawn by cats (some say blue cats) I pictured her as a crazy cat lady.  The necklace she's wearing represents Brisingamen (the necklace Freyja obtained from the dwarves and the boa references the falcon feathered cloak Freyja is said to wear.

The boar was added to reference the boar Hildisvini that Freyja rides into battle and other than the necklace that boar was my favorite part of the painting to do.  My 2 cats were models for all of the cats (mainly for lighting purposes).....body shapes and colors were adjusted to create a variety of blue cats.  The only ones not altered are the two cats on the sofa  fascinated by the boar.

The painting is oils on a 36" x 48" canvas.  I still think I could stand to boost the shadows a bit, but here is anyway:

6  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Stationary Set with a Hand-Drawn Pattern on: January 14, 2016 09:49:18 AM
My available art time has been SO limited lately.  Working a shift directly opposite that of my husband and working every other weekend means that any of my days off are spent trying to get caught up on home projects instead of fun stuff.  Still, I had a project that HAD to be done and I thought I'd share it.  Unfortunately, I had only a few minutes to photograph everything and so it's not photographed all that well.

I knew I wanted to create a repeating pattern and the pattern was first drawn by hand in ink.  I then scanned it into Photoshop, separated the lines from the background and added color.  There was some adjusting done to the pattern to make sure there weren't any real obvious holes and then the fun began!  These are the two color schemes I started with:

First, I used the pattern to create some postcards.  I was able to print 4 postcards on a single piece of heavy cardstock.  With careful printing I was able to print front and back lined up so all I would have to do is cut them out with a straight-edge and use a fillet punch to round the corners.  Before cutting them out I put a layer of single-sided adhesive laminate over the patterned side.  This made the pattern side shiny and helped to strengthen the cards even more.

The, I pulled sections of the pattern out and printed them separately so that I made a stationary set that included two patterns in two different color schemes (the pattern printed on plain paper and cut into strips made pretty bands to keep each card type together):

I also printed the pattern on fabric to make a pouch to hold stickers (sadly I didn't get time to photograph those) and paper to cover a box to keep everything together that could also be used for other things later):

And everything together.  Unfortunately, I also forgot to photograph the notebook I covered with fabric, but that's shown here behind the pouch.  All together there were 24 post cards, 24 note cards, a fabric pouch, a covered notebook, 24 stickers, 8 magnets and a covered box.  It took a long time to organize everything and get it all printed, but I had all of the materials left over from other projects so I didn't need to buy anything.

For those interested, here's my initial layout sketch to create the repeating pattern.

I then traced those onto two sheets in the correct layout (it was too large to put on one sheet) so that there were no seams through the drawings and then I inked the images.  These were the drawings that were then scanned in for the final pattern.
7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Betrayal of Home on: October 03, 2015 02:49:12 PM
FINALLY FINISHED after all this time!  Finally made all the changes I needed to make and here it is:

It all started with an old photo I found of a little girl standing in the snow in front of a farm house.  She looked happy, but it made me think about hidden lives..or rather the secrets we sometimes carry and eventually that morphed into an idea for a painting about betrayal.

The final painting is about from within the childhood home.  This betrayal could be from family or by anyone trusted with the care of a child.  Traumatic childhood events caused by the betrayal of security, innocence or trust can crush a child beyond repair, and yet so many recover and thrive.  This painting is actually a celebration of those who have been able to grow from or move past traumas suffered in childhood as well as a reminder that not all are so fortunate to put such events behind them.  

A heavy subject, sure..but as a survivor, it is one that is close to my heart.

The painting isn't REALLY done, but this was "done enough by the deadline to show".  I'll post updates when I get it back and make the final adjustments.  To start I need to solidify the snow, put in some shadows, change the color (and lighten) the building in the foreground so the owl doesn't get so lost, brighten some areas, push back the farthest building, and repaint the owl's face (it looks a little cartoonish) etc.

It's oil and is 36" wide by 48" tall.  The halo is metal leaf and has a bit of relief to it (I wanted more relief, but didn't have the time for it).

and a detail:

some of the symbolism:
*Swallow - Nest on human dwellings and the death of this bird represents home

*Owl - Wisdom and in some cultures "danger" a predator who feeds on unwary prey

*Burning House - Fire represents cleansing in some cultures (think of a risen phoenix).  Not all of the house burns because it only sometimes takes a small event to affect a child

*Octagonal Nimbus - used in religious painting and thought to represent a living saint or innocent.

*Bound Feet - The difficulty a child might encounter in leaving a threatening situation.

*Floating - Transcendence beyond restricting circumstances.moving beyond abuse

*Murky water - Hidden secrets (you can't see beyond the surface).

*Queen Anne's Lace - Safety, security
8  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Spring Fever - Painting from vintage photos on: May 06, 2015 08:12:46 AM
FINALLY! Some time for painting!  We're moved into the new house.  Although I don't really have an area that's appropriate for painting and there are TONS of things that need to get done around here (the house is "done", but not DONE) I still figured out a way to get some painting done.  I should have some more projects to post soon as well.

The idea for this one came from some of the vintage vacation photographs I collect.  I was SO ready for spring and liked the idea of some vintage ladies in big winter coats on a late winter day and their "bikini-clad" friend who is ready for warmer weather.

The painting is 8" x 10" and is oil on cradled hardbord.

I call it:  "Spring Fever"

and detail:
9  COOKING / Dessert / Lemon Blueberry Cake w/Buttercream Frosting - my first cake! on: March 22, 2015 09:24:55 AM
This will be my first post in this area of the forum because I am truly a hopeless cooking failure.  I've been "banned" from cooking for many years.  HOWEVER, I have always wanted to make pretty cakes and have discovered that baking might go alright for me since there is a little less "artistry" in the combining of ingredients.  If I follow the directions exactly as written it usually seems to work out alright.

I saw a recipe that looked absolutely fantastic and so I decided to attempt to bake and decorate a cake for the first time in my 45 years on this planet.  It was surprisingly good!  The frosting was a bit thin to really do any sort of decorating, but I attempted it anyway.it just meant that what I could do was limited.  The cake itself was so moist! I thought that I might have over mixed it because it wasn't quite as fluffy as some cakes, but it sounds like that may be typical for this recipe.  It wasn't extremely dense, but a little denser than expected.  I made a second one to be sure the density wasn't from my mistake and that one turned out right about the same.

My husband HATES cake, but he ate more than his share of this one!  The second cake went with him to work and they loved it.

The first attempt using the full recipe produced a 9" 3-layer cake:

I didn't know you should use a serrated knife to cut a cake so the slice looks a little "gnawed", but this is the only slice photo I have:

My second attempt I cut the recipe in half and made a 6" 3-layer cake:

The recipe can be found here.  I'd make this recipe again in a second!!
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / The GIANT project on: September 10, 2014 06:42:27 PM
SO MUCH STUFF DONE! (and so much still left to do)

All four of these rooms kind of wound up being one entire project.  Because the new floor was the same floor in all four rooms they kind of had to all be done at once so..this is my GIANT project.  It's so nice to not have nearly the entire first floor ripped apart right now!

First, is the super-tiny "office". I don't have any before photos except for this one that we took before we moved into the place:

Added a light in the ceiling and a switch (the only light available before was a plug-in lamp, new trim, new floor & repaired wiring. This is also one of the rooms that was affected by the ice dam. So there is a new ceiling and the entire wall on the left was replaced. We moved all the stuff that was in there to storage, so right now it's being used as a "cat room" to house the litter box & cat food. I have a throw rug on the floor to protect the new floor until we move:

Next is the living room and again, I don't have any photos of it except the pre-move in photo. What we HAD done to this room previously was paint it in a muted orange, remove the carpet (it was glued down) and sand down the floors. However, the floors are white pine and don't wear well so this time we decided to just replace them. Before:

And after replacing the front door, putting in a new beam (the old beam was only 3 2" x 6" boards nailed together that were sagging because they'd removed a load-bearing wall.we had to put in a new LVL beam), new floor, new trim, new light and new paint. This room was also damaged by the ice dam so the ceiling and wall closest to the door was replaced. The stairwell got new paint, new stair rail and new stair treads.  The angled "ledge" that runs up the stairwell used to be a flat ledge, but we had to cut it out because we couldn't fit a queen-size bed up the stairs with that ledge there.  Again, our stuff was put in storage to be moved to the new house so there isn't much in here now. I figure I'll let the buyer get drapes. After:

The dining room had nothing done to it until now. This is a pre-move-in photo so it pretty much looked like this, but without that furniture:

Removed the wallpaper border, new paint, new trim, new floor, new exterior door, widened the door to the kitchen (we can open the fridge ALL the way now), new light and some new wiring. Sadly, the yellow looks kind of lemony in the photos, but it's a real pale buttery yellow (looks almost cream in most lighting). The table is just a temporary thing we used to have at the cabin (it folds down to almost nothing and the chairs store inside of it) so it's not exactly stylish, but it's at least something:

This is the main floor bedroom before we moved in:

This is what it looked like for a short while when I had my studio in there.  We'd removed the wallpaper border, painted the room and painted the floor in a pattern because we couldn't afford to replace the floor and it was in bad visual shape):

And this is what it looks like now after new floor, new paint, new trim & new shades. The closet needed a LOT of work because it was made from some kind of thin board that was falling apart. It had to be gutted and drywalled:

There is only one more area to do on the main floor now, but I need to get some things done upstairs first. There isn't a whole lot I'll be doing up there except in the "walk-in closet", but there's plenty to do in that closet.
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