New Under the Sun

My studio looks out onto our front entry, an atrium. This was my view when we moved here:

 

A brick wall is not very inspiring.

Then I added a big metal sun. I love suns and have quite a few around the entry.

At least it was something to look at besides a brick wall.

When we were in Bandera a few weeks ago, some of the antique and western art shops had old or distressed furniture. I was thinking a table or old stepladder would be nice under the sun, with a plant or two. Not wanting to pay $25 or $30 for an old table, I looked in thrift shops here in Kerrville and found this table (at the appropriately named shop, Finds*) for $2. It’s truly junk, particle board with veneer peeling off and blobs of wax on the top. With so little to lose, I knew I could just have fun.

One ugly table, $2.

The legs were a bit wobbly, so I shored them up with Gorilla Glue.

C-clamps are so handy!

Stripped off the loose veneer, cleaned it up and spray-painted it dark green. When that dried I painted over the green with thinned-down yellow acrylic paint and wiped most of it off. Next I tried spatter painting, but I ended up with more drips than spatters, and not Jackson Pollock-level drips, either.

Using a big rough masonry brush, I stippled with yellow, brown, gold and a little red. A couple of coats of varnish, and voilà, our “new antique” for under $10:

I’ve had the yellow pail for years. Finally found a place for it. 

Don’t you think the sun seems happier now?

My new studio view.

* Finds consists of two adjacent stores. One is more boutique, with good china and furniture. The other has just about everything else, from tools to yarn. Sadly, they no longer carry clothes. This table came from the cheap side. In a previous post about furniture restoration, the shelf came from the boutique side (and cost a lot more).

 

 

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Art days = hens’ teeth

Like almost every retired person I know, I find my days fill up quickly. Appointments, meetings, exercise, household, yard and pool chores, pet care (yes, I have help in all these areas), usually take up most of about four days a week. (That’s not to mention the 12-year-old granddaughter and a husband with a chronic illness.) I also volunteer with two local arts centers, which at least counts as “art.”

So I manage to squeeze in a precious art day now and then. Recent output includes a painting and some postcards. When I finished the painting, I didn’t care for it much, but after it dried I decided it fit nicely in our foyer, with its touches of blue and gold.

The lava lamp is a recent garage sale purchase, for a couple of dollars.

“Bluedrops” – Acrylic, 12″ x 12″

 

I did this photo-collage as a retirement gift for our minister–images from the church’s interior.

Here are postcards since my last post:

“Springtangle” – pens, Prismacolor pencils

Paris from Montparnasse Tower” – original hand-colored black and white photo (taken on our October visit to Paris).

“Spring 2019” – Watercolor and pen (sent to a friend in Canada to brighten her winter days)

 

“Ganesha goes to Bali” – Collage (sent to congratulate a friend on her 100th birthday)

 

“Get Your Feet Wet” – collage, including day and night images of Kerrville’s splash pad.

Finally, I dug out a stashed box of papers I’d almost forgotten about,

Fun with an old friend, Color Aid, a beautiful matte silk-screened paper that comes in more than 200 colors a pack.

and created this collage, limiting myself to only these scraps of (not necessarily harmonious) colors. It turned out better than I expected–sort of an homage to Matisse’s cutouts. (I have seen two exhibits, one at the Hirshhorn in Washington in about 1977*, and a fabulous exhibit at MOMA in New York in 2014.)

“Finding an Old Box of Color Aid,” collage.

* Funny story: I saw the Matisse cutout exhibit with my mother and then-4-year-old daughter. While Mom scoffed that “a kindergartener could do this” and the guards warily eyed the child, I tried to enjoy this incredibly beautiful “kindergarten” art. (Matisse was quite old when he did the cutouts.) Finally my mother offered to take the child out so I could peruse in peace, which I did. When I saw the ’14 show at MOMA, there were school kids on a field trip, enjoying the art immensely. It was wonderful.

 

January ’19 Output

My goal was five postcards a week, but the month was crazy and challenging and I made only five in the whole month (plus one I’m working on, a manipulated photo from Paris that I’m experimenting with hand-coloring; look for that in a later post).

Here’s my 2019 output so far:

Page Torn from a Unicorn’s Library (collage) (given to a friend along with a hand-knit gift)

 

Doodle #26 (Shuttle Art markers)

 

Winter Dawn with Venus, Jupiter and Mars (water color)

 

Zen Tangles Meet New Markers

 

Happy in Water (collage) I am thrilled that this card will be sent to the remote island of Tristan da Cunha, in the South Atlantic, whose inhabitants have requested mail art for a permanent exhibition for island resident and visitors. Isn’t that the coolest thing? I chose this card with its water theme since it’s going to an island.

November Postcard Swap

This may be my last swap. The cards are beginning to look so much alike that it seems there’s one classroom, technique or factory cranking them out.

My goal for 2019 is to produce “Kindness Cards,” which I may donate to organizations that can sell them to their members to raise money, or I will send them or give them away to remind people of the importance of kindness. Some will be original art; others may be produced with computer graphics, allowing me to make many more cards.

The cards in sent for this swap can be seen here.

Here are cards I received from the Fall ihanna swap. Most are from around the U.S. One was from the U.K. I received only nine this time; the tenth one below, the small one on the lower right, was a return in thanks for one I sent.

 

 

 

I’m giving myself an art day today. I’ll work on some knitting, begin a stitchery project, and organize the studio to get started on 2019’s Kindness Cards.

Make something beautiful this year!

 

Postcards for fall 2018 swap

I sent out my 10 postcards for the ihanna swap, but I’ve received only eight. I’m hoping the last two are international and just taking a long time. In the meantime, here are the ones I sent:

Shiny Bubbles – Prismacolor water color pencils

 

Souvenir de Paris – collage with Métro map and ticket.

 

Blues – Prismacolor water color pencils

 

Dreary Saturday Morning – watercolor, collage, washi tape

 

Dreary Saturday – watercolor, collage

 

Paris Métro Maze – collage with Métro maps, tickets, washi tape

 

Autumn Folly – watercolor, stamping

 

The Secret – watercolor, marker, computer type on vellum

 

La Vie en Rose – computer graphic images of Edith Piaf (“Little Sparrow”)

I’ll post the cards from the swap once I’ve received all of them.

Happy holidays! See you in 2019!

 

Child’s play

Busy as I am now that school has started, plus a multitude of health issues, I’m sharing a painting my granddaughter did to help me feel better. It’s from memory, of our blue heeler, Junior. She has found her own medium: watercolor on canvas, which would not have occurred to me. It’s not an exact likeness, but I think she handled the paint really well, especially the gradations of his coat.

Junior by Chloe, watercolor on canvas

If you’re curious, this is a photo of Junior.

 

I’m taking a break from social media for a while, include my two blogs, to focus on other priorities. I hope to return eventually, and to keep making art. If you’re an artist, I hope you are making lots of art.

 

New gig: furniture restoration?

Once we decided we were going to homeschool the granddaughter, I was on the lookout for a small set of shelves to put on my art table for holding teaching materials.

Found this at a local thrift store; paid a little too much for it ($18) since it was damaged, but the owner wasn’t available and I knew the woman checking me out had no authority to bargain, and I liked it.

Before

I was going to spray paint it red or white, but when I got it home and put it on the studio table, it looked so good against the woodwork I decided to keep the natural wood color.

It was quite damaged.

Damaged corner

I rebuilt the broken corner (with many, many layers of wood filler), gave the whole thing a good sanding, stained it with cherry stain, then decided it needed some decoration, so I transferred a floral vine design on it and painted it.

 

Finished job

Damaged corner, repaired.

It was kind of awkward–one of those projects, like planning a wedding, that you finally get the hang of about the time you’re finished, but you never want to do it again.

It turned out nicely, though, and the $18 was all I spent. Turns out I had on hand all the other materials, including wood filler, sandpaper, cherry stain, acrylic paint, and varnish to finish it off.

In use with my Krusty Krab un-school binder and other teaching materials.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Yesterday started out as a down day for me. So, after wrangling the checkbook into agreement with the bank statement, I had a playdate with myself–streaming classical music and jazz and painting for a few hours.

I rarely paint rocks because I think rocks are beautiful as nature made them, but this one inspired me. I still think it was better in its natural state, but there you go.

Painted rock (acrylic)

 

Firing the Blues (9×12 inches, acrylic on canvas)

Spring Swap Wrapup

All the cards for the iHanna spring swap have been sent and received. Most of the cards I sent were within the U.S. One went to Australia. I previously posted a few, but here are two more:

Have a Seat (collage)

 

Wildness (collage)

I received a total of 11 cards this time–one person I sent to replied with a card, which was a nice surprise. (The “swap” isn’t normally a direct exchange–Hanna sends you 10 names and your name is sent to 10 different people.)

Most of my cards were from the U.S., many from California. One is from Germany. Here are the cards I received:

This postcard booklet came from Germany.

Ready for the Spring Swap

After registering for iHanna’s spring postcard swap, I worried I might not have 10 cards ready by May 4, even though I already had five made.

I’m ready. In fact I’ve done a little painting and drawing recently, so maybe soon there will be be more than postcards to share.

My last post included four cards, so here are my newest creations:

Harp(s) and Flower(s)–Collage. This was sent to my cousin in New Zealand for her birthday.

 

Busy Blues and Greens–Collage.

 

Air Mail–Collage.

 

World Bling–Collage.*

 

Nature’s Kaleidoscope–Collage.*

 

Many-faceted–Collage.

 

Spring–watercolor, mixed media.*

 

Coronation–watercolor, mixed media.

* The faux 99 cent Australian stamps are by Nat Uhing, of the Smallest Forest blog.