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May 2011

Springtime Song - Bird A Week #21

I know this post is about my bird of the week, but this time my bird is perched high above one of my hares.  He is singing joyfully about the coming of spring and for the new little hare that mama has brought out for the first time.

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The first two hare paintings I did sold right away - within 2 days of completing them, in fact.  So, I knew I had to make some more.  I love the hares anyway and it is difficult to sell them at all, but I can always make one for myself again, right?

May 28, 2011 032"Springtime Song"  Approx. 6 x 12" overall
Reverse enameled, kiln fired glass tile on wood

Not a fancy picture and in fact I had to take this pretty quick because the
adhesive is still drying and I had to lay it down again before the tile slid right off.

I will share the other 2 hare paintings that I finished this week with you soon.  In the mean time, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and salute all those who are currently serving and the thousands before them that have served in our American military. This household is very proud of our men and woman in uniform and support all that they do.  Remember.


Pink Allen's - Bird a Week #20

My mom gave me a beautiful, handmade hummingbird feeder a couple of years ago.  It is a chunk of repurposed redwood fence post that has been drilled out and has a glass tube and feeder spout for hummers.  I have hung this functional art in the cedar tree just next to our back deck.

Number 20 Bird of the Week is this soft and gentle Allen's Hummingbird about to go in for a snack. This piece is about 3 x 7", another piece mounted on some locally found driftwood.  The color of an Allen's is really more orangy/peach, but sometimes my enamels play tricks on me and this one came out definitely more pink/salmony.  Still, very pretty and the purple of the flower came out exactly as I had hoped.  I had to mix lavendar, blue and a little black to achieve the right tone.  

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It seems I am usually later than I should be putting out my hummingbird feeders, but this year, I got them cleaned out and filled the second we saw the first little guy.  Now they have been coming and going quite regularly all day long.  

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This year my husband (who gets to hang out on the deck so often) has decided that we need more feeders to attract and accomodate more hummingbirds.  I am currently on the lookout for unusual, handmade feeders and have even asked a friend who is a gourd artist - Jeff Whitney from Gnome Home Living - to design one for me.  His gourd art fairy houses are great for the garden and I am sure he could adapt something into a feeder - can't wait to see what he might come up with!

Another Owl - Bird a Week #19

Just for fun, I drew a little fantasy owl.  You have to know about me that I can draw things more true to life if I have the item or a picture in front of me.  I have more difficulty getting proportions and other angles correct when I try to draw from my head.

Maybe that is one reason that I tend to like to draw trees, leaves, things like that.  They might not look truly realistic, but they still look like the object I intended and can even be more interesting.  

So, when I draw off the top of my head I call them fantasy drawings.  You (hopefully) recognize the item or animal I am drawing, but it really isn't something you would ever see in real life.

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So, this owl is just a sweet, fat little guy.  I had fun with his lines and shape. He is mounted on a piece of drift wood I found at Lake Silverwood that I sawed in half to create a flat portion for the glass to sit on.  The owl is about 3-1/2" tall and the overall piece is about 5" high and 10" wide.

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Well, I am happy and a little frightened that Southern California Edison finally (after several months of notices) put in a new Smart Connect digital electric meter at our house.  

We came home from grocery shopping to find a door hanger on the front door notifying us that it had been done while we were out.  Our meter sits next to our front door and is easily read from our patio which is about 10 steps from my workshop.


So, the EEEK! is for the fear I have of actually seeing how much electricity my 220v electric kiln uses per firing.  I am also happy that I will now be seeing how much my kiln uses.  I expect it to really  help me see the hidden cost of the kiln usage that so far I have just been guessing on. 

Since each piece that I make goes through a minimum of 3 firings (and usually 4) I am very curious to see if my pricing has been in line with costs all this time.   It will also, I am sure, make me utilize every inch of my kiln shelf for each firing.  

The first firing is happening as I write this - should be done in about 15 minutes.......

15 minutes later ------  Soooo, it looks like an average useage for my typical firings is about 8 kwhs.  Based on our rates ranging from about .04 cents to .19 cents per kwh, depending on our household use for the reading period, I think I am in good shape.  Yay!!  Comes out to between .32 cents and 1.60 per firing.  I can live with that!

Let's go fire some more stuff!


A Small Diversion

My main focus of my art is, of course, glass.  Sometimes, though, an idea will strike that I can't pass up.  This time, I was looking at my box full of driftwood pieces to put together some wood backings for glass.  I had quite a few that were simply too small to be of any use for that purpose. 

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But, they were just perfect for creating some jewelry pieces.  I drilled them from the front or the side (depending on the piece) and did a light varnishing over the whole piece.  The varnish really brought out the color of the wood and made them quite rich looking. 

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Then I simply took some off-white acrylic paint and hand painted a tree on each one.  Some are leafless trees, a couple are pine style trees.  The solid off-white paint is what makes them very simple, yet classy looking.  On two of them I then put some adhesive over the paint and laid on a sheet of white gold leaf.  When all was dry I coated the painted surface again with varnish to seal them.

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My favorites are the darker wood.

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This one has some of the white gold leaf.

This was such a fun diversion - I can definitely see more of these in my future! And, I got a lot of nice comments on the one I wore this weekend and even sold one at one of my shows!  Yay!

You can look for them on my Etsy shop if you are interested.

Reclaimed Fence Boards

I finished several tiles this past week.  A co-worker was kind enough to give me all of his old fence boards he was tearing down.  To some, that would mean a pile of trash.  To me, it means Art Project! 

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"A Fruitful Day"  approx 3 x 6-1/2" - The hares I have been doing have really been fun.

I have used these boards as backings for my tiles.  They make a terrific, rustic look and really contrast so well with the glossy-ness of the glass.  The addition of the small branch pieces gives the pieces dimension and makes a great framework.

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"Over the River"  Another hare :)    

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"Leaf It All"  Ode to leaves.  Notice the leaf wing on the bird?

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"Fox Run"  This one was fun.  The fox is another of my favorite animals to draw and paint.  The tree, though is the focus on this piece.  It is almost lyrical in its form.

I hope you enjoyed these.  I have a bunch more wood ready for glass.  Gotta cut the glass, draw some designs and get paintin'!  See you soon!

Birds #17 & 18

I feel like I have been swamped.  I was doing so good at posting often, but now haven't posted since April 25th!  Wow!

Well, since I missed last week, I have for you my bird-a-week pieces for week #17 and #18 here today.

Bird #17 - 
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This is titled Bluebird on Gold.  You might recognize this as actually being the image for my bird #16.  Last time you saw this it was just a pencil drawing.  The painting came out quite pretty and vibrant.  It is a 4 x 4" tile, mounted on gold fabric and framed. 

Bird #18
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This was titled by my husband - "Night Stalker".  Sounds gloomy, but really seems to fit, I think.  The tile is about 7 x 7" and is mounted on some reclaimed fence boards and framed by small tree limbs.  

You might recognize this piece.  I believe I originally showed this as a water color pencil drawing.  Again, the painted glass is so much more vibrant.  I am hoping to use the glass image for some greeting cards.  

I am going to do my best to keep up with the weekly birds.  But I also finished several other pieces this week and will be posting those real soon.