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February 2012

January 2012


I know that I have heard before that a group of owls is a parliament, but while looking for a name for one of the 3 owl pieces that I am going to enter in the juried salon show in June I came across the term again.  It fit this piece just right.

ParliamentAproximately 5 x 5 x 17"

This burrowing owl is on the look out for his afternoon snack.  Hence the name "Two O'Clock"

Two OClockApproximately 5 x 5 x 24"

And the large piece I told you about in my last post - I titled it "Night Owl".  If you recall, this is now the largest piece I have made to date.  I am actually quite happy with it.  I played around with the painting in order to add light shading and pale coloring.  I ended up washing on a very watery color in some areas as well as full strength paints, then used white frit to color in the whole owl.  The color wash shows up as a much more natural light color that would not otherwise be possible with just paint or frit.  It is difficult to see it in this picture, but there is just slight color in the individual feathers of the front wing and as a shadow on the underside of the owl.

Night OwlApproximately 16 x 8 x 27"

I think the worst part is that I won't be able to show or try to sell these pieces until the salon show or afterwards.  I will be printing out the pictures and sending them in with the application this week.  If they are accepted I won't be able to substitute them - they have to be there for the show.

I am also playing around with the natural colored background for the photos.  The shadows are killing me - I really need to work on the lighting, but I think the pale color looks as nice or nicer than the black and really brightens up the overall feel.

Shading and Texturing

Here is a glimpse of the second stage of all of my reverse glass paintings - the shading and texturing.  The grid lines you see are coming from my new LED light table.  That table is coming in very handy for this stage.


After the first firing of the black outline, the entire piece of glass is painted with a thin wash of black paint.  When the paint dries I use sticks and paint brushes to remove paint to create highlights and texture before firing it again. 

IMG_0626Click on the photo to be able to see the detail - especially in the wing feathers.

This is a large owl piece I am working on.  If you look carefully along the top edge of the forward wing you will see a cut line that runs diagonally across the piece.  The overall size of this glass is 14 x 21" - just slightly too big to fit into my 24" round kiln. Really it's just shaped wrong (retangular instead of round).  So, I had to break the glass up somehow and I thought this was just the right place for this design.

The piece of wood this is going on is a large chisel shape standing straight up.  I am planning to enter this into a salon show in Altadena in June.  Of course, I have to get it done, take pictures, send them in with my application and hope it is selected to be shown.  The show is juried, so IF I am accepted, I will then cross my fingers for an award.  I will be entering two other owl pieces as well since each artist is allowed up to 3 entries.  

I will post photos of all three when completed (hopefully next week).


I have boxes (yes, plural) of clear fusible scrap glass.  You see, every time I cut a piece to paint and mount onto wood (or whatever) it creates small pieces that are unuseable in my normal art pieces.  I could make jewelry with it, but that is not the direction I want to take with these pieces.

In the past I have taken scraps like that and fused them together, added frit and paint and created some very beautiful bowls.  They always end up with holes in them because as you layer the pieces to be fired, there are inevitable gaps between them.  When it is fused the gaps only become larger as the glass pulls in on itself and rounds over. 

To me, the holes are pretty and somewhat elegant in their randomness, but not quite useful to hold some things (like soup, for instance).  But...what about allowing light to spill through them??

DSC_0004                                                        "Burning Bush" - (Get it?  Cause it's "hole-ey")

This is one of the first tries and I am in love with it.  First of all, I love trees!  Secondly, the background just glows with the light and the holes create a lovely cast of light. 

This one is about 7 x 10".  Following some instructions in one of my favorite books - Richard La Londa - Fused Glass Art and Techniques - I purchased a sheet of stainless steel, some threaded rods and nuts and created a half tube slumping mold.  It is just slightly slumped and barely stands up on it's own.  


The other piece I did does not stand up on it's own.  The bottom edge has an upward curve on the left side and is just not stable. 

DSC_0007                                                                                            "Fencing"

I am considering some kind of base  to stand these up on.  Probably wood.  I am also considering whether to actually mount a light in the base, or rely on sunlight or ambiant light to make them shine.  I like the idea of natural light.  Or maybe candles? Time will tell where this takes me.  I still have lots of scrap glass.  Oh, and now I have another idea for making the "sheets" of glass - melting through a stainless steel mesh. I am thinking it will create a smoother sheet and probably avoid any of the holes - that a good thing?  


Higher Ground

Higher Ground

That is what I named one of my new pieces today.  Naming is always a problem for me and it can be hard to come up with new and interesting titles for my pieces. 

I paint a lot of birds and trees.  Sometimes they are the same breed of bird and my trees are my trees - they often look pretty similar even when they are quite unique - that's what makes them mine, I guess. Mark has helped quite a lot by shooting out interesting titles when he looks at a new piece.  Of course, his aren't all gems, either.

I tend to use the colors of a piece in the title frequently.  Like "Gold and Grey" or "Purple Perch".  That works, is descriptive, but doesn't seem very creative to me.  

So, I had 4 pieces I was signing and titling today.  

Atop 2
"Atop" - Aptly descriptive and a somewhat unique word, I think

Purple Perch 2
"Purple Perch" - One of my "color" names...

Remembrance 1
"Remembrance" - This title is actually somewhat connected to the color.  Mark and I were thinking of names and, of course, the word yellow came up, he says "Tie a yellow ribbon" and that got me thinking about why we tied ribbons around the old oak tree - to remember our loved ones and to guide them home.  Remember the trees I finished in December titled "Simplicity", "Harmony", "Serenity" - I like these really calming and soothing titles.  They are what I see in trees, I suppose.

Higher Ground 1
"Higher Ground" - I love flickers.  I keep suet out on the tree just outside my office window so that I can watch the flickers, nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees.  The flickers are quite common here and always wow me with their color, but also their calm assertiveness.  They are no-nonsense birds.  So, color references seemed very natural to me to use in the title for this one, but that would be too safe, too "done".  I was listening to the "Red Hot Chili Peppers" while contemplating and decided to look at the song titles on the cd - lo and behold "Higher Ground" popped out at me.  I am pretty certain the band did not have flickers in mind when they wrote this, but the title was perfect.  It takes into it that feeling of having to look up at the bird, high in the oak tree surrounded by sun-kissed golden leaves and full, round acorns.  

I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about my titling process.  It isn't always this fun - sometimes I am in a hurry and get lazy - but every once in a while........


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.  :-)