Birdie Tiles

I have been working on making some designs into wall hangings.  I am starting with these  4 x 4" size tiles that are fun little pops of color.

These are all done in my reverse painting technique with the opaque enamels and fired 4 times each.  They are great on their own, or hung in sets of 2 or more.  

  Chickadee and Blues 1

Chickadee with Red Caps 1

Hummingbird Blues 3

Olive Sided Flycatcher 1

Quail in Red 1

Rusty Nuthatch 1

Scrub Jay Snack 1

I will have some of these and many more available at my next show in October in downtown Bend at the Bend Fall Festival.  If you are interested in any of them now, however, please let me know!

I have mounted the tile onto a wood backing with a hole for very easy hanging.  This mounting also makes them stand out from the wall about 3/4" and makes for a really neat display on the wall.

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.


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.  

IMG_3816 - 2

I'm melting!



There are so many great artists out there and I found a facebook page a while back called Fused Glass Fanatics.  The folks on there are always posting these wonderful pieces they have made or are working on.  One of the techniques I have seen alot of on there is something called pot melts or screen melts.  

A year or so ago I had purchased some stainless steel mesh in order to do some screen melts, but I never got around to it.  And I really wasn't sure what I would do with the resulting melt, either.  After quietly paying attention to what others are doing, I finally decided to put my mesh to the test.

So what you are seeing here is 2 layers of the metal screen layed offset on top of one another.  That is set on top of 5" high kiln posts.  Centered on top of the screen is 3 lbs. of glass pieces carefully stacked to create a nice blend in the final melt.  Below the glass is a stainless steel square ring lined with kiln fiber paper.  This will hold and contain the melting glass.


So, it is a very long kiln firing to accomplish this.  And much hotter than I normally fire anything to.  So waiting and hoping was like pulling teeth. 

You can't see it in the pile of glass, but there is one layer of small pieces of black glass.  And while I actually love the final melt, it is much darker than I was hoping.  Black goes a LONG way.


And see all that bluish area?  No, I did not have blue in the glass at all. I had clear, white, transparent amber and that bit of black.  I am thinking that one of two things happened - one of the glass colors reacted to the metal OR the black mixed with something to give it that milky blue look.  Either way, as I said, I love the result. 

So this pieces is 8 x 8" and about 1/2" thick.  I plan to cut it up on my brand new glass cutting tile saw and use those pieces in other finished work.  I'm sure you will see it pop up soon.

On to the next melt!  This time -- no black.

Hot Dog!

You know, I always feel like I am having fun when I create a new piece or pieces of glass.  It gives me a high to see first, the drawing, then the first, second and third stages of firing the glass.

But the final image created in glass after the fourth firing is, of course, my favorite.  I am (almost) always thrilled with the image and can't wait to show it off.  

So, since I am a real animal lover, you can imagine how much I want to show off this new dog and cat paintings series that I am working on.  

Check them out --

Boston Terrior 2
Emily" -- Boston Terrior

Boxer 1
Rocky" -- Boxer

Shepherd 3
Greta" -- German Shepherd


Greyhound 2
Tulip" -- Greyhound

Pit Bull 3"Lucy" -- Pit Bull
(ugly reflection on the bottom section of this photo - must be re-shot)

Charlie 3
"Charlie" -- Kitty Cat

Each of the dogs is a  5-1/2 x 5-1/2" Fused Glass Reverse Painting.  The cat is 3-1/2 x 9-1/2".  They will all be framed in deep set black wood frames to set them off.  The originals will be available at my upcoming summer art shows in Big Bear on July 4, 5 & 6 and again in Big Bear on August 15, 16 & 17.  And, if I get my act together, they may be listed on my Etsy site. (Agh, I sure have been neglecting that poor little shop!)

I am working on getting some prints made so that these are available to purchase as cards and/or as framable prints.  These probably won't be available until the middle of July, though.  

But I think this whimsical style really lends itself to pet portrait commissions because I can really capture the fun and wonderful feeling dogs and cats give us every day.  So if you are interested, please send me a note and/or a photo for more information.  cheryl@oldshoepress.com

Hope you like them!  

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

Who knew?

Before I left on vacation earlier this month, I had several requests for custom orders.  It seems they always come in groups.  I let everyone know they would not be done until I got back from my trip and it all worked out.  I completed 3 custom orders this week.

-- A Red-Hatters pendant for my mother-in-law --
This is a reverse painted glass oval dome mounted on a hand carved and painted polymer clay setting.

I had also previously made a sign for a friend's business (photography) to hang up when she does art shows.  Another mutual friend ordered one just like it.
Sue Klump Sign 1

Barbara Jordan Sign 1
The first sign came out beautifully, but a hair dark.  So I tried to lighten it up in the second sign and it came out pretty darn light.  I like them both, but somewhere in the middle was what I was shooting for.

And the last custom order was for a guy who called because he wanted an anniversary gift for his girlfriend of a giraffe and a sloth together (pet names).  He sent me a link to some artwork he googled.  Who knew you could so easily find a cute little drawing of a giraffe and sloth together??  I adjusted the drawing a bit to fit my needs, clarify the faces a little and removed the clothing/glasses on the giraffe.  I painted it in my normal way and am very happy with the result.  This one was so much fun!
Giraffe and Sloth 5


Sisters Collaboration

My sister, Kristin Shields, is a terrific quilt artist.  She uses a liberated style to build her quilts and they are so much fun.  She was chosen as the Featured Quilter at this year's huge Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon.

Kristin Featured Quilter OregonThat is her - far left of picture in white shirt and brown hair - and a tiny portion of the folks that stopped by her space on Saturday, July 13th.

So, last year we had an idea - let's collaborate!  Our parents' 50th wedding anniversary is this year and so we decided to make a hanging for them.  I made a reverse glass painting of a tree with intertwining trunks and limbs and little birds all in the favorite colors of each of the family members (parents, kids and grandkids). 

I sent that up to Kristin in January and she ended up making a little quilt the same width of a close up of the two red birds (our parents' favorite colors) on a limb with leaves.  She used almost all fabrics she had died herself.

Kristin had both pieces mounted and framed together and the we presented it to our parents this past Tuesday while I was visiting them all in Oregon.

Glass and Quilt 1

Mom and Dad glass and quilt 1

This was a fun little project and it was exciting just sending off a tile and getting to see the finished project all put together.  Maybe we will try another pairing some time - have a little show of them - that would be fun!


So, for 2013 I have started to go back to allowing myself a little more freedom with my drawings and paintings.  I will probably always be a fairly "literal" artist in that I don't "do" abstract art.  I can appreciate it and love the flow and feel of it, but am a more restrained artist myself.

But for the past couple of years I have been focusing on drawing birds and animals in a mostly lifelike manner.  Trying to get the colors right and focusing on the animal itself.  This year I am going to explore my own interpretations a little bit more and see what I can come up with. 

I still like to add in all of the detail, but I think it will be more in a fanciful and determined way.  My first batch of pieces (besides the large totem I am still working on) have come out of the kiln and been mounted and titled.  You can see that I have taken liberties with the colors and have been working on creating an atmosphere with each little piece by expounding on the backgrounds and settings that each bird is in.

Ground Cover 1"Ground Cover"

Blue 1"Blue"

Extended 2"Extended"

About Town Card Holder 3"About Town"  Business Card Holder

We will see where this takes me.  I will probably still do some realistic birds to please the audience (and stay in practice) but I am really liking the freedom of color, pose, shape, etc you see in these pieces.

It's a jungle out there....

And it's also a jungle here in my studio!  I have been busy getting ready for my upcoming show tomorrow in Altadena at Christmas Tree Lane.  People gather for hot chocolate, coffee and to see the annual lighting of the beautiful trees along one section of road in Altadena.

The arts and crafts booths are all set up in the parking lot of the Altadena Library and while it is outdoors, there is a feeling of warmth and coziness all around.

I have been busy creating some animal pieces to display and sell --

Endearing 2"Endearing"  Young raccoon

Mates Box 2"Mates" Barn Owls Box

On Top 2"On Top"

Regal 1"Regal" Bald Eagle

Ursus"Ursus"  Brown Bear



Here are the photos of the other two finished whimsical little bird drawings I had done.

Fly Away Home

"Fly Away Home" 
This guy took the afternoon to just relax in his nest with a good book.  But he definitely has a good decorator - note the tassles on the comfy pillow.

Warm and Dry cropped
"Warm and Dry"
This adorable couple decided to go for a walk on a cool, drizzly day and you can see they are staying warm and dry together under nature's umbrella. 

Here it is mounted in the frame

Warm and Dry