Trees

Parliament

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.


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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).


Luminaries

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??

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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.  

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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. 

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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 - hmmm....is 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.  

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"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........


 


Trees, Trees, Glorious Trees!

I finished 9 more pieces last week, just before my last show of the season in Altadena, CA.  I made 7 trees, an owl and a hare.  

Fall Moon
"Fall Moon"

I have discovered a new way to layer the background frit using transparent colors and creamy vanilla to make subtle, but vibrant skies and backgrounds.

Serenity in Red
"Serenity in Red"

Some of these were very hard to even put price tags on - I would love to keep them all!

Harmony in Red
"Harmony in Red"

Nurturing
"Nurturing"

Simplicity 2
"Simplicity"

Windblown
"Windblown"

Intensity 3"Intensity"

Wish Upon A Star
"Wish Upon A Star"

 


Finally Pictures!

As promised, here are the pictures of my latest completed ornaments and Christmas lights.  We bought our first fresh cut tree in about 15 years yesterday.  It is sitting proudly in my living room.  We are expecting a snow storm today, so it will be just right for sipping cocoa (with Kalua?) and hanging lights and ornaments!  I am looking forward to it!

Blue Snowflake Ornament

Green Reindeer Ornament 2

Tree Ornament 2

House Lights


Flowers of the Season

We spent a little time this week putting up our Christmas lights outside.  We hung 6 strands of white icicle lights along our short fence that runs along our driveway and for the first time, we put our big colorful bulb strands along the front deck railing.  I just love coming home in the evening to the house lit up like that!

I also trimmed back my rose bushes.  For two reasons - I am hoping it makes them come back full in the spring, but also so that we would not get scratched to death while maneuvering around them to put up the lights.  There were a few gorgeous roses still in bloom, amazingly enough, and I cut those to bring inside.

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The little owl card was a Thank You card from my nephew, Ryan.

A couple of months ago I repotted some of my older house plants.  They were quite root-bound and the Christmas Cactus hadn't bloomed in at least 2 years.  I ended up moving the cactus to a different window, also.  I understand they like the west facing sun, but I don't have any good window space on my west side, so they went into a north window.  I wasn't really sure how that was gonna work.  I was going around watering a couple of weeks ago and was so excited to see that it had big, juicy blooms on it again.  And then last week they all popped open!  

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And on the glass front, I have sold quite a few of my ornaments at the Mountain Arts Network Gallery in Lake Arrowhead.  I really wasn't sure how well they would sell, so I only made 15 or 20 of the glass ornaments.  I had one woman come in and buy 13 of them in one day!  Well, I don't expect that to happen again, but I did make some more, different ones, and took them up to the gallery the other day.

Unfortunately, I took pictures of them after the clear glass was hand painted, but before firing, but forgot to get any finished pictures because I was in a hurry to take them to the store.  But, you can see the new images I painted - a Christmas tree, reindeer and snowflake.  They were all fired onto a vanilla colored background and I hung glass beads beneath each one.  I will have to get some photos for you. :-)

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I like the reindeer, but the red ones are another example of how the red paint can be so tricky. During firing, the red blurred out and became very thin in spots.  I was not able to actually use them to sell.  I am planning to try to repaint and refire them, so we will see how that comes out.

Enjoy the Flowers of the Season!


Greetings!

Like any artist, I try to remember to take pictures of all of my finished work. Sometimes when I am in a hurry, it doesn't happen.  Or, I don't look at the finished picture before I sell the piece and it turns out to be blurry, or too dark, or whatever.

I don't propose to say that I am any kind of professional photographer and I know I am not that great at setting up interesting layouts. 

But, I have always wanted to reproduce images of my glass work to sell as greeting cards.  I have a photographer friend, John Hummel, who told me about these fabulous folding cards that hold your 4 x 6" photo.   I printed out a bunch of candidates for potential cards and these are the ones I ended up using. 

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I am considering selling them in sets as I have photographed them above.  That way I don't end up with "orphans".  Also, I think they have more impact and I can sell them at a better price that way.   We'll see if there is any interest.

 


Rocks In My Head

It has been far too long since I posted here.  Sorry about that.  In late October my husband and I took an RV trip out to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We saw so much art and had a great time just poking around the town and surrounding areas.

There were two art highlights for me.  First, we went to Shidoni Bronze Foundry and watched an actual bronze pour.  Pretty hot and scary work.  The grounds are littered with metal sculptures for sale and some were super impressive - some were just plain fun.

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In the bronze gallery on the lower back section of the property was where we saw the actual pour and during the week they have more in depth tours of their process studio.  That is where I saw an art piece that has inspired a new thought - but that is going to be much later - probably after the holidays.

We also went to the outdoor Tesuque Flea Market.  I didn't get any pictures, but here we met a fantastic Flea Market Artist - Kelly Moore - doing graphic oil paintings on canvas, wood, etc.  His booth space was phenominal and he does his painting right there.  The ground of the space is covered in puzzle pieces!  You just have to check out his website.  He is also a magnificent poet.

Newsletter_shedImage borrowed from www.kellymoore.net

So much inspiration!  If you want to see a ton of art in a small stretch of space/time, you must visit gallery row in Santa Fe.  

So....the point of the title of this post?  While we were there I picked up some nice, smallish, basalt rocks.  I had seen another artist using small rocks and painting ravens on them.  I thought it would be fun to try some.

I painted with acryilics and varnished with a water base finish.  They came out nice.  I made 9 of them and I actually sold 3 of them at a small art show in Redlands a week or so ago.  

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IMG_0469This one's cute, huh?  Mark's idea. Ants with Cut Leaf "Hello"


Glass and Wood

I have been thinking about making some more metal and glass jewelry.  I started making some drawings with silver PMC in mind.   I am so in love with the pieces Vickie Hallmark is doing and wish I could go take her workshop on making painted glass and silver pendants.  Alas, it is just too far away for me to attend.

So, I thought I could work on it and figure it out on my own.   Like I said, I did some drawings, but then thought that the cost of the silver might outweigh what I could charge for the pendants.  I am not in the jewelry business and right now I know my clientele is not in that market when they are looking at my work.

However, I couldn't let the idea go.  Then, I thought - why not continue with what I already do and know - glass and wood!

I started with a new sketch and a bunch of notes to myself.  I tried to think of all angles - shape, size, thickness, materials, etc.

Wood and Glass pendant 2

 

   Wood and Glass pendant 3

I had such a busy schedule that I had to put off actually attempting to make this piece for several days.  It was killing me.  When I finally got into the studio, it didn't actually take me long to get this done.  I cut the basice shape from a block of mahogany.  Then I shaped it on the band saw, trimming the thickness on the back edge to create a domed back.    I drilled a circle into the face about 1/2 way through the thickness.  Thoroughly sanding, shaping and varnishing finished the wood piece.

Then I cut the piece of amber stained glass, painted it and fired it.  I created the copper bail with copper wire that I bent and soldered together, hammered into shape and drilled.  I drilled a hole through the wood and used a piece of copper wire with soldered ends to pin the bail to the wood. 

The coppere wire was coiled and hammered and I drilled holes in the wood, poking the wire ends from the front to the back and coiled it on the back to be decorative, but also to hold the wire in place.  When the glass cooled, it was glued into place. 

Wood and Glass pendant

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