Just a little shout out of thanks over to Melissa B., money-saving and debt-reduction blogger of "Mom's Plans". I've been following Melissa's blog for some time now -- she and her spouse had incurred substantial debt via student loans/credit cards, but successfully turned that ship around and are now working aggressively toward becoming debt-free. And while they still have some ways to go, they've made great strides in a short time and are so committed in their repayment efforts I've no doubt they'll reach their financial goals. In any case, I do get a kick out of entering blog giveaways when I stumble across them, but of course rarely (if ever?) win -- so what a hoot....! (Plus a nice little 'cheer-me-up' after a sad week having lost our little dog.) And so just what prize exactly was it that I won, pray tell....? Apparently 4 dozen bars of a snack item from a company called 'Vitalicious' (the original giveaway post on 'Mom's Plans' here) -- how cool is that...??? I've requested they actually be sent to my teen son, who, as I've written previously, is away studying hard at ballet school -- thinking they'll make a good snack for him to grab and go, and I know he'll appreciate the treat. So thanks again for hosting the lovely giveaway, Melissa/'Mom's Plans' -- fun times indeed....!
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Sigh. I'm writing this with such a heavy heart. Our little old-lady dog, much beloved and cherished by my family for so many years, is ailing, as she has now for the last two weeks. I've been nursing her to the best of my ability, but without improvement -- as such it's clear to us all that she's just not going to pull through this. With her quality of life in question, we're likely going to make the very difficult and painful decision tomorrow to have her put down. And while she is 15 after all, and has had what we know is a long and happy life with us, it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye. In fact it breaks my heart, but we have to be strong and do what we understand is best. In any case, I know everyone is always declaring one's own dog as extra special, but trust me when I say that our little Katy truly is and always has been. Such a good, super sweet temperament all these many years, with amazing patience and loyalty, complete safety with kids, and real smarts. Never a speck of trouble. One of these days soon when I'm more collected I intend to compose a blog post in tribute to her....
In the meantime, on a happier note, I'm posting pics taken during my family's little weekend excursion to the megalopolis of Chicago last week (where, indeed, I got my Big City fix on. It had been awhile)....
|Don't know what Chi-towners refer to it by, but I call it the 'Big Jelly Bean'. In Millennium Park.|
|My Daughter, next to The Bean|
|My daughter's and my reflection in the Bean, looking like a fun house mirror...|
|The view from our downtown hotel, from the 24th floor (you can just make out the River in the distance)|
|Waiting to take a downtown architectural river boat tour....|
|Making our way down the Chicago River. We were lucky the weather was so lovely.|
|Passing by the well-known Tribune Tower, with its gothic topper...|
|One of the newest additions to the CHGO skyline, the Trump Tower......|
|Marina City Towers -- I've always loved these....|
|Chicagoans call them the Corn Cob buildings --fair enough (but when I lived there I always referred to them as the 'Jetson' Buidings)....|
|The massive Merchandise Mart building, in all its fine, Art Deco glory.....|
|The Building Formerly Known as Sears Tower....|
|Another funky, round, reinforced concrete apartment complex, by the same architect as the Marina City Towers earlier....|
|Another view of the brand spankin' new Trump Tower....|
|After our river boat tour, we took a stroll along Navy Pier, taking in the gorgeous Lake views....|
|We enjoyed the Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier -- so many gorgeous examples of Tiffany Glass, and all of it backlit....|
|Another Tiffany glassworks, so pretty....|
|This caught my eye...a vintage glass window piece made from a collection of glass pot lids -- how cool is that...?|
|There was a collection of these cast iron pieces for weary walkers to rest upon. Wish I could have a few for my yard.|
|The Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier that, despite the earliness of the season, was up, ready and running, thanks to freakishly nice March weather.....|
|And but of course we had to go on it.|
|View from up in the ferris wheel, looking down on Navy Pier. Glad I'm not bothered by heights...|
|What a great weekend trip....!|
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
|What is this, a torture rack...? But no, it's an Art of Patience DIY upcycled picture-frame project!|
So, as I have stated in my blog numerous times by now..., for the last several years I have been participating in my very own personal art supply shopping moratorium. As explained in this older post, and this one..., some time ago I came to the conclusion that most of what I need to create meaningful and interesting art is already in my own possession -- by way of the art supplies I'd collected over the years, materials that pass through my life and hands during the course of an ordinary day, and, most importantly, my own ingenuity. A wish to turn away from our culture's rampantly excessive consumerism, and a will to avoid excessively contributing to our nation's waste stream, has lead me to get creative in finding alternatives to the purchase of certain traditional art supplies. One of these has been coming up with my own alternative painting supports, typically involving the recycling/upcycling of old picture frames and such like that I acquire second-hand, often just prior to their final destination, the local landfill. Here is a wee photo essay of one recent DIY upcycled frame project:
A few years back, at the end of a charity rummage sale for which I'd volunteered, I was invited to take this red...whatever it was..., home with me:
|A 25' x 14.5" Red...Thing.|
I think it's possibly a chalkboard-holder thingie (by which one can remove a chalkboard from a slit in the top, write a menu on it and then replace it)? In any case, with no chalkboard it was pretty much useless as it was, and clearly unwanted. I was attracted to its elegant dimensions (25" x 14.5"), plus the sumptuous little curvy shapes at the top, which called to my mind something akin to Mexican Retablo and Ex Voto. I decided the Red Thing had potential, and schlepped it home determined to turn it into something useful (or in other words, 'make something from nothing')....
I finally decided recently to give it a go, which required breaking out tools:
|Hand's On Project|
In addition to tools I grabbed some scrap wood found in our ancient garage (that had been in there since we moved in over a decade ago).....
I decided to cut the scrap wood to fit into the space where the chalkboard (?) would have fit, in order to fill in the space as well as to create a more elegant surface upon which to paint:
|Trying out sizes|
My carpentry skills leave much to be desired I'm sure, but I can at least manage the basics....:
|Fits well enough...|
Once the wood was cut to fit it was just a matter of gluing it all in securely, and applying the wood clamps:
|Handy things, wood clamps|
Success! I now have a new 'canvas' all ready to paint, making use of what was essentially useless, unwanted stuff...!
I did rather like how it looked, with the different wood colours, etc -- however I don't care for painting on naked wood, so decided it best to give it the black gesso treatment:
Now I have only to decide my subject matter (and hmm, I'm thinking perhaps another Frida tribute portrait/piece might be in order.....?)....
My usual blurb about my use of old frames:
I have recently begun painting almost exclusively on supports I create myself utilising the old, salvaged, wooden picture frames that cross my path from time to time (usually for free). I feel good about giving these unwanted homeless items a second life, not only because trees were cut down at some point to produce them, but also because by the time I get my hands on them they are usually destined for the landfill. The process of recycling these vintage frames into painting supports/canvases can be a lengthy one -- in this case cutting scrap wood to fit and gluing it all into place. The end effect is an unusual, one-of-a-kind and ready-to-hang 'canvas' which will ultimately add interest and depth to my painting, complete with a built-in frame....
Monday, March 5, 2012
|'A Bird in the Hand': 12 x 16 Sculptural Relief Tableau|
What a lovely surprise! It seems my sculpture relief piece, 'A Bird in the Hand' (as I wrote about for Day 21 of the Challenge) is being featured for the month of March on the front page of the EBSQ (the online community for self-representing artists) website:
|Screenshot of EBSQ's Front Page, featuring my Tableau, 'A Bird in the Hand'...||.|
I think I understand it will be up for the duration of the month -- at any rate, I'm tickled to have been chosen....Thanks so much, EBSQ...! (for a link to EBSQ, click here)....
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Day 29 of the '29 Faces in February' art blog Challenge.....!
I can hardly believe this is to be my last post, and last Face...! Well strictly speaking of the CHALLENGE, that is -- because there will still be plenty more 'faces' and posts from me to come. After painting daily for an entire month, with all the focus and intensity that the Challenge afforded, I'm very much looking forward to continuing my full-time art studio ventures post-challenge. I have all matter of concepts and ideas swimming round my head now, for which I have the Challenge to directly thank. It really was such a good exercise for me, not to mention educational and productive, and I wish to thank Ayala of Ayala Art, for initiating and launching such a great concept in the first place, as well as for all her behind-the-scenes organisation and promotional work. A big thanks also to all my fellow Challenge participants for sharing and inspiring me with their fabulous art, and to everyone who followed along with my progress this month, and who took the time to contact me with such lovely comments and kind words. Thanks so much, Everyone -- your interest in my artwork is truly appreciated.....!
And so, without further ado, my Face for Day 29, last day of the
'29 Face in February' Challenge,
a Work-in-Progress entitled "Urban Currents":
a Work-in-Progress entitled "Urban Currents":
|"Urban Currents": 15 x 17 WIP on self-made support incorporating a salvaged old picture frame|
One thing I am so grateful to the Challenge for, was how it provided me with the structure I apparently needed to finally get serious with so many hanging projects of mine (see my 'Pile of Shame' post), and this was yet another. Using as I do old, found picture frames that I stumble across and salvage to create my painting supports, this particular frame is exactly the same size and shape as the piece featured for Day 16, 'Forgiving River'. Therefore, as its default companion piece, I felt compelled to give it a somewhat similar theme, yet also very different....
As many of you can probably guess, I'm a nature lover at heart, which I believe is often reflected in my artwork. However, contrastingly I also adore cities, even very large cities, having lived in the great megalopolis of Chicago for a time, as well as within the major metropolitan area of Milwaukee, WI, and finding as I did all their many cultural amenities highly stimulating. Both Chicago and Milwaukee, like most big cities, have large, fast moving rivers that wind their way through their city centers, and so I decided to go with a more urban flavour here in contrast to the natural setting of its companion piece, using the shape to help dictate my design. Thanks to my canvas-building technique, this piece is loaded with texture, which adds a lot of depth and dimension, and while I can't yet officially add this to my list of completed works, I did get a heck of a lot farther along it while painting today than it had been ever been before the Challenge.
My usual statement regarding my incorporation of old 'found' frames into my artwork:
My usual statement regarding my incorporation of old 'found' frames into my artwork:
"...have recently begun painting almost exclusively on supports I create myself utilising the old, salvaged wooden picture frames that cross my path from time to time (usually for free). I feel good about giving these unwanted homeless items a second life, not only because trees were cut down at some point to produce them, but also because by the time I get my hands on them they are usually destined for the landfill. The process of recycling these vintage frames into painting supports/canvases is a lengthy one, typically involving stabilizing the frames (which can be quite rickety), cutting thick paperboard to fit, securing it all and pasting and building up a painting surface with layers of overlapping scraps of paper. The end effect is a highly textured surface that adds dimension and depth to my paintings, complete with a built-in frame (onto which I often extend my painted images, incorporating the frames into the overall piece) into one cohesive, ready-to-hang whole...."