Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Review

Well, it's been another crafty week.

I sure hope I'm not crafting to avoid organizing my studio and painting! {:

Ok, it hasn't been the most productive painting week, but we did set up the Fringe on the computer one evening (totally blanking on which evening) and did some organizing in the studio. It looks A LOT better, and I'm starting to be able to imagine working in there.

I gathered some materials for the painting idea I had. Very exciting. I'm not trying to keep it a secret or anything. I'm planning to do some miniature paintings on wood panels and maybe put little hooks at the top (imagine the hook at the top of a pocket watch). I think they will be really cute.

I got the wood this week, but Brian was too busy this weekend to cut it for me (I guess I should learn to use the saw). I also picked up some clear gesso and found the hooks (although they're much larger than I imagined). I'll have to find a source for smaller ones.

So that should be cool once I get all my materials gathered and prepped. I think they'd make great little Christmas presents if I get them up on Etsy before Christmas.

On to the projects I've truly been consumed by this week:

I've been realizing the last few weeks that Everett is getting to the age where he needs a place to color, play play-doh, read, etc.

We had a couple extra rugs, and following the trend of painting rugs, I decided to paint one of the rugs for him with a sort of road design. This way he can craft on top of it, and we can also move the table away and play cars/trains. I did it with blue painters tape and regular spray paint. I'll write more about it on my craft and design blog.

After that I got on a spray painting kick! I painted the legs of his table (the top of which used to be our coffee table). I painted the fish wall-hanging Frank gave us for our wedding. And I sprayed a frog figurine that used to have this weathered copper look, and is now pink!

My intention was to prep and spray my shelves for the studio this weekend. I started sanding and realized I'll need wood putty and probably more spray paint to do it well.

Next week's post should be more painting-heavy, and that's exciting to me!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday Sketch

This is a drawing of my mother and my grandfather, who recently passed away.

My cousin Juliette came across the photo I worked from when we were looking through Grandpa's albums. She said, "your next painting?" And I agreed. Great light and a very natural pose.

I am at the same time proud of this drawing and completely disappointed in it.

I like it. I think it turned out well, and if I do another one, or keep working on this one, it will be even better.

But this post is called SATURDAY SKETCH!! And this is not a sketch, it's a drawing. I spent HOURS on this drawing (and the other "Saturday Sketches" I've posted). I want the Saturday Sketch to be something I finish quickly, not labor on for many evenings.

So I will try to get better at this. Maybe I will make a 30 minute or 1 hour time limit?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Review

It's been another BIG week for projects, but not paint or studio projects, unfortunately. October has always been, and will always be, a big crafting month. It's Halloween-time, and it's also time to start thinking about Christmas presents, especially right now, when money's tight. We're thinking about a lot of homemade gifts.

I've always either made or collected objects for my own Halloween costumes, and this is the second year I've made Everett's costume (also, only his second Halloween). Last year Brian and I crafted a porcupine costume, and this year he's going to be a bird!

I'll put more details about its creation on my Beyond Fine blog after Halloween. I'll also try to remember to put up pictures of the porcupine costume. {:

The other big, exciting crafty/design project accomplished this week was grouting our kitchen tiles!!

I spent my free time (naptime) on Wednesday cutting the tiles for around the outlets and gluing them in. The next day, my in-laws took Everett ALL DAY so I could grout. And it did almost take all day with the prepping and such.

It looks so good! It's funny how you almost get used to an unfinished project in your house, but when you finally finish it, it feels SO GREAT!

Ok, the project isn't completely finished, it still needs grout caulk and grout sealer, but it is a huge improvement!

Brian wiping off the cloudiness after I did all the hard work!

If you're curious, we edged the tile with these stainless steel threaded poles. I'll talk more about our kitchen design in a Beyond Fine post (or more than one).

I have a great idea for a painting project. Unfortunately the plan for obtaining the supports fell through, but I'll figure it out! . . . hopefully before Christmas. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Art History Day

I thought it would be fun to start my monthly Art History "adventure" with a little guessing game.

What do I think my research on the Ancient Near East will uncover?

Flat figures


Inaccurate perspective

Fantastical creatures


Small hands

We'll see what my research uncovers! Come back next week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Review

Well, this is a BIG week! Why!?!? because my studio is done! . . . being painted. Far from done, really, but it's a VERY important step. No more late nights of sanding or priming or painting for Brian (now he can move on to late nights of tiling and trimming in the kitchen or drywalling in the half bath). {:

The accent wall color is Behr Prelude.We decided to do an accent wall: 1) because I felt like an art studio should have at least one white wall, 2) but I don't like plain white walls, they're sterile, 3) we don't have much money, and we had a full gallon of Ultra Pure White in eggshell (not sure why).

We were able to do the whole wall with one quart, but with the amount of taping (that didn't work) and retouching (we had to do because our bedroom walls are super textured), painting all the walls Prelude might have been the better savings.

I learned from the accent wall experience: use an edger with the textured walls and ceiling, paint the trim last, or use that green frog tape if you're painting the trim second. But really, I don't see doing many accent walls in the future, and the next time we paint this room, we're replacing the trim!

Ok, so Brian's work is basically done in here, and my work has barely started.

We moved the couch in last night, and boy oh boy is it long! Its length was one of the things that sold me on it (although it didn't take much to sell me on a $45 couch). It means tall friends can sleep in here, and there's plenty of space to sit (for me and my 5 closest buddies). But it takes up some major room, and if we don't drastically rearrange (which is possible, but maybe not drastically, since some pieces only fit in one place--giant bookshelf), we may need to find it a new home and get a love seat or something. }:

first day working (blogging) in the studio!!

I'm also still a little hung up on the fact that the cushions are pink. Maybe if I didn't have a blog, and the whole world could never potentially see my studio, I wouldn't care, but I kinda do. It still boggles my mind that it could happen. And why didn't miss "I'm-selling-my-couch-for-45-dollars-on-craigslist" not tell me that one shouldn't wash the cushion covers in warm water?!? Ok, I'm a little obsessed, I guess. I'll get over it . . . or I'll get a slip cover.

So what's next with the studio?

Well, Brian cut the base off my file shelf thing (that I also go on craigslist, but don't worry one iota about turning pink in the wash!). It's meant to go horizontally to hold mail, but I'm going to use it vertically to hold craft paper and such. So, Brian cut the base off. I need to sand it and clean it, and I have the spray paint in the wings to paint it white!

cell photo (sorry) of the shelves "before"

I'm still very excited about this piece (even though I got it in April or May or something). It's quite hard to find pieces like this. Staples doesn't even sell the cardboard versions anymore!

now with the base cut off
 So we have the shelving. I'm thinking about painting the top of my drawing table, just to spruce it up and personalize it a bit. We have a little desk in here that I'm hoping to move out at some point. There's just too much furniture! Right now it's holding a bunch of important stuff, but we can reorganize it.

Lots of work to do, but it's exciting!!

Also big news: I started a third blog!

Haha. I know what you're thinking: "She hasn't even been able to stick to the schedules of her other blogs, how can she maintain a third?!?" Ok, I'm hoping you're not thinking that, but I guess I kind of am.

I started it in an effort to organize my life and my mind a little. I have my personal blog that I like to keep pretty much private--it would just be boring for strangers (monthly updates of my baby's milestones) and a little too personal (postpartum TMI).

I have this blog, which I want to keep focused on my painting and drawing and not distract from those pursuits with my crafts and home design interests. But I do have those interests, and I want to share! I've been getting pretty into Pinterest lately, and I'd love to be able to "pin" some of my stuff. But I don't want people checking out my "pins" to get routed to my personal site.

Added bonus! I might get some people checking out my craft/design/et cetera blog and finding my fine art blog and getting interested in my work!

When I mention a craft/home project on this site, I'll just link to it so you know what I've been up to, but I won't write a ton about those projects here. 

I won't update regularly or even frequently, just as I have interesting things to post.

You are still my main blog! {:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Art History Day: New Schedule

I usually schedule my posts to go up in the morning, so my art history post goes up on Thursday at 8:00 am. Today's is late, and I knew it would be. Here's why:

As I explained in this post, the Art History Day schedule just wasn't working for me. It was too much to ask this easily-overwhelmed mama to write a full, thoughtful "essay" relating my work to work of the past (necessitating research) every week. So I decided once a month would be good for the full, thoughtful post--and I could do a short, thoughtless post weekly. Ha.

The plan is to do my long post on the Ancient Near East on November 3rd, and my long post on Ancient Egypt on December 1st.

So how did I know this post would be late?

When I paused to reconsider the Art History Day blog post phenomenon, I came to the conclusion that using Gardner's, the internet, and my memory just wouldn't cut it. I want real, honest-to-goodness books to read. I then came to understand that the Atascadero Library has a pretty miserable selection (before you get defensive, I was focusing particularly on texts concerning ancient art history). The San Luis Obispo Library has a slightly better selection, so I decided I should take a trip to SLO every few months to pick up new inspiration.

I so took for granted the collection of the San Jose MLK Library. WOW, that is an amazing place! At least I got to use it, and used it much better than most of my fellow students.

Ok, back to SLO Library.

I plan to take a trip down there every couple months and get enough books for at least two full blog posts.

Why, you might ask, don't I just have the books shipped to the Atascadero Library? Well, they just started charging $1.00 a book for inter-library transfers, and I feel like I can find something to do in San Luis every couple months!

The reason I knew today's post would be late and didn't just write yesterday was . . . finally, she's getting to it!! . . . we went to the SLO Library TODAY! I chose today because they have their Toddler Story Time on Thursdays. I convinced my mother-in-law to take Everett and me to the library, she sat with him at story time, and I found my books. Great deal!

We might go to Paso or even Santa Maria to do this at some point. We'll see.

So, not a great selection when it came to Near East. Egypt was better, but Near East, well, I'm happy I found what I did.

I picked up Michael Balter's The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization 2005

I probably won't read the whole book, just what's interesting to me. It seems like it spends a lot of time following the archaeologists working at the site and not necessarily the art objects, but we'll see.

Catalhoyuk is one of the earliest civilizations we know about, and super fascinating.

I know writing based on local library books is going to limit my blog's scope, but that's ok with me. It's going to be limited. It's going to be superficial. Like I've said before. I'm not a scholar. I'm just a lady with a B.A. in Art History and one in Painting. I'll write about what interests me and what I think will be interesting to you!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Review: Reset Button

Bloggers get a few reset buttons a year, right? Well, I'm using mine. This week is a new week, and last week was scrapped. Never happened. (:

If you read my last post, you'll remember we went to southern California last weekend to attend my grandfather's memorial service. And as I'm sure you know, it's HARD to loose a weekend. I mean, we gained the experience of bidding a fond farewell to Chuck. And we basically had a family reunion (which is worth a year of lost weekends to me). But the loss of productivity at the house was quite difficult, for the blog, and as a housewife/mom.

I didn't truly feel the loss of the weekend until around Thursday when I just kind of threw in the towel, and realized I wouldn't get anything done for the blog that week. Boo.

My big (creative) project for the week was making paper chains for my best friend's baby shower. They were quite cool. Construction paper and scrapbooking paper, much of it doubled up for thinkness or to have color/pattern on both sides.

It took me much longer than I expected, but they turned out really cool. I made probably 120 feet of chain. They went along all the windows in the room, the 50 foot beam down the center, and in front of a few tables. I hope some other people got good pictures.
Arlene and Lauren admire the Atascadero Lake

I'm happy that there seems to be plans to use them as decorations in my friend's kids' bedroom or to used them for kids birthdays or showers in the future. I'm not the only one emotionally attached now.

I also made a couple diaper cakes. Yummm . . . {:

Ok. Let's pick this blogging thing back up this week!

I already started my drawing for the Saturday Sketch, and I'm very excited to show you.

I'll also have more news about the studio!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Review

As I explained in my last post, this week has been a little unusual. Everett and I have been fighting this stubborn cold (so we laid around watching movies--when Everett would actually lay around).

Most of the time I could bear to be crafty, I spent making paper chains for my best friend Rachel's baby shower. They're in a fun color scheme with different types of paper. I'm excited to post pictures of the chains after the shower.

But the most important thing for this week, or for this decade, was my Grandfather's memorial service on Saturday. My mother and her three siblings, along with many cousins and other family members, converged on La Verne, California to celebrate the life of an amazing man.

The service would have made Grandpa Chuck proud, a combination of Christianity and Humanism, full of music (a vocal quartet!) and heartfelt remembrance.

Me and Grandpa at my wedding--December 2009

I didn't think I'd be able to make this post especially relevant to art or painting, but in considering the wonderful speeches given at the service (especially that of my cousin Bill), I realize his life and words supported art and creativity without being explicit.

My grandfather Charles and my grandmother Ena (who passed over a decade ago) were very loving, supportive people. Unlike many parents of their generation, they didn't pressure their children to pursue a specific type of career or path in life. They made it clear that it was important for them to spend their time doing what they love. From Chuck and Ena came four children who raised ten children, each one knowing they should do what they love in life.

My mother took this encouragement of freedom and became an art therapist and marriage and family therapist. My father, who spent so much time with Chuck as to consider him a second father, has pursued a career in fine art.

I've never questioned whether my family would approve of my decision to become an artist. If there's any doubt, it comes from my own fear of failure.

A family member (who will remain nameless) once told me he was very jealous of my mother and her siblings growing up. He recognized my grandparents' willingness to support their children's creative endeavors, and his parents' unwillingness to support his and his sibblings'. To this day he wishes his parents would have encouraged his artistic interests the way Chuck and Ena did their childrens'.

I think we have no greater gift than the encouragement and unconditional love of our parents and grandparents, especially since it's a trait that seems to be passed on.

We will miss you Grandpa Chuck, and we thank you for all you've done for us.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Sketch: Halloween Idea

Hello! Well, this has been a weird week of sickness and crafting for other events (I'll talk more about this in my Monday Review).

Everett and I have been trying to shake this stubborn cold, so we had a few "sick days" of lounging around watching muppet movies. Not the thing to do if you're trying to be a productive artist/blogger. Oh well, sometimes my baby and I just need a little Gonzo.

Then, I finally decided to check out Pinterest, and oh man is that a time-drain! Got lots of cute ideas, though, that I think will be time and money savers in the future (like homemade Christmas gifts!).

But it got me thinking about Halloween costumes for Everett. Last year he was a porcupine. Brian and I spent HOURS gluing and painting quills. It's hard to imagine topping that (with less time investment), but I'm gonna try!

Last year we built his costume on a hoodie, which I love because it's so comfortable for the baby.

This year, I'm thinking of doing the same thing, but having him be a bird! I want him to be something he recognizes, since he knows so many animals and animal sounds (but this means octopus and dragon are out, that's ok.). I was showing him bird costumes online, and he would say, "caw caw!" So cute.

So my sketch this week is my costume idea:

I took inspiration from this amazing feather cape. The original is for an older kid, so the end of the cape hooked over the kid's thumbs. Everett will only be 17-months-old, so that idea wouldn't fly (haha . . . pun intended). But I think it would be great on a hoodie.

I just put a few rainbow colors in the drawing to give you an example. I'm actually hoping to use all sorts of colorful patterned prints, like the original cape.

I'm thinking about dusting off my sewing machine for this one. I could make it all with hot glue, but if he loves it so much he wants to wear it again and again (which is just a fantasy on my part, of course.), it'd be nice for it to be sewn.

This isn't going to turn into a craft blog, I promise . . . although, from time to time, crafts will be my creative focus of the week. {: