Saturday, July 28, 2012

Before & Afters

I've loved makeovers since I was a young'un, long before they became a thing on reality t.v. and elsewhere. I love a good transformation or upgrade, and am always looking at things from houses to clothes with an eye to their potential. So I'm starting a new series on this blog called "Before & Afters" to share transformed things that I'm excited about. I'm thinking it will be a lot of my own projects, and with any luck, I'll be able to toss cool stuff transformed by other artists and companies into the mix.

So for my first official Before & Afters post, I'd like to share a piece from a series of vases I'm working on. I've been taking standard small vitamin bottles and sculpting papier mache pulp over them to create working wet vases made totally of recycled materials. Because of the plastic bottle inside, these can be used with water and flowers like a traditional vase. Here's the before:
an empty vitamin bottle
And the after:  
it's paper, but water is a-okay in it!
This is also a sneak peek for posts I'll be publishing soon, revealing my super simple papier mache pulp recipe, and the steps I took to create the vase above. Hope you're looking forward to this series and the technique posts. I am!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One Tip Tuesday

Today, in a rare One Tip Tuesday edition (because I haven't done one of these in like, forever), I wanted to share a tip on paint economy in the studio.

Paint. Is. Expensive. Well, sometimes. I personally know how to catch a good deal and ways to stretch the paint I already have.;o) This tip is so simple it's a no brainer, and it works for artist grade acrylics, oils, and craft acrylics. Whenever I mix up a special color, I try to make more than I think I'll need, so that I don't have to go back and mix again and try to match the first batch. So there's almost always leftover. Well, since it is near sacrilegious in my studio to throw out perfectly good paint, I seal up the excess in empty plastic containers. Whenever I need to create layers, thickness, or depth on a project, the excess comes out to play. It doesn't matter that it's not the color I intend to use in the end, because it will end up covered, and I won't have used up the intended color trying to create "body" on a painting or a sculpted piece. And I've avoided waste. So winner winner... well, you know. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Garden of My Mind

As an artist, I spend a lot of time visualizing things I would like to create, from simple projects, to things I want to think into existence for my life.

a Chinese lantern plant
One of my personal dreams is to one day have a beautiful garden at my home. I've always possessed an inner gardener, one who loves the feel of the earth in her hands and relishes the fruit of carefully tended plots. I love flowers, succulent cactus, and edibles, and my dream garden would have all of these.
Having thumbed through seed catalogs time and again over the years, I could name off some of the magical things I would grow *ahem*, will grow when the opportunity arrives. I want beautiful colors, strange shapes, and tasty specimens. I want everything from crispy cukes, to paw paws, to edible flowers that I can dust with pretty sugars and perch on homemade cakes. I can see myself strolling, sitting, sketching, and just renewing in my perfect garden. I've grown things in the past, and enjoyed the satisfaction of creating something from seed, earth, sun, and water, but because of limited time and other resources to devote to maintenance (like keeping hungry pests away), I have temporarily given it up.
While out exploring with a friend recently, I happened onto a plant precariously tossed beside an old railroad depot. It had obviously been ditched there, because there were just branches lying on the ground. I recognized it as an elusive favorite, which I had never seen in person, and one that I had pictured for my own garden, a Chinese lantern. The petals on the "lanterns" were gorgeous shades of soft pink, green, and tan, and they reminded me of my goal, so I brought home some of the stems. I managed to extract seeds from some of the pods, and may be able to start them in a pot. Who knows, this could be the first step to that dream coming true! Before I forget, I wanted to share this awesome video, which in part, inspired this post. So I can't take credit for the "garden of your mind" idea, lol. Hope you like :o)                              p.s. I love Mr. Rogers and PBS. We go waaay back!

Update: I'm officially back at it with a slowly expanding container garden! Follow my "grow things" board on Pinterest to see what I'm cultivating!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(not so) Wordless Wednesday

Ok, so this was supposed to be a Wordless Wednesday post, but I just couldn't help myself, lol. Today being the Fourth of July/ Independance Day in the States, I've been thinking about how much I love fireworks. I'm a big kid when it comes to fireworks. Everyone I know seems to think they're no big deal, and if you've seen one show, you've seen them all. But they never seem to get old for me. I still love the colors, lights, and sounds experienced during a good pyrotechnics show. They still give me a sense of wonder. I think the only way I could get tired of them is if I were to see them constantly. But for now they remain special, something beautiful, bright, happy, and out of the ordinary. And today they will celebrate our freedom as a nation! Hope you get a chance to enjoy some :o).