Block Island Salt Pond

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Hooray!  Painting complete!  I feel like this painting’s been kicking around forever!

Here is the progression:

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Wow. It was kind of difficult to know when to stop painting. I had in my head to add a bunch of native plants to BI such as bayberry, Rosa Rugosa, ivy, golden rod and wild Astor. It’s what I love about the island.  You can actually see what would grow in our region if we didn’t have all of the development.

Well, this gouache painting got me back in the saddle. I think I’ve loosened up after not painting for some time.  Next I am going to switch to acrylics and canvas…let’s see what comes out!

FUN DESK

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I got a few pottery pieces back yesterday. The two vessels in the back were coil pots I created.  Their finishes are not perfect.  I couldn’t sell them or anything, but I do love their hand-made one-of-a-kind uniqueness.  Totally my speed.  They shall become my pen/pencil organizers making for a very fun desk experience.

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In other pottery news, I spent my entire session on the pottery wheel.  I dare not say the words out loud,  but it’s Christmas present time.  All of these small vessels are going to be the bases of tea mugs I am going to make for a holiday pottery show.

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I throw the bottoms on the wheel and then hand-build the tops out of slabs of clay.  These are definitely my favorite thing I’ve created in pottery thus far.  I use them everyday.

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I also started painting my bottle tops.  I’m sort of feeling like they are over-done.  I might make my next batch of birds un-painted but simply dipped in glazes instead.  I guess I have to try both ways before I can figure out which way I like best.  Either way they are going to be a pleasure to have on my fireplace mantel.

I still have quite a bit that hasn’t made it out of the kiln.  This means I shall have more to look forward to next pottery class!

Drawer Pulls

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Still waiting for my gouache paint to come… looks like I won’t be painting until Monday at this point!

So while I wait, I decided to knock a couple of projects off my to-do list.

First were some polymer clay drawer pulls.  I can’t believe it, but I looked it up.  I have been designing these knobs since the late 90’s…

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I used to create them for a multitude of hand-crafted artisan gift shops.  You know, the stores we all love to visit and indulge in on vacations and during the holidays.  About 10 years ago I stopped creating them.  The #1 reason was motherhood.  These little drawer pulls take an exorbitant amount of time (more than people want to pay for!).  Twelve years ago I had so much free time…so much crafting vigor…ah those were the days…

Never the less, a customer in New York found me.  She brought a drawer pull she bought ten years ago, into my mother’s gallery and asked if I’d make her some more.  Now she has a grandchild who’s room they are excitedly decorating and wouldn’t these be perfect?  …Yeah, they would….  How could I resist?

So yesterday I dusted off my old pasta machine (that’s how polymer clay artists condition their clay), I hand mixed all the colors, and set off creating my floral pulls, petal by petal until I reach their centers.

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Here were some drawer pulls I created for an interior decorator.  See how they match the fabric swatches?  It’s pretty cool.  I always thought they’d be my ticket to “crafter fame”…but alas…not so. Their time has not yet come…

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Yesterday was like catching up with an old friend.  One you know everything about, inch by inch, spec by spec.  I missed my polymer clay pals.  It had been too long.  It reminded me of just how much time had passed.  It was kind of sad actually.

But, I had no time to wallow, I had 4 kids to pick up from school.  There were soccer try-outs to rush to, dinner to make, laundry to wash…

Yeah. My life has changed quite a bit.  I’d say I’m just as creative as then, maybe even more so.  I am more confident and I clearly know what I want as an artist, but that time factor just eats away at my soul.  I never feel like I have enough time to create the myriad of manifestations rolling around in my head. I am sure the present me will tell the me of ten years from now,” hey, it was just a passing phase”, but never the less I always carry a great deal of frustration about time… It’s my number one metaphysical issue. grrr….

I think the Mary from 12 years ago would say keep going, keep reaching, keep exploring and try to obtain the unobtainable.  It’s what keeps us young at heart. The present me would say the same…and the future holds what the future holds.

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Hey former self, thank you for the trip down memory lane and the great words of encouragement. You know, we should do this again sometime…

yeah,   …sometime real soon.

http://www.becreativemary.com

Painting Update

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I’m still plugging along.  I only use blue, yellow, magenta, black and white paints.  I mix my own colors.

Well, mid-painting, I ran out of the blue gouache.  My local art supply store was out of gouache (because I bought it all!) and I live an hour from any other store that would carry fine art supplies ( I have to get my kids from school, so there is now way I can drive two hours and pick up paint in time!).  I had to special order the paint which means finishing this painting is on hold until I get the supplies… I can imagine it is just like Van Gogh running out of the organic compounds ochre & umber in the middle of Arles… your just stuck right?  Yeah Vincent. I feel your frustration.

I have a long laundry list of other creative projects I put on hold so I could paint.  I guess the responsible thing to do would be to get all my other work done…maybe even some actual laundry – nah, I’m not that desperate!

OK.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I hope you are all taking on something uber-creative today!

BIRD BRAINS

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You might see these feathered friends for quite some time.  I want to create an entire mantel full!

The idea came from the gifts I received from my friend Christine.  She found an old bottle graveyard on her property and gave me a few bottles knowing I was crafty and might put them to good use. She also happens to have the most beautiful assortment of chickens, ducks and guinea fowl on her property.  I gathered up a bunch of feathers while visiting, shoved them in the jars, stuck them in my car and didn’t think about them for some time.

Of course the best ideas come while driving. I looked down at my passenger seat, saw the two items together which made me think of the seventies when people had curiosity jars filled with rocks, shells and feathers… BINGO!  I want to fill these jars with all the gorgeous flora and fauna from my area. But they had no tops.  Instantly I thought of birds. I’m obsessed with birds. I watch them all day…thus this idea.

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Here’s a third bird.

I look at these silly clay creations and they make me smile. I hope they crack you up to!

In other clay news…

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I got some of my pieces out of the bisque kiln.  I glazed them yesterday. Deep breathe & crossing my fingers they come out the way I see them in my mind :)

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I hand-painted the rooster platter too.  Next week it should be bisque fired and I’ll add some clear glaze and send it in for its second firing.

I have some colorful stuff in the works… and I’m still loving every minute of it!

I LOVE POTTERY CLASS!

Getting Fired Up!

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I’m getting closer to some finished pieces at pottery class!

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Last week I hand-built these pieces and came up with a solution for the two pots I previously ruined.  Did I throw them in the garbage? Nah, I took them home and created coil pots on top of the destroyed bases. I was able to clean them up fairly well.

Here’s a look:

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They are purposely a little wonky simply because I like how it looks.  Perfect bores me -imperfect gives my vessels some personality.  With that said, I loosely applied the coils until they looked the way I liked them, attached the pieces and today I under-glazed them. After they bisque fire I will be adding an oatmeal white color to their bases.

Next:

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I added under-glaze paints to these pieces too. I pretty much spent my entire session painting!

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Oh wait, that’s not true.  I created this 18″ x 18″ rooster platter today as well.  I had found a small rooster weathervane at a hardware store some time ago and thought “hey I could use this as an impression in my pottery”.  It worked, there wasn’t much detail in the weathervane though, just its shape, so I used pottery tools to create the detail. I wasn’t sure what colors I wanted, so I left it to finish next week.

These pieces should fire this week, so hopefully next week I can glaze and finish them up! Quite the colorful batch I must say!

Uncovering the Layers

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I finished my first painting in some time today and boy was there a lot of angst attached!   Here’s the story…

So last week I had finished the months of interruptions that kept me from painting and was ready to start fresh.  I knew I wanted to start with painting landscapes because I hadn’t done too many during my 365.

I went to the library and amassed my favorites: David Hockney, Milton Avery and a few other books on Fauvist masters.

Next I pulled out ten big blank canvases.

Then I put them back and pulled out ten small 11×14 canvases.

Then I thought maybe I should work out some sketches on 3″x 5″ watercolor paper.

Then I thought well, maybe I should do three samples of each concept and figure out what color scheme I want to work with, then I’ll take the best, paint small 11×14’s acrylic paintings and from there take the best concepts and go to large canvases…

sensible right?…

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Well, I got two mini water colors into this process before I felt like I never wanted to paint again!  I had sucked all the joy and spontaneity right out of my own creative process.  Boy I felt absolutely discouraged and all-out bummed.

It took me a day to pull myself together and remind myself I have been dying to paint for the last 4 months!  I returned the books to the library.  I put all the canvases away.  I stopped looking at all the amazing inspiration I had pinned on Pinterest.  I put away everything.

Wow. I had gotten myself into such a perfectionist frenzy there was no way anything could come out yet alone create joy.

From there I asked myself “what do I feel like doing?” and the answer came.  “I want to play with fast strokes and swirl paint.”  OK.   “I want bright clean color and I want to be able to add layers if necessary.”  OK.   “I don’t feel like acrylic at the moment – it makes me too serious.  I’m not in a serious mood…” OK.  Got it.

IT’S CALLED LISTENING TO YOU INTUITION!!!

As soon as I dumped the preconceived notion of everything my painting needed to be, it allowed space for “me” to be.

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I felt a little rusty.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted it to look like or what I wanted where.   I did a lot of back n’ forth until I found something I could live with.  You know, I guess it’s like the warm up before the run. We’ll call this painting some well needed stretching.

There are quite a few things I’d change in hindsight, but I was happy with where I left it.  The color is beautiful.  The mood is how I feel this time of year.  There’s breeze, sunlight and so much beauty outdoors.  This painting is loosely based on a road I drove down in Jamestown.  It was quiet, well manicured and I just loved the turn I find myself wondering …where does it lead?

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Here is the final painting.

It is gouache on heavy cold press paper 30″ x 30″.   I put a bottle and can in the photo at the way top to give you an idea of the size and proportion of the painting.

So the unnerving first painting is out-of-the-way. Hopefully now I can do away with the angst and get back to work!

Ah, it feels good to be back :)

Emilie Ruecker Wildlfe Refuge

For the next three months (or as long as my attention span can hold out!) I will be exploring landscapes.  I only briefly touched on them during my 365 and there is so much more to learn and explore.

This prompted me to take a hike with Jeanine the head of RI Families in Nature.  We set off yesterday to hike some trails in Tiverton, RI.  I’d never been to that neck of the woods which was plenty enough reason to go!

Thinking of painting compositions all along the trails, this was some of the beauty I took in.  I thought I’d share it:

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What a gorgeous day.  I received plenty of inspiration. Thank you Universe!