Any Guess What These Are?

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How many of you guessed Frogs?

How many of you have no idea what a frog is?

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Well in celebration of upcoming Mother’s Day and hopefully the spring tulip season soon surfacing, I made these floral frogs to sell at The Guild’s Pottery Show tonight (6-8pm).  I made the ceramic frogs from slab pottery and they rest on top of old fashioned Ball jars.  They keep your flowers upright and seperated.

I can’t wait for everything in my yard to bloom.  I will have my jars ready and waiting!

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Letting the Cat out of the Bag!

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I’m taking my “CAT IN A BAG” and heading on out to my student pottery show tomorrow night.  You know, it’s a place for us nerd artists to share in our learning process; sort of a show n’ tell of sorts.  It’s great to see the many levels of potters at this studio and what creative processes they come up with. For those of you in the area, check it out:  The Studio is Plum Pottery East at The Neighborhood Guild in Peace Dale. The show is from 6-8 Friday night.

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This cat in a bag takes my pottery work to a whole new category of weird!  The cat is super cute, but really what do you do with  a ceramic cat in a bag?   Well, it is water proof.  So as soon as something pops out of the frozen earth, I’ll have to add some flowers to it!

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I’m also taking my merry band of freak ceramic figures to the show.  All of these are potential vases as well.  I guess what I really love about my crazy clay creations is that they are truly unique.  There is no way I’m going to find this collection in any one else’s house! 

I love quirky.

I have a silly confession on this front.

Being a lover of one of a kind things, for years I would buy children’s clay sculptures from the Salvation Army.  A pinch-pot here, a crooked vase there, sometimes even those beloved horse/dog figurines we can’t even figure out what they are.  I’ve always wondered who made them and my second thought has always been what wicked parent chucked them in the donation bin?

Like those who take in stray cats, I fall in love with that which has been hand-crafted.  Whether it is a lump with two eye’s carved or a lop-sided vase, I know what it feels like to learn something new, to try your best, to be proud of yourself, as homely as your creation may be!

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So to all those well-meaning artisans out there, I salute you.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  And one day, as some poor family member cleans out the messy art studio of my life, they will come upon many an item too, which I am sure will be sent to the donation bin!

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If Spring Won’t Come – I’ll Force it to!

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I am Freezing.

I don’t think I can take another day.  I’m losing it.  really!  I had to help my kids find their snow suits this morning!  In my mind, I have to make it to St. Patrick’s Day and if I can make it to then, spring is just around the corner.  Except for this year.  It’s like winter won’t ever end!!! Ahhhhgh!

I get depressed feeling cold and bottled up in my cocoon all winter.  I joke that us “New Englanduhs” loose our necks in the winter.  We are shuddering with our shoulders above our ears! Being cold physically makes you tense up.  I’d imagine it makes us a little cranky too!

Well, I have found a small solace.  It’s a little patch of my dining room.  As I framed away, preparing for my art show, I broke down, pulled everything off my dining room wall, hung my bird paintings and thought –Wow.  Instantly, I felt better.  It was like the combination of bright happy colors and the thought of nature brought me internally, to a happy warm place.

Oh yeah, that’s why artists need to make art!

  It can physically change the energy within us all.  Some artists explore other emotions like sadness, anxiety, & anger.  Not me.  I’m all full here, I don’t need any more of those feelings thanks.  But a mood lifter, a giddy feeling of spring, a feeling of hope.  Sign me up! That’s what gets me inspired.

It’s going to be hard to part with these bird-beauties.  I just love them.

IMG_6614 #93 - THE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH REVISITED x #94 - Baltimore Oriole (1) #95 - THE DYNAMIC DUO -CARDINALS (1) #96 - THE BLUE JAY (1) #97 -THE ROBIN REVISITED

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SCRATCHING THAT CREATIVE ITCH

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If I’m being honest, I’d have to say organizing, creating print media, picture framing and the overall creation of the 365 Art shows is driving me crazy!

All of the administrative work has kept me from creating.  I haven’t picked up a paint brush since December.  I don’t even want to count how many days have passed.

One thing that has kept my creative urges in check is the pottery studio.

Especially the first few weeks of January when my 365 challenge ended.  I had no idea what to do or where to be.  I found myself wandering over to the pottery studio, where I’d poke and prod clay, still not knowing what to do.  Somehow the physical manipulation of the wet cold clay, the cutting, molding, stamping allowed my mind to drift and not worry about what needed to be done. I guess one could call it “coming back to earth”.

From this time of “just being”, came many jewelry pieces.  First I worked in the studio creating the pendants, next I glazed them and soon the project found its way home.  I’d select some beads here, string a pendant there. The simple act of creating this jewelry gave me an outlet, a ritual, even a purpose when I was feeling lost.

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I am thankful for my pottery muse.  I needed this to keep my hands busy and my mind at peace.  Luckily The Guild where I take pottery is having a pottery show next week.  I will bring my wares there in hopes of finding interested patrons.

You’ve probably heard this before from many an artist, but it’s worth saying again.  For those who need to create daily, just to be able to breathe freely, it’s generally never about amassing their creations.  It is like the Buddhist monks who spend a week designing mandalas in the sand only to sweep them away when finished.  I have this incredible urge to make things, to use my hands and to work with color.  If I don’t, I begin to feel like I am going to explode.

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I certainly miss painting, but alas I have “grown up” work to do.  Until I get back to my art studio time, I will have to derive pleasure from the small creative processes that make my heart sing.

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TURNING THE OLD NEW AGAIN

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I have some fabulous old frames to share, but before I do, check out my back yard…

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Do you see the strange looking weather vanes?  Imagine my amazement when the weather vanes began to move! I’d say they had at least a 6 foot wing span.

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At first I thought they were hawks, but upon closer inspection I figured out they were wild turkeys!

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I wonder what the turkeys were thinking, or the people who live in this house, as I was traipsing through the yard in my pajamas last Saturday morning!

Nature is too cool.

OK. Back to frames…

This week I focused my attention on a wonderful collection of vintage frames I inherited.  My guess is that they range from the 1950’s to 60’s.  My mother sets aside the really cool frames that come into her frame shop.  As people update their homes, they generally do not want any evidence of their crazy retro days (think avocado refrigerator!) But of course there are those of us who simply love the quality, craftmanship and retro-coolness of these objects of yester year.

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This frame is SO WILD!  It has a hand carved eye motif and green painted panel.  It looks Hawaiian to me. I have kept this frame for years, thinking it was way too cool to part with, but my bird woman looks absolutely perfect in it. Here is a link to the day this painting was created:  DAY #9 – The Bird Feeder  I don’t even dare to read the posts myself, it’s like rereading my own diary!

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Next is a little painting I watercolored right on the beach in Block Island .  This is a first, I can’t pull up the day, but I do have many people who sat and watched me paint it that could tell you I did! The old frame looks like it’s right out of a Block Island cottage.  I liked this about it.  I gave the frame a wash of Payne’s Grey paint to give it an extra beachy look.

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This is another one of those old 1950’s frames.  It is solid and has light gold with tarnish that you just can’t duplicate.  It screams “olden days”.   This painting was titled DAY #147- SWEET & SIMPLE Watson Farm, Jamestown RI.  It is of the cow pasture there.  I went with my son on a field trip that week and looking at the painting now, I can smell the fresh air of that farm by the sea.  I can’t wait to get back out there this spring!

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My final frame is quite old too.  In fact, it’s missing moulding in places, but I think it gives it even more of that old barn distressed look that so many of us crave.  This was titled DAY #339 – ROSES AND ROSEMARY  This watercolor was getting towards the end of my challenge.  Around a month left.  There are also some cool photos of the progression of the painting.

I have been making some headway in pottery class as well.   Tomorrow I am going in to glaze a bunch of pieces. Let’s see if I can remember my camera.  I’m getting rusty without a challenge nudging me along!

Enjoy your weekend everybody and I’ll check back in, in a few!

TTFN

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DON’T LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG!

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I know, I know, what was I thinking?  How on earth did I wind up with a cat in a bag?

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Well, it began with a lesson in pinch pots.  I was learning how to trap air inside a pinch pot.  Pretty much, you create a clay bubble.  When air is trapped inside, you can then roll, morph and play with the clay, yet it stays inflated. I took my clay bubble and transformed it into a cat head.

Well, then what do you do with a cat head?  First I tried making a coil pot for its body, but it looked horrible.  It looked like an abandoned bee hive.  It was abandoned to the trash!

Then the idea struck me…BAD PUN = AWESOME! = CAT IN A BAG

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I made a ceramic bag out of clay slabs, stamped in my bad pun, added some handles and viola!

It’s being bisque fired as we speak….

Now what will  I do with a  cat in a bag when  I get this thing home? …hmm… I have no idea!

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Having Fun Framing

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The Picture framing of my 365 Art Project has begun.  I’m pretty lucky to have 2 picture framer businesses in my family.  As I had mentioned, my mother is framing the “best” pieces and I am framing the pieces she didn’t pick!  It’s funny, but most of my favorites didn’t make the cut, but it wasn’t a personal decision, my mother has a very good eye for what “the masses” will like.  I trust her judgement even though I’ve never fallen into that category!

  I was lucky enough to inherit this black frame due to a measurement error. I recieved the frame with the glass and hand-built shadow box walls already built into it.  Total score! I bought a shocking blue piece of fabric, stretched it on acid free foam core and floated #313 – Ode to Hundertwasser in the center.  I love this gouache painting for its primitiveness and clean bright color.

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Next to be framed was the watercolor #157- IN MY GARDEN –The Poppy.  Can you believe someone didn’t like this gold frame because of the lines in the gold-leaf guilding?  For those of you that don’t know, there are finite linear lines in a true gold frame.  It is where the real gold leaf overlaps itself when being applied to the frame.  Here’s a tidbit, if you can’t find overlap marks on your gold frame, it’s most likely painted which means there is a good chance it’s not a  true gold-leaf frame!  So, when you go to have something framed, don’t complain about inconsistencies, it’s most likely an indication of hand-craftmanship and authenticity.

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I think that #217- STILL LIFE WITH BOVINE came out so darn sweet.  This frame was a customer’s frame that they no longer wanted.  It had two dings in the finish.  So guess what I did?  I added 20 more dings, literally, with a hammer!  I dented, scratched and sanded the frame until it began to have that “country distressed” look.  Next I found this pretty blue trellis fabric, stretched the fabric and floated my artwork. I just love what a frame can do!  This painting is ready for a country cottage!

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#10 – ODE TO THE ORANGE, was from the first week of my 365.  It definitely has some technical issues going on, but it’s still a fun piece.  I went with the look of a “Man’s study”.  Dark plaid says to me “fraternity”, “law office” or “man-cave”!  Thanks again to the customer who wanted a new frame and no longer wanted this gold metal frame. It’s in perfect condition!

The titles of the paintings above are actually links to that particular day of my 365.  You can learn more about the painting and see what I was thinking and feeling at that given moment.

OK.  so four paintings framed and only about one hundred more to go!

I forgot how fun and creative the picture framing process can be.  I’m having fun with it!

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