Monday, March 28, 2016

Yesterday Once More

I took a few snaps here and there yesterday, to show you the types of things I do when I'm busy and I can't afford the time to really get "in the zone", so to speak.

Sketching. That's basically what I do. Sketching and doodling and idea writing.

But first, let me just give a shout out to sequins and glitter, which make my word go round, even on Easter Sunday.

Sometimes, when you're riding around in the passenger seat of a car and you want to draw, all that's available to you as a writing utensil is a stinky, lime green Mr. Sketch marker.

Or maybe that's the type of situation only I encounter.

What to do? You take the marker and run with it. Until you can locate a crappy, intended for kids colored pencil.

Then you sketch your son's pouty Easter face.

And you bear the burden of kids cracked out on sugar from the three Easter baskets a piece they received that day, until you can tuck in later that night with embroidery, tea and macarons. 

I've recently made it a personal rule not to eat anything after supper each day, but dude, sometimes you just have to break the rules. Especially when you've spent 12 hours with chocolate fueled Mr. Hydes, who turned you into the Candy Nazi.

"No candy for you!"

Friday, March 25, 2016

New Work-Strawberry Bubblegum Afro

Portraits are my favorite. Painted, stitched, photographed...I adore them all. So you're gonna see me posting quite a few over the next few weeks because I am in an "all portraits all the time" mood.

You've been warned.

I love portraits, and I love big hair. Like, gravity defying hair. So you're gonna see quite a bit of that too.

Here's a lady with a sweet pink afro I recently completed.

I freehand my portraits, because I like them to look a little bit wonky. It is too easy to just transfer a photograph onto a piece of fabric and go from there, so I like to challenge myself by free handing. I think pieces are more unique that way.

This fine lady's magnificently pink do is a gathering of neon, rose, bubblegum, wine and strawberry milkshake pink french knots. French knots are probably my favorite stitch, and I might overuse them. Might.

I am tempted to keep this sassy lady, but then again I always think that about every piece I make. And then the piece finds a home and the delight of the new owner gives me enough feels to be glad I didn't hoard it. I usually make things that make people happy, and that in turn makes me happy.

Not a bad way to spend a life, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Asiago And Garlic French Toast

This looks like an unassuming piece of french toast.

Well, TWO unassuming pieces of french toast.

But they have a secret. They are far more delicious than their humble appearances would lead you to believe.

We make french toast once a week at our house, because it is one thing that both children will reliably eat. Usually it is sweet, and I have a million ways of making it sweet(bananas, orange cinnamon, almond maple), but sometimes I just don't want sugar for supper.

So last night, I threw some grated asiago cheese and garlic powder(we didn't have fresh) into the egg mixture, cooked in melted butter, then grated more asiago over the hot, cooked toast and holy Moses! Deliciousness. Totally simple, but totally satisfying deliciousness. And super quick to make. And the kids loved it. Because who doesn't love bread, butter and cheese?

You're welcome.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Works-A Warm Gun And A Blueberry Sea Urchin

HUZZAH For Productivity!

And seriously. I cannot believe how productive I have been lately. It is the Law of Attraction, I swear. It works, man. I'm telling you.

I watched Exit Through The Gift Shop last night, and was so entertained, inspired, amused and blown away that I made my own little street art inspired embroidery. If I were into graffiti, this is the type of thing I would paint!

I have these thrifted soldiers hiding out all over my house, so I'm always looking for new things to do with them. I like this piece so much I'll likely make a few more.

This one is available now in my etsy shop. *wink wink*

I made this next piece last night, although I hardly remember doing so. I was watching, A Room With A View. At 2 a.m.

Which has absolutely nothing at all to do with this piece.

It reminds me of blueberries. And a sea urchin.

Those long appendages are some plastic jewelry making junk I found at Goodwill. Brand new, never used. Perfect for making mod meets modern art.

This too can be yours, if the price is right!

In my etsy shop.

Come on, you know you want a fabulous blueberry and electric cheddar cheese colored creation to groovy up your walls...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New Work-Popcorn And Candy Sour Straws

I started and finished this piece, over the last couple of days, as a distraction from a bigger piece I am working on(and so close to being finished with).

The colors remind me of buttered movie popcorn and those neon colored, licorice style candy straws that taste like, and resemble, plastic. Probably because they are, like, 63% plastic.

I love the neon pink and plastic shininess contrasted with the organic feel of the shapes of the piece.

This is a small but weighty piece, made from a three or four inch vintage hoop, vintage unbleached cotton, vintage/thrifted buttons and vintage hot pink "S'getti Strings". As far as sustainable art goes, my pieces don't get much more sustainable than this.

I think this piece would be fantastic in a child's room, a sunny kitchen, a playroom or a bright and happy living room. It would work wonderfully in an eclectic apartment or enclosed porch space as well!

Annnnnnnnnd, my button pieces are perfect birthday, Mother's Day, whatever day gifts, especially for the person who has everything. Just sayin'. *Wink Wink*

Pee Wee, A Pee Wee and Pee Wees

How's that for confusing?

So did you watch the new Pee Wee Herman movie last night? I did! Nothing will ever top the original, but I did delight in Joe Manganiello's contributions to the piece.

And I made myself do a five minute sketch of Pee Wee.

It was a short mental break from all the stitching I've been doing. I try to make myself do several of these quick sketches whenever I have a movie or show on. The idea is just to capture a sparse likeness, not to do a detailed and accurate portrait, although I think this sketch is a reflection of the contrasts that are Pee Wee, an eternal boy with physical traits that betray his mental age.

I also finished up this fountain pen sketch of my boy that was started in the car a few days ago while waiting for his sister to exit her school.

Awhile back my husband gifted me with the Zebra V-301 fountain pen, an inexpensive little oddity at the local drugstore. I fell in love with it and quickly drained the first ink cartridge. They are my new favorite pens to sketch with.

I still stick to Copic for my "real" illustrations. These three ladies were recently added to my ACEO stash, which I am committed to finally listing in my etsy shop, because I am constantly asked, "Why don't you sell your illustrations too?!"

Soon, you crazy diamonds. Soon.

Lastly, I'd just like to say, FYI, sneezing while oil pulling is a terribly stupid thing to do. I'd suggest you avoid it. At all costs.

Unless a nose full of germ infested coconut oil is your kinda thing.

Just ask me how I know.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Things That Make Me Smile-Wednesday March 16, 2016

Yesterday we went for a drive by the river and saw this badass goose with only one leg.

Pretty sure that if I was a one legged goose, I'd be sitting on my bum all the time, moping about my absent appendage. But not this guy. He's all like, ""I'm gonna stand here, on my one leg, yogi goose style, and seemingly defy gravity by holding my round bobber body up with my one stick leg, because I'm a total badass. Go ahead and stare human. I know you're impressed. You whiny loser. Go take a freakin' shower. You stink of weakness and complacency." 

I was definitely impressed. Goose has got game.

Across the street from the goose was this-

I laughed when I saw it, because we see a hefty amount of train car graffiti which is mostly comprised of totally silly, sloppy work, and this seemed like a nerdy attempt at sounding ironic. Like hipster graffiti. 

But then I googled "Abe Lincoln Brigade" and found out that the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was a thing. Like, a real thing, thing. An actual historical thing. 

And suddenly this became the most interesting and intriguing graffiti I have ever seen. 

So I did some more research and discovered that, as I had begun to suspect, the "Abe Lincoln Brigade" in this context, is a group of politically motivated graffiti artists. You can see their flickr stream here.

I don't necessarily condone people putting graffiti on objects that don't belong to them. Context is really important, in my opinion. Sometimes doing the wrong thing can be the right thing. I think artist Ai Wei Wei really embodies that concept. He defies his government, however I'm not aware of him really vandalizing things. I don't want to get too political, but I do feel like people who spray paint things that don't belong to them often alienate people they could be reaching out to. 

I guess this is the part where I inject my own personal anecdote. When I was a teen, I received my first big commission-to paint a mural on the side of a local restaurant. I was a couple days into the project, painting and sweating buckets in hot summer sun, when I received a call one morning, to inform me that a couple of my high school class mates had drunkenly celebrated a birthday and tagged my wall with all sorts of stupid and offensive crap images and words. The owner of the pizza place was thoroughly upset by the experience. He had been trying to do something unique and happiness inducing for the tiny little community and really felt like he had been crapped on. His enthusiasm for the project was completely killed and he called the project off. I never got to finish my mural, and I never got paid for any of the work I did do. 

I've known quite a few people who have tagged things. It was usually done on a selfish dare or a whim, without any thought as to who the tag might affect. I can't get behind that kind of work. 

I often find myself wondering how those who tag the property of others would react if their property was tagged...

I will say this though-I was reminded of the power of art by this particular train piece. Because what started out as a seemingly silly tag, turned into an unexpected history lesson and a short education on the politics of freight train art and the history of a specific group of artists. And personally, I live for those types of completely unexpected experiences. I'm a big fan of that which expands the mind.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New Work-Candy Handy

I love this itty bitty piece so very much.

Baby hands that seem to say "I love you", neon candy dotties, and an absolutely precious size.

There's an element of sadness buried under all the circus colors, but I'll not delve deep into that. It will speak to who it wills.

Listing soon. Because these sweeties need to be united with their soul mate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Technically, It Is STILL WINTER

For like, another week, right?

You can't tell if you judge by the weather.

Today was 70+ degrees warm outside. After school, the kids played outside while I worked on weeding some of my garden beds and went ahead and planted some radishes. After a couple hours, we came in to shower and get ready for dinner.

That's when a loud alarm sounded in my home and I about peed myself, because I had forgotten what my weather radio's warning was like after so many months of it being silent.

We were under a tornado watch. Or warning. My radio said one, my internet said another.

And then this happened-

Hail. Not snow, but hail. Lots of hail. Hail that was bouncing around my back yard like ping pong balls in a fish tank.  Hail that knocked a little footstool plum off its perch on a decorative chair, then buried it under a blanket of icy balls.

Hail that was piled high and heavy enough that it took me several attempts to get my back door open.

Hail that lasted for what seemed like an eternity. I don't think I'd ever experienced hail that lasted more than a minute or two. This went on for a good ten minutes. Just pummeling all the green things growing in my yard.

Just goes to show, life is full of surprises. This maybe wasn't one I would choose, but I do think it is good to be awestruck by nature once in a while.

Even if it means you have to replant your radishes.

New Work-A Sophisticated Something Or Other

I've really thrown myself into my stitched mixed media/embroidery pieces lately. I've been sketching too, but mostly stitching. Stitching while cooking, stitching while watching the kids play outside, stitching while half sleeping...those pieces are always super fun to wake up to!

Spring is basically here-I've got bulbs pushing leaves through the ground, and my herbs are all sprouted. I'm going to be wrapped up in my gardens soon, so I think this sudden burst of creative productivity is the last big push before the art making part of my spirit dies down a bit for the growing season.

I've also been studying the Law of Attraction too, but that's a whole 'nother story. Which I will share in due time. Because it is one of those crazy things that affects how I work.

This newest piece was one of those 11 p.m. "Hey-I think I have an idea for a piece!" things that I hardly remembered even starting when I woke up the next morning after only a few pitiful hours a sleep. I was impressed by it, as it feels like a little bit more "sophisticated" piece than what I usually make. The colors, I mean. I'm all about gaudy, bright, candy colors. The candy colors in this piece are balanced out by the dark gray.

That's my opinion, anyway.

I love these random(or not so random) globs of vintage and thrifted buttons, and how they form a chaotic yet controlled mess.

Something about this reminds me of the juicy interior of a split, ripe peach.

And I love peaches. Picking the first peaches from my first peach tree was one of the happiest, most rewarding, most exciting moments of my life. There is just nothing like growing your own food. Or letting nature grow it for you. I guess I really don't have to do too much to take care of the peach trees. We are so far North though that peaches aren't a guaranteed thing. One late frost and snap-no peaches this year! So each crop is magical.

I really do think the colors in the piece would suit a more "sophisticated" home decor style that what I typically create for. And it is so small, it can effortlessly float from a bookshelf, to a kitchen to a bedroom or a fireplace mantle.

It'll be available in my etsy shop soon. I've got about 10 pieces hanging out, waiting to be listed, but I'm waiting to do it until I experience creative burn out and need a change of pace. Gotta keep it all balanced, man.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Miss TEA

I just finished this piece today, after having started it last semester. Sometimes I gotta let things fester a bit before I decide what to do about them.

The base of this piece is Egyptian cotton with a plastic tea label stitched to it. I peeled the label off the glass jar the tea came in, in one long spiral and couldn't bear to throw it away, so I stitched it onto this fabric.

And then it sat and sat and sat, because I knew it wasn't finished, but I just didn't know what the heck to do with it.

Until today, when inspiration hit and this neon little lady was conceived and birthed.

She's a bit abstract.

And I love the juxtaposition of the shiny, plastic label and the brightly colored, but flat cotton floss against the expensive Egyptian cotton(which is from my husband's old stash of quilting fabrics).

She is a portrait, but a portrait that reflects feelings rather than physical reality.

I let the ends of the hair and neck strands hang loose, and a couple of them are quite long, though you can't really tell from my photos. I just didn't have a good place to hang it up and snap a picture. I did this to symbolize dragging of the feet, breaking of the rules and existing outside the perimeters that the world establishes for us.

This piece, like many pieces of small size, is difficult to appreciate from a distance of more than a couple feet away from it. It is a blur from across the room, but as you draw closer, the details begin to emerge, and what may at first seem primitive and simple, reveals itself to have a louder voice than what many would believe a gaudy piece of trash should have.

The inner physiatrist in me says maybe that's the story of most of my pieces.

Because maybe that's the story of me.

Sketchbook March 4, 2016

I meant to post these yesterday, but I never got around to it. I fell asleep at the tail end of several hours of Conservation Biology homework.

I feel like some of the eyes are responses to me previous statement...


When your son's Samurai demolishes his gluten free biscuit with all the aplomb of a drunken college student...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Tangled Webs Dolls Weave

My life, creativity wise, revolves around unfinished projects. Maybe you can relate?

This is a piece I started several months ago, and finished a few weeks ago.

It was inspired by my ponderings on the "cuteification" and "creepification" of, well, nearly everything in American pop culture. We have this strange compulsion to take things to extremes these days, and to take anything and everything and turn it on its head. The things that scare us, harm us and creep us out get painted in cute and easier to swallow candy coatings while the things that we cherish and hold dear get caked in layers of evilness, ickiness and creepiness. Thus we have cute monster dolls, candy colored zombie brains birthday cakes and sexy vampires. And, we also get murderous dolls, loving families who contract zombie viruses then are murdered before our eyes, and pretty high school girls who kill cute boys with their vaginas.

I'm not condemning nor condoning any of it. Just pondering it. The world is weird.

This piece is weird.

People generally have one of two responses to the mix of candy colored doll heads, buttons spiders and web. They find it either creepy, or cute.

SO there you go.