Friday, August 26, 2011

Paint Party Week 24

Welcome to my entry for Paint Party week 24. I am later than normal and my painting isn't finished, but I've made it! I call this Water for Elephant and I've created it today as I've watched Hurricane Irene make her way up the east coast. It is in my new media craze... metallic acrylic paints and now Jacquard Pearl Ex.

I am watching Nightly News and have heard New York City is now under a hurricane warning. That is just crazy talk! This week has been a natural disaster week. The earthquake, which we felt here in Indiana and now the hurricane which looks like it will affect a lot of people, no doubt. I feel for those people, how will they all evacuate? I hope the devastation is minimal and pray for the people in it's path. Most destruction and lives lost is from flooding though, I've always heard. So as the coming hours bring fear, let's pray a miracle happens and Irene breaks away and heads east to the Atlantic. I have many blogging friends on the east coast and my prayers are with you all.

Water for elephant - India ink on gesso, work in progress
Water for elephant - adding metallic paint
close up
see the shimmer from the metallic paint?
This painting created itself pretty much. I started out thinking zetangle with my paint brush loaded up with india ink. But then it started to show me an elephant and then a waterfall and all the other hidden images. Maybe I was inspired a bit by my son's book of I Spy. Have you seen those books? I think I am addicted to them. :)

Of course the colors in the photo are not as brilliant as the original, too much sunlight on the painting when I took the picture. I am not sure about the red face in front. I've already bumped it up to a darker red and now I'm thinking it's taking the center of attention too much. It's not finished yet, so I'll post the finished piece later.

See all the fantastic work from Paint Party Friday. Have a great weekend!
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Paint Party Week 23

The weeks keep passing by like "sand in the hour glass... these are the days of our lives..."
That phrase will be in my mind forever, it was my grandma's "story" as she called it. My mom's mom. I lost her too early, too. But I regress...  it's Paint Party Friday and I've got a work in progress to show today. A really long work in progress.

It's one of those projects you start and then set aside and think I'll get back to that. Well, it's time to get back to it. It's been years and it's been whispering to me in my dreams to come back to it. So I shall. Here's what I've got so far.

Skeleton and Roses - or Roses for the Dead as I like to call it.
You may recognize it as the famous Grateful Dead art of Alton Kelly. He actually got it from obscure etchings from the nineteenth century. He and his life long collaborator, Stanley Mouse.

I am drawn to the creepy or dark so often, I'm not sure where I get it but it is just the way I am. I am thinking maybe pastels to finish. I thought of colored pencil, but pastels are so bright and that's what I'm after. It needs a little tweaking before I start adding color. I'm sure I'll be sharing more of Roses for the Dead in future PPF's.

I'm watching one of my favorite movies as I write this, Practical Magic. So fun :)  It's getting me in a great little mood. Happy PPF everybody!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ta Da - Look what I made!

I made new cushions for my old outdoor table and chairs with the help of my mother in law last weekend. I wanted to show you all because I'm pretty proud of them :)  We made a pattern out of newspaper by cutting up the original cushions. I have had this fabric for a couple years with this in mind, but kept putting it off. I'm so glad it's done now, it looks better than I imagined.

before - ick

After - Ooo la la
Thunder - the jungle cat

Lightning under glass

Have you made anything for your home lately? It's very satisfying :)
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paint Party Week 22

Hey hey hey! There's a party going on down here! A Paint Party that is. :)

One of the things I've worked on this week was my Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbooks project for July (a teensy bit behind). This is in Nicola's book of Nicola Toms Designs and I call it "Shimmering Nights". Sorry about the glare. This painting is a little different for me, more simple and a bit abstract. I used a gigantic bristle brush to try to get that streaky look. I used copper paint to make the shimmers. These are acrylics. The painting is of the nearby Ohio River at night on the fourth of July when we have fireworks for Independence Day in the US. The goldish, coppery shimmery ones are my favorites. I just love fireworks.

I have developed a fascination for metallic paint and went to the Blick Art Supplies store to hopefully buy a set, but was disappointed to find they didn't have many metallics to pick from. Only your usual gold, silver and copper and I am wanting metallic vibrant colors to try. I'll have to order online. No big deal but I'm a right now kinda girl, guess I'll have to wait. Plus I was hoping to use my 40% off coupon for there for a set. Dang. Michaels didn't have any either other than a few craft grade for kids which I did buy 2 to test out. Asher can always paint with them if they don't work out. Does anyone have any experience with metallics... any brand you would recommend or even stay away from?

If you want to see what is painted above it on the facing page, I have it here.

Happy Paint Party Friday. See all the creative participants here.
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Spooky Stuff Update

So, do any of you remember my post that was back in April of this year about gettin' spooked? I talked about the show "My Ghost Story" on the Bio Channel and told you I would keep looking for the video of the story that really freaked me out. I found it! I watched it again and it still gives me chills. If this happened to me, I'm not sure I could ever sleep alone again! The episode was called "Creepy Sleep", it's the first part of this video and here it is...

 Let me know what you think!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Metallic Sun

"Metallic Sun"
 My entry for July in Nicola's book for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbooks. Actually part of the entry. I split my month in two this time since Nicola has such a great large book. I discovered a couple things with this painting. One is that I think I adore metallic paint. Oh the shine! I must get more. I tend to like shiny gaudy things. I only had copper, purple, silver and an antique copper that worked. I used metallic markers for other colors with mixed results and I liked using the paint more than the markers. I added black Sharpie marker after the initial coloring was finished and I like the result, kinda reminds me of an Aztec look plus it gave it more detail. I might revisit this Metallic Sun in the form of a canvas when I get some yummy metallic paints. I'm also thinking some distressing in the form of antiquing might be cool.

I listened to blog talk radio (ARt and Soul radio)for the first time last night by Lesley Riley  and she was interviewing New Mexico artist Darlene Olivia McElroy. I went to her website as I listened and explored her site. Her artwork is fabulous and I was drawn in to her techniques. She has videos on her website where she graciously shares techniques. Check it out if you have a chance. She also has books that I'm thinking about looking up. The blog radio can be replayed anytime I think (at least I replayed it after it had broadcasted). Just wanted to share :)

Have a great day!
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Giveaway Book is Traveling On...

I'm so happy to report that a giveaway that I had quite a while back that I called Sisterhood of the Traveling Book is making it's way to another creative spirit and she's again a Creative Sistah no less! Don't get it confused with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbooks. I liked the name so much I named my next project after it with a slight twist. (Read the original idea here)

So it first went to T over at Poppy Place and then it went to Jennifer at Jewelry By J.P. (A Creative Sistah) and she's just announced on her blog that it is now going to Kim the Queen of Arts! This is exciting for me to see something I came up with actually benefiting others and being enjoyed.

To see the list of people that the book will eventually make it's way to go here. In the end, after everyone has had a chance to read the book I'm hoping the last person will have a giveaway themselves and keep it going. I will be adding a post about who has the book as I get word. Check back soon! :)  Enjoy the book Kim!
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Paint Party Week 21

Sweet Summer Night
Week 21?! Holy Schzznics! I've missed a few. But I'm back in the saddle again. This is "Sweet Summer Night" another addition to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbooks project. This went in Kathy's book for the June installment. I just finished it last night, so I'm behind on the project too. Oh, if anyone is interested in seeing a bunch of the sketchbooks in one place, we have a Facebook page called Creative Sistahs. Come on over and like us ;)

School starts next Wednesday yippee!/boohoo - I'm having mixed feelings... Asher, my son, is going to all day Kindergarten but that means I will have more time to get things done. That also means no more snoozing until 10:30ish everyday and staying up until 2:30 am anymore. Ugh, that I won't like. Cause I've grown quite fond of a life of leisure. I can tell you one thing though, I won't be making any of that damn tomato sauce!

Happy PPF! Visit all the Uber-Creative people here ;)
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Live and Learn part 3,891 or Homemade Canned Tomato Sauce Hell

They say if you can't be a good example then you'll just have to be a horrible warning. So... I'm sharing my experience with dun, dun dunnnnn.... canning homemade tomato sauce.

Oh the visions I had of jars and jars and jars of a thick, rich, complex, yummy homemade better than anything you could ever buy canned tomato sauce from the fruit of my efforts in my veggie garden. What I've ended up with after using 35 pounds of my fresh from the garden tomatoes was three and three quarter quart jars of possibly the longest, exhausting most expensive cooking process ever.
my 1st big pick of the season

 First offense, I used my primo tomatoes for this project which happened to be from my first of the season big bumper crop, which are always the tastiest you know. Okay, I did devour a few with salt and pepper before the long torturous adventure but we wont' count them cause I had to share them with my family. Picked fresh the evening prior to said slave labor.

After hours of washing, blanching and peeling all these beauties I then had to core and get the seeds and juice out of every single tomato. A totally thankless job and time consuming beyond belief. You would think there would be some easier way to do this, maybe there is but I'm unaware of it so I did it all with a paring knife and my fingers. I honestly don't know how anyone would do this more than once in their lifetime. Maybe that's why Ragu is a huge and profitable company.

I started this project at four in the afternoon. First mistake. Second mistake - I did it by myself. Had I known, I would've had a friend over to help. Preferably one that hates tomato sauce so I wouldn't have to share.

Slaving away for hours it is now about 11:00 pm and I've finally got every tomato peeled, seeded and juiced and in the biggest pot I own besides my big canner. I follow the directions from many websites that tell me to now reduce my tomatoes by one third for a thin sauce and by half for a thick sauce.  Easy peasy I'm thinking after all this neck straining feet killing work.
They didn't say anything about the tomatoes burning to the bottom of the pot! Oh son of a @!*%! Well so now I'm trying to regulate my now fire roasted tomatoes (a.k.a. burnt) into a gentle simmer... three and a half hours later (yes, that's what I said... 3 and a half) it has only reduced by like 1/8th. Ugh... I'm going cross-eyed with exhaustion and trying to pull out the little burnt flecks floating around. So I decide that sleep will win out and I take the whole thing and put it in the refrigerator and finish Tuesday. No telling what that will do to my end result of now a smoky-ish sauce. Jeesh... but I'm not giving up dammit.

I drag myself out of bed at 9:30 and pull the pot out of the fridge and get it back on the burner. It wasn't even cold to the touch. It probably spoiled everything in my refrigerator, too. So back to simmering. I finally felt it was reduced enough by 1:30 in the afternoon (!). That is seven hours folks. Besides it probably not having any nutrients left in it at all, I probably will have an electric bill out of this world.
reduced - finally!
Excitedly, I have my jars ready and start ladling the sauce in and start to realize that there is no way this will make 7 quarts like the directions said it would. I manage to scrape out three and three quarter jars out of the pot and start canning. They are still in the canner as I write this and it is 3:30 pm.
filling up a whopping 3 3/4 jars
lonely tomato sauce
The number one thing I've learned from this expedition is that unless someone has some magical formula to reduce time by like 100 times, this is my first and last time I will ever make canned tomato sauce. I don't care if it turns out to be the best dang tomato sauce I've ever tasted. Liquid gold, texas tea. Nope, that's it. Never again. Chocked up to be yet another lesson learned. Did I mention that my husband hates spaghetti?

Homemade & Canned Tomato Sauce - my final cost = probably about $50 a jar
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