Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 213 ~ Make something with the things you find in a first aid kit.

Day 213 ~ Thought we'd try a different pose!

I raided my horses' first aid kit for this one. This little bucking broncho (he's just 6" high) is made of what horsey folks refer to as vet wrap. It's a cohesive flexible bandage used to secure wraps on horses' legs. It sticks to itself only when stretched, so I really did have to 'bandage' this fella to make him. That's why he looks a bit like a little pink mummy. Oh, I did use some cotton swabs for the armature. He's glued to a foam core base and stands by himself in this wild pose.

Day 212 ~ Use the world of fish as inspiration.

This piece is 6" X 8". It's the first of these projects that I made with the intention of framing it and putting it in a show to sell.

The kimono is made of watercolor paper that I painted, cut out and folded over around the 'shoulders' to the back. I've painted the other side of the paper where it shows through into the neck opening. A beveled and sanded mimosa stick holds up the arm holes. I've drilled a hole through each to attach the chenille yarn up to the bead that I made from polymer clay. The yarn goes through the piece there and ties in the back. The bead is stained with black acrylic paint. There are small brass findings hanging from the mimosa sticks where the yarn goes through, which you can't see very well in this photo, but they look like fishing lure pieces, to me anyway. The kimono is mounted onto another piece of watercolor paper, painted and stamped, and that is mounted to black foam core board where I've drawn in a repeated wavy design with a grey pencil.

The idea for the kimono came to me when, to get inspired as to what to do for this project, I was looking through my reference books for illustrations of fish. Opulence, The Kimonos and Robes of Itchiku Kubota hopped off the shelf and opened itself. From it I used the motif from one of the kimonos that had the faded green to clay to grey with the waves bleached out. The fish are not Japanese, but from the design on a Mayan vase, depicting two famous characters in Maya mythology, the Hero twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, who allowed themselves to be sacrificed. Their bones were ground up and thrown into a river from which they later emerged as catfish people. Thought you might not have known about that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 211 ~ Make up a new holiday for today.

Cooper, the little guy in a cat suit ~ AKA Coop, Coops, Coopster, Coopie-Doo, Coo-PEE, Da Coo, Coo-Coo, Hey-Coo, BAD cat, Shtinky, Mush, Moosh, Sweetie Pie, Sweet Pea, Naomi's boy, my hat model, my glasses model, space ship rider, Romeo-eyes, kitty activity center tester, butt warmer, tormenter of Mim, stranger-greeter, friendly boy, lap hog, COOPER THE TROOPER!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 210 ~ Make something in a bottle.

Soaked the labels off the Barefoot Pinot Grigio bottle. Filled it with sand. Found a mimosa branch from my stash (thank-you, Susan, my mimosa branch supplier) that looked most like a snake. Used a flapper to sand and shape it (thank-you, Judy, for the use of your wood shop). Hand-carved the eyes, mouth and sections of the tail. Added a small, forked branch for a tongue by drilling a hole into the mouth and whittling down the little branch to fit the hole. Painted the snake black, then, when that dried, dry-brushed with light green, letting some black come through for the features and texture. Painted the tongue with red enamel. The end of the tail is glued onto the bottom of the bottle with jeweler's adhesive.

Kinda hard to see the detail in this photo, unless you feel like blowing it up. This little snake was really fun to create. 

One more thing. Mimosa, which is considered sort of a weed tree around here, is a wonderful wood to make things with. When it's stripped of its bark (Susan finds it's easiest to soak the branches in water first) and sanded, it has a bone-like feel. I use it for things like arms and legs on some of my wall piece figures, or just as small, painted and wrapped bundles in mixed media work. The mimosa tree can be identified this time of year by its bright pink, fluffy blossoms.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 209 ~ Create a package for something that's normally unwrapped.

Cooper is normally 'unwrapped' alright. May be a result of my occasional requests to don a hat or glasses or some such. He was not at all interested in posing with his 'package'. Can you blame him?

This is made of 1/8" white foam core board. Measures 15"h X 9"l X 8"w (just Cooper's size!). Carry handles of braided yarn.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 208 ~ Create a Rorschach-type ink blot.

Ink drops on paper, then the paper is folded in half to create a symmetrical 'image'. This was too much fun to just make one!

What do YOU see?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 207 ~ Use paper as though it was fabric.

These 'paper quilts' are 5"X7". The making of them involved some fun experimentation with materials. Here are the steps I took ~

  • drew a 1" grid with pencil onto white 81/2X11 bond paper (I used bond paper because it's thin and   wouldn't challenge my sewing machine too much)
  • used a crayon to draw designs in the squares, then painted them with watercolor, the light color first, then filling in the darker squares with another color
  • on the brown one I scribbled on the surface with a charcoal pencil
  • the blue and purple one has an additional layer of translucent paper on top that I put through the copier, adding one of my haiku (breaking the 2nd line in half to fit into the space)
  • sewed the grid lines on sewing machine with gold thread, on the brown one leaving the ends of the threads long
  • the blue/purple one got trimmed to its edge and I glued on cut pieces of purple paper in a random pattern for a border
  • the brown one got edged much the same way a fabric quilt is, bringing the bottom, dark brown paper up in a folded hem (being careful not to trap any of the long, gold threads that had been left
  • threaded beads onto one of each pair of threads and tied it on using both threads in a square knot

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 206 ~ Look at the sky after the sun goes down.

8:26 PM. 82 degrees. 70% humidity. I walk through the damp grass to the edge of our property and look at the spot where the sun has set behind the big sycamore. There is a slight smell of smoke on a soft breeze. The sound of myriad insects almost drowns out the robin and the towhee. It's an absolutely beautiful evening. I wish you were here and I'm glad you're not.

I've been, I guess you could say, struggling with a painting all afternoon. I'm sure I wouldn't have taken the time to go out and have this pleasant experience if my daily project hadn't brought me out here. But now the mosquitoes have found my feet. Time to go back in and pick up my brush again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 205 ~ Make a meal that doesn't look like what it actually is and serve it to friends.

I bet you thought this was a fish! (kidding) Actually, it's a turkey meatloaf shaped like a fish. Carrot slices for scales. A slice of hard boiled egg with an olive piece for an eye. Pics show before cooking and after. 'Seaweeds' on the serving platter are chives and fennel sprigs. I made the mistake of baking it as I would have a regular, thicker meatloaf, an hour at 350 degrees, not taking into consideration that this was only about an inch thick at the most. So it was a little dried out. Flavorful, though, especially with lots of ketchup! (not kidding)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 204 ~ Ask a friend you haven't talked to in a while for a suggestion of what to do and get her involved in the project.

Judy's music friend Louise was visiting us today, so I explained my 365 project to her and asked for some suggestions of what to do. She came up with many good ideas, but we settled on going for a walk along the nearby Potomac River and finding a place to build an alligator out of rocks, making it look as though it was crawling out of the water onto the bank.

We found that the shore of the river was not very rocky where we walked down to it, but we did spot the wonderful metal creature swimming upstream (second image from left, top row). This gave us another idea ~ collect photographic images of the other creatures we see (easier than moving a bunch of rocks on a hot day...call me a wimp).

Above is a collage of those images. Thank-you Louise and Judy for joining me on this very enjoyable treasure hunt!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 203 ~ Make a map of a fictional place.

Cooper is one of our nine cats who, for some reason, I seem to pick on for these projects more than the others. Something about his 'personality'. He's like a little guy in a cat suit.

Cooper's latest appearance was sporting stylish eye wear on Day 201. He just as unhappily models a fabulous hat on Day 183, plays with his new Kitty Activity Center on Day 165, jumps in a space ship on Day 67, gives me a kiss on Day 21 and wears yet more eye art on day 17.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 201 ~ Make a pair of eyeglasses.

Cooper likes his eyeglasses about as much as he likes his hat from Day 183.

Made from pipe cleaners wrapped in green yarns...to match his eyes.

Day 200 ~ Make something quiet.

This was the project that I switched with Day 186 because for this day the thing I wanted to make quiet was me and that wasn’t going to work on the 186th day as well as on the 200th day for various reasons.

So I was quiet all day, or attempted to be. It was a goal and I did okay.

I began the day by waking from at least three dreams in which I broke my silence in different situations. And I was SO disappointed with myself (in my dream).

I wasn’t into the first hour of my morning routine before I heard myself say hi to Theo. There were quite a few more times during the day that I babbled away in the presence of an animal before remembering to shut up. It’s hard to not talk to your pets. You know that.

And it was sorta boring and sad not to talk to anyone, or respond to emails or check Facebook or my blog, or listen to the radio (especially to get rid of ear worms!). All self-imposed rules for this day’s project, just to see what it would be like.

So now I know I like communicating and being in touch, maybe more than I thought. I'm not disappointed with myself for not doing this perfectly, as I was in my three dreams, because it was an interesting exercise.Those of you who know me know that I’m not exactly a blabbermouth, so it wasn’t a huge stretch for me to be quiet for a day. Still, to say nothing, that ain’t livin’. Unless you’re a monk or a nun who has chosen silence, I guess, but I’m neither, last I checked.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 199 ~ Make a flag.

Not sure what this is the flag for...Order and Chaos?

The top design is cotton fabric squares adhered to black fabric with fusible interfacing and spray adhesive. Not exactly archival! Torn strips machine sewn to the bottom. 22" long

Day 198 ~ Teach someone a dance step.

This photo was taken last Saturday, the 14th, when my photographer was available (thank-you, Judy). It was 7 o'clock in the morning, 70 degrees, a light drizzle, Chopin drifting from the barn speakers. This is where you can find Bela and me most mornings.

I would like to impress by saying that this is a dressage move called a Half-pass, but it probably isn't. It's probably just a leg yield. You don't care, do you? It still looks pretty. Fact is, I'm not really teaching her how to cross her front right leg over her left leg as we travel to the left. In reality, she is teaching me what I have to do to ask her nicely to do this.

Day 197 ~ Make something inspired by a mouth.

Day 197 fell on Sunday, July 15th, so I took the Washington Post for that day and cut out all the pictures of mouths.

The perfect mouths are from the fashion models in the inserts. The most genuine smiles are from the obits. And of course, because it was Sunday, there are comic mouths.

There are probably some mouths you can recognize. For example, you may be able to identify the mouths of the following people : President Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bill Cosby, Grandmaster Slash, Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Phillies manager Charlie Manual, Marion Jones, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, Leonardo da Vinci's Ginerva de' Benci, Sigourney Weaver, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), Sanya Richards-Ross (Track & Field Olympian), Patty Quarles, who lost her son in the Upper Big Branch mining disaster in WV.

Day 196 ~ Write a ten-word fantasy story.

fantasy 1 : hallucination 2 : unrealistic or improbable mental image

Day 195 ~ Make a monster.

Silly monster. Went for the papier mache on the balloon again, but really glopped it on, leaving an opening for the mouth. I propped it up on a glass and got the idea of the gobs of paper for legs. I was able to build them up against the glass, but they kept oozing down so I tied them up with string, which I thought added a nice monstery touch.

She took two days to dry. She's a she because girls don't get to be monsters enough. And her name is Washington because she is made mostly of The Post. Anyway, thank goodness it's been in the 90s around here because I was able to bake her in the sun (only one brief mishap with a sudden shower and I forgot she was out there). Funny thing is that when she was dry she smelled like bread from the flour in the papier mache.

Washington The Monster is sprayed with five different colors of spray paint. Her antenna is a pipe cleaner wrapped in yarn. Teeth and claw toes are painted paper. And googly eyes. Many of them. Oh, and a red yarn tail. She is 16" tall, counting her antenna.

Day 194 ~ Make something to be walked on.

To be honest, I just couldn't get a good idea for something to be walked on, so I went with making something by walking on it.

If you aren't into non-representational images, this isn't going to do much for you, but I happen to think it's really beautiful and I'll try to explain why. I find it very exciting to manipulate media (paint, usually) in ways that create intricate textures and layering through randomness and spontaneity. The 'happy accidents' are organic and natural and that's where I see the beauty.

An image like this asks the viewer to respond in a personal way. Nothing is obvious or forced. If you are at all inclined, it's a fun image to put into an app that allows you to rotate it and/or blow it up for more detail. I feel that if an image works at every orientation, it is a good design.

This is a 6X6 detail of a piece of 140lb watercolor paper, 22X30. I placed the paper on a homosote board on the bathroom floor smeared paint on a pallet (starting with ochre, then sepia, then black which is a throwback from some classical oil painting lesson when I was a kid), stepped in the paint (careful, if you happen to be trying this ~ have something to hold on to because it's slippery!) and walked on the paper. Now you know why I was painting in the bathroom ~ I was able to wash my feet in the tub without trailing footprints through the house.

I keep a collection of papers like this for my mixed media pieces.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 193 ~ Make a sock puppet.

An old Smart Wool sock, buttons for eyes from my mom's old button tin, nostrils of black paper dots, and for the ears I cut pieces of mat board in long triangles, scored them to fold in half, then I covered them with brown corduroy material. I glued them in position first to make it easier to attach them with needle and thread. The mane is three different pink yarns sewn on and knotted in sections. Pretty cute, huh?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 192 ~ Create a family crest for your family.

Sorry, this didn't quite fit in my scanner, but you get the idea.

I looked at pictures of family crests on the web. Took note of the format, which often included a shield, two figures on the side, a banner with words (sometimes in Latin) and another figure (usually a knight's helmet) in the center on the top of the shield. So you can see what elements I copied.

The two figures on the side were easy! YoYo and Bela. The shields often have a repeated graphic silhouette, so I used that area to represent our nine cats ~ Mim, Cooper, Naomi, Gus, Zubie, Theo, CJ, Mishi and Augie. The violin is Judy's. The trees and wreathe stand for our beautiful home and land which is a constant source of amazing delight. The Latin phrase on the banner is Ars Longa, Vita Breva, which means Art is Long, Life is Short. We both felt that an apt representation for our lives.

The design started as a pencil sketch, painted with watercolor and with some details added with colored pencil. It's 81/2X11.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 191 ~ Make something with sugar.

Not to be confused with Day 188's project (making something with your lunch before you eat it, although Noah does suggest we might want to eat this one, too, but I think I'll pass).

I wanted to build a horse (of course) out of sugar cubes, but couldn't find them in the grocery store (maybe they are no longer made?). So I settled on a 10.5 oz. bag of miniature marshmallows. I thought I was going to be able to stack them into a standing structure. Not happening. Marshmallows don't harden if you leave them out of the bag overnight the way they used to. They stick together if you wet them, and they also turn into a gelatinous mass. Good old white glue saved the day, as well as giving up on the standing structure idea and adhering the marshmallows to a board, much the same way I made the pencil horse on Day 167. She looks like she could be standing because I saturated the shadow to make the background uniform.

I used all 10.5 oz of marshmallows. From the tip of the tail to the pointed right front hoof is 16".

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 190 ~ Make something really big with newspaper.

Single sheets of newspaper opened up, placed on the grass and weighted by small rocks (it was windy). Had to keep running up to the porch so I could look down on the image to see if I was getting the proportions right. I put myself in the picture so you could tell the scale.

Day 189 ~ Write a limerick about yourself in your hometown.

Limerick : A five-line, rhyming, humorous, traditional Irish poem.

The scene is one from my hometown, Shepherdstown. I used the Pencil Sketch effect in Picasa.

Of course you know from the picture of my lunch on Day 188 that, actually, I eat more than pickles and eider down.

Day 188 ~ Make something with your lunch before you eat it.

Very fortunate to have fresh tomatoes, green beans, lettuce from our garden. Beets for mane and tail, olive piece for an eye, pimento makes a nostril. (I ate a lot more than this for lunch!)

Day 187 ~ Use a paper bag to create something.

Made from a Whole Foods shopping bag, he stands a little over 9" tall. I started by making the body with a toilet paper roll stuffed with paper bag pieces for strength. The paper bag material took really well to white glue and it was quick and easy to assemble.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 186 ~ Make something from hair left over from a haircut.

Periodically I trim the hair on my horses' tails to keep them from tripping on them. This little guy is made from those tail ends (the dark hair) and used tail hair that has been replaced on a violin bow (the light hair). He measures 5"+ from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. He's constructed of bundles tied with sewing thread and lots of glue.

He dons this patriotic outfit because it is the 4th of July, which is a big deal here in the USA, especially for folks who like picnics and loud noises. The four stars on his blanket are in honor of my niece's daughter, Sarajane, who turns 4 years old today. Happy Birthday, little firecracker!

The original assignment in the '365' book for Day 186 was to make something quiet. The idea I have for that didn't work today so I've made a switch with Day 200 and will do the quiet thing on that day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 185 ~ Work only with yellow materials to make something.

Here is the yellow cousin of Day 113 (the pony made of only red materials). She stands about 7" tall. The core is made of balled-up paper held together with masking tape, swaddled in strips of yellow T-shirt material coated with white glue. I added some swatches of other cotton fabrics with yellow before wrapping it with the yarn. Mane and tail pieces are tied onto the yarn that was wrapped. The ears are paper triangles folded in half to make a crease and glued then tied on. Yellow glass beads make the nostrils.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 184 ~ Use a skyline as inspiration.

I created my project today to double as a birthday greeting for my niece, Amy, whom I absolutely adore. She is a one-of-a-kind, creative, quirky, hilarious, beautiful, warm, generous, fabulous mother of four of the neatest kids on earth. And she and her family like the shore which is why I made it a shoreline skyline. Have a great day, Ame! xoxoxo

This is an 8"X5" pencil drawing with a tint and border added in Picasa. (The shapes of the buildings spell out HappyBirthdayAmy.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 183 ~ Make a hat.

Mim likes his hat! Cooper, not so much.

Wonderful orange fleece. I bought this stuff years ago thinking I would make blankets for my horses to wear during hunting season, but never did. Since then I've found many uses for it! This has to be the best one yet. The great thing is that it cuts clean and doesn't need hemming, so I could make the fringes easily, and it has a body to it ~ for silly stuff like this.