Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pool Envy, a new painting style.

Above is the new painting style I'm trying out. Like Daisuke's Gyro-Ball* or Zoolander's Magnum, I feel like I've been promoting the "I've got a new paint style coming up!" for quite some time and I'm happy to finally be revealing a finished product. What do you think?
The picture doesn't do it too much justice, to be honest. I'm really a fan of this style and those that have seen it in person seem to like it a lot too. Well, everyone but my mom. She doesn't like it much at all. Oh well. You can't please everyone.
I'm tentatively calling the new style "pool envy" because it reflects a few facets of my life. One, I recently had surgery and wasn't supposed to go swimming so as I painted each little blue circle, in my mind I was splashing around in some perfectly situated pool, with tin bucket of girly tropical drinks right next to the stack of plush, soft beach towels. Two, I live in an apartment building that doesn't come complete with a pool. So I suffer from a bit of pool envy, even when I'm given doc's clearance to splish splash to my heart's content. Thankfully casa de mom y dad offers me a lovely place to swim and reconnect with their gaggle of pets (conveniently located just across the Park Cities from my apartment). And three, there's a point in the Texas summer when even the pool water gets too hot to really cool you down. At that point, your mental vision of a refreshing dip in the cool waters is, in reality, a chance to wade around in tepid water. As Dallas has experienced quite a few days in the 100s, I expect that this "pool too hot" syndrome will set in very soon, if it hasn't already. At the very least, I can look at this painting and dream about the refreshment that a chilly dip would bring about. And that's the inspiration behind these pools of blue.

I wanted to include a few pictures of the process by which this piece was created. Above is the picture of the painting with all the blue bubbles filled in but without the shimmering silver background color applied. Obviously, the piece of glass is resting on a work towel, which looks pretty dirty. Hope you can get past that. Below is the original sketch for the painting. I planned to make a few "colonies" of circles and then add in a few "families" in the white space. I really like the shapes that can be created from the little circles, especially the biggest "colony" of circles. I thought that one turned out particularly well.

* I've been kinda aching for a few days to throw in some Red Sox references when I post stuff. I mean, it's a pivotal point in the AL East and then there's all the Manny drama. But alas, I am not writing a baseball blog. But I don't see why I can't occasionally add a Sox reference. Right?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10, 2 & 4

Hey kids! I know I promised my most loyal reader that I'd have tons of projects rolling out this week. And I wasn't lying. I've got a lot of things ready to post. A month ago (perhaps more?) I believe I mentioned that I have a new laptop and that this new computer would help me post more frequently. Well... As I discovered, it wasn't going to let me post anything but raw, uncropped pictures until I got photo manipulating software. And since I didn't want to splurge on Photoshop, I thought I'd shop around for something cheaper. I was mentioning this little photo editing crisis to a coworker (who happens to be the ultimate Photoshop whiz) and he told me I should get GIMP, a free photo manipulation software that has vectors and layers and all the cool bells and whistles of Photoshop but is slightly less intuitive and of course completely a bigger bargain, i.e., free. So I downloaded it and have been loving it!
I forgot how much I love being able to do cool tricks with photos. And not that I did particularly cool tricks with today's pictures, but I was able to lighten the color of the Diet Dr Pepper so that it wouldn't look so black. Instead its kind of a creepy shade of neon maroon or something but I'm learning the ropes with this new software. I hope you'll cut me some slack. It's not like I professionally edit photos (anymore).
This is an update of my kitchen shelf complete with old school style glass Diet Dr Pepper bottles, which will eventually hold spices and baking supplies. For now, I have the uber tough task of drinking all that soda!

A funny thing happened while I was installing this project. Or at least I chuckled. I got the power drill all ready and figured out where I needed to drill holes and had everything all ready. I reached to look for the screws I needed and couldn't find them anywhere. And I'd been sure to buy 16 golden screws designed to fit the "L" brackets I used for the project. I searched high and low for the screws--through two tool boxes, opening drawers and cabinets. The logical crafter walks away from the project until the screws surface, knowing that 16 screws can't really vanish into thin air. But not me! I was really determined to get the project done, even at the expense of abandoning these 16 golden screws. (insert apparent non sequiter here) If you know my father Dale, you may know that he never throws away a piece of hardware. He keeps nails, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, and countless other metal objects designed for some household/outdoors/automotive function in old coffee cans and washed out jelly jars. He has shelves full of these jars. And he searches through them with great care and pride. It's a wonderful relationship he has with these jars. The greatest part is that he can grab a jar off the shelf, empty out a few items and pick up a washer and tell you where he got that washer and why he chose to save it. Some have great stories like, "I found this while walking down a sidewalk in New Orleans" or "This came out of the engine of my 1975 BMW that I drove when you were born. It's been waiting a long time to finally be used again!"
Well folks, I too have such a jar. I only have one jar and it's not full of truly storied pieces of hardware. But it did manage to produce 16 mismatching screws that I could use to complete my project and hang up my Diet Dr Pepper shelf. And I kid thee not, as soon as I finished hanging the shelf, I walked out of the kitchen and saw the 16 golden, matching screws on my coffee table. How irritating. Murphy's Law I guess. I put them in my hardware jar. Sometime during the next five decades, their time will come.

I like this project, but I feel like something is missing. It's still a little drab. I can't decide what to do to make it more fun. Something behind the bottles? A different collection beneath them? I don't know. Let me know if you have any thoughts. I am really open to suggestion...

And one more note, how come that one bottle is so much more full than the other bottles? Doesn't that seem odd? I'm really looking forward to drinking that one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lion Swirl

I'm a little pretentious in comparing my glass art paintings to those by the, as some critics would argue, father of the 19th century Romanticism movement, Eugene Delacroix. Yet that's just what I'm about to do! As I started to sketch this design and choose the colors I would use to color the glass, I was immediately reminded of the Delacroix painting, Arab Attacked By Lion. I've copied a picture of the work (below this paragraph) for those who don't remember Art History 201: 19th century European Art, though honestly I don't know how you could forget it, the effects of those genius artists still resound throughout modern design and shape much of what we envision when we think of museum art. Anyhow, I never start writing these things with the intention of sounding like a huge art history snob, but I think my affection for the subject can come across as a bit snooty. Sorry folks. I'll give that subject a break, but not before I tell you why I think that my glass painting, which I've named Lion Swirl, recalls the aforementioned Delacroix piece. One of the tenants of Romanticism is the movement captured by the artist. The piece is a shot of action, and a dramatic moment in the action, at that. In its own time, it was revolutionary to convey so much energy, dynamic movement--even the weather in the background calls to mind a turbulent storm at its breaking point. The eye is guided through the painting in a circular motion. One glances from the fierce lion to the Arab with his sword ready to strike and continues back around the canvas in a swirl. And in my painting, the colors and the shapes cause the eye to follow a similar swirl. The red and gold pallet is broken up with a smattering of purple and white dots.
I hope you like it. It's the last of this type of painting that I will be presenting for a while. I've run out of glass!

At the top is a shot of the whole piece. Again, as with all the glass paintings, it's really hard to take a good picture without the flash on the camera messing the whole thing up. One of these days I'll figure out a good way of taking pictures of these paintings. And below, I show you a close up of the picture so that you can see it from a different angle. Perhaps with this picture below you get a better idea of the swirly nature of the lines. I don't really know because, of course, I know what the real thing looks like. And finally, I unveil a silly picture of the painting propped up against a zebra print cloth (that's my shower curtain to be exact!). I just wanted to show how transparent the glass is. Sometimes you see the various backgrounds and start to think that the painting isn't see through, but it is.

Doodle, Possible Painting?

I wanted to show off a new type of doodle I've been working on lately as sort of a template for some future paintings. I'll keep you posted on how it goes as far as the painting thing goes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Off the Shelf

Normally, I don't like to post pictures of projects until they are completed. But today I wanted to give you a preview of something that I am anxiously working on. Of course, fate isn't cooperating as I'm having a hard time getting my greedy paws on some of the key ingredients for this project. What is this project you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It's a spice rack/shelf for my kitchen. And it is super personalized, as the spices will be stored in glass Diet Dr Pepper bottles, with precious little red, yellow and blue rubber caps (from Sweden) on top of the bottles. I was really inspired a few months ago when I saw a project by a super cute pair of designers in Virginia, who painted up bottles for storing odds and ends. And I immediately wanted to do something like they had done, but instead of using it to store ribbons, buttons and the like, I thought it would be fun to use to store cake toppers, cocoa powder, curry powder, cinnamon sticks, you know, kitchen items. So I've been tossing this idea around since April! That's when I first saw the Virginia version of this project and was really inspired.

Often in Dallas, I go to Corner Market, which is on the corner of Greenville & McCommas. It's so old school and the food is delicious! It really feels like it's not in Dallas somehow. I feel like I'm some other city... try the A-1 To Go in Gardiner, Maine. Anyway, whenever I'm there, I order my sandwich, read my Observer and drink Diet Dr Pepper out of a glass bottle. In a stroke of genius, I decided that instead of using milk bottles, I'd use Diet Dr Pepper bottles! Of course, I have this idea at the very time that Corner Market sells out of Diet Dr Pepper. I've been waiting a couple of weeks for them to restock their selection and then I'll be buying 30 bottles. The next step will be drinking them, then I buy/fill all the bottles with exotic spices and baking decor items and, voila! Project Completed.

For now, I'll tell you what I've done. Above is a picture of the supplies I needed to make the shelf. And below is a picture of the area to be perked up with the shelf/spice rack. Pretty dull, huh? Give me some credit though, I usually keep a collection of cookbooks, cute plates and cups and that kind of thing in that corner, but I really don't use the area as a cooking surface, so I thought I'd build a spice shelf. I got a 48" wooden beam and covered it in Mexican oil cloth from La Mariposa, right in my neighborhood. Then I painted little "L" brackets to match the bright Mexican oil cloth. And that's my progress thus far! I'll update as soon as the project marches forward.

* Sorry I went a bit links crazy today. No explanation. I just got carried away.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Corner View

Hey folks. I bet some of you started to wonder if I'd ever post again. It's true I've been a real delinquent, and after saying I'd be better, too. Oh well. I have a billion things to post--all these great craft projects that are done but I just haven't had the chance to put up here yet.
And today's post is so silly, but I just thought I'd show you the "corner view" from my office. I built this litte hammock for my Wally The Green Monster to sit in out of a paper napkin and some straight pins. He gets the lovely view of a postcard from the Dallas Art Museum over his left shoulder and a snapshot of a lemon tree in Italy over his right shoulder. And of course, facing straight ahead, he gets to look at me typing away at my computer all day long. Naturally, a partially doodled calendar for the month of July is at the front of the picture.
And that's enough silliness from me for one day! Who ever heard of bringing a Wally The Green Monster to work? Some days I can tell I'm just going to need the little burst of energy that his silly little self brings me.
And in case you wondered... this is actually one of the tamest sections of my little office home (note that I didn't say home office). I should post more pictures so you can see how completely over the top the place is. It matches me pretty well though...
Talk to you soon!