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Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Black Swan

I have a necklace on my Etsy shop that has a white polymer clay swan for the focal point.  A woman was kind enough to contact me asking if I could make her a black one, but just the focal bead so she can finish the necklace herself.  This is the result. 

It felt so good to get back to polymer clay for a while.  It's difficult for me to take good photos of such dark objects, but at least this one shows the metallic sheen of the interference blue mica powders that I coated the piece with.

You may not be able to tell, but there are three little cygnets riding on her back.

I wish I had made two - wouldn't mind having one for myself!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bead and Button

"Moondial" polymer clay and mixed media
5 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 7"
Today is the deadline for entries for the 2013 Bead Dreams competition.  This annual international competition is sponsored by Kalmbach Publishing and occurs in conjunction with the huge Bead and Button show in Milwaukee.

I've entered four years and have been fortunate and honored to be a finalist in 2008, 2010, and 2012.  So I'm trying again.

My moondial is in the "Objects and Accessories" category and the MoonOwl Treasure Box is in the "Polymer Clay" category.  They both would have been in polymer clay, except for that category the piece needes to be at least 85% polymer clay and that's not true of the moondial.

I made the owl treasure box last year but just finished the moondial yesterday.  The bear turns manually, cycling through the 28 sections of the top disc.  These sections represent the 28 days of the moon cycle and as the bear moves he points to the progressing phases of the moon.

For the moondial, I sculpted the bear, owls, tiny black birds, and starburst the bear is standing on from polymer clay.  The top is a disc I cut from wood topped with a found metal object and then the starburst and bear.  The base is part of an oatmeal box.  The owls have feet made from wire coils and I attached the wire-wrapped beaded branch through these coils.  This piece was fun to make and really makes me want to get back to mixed media assemblage.  But, at least for Monday through Friday, it's ACEOs!

"MoonOwl Treasure Box" polymer clay,
vintage watch face, 3" x 3" x 5 1/2" 

Monday, March 25, 2013

More and More ACEOs

"The Babysitter"  Acrylic 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Here is a selection ofsome of the ACEOs ("for sale" versions of Art Trading Cards, original paintings which are all 2 1/2" x 3 1/2") that I've been doing since last I wrote.

My goal is to do four a week, and as I proceed I find that the challenges aren't so much with the designing, drawing, or painting as with coming up with the ideas.  It's the same problems that the "painting-a-day" painters must have.  But I'm not complaining as they are immensely fun to do. And I'm pleased with the response I'm getting on eBay.  All the money I make goes to animal charities, so it is doubly satisfying to make a sale!

The other challenge I'm finding is to resist the pressures to just paint things that I think will sell.  From a practical point of view, I'd probably be wrong anyway.  But mostly I don't want this to become a purely commercial excercise.  Yes, it's for the benefit of the animals, but it's also about my art journey and it's important to be true to that.

Bear Country, acrylic, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Berry Pie" acrylic, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Chipmunks and Hydrangeas" Acrylic, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Crow at Dawn"  Acrylic 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Moon Wolves" Acrylic, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Polar Harmony"  Acrylic 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

"Spring Beauty"  Acrylic 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's All Relative

 After painting quite a few 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" paintings I felt it would be nice to paint a little bigger.  So this one is 5" x 7"!  Still small, but it seemed big while I was painting it.  The area is actually four times that of the ACEOs.

My husband and I used to have three donkeys.  One was a BLM (Bureau of Land Management), the second was her daughter, and the third was her grandson who was only 2 months old when we got him.  I still fondly remember all three of them, but especially Rodney when he was a baby with his silky curly mane.  We had horses too, but I always preferred the donkeys - don't know why.

So I thought it would be fun to paint one.  This first painting is the progress I had made by the end of the first of the two days I worked on it.

One thing I like so much about these little paintings is that I feel free to choose whatever subject matter I like, and I often choose to portray the world as I would like it to be rather than the way it really is.  So in this fantasy world, donkeys have big days, squirrels wind wildflowers in their manes, and foxes kiss them fondly.  Needless to say, this was a joy to paint.  I hope it finds a good home.  And if it doesn't sell on eBay when I list it, that's fine too as all of these little creatures are more than welcome to stay here!