Monthly Archives: May 2010

Potato Babies and others…

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Tiny babies in a potato dish on my desk

These two little dolls watch me from a potato dish as I sit and draw or write.  They make me smile, especially the one with the dirty face, little orphan in a potato – I like his smug expression.  They are both from England, and only 2 inches tall, at the most.  I haven’t been doing much art – working on a big painting – but it takes me a long time to finish these larger canvases, especially now because I am preparing for a visit from my favorite real live baby, my grandson, who is now 19 months old! 

 

He is getting to be a real boy these days… T-ball, climbing anything in sight, talking about “big trucks,”  “big animals,”  “big jumps,”  which his mother would rather he didn’t do – but he is so convinced he’s quite capable to leaping through the air!

 He loves to read and look at books, and if you stop by and see this post, Valerie Greeley, his favorite two books are the ones I purchased last Christmas from you.  He is very fond of the bunnies in the snow and likes to return to that page over and over again.  I think it is really important to give children good art in their books – and Valerie Greely at Acornmoon – there’s a link on my side bar – she does the most beautiful watercolor pages in her books, with sweet animals and wildlife on every page.  They are very beautiful, and my grandson sneaks up a carefully improvised ladder to reach them from the top of his dresser where his mother trys to keep them out of harms way. But she found him sitting happily on top of the dresser a few days ago, quietly reading about the little bunnies in the snow.

I am so looking forward to spending time with him – I’m sure he has changed since I saw him in February when we had some great conversations about all the little birds in the trees, getting ready for bed, and the owl just waking up to fly through the night sky – and we sang to the moon, and watched the stars,  and we whispered in the dark outside about the coyote and the raccoon, and tried to hear the coyotes calling to each other.  It was more fun than I’d had in a long time, mostly because he was so engaged in these simple conversations between us about the earth and how much must care for it, just as we care for each other.  So I am anxious to see if he will be ready for more in the night talks on the front porch were we can see the stars and the moon.  After each of his visits I am convinced I want to write a little book about our visits and conversations with nice simple watercolor illustrations.  But somehow I never get to it.

 

This was taken a year ago on his first visit to Mimi — he seems such a baby then, only 8 months old, so may things he didn’t know, and now he seems so much older and capable of figuring this world out a little bit.  We are going to visit the High Dessert Museum to see the animals, I know he will like that.  We might even toss a few balls at the Fun Zone – even though its for bigger boys – he would love to toss the balls., and of course daily visits to the park.  I wish I lived at the coast so I could take him walking on the beach and show him that whole world (my favorite).  But in the meantime I have been encouraging the blue jays to come up to the porch to get a peanut, and I think he will enjoy that and walking by the river.  So I guess whether its real little boys or tiny potato dwelling little boys – they are all sweet and bring a smile to this old face.  See you friends in a couple of weeks!

Olivia aka Mimi

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Selene, Mixed Media

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Selene, Moon - Mixed Media 16x20 inches

 

I have been working on this for a few months – just thinking about it and slowly working on it.  Some weeks not working on it at all.  I think this is the way I work now, I get an idea and begin, and then I think about it a lot and time goes by but I don’t do anything with it, but piece by piece it slowly comes together.  This began with a thrift store purchase of one of those 1980’s china Mardi Gras faces with the scary crooked eyes and colored ribbons hanging randomly about the face.  I brought it home and took a hammer and knocked off several chucks of the face.  It was quite hard and didn’t crack at all.  The I spray painted it with a white primer, and I could see the proportions were quite beautiful.  Then I let it sit there looking at me for about a month – I already knew what I wanted to do – but I just had to wait til it felt right.   I used a thrift store Capiz shell tray for the luminous moon – I liked the way the pieces looked reflective.  I had to pound and hammer that tray to get the shells loose – they were encased in some kind of  hard plastic.  The beautiful half-moon shell on top of Selene’s head is a junk store find from about 5 or 10 years ago.  It is a beautiful heavy piece of shell, almost like glass and a beautiful amber color, I used the inside which is more opalescent.         

                

Selene - detail

 

  I painted a cradled hardwood  board with acrylic and molding paste, then I glued down some handmade papers and painted over them and added more paper and matt molding paste.  I liked the handmade paper so much I glued some to the face too, I thought it looked like tiny silver stars.  Then I made two little sculpey faces one to represent the different faces of the moon; the maiden, the mother, and the one wired to her forehead, the ever-wise crone.  I thought of other moon goddesses, such as Artemis and Diana, who also represented the moon for the Greeks, so I added the wild horse in the upper left corner for Artemis and Diana who are said to arrive in a chariot with two white horses.  I thought a few temple columns would add to the greek ambience, but I didn’t want them to be too solid looking so I added paint and took it away, the same for the horse.    I really wanted to create a sense of magic and mystery with this project – and of another time.           

          

Detail of the horse

 

 I thought a compass would add to the idea of the night sky – navigation by stars – but I couldn’t find one that I could afford to tear up, or that looked as an antiquity, so I pieced one together with things that I already had.  The brass dots on the end of each point have been stamped with the letter N-S-E-W, but I don’t think they show.  I need to find bigger metal stamps.  It says Selene in a sort of greek symbol font from the computer under the “compass” face.         

Detail of the "compass"

 

Detail of the "maiden"

 

Her little half-moons are layers of pasted and painted paper – I didn’t take care to make them perfect – I wanted them to look alive and ever-changing.  I found this really nice very inexpensive craft acrylic made by Plaid Folk Art in a color called Metallic Antique Gold – it does magic on brown wrinkled paper.  It comes out looking like dark brass.         

Detail upper right corner

 

Detail upper left near the horse

 

Detail of lower left corner

 

I wanted to show you these pasted papers in the corners to give you an idea of the metallic antique gold paint, I love it with a little turquoise.  The words on the strips above are from a poem by W. B. Yeats called Supernatural Songs;  The last verse is about the moon and I’ve used it before:         

She sings as the moon sings, I am I, am I – The greater grows my light – The further that I fly – All creation shivers – With that sweet cry.          

If I talked too much, please let me know.  I like to explain what I used and how I came to use it – but sometimes I think I ramble on a little too much – just say so!  Thanks.

Treasures for Tuesday

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Very old china painting dyes

 

I got these years ago in a little wooden box .  I thought the little bottles with corks were amazing – and the box had the left-over labels from used up colors they wanted to save, I guess.  The pink yarn is wrapped around a piece of rope – I don’t know if it was a test dye or what?   I used to work in a place where stuff like this would surface all the time and it was usually just thrown out – that’s how I acquired these, from the trash!  The corks are permanently welded in the bottles now, and the paints are pretty much dried up.   

Old lock covers

 

This is the box for the above bottles, but I needed a place to put my newly acquired collection of lock plate covers!  This was a Mother’s Day gift to myself from e-bay.  When I saw them I thought of Alice in Wonderland – so many choices – where are the keys?   

More treasures

 

This is an assortment of old and rusty hardware, a Mother’s Day gift  from my youngest daughter!  

   

The Laughing Dog

 

A sweet treasure who can always make me smile!   My daughter took these a few years back.  This is my little dog, Cookie Moon, a Valentine gift seven years ago!   She still thinks she’s a puppy though – and loves to entertain.  

  

Journal Page – Invisible

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Ursula knew the secret of being invisible.    

Journal Page: wadded copier paper, walnut ink, citra-solv paper, wall paper, twig, deli paper, oil pastel, colored pencils.    

Journal page section - Ursula being invisible

 

Ursula is cut out of Citra-Solv paper (I used National Geographic pages).   She is standing on a background of wallpaper and a strip of Citra-Solv paper, which looks like a little pond to me.  The twig I picked up about 10 years ago from a Hawthorne tree, and stripped the bark from it.  Artist’s are such savers!  But we always find a use for the odd things we save, at least I do.  I cut the face from deli paper and used colored pencil. I need to check my camera settings, the lettering should be much more clear than it is – I am not very good with cameras.

Seven times seven … times …

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Her given name was Emmeline, but her real name was much older and secret.

Sometimes when she remembered her secret name she would climb up on the roof-top and turn cartwheels along the roof-line.

 

Seven is a magical age, anything is possible, and secret names are a given!  My friends all had secret names, there was no secret to it among ourselves.  Our parents never thought about secret names, of that we were sure. 

I remember overhearing my mother say something about seven being the “age of reason.”  I tucked that idea away and wondered about it for another whole year before I timidly asked if I had passed through the age of reason since I was now eight.  No, she told me, now that you’ve reached it you will always be in it – it just begins around the age of seven.  Then she told me that our bodies and sometimes our minds, changed every seven years for the rest of our lives.  I secretly wondered if that’s what happened to adults – too many times they had been recycled through the sevens and had forgotten their secret names.  I vowed never to forget my own secret name – time passed and some years I did forget; however, some years I made up a new one.