April 29, 2010

Bent Objects blog

Just a quick plug for a blog that I've been following...Bent Objects. His use of found objects and play on words is just too funny to pass up. You need to check this out! http://bentobjects.blogspot.com/

April 26, 2010


Several years ago I built this bench for our back deck and while we used it for a bit, soon it became a place to put pots and all sorts of other gardening paraphernalia. The center started to bow from lack of support and so it went. A useful bench but not very attractive.

This past winter I decided come spring to spruce up the bench, give it a center support and to turn it into a "work of art". So I have started! First, several coats of white house paint that was left over from another project. Then, the sun went on because the bench needed a sun! From there I wasn't sure where to go but somehow I knew mermaids had to be on it as they are my favorite muse. I added these. Some fish and star fish and somehow my bench is taking an ocean theme...which really didn't surprise me.

Things were going on swimmingly until my hernia operation which has made working on the bench somewhat difficult...and several days of rain. In the meantime I have sketched out a "face" for the sun and will add that when I can. I also plan to add some hibiscus blossoms next to the sun and along the side rails. The large side panels are crying for something but I not sure what. Sailboats perhaps?
Any ideas? Oh...and I plan to repaint the bench a light blue and give the mermaids a bit of a "skin tone". They're looking a little pale.

Once the bench is done, I'll post it's new look...so stay tuned!

April 24, 2010

Down to the Sea

This past week has found me trying to be very "quiet" as I recover from hernia surgery. This has not been easy! I don't do "quiet" with any grace and the pain and discomfort that comes from this surgery hasn't done much for my disposition either!!!

In any case, I have been given me time to contemplate and consider. One of the thoughts that keeps coming back is one of escaping to the ocean and spending time on the beach. I suppose these thoughts have been there for awhile as they certainly inspired me when I created the above collage as a birthday present for my wife. We have had a "running joke" for quite sometime about naked Sunbonnet Sues so I picked this up as my theme. That and a play on "Susie sells seashells on the seashore." (It also helps to know that my wife's name is also Sue.) I don't know if you can read the limerick in the top right hand corner so here it is:

    "Once there was a guild known as the Sunbonnet Sues
      Who had become tired of their winter hues.
      So off to the beach they ran,
      Those barefoot girls wearing
      only their bonnets and cheeks of tan."

I know, the limerick is kinda of weak...but what can I say....

April 11, 2010

The Power of the Ordinary

"Creative Block" We've all been there. Nothing sounds good. Nothing feels right. There's no excitement even in your favorite medium. And the longer it lasts, the more you become frustrated. I know...been there, done that. And each of us have our own ways to work ourselves out of this problem. For me, it's going to various different sources...books, museums, other blogs...things like that to try to get some inspiration!

So...facing this problem once again just recently, I pulled out a couple of my "inspirational" books for a re-read and a recharge. One such book was Gwen Diehn's book, The Decorated Page, which has always provided me a kick-charge when I needed it. This time it came in her reference to another book, A Trail Through Leaves, by Hannah Hinchman and her nature journaling. Interested, I picked this book up from my local library branch and settled in to read Hinchman's narratives of the world around her.

Perhaps it was the fact that my mind was no longer focused on my own lack of inspiration, but it was as I read her chapter called, "The Power of the Ordinary" that I found the answer I needed. In this chapter, she states: "But threading through, in fact floating on top of all this matter, like sea ducks among the icebergs, are moments of the ordinary-made-extraordinary by the simple act of choosing and isolating them." (page 69). It's so simple. What I needed was all around me...I just had to look!

I have a good friend who is a very accomplished photographer. His business allows him to travel to all sorts of exotic places and he takes full advantage, as he should, of this opportunity to come away with some fabulous pictures. I have always felt envious of him in this regard as I feel our photographic skills are pretty comparable but since I don't have his opportunities for travels, my photographs are lacking in excitement. After reading Hinchman's thoughts on rejoicing upon what is around you, I won't be thinking this way again. At least not until he gets back from his latest travels...but I do enjoy his stories.

I took a new look at some of my photographs, like this one entitled, "Jars and Books". Just a simple still life taken during a rainy day in my living room. Like Hinchman, I "chose and isolated" these objects and made them special. Don't you agree?

April 8, 2010

"Dead End Street" collage

This collage started as a "try-it-out" creating the background. I first did a digital scan of a background I had created a while ago using acrylics. I printed this on watercolor paper and let it set-up for a couple of days. Then I overprinted this with the script text...which is actually a reverse scan of the original. I like how this looked so started to consider what images to work with. 

I knew I wanted to work with old silver gelatin black and white prints and contact sheets I had accumulated so I started cutting and positioning. The dead end street sign pic was first and the picture of the building seemed a nice fit. I could see a story starting to happen but I wasn't sure what it would be. Then I found an old contact sheet from the 1970's and the strip of nudes just clicked with the images of the street sign and the building...along with the contact sheet frame of the "No trespassing" sign. With these in place I added some torn tracing paper that I had washed with black watercolor to give the collage some mystery as well as applying the wash to parts of the watercolor paper edges. Wasn't quite done so I added the two text boxes to tie the story together. 

I didn't start out to create this particular narrative collage but I must admit I like how it ended up. Any thoughts?

This collage is now available on my Etsy site: http://www.etsy.com/listing/45753576/dead-end-street-collage-8x10. 

April 1, 2010

They're done!

Finally! They're done!!! Push-Me-Pull-Me are ready for the world!!!! After some trial and errors with their eyes...and their hats, they were finished yesterday afternoon. At present they are residing in a place of honor on our fireplace mantel but soon will be spotlighted in my Etsy site. Push-Me-Pull-Me were fun to create and even though they didn't end up quite the way I had envisioned at the start, I'm still pleased with what did transpire. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Here's some more pics of them as well: