Friday, July 17, 2015

Let There Be Light - WBC Take 2


If you read my previous post, my original entry for the Where Bloggers Create Party, you'll know I had some electrical difficulties producing a dark studio. Since there was some interest in how I found ways to fit a 20' x 20' studio into a 9' x 9' room, I am sharing more, now that the lights are back on.   I have tried not to repeat what I already showed you in the WBC post.  So, if you didn't see those, you can do that here.

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The biggest secret is to go UP with everything!

In moving from a spacious space where light and room were generous, to an itty space where everything seemed a frustration and challenge at first, I learned to look from a different perspective at what supplies should be out where they were visible.  In my large studio, I loved having everything out and visually available at all times.  That was no longer an option.  Well, actually at one point I did have my stainless steel shelves on one wall and the printer/scanner shelves (which is just like the cat's bunk beds) were out.  But I found that in this tiny space, all that utility felt very uninspiring.  So the closet houses the printer/scanner shelves and the large stainless shelves filled with mixed media supplies.  I also have some less than lovely plastic drawers in the closet holding decorative papers and odds and ends.  

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My antique dental drawers filled with pencils.
I had to think through what I really use on a regular basis.  Could this still be convenient in the closet or does it need to be in the room?  Maybe less than convenient in the closet (the printer and scanner) but maybe worth it to not look at it every day.  Does it really need to be on top of the work table or could it just be in a handy place close by?  I play with mixed media art but artist's pencils are my premium medium when I work professionally.  So having the pencils out and available is most important.


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I use altoid tins to hold my most used colors of Derwent Artbar and Derwent Intense blocks.  They take up less table space and are great cases for travel when I want them.



http://windandhoney.com   This is a vintage laundry table.  The top is porcelain so paint just washes right off.  The drawer holds markers.  
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This little folding tray is so handy.  It extends my work table.  It is easily moved to the desk should I need it for drawing supplies or beside the sewing machine.  Or I can just fold it up and put it away if I need the room.  I have one more I use sometimes but I think its in another room right now.

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Kenya and Rose in the bunk beds


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This vintage ironing board folds up and takes up little space.  But I can easily set it up when I need an extended table top to spread out supplies or finished pieces.

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My daughter's ballet shoes

The folding drawing board substitutes for my drafting table.  It works fairly well as I rarely work larger than 11" x 14" anyway.  I loved my drafting table and I did have it in here for a while.  But there was hardly any room to walk.  I realized the real need was for a drawing space that could be elevated at an angle and a safe place to leave the paper while a project is not yet finished.  The table top board solves that need without taking up 3' x 3' of the room and it can be moved should I need the desk for other purposes. 

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Cigar box for drawing supplies

I love vintage objects.  Previously I had the luxury of being able to place them in my studio just for the purpose of inspiration.  Many boxes and jars were empty.  I just loved looking at them.  But in my new small space everything has to have a purpose.  So if there was something I really wanted in the room I found a job for it.



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Matchstick holder for drawing brushes
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Lydia, Studio Supervisor in charge of holding the floor down
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I love rocking chairs.  I found that I neeeeded a rocking chair in my studio for it to feel right to me.  But, of course, there is no room for it.  I do kind of have a thing for rocking chairs.  I have 7.  This one is the most light weight one making it easier to move about if necessary.  My sweet husband, the Poet, bought me a keyboard that I can hold on my lap in my rocking chair and a large monitor.  So, this can be my desk chair.     ---I know, I know........

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Kenya, my muse
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As I said before, the sewing machine tucks away neatly on the typewriter shelf.  And there is room underneath inside for my light box.  

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The bookshelves are hardly seen but are still available.  They are behind the door and beside the desk.  They hold up the chair my daughter Kate made that holds the tv.  


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Some finished pieces available to purchase.

I want to recover this chair but don't have the sewing skills to do it properly.  I welcome suggestions or ideas!!!

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And then when all the necessary things were in place I found a few places, mostly on the walls, to add a bit of decorative fluff just to make me smile.  

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Bo.  The Old Man.  
 Thank you for indulging me this 2nd run through.  I am still learning how to make this space work more efficiently and yet maintain an air of creative whimsey.  It is a growing experience.




Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Monday, July 13, 2015

Where Bloggers Create 2015


 I thought I was going to miss the Where Bloggers Create Party for this year. My studio was a mess and I didn't think I would have time to clean it up. But I ended up with some surprise time. So, I'm just a bit late but I'm scooting in here in the last minutes. Yea!  Thank you Karen Valentine for letting me sneak in.  **After writing the previous words last night the breaker broke for my studio.  I only had one light on so don't know what the deal is.  But the problem seems to be more complicated than just flipping the switch in the garage.  So I was waiting until morning to take my pictures but have found they are still fairly dark.  I've used the ones that are less dark and tweaked them in Photoshop trying to get a bit more light.  I do apologize for their lacking in quality.)

http://windandhoney.com

If you've followed this event for a while now you might remember that I used to have a large sunny room for a studio. (see that studio here) Then we moved and I had a room that was much smaller. (see that studio here) Well, we are still in that same house but I found I couldn't work in that room. I needed sunshine. So, I've moved to an even smaller room with only one window.  What in the world?!!   But, at least the sun shines in!

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It has been quite an adjustment and I have had to rethink pretty much everything.  For one thing there is very little room for fluff.  You have to start thinking about just what is necessary.    But I do love that sunshine.   The view isn't amazing but I need to be working and not staring out the window anyway.   In this room, where space is of a premium, the cats have bunk beds. 

http://windandhoney.com

I do find that at least once a week I wonder if I couldn't find a way to fit my larger work table into this room. I get my trusty tape measure out and check to see if the walls have gotten any longer since the last time I measured. And, once again I see that there is no way to fit that large table in here. Actually, the truth is that I usually have a messy table with only a small workspace -- whether the table is large or small. A lot of the larger table was filled with the cat's baskets.  And if you can see Rose the black cat in this dark photo you will see that she still prefers the table to her bed.

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My antique dentist drawers had to go on the lower level.  (You can see more about them in better light here)  When your space is small everywhere is potential for storage.   I can still use them here.

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I kept one of the 2 teacher's desks from the previous room.  I love how the typing table in this desk works to keep my sewing machine. And then when I'm finished, it just tucks right back where it came from.   If I did not use this large desk, I could fit my large work table in.  But I'd lose that way cool sewing cabinet.  So, we make choices..... and then we live with them.   (This picture is from the last time I shared.  The light wouldn't let me get a good pic today of the sewing machine out.)

My daughter made this chair that the tv sets on in college. It was a sculpture class and they were supposed to make a chair that represents themselves.  So, I guess this is a portrait of my daughter that sits beneath a painted portrait of her on the wall.  I never realized how redundant that is until I typed it here. 


And then about every other week, I think I might want to bring my drafting table back. But I use a tabletop drawing board that works quite well and the drafting table is only sentimental. So, I guess its really about learning to be content and making things work, making them enough. I have several creative decorating plans for this room. That will give us something to talk about next year.   And hopefully we will have light next year!!  

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Thank you for joining me in my little studio today.   I've loved having you here in spite of the complications.   By the way, the lovely design for my blog background was created by Karen Valentine using my art.  Its been a few years and I keep thinking I should have her redo it.  But I really like this one so I just keep it.  She does professional personalized work.  If your blog needs a little boost, I recommend Karen for blog design.   

 
Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Friday, July 10, 2015

Quite A Winter For Turtles


I started this post a few weeks ago and then had to put completing it off until today.  So, yes, we are well beyond Spring now.  And I do apologize for the delay.   But the turtle story is interesting still.  So, I've left the Spring comments in.  .....Please be patient with me.  Haha!

Its good to have Spring flowers http://windandhoney.comand Spring weather.  But its even better to have Spring temperatures.  Its been quite a Winter for the turtles.  If you've followed this blog for a while, you know that I have 3 rescued box turtles.  They live in my backyard.  They live freely as if in the wild.  But they have the protection of the fence.  Each of the three has a physical handicap that makes them vulnerable in the wild, especially when crossing the road.  So, they have lived happily with us for 15 years now.  There were some years when we had babies.  But we have no males now, so there are no babies.

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Claudette with one of the previous babies
The girls have always taken care of themselves for hibernation, digging in when the weather dictated the need.  Their disappearance in the Fall always signals the first freeze.  And their reappearance in the Spring is always a surprise and a delight.  But with our recent move we have a yard made of Oklahoma red clay.  Think of those big ol' blocks of red clay at the art store.  It is just too tough for them to dig into enough to hibernate.  In normal circumstances, the girls dig in 2 feet deep to get under the freeze line.  But they can only get about 3 inches down in this red clay and even that takes a whole lot of work. 


So, this last Fall, thinking I had a great idea, my son dug a hole in the yard 2" x 2" x 2".  We then filled it with nice top soil right into the hole.  Then we placed the girls in that soil and they dug in as the temperature was dropping.  We placed a couple of small logs beside the hole lest they come up and decide to wander around looking for a better place to sleep.  There was no better place but they aren't terribly bright to figure that out themselves.   That night we had heavy rains and storms. I didn't give it a second thought as I knew the girls were tucked into their lovely winter bed.  I was feeling pretty smug about it all.

The next morning I went outside to look around after the rain.  I was shocked to see that the hole filled with top soil was washed out and was now a swimming pool.  The clay was forming solid walls as if they were concrete.  Claudette Colbert was standing on a very small island of top soil that was quickly washing away.  I grabbed her and put her in a safe spot in the grass.  I could see Goldie Hawn in another mud hole near by.  Evidently she had found a way to crawl out of the swimming pool but she was still in quite a bit of water.  And I couldn't find Cleopatra anywhere!  You see these are box turtles.  They are not water turtles.  Like you and me, they can only survive in water as long as they can hold their breath.   I pulled up my sleeves and plunged my arms deep into that cold water all the way up to my shoulders.  I dug around thinking I would find her.    Nothing!    I looked around that area in case she had gotten out.  I worried.  I prayed.  I walked the entire yard looking into every little nook and cranny to see if she had escaped and crawled off.    Nothing.    My hands searched again in that frigid water hoping I would find her this time.    Nope!    I prayed and then gathered the other two in my two hands and took them into the house to warm up.  I didn't know what else to do.  I mean, there really wasn't anything else to do.

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Cleopatra
So, I paced....... for about 45 seconds.  And then I was back out there arms swimming in ice water hoping to find what I knew wasn't in that water.  I checked every little hiding spot in the yard once again as if I hadn't just done that moments before.  And again, I prayed.

This time before I went back into the house I thought to try one more thing.  IF she had dug in deep in the bottom of the hole....  And IF she was below the water level and therefore safe....   And IF she were to dig up and come out of her soil bed....  Then she would come up into the water and would need a way to get out.  ---Actually, I wasn't even sure if that was scientifically possible.  But, you know.... what if..... ?!  

So thinking she would need to attempt to crawl out, I pulled away the log that was on one side of the "swimming pool".  And then it occurred to me that if she came up on the other side she would not know that the log was missing on the far side.  So I reached over to remove the second log.

!!!!!   THERE SHE WAS!  She was in an air space underneath that log.   Hanging on for dear life by only her front claws in the dirt at the top of the hole, holding only her nose above the water level!   Oh no!  How long had she been clinging there trying to live?  And how much longer would she have been able to endure before she wore out?  I snatched her up and took her in the house.

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I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  Obviously they could not spend the winter in this backyard like they had done in previous yards.  I had "over wintered" a young turtle once.  Which just means keeping them in the house.  It really isn't best for them.  Their systems are made to hibernate.  And when I tried it she hardly ate all winter.  I stewed about her all those months.  I wasn't looking forward to repeating that!  I now know there is a way to prepare them for overwintering so that they adjust better.  But I didn't know that them.  Anyway...  I know this is getting long.  So, to make a long story a bit shorter, I found a wonderful site http://www.tortoisetrust.org where I learned about creating a hibernating box.  This was a great idea and they could stay in the garage.   But the next weeks would prove that our garage just didn't get cold enough for them.  They were cold enough to sleep but not cold enough to truly hibernate.  The result would be that they would sleep the winter away and starve to death before Spring because they would not be cold enough to slow down their metabolisms.

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Then I learned at http://www.tortoisetrust.org that I could refrigerate them.  Not in the house next to the dill pickles!   But in their own little fridge in the garage.   So, not a few $$$ later in this turtle project, we became the proud owners of a small turtle fridge.  And they spent their winter like this.

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As you can imagine I was really really glad when it got warm enough to get them out of that cold box.  Here they are enjoying their first Spring treat.  They don't live in this box.  But I got them out of hibernation a bit early so I needed to have them contained to enable me to bring them in during cooler nights and cloudy days until it was truly warm enough.   And now, well into July, they are enjoying their freedom and the warmth of lovely Summer weather.




As previously promised, here is another journal page.  I love the look of the graphite image layered with the watercolor and the black and white designs.  But I have to say that it is more challenging to draw over the writing than I thought it would be.  The lettering was quite a distraction.

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Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Journal Pages and a Thank You


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Here are two journal pages that are quite different.  They are pages that were not created to be shared with a class but rather my own personal pages.   When I create journal pages for class examples I am careful to guard my privacy.  And, of course, we should all maintain our privacy.  But I have tended to be more guarded than most artists I see with blogs.  
Why?  Well, I'm sure some of it has to do with stuff in my past.  But I think some of it is just part of the "how" that I am.  As a result, I don't share my work nearly as much as I should and I have tons of things I've never shared.  I am currently working on a rather large project that is the culmination of lots of small projects.  I've mentioned that before.  And I will share more later when the time is appropriate.  Right now, it is too soon.  But as I've been working on this project, things have been stirring inside me.  Feelings that call me to share more, to be more transparent.  Or maybe transparent isn't the right word.  Maybe just less invisible.  

http://windandhoney.com

So, anyway, I've had the creeping crud for several days and have spent most of my time in either the recliner or on the couch with my attention in my laptop.  Although my nose and cough have not enjoyed these days, they have gifted me with abundant time to look around at other artists.  I'm always in such a hurry that this feels quite the luxury.   It was in this time of exploring that I discovered Jennifer Frith of Jenny's Sketchbook.  Go look at her site.  It is fun.  

http://windandhoney.com

Jennifer shares lots of her journal pages.  And she has some demonstration videos that are fun to watch.  Although my style and Jennifer's are not exactly the same, they seem to have a similar heart to them.  We share a love and closeness to animals and I see in her art the delight I hope my art also emits.  I felt quite drawn (no pun intended, haha!) to her journal images and found parts of myself on her pages.  I kept wondering if this is my long lost sister.   LOL!  The funny thing is that, although my name is not "Jennifer", my first name IS Jennie.  -just spelled differently.

So, thank you to Jennifer Frith, whom I have never actually met or spoken to.  
I will be sharing more now.  
I will dare to be out there more.   

http://windandhoney.comAnd these pages are the beginning.    The elephant began with a compelling urge one day to draw an elephant.  The colored designs came later and took days and days.  I usually only journal for about 20 minutes at a time.  And I do it as a part of my prayer life.  Artist's pencils were used for everything on the page except the writing and the black outlines on the elephant.  Those were done with various markers - Pitt and Sharpie colored pens.  The background was done with watercolor pencils.  I rarely use anything but various pencils in journal pages.  I find it a challenge to get the looks I want using only pencils.  If one is not trying to accomplish a fine art watercolor painting, watercolor pencils will do most of what you want on a journal page.  And, frankly for me, it is about using what I have rather than investing in more supplies.

The vase was drawn in graphite about a year ago.  I'm not sure what was going on that day that I drew a wonky lopsided vase with flowers leaning the other direction.  Freud would probably have a hay day with that!  Just recently I've added the watercolor.  This is very different than my usual style and I am really surprised at how much I like it. 



Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons
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