There are lots of opportunities for being creative and I’ve been on a quest to fit it in the schedule whenever possible. One of the biggest time slots that seem to be unproductive in my day are evenings. I used to spend a lot of time in my office on the computer working on projects but heard on more than one occasion about how unsociable I was becoming so I returned to the living room sitting in front of the television. I have trouble just sitting so I’ve adapted projects to work on while I am couch-bound for a few hours. 🙂 This is my current set-up as I’m working on magazine pages:
One of my favorite memories from childhood is the inexpensive cardboard kaleidoscope that used to arrive in my stocking at Christmas, or that I could save my pennies and nickels for and buy at the local dime store (yes, I am that old!).
I’d not really thought about them for several years until I discovered a digital program that would create kaleidoscopic art. Even more sophisticated and detailed than the beads rolling in the bottom of a tube, I have created more of them than I’d care to count. Yet it just wasn’t quite the same! To my surprise as I browsed the toy aisles, the kaleidoscopes that used to be so readily available are much harder to come by these days!
Finally, on a short vacation to visit friends in Florida last March, I discovered one in a gift shop full of fun ticky-tacky souvenirs that I’ve seen in those shops since I was a kid. An appropriate fate for something so old-fashion and low tech I suppose. I was ever-so excited to find them, although they weren’t exactly as I remembered.
These had large, clear, dome-like lenses on the end of the cardboard tube and you didn’t rotate the piece on the end to change your design, you rolled the entire tube around. But it somewhat satisfied my quest and I happily paid an outrageous price to bring one home with me. It immediately took up residence in my art studio.
Although different than I remembered it’s fun to look through because, as you are viewing the patterns it creates, the background you’ve pointed it at is part of the design. It was especially fun during the summer as flowers bloomed and into fall as the leaves changed. I’m waiting for a nice blanket of snow to see how brilliant the design will be on an all-white background!
I continued to cruise toy aisles and other spots where I thought I might discover a kaleidoscope but didn’t have any further sightings until a trip up to Michigan late this summer. Again, in another tourist gift shop, I spied them. LOTS of them! In different sizes and shapes. Kaleidoscope nirvana!! I passed over the odd design I already had at home and looked through each and every different color, size and design they had. This time I bought TWO! One, pretty much exactly as I remembered from childhood, followed by a shorter version that had a sort of “stained glass” effect on the end cover instead of the traditional semi-opaque white film covering.
They have taken up residence with the first one in the studio. I play with them occasionally, share them with young visitors, grandkids and anyone else that seems remotely interested. When I purchased the first of the three I had tried to take photos through it using my point & shoot camera. The attempt was less than successful. 😦 I don’t recall if I tried to use the phone I had at the time but inspiration hit last week that, since I’d recently upgraded, perhaps my newest smart phone would work. I won’t say it was the easiest task, and the percentage of useable images was probably right around 50% BUT, when it did work – Wow!
Holding both the kaleidoscope and the phone in my left hand (and trying to keep them lined up in the proper position) while trying to turn the tubes and push the image capture button with the other hand was a feat in itself. I tried it standing, sitting, laying, propped up and a few poses in between that I can’t even describe! But I really didn’t mind the contorting, once I’m in the “photo zone” I rarely pay attention to much else but the images I’m creating.
After my photo-making craving had been satisfied I began to weed through all the images, deleting the ones that didn’t turn out well, along with several duplicates. Since they were already in my phone I decided that I’d do some digital enhancements to my favorites before I uploaded them. In addition to the eight that I’m sharing with you today I have another eight that I’ll share in the near future.
I hope that you have enjoyed the images, my story and perhaps a few memories of your own as you read this! I’d love to hear about them, regardless if they are about a kaleidoscope or some other favorite childhood memory – be sure to leave me a comment. 🙂
Until the next time just picture me browsing the “retro” toys, on the lookout for the next piece to add to my collection!
Last month was the first Industrial Art Duo class here at the studio and it was great! We had five participants creating art, first with cement on wood panels and then with metal. This post is going to show you images from the concrete portion of the class.
While the raw concrete was set in the sun to dry everyone had time to make their metal creations and eat lunch. Then it was time to start sealing and adding color!
As you can see there quite a variety of styles and colors. Pretty awesome! The next post will feature the metal wall sculptures created in class, they are pretty awesome as well! 🙂
Well, October has finally arrived! I’ve been anxious for it because it appears that I’ll be able to live life at a bit of slower pace. No art shows, the gallery shows are all hung on the wall, and no pressing deadlines for project. I even have a clean studio! September seemed to have each moment double-booked so I am anxious to slow down. Of course I’m also anxious to get that studio dirty and create again!
After a trip south in a few weeks ago I took a little side trip to a paper store. Oh, how I LOVE the paper stores! Something about being surrounded by all the lovely colors and textures is almost intoxicating. While I intended to control myself, the stack of papers that I selected grew quite tall. They were all so beautiful I took these pictures of them after I brought them home – creating collages and other art with them is going to be so much fun!
I have a tendency to be a bit of an art supply hoarder, so making myself use these instead of just keep them will be a nice step in breaking that habit. I also got a great deal on some canvases and large wood panels. Exactly what I’ll be making with them? No idea yet, but I can’t wait to find out. 🙂
I hope you are looking forward to a lovely month as well!
Yes, another mandala! Next post, probably more mandalas. After that? Still have some I haven’t shown you but I’ll try to change it up somewhere there in the middle of things so you don’t get bored! 🙂 This is the first of a few pieces that I have been working on lately. I’m still working on that “use what ya got!” attitude and I found three frames with double opening mats that I thought would be fun to feature some mandalas in. Created with the idea of cutting them in half once completed made me think a bit about how to lay them out on the paper but it didn’t take too long to come up with a few different designs I thought would work. Here is a photo of today’s mandala after the watercolor had been applied over the design. After the colored ink was added to get to the step shown at the top of the page then came the hard part. Getting out the scissors! Something about cutting up a newly created piece of art just feels wrong, even when it was pre-planned. Despite it being a bit concerning, I really liked the outcome once it was in the frame!
So all’s well that ends well! Currently this piece is located in my studio, feel free to schedule a time to stop in & view it. Even better, let’s re-locate it to your home or office, I bet you have a perfect spot for it!
Last April I wrote a post about “Claude” the new plant that had joined me in the studio. I’m happy to say that not only is he alive almost a year later, he’s actually grown and thriving!
I’ve not been known for my ability to tend to live plants so I am proud that he’s doing so well. It took some effort, when the weather was colder I would carry him out to the studio when the fireplace had it warmed, set him on the table to soak up sunshine and bring him back in the house at night (the studio drops to 50 degrees when I’m not using it). I’ll admit that a few times I left the poor guy in the cold but I think that he’s grown strong with the nurturing he’s had because he survived with only the loss of a leaf or two. That got me to thinking that the watering, nurturing and attention that it takes to keep a plant alive, healthy and growing is a lot like keeping artistic creativity thriving. If you ignore it, leave it in the cold or dark for too long or take it for granted it begins to shrivel and die! I think having Claude around will remind me of that, which makes him not only decorative, but functional. 🙂
What a treat – two weekends in a row I’ve had a day to work in the studio! I could get used to this, but I know it’s the exception not the rule. Again my weekend work has ended in band-aids – perhaps I should be happy that I don’t work in the studio every weekend. 🙂 I spent the bulk of my day working on the three-piece canvas mixed media that I started last week. When I left off it was drying with wire mess on different areas of the canvas. I went back and looked at it several times the last few days and finally made a decision. The wire mess wasn’t going to stay on the canvas, but the fun/funky texture the mesh left behind was awesome. So, with that small decision I created an entire day’s worth of work trying to remove the embedded mess from the dried acrylic. Silly me, I thought perhaps it would just peel up. And it did, in a few spots.
After that I was down to pulling it up, sometimes in ridiculously tiny pieces, with some small needle-nose pliers.
By the time I was close to finishing picking, pulling & plucking the wire out of the second canvas I had a nice blister on my right hand ring finger from gripping the pliers. Oh joy, now I get to finish the rest of the job with my left hand! That slowed the process a bit but after several hours of work it was basically mesh free (there may be a few spots where some mess is left but it looks good to me!). I thought I must have used a better gripping technique with my left hand because it wasn’t hurting at all. Then I actually looked at it and I had worn it past the blister stage to where there was just a nice raw hole in the side of my finger. I am about out of Sponge Bob band-aids after my adventure with the saw last week but I do have a back-up package of Snoopy band-aids upstairs so I think I will get through these injuries as well. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I don’t work in the studio most Mondays, I’ll have a day to recuperate.
By the time the sun went down I had a nice big pile of aluminum mesh scraps to go along with some really cool texture.
Tuesday I will be ready to tackle the next few steps that I had planned to do prior to all this work! I also added more paint to the mixed media tree image I’ve been working on – it’s getting closer to being finished. Be on the lookout for it soon!