Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Break and Norman Rockwell

Spring Break has always been a good time to take some time off from the every day rush of work and home chores. But now that I am not teaching and I am working at home, I realized that I should still take that time off to refresh.  My daughter's birthday usually falls during Spring Break, and this year it was again. So our Spring Break getaway was to go see her. Since she has a big girl job now, we went to visit her for a few days.  While we were there, we took a trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to see the Norman Rockwell Exhibit.  Although the weather was not very Spring Break like, (more like winter break) I was very excited to go see this exhibit! It is always great to see art, that you have admired in books, up close and personal.  When I taught art, I used to teach a unit about Norman Rockwell.  I had a video about the artist that I would show every year, which means I saw the video 4 to 5 times per year times for approximately 20 years!  I went to the exhibit with my daughter and my 'hubby' (the loyal husband that will go to just about any art event that I ask him to).  Even though neither of them wanted to linger at each painting like I did.  It wasn't long before they left me behind in the crowds, that were also listening to the audio tour guide with me.  I seemed to be in a crowd of too many people to get up close and personal, like I wanted to, so I had to start going out of order.  I would try to find a painting, that I was familiar with, that did not have 20 people around it, so I could walk up to it and really see the brushstrokes and the pencil marks that Norman Rockwell so carefully placed on the canvases. It was great to see such talent up close.  They would not allow photos to be taken of the Rockwell exhibit, but I was able to take some photos of the permanent collection and some of the views from the museum.  Next time I go, I hope the weather will be nicer, so I can take some photos of the outdoor gardens.  I really enjoyed the exhibit, and my second trip to the museum, and I am really happy that Arkansas now has this beautiful place to visit!  I'm sure I will be going many more times!

"American Gothic" in spools of thread.
You have to look through the sphere to see it right side up.
Or when you take a photo, turn it upside down.

"Rosie the Riveter"
Norman Rockwell
(part of the permanent collection)

Click on the photo of the painting of "Rosie the Riveter" to read more about how the museum acquired this painting.  

If you are traveling near Northwest Arkansas, I recommend that you go visit Crystal Bridges, if you enjoy looking at great American Art!  I will post more photos from my visit soon. Have a wonderful Easter weekend! 

Happy Easter!  
Beth  ♥  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Decorate by Re-purposing and Recycling

I finished a big big project last week and this is Spring Break for my I'm taking the week off, sort of.  Still working behind the scenes with email and online listings, etc etc.  But we have other plans for the week that I will talk about later...if anything exciting happens.  So for now, I will talk about a small project that I started for my own studio.  This post I will show you the start of the project.  Later, I will show you how I used them to decorate the studio.

I often acquire things that I don't need but think that someday I may use that for something.  So I end up with a lot of stuff.  Over the last couple of months, I have been going through cabinets and closets to clean out and get rid of unused 'stuff'.  This is something that has needed to be done for awhile now. We have lived in our house for almost 17 years and you know how things just accumulate until you move? Well, we have our share of accumulated stuff.   So the urge to purge started back when I moved my studio into one of our bedrooms.  I had to get rid of things to get organized and I also want to repaint the walls in several rooms. We hope to try to sell our house someday...not sure when...but I don't want to have to purge the whole house just to move.  The thought of that sounds exhausting!

Many years ago, I was given some very old frames.  It was so long ago, I don't remember where I acquired them.  But they were frames that I thought I would use some day. Well, I have finally decided how I am going to use 3 of them.  They are going to be used in my art studio for wall display and organization.  So I thought I would share the project here, since it is going into my studio and I always love to find a way to re-purpose something.

Here is one of the very old frames, as it was before I started the project.  They had all been painted black with some gold touches.  I liked the carved details of the frames, so I want to enhance that.

I took the frames outside and laid them out onto newspaper in the grass. Then I took the white spray paint and sprayed it onto the frames.  I didn't completely cover the black paint.  I wanted it to have some depth. I also liked the way the chips in the wood and old paint started to show through.  I even have some areas that have a crackled look, that I really like.

Here are the three frames after being spray painted.

Then I took some light turquoise craft paint and lightly brushed it onto the frames, one section at a time.

Using a foam paint brush so the paint would just go over the raised parts of the frame.

Then I wiped off the excess paint.  I wanted a paint washed look. 

I used a paper towel to wipe off the extra paint.

So this is where I am now.  The frames are painted and dried. I plan to put a coat of stain to add more dimension to the frames. 
I will post a link here when I finish the project to show the final steps and see what I do with them before I  hang them on the studio wall. 

But for now, its Spring Break and I will be giving my studio a break for the week.  
Unfortunately the weather decided not to be Spring weather. 
I'll be back next week with pictures of my latest work. I have several projects to share. 


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Working through the Pain...

Apparently I have done something to the tendons in my drawing arm. So I have been trying to rest it some while still working on a few projects. Trying to work through the pain, but still not overdo it.  I've been putting ice on it, so hopefully, the combination of resting and icing it and wearing a compression sleeve on my elbow while working, it will slowly get back to normal.  I may have to limit my work on the computer as well. It tends to aggravate the soreness.

While I'm finishing my current project, I will need to figure out what I can do that does not hurt my arm too much! My sanity will be compromised if I do not have a creative outlet! The thrill of finishing something that I've created is so satisfying! I am about to go out and open the kiln to see how my latest firing turned out. I'll share a picture here of my latest 3D clay owl design. So working through the pain is totally worth it! It's so fun to open the kiln to see this!


Friday, March 1, 2013

I Love Old and Elaborate Doorways

Private Commission
5 x 7" Ink Illustration
with printed note cards
Beth S. Macre ©2013
Another one of my latest commissions was to draw this pretty doorway.  The customer also wanted note cards of their image.  The customer also wanted me to change a few details.  Add ivy to the empty vines, remove the rail alongside the steps. Here are the results of the drawing of the door and the note cards that she also ordered.
Love the Doorway!


Garden Markers for the Creative Gardener

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