September 21, 2010

Eden Original: Three Mermaids and a Skull

Just completed four new paintings.  Three mermaids and a skull.  They are acrylic on wood panels.  Love painting on wood because it gives the pieces so much texture.  All four will be available in my etsy store soon...

Halloween Craft - Basket of Roses

Running through Tarjay this morning and I saw that the good people working there are already moving some of the Halloween things over to make room for Christmas decorations.  I don't know about you, but I love Halloween, so even though it's not even October yet, I thought I'd better grab what I need now before all the bony skeletons are replaced by fat little Santas. 

My five year old daughter is that princessy age where if it's fancy and pink then it's good and everything else is just not.  I was suddenly inspired by the cheapo plastic pumpkin baskets, which this year come in green, pink, purple, and orange.  A super bargain at 99 cents!  I grabbed two in green which I thought I could later transform into something pink and fancy for my daughter and terrifying and ghoulish for my ten year old son.

I decided to make a basket of flowers for her to carry.  So, I decapitated a bunch of silk flowers and grabbed the low temp glue gun.  I say "low temp" because I knew I'd be using my fingers a lot for this one and didn't want to burn myself.  For this project I used a dozen pink roses.  I think this is the minimum you'd want, but you could always use more.
First, I took some green craft paint and painted out the black markings on the basket.  I don' t think this is strictly necessary, but I didn't want it to show through too much.  When this part dried, I started gluing the roses around the top opening of the basket.  I put the glue on the side of each rose so that they'd be facing up.  This makes sure that they hold really well and looks prettiest when people start dropping the candies in.
Then I turned the basket upside down and took apart some of the flowers.  Using just the petals, I glued them down in layers starting at the base and moving down the basket.  I glued down the center and the lower petals only so that there would be some overlapping.  I didn't mind if the green showed through (this is why I picked green).  When it was completely covered I glued down a few of the silk leaves here and there.
To finish it, I wrapped the black plastic handle with pink tulle.  You could replace the handle completely with ribbon if you'd prefer, but I wanted to have a little structure to it.  I tied the end of the tulle into a bow on one side.
I might add a couple embellishments later depending on the costume she chooses to wear.  Also, when you take the flowers apart, there are obvious holes in the middle.  You can cover these with coordinating craft paint, or glue on gems or sequins if you think they are too noticeable.
I also want to add that I got the flowers at the 99 cent store, so the whole thing cost me $3.  Now that's pink, fancy, and affordable!

September 16, 2010

New Painting - Marie Antionette

Sometimes when paintings are finished I will enjoy them for a while and then it's fun to take them down and completely rework them.  I'll obliterate the original either by painting over the entire canvas with white or black to give myself a clean slate, or by creating many layers of images and markings on the canvas until it finally feels like an entirely new piece.  

Often the entire original painting is obscured with marks, but with this particular painting you can see quite a bit of the original still life showing through.  I love doing this because it keeps with the style of urban graffiti I saw all the time when I used to live in New York.  Taggers would paint something on the side of a building over a movie poster or something similar and then later someone else would come along and paint over that until there were layers upon layers of brilliant artistic expression.

Here's my original painting in 2007.
To revamp this pretty painting I decided to keep the flowers, but I wanted to add some graffiti life to it.  I started by drawing some more floral shapes on top and dripping paint onto the canvas from the side.  I often do this in my graffiti paintings because I like the feeling of defying gravity when you see the paint dripping onto the canvas from the side.
I wanted to add a figure and the pale aqua background made me think of Marie Antionette.  I've had a bit of an obsession with her since my parents took me to Versailles for my 13th birthday.  I don't know why they thought I needed to see the bedroom of a young beheaded queen when I was just becoming a young woman myself, but that's where we went and it did have a tremendous impact on me.  I even stole a piece of the plaster from her bedroom which was under renovation at the time.  I remember holding it so often that it finally crumbled to nothing.
I stencilled stars onto the canvas because that represents the similarity between royalty in Marie's time and the way that Hollywood stars are treated today.  With adulation, until we get tired or bored and then they are discarded and thrown out with yesterday's tabloids.
Of course I had to add a bit of her famous phrase, "Let them eat cake".  This was also a wink at the Hollywood starlet fascination with beauty and living carb-free.  Just my way of saying you should enjoy life and eat some cake already!!!

The finished painting still has the roses in the background, but the focus of the artwork is now Marie's face.  And the painting is a riot of colors and elaborate delicious decoration.  Just like her fanciful court.  Too much is never too much.
"Eat Cake"
18x24 inches
acrylic on canvas

September 10, 2010

Big Nose Masks - Recycle School Photos

If you are anything like me, it's least expensive to order the big pack of school pictures.  But, this always leaves us with lots of extras in odd sizes.  Especially the size that is too big for wallet and too small to frame.  I was inspired by the funny book Nose Masks to try to do something with these extra school pictures.
I took one of the pictures and put it on a cutting board, with an exacto knife I cut a roundish triangle in the face starting at the bridge of the nose.  Start small, you can always make the hole bigger, but you can't undo what you've cut out!  It took a few tries until I had a really funny mask for Holly to wear with her brother's face on it.
You know, this might make a great Christmas card photo if I make big nose masks for everyone and we wear each other.  Even our chihuahua...

September 9, 2010

Photoshop Fun - The Girl with the Pearl Earring

For my anniversary, my husband bought me pearl earrings.  Pretty dangly ones.  And as I put them on this morning they reminded me of one of my favorite paintings, Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring".  So, having a little fun with Photoshop, I took a photo of myself with a blue pillowcase wrapped around my head and put myself in the painting.  Now, I really feel like a work of art!

5 Minute Decorations - Magazine Bunting

Today is my anniversary and as I was busy buzzing around the kitchen getting dinner ready, my kids suddenly said... "mom, if it's a party, we need decorations"... so, I thought, what can I do in five minutes?  I've been admiring the recent trend of party buntings that I've seen all over and I have been meaning to make some myself, so with five minutes to spare before my husband walked in the door I made my quick version of a party banner with the kids.

First, I grabbed an old magazine out of the recycling bin.  I happened to pick SPIN because I thought it might have some interesting photos, but anything will do.  I put the magazine flat on a cutting board.

I started about four inches down and one inch in from the spine edge of the magazine and made a diagonal cut with an exacto knife towards the center of the page edges.  This would form one side of the triangle for the bunting.  I pressed hard to cut through as many pages as possible.

Then, starting again on the spine side about four inches up from the bottom, I made another diagonal cut ending just past the first cut.  This formed the triangle for the bunting with all of the pieces held conveniently together by the spine of the magazine.

I continued to peel back the cut edges and make more diagonal cuts along the same lines until I had cut through the entire magazine.  You might not need a whole magazine.  It depends on how long the banner you are making is going to be.

When I was finished cutting.  I cleaned up the top edges with scissors.  At this stage you are left with basically a triangle shaped magazine!

I took some yarn and placed it flat on my work table.  I peeled off a page at a time and put a long piece of double-sided tape along the top edge of the triangle.  I folded the top edge down over the yarn so that it could hang down.  We had an assembly line going for this part.  My five year old was ripping off the pages, I was putting the tape on each piece, and my ten year old was folding the paper onto the yarn.  In literally five minutes we had yards of bunting completed.

I hung it around the dining room with thumbtacks and I have to say it looks fantastic.  The kids were right.  It's not a party without decorations!

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Here in Los Angeles, there is a food fad where hip people eat versions of gourmet junk food from trucks that roam around the city.  It's become truly an artform.  One of these trucks is the COOLHAUS that sells uber fancy ice cream sandwiches.  They boast exotic ingredients like candied bacon and chocolate chipotle.  I haven't tried them myself, but I've heard that they are amazing.

Not to be outdone, I decided to try the homemade ice cream sandwich thing myself as a special anniversary dessert for my hubby who loves cookies more than almost anything else.  I made oversized oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but any cookie would obviously work.  And I was going to make my own ice cream, but running short on time I cheated and used Horizon Organic Chocolate or Vanilla Bean.  So delicious.  Soften the ice cream slightly and put a generous scoop between two cookies.  Then, wrap in waxed paper and refreeze for about an hour or so to firm up.  Or you could eat immediately like we did when it's still slightly melty!  So good.

September 8, 2010

Eden Original: Lovebird

I just finished a new painting today.  It's a new style for me.  This little lovebird is something I've been working on for a while.  I've always been really inspired by Indian art and I recently watched a Basquiat documentary, so I decided to just go wild with this one.  Savoring last days of Summer.   I've been painting outside, so I can get really messy.

Here's the progress of the painting in three stages.  First, I painted the lovebird on a branch...
Then, I added COLOR all over it.
  And finally, I filled the canvas with graffiti and Indian inspired designs.
And here's the finished painting!  "LoveBird", 24x24 acrylic on canvas.  A cherry little bird in a splendiferous summer garden.  It's in my etsy shop now!

September 3, 2010

Painted Fairy Wing Rescue

Holly loves her fairy wings.  She wears them almost every day.  She had some large wings that originally came with a Tinkerbell costume that were looking pretty sad.  They started out pretty and white and were now torn and grey.  I thought about throwing them out, but then decided to see if I could rescue them by painting them like we did with the princess dress rescue project.
First, I had to stitch up the torn tips of the wings, so I decided to use embroidery floss to bind around all of the edges.  I used lots of different greens, reds, and blues to hide the stains on the old wings.
When I had stitched around all of the edges, I used diluted acrylic paint to color the wings.  This was extremely messy because you are essentially painting pantyhose material, but when it dried they looked really pretty.
I peeled off the little decoration that used to be in the center of the wings and threw it away so that I could use hot glue and put some silk flowers there instead.
In order to make sure the wings wouldn't rip and run again, I took some clear acrylic high gloss medium-varnish and coated the wings with that on both sides.  I sprinkled lots of blue glitter all over the whole thing while the varnish was still wet.  Safe to say that when everything was dry, my fairy was ready to fly another day...

September 2, 2010

Eden Original: Faux Bois Mural

Finished the "Work Zone" mural for the Studio City Co-Op Preschool wood working bench.  I changed a few of the twigs from my original sketch in my previous posting.  It was kind of hard to get good pictures today because it was really HOT.  At least 90 degrees and full sun, but I did my best.  The letters are faux bois which I think is just funny since they'll be hammering and playing with wood on this bench.  I added a little birdie on the storage space up top and a large flower painted on the children's step at the bottom.  I like how the black lettering and pictures almost look like shadows in the stark sunlight.  Great for an outdoor space.  

September 1, 2010

Doctor Who Shoebox Barbie TARDIS

It's back to school time and so my kids just got new shoes.  Of course for me this just means that I have new shoeboxes to play with.  Lindsey at Filth Wizardry recently posted a DIY Dalek that she made with her kids. This got me thinking that my Doctor Who obsessed daughter might like a TARDIS for her barbie dolls.

One of the shoeboxes in our recycling had a hinged lid and was already mostly blue, so I thought it would be an easy transformation.  Holly painted the outside blue for me.
I painted in the rest of the details and hot glued a cap onto the top for the Tardis light.  Inside, Holly painted the orange and yellow background and helped me hot glue beads and buttons onto the console.  Then we added lots of gold glitter.  It's not quite "bigger on the inside", but I think it looks SMASHING!  Especially with Holly's newly regenerated Doctor and his assistant, Rose Tyler.  I know she likes it because as soon as it was dry she grabbed the dolls, stuffed it full of extra clothes and told me they were going on a long trip.  Then she skipped off with the whole thing balanced on her head...  Allons-y!