Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update in February

Can't believe that I haven't posted since September.  How time slips away!  Since that time, I have been able to rent a booth at B & B Antique and Artisan Mall on West Franklin in Gastonia, NC.  I still have some items at Heritage Mill Antique Mall on Spencer Mountain Road in Ranlo, NC. Then I also have painted items and some other things online under Family Footprints on Etsy.com and Shophandmade.com.

I haven't even been teaching painting lately...seems like I haven't been doing anything lately but going to the doctor.  On March 6, I will be having knee replacement surgery so I will be out of action for several weeks after that. I am not looking forward to the surgery or recovery however, I am looking forward to the post recovery time when my knee functions normally and without pain.

Over the last several weeks, I have been using my creative abilities to put together a quilt.  The pattern is a Bargello pattern.  When I started cutting out the fabric to piece the quilt, I began to realize just how many little pieces I was going to have to sew together to create this quilt.  I am making it for a king size bed so that equates to hundreds of little pieces sewn into a quilt.  Quilting is an act of dedication.  I have been cutting and sewing for about three weeks and am not quite half way through piecing the top. I was hoping to get the quilt together and ready to quilt before I had surgery, then I could do some of the hand quilting while I am recovering.  We will see if I can get it together by then.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Painting, Painting, Painting

Today is going to be another painting day.  Still have lots of unpainted items in my inventory so I need to get those things painted and ready for either online and local shops.  Several years ago we were doing shows and festivals regularly, therefore I had lots of business.  So to support those sales, I bought lots of things to paint.  Then life happened.  My husband had some medical problems that seemed to go on and on and some other things happened also.  With so much going on, I didn't paint much and we didn't have many sales.  Those unpainted items have just been sitting in our garage/workshop for a couple of years.  It doesn't do any good for items to sit unpainted, no opportunity for sales.  They just take up space and don't produce any revenue.  So, I am trying to get all or most of that "stuff" painted, then photographed and load to my online stores.

On October 1 and 2 I will have a booth at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, just down the road from where we live.  Received confirmation yesterday.  This will be our first festival in about 18 months, so I need to make sure that I have inventory for this show.  There are also a couple of small local festivals for which I am going to sign up. With the economy it will be interesting to see how sales are.

Up early and a cool morning.  Maybe I can get lots of things done today.

In addition to all the painting that I have been doing, I taught a painting class yesterday at Michaels, two students.  We worked on painting trees for two hours.  Feedback was good, both students agreed that they would like to learn techniques rather than having a small painting done.  Good feedback.

Tobacco Barn
Tomorrow, I will teach my regular Thursday class at the YMCA.  Painting an old tobacco barn.  Last week we had lots of interesting discussions about angles and perspective.  So, we are going to finish this painting then have a class on just perspective and how to determine angles for buildings.  Jerry Yarnell published a book on Perspective so that is what I using to study and learn more about perspective.  Most of us don't realize how much you have to work at something to get ready to teach.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crazy Labor Day with Lee

I hope that everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.  In the Southeastern US, it was turbulent.  Tropical Storm Lee invaded the area pouring rain and wind on us.  Luckily I live in the Piedmont of North Carolina, near Charlotte so we were on the outer edge of the storms.  Rain and wind off and on all day Sunday and Monday with more expected today therefore we did not get a lot of stuff done outside.  Many people suffered much worst than we have and my prayers are for those people.

The stormy weekend allowed me to catch up on some of my painting.  Yesterday, I woke up at 3:00 am and could not go back to sleep so I got up and started painting.  I knew that I had lots of china to paint but did not realize how much.  I cleaned out my storage area and discovered just how much I have in inventory that is unpainted, overwhelming...  So I brought some things upstairs and started washing them so I could get ready to paint.  I also found some things that I could use for displays and some things that need to be repainted...  Now I need to get all that painted, then photograph to put online at Etsy, Yardsellr and Zibbet then take some things to Heritage Mill Antique and Designer Mall.  Hopefully I can sell some items and decrease my inventory...along with making a little money.

For the first month since I have had a booth at Heritage Mill, I sold lots of hand painted stuff.  A woman came in and is redoing her kitchen using numerous pieces of my hand painted purple grapes.  Can't wait to get up there and see what she actually bought.  It was a good month in sales for me making up for some of those months where I sold nothing.

My husband is also in one of those moods where he wants to throw out everything!  So, I am having to rescue or defend anything that I really want to keep.  Very stressful but he is correct in some ways, I have too much stuff!

I was able to get some things painted this weekend.

  • Two plastic cake covers, one is rose buds and the other is sunflowers.
  • Green glass storage jar painted with sunflowers
  • Two lotion dispensers, one is sunflowers and the other looks like a window with curtains and a window box with flowers.
  • Three china baby shoes with birthday flowers.
  • Two piggy banks.
  • Eight wine glasses - purple grapes.
  • Four china ring trees...I have about twelve left to paint.  I bought lots of these because we were selling them fast at festivals then we quite doing festivals.
Even with all this painted, I still have lots of painting to do.  Some of these items are very small and you would think that small is easy to paint, but not necessarily.  You must use smaller brushes and sometimes, it is difficult to show much detail.

I am teaching at Michaels in Gastonia this morning.  The class will be on painting trees. We will be practicing several different types of trees then create a simple landscape using some of those trees at the end of class.  I sent out emails to all my students so I hope to have several students for this class.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Painting Glassware

Painting glassware is often a challenge.  Many paints do not cover with the first coat so multiple coats of paint are required.  Between these coats, most glassware artists wait 30 minutes or more.  That is necessary so that your paint completely dries before you paint the next layer, otherwise, the layer or layers below might crack.  So, painting glassware takes some time.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to be painting several items at the same time, somewhat like a production line.  I might paint some leaves on a wine glass, the move to the next glass and paint the leaves, then the next and so forth.  By the time I have painted all the leaves on the glasses, the paint on the first glass is dry and I can start the second layer.  Some of my glassware have as many as 10 colors and and/or layers.

That is what takes so long when you are painting on glass.  You must build the layers unless you want the transparent look which is OK is that is what you are looking for.  Some paints are actually designed for a beautiful transparent look.

Also, glassware must be washed with hot soapy water to remove any hand oil or production oils from the glassware.  My next step is to dry the glassware carefully trying to leave as little lint as possible.  Then I wipe the glassware with alcohol to make sure that I have removed any oils from the glass.

After I have completed painting my glassware, I cure it in the oven for durability.  Most of the paints that we use for glassware state is upper level dishwasher safe however, I recommend to all my customers that hand painted glassware be hand washed to protect the design.  After many years of painting on glassware, I know that putting these in the dishwasher is safe.  A couple of times times I have had to remove something I have painted after it dried.  I soaked the glass for a long time in very hot water then had to use a razor blade to scrape off the paint.  It did not come off easily!!!

To all my customers who have purchased glassware from me, I truly appreciate the business and I hope that you enjoy your glassware.  It is not something that I quickly paint and move on as you can see from the process.  It takes time to create painted glassware but the end result is worth it. I love painting on glassware, especially wine glasses.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leaky Basement

Several weeks ago we discovered that we have a leak downstairs in a closet.  This was our son's room.  He has moved in and out of this room since high school, once after graduating from college while he worked on his career in banking. He stayed for almost two years at that time.  Then he bought a condo and a couple of his frat brothers moved in and helped with the mortgage payments.  Then he sold the condo and bought a house because he could afford that on his good salary in mortgage sales.  That was about 2006.  Then the market started its slide and he had to change jobs.  In 2008 he rented his house and he and his Chocolate Lab moved back into his room. We consolidated his furniture into ours, putting some things into storage.  He changed jobs twice more trying to find better jobs and stayed another two plus years.

Last March, our son got a better job out of town and is renting a small bedroom in a frat brother's house.  We still have most of his furniture in our house and garage along with the Chocolate Lab.  His large walk in closet is still packed with clothes, baseball cards collected when he was younger and the other stuff from his youth that he did not have room to move.  Some of it was never moved. I was looking for something in that closet and discovered that things on the floor were wet so we started taking out everything on the floor.  When we had enough moved, we could see that the carpet, baseboards and walls were wet and there was some mildew. Obviously we have had the leak for a while.

After the insurance adjuster came and said that we were not covered, we priced one of those basement waterproofing companies and he wanted over $1,200 just to dry out the closet.  We decided to work on it ourselves.  So my husband used the wet/dry vac. to vacuum water from the carpet and we removed the carpet and pad.  Hopefully we will be able to reuse the carpet because we sure could not match it after almost 13 years.

Yesterday, my husband and a friend removed sheet rock and insulation around the bottom of the walls in the closet exposing the outside walls and house framing.  This room is in the basement surrounded on that side with dirt and has concrete blocks as the outside walls.  They discovered that we have a leak from our water well which they were able to fix.  We live out from the city so have our own water well.  All the wood around the floor of the closet was wet so that has to dry before they can do anything else but fortunately they found the leak.  Now they have to make sure that the pipes outside coming from the well are not leaking also.

It seems that we cannot get anything finished because every time we start doing one thing, something else happens that we have to work on.  We now have a room that is piled high with stuff from that big walk in closet.  We also have a long list of things that need to be done around the house.

I would love to have days to paint and quilt but those are interrupted with the events of everyday living. I did get a set of wine glasses and a matching carafe painted a couple of days ago with a 19th Hole design.  Also I am working on painting a vase which requires multiple layers of paint. In addition, I am working on a set of wine glasses for a bride and the bridesmaids as a sample.  I already have a beer stein painted with a tux for the groom.  If I could just finish all these things that I have started, get them photographed, write up descriptions, and get them loaded to my online stores, I would be doing good. Maybe today!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Painting Glasses

Since I painted the Appalachian State University beer steins for my cousin a couple of weeks ago, I decided to paint some more glasses to sell.  Well I now can confirm that I cannot paint a straight line!!!  So when someone says that they cannot paint, "can't even draw a straight line", I can truthfully respond that neither can I.

I am attempting to paint a beer stein with the North Carolina State logo and Woof Pack, one for the University of North Carolina with Tar Heels on the back and another one for ASU with Mountaineers.  I also have a glass started with a tux and the word "groom" painted on the front which I am hoping with fit in with some bride and bridesmaids wine glasses.  Of the four "glasses" that I am working on, the tux looks the best...no straight lines.  I go downstairs to paint and work on the glasses for awhile then I get disgusted with them and leave.  I really have to finish them soon.

I am also painting a clear glass vase using multiple colors and it is starting to look good.  I am using black, silver, purple, blue, white and a clear medium to do layers of colors.  I love the way the vase is starting to look.  I am seeing the different colors through the layers by using the clear medium as a layer or mixing it with a color creating a transparent wash.

Today I also started painting some wine glasses and a carafe with a 19th hole theme.  Last time I painted a set of these glasses, they sold immediately.  Hopefully I can get these finished and get them on my online stores soon. Maybe the set will sell quickly like the others.

Still hand quilting on my Appalachian State Wall Hanging.  Working on the two long sides and should have those finished today so I can start on the short sides.  I am anxious to get that finished.  As usual, I have numerous things that I am working on at the same time.  I want to begin creating some "quilted" ornaments with the college materials that I have and get those ready for sale.

Lots of things to do and as usual not enough time for everything that I want to accomplish.  Tomorrow is another day to get things done.   

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Week of Painting and Other Stuff

This was a good painting week.  I did not get the opportunity to paint much but taught two great classes. On Tuesday, I had three students at Michaels.  One was a returning student and the other two were new.  That was an interesting group of people.

One of the new students was the mother of the returning student and she has been doing ceramics for 25 years.  That was a challenge to get her to use enough paint on the canvas because of her dry brushing experience. This student was also an older woman, about 70 - 80 years old.  If she did not like something she painted, she would wipe off the canvas with a paper towel and start again.  After a rocky start though, she did rather well and plans to come back for the next class in two weeks.

The other new student was the daughter of the store manager.  She is about 14 - 15 years old.  Seemed very quiet at first but finally opened up during the class.  She does some drawing but never painted before.  Because she has not had any experience in painting, she really struggled at first however, she is an attentive student and did rather well.  She seemed a little nervous when Dad kept sticking his head into the classroom.  I finally told her that if he was bothering her I would ask him not come in again.  She laughed when I told her that he might "own" the store, but I "own" the classroom at this time and had no problem telling him to leave! She relaxed after that.  I would like to find some time for her to come to class again after school or on a Saturday but she has a very busy schedule as she is in the band at school.

My returning student has painted One Stroke for years and is anxious to learn how to paint landscapes and other types on canvas.  A friend of hers often comes with her but was unable to come to this class.  Both  do very well with a desire to learn and obviously have a good eye.  She does use lots of paint therefore has lots of texture on her canvas.  She suggested that she would like to learn how to paint trees, sky, clouds, etc. so I am putting together some technique classes.  Although we painted some trees in this class, in two weeks we will primarily focus on painting trees.

During my Thursday class at the YMCA, we continued working on the sunflowers painting.  I had only two students so I was able to provide a lot of one on one attention.   Interesting that we have painted sunflowers in the One Stroke technique for years and now we are painting these differently.  I  kept reverting back to my OS style when painting the sample and apparently so did the students. This painting is from a Bob Ross/Annette Kowalski book so it is an entirely different look.  The most difficult part is loosening up when painting.  I might try to "teach" a couple of abstracts to help this loosen up.  Also had an inquiry from the YMCA director about expanding my class and adding a kids class this fall.  Got some work to do to plan for a kids class but that would be fun!!!