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 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!!! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Several Days Offline Due to Equipment Failure

After several days offline, I am back online.  Guess that I was having a little withdrawal from technology and the outside world.  During those days of no "puter", I found myself saying several times...I will look that up on the internet...then I would realize that I had no internet...therefore could not look at anything.  My cell phone is only a cell phone (imagine that) so that wasn't an option to use for access.  Wow, how I did not realize how dependent I have become on the internet and computers.

Late yesterday afternoon when the UPS guy delivered the package, I almost ran to the door to jerk the package from his hand and rip open the box to get my new modem.  My heart was racing as I sat there waiting for the few moments to pass until I could get my PC up and access the world again.  Since my husband was home, I showed restraint and let the UPS truck leave the driveway before I walked quietly downstairs and out the door to retrieve my new modem. I did walk straight back into the house and office then grab a letter opener to slice through the tape holding the box closed.  Slowly smiling as I gently lifted the new modem out of the packing material, I knew that I was going to get back online within minutes and everything would be OK again.  I spent several minutes disassembling the old modem and connecting all the new cords to the new modem, then I was ready to fire it up.   I plugged in the power cord and the lights began to breath caught in my throat...soon baby soon.  The fast start booklet that came with the new modem said that it might take up to 20 minutes to connect...I just sat there waiting and watching the lights flash.  Then I said to myself, this is ridiculous and forced myself to walk out of the room.  Coming back a few minutes later, everything looked good.  Lights were solid green...a good sign.  So I tried to connect to the internet. Something was wrong...after I went through all the required screens for signons, passwords, and everything else, I still was unable to connect.  Now what???  I checked all the connections while crawling around on the floor.  The only one that I could not get to easily, the phone line, was behind the desk.  Could I have it in the wrong side of the phone jack?  Crawling on my belly and wiggling through the stuff on the shelves under the desk, I finally reached the phone jack.  All that isn't easy for a 65 year old woman.  After several attempts, I finally changed the cord into the other phone outlet.  Now I had to stand up...but first, the phone was ringing so I answered it while still sitting on the floor.  It was a man from Angie's List wanting me to give him a report on a company.  He began to talk then said that his computer was running slowly and he would need to reboot...I explained that I was on the floor trying to connect my new modem.  He agreed to call me back later.  OK, now I need to stand up, please knees don't fail me now.  After several minutes of wiggling around on the floor, I finally got up on my feet again. Success!

Now, let's try connecting again.  This time the lights flashed and the internet appeared.  I let out a breath and felt my entire body relax.  Now time to check email to see important messages I had missed.  I had over 350 emails to wade through!!!  I am still going through many of them.

I have fallen into the tech world and become almost as dependent as everyone else.   Maybe we need to turn off our computers and phones occasionally and take a break from technology.  It can survive without us but can we survive without technology?  Can you?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What we do for our friends

Sometimes I wonder how I got myself into these things...  My cousin called me and asked if I would paint some glasses for her brother-in-law's birthday.  Sure, I said without thinking it through.  She went on to say that "he is an Appalachian State University alumni so something ASU on the glasses would be great".  "My son went to ASU", I responded.  "Yes, I know so you should be able to do something easily."  Then we met for lunch a few days later and I took home 6 beer steins wondering what I was going to paint on these.  I am a much better free form painter than someone who has to follow the lines.  However, here I was with these large beer steins staring me in the face asking what was I going to put on them.  I searched the internet for something related to the school and simple.  Their  logo is a large "A" in white surrounded with gold and black.  That should not be too hard to paint, so I made a template and the project got underway.

Most glass paint is somewhat transparent so it takes multiple layers to cover the surface.  Knowing this, I taped the template to the inside of the glass and started painting the large "A" in white then traced the outside of the white with the bright yellow and then a black outline, that is after I searched through all my glass painting brushes for the best sizes to use. The first brush that I used was too big, so I wiped off the paint and started again. After multiple layers of white and yellow, I finally got the coverage that I needed then outlined the white with yellow again and again.  Then, I outlined the white and yellow with black.  Straight lines are difficult to keep straight with a paint brush...and this "A" is all straight lines.  I did not use any stencils or anything else other than the original template on the inside of the glass.  Guess they don't look too bad for not using a stencil or any other type of machine.  Any time you hand paint something, it is always going to be different from the next one, so each glass is a little different.

Oh, I almost forgot, I painted the word "mountaineers" on the other side of the glass.  Spent most of the day trying to paint these glasses.  I am going to try to finish them up this afternoon and get them into the oven to heat set tonight when it isn't so hot.

Teaching an acrylic class at Michaels this morning, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Painting a lighthouse is much easier than a big "A".


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Art Show at Town Crier Antique Mall

Yesterday was an interesting day.  Temp outside registered 102+ at our house about 3 in the afternoon.  However, the official temp at the airport was only 98.  Walking outside, it felt as though you were walking into an oven.  Luckily I spent almost the entire day inside at the Town Crier Antique Mall in Belmont, only about 3 miles from my house.  This is a new store which opened in March.  Yesterday, they had an art show and invited me to participate.  So I gathered paintings, lighted painted wine bottles, wine bottles covered with polymer clay, and some frames covered with polymer clay leaves which included original photography, and headed over there on Saturday morning.  I was also invited to set up a painting studio and paint during the day, so I also had my oil paints, easels, canvas, business cards, and some brochures.  Great opportunity to promote my art.

Town Crier is a nice store with a variety of items from antiques to new items.  The store is divided up into several rooms with partitions between each booth.  Like most stores, there are large and small booths for rent.  I was able to set up my easels and paints in one of the larger unrented booths. The Art Show was in another of the large unrented booths.  Unfortunately, there were very few entrants for the show and Nancy, the owner and an artist, was unable to get additional judges, so I agreed to be a judge with Nancy.  I took my items out of the show and placed them for exhibit only.  We awarded five ribbons for place and additional ribbons for participation.  I felt good about how we awarded the ribbons.  One of my painting students, Mary, received a ribbon for her work which made me very proud.

The morning and early afternoon were very slow with only a few customers. One customer looked at my art, was surprised that I was painting an animal portrait and accepted a brochure and card.  She said that she was not aware that anyone local did animal portraits.  I was working on an oil portrait of a Schnauzer, still in the very early stages.  I try never to get my hopes up that someone who talks about my work and accepts a brochure will call and commission a portrait.  Too many times have I heard people say that they will call and you never hear from them. That sounds like dating doesn't it?   Cannot count the number of brochures and business cards that I have given out.  That is the nature of the game. Took a break mid afternoon and went home for a couple of hours then returned about 6 hoping for more traffic in the store.  Still there were very few people in the store until closing.  The owner even commented that the fish camp (our local name for a fish restaurant) had very few cars in the parking lot so apparently people were not out and about yesterday because of the heat.  Gave out a couple more brochures last night.  Nancy seemed genuinely interested in my art and made several comments about the variety of art.

Maybe something will come of my investment in the day, maybe not.  At least I was able to get some work done on the Schnauzer.  I will keep painting and I will keep trying to promote my art in different ways.  I will also continue to make contacts wherever I can.  You never know where something or someone will lead.      


Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday, Monday

Didn't get much done on Sunday...not even sure what I accomplished yesterday.  It seems to be a blur.  I did cook some french toast for breakfast then made spaghetti sauce for dinner.  Took a little while to put the ingredients together for the spaghetti sauce.  Guess my creative self was cooking yesterday.

Tonight I have my American Barns quilting class.    I have finished most of the top for the quilt.  Just need to put the quilt sandwich together, put on the binding and quilt.  That doesn't sound like much but there is still quite a lot to do.  Haven't decided whether to try to do the quilting myself or hire someone with a long arm quilting machine to quilt it for me.  I really need to make that decision soon.

Now I just need to decide what my next project is going to be.  I still have several unfinished projects, a sunflower table runner and several others, all of which need to be finished.  One thing that I would like to do is create a small wall hanging out of the Appalachian States University extra blocks left over from the quilt that I made for my son.  Maybe that needs to be my next project.  I also have blocks sewn that were for a quilt top that I never finished.  As a typical quilter, I have lots of unfinished projects.  That seems to be a norm for most quilters and artists.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yesterday Website Update

Yesterday I spent hours working on my website which I have neglected for tooooo...long.  I am not a developer nor an IT expert, so I spent a great deal more time relearning how to make updates than I should have.  Frustrating! But as a small crafter, I cannot afford to hire someone to manage my website.  Unfortunately, because of my struggles I did not get as much updated as I needed.  So, I will spend another day working on the website.  Since I have recently been making more effort to make contacts and promote my business, I really must get these updates made.  Again, balancing all the pieces of my life.

I was able to finish sewing a small tote bag early yesterday morning.  Very cute!  I was following a free pattern which seemed very simple.  Either I did not read the instruction carefully or the instructions need to be updated.  I put all the pieces together then tried to turn the bag...whoops...the straps were on the inside between the lining and outside...don't could happen to anyone!  So I had to tear out some of my stitching and figure out how to put the two pieces together so the purchaser could have the straps to carry the bag.  I will post a picture.  Finally, I determined what I had done and made a note on the printed instructions.  Love the colors in this small tote bag.

Back to working on the website today and probably tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday Art - Sewing

Spent the day Tuesday at my sewing machine - my art form.  I created a pin cushion with a thread bag which attaches with a button.  I also started cutting out pieces for a tote bag to sew but soon realized that I did not have enough material in the contrasting color to sew it together.  Then I cut out pattern pieces to make a pillow.  Felt like I accomplished a lot of things.  Still have a sunflower table runner to finish quilting.  Finally, I finished putting together the top of the American Barns quilt that I have been working on each Monday night in class.  Now I have to decide whether to quilt it myself or have it quilted by someone with a long arm quilting machine.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  It seems that I have so many projects in process however, I am trying to finish some between working on the stuff we have identified that needs to be fixed or cleaned in the house.

My husband looked at the pin cushion last night and said "is that all you did all day?"  He does not realize how long it takes to be creative.  He took his truck to the Chevy dealership and had the air conditioning fixed then cut the grass.  Guess he could more clearly "see" things that he did.

To finish the tote and other stuff, I need to go to Mary Jo's Cloth Store again.  It seems that I go there one to two times per week.  If you have never been there, you are missing an experience.  Mary Jo's has been around over 50 years.  I remember my mother dragging me around there when I was a child and we came back to NC to visit.  She always had to go to Mary Jo's to get material...all the way from FL.  Today you see tags from many different states when you pull into the parking lot.  The store is in a different place and much larger now and doesn't smell like it did (fabric had a terrible odor years ago).  But Mary Jo is still working on the floor every day.

Later this morning, I am meeting my business partner to move around and consolidate some stuff in our consignment booth at Heritage Mill Antique and Designer Mall.  We have lots of moving stuff around to do.  That's always a job.  Guess my creativity today will be re-arranging our products for sale at the Mill.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Morning

Lately the mornings have been very cool and feel great however, by afternoon we are in the 90s in North Carolina.  Makes you want to see spring or late fall again.  We try to get out in that cool early morning air to work outside then sneak into the house and air conditioning in the afternoon and evening.  That's not always possible though.  My wonderful hubby and I have been trying to work on our yard and outside the house for awhile.  Getting rid of the weeds in the flower beds, adding mulch, planting some flowers, cutting grass, cutting grass, cutting grass...getting rid of old stuff we don't use or need anymore are just some of the things we have been doing outside.  Inside we have removed wallpaper from all rooms...bathrooms and kitchen and painted.  Although our house is only about 14 years old, it really needed a face-lift.  Changed the cabinet knobs and hinges from tarnished and abused brass to pewter and brushed nickel.  Now some of the cabinet doors don't line up and can't close.  Still have to work on that in the kitchen.

Yesterday, I spent painting...not painting on a canvas but painting around the windows on the front of the house.  We have a lot of windows as they are all the way across the front of the house. Luckily the overhang shaded most of the area where I was painting.

All this house and yard work is interfering with my art time in any form.  I have a sunflower table runner in process of quilting.  I still have to put on the last side of the outside border on my American Barns quilt.  Then there is my painting.  Lately, I have only had time to paint stuff for teaching...  I need some time to paint just for fun.  Maybe this weekend, I can squeeze in some time for finishing my sunflower table runner, finishing the top of my barn quilt and painting something other than windows.

I also need to spend some time on my Etsy store and my website...I am going to try.  We will see!    

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Class at the YMCA This Morning

I had my regular Thursday morning class at the YMCA this morning.  Although I had only one student, we had a good class.  The student is new so this gave me the opportunity to work some one on one time with her.  After class, she indicated that she was very happy with what we accomplished which always makes an instructor feel good.  I think that she has lots of potential which just need to be brought out.  That will also help her confidence level.  As an instructor I have been told time after time that an individual has no art talent, no ability.  Often, that person just needs the right teacher who can break down instructions and encourage that individual.  The most difficult thing for most artists is looking at a blank canvas and trying to decide where to start, just like a writer looking at a blank sheet of paper. Start somewhere...take that first step no matter what your are doing.  To paraphrase...each journey begins with that first step no matter what you are doing.  Where would we be without taking that first step!

As you get older, you realize that there are things that you would like to accomplish before time runs out...a type of bucket list (everyone has one).  Make that list and start working on it, whether it is painting, traveling, education or anything else.  Before you know it, you will be out of time due to health, finances, family commitments, or any number of other things.  Try something new, you will be happy you did.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Last night I had three students in my Grumbacher acrylic class at Michaels. All three are from the same family, a family of five children, and are home schooled.  These are some of the best behaved children I have seen in a long time.  These children are anxious to learn, help one another and very attentive. The oldest works with oil paint and the two younger work in acrylics.  The class was great.  We worked on a painting titled "Hawaiian Evening".  Interesting teaching these students as each has a very different style which makes it fun.  The oldest, about 15, is more free in his style and usually has paint all over himself.  He is also more experienced than the younger two.    The youngest, a female about 12, uses a lot of paint and therefore has a lot of texture in her painting.  She also gets paint all over herself including her clothes and is not afraid to try anything.  The middle child, a male about 13, is very precise in his painting.  He is extremely neat both in painting and in his attire.  He did not even have a spot of paint on his hands. He is also the most quiet of the group.  This is a great group of kids and I enjoy teaching them.

I am working on a painting from a photo that was taken by a friend of my son.  I will be submitting this to Grumbacher for approval to teach.  I am also working on a lesson plan for this painting for approval.  Everything that we teach a Michaels must be approved by Grumbacher which is not as bad as it seems.  They want to provide a consistent program for our students.  Currently we are teaching only "beginners" in a two hour class.  They finish a painting within that two hours.  I would like to have more time to work with some students and teach more techniques.  Sometimes the two hours is not enough to really get into the process.  Hoping for some intermediate classes in the future so we can really focus on individual techniques.  I enjoy painting and teaching.  Sometimes it is so rewarding to see how different students interpret what I teach.  At times, it is difficult to keep my hands away from their painting to "correct" something that I would do differently.  But that is part of teaching and discipline.  My style is not their style.     

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back after a long time away

I just realized that I have not posted anything since March...shame on me.  A lot has been going on in our world. I am teaching classes at two Michaels stores - Gastonia and Park Road in Charlotte.  I have also completed the jewelry certification for Michaels and will be filling in on beading classes at Michaels.  I have three people in my evening acrylic class tonight at Michaels in Gastonia.

On Monday nights I am meeting with some ladies and we are each working on our American Barn Quilt (Eleanor Burns).  Getting close to having the top finished and proudly, I will say that I feel good about my quilt.  Not perfect but good.  The colors are primarily lavender and greens on a white background.  Of course the barns are brown made from fabric that looks like wood.  Also have some animals appliqued in the barnyards and some trees in the backgrounds.  Trying to get a good photo so I can post.

Still teaching at the YMCA in McAdenville on Thursday mornings where I have a great group of ladies enjoying the fellowship and lessons.  They are all doing great with their acrylic paintings.  Currently we are working on poppies in a copper pot.  This has been a fun painting to do and I think that everyone will agree on that.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Painting Classes at the YMCA McAdenville are Coming Back Beginning March 24

Well folks...I have some good news.

I was finally able to discuss the painting classes with the appropriate person
at the McAdenville YMCA. We agreed to resume our painting classes on Thursday,
March 24 (next Thursday). The time will need to change slightly...10:00 am -
12:00 noon. Instead of meeting in the "ballroom", we will be meeting in the
"Parlor" which is currently being repainted a buttery yellow. The "Parlor" is
that large middle room with plenty of light from the windows plus some
additional lights have been installed. New carpet is also going to be installed
in that room.

There are lots of updates going on at the McAdenville "Y" and the building is
much more busy than when we were meeting there last fall.

There is now a Massage Room which was previously Michelle's office. Some other
rooms have been painted and are being updated.

At this time, the class fee will remain at $12.00 per student per class however,
I must have a minimum of 3 students to conduct a class.
Your will continue to pay me directly for each class. If you know that you are
going to be unable to attend, please let me know as soon as possible so that I
can notify others if I need to cancel class for that day.

I look forward to seeing everyone and hearing what you have been working on.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Zibbet Shop for Family Footprints Designs

Recently we created a new shop for Family Footprints Designs on  Please follow this link to visit the new shop .  Zibbet is a newer online site featuring hand crafted and vintage items and becoming very popular for a place to shop online for those hand crafted and vintage items.

Currently, I  have only a few items listed however, I am adding items.  Some items will be different from those on Etsy and others will be duplicates on both sites.  Check back frequently for new items on both sites.   

Update from Judy

It seems like it has been forever...since I posted a note to my Yahoo group.  I have been able to resume teaching classes at Michaels (both acrylic and oil) and have taught a class at the Lucille Tatum Center in Gastonia.

I have called the YMCA in McAdenville numerous times over the last three weeks and still have not been able to reach the person with whom I need to discuss classes.  She finally returned my call yesterday while I was gone so I will try again today to connect.  Michelle is no longer there so I am starting over with Susan Mosk.

Doing much better with my arm and shoulder.  Still going to therapy and have graduated to once a week.  We are working on strengthening now.  I understand what Blenda was talking about now with the long recovery process.  Never imagined this long recovery process!!!

Hope that everyone is doing well.  I will continue to try to get things scheduled with the YMCA and let you know the progress.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Family Footprints Designs

Family Footprints Designs

Blogging Frequency

When I established this Blog, I thought that I would be able to blog more frequently however, my input has been sporadic at best.  I continue to work on multiple projects...painting, quilting, jewelry, cooking, etc. which often causes me not to finish projects in a timely basis.  Do you struggle with doing multiple projects things?  How do you cope with this dilemma ?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Morning and the Weather is Cold and Windy

Happy Monday Morning!!!  As usual got up early this morning and pressed the start button on my coffee pot...walked away to let Dakota out and came back to get my coffee.  When I looked again (not being so sleepy this time), the coffee pot on light was lighted but there was no coffee brewing in the pot.  Like, the light was on but no one was home...  I thought OK Judy, don't panic.  So I pressed the button to turn off the pot and waited a few seconds then pressed the button again.  Doing the same thing twice sometimes works, doesn't it?  Waited a few minutes and still not coffee being produced in the carafe.  Went through the same actions again with the same results.  So next I unplugged the the pot and waited.  Plugged it in and started the process again.  Same results, no coffee dripping into the carafe.  Same process again with same results.  Oh no, no coffee this morning!!!  What do I do?  A thought started forming...instant coffee... While the water was heating up in the microwave, I suddenly remembered that we have a new coffee maker in the garage that we bought months ago because it was on sale.  Mixed my instant coffee and took a sip then started down to the garage to find the box.

After much searching, I located the box and brought it upstairs to the kitchen one step at a time.  Next began the process of cleaning everything so I could make coffee in this new Mr. Coffee.  After about an hour of trying with the old coffee maker, the instant coffee and cleaning the new Mr. Coffee I was ready for a fresh pot of coffee.  Next challenge was to install a new filter but I could not get the filter holder to close securely.  Finally success!!!  As I pushed the button to start the coffee brewing, Robert came into the kitchen...perfect timing!  Now we have a new coffee maker and a fresh pot of coffee.

How was your Monday morning?   

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Jewelry Experiences, Another Form of my Art

Spent the day on Friday creating some jewelry.  This is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time and finally have enough material and tools to create.  As with my painting and quilting, I purchased a book and just dove in learning as I go.  I really love the wire wrapped jewelry and started creating some of those.  I made 9 pair of earrings on Friday.  I had already created two bracelets and a few necklaces previously.  Creating jewelry is challenging, just like creating a painting from a blank canvas however, the finished piece is very rewarding.

I will be expanding my Etsy shop, Family Footprints, to display the jewelry.   Creating is just the first step.  Now I must update my inventory database with a description, determine a price and then take some creative photos. Sometimes the creative part is easy, it is the "backroom" administrative stuff that takes so much time and effort.
These things must be done though to promote any product.

Robert and I took my free standing "L" shaped display up to the Heritage Mill Antique Mall yesterday.  I hung some of my portraits, both pop art and oils on the lattice.  Hopefully this will help promote my paintings and portraits.  I still have to make a sign with information.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Updating the Syllabus for Classes

Had trouble sleeping this morning because my shoulder and arm were hurting so I thought that I would get up and check the work that I did yesterday to see if anything needed updating.  There are so many updates that I made yesterday that I felt a little overwhelmed and was not sure if everything was correct.  So checking each oil painting syllabus, I found that I had left out the odorless turpentine in the supplies. That is a "must have" for oil painting.  So I am updating each syllabus this morning.

Really need to get all this paperwork done so I can paint.  There are so many things that I want to paint.  However, for these classes at Michaels, I must choose paintings that can be completed in about 2 hours.  Often those are difficult to find or create.  Teaching at the YMCA is nice because we can continue a painting over several weeks if necessary.  I really have missed teaching that group as several people have become student/friends.  Hopefully, we can get that group going again by next week. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Michaels Classes and Update

Yesterday I taught an acrylic classes at Michaels in Gastonia.  We now also have two acrylic classes scheduled in February,  the 8th and 22nd.  The schedule is on the page for Grumbacher Michaels Acrylic Classes.

As of January 31, I will begin teaching oil painting classes at Michaels.  The classes are scheduled for January 31 and February 15.  I have created a new page for those classes.

I have not yet resumed my classes at the YMCA.  Hopefully I will be able to get those going again next week.

Thank you to all my students for the support during my recovery from shoulder surgery.

Trying to keep all these class schedules up to date is a challenge.  Also having time to do the administrative things and be creative...need more time in the day.  Or maybe I should just be more organized.....Keith said that I had more time and kept things better when I was working full time.  That's a thought.  I had to be organized then.

Painting Hint!
Just a reminder that if you mix red and green together, you get a case you don't have brown next time you paint.  What color do you get when you mix red and blue?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Updating my Status and Blog

I spent a few minutes this morning updating my Blog.  Added a page for Micheal's classes and an About Me page.  Getting used to blogging is a challenge.  I need to schedule time to update the blog, plan and paint samples for classes, update my website, and everything else that happens in my life.  I have four sample paintings completed for my Michael's classes but all of them are seascapes or atleast water scenes.  I started a landscape yesterday to teach about depth and distance in a February class.  Need to finish that and get a photo so I can get the sample to Michael's.

Also, I am making a promotional display sheet for Michael's with photos of the paintings that we will be doing in January and February.  Hopefully, I can get that completed and to Michael's this afternoon.

This is going to be a quick post as I need to paint this morning.

Micheal's Acrylic Classes