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 laugh...it 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!