Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Bas-Reliefs!

Before we get down to business, I just have to share my new pride and joy -- that Korean Dwarf Lilac! Oh, its scent is heavenly! Both myself and hubby are lilac junkies, and we have two big lilac bushes in our backyard...and they're juuuust starting to bloom! Joan Berkwitz, being The Great and Powerful Oz of Green Growing Things, instructed me how to propagate lilac clippings at last year's Mayhem -- but I promptly forgot how after she left! Needless to say, I'll be hitting her up again for that info, and taking notes. I have all the "stuff," except that crucial element of how. onto the bas-reliefs...
You can see them in the "Reflective" album and the "Jax" album in my Photobucket account, but here are teaser pix...



Now I forgot to mention their sizes in my post to my giftware list, so here they are: "Reflective" approximately is 5.5" x 5" and "Jax" approximately is 9.5" x 6.5"...they're both big! Lots of space for painters to rock our world!

Anyhoo, in those albums, you can compare the new versions to their original ceramic versions, which were cast from the oil clay originals designed for ceramic casting (though I must mention that the ceramic version of "Jax" depicts an uncleaned greenware casting). You can see that some rather significant changes have been made for the resin versions. Most notably:

"Reflective": Shown in the picture is an actual resin casting, ready to go. You can see that his right ear has been resculpted, along with his forelock braid and some tweaking has been done to his left ear, as well. Both ears have deeper sculpting, too, along with his nostril. His nasal profile has been tweaked just a sidge, too. Along the outer rim of the frame, he's titled "Reflective," with my signature. This guy will be released very soon, perhaps this week. If you'd like to stay abreast of his (and the Jax) release, please join my giftware list by sending an email to this address.

"Jax": Depicted in this picture is the master for the resin casing, not an actual resin casting. Barry of Laf'n Bear LLC, who'll be doing the castings, used a (cleaned) ceramic version to make a production mold for me, but alas -- he hasn't seen this new version with the peek-a-boo window on that front leg. So we'll see how his eyebrows move when he does. The master also has a cut-away ear, sculpted underside on that left hoof and a deeper nostril. On the outer rim of the frame, he is titled "Jax," and with my new logo microstamp (fun!) and signature.

I'm also cogitating getting these puppies cast in cold-cast bronze, or actually getting them cast in bronze. They'd both be good baby-steps into that medium. Well, to be specific -- I have an idea about turning "Jax" into one part of a kind of triptych with two other matched jumping idea I'm rather excited about. It certainly would be a splendid candidate as a bronze set. Perhaps I'll do both cold-cast bronze and real bronze to hit different collectors
(btw -- it's also been suggested to get these guys cast in chocolate, and trust me....I'm not ruling that out, either! Forget chocolate bunnies! We need to think up a horsey holiday so we can exchange chocolate horse-shaped-objects!). So I'll be cogitating all that, and working on sketches for those two new pieces for my idea.

Artistically, I'm in love with the bas-relief approach to sculpture since I can employ narratives and graphic concepts to the work, things which aren't always applicable to full-body work. Bas-relief also presents design challenges not found in full-body work, which keeps my creativity and skill set fresh. And on the painting front, I'm actually rather excited to be cold-painting a few of these myself -- they're big enough to get in a lot of detail, but you don't have to match the other side! Yesssss.

I'm also preparing for Mayhem in about two weeks -- I'm so excited about this! It's such a highlight on my calendar! To that end, I hope to have a working plaster mold of my Feral Mare medallion, and if all goes well, the gals each will have a bisque of her waiting for them to glaze. However, I'm notorious for hosing-up multi-piece molds, so we'll see. The operative term is "if." But if anything, Joan and Lesli can help me when they're here to get a working mold.

More later as it more teaser pix of the Haflie mare, and her foal!

"An artist is alone with his/her art, but the art comes in huge multiplicity, and an almost promiscuous sense of what's next. The process is the fun; the product is only a possibility." ~Vicki Easingwood


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Fantastic Day!

What a terrific day! Mom came over to help me pot the last of my flowers -- and phew -- we're all done! Thanks Mom! Everybody is happy in their new pots, ready to grow big, bright and beautiful! I splurged this year and bought a Korean Dwarf Lilac for the front porch -- so pretty. I popped it right in front of a front room window, so its intoxicating fragrance can waft into the house. Mommy bird was rather cross with us, for creating such a disturbance on the front porch as we worked. She chirped angrily at us and stared! But she settled right down once we were finished...a bit perturbed, but no worse for wear.

I'm nearly finished with "Jax," and should be able to post pix of him and "Reflective" either tomorrow or Thursday, with their ceramic counter-parts so you can see the changes. Surprisingly, the really difficult part I've been having with "Jax" is matching the background texture between the two mediums -- the effect in the oil clay original is a bit tricky to duplicate in epoxy because of the different textures and properties between them and the solvents used to smooth them. Go figure!

Anyway, the crowning glory of the day was the massive lightening-thunder storm that swept through here around 4pm, thankfully just moments after we were done with our potting! We could see it...heck, we could hear it...smell it...coming from the West and hurried to finish our potting. And WOW. Did it deliver! Dark skies. Ominous clouds. Hail. Wind. Down pouring rain. Lightening. THUNDER. Booming, roiling, bellowing THUNDER. Thunder so deep, it rattled our windows and walls. Yessssss. Then CRACK....BAM....POW! A thunderclap right above our house and out went our power with a pop! WHOO HOOO! AWESOME! For about an hour, our only light came from the big window to our back yard (above.) Though I must say -- it's alarming how dependent we are on electricity. We just basically sat around and twiddled our thumbs until the power came back on! Anyway...No -- our fence isn't on fire (below)! That's steam swirling up from the wet fence thanks to the sun's rays after the storm had passed. Wild.'s another "Well well WELL!" moment...I walked into the office (which is still a wreck) and find Wuzzle fast asleep on his side, with his blobular belly oozed between the wires of the all his gooey glory. I, of course, had to ooze that goo after I snapped this picture.

Anyway, I hope to post pix of "Jax," "Reflective," and perhaps more teasers of the Halfie mare soon!

"Shock is still fun. I won't ever shut the door on it." ~ Nicolas Cage


Monday, April 27, 2009

A Day at the Dunes

Welp, as promised, here are those pix of our day trip to the Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park. It was a glorious day and hardly anyone was there. This is a pretty cool natural phenomenon, with the dunes being created by a natural sand trap caused by opposing wind systems. It's the tallest sand dune in North America, rising 470 feet above ground level. What's also neat about the place is that it has an observatory, the largest public observatory in Idaho. How cool is that? We want to visit next time and spend the night in the campground so we can visit the observatory, which wasn't open when we visited on this trip.

One of the big highlights was seeing this bunny! He let me get within five feet of him to take this photo!:

There's also a small lake at the foot of the dunes (an odd juxtaposition), which was full of these quirky little ducks:

The area around the dunes was spotted by thousands of little clumps of these pretty little flowers:

What a beautiful day!:

We ended the day at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Gallo Giro in Kuna. This place is da bomb -- easily the best Mexican food I've ever had! And they make their margaritas from scratch -- no mixes! You can't beat that with a churro!:

I think back on that trip, and the relaxation we felt. It was a super day. We took back roads to get there, which is part of the fun. I truly relish these meandering wanderings we take on a whim. I keep this in mind as I contemplate cleaning my office, because I know it'll be a two-day job. It'll entail a shovel and lots of garbage bags, and five sets of peering beady eyes wondering what the heck I'm doing! And perhaps some margaritas of our own to ease the drudgery of it all. In the meantime, I'll continue planting my petunias and finishing up "Jax," so I can post pix of him and "Reflective" sometime this week for you.

"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." ~ Anatole France


Friday, April 24, 2009

Halle - FREAKIN' - lujah

Ah! Thank GAWD. It's done! The Winter 2009 issue of the RESS ezine, The Boat, is done! It's a big 200 page issue with articles ranging from Appaloosa pattern interaction, photographing bas-relief, painting a Silver Dapple, learning how to "See" for painting, to sculpting hocks...and that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg! Awesome info, awesome authors and lots to learn and oogle! Phew.

I gotta say though...this issue felt like the Titanic. But in my alternate reality that iceberg didn't translate into "O-H, D-E-A-R." Instead, it translated into "B-U-C-K-U-P-L-I-T-T-L-E-C-A-M-P-E-R." Not only did I have to learn InDesign® on the fly (a huge program), and then recreate all the templates in that program (indescribably tedious), I had an entire complicated and image-laden issue to layout and organize already. Another labor of love. I feel like I've survived some sort of shipwreck and ended up in a tropical paradise. I hear steel drums! Where's my coconut-shell libation?! A big one. And it had better have little paper parasols in it!

But speaking of love -- InDesign® rules! Thank you so much for the recommendation, Jenn Danza, and kudos to the InDesign® team (this is a "shout out" to Denise S.! -- hey you!). This program rocks! Now to wrap my head around all the bells n' whistles before the Summer 09 issue! I can get back to work! Hazzah!

"Today's accomplishments were yesterday's impossibilities." ~ Robert H. Schuller


Monday, April 20, 2009

Day-dreamin' in dry dock....

Spring has certainly burst forth, and my head is bursting with ideas and inspiration! Pow! But first I have to finish what I started, namely the (very late) Winter issue of The Boat. It's been in dry dock for way too long as I grappled with InDesign® and some last-minute tweaks. The members have been graciously patient -- thank goodness! Thank you! So that issue has gotta get launched soon, gosh darn it. To that end, today I worked on the new illustrations for an article I wrote for it, and it feels good that's done. Tomorrow, I'll be snapping pix for another article I wrote for the issue about photographing bas-relief. I'm a bit apprehensive about this since it'll entail organizational and mental-focus skills my very distracted brain may not be capable of right now. We'll see. Hopefully, I'll be zippin' the issue off later this week to the intrepid RESS Executive Director for distribution -- fingers crossed!

Anyhoo, it was just too gorgeous outside to stay indoors yesterday, so we took a day trip to the Bruneau Sand Dunes on a whim. I'll post pix from our jaunt sometime this week.
Now I don't know about you, but there's rarely anything prettier in Spring than a flowering tree! And happily -- our neighborhood is chock-full of 'em!

Oh, I wanted to show you another sneek peek of the Haflie mare, but I really have to get The Boat outta here. Same with the mini Quarter Horse stallion I've started work on, too. Doh! So much to little time! But my happy tulips don't have such worries...

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night: to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring... these are some of the rewards of the simple life." ~ John Burroughs


Friday, April 17, 2009

OK -- Now I'm Dead

I carefully snapped this pic this morning, and I just couldn't wait to share it with you! Do you see the little mommy bird nested there in the wreath? In the middle, there? Couldn't you just die!? I did! How cute is that!? This nest is right outside our front door, and we get to hear her happily chirping through the windows of our front living room! What a wonderful Spring gift! I can't believe our luck! There are eggs in there, so I'm anxiously waiting little cheepy-chirpy baby birds! This is too exciting! Stay tuned!

Anyhoo -- I often get asked, "Why do you refer to your rats as The Well Wells?" and the answer to that would be -- because whenever I walk in on them, they're invariably doing something that compels me to say, "Well Well Well!" For instance, things such as this:

Note how Jeepie is using Wuzzle to lean on while he eats his morning scrambled egg. Leaning on him like a counter-top. Well Well WELL!

Now back to the studio to continue work on the Haflinger mare!

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." ~ George Carlin


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Welcome to Beautiful Ground Zero

Behold the carnage wrought in my ceramics studio over the past few months. Impressive, huh? When I make a mess, I truly know what I'm doing. I'm a Master. A Master of Disaster. But in keeping with the season, it was time to reclaim the studio! So thanks to my Mom, we spent today shoveling it out, organizing everything and washing everything down. Thanks tons, Mom! I don't know what I'd do without you! With your help, the Landmark Court Reclamation Project was a grand success:

I think I could actually hear my work table go, "Ahhhhhhhh...." Phew -- what a job. It was wonderful, though, to open up the garage to the gorgeous Spring day today. And there's something so full of promise with a clean and organized studio. A sense of bristling potential. Well, at least the potential for me to make a royal mess of things again!

Now...time for the office. In the meantime, enjoy this (Thank you, Elaine L.! Though now I have wee fat Shetlands thundering through my imagination...though that's not a bad thing!)...

"All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it." ~Samuel Butler


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blue skies...

I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend! That's the view from my parent's backyard up to Bogus Basin on Easter Day (above). And (below) is my Mom's Easter necklace she wore. She has a whole collection of holiday-inspired jewelry -- it's really quite impressive. The puffy cheeks on those bunnies slay me. We had a wonderful meal (lamb kabobs) and Mom and I watched Kung Fu Panda when the guys retreated off to do guy things (Viva Master Oogway!).

Spring has sprung with a vengeance here in Boise, and thank goodness! Glorious days where we can open up the entire house to the sweet air of a new season. We were both ready to be done with Winter. Hubby has already given his Harley a good wash-down in anticipation for long blissful miles on the road,
and we're thick into planning our year's rides and rallies, something which Hubby gleefully fixates over. As for myself, I'll be planting my petunias in my front door pots soon for my guard frogs to watch, ever-vigilantly, and begin cogitating the giant Spring-cleaning both my office and ceramic station desperately need. Family is scheduled to visit in summer, Mayhem and JuneJuju dates are set and we luckily snagged tickets to see the band AC/DC in August (score!). AC/DC is the one band we both like, other than Dick Dale, techno and classical...his regular "ugly noise" makes me cringe like a Blue Meanie (Yellow Submarine being one of my very favorite films), and my "screeching banshee" music drives him up a tree. This will be the first time either of us have seen them live, too, so we' a word...stoked. The concert sold out in mere entire we're still kinda in shock we even got this lucky! So lots of great stuff to look forward to in 2009!

I also organized a whole shovel-full of tax stuff and mailed it all off today. What a production. Ugh. And what a weight off my shoulders. I have an accountant do the work, but golly -- it's still a major undertaking. I know my brain would simply liquefy and drain out my ears if I had to do it all. So I feel renewed with that out of my life and now I can focus on studio work and getting The Boat published -- yeah! The fun stuff! Play time!

Anyhoo, much to our delight, a little finch has built a nest in the Christmas wreath I neglected to remove off the front porch, so rest assured...I'm waiting anxiously to snap a pic of the little critter with wee babies! Plus, a pair of mating ducks has again...hopefully...set up shop in my parent's pond and we're hoping that adorable baby ducks will show up soon! Fingers crossed! Speaking of babies...our fish are still having babies (ack!), so I had to buy a nursery tank to keep them from getting gobbled up. Now Todd, Steve, Rodney, Teylah and Sheppard are happily swimming and growing in safety. Also, here's Eppie sweetly snoozin' away, with his little arm tucked under his head -- too cute.

I hope your Spring is as lovely as it is here! Off to the studio to work with a renewed sense of freedom and rejuvenated inspiration! Hazzah!

"Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others." ~ Albert Camus


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm not dead. Yet.

It's The Three Amigos! They're even wearing the black and "silver" costumes Steve, Martin and Chevy wore in the film. All my Charmkins need now are sombreros and tiny six-shooters. My little clowns have grown into three rambunctious and cheery blobs, who miraculously stood still for a whopping two seconds, in "formation," so I could snap this pic.

I've finally come back to my life. Being sick with this blasted flu for nearly three weeks drove me into a hole, away from the world. I couldn't even play with my ratties for most of that time, for fear of getting them sick, too. My poor little fellas were crawling up the sides of the cage by the time I was well enough to at least scoop them out and plop them on "the rat couch" to get "the beans out."
For nearly that entire time, I didn't check email or keep up with the news -- I just sat under blankets on the couch, high on meds and watched Stargate and Stargate Atlantis DVDs. Hubby took great care of me, though -- he's a textbook caregiver and, boy, am I grateful! But I've never been hit so hard by a flu before. Wow. It drained my will to do anything but stare at a TV and drool. Now I'm back (pretty much) and it feels odd -- like I came out of a dream. I'm slowing becoming aware of my life again, re-learning how to get back into the swing of things.

I have to admit, however, that the forced "leave" did clear my mind. It was a mental vacation. I realize now that my little grey cells had become clogged with too many stresses, which were impeding my progress on the Haflinger mare and other studio projects. I was able to get back into the studio last week, and re-started working on the Haflinger mare (sneek peek here, albeit bald):

Things have gone much smoother with her after my "leave," and she's just about ready for her mane, tail and feathers (one of the last things I apply to a sculpture). Ironically I was working on that troublesome left hindleg with fresh epoxy when the flu hit, so I popped her in the freezer, thinking that I'd be well enough the next day to complete it (the cure time of the epoxy I use for sculpting slows almost to a stop if frozen, which allows me to put a sculpture "away" for a short time to come back to it later). Alas, that wasn't the case -- the key term being "almost." After two and a half weeks in the freezer, it finally cured. So I had to yet again dremel it off and restart it. It's become almost funny at this point. But things are far easier now, even with that leg, so I should be able to complete her by the end of the month. I've never had a sculpture challenge me more, but I think she's not only taught me new things about sculpting, but made me aware of just how badly stress can compromise my ability to work in the studio.

Anyway, as soon as I get my head fully screwed, stapled and hot-glued back on, I'll snap pix of the new WB plaque in resin, "Reflective," and the new Jumper plaque, "Jax." I've made some changes to both since the flexible molds for resin casting allow me to play with cut-outs and undercuts more, unlike the rigid plaster molds used for ceramic casting, and I think you'll like the additional touches. This way, you'll also be able to identify a ceramic casting from a resin casting at a glance, which I think is important for collectors. I also want to dive into creating a new edition of Rune Horses and other tiles, so I can really start to use my tile press in earnest. My Sister-in-law, Megan, is cycling in the AIDS run again this year in June, too, and I'll be creating another fired item for auction to support her (HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY NOAH! I miss your face goo!).

Now back to the salt mine -- Cheerio!

"Conscious and unconscious experiences do not belong to different compartments of the mind; they form a continuous scale of gradations, of degrees of awareness." ~Arthur Koestler

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