Saturday, October 31, 2009

Costumes and Christmas

It's Halloween, and my youngest will be in charge of handing out candy while dressed up like the character "Where's Waldo". We made a "homespun" costume which means being creative on a limited budget! Here he is in his costume....we looked and looked for a rugby shirt with red and white stripes, but couldn't find one. So, we bought a Henley and wrapped it in white adhesive tape!
And for his ski hat, we couldn't find a red a white one. So we had a white one and I added a red ribbon at the bottom and made a red pom pom for the top. Next year he probably won't want to dress up, so this may be my last costume to put together. That makes me a little sad, :(


It is also time for online market updates and that means lots of fun new offerings to peek at over on TDIPT and Early Work Mercantile.

TDIPT is hosting an online Open House with the theme: "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". The celebrations include a giveaway. Several artist (including myself) have donated a little something for the give away. So be sure to sign up on the blog starting November 1st (Sunday) for a chance to win. Here is the link, and I'll post it on my sidebar too.


For the updates, I've painted a few new items:

~ Santa's Portrait in Miniature: I used the Ivorine for this one.
(he is only 3 X 3 1/2 inches)

~ Christmas Lights Swag

~ Santa in Silhouette: *The List*

(just refresh the page if you still see the Thanksgiving Swag)

Early Work Mercantile

~Devotion: "Preparing the Christmas Sermon"
(a watercolor painting)

~ Christmas Holly Swag

~ Silhouette of a couple: "Under the Mistletoe"

Me on Early Work Mercantile
(refresh your page if you still see a colonist!)

Stay safe this evening!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Traveler's Trip

Since the travelers have returned, I haven't had a chance to post about their trip. I know my relatives have been wanting to see some photos, but of course, the slideshow that was put together for church wouldn't post on blogger, and then the camera's battery died. Well, its been one of those weeks!


Two weeks ago, my husband and older son spent a week in Guatemala. They went with a group from our church to build a home for a family. They went there anticipating a week of manual labor, but spent most of their time with the children of the area. In the first slideshow you'll see faces of these children. They loved to have their photo taken and they loved having visitors! You'll also see a few photos of my son with the children.....I'm sure you'll be able to figure out which ones! :)

In the background of some of the photos, you can see the homes they live in and the neighborhood they've created. Most live in homes made of scraps of tin with dirt floors. The area does have water and electricity, and the organization that helps these families is building cement homes for them. My son and husband did actually build and lay some cement!

In this second slideshow, you'll see the city of Antigua. One of the days they were there, they were taken to the large city to see over 500 year old ruins, eat authentic foods, and see the culture of the area....and of course, pick up a few souvenirs!

*My son took most of these photos and did a beautiful job chronicling their trip*

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Week of Walls

This past week I've spent painting, not miniatures, or even regular-sized canvas, but lots and lots of walls....well, eight in total, ok......sixteen if you want to count the closet walls and ceilings.

(the travelers ready to depart)

My husband and our older son left for a trip to Guatemala this past week (more on that next post.....with lots of pictures hopefully!). So, while half of our family was off being international travelers, I jumped at the chance to freshen up some bedrooms that were in need of some help!

(Before....very early in the morning)

Bedroom #1- belongs to my older son who was away on the trip. So the day they left (very early in the morning) I took photos of each wall so he could put back everything exactly as it was when he left. He has a difficult time with changes, so nothing "new" was done. He wanted the same paint color (in fact, it is the same paint color he has had since he was five years old!). The only "surprise" I had for him when he returned was that I painted the inside of his closet.

(After.....late at night, same blue color just cleaner and fresher.)

Bedroom #2- belongs to my younger son. He was home with me so he had lots of input into the transformation of his room. He has always loved the color red, so when we moved into the house four and half years ago, I told him I'd paint just one wall red...and the "red" of my choosing! :)
Well, after living with it for four years, he decided he wanted a much brighter red. So, this past summer we "tested" another red on a small wall area in his room. I wasn't crazy about the color, and of course, he wanted it all over the room....every wall! After three months of seeing red, (literally on two walls) I came up with a compromise and a solution he red stripe painted horizontally around the room. I "think" I can live with that, and he really like the idea.

(Sorry I didn't take a photo of the two red walls "before", guess I was in such a hurry to get rid of them before he changed his mind!)

So far, I've primed the red walls, painted the base coat a soft off-white called Swiss Coffee. I love that color, I've used it on all the trim in every house we've owned. Then I measured the horizontal border all the way around the room and taped it off with blue painter's tape. Then painted the border a tan, this will help the "red" and black stripes not be so "striking"! (And yes, I typed "black", lol.)
I had to put all of his belonging back into his room to get the house in order before the travelers returned on Saturday, but this week the plan is to finish the red and black larger red stripe in the middle of the tan with a smaller black stripe above and below the red, but still on the tan border.

Funny little story: As a "good faith measure" I took my son to the paint store to purchase his red and black paint. A lady was also having some paint mixed and when mine came out of the mixer and they showed me the "red", she asked, "What are you going to paint with that red?" I know she was thinking I'd say, "Oh, my front door." But I explained the design idea to her, and while my son turned his head, she mouthed the words: "You are a brave Mom." Lol!......if she only knew!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Miniature Portrait: A Painting Process

*Update*~Thanks everyone! If you want to try this surface for yourself, here is a link to the business where I purchased the ivorine. She has all sorts of supplies for miniature painting, and she shipped it quickly too. I purchased the ivorine, the frame, and some very fine grade sandpaper to lightly scuff up the ivorine before painting. Happy painting! :)

Most of us who blog or visit blogs enjoy some sort of creative outlet, either art, creative writing, home decorating, or just being inspired by others who have a passion and wish to share it via the internet.
My creative outlet is painting. The joke around here is if something or someone sits still long enough, Mom will paint it. I'll paint walls, canvas, paper and even a kid or two. (Face paint for Halloween, of course!)

The beginning: Glasses- check, inspirational painting- check (I have to look at a face to paint or draw a face), drawing pencil- check, new miniature painting surface- check, eraser- definitely!

Sketched out and outlined with burnt umber paint. One thing I learned is not to be too heavy with this outlining or the painting has a harshness to it.

Ok, reading glasses are not strong enough, had to pull out the magnifier. It is starting to look like a science experiment! In this photo she has had a colorwash on the background and I've started on the facial features, and a little color on the hair.

Painting has always been a learning process for me. I'm self-taught and only really discovered I could draw or paint after I had children and became a stay-at-home Mom. Painting was for my own pleasure until someone saw my art and requested my first commissioned portrait. And especially back then I enjoyed trying to paint on just about anything because it was all new. Now I try to come up with unique surfaces as a challenge to myself.

Peek-a-boo, I see you....through the magnifier!

One surface I've always wanted to try is ivory. But, of course it is not available except on old piano keys, and that size sort of limits your options as to your subject.
So I've been on a search for a similar surface to ivory and found a product called ivorine. It is basically a thick plastic that has the look of ivory. It comes in sheets and you cut it to fit your painting or frame.

Having never painted on ivory before, I can't compare the ivorine to painting on ivory. But the ivorine was definitely a learning curve experience for me! I guess part of the challenge was the new surface I was learning to paint on, as well as the subject I wanted to first miniature portrait.

I love learning new things, and as anything, the first time is a learning process, so as I share these photos of the process....keep that in mind! :) She is not perfect and I've learned a lot about how the ivorine responds to the watercolor paint, so next time I'll use that knowledge to improve, hopefully! (I know, I'm my own worst critic!)

Up close and personal! Working on her face......eyes are so hard! You want them somewhat symmetrical, but not perfectly so. But hers need a little more work at this point! But check out her ear (enlarge the photo), I was really pleased with how that turned out.

A little more color is added. Layering and letting it dry was the best way to build the color.

She is in her 2 1/2 X 3 inch frame....all 1 1/2 inches of her! Still not quite sure if she is completely "done", but I'll look at her for a few more days and decide. Or, I may start another one! :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is it October Already?

We are back among the living! Everyone is feeling a little better and we are trying to catch up with school and life.

September seemed to fly by....I can't believe October is here already. While I was recouping, I painted a few things for updates this month.

For Early Work Mercantile, I painted a scenic painting of a colonist and Native American. This painting was inspired by an emblematic painting by Charles S. Raleigh (1830-1925).

I also painted a watercolor silhouette of a woman holding her gathered wheat in a basket.

And my last offering for Early Work is another profile portrait inspired a painting by Joseph H. Davis (1811-1865).

Please see more of each here:

Me on Early Work Mercantile

And for TDIPT, I had my husband cut five wood tiles and I painted silhouettes on each for a Thanksgiving Silhouette Swag:

You can see more info here:


Now I need to go blogging and catch up with everyone!