Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Isn't It Supposed To Be Snow For Christmas?

While we rarely have snow for Christmas, we also rarely have this much rain either and usually not 70 degree temperatures!  Our yard is almost one huge puddle and we live on top of a good-sized hill!  Here is what's going on in our neighborhood!

This is a quick photo of the front yard and you can see how much the land drops toward the road in front of us.

This is the vegetable garden in the back yard - it's a good thing nothing is planted right now, especially at the lower end!

And this is the area where we've been trying to get a pond put in for the past 3+ years!  We finally got a new contractor to do the job but it's just been too wet for him to get his machinery down there.  Right now, it looks as if the pond is already there!

Hope you all are enjoying these last days before Christmas and I truly hope all the peace, joy and mostly love that Christmas signifies is yours throughout the coming year!

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Taboret Finished!

Whew!  Just finished the last of the painting on the taboret and think it looks pretty good.  The only thing I'd change (& I plan to order them after Christmas) is that I'd use the locking hinged shelf supports (like THIS) instead of the gate-legs we have.  We decided to go with the gate-legs because we thought they looked better than the more industrial looking metal shelf support.

The gate-leg had to be cut shorter than we'd planned in order to avoid the hinges on the top lift-up extensions.  They still work but I'd be a little leery of placing anything too heavy toward the outer edges of the extensions.

As soon as the paint dries, I'll be able to use the taboret and we can replace the gate-legs at our leisure.

I wanted to clarify one design point too.  The reason the top extends out past the body of the taboret is so that I'll have room for feet while working.  If the top wasn't out just a bit, my feet would be kicking the bottom of the taboret since there isn't any toe room.  It was something of a challenge to make sure there was enough foot room yet the cabinet would be stable and not tip forward.  Also, I want to be sure I could easily reach inside the cubby hole.  I think we ended up with about a three inch overhang. 

My husband is wonderful and rarely complains but he really likes order, especially in the kitchen.  I know he'll be so glad to get this moved into the studio and out of the way.  And even though I'm a bit more relaxed about art related messes, I totally agree with him on this!  We're both glad it's finished!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Artist Taboret

I've been busy lately with a project that has been something of a mental challenge.  I wanted an artist's taboret but was unwilling to pay the hundreds of dollars that they cost for even a simple one.  (You can say it, I don't care - I'm cheap!)

Actually, I don't mind paying for quality but much of what I've seen of taborets in my price range were pressed board and not so well made.  So when I was browsing in our local Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store, a small, wooden file cabinet on casters caught my attention and I immediately saw a taboret in the making.

The file cabinet was solid wood but not wood finished - it had a black lacquer finish and was in like new condition.  So, for $20, I snatched it up before someone else got to it!  This is very similar to how it looked before I went to work on it only the one I got was much nicer:

The first problem I encountered was how to make it taller as I really wanted something that would hold both my table easel and painting paraphernalia.  I stand to paint so wanted to make it a custom height just for me.  My husband cut 2 sides & a back to bring the height to what I wanted but I wasn't sure how to attach them to the cabinet!  I ended up using strips of wood screwed to the top then gluing and screwing the new boards to that.  It is very stable and seems to be working well.

Next, we cut a top which will be attached to the extensions and added boards to both sides which are hinged to the top.  I have some supports which will hold up those side pieces when I need them but allow them to lie against the side of the cabinet when not in use to save some space.

Here's what it looks like right now.  I still have to give everything a final coat of paint and attach the supports for the side pieces but otherwise, it's very nearly finished.

The bottom (original cabinet) has 3 drawers which I'll use for various art supplies.  I haven't decided what I'll do with the opening created by extending the height but I'm thinking it would be a really good place to store my palettes.  I have one for watercolors, one for acrylic and one for oils along with misc. ones from the dollar store. They're mostly in covered containers so I wouldn't need a drawer to keep them in.

I hope I can finish this in the next few days but it's raining again so have to do any painting in the house.

So that's what I've been doing but it's about time for this project to be completed.  Hope it all ends up as I envision and is as useful and space saving as I hope!

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Alpacas - Who Knew?

My father, who is in his mid 90's, suffers from being cold like a lot of older people.  He has particular trouble keeping his feet warm so I went searching for something that would help. 

I found that Alpaca wool is warmer than any other plus it isn't itchy and has the ability to wick moisture away from the body so I went searching for clothing made from Alpaca wool. 

Talk about serendipity!  I happened upon an posting about an Alpaca breeding farm not far from where we live who was selling Alpaca wool and some garments and socks this weekend only.  Well, my husband and I just got back from the farm and I got the only pair of thick socks in my father's size plus I got quite a few photos of the Alpacas themselves!

I haven't finished processing most of the photos but here's a quick sample.  Aren't they the most interesting creatures?  I'm not sure if I have anything good enough for a painting reference but I hope so as I'd like to attempt the mophead-like hair as shown in this last photo. 

That would take more bravery to attempt than I have at the moment though so it might be quite a while before you see an Alpaca painting from me.

Oh, the socks are very soft and cushy feeling so I hope they work for my dad.  I know one thing, Alpaca wool must be very excellent indeed as those socks were very expensive!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another Maltese Painting

I've been on a Maltese dog painting jag for quite a while now and while I have other paintings either in progress or waiting to be done, I don't see any signs of me wanting to paint anything else for the foreseeable future.

This painting is a watermedia painting which in this case simply means that I used both watercolor and gouache to paint it.  I guess it could rightly be called a watercolor painting but most people associate the term "watercolor" with transparent watercolor while gouache is still watercolor but is completely opaque.

Anyway, I belong to an online dog group and used parts of the various Maltese photos posted there to come up with this dog.  It is mainly from the photos I took at the meet-up with another member who lives in Raleigh though.  It's also a bit fantasized (is that a word?) or cartoonized (I'm pretty sure that one definitely isn't a real word!) as I wanted to use it for our Christmas cards and didn't want anything too realistic.

Enough with the explaining - here it is: