Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Playing with Glass

Like running with scissors, playing with glass can be dangerous. Not so much that I get cut, but in the fact that I get carried away with a new little passion. I have always liked garden junk as long as it is tasteful and as long as I do not get carried away with it to the point that you cannot see the flowers for the junk.
The other day my friend recommended my garden for a garden tour next summer. So I got to making lists of things that needed to be done in the garden to make it interesting to any visitors who come. Move this here, take this out entirely, find a new plant for more interest here and there...and make some new garden art! Yea! Let's go shopping in one of my favorite places, second hand stores.
My newest project is making garden flowers and totems out of glass and ceramic. They are really addicting and fun to work with. As I walked down the aisles of the thrift store and started picking up this vase and that bowl, I quickly realized that I needed a cart to carry all my treasures.
Here are some pics of finished projects. More than I can use so I will sell some at a craft show this fall.
I made these in one afternoon of playing with all the pieces I found at the thrift stores.

A sample of what they look like from the side. This one is nice and delicate, tiny little pink flowers and crystal like glass glued together with silicone glue that holds up really well out side in all weather even though a Minnesota winter. The next step is to attach a hook on the back that is made by flattening a spoon with a sledge hammer, bending the handle into a hook and then attaching it with a really good automotive glue. The hook then slides into a pvc pipe that is pounded into the ground. The flowers hover over garden plants and add sparkle to the garden, especially after the flowers are are through blooming.

The black plate behind this one really shows off the pattern in the glass plate. A candle votive light is the center and a glass gem tops the flower off.

This one is my favorite. The dark blue plate sets off the ruffled glass plate, a candle holder looks like the center of the flower and then a small gem to pull the blue forward.

This is a tower or totem that is built step by step gluing two pieces together letting them dry and then building up until you put the finishing touch -- a little glass bunny topper. Building all of these is a matter of trying something and then changing your mind--but not after they are glued! This tower is held in place by a piece of pcv pipe that is pushed into the dirt in the impatient's planter.

This is one of the flower plates that really came together, lavender plate, little violets painted on a china saucer and a pretty glass candle holder that looks so flower like from this angle. Fun Fun Fun. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hubbard House Gardens

This painting is one of the Hubbard House gardens here in Mankato. I did this one before we left for the Salt Flats. The gardens are at their peak right now. I had painted the carriage house previously and wanted to do something that did not require technical drawing. So picked the garden where artistic license is not as obvious as it is when you paint a crooked building. 

Gerry was painting on the other side of the garden in the sun.  I chose a nice shady place to stand to paint. I just had to move sideways when sun spots would land on my painting making it hard to see colors. That day I got the painting blocked in nd went back the next to finish the painting. Instead of my usual brush work, I decided to finish this one with a pallet knife. The painting has lots of texture and was lots of fun to use the knife to finish the painting. I think it stayed fresher and the knife marks really gave life to all the foliage.

Now that I am back from vacation, I need to keep on making plein airs so that I will have a good variety  for our show in January at the Blue Earth County Historical Center. Gerry and I will have a two person show of our plein airs in Blue Earth County. 

Sketches from Salt Flats

For all my intentions, I did not paint on the salt flats this year. The water on the flats made the salt so sticky that it was thrown all over us as we drove to the staging area. The roads were quite full of pot holes making the drive out really uncomfortable. My pochade box would have been shaken to pieces and any painting I did would have had a salt crust on it. So next year maybe. I did manage a few sketches of the mountains surrounding the salt flats. The first with the label Pilot Peak is mislabled. Pilot Peak is beyond this mountain. For a flat lander like me these were plenty tall. The salt goes right up to the mountains. White and then purple or brown depending on the time of day.

The flag in the foreground was there to mark the road for the racers as they returned to the staging area. Tiny little cars show the distance. The area the races use is about 5 miles wide by 10 miles long. The cars look like little bugs all over the white salt.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thunder over the Salt Flats

Evening light just before the storms rolled through the Wendover, Utah area. There was quite a lightening show.  You can see "Wendover Will" a sign welcoming visitors to the city on the lower right. He is lit with neon and is about 30 feet tall. Wendover is filled with casinos and lots of neon. He is the best of all.
The rain came down in buckets. Now I understand all the gullies we see in the area. There isn't much vegetation to hold the soil so these rain storms just make them deeper and wider.

This photo shows the small lake that developed after the storm.

Dan and I spent a week on the Great Salt Lake Salt Flats in Utah. We were there for speed week and to watch our friends break records for speed on the flats. Usually the salt flats are dry dry dry but this year we had a few thunder storms that flooded the entrance to the race course. You can see the small lake that accumulated just where the asphalt road ends and the salt flats begin. It is hard to see here but the water was up to the axels on trucks and low cars had water almost to their floor pans. We didn't want to drive through the salt water with our roadster so we sat back and watched and soon hooked a ride with a German tourist who was driving a rented SUV. He was glad to take us out and we were glad to have the ride.

Because of the rain the track and the roads were quite rutted and full of pot holes. I had thought that I would do some paintings out there. Easy to do--white blue and purple ;-)-- but because of the ruts etc. I decided that my gear in the back of the roadster would get a through shaking up on the way out to the track. It is a mile from the end of the road to the staging area and two more miles to the pits. A long rough ride with salt being thrown up on us all the way. I did manage to make a sketch of the mountains to the west of the race track. As soon as Dan brings back my chip from my camera, I will post a photo of the sketch and the mountains them selves. I will just have to do a painting from a photo this time. Maybe next year I will have time to paint.

Instead of painting I took quite a few photos that I will use for inspiration for paintings for my show next fall. I have been thinking on what my theme should be for the show. It is hard to narrow a theme down when there are so many ideas swirling around in my head. I think that I will start a small note book to keep ideas in so that hopefully things will come into focus.

I took a couple of paintings out to our friend who had asked me to make a painting of his favorite old time hard ware store. He bought both of them. I did one water color and one oil painting. We framed them and packed them up really well and hoped that he would like at least one of them. First sales of the year. I don't rely on sales to support my habits but it is a nice verification of my work.

Booker Hardware Store, Mississippi

This is the water color and is a half sheet. I chose to emphasize the windows of the old store and the flags that fly out front.

This is the oil painting of the whole front of the building. I was not sure which view George would want.  At first, I was not really pleased with the water color and decided to do the full front of the store in oil. What a challenge to get all the windows and lines of the building right. As always these look much better in person. 

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Plein Air Artist Margie Larson featured in the August Mankato Magazine

My brother scanned the article about me that was published in the Mankato Magazine. The magazine likes to  to showcase local artists and their work. Mankato has lots of talented people living in the area.

My fifteen minutes of fame. ;-D