Posts Tagged ‘art’

I have been experimenting with resin for the past year. Not resin pour where someone creates a beautiful table top, and not resin cast where someone pours resin into a little mold, but resin with a paint brush. Yes, a paint brush.

I mix a very small amount and then paint it onto whatever it is I want to protect (usually something relatively fragile that I have created). Sometimes I have to do one side, let it dry 24 hours, sand the mistakes off, and paint again. I find it a very satisfying way to do things and I am liking the results, for the most part.

This past week, I used resin to “finish” a piece of bisque ware that was gifted to me by a high school art class. I don’t know who the potter was (or is), only that the piece was tossed in the trash bin for some reason. It was then rescued by a friend and donated to me to paint. In the absence of a kiln, I decided to try resin. the resulting piece is not dishwasher or microwave or food safe. It’s merely a piece of art.

The potter mast have had something in mind.

Fun, but… It’s not all *mine* and maybe even a bit “ho-hum”. A display of teenage obsession with horror and vampire movies and books.

Then I decided to do something with some of my own original art, namely coating the artist’s conks I recently painted. The coating of resin brings out the color and preserved the conk (not like the conks really needed preserving: I’ve had them in storage for anywhere between 20 and 30 years and they are still just fine).

The first one is one I felt needed a stand to lift it up and give the viewer a better angle to see the item. I could have simply relied on E6000 (glue) but opted to use resin ad the binding material. A stick of wood added to the cave scene offers a little authenticity to the piece.

The second conk I know I have had for 30 years. I carved a sofa scene on it with a wood burner ages ago but recently felt it not only needed color, but something to make it appear more three dimensional. I found a resin kitten at a craft store and knew I had the ticket. This time, I glued the kitty in place before I painted the resin on. I am very pleased with the outcome.

The next four photos are of another craft I started and then abandoned. Ponderosa Pine trees are constantly shedding their bark and the pieces look like little puzzle pieces. Each piece or interlocked piece can inspire the imagination, but the bark is very fragile – even pressure from a paint brush can cause them to break. I painted five before I set the idea aside. I didn’t know how I could strengthen those tiny bits.

I discovered the pieces while I was purging my studio of unfinished projects and things I will never get around to. Hmmm. What is I could delicately paint them with resin and come up with a stronger item?

The longest one of these pieces (front and back) is 3″ (the ghost). I painted both sides of that one, but I left the Pileated woodpecker (1.5″) plain on the back. I did glue the loops on originally, but a little resin set them.

The best part is that now they can be handled without fear of them accidentally snapping in half! I still have a small box of puzzle pieces to stoke my imagination, and I can find Ponderosa pines anywhere on the east side of the Cascades, a mere 90 minute drive away from home. I’m thinking that I could make a series of whimsical pendants to sell for cheap at a pop-up market.

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One of my goals this year is to write more often. It’s not a “resolution” so much as it is a “goal”. Another goal is to finally finish those pesky projects I have tinkered at or played with over the past 20 years we have lived in this house. I also want to purge myself of unnecessary “luggage” as evidenced by the prior post to this one. I’m plowing through that last one and the second one, but I haven’t worked much on the writing bit.

I tossed out a lot of natural detritus I have collected over the years: moldy artist’s conks, interesting pieces of wood, seed pods for some fanciful future craft project, and so on. I started purging the rocks several years ago: the little pocket sized pieces of agate, obsidian, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, and sedimentary rocks. I moved them from inside the house and inside jars to outside and in my garden beds. I’m still clinging to the found feathers. Feathers are gifts of passage from Beyond: some ancestor or passed friend sends them to let me know I’ll be all tight in the end. I need all the reassurance I can get some days.

I kept nine artist’s conks (ganoderma applanatum). I collected all of them with the intent to use a wood burner and create fanciful scenes of elk and wild creatures. Ha! And double Ha!Ha! I put them in a drawer with all my other finds and let them harden and dry, and in some cases, mold. So my number one project after going through my art supplies was to put those conks to use. I ruined the first two. Recycle.

I finished five. One is still sitting there as I lack an idea of what to paint or carve on it. Please, not another sappy painting of a seven-point bull elk whistling in the rut. I’m done with that sort of painting.

I learned that I am not particularly gifted at painting or carving conks. Ones I find in the wild from now on will be safe from my prying hands.

The ones I “finished” still need to be sanded with the Dremel tool and sealed with a good sealer before attaching a way to hang them on the wall. At least one of them is so “YUCK” to me that I almost discarded it but I remembered that I am not the judge of what people will buy. Someone may actually pay $5 for it and hang it on their wall for a few years before discarding it. So I kept it. Ever the entrepreneur.

The sloth is my least favorite. It’s only six inches tall.

The owl is four and a half inches tall. It is also not my favorite but it will pass muster.

I went with a stain that was on the conk that reminded me of two sleeping bears with this one. It’s 3×2″. I actually was beginning to like painting on the conks with this one.

The sitting bear took me a lot longer to visualize. There was a “face” in the conk, and a bulge below the face that indicated a fat animal. I finally settled on a fat Brown Bear.settling in for a long hibernation. 4×3″ and I’m starting to feel it a little.

I’m going to confess that I like the sea turtle. 4.5×3″. Very “folk art” in design and paint (I blame my “essential tremor” for the messed up spots – some things we have no control over).

I shut down my art webpage last year and I lost access to my Facebook business page so until I figure that out (another headache), these are only available locally and only after I finish them. Or you can comment with your email address and we can have a conversation if you are interested in any of them.

The last one may become a Celtic design. I don’t know. It’s not inspiring me.

So that’s my on-resolution in progress: a new post, a little art, and a lot of purging.

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*I’ve always been drawn to May Day. When we were little, public schools had a big May Day celebration where one grade would dance around the May Pole and other grades would do something May-appropriate, like dance around a sombrero (Cinco de Mayo). I loved the May Pole part, especially: the bright colors and the folk dance as the kids (my peers) wove around to create a colorful weave on the pole. I don’t know when that ceased to happen, but I know why: it was deemed a pagan holiday and religious in nature, and since we could no longer celebrate anything remotely religious in public school anymore, the practice went by the wayside.

Picking May flowers from one’s garden and carefully placing a blossom on the neighbor’s doorstep before playing doorbell ditch also fell into disrepute. Virgins donning white dresses became as scarce as sightings of fairies in the backyard.

I suspect the pagan celebration is in my genetic memory somewhere, buried in centuries of Celtic/Nordic/Pict/Viking/Welsh family lines. My Christian faith is also deeply rooted in genetic memories, going back as far as the written history goes back.

*We went grocery shopping today. It was a very stressful experience. I wear a face mask. My husband does not, but he takes all the other precautions. So many other people do not – and do not honor the six foot distancing rule. We had to fight employees for space as well as other customers in the narrow aisles of our local Kroger’s.

There are still empty shelves, yet we continue to have a gross amount of choice in products to purchase. Toilet paper, tissue, paper towels, and disinfectants are still limited, as as certain fresh meat products. The only thing we needed was tissue as we are in the midst of prime allergy season for me.

*Internet has been slow all day. I tried to post on my art website and discovered it is “down”. I need to ditch the host anyway. That means phone calls (which I despise making) to two entities. Adding insult to injury, I tried to post my recent illustrations on my Facebook page. My post failed to load.

*We finally decided to purchase new window coverings for the living/dining room windows. The quote came in far below what we were expecting because they gave us a COVIC-19 discount of 30%. The blinds will be installed just before the first of June and summer weather.

*My hot body has turned into a turnip. I’ve never had a hot body, but now I have a quarantine body. No waist at all.

*My paintings! Goodness, after all that, I still want to share what I painted. I tried to picture the pandemic from two points of view, making fun of each other, but I probably failed because of my own predilection.


Wally is a Guard on duty during a quarantine protest. I copied the signs from actual signs used during just such a demonstration. They aren’t the brightest slogans and certainly do not make the argument to open up. I get that there a economic reasons, but crying about one’s haircut is not one. Or one’s lost golf season. These are basically signs asking other people to come to work to take care of the protestors who are missing their privileges.

Wally must feel the same because he is giving the universal Spotted Skunk tear gas warning. One step closer, and Wally lets it go.


Henrietta is how I imagine the “Open Up” crowd views those of us who are resisting. Henrietta is a natural loner. She’s obsessively cleaning.Bleach, baking soda, and white vinegar. Anything disinfectant, even though she lives alone and never goes out. She has everything delivered. She wears nitrile gloves (darn those claws that keep poking out). She tracks the virus and has a list of survival rules on the wall, next to her “Polar Bear of the Month” calendar.

Best of all, Henrietta has scored a World War 1 gas mask that she wears at all times (just in case the delivery guy knocks).

I love how I can’t paint a straight line (can’t draw one, either).

We are crossing into the second of May. I’ll have more thoughts later.

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I put myself out there tonight (and over the weekend). I went to two events (the latest was tonight) where I knew NOONE. The first was fairly intimate (four people) and I at least had a name in common with one person. Tonight was really out there, for me.

When I was younger, I could do this.

Or maybe, I just didn’t realize the cost.

There were about ten women who showed up, all strangers to me, and some already connected to each other. I stayed for two hours, and they were still going strong. I learned a lot about selling my art.

But I just spent 3 hours playing stupid games, just to relax. The Introvert in me, and the HSP, is all aroused and on edge. Too many new people, too much small talk. I am exhausted.

I learned so much, I took so many notes (but why am I the only artist in the room doodling in my notebook? Seriously – I stole looks at everyone else’s notes and NOONE was doodling. Except me).

I decided, during the first half, that I would never go back. By the end of the second half, I regretted not bringing my own art samples along and telling my husband that I would be REALLY late. I will go back. With samples. And with the understanding that I will be really late getting home.

Backing up – I went to a meeting on Saturday that was very intimate and designed more toward visioning. I felt connected immediately. The speaker admitted to being aintrovert right off the bat. I will definitely be back to that group.

This is hard: putting myself out there as an artist.

Thank you for being faithful followers of me as a writer (even if you consistently refuse to comment). I appreciate that you follow this introvert person.

And, seriously. Comment. Let’s become internet friends. I can deal with friends who are “imaginary”.



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Updates on “Panic”

I have already updated the status of my dog, Harvey, on several social media sites (he has his own FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Harveyalbertpresley/), but I feel the need to follow-up here, too. He’s Okay. He has doggy bronchitis and he is on antibiotics. We didn’t do an x-ray of his heart, because it didn’t seem necessary. His heart sounds good and healthy. He’s been on antibiotics for two days now, and his coughing has noticeably slowed down. He does, however, need to lose the ten pounds he gained since I broke my foot last June, therefore, he is on reduced caloric intake.

I am working hard on photos for the applications I need to make for two art shows this summer. The photos are the hardest part: I need them to look professional. Unfortunately, I could not take anything outside and photograph in the shade this weekend: we’re in a monsoon. I do have some good photos, but I would like more to choose from, and of different media and size art work. I think I have a work-around: take the art to work with an easel & take photos during my lunch hour in the large conference room. Lots of natural lighting & no need for a flash.

I am working on a list of things I need to set up a NICE display, from the pop-up (I can borrow a 10×10′ one) to tables and frames and pegboard. I haven’t done an art show since the 1970’s, and that wasn’t juried. I sold three art pieces, all to the same person. One was a commissioned piece that I painted after the show. I probably have photos of those pieces in my 35mm files (pre DSLR days), but they aren’t relevant to the now.

I know I can do this, and I appreciate the Facebook comments and encouragements. I actually have a very strong ego, and while I am momentarily intimidated by something, I can usually plow through (after venting, of course). As an introvert, venting by writing is the way I roll. Being able to vent publicly  on a blog is sort of a plus: you find out there are people just like you out there. 🙂

I do want to paint more than just the minis I am currently working on (see my website), but I have to concentrate on this summer and the art shows, and the very limited amount of time I have to paint (especially with summer coming, and my other passion – gardening – competing for my weekend and evening time).

Several people have asked me to join their cause. I need to state this now: my cause is animals. I am not an “animal rights” person, because animals are considerably more complicated than that. They don’t afford rights to each other, and neither should I afford ‘rights’ to animals. However, I am a conservationist. I am not anti-hunting, but I am anti-trophy hunting: if you are not hunting to feed your family – get a good camera and take photographs. We are in an extinction crisis.

I told my husband that I am learning more about Class-Family-Genus-Whatever than I ever learned in science (I flunked biology in high school, dashing my dreams of becoming a veterinarian). I told him how I cannot believe how many antelope species there are, how some animals seem to cross Family boundaries, and then there are rodents. He said (casually), “I am surprised you haven’t gotten into lagomorphs.”

For the first time in my life, I actually understood that. I replied that, “Oh, yes. I have discovered lagomorphs.” Hares and rabbits are fascinating.

Taking a deep breath. I have a lot of work to do this week: photos, applications, lists of things I need, setting up the Etsy shop, business cards. And that’s outside of the 40 hour work week and house work and car maintenance and relationship maintenance.

P.S. _ I get that this blog does not follow traditional news: WWWWW and H


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October 21

Has it really been almost 3 weeks since I have written anything? Hey, things have been happening. I just haven’t written about them.

Where do you draw the line about silly stuff that happens at work and posting online about it? I work in Real Estate and sometimes the funniest stuff happens. For instance: we had a data entry clerk tell us that “no one told me addresses were required” when entering Listings into our online system.

Um. How do you think people are going to find those listings without addresses?

There’s the zero-error factor. A Realtor friend of mine had a home listed for $400,000.00. Last week, she got an offer for $3,900,000.00 on it. Her clients were thrilled.

The buyers probably backed out real quickly.

I have a lot of opportunity to slam my head on the desk.

I work with a Morning Person. You know what a Morning Person is, right? An annoying individual who doesn’t drink coffee and who speaks before you’ve had a chance to even sip your first cup of coffee. Fortunately, we now have a receptionist who does not do mornings and the focus of irritating someone has moved to her. “Good Morning! What’s not good about this morning? The sun is up/the rain is falling softly/your heart is beating/you’re not underground/it’s a brand new day!”

Let.Me.Drink.My.Coffee.In.Silence. Please.

Morning Person is also an extrovert. “What? You’re going out to your car for lunch? Why don’t you sit in the break room with me and eat lunch and talk?”

TALK? You want me to TALK during my lunch hour?

My coworker is also reinventing herself now that she is an Empty-Nester. She pesters peppers me with questions about my retirement plans. Well, actually, she didn’t realize I was talking about retirement. She thought I was looking for a second career that would take off tomorrow, complete with a Business Plan.

Um. NO. I retire in seven years. I want to have something in place when I retire. (By the way, I have decided to concentrate on artwork). “So, do you think you’ll make enough to live on?” she asks, glibly.

I stare at her. NO. I do have one artist friend who has made a successful career out of it & has even been entertained by the grandson of Henri Matisse (“who?” asks my coworker. Face Palm). I have another friend who shows her artwork in galleries. And yet another who mentored me this summer in the art of hawking my wares at faires.

Right time, right talent, ta da!

I’d like to write the Great American Novel, too, but this I do not share with my coworker. She would pester pepper me with questions about the plot and twists. No – I take that back. I did share with her, once. She went on a long rant about Stephanie Meyers and how she hit the market at the right time with the right novel. I countered with a long rant on everything that is wrong with the first two books in the Twillight Series.

1. The heroine, Bella, goes out into an ice storm in Washington State. Instead of falling on her arse (as I did in my first freezing rain), she nimbly makes it to her antique 4×4 pick-up truck and drives to school without mishap. It is only upon getting out of the truck and looking down that she realizes her father put chains on the front wheels of her truck.

Have you ever driven a pick-up truck with real chains on? Hell, ANY car with chains on? Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa. Clank-clank-clank.

2. Someone comes to the local Pacific Northwest Outdoor Gear store and states they saw “Something big, hairy, and animal-like” loping across the road. Do you immediately think: “Werewolf”?

COME ON! BIG FOOT. Sasquatch. There will be ten Sasquatch Burger Joints opened within a three-mile radius of the first sighting within 24 hours. Everyone who lives up here knows there’s “something” out there. And it is not a werewolf named Jacob.

3. Creepy ancient guy has a crush on teen-age girl named Bella. Acts like a teenager with a crush on and a stalker.

I don’t even have to put anything in italics to answer that.

I never read the last books in the series. I think my youngest did, but only because she was determined that it couldn’t get worse. It got worse. They married and had a baby together. How does a dead guy even have living sperm?


I am not comparing my novel to Ms. Meyers’ novel. Mine could be worse. I’m just saying… don’t compare me with Ms. Meyers until you’ve read the book.

Then you can have at it.

Anyway, I patiently explained that this is a retirement plan. A way to make a few extra dollars on top of my husband’s pension, SSI, and my 401-K (both of which are piddly). My coworker seemed surprised.


She thought I was only 54. I should be flattered, but I’m not. What’s four years? I’m (almost) 58.

She has a much better plan that I do. But planning ahead was never my forte. Handling money was never my forte.

Which brings me around to the irony of my job: I handle money. I’m actually very good at what I do. I make mistakes, but when I do – I own them. No excuses. No “noone told me…”, just a big “OH &%$#”. Most of my Real Estate Agents love me (and I love them), but sometimes I really can’t please one. It happens. It’s work. It’s what I do in the real world.

But I don’t think I ever glibly thought that Real Estate sold without an address.

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This is my third post on deciding what I want to be when I grow up. My mother always told me, “Grandma Moses started painting when she was 70 years old.” I don’t know if she meant she could have started a new career as an artist or if she meant to encourage me, but I do know that 70 years old sounded really, really, really old, and so I was duly impressed.

70 doesn’t sound that old to me now and time is closing in on me.

I decided the best way to go about this was to weigh the things I love doing against each other and to assess the monetary benefits of pursuing an action.

Writing is the most obvious way to make money, but writing is only my second love (I am excluding horses: I couldn’t make money with horses if I knew squat about them, and they cost a lot of money to own).

The first thing I ever did in life that I remember is to take a pencil and draw. I was drawing before I could write. I was in detention in Kindergarten for drawing a pine tree instead of a lollipop tree ( the kid sitting next to me tattled on me and told the teacher I was ‘drawing Christmas trees’. When I defiantly pointed out that it was not a Christmas tree (no decorations) and that it looked more like a tree than the lollipop tree (I probably used that term), the teacher made me stand in the corner. I was crushed, but my sense of defiance was strengthened).

I created my first sculpture in 5th grade. I remember it vividly: it was made out of home-made papier mâchè. Each student  in class made a bird, and the popular kids were very detailed and politically correct. My bird was a fantastical parrot-like creation, green, and funny-shaped. I was embarrassed at the outcome. Later in life, I realized that’s just how my brain translates to sculpture. All my papier mâchè creations since have been grotesque and strange. I’m fine with that.

I love to garden, but I came into that passion as an adult. I hated yard work when I was a child and my father snapped a long black whip over our heads. “Work, ye slaves, work! Ground, ye are! Two weeks’ detention: spend it clearing out the boulevard! I want that salt grass gone!” Other neighborhood kids came and watched us toil in our shackles and striped pajamas. “Those poor Wilcox kids. They’ll never be free…”

Okay, it wasn’t quite that dramatic. The whip was imaginary. All the rest was real.

I love to read. If I could make as much money reading as I make working a forty-hour-a-week-job, I’d read for forty hours a week. At least. I’d even put in overtime.

I hate math. Herein lies one of the greatest ironies in life: God arranged for me to have a very nice job in a closing department for a real estate company. I spend forty hours a week dealing with numbers. I have a memory for patterns and numbers, and they come very easy for me. I only hate math because I had one good math teacher in my entire public school life (Mr. English in 8th Grade). The worst math teachers were in high school and higher math. I especially despise geometry.

I love science, but I can’t deal with the rote memory of it. You’d think that would be simple, but it isn’t. I had this very lofty dream of becoming a veterinarian when I was a freshman in high school. Enter Mr. Ricketts and his biology class. He was determined that we all understood what college was going to be like and he was hard. I learned to despise fruit flies. But what was driven home more than anything was that I do not have the ability to memorize biology terms. All we had to do was memorize the bones, musculature, and nymph system of the human body.

The final was the weekend after a big conference in Las Vegas for a volunteer group I had gotten involved with. We students screwed around a lot (one night, Tracie, “Rat”, Lance, and I ran around playing “doorbell ditch” on wedding chapels. We were all going to “get married” but we didn’t know to whom we wanted to get married). But I also spent a lot of time cramming for that test, and I remember sitting in the cafe with my biology book and notes. Mr. Ricketts was one of our chaperones and he came down for breakfast at the same time. I was making notes, reading and rereading.

I failed the test. My very first core subject failure. It was a pivotal moment in my life as dreams of becoming a veterinarian were dashed completely. Mr. Ricketts, who was a notorious bad-ass, gave me a D- on my report card. I deserved an F, but he knew how hard I’d studied in Las Vegas.

He did not know I wrote my first novel in biology and passed it around to my fellow students. It was titled, “Hey, Birds.”

Today, I had an interesting conversation with a new coworker. She’s from Iowa. I mentioned that I attended Grinnell College for a year. She replied, “Wow, that’s a rich kids’ college.” Well, yeah, it was then, too. It is also a very diverse college and a wonderful liberal arts education. I was just not prepared for living away from home in the middle of the flat lands. I was not college material at the age of 17 (my father warned me: he wanted me to take a year off and then go to college. I should have listened). I loved Grinnell.

I got to see/hear Ry Cooder. Oh my Gosh – he remains one of my absolute favorite independent musical artists. I had a great design 101 professor. I pulled a B+ average. One of my favorite courses was Humanities. World History was not far behind.

Still, I dropped out. World History, the Greeks, Poetry – those stick with me. I have a very dog-eared copy of Norton’s Anthology of Poetry (1974). John Donne became my favorite sonnet poet. Simone de Beauvoir was inspiring. I hate Freud.

I passed Physics for Dummies with flying colors with a paper on the artist Christo. What can I say? Christo had to understand physics in order to do the things he did with orange drapery.

I dropped out. I was not college-ready. I wanted to be John Steinbeck and write the Great American Novel. I’ve written three or four by now, and burned them all. The only novel I ever sent to a publisher was “Hey Birds” in the 1970’s. It was a truly awful book.

Now I am here: almost 58 and trying to decide which way I want to go. Tonight, I watched a You-Tube tutorial on oil pastels. I felt inspired. I knew that I was on the right track.

The end result of this rambling post is this: I want to be an artist. I buried my Talent for years and years as I worked my way through life: there was making a living to pay the rent, then there was marriage, and then there were children. I chose to homeschool my children which turned into a full-time job (that I will never regret, although their take on homeschooling is yet to be determined*). I was thrust into a full time job working for a real estate company.

And I found every excuse under the sun about why I couldn’t also pursue an artistic career. My bad.

Now, I want to correct that. I am leaning toward art. Really leaning. This is where I need accountability.

(I didn’t even touch on photography. I’ll make that my next post.)

*For Levi. My son. You would NEVER have broken so many laws if you had attended public school. You would NEVER have run as wild as you did if you had been in public school. You NEVER would have taken up Swing Dancing with the cute girls at community college when you were 14 if you had been in public school. I just want you to know that homeschooling worked in your favor.

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