Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jungle Mirror

Made this piece for my girlfriend Geri's daughter as a baby shower gift. Was having a fabulous time making it until time to grout. Used antique white which would have gone with the baby's white furniture. Looked horrible! Excavated it. Grouted it in Alabaster which I thought would be the better color. Wrong! Excavated it again and used good old Delorean gray. Bingo. Whole exercise was a terrible nightmare, but proved to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that E600 glue can stand any endurance test! To make the jungle animals I use cookie cutters I've cut out of flat clay that I then sculpt and give two dimension to. Mirror was given to Dr. Ale Rincon at her baby shower, and now resides in baby Oscar's room.

Trees growing in the studio.

Last December, I corraled my youngest son Austin into drawing a tree on the studio wall for me when he was home from college. Austin graduated and is off in his adult life now, working as a project engineer for McCarthy construction in New Port Beach; part of the team building the new hospital tower for St. Jude's Hospital in Fullerton.

Architecture is Austin's art form, but clearly all those art lessons I paid for when he was a child paid off. He can still pick up a piece of chalk and deliver. Austin added another tree in the corner of the room for me so I could put up the owl that his older brother Evan made when both boys came by for a visit early this summer. It is a rarity to get both boys home at the same time, and a treat to get them to play with me in the studio. Requires a bit of arm twisting to actually get them to join me, which is otherwise known as making them suffer for my art, but there was a lot of laughter in all that suffering. Now, in between the many projects, I am busy making the ceramic pieces to fill in my small woodland forest and will eventually mosaic the entire wall in some sort of forest mural.

Have added bluejays and a small fox so far.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting back to Blogging

2010 was not my year for blogging. Too busy juggling balls as construction manager on major home improvement projects. No sooner had we finished erecting a Craftsmen style guest cottage on our lower property, than we turned to remodeling the 74 year old house it faces. This rambling structure which includes my studio space, was originally an old barn that over the years had become another incarnation of the Winchester Mystery house. As the project unfolded in true domino effect (as most good remodeling endeavors go) even a portion of the studio got a face lift. We demolished the old fiberglass greenhouse in preference for a real room with high beamed ceilings dotted by three skylights and open windows all around. Cabinets from the old house got repurposed in the studio and a bank of new cabinets installed ringing the windows. End result- more storage space than a deluxe kitchen, which didn't take long at all to fill to over flowing with our collection of odds and ends.

My Colorado parents, approaching their 8th decade of life, bravely gave up their beautiful home, saying goodbye to my brother and family, my mother's many organizations, friends and church family to migrate our snowless climate a year ago this month. Ramon and I sleep in our home on the top of the hill, but it's a pretty communal setting with my parents now down at the south forty. That's where I am usually to be found. But then there is still much to be done, and a physical magic to the place that is compelling. Even the undertaker who came by recently to drop off my sweet Aunt Dorothy's ashes, and stop for a drink of tea with Mom wanted to take photos. I'm pretty convinced it has something to do with the ancient oak that envelopes our heads. All those gnarly twisted branches calling up the druids and their poetic mysteries. Certainly some creative energy oversees this place we are caretaking in the stream of time.

Meanwhile...16 months have passed. I have finished mosaicing the wall outside my studio and the diamond wall next to it. Both waiting to be grouted. Not a quick endeavor when working vertically on a large canvas in 2D mosaic. This is where having a cadre of assistants would come in handy. But alas, it is me with the pink platex gloves, the cellulose sponge and the dental tools for the precise archeological excavation of the many textured handmade tiles. As a girl who never works linearly, this isn't the only project that requires my attention. There is a mason bottle wall structure to be finished and a Craftsman style fountain which likewise needs some embellishment.
Need a string of warm days ahead of me to work outside.