Enjoying My Flowers

My life tends to be full of tasks and I don’t often slow down enough to notice small stuff.  This spring however, I’ve been taking the time to inspect the new flowers I planted this spring; a variety of rudebekia, daisies and coneflowers; and the birds and bugs that have visited me.  I have hopes that my observations will help me in artistic endeavors in future!  But I am certainly enjoying the opportunity to slow down and see the daily changes.

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This Rudebekia has been opening slowly and the petals have been lengthening.  Here is a photo of it from this weekend, approximately 1 week later:

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You can see the center becoming fuzzier the longer it is open.

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This is another Rudebekia of a different variety.  This plant is covered in blooms right now.

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This is the last of the Rudebekia varieties to bloom.  This plant has only put up one flower stalk and has been progressing very slowly.

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My orange coneflower keeps adding on new blooms.  It’s really striking!

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I had a parsley plant that not only survived the winter, but thrived – growing into a 4’ tall bush.  These guys have been munching on it and making a dent in the seed heads by a small bit.  More of them show up each day and I guess the mature ones are dropping off to form their cocoons.

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I’ve never seen a green fly before, but this guy has been hanging around my rudebekia and I managed to catch him on the rock lily bloom with a Micro lens.

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I noticed this spider hanging in thin air.  It took me quite a while to find its web and even longer to get it in the frame in focus.

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This nice lady, a black crested nuthatch, has babies in one of the birdhouses on my back patio.  I noticed her eralier in the year scoping it out, but enver heard babies in it so didn’t realize she’d laid eggs in the nest I discovered there.  The wren family is in another birdhouse on the patio so it makes for interesting listening when both mom’s are delivering meals.

Friday Night Art Play May 23rd

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It’s the start of a long weekend, after what turned out to be a long and exhausting week.  I’ve not been sleeping well, for reasons I do not yet understand, and that has made it harder to get through the day.  It has become my habit to come home and page through my journal, seeing if I can get the energy to do something creative. 

Last weekend, Saturday, I went downtown to Waterloo (#buylocalATX) Records and bought some new music.  My favorite two CD’s I’ve been gorging on are Fitz and The Tantrums “More than Just a Dream” and Rodrigo & Gabriela’s “9 Dead Alive”.  “Spark” from the Fitz album is my newest earworm.  If I can get myself in front of the Gelli Plate and put on either CD, I can get myself going creatively. 

I experimented with several techniques this week.  I embossed a bunch of white cardstock and used that to lift paint off the plates, printing in my journal and on scrap paper.  I stamped into the plate with my hand-carved stamps and used stencils and punched shapes as masks.  I used leaves from my front flower beds to create really cool organic, but amorphous prints.  And tonight, I did some more printing on the plate, and then I did a page in my art journal.  So, here’s the results of this week’s play ground.

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Inspired by the chorus to “Spark”, first layer is gelli plate printed with paint lifted by cardstock embossed with a brick wall pattern (inside joke there).  The center was purposely not textured and painted on the plate with a brush using Green Gold.  I dripped FW Acrylics in orange, green and gold on the background and let it run.  Next I used jar and bottle lids to stamp circles of white gesso on the page.  I used a Dylusions Stencil to get the checkerboard and a Tim Holtz stencil to get the dots.  I used a circle stencil with smaller circles punchd from card stock to do the moon shapes.  I dry-brushed Dalyride Yellow across the top and in the bottom corners.  I used a TCW Rays stencil with a light coat of Liquitex black spray paint.  I went back over the page with the Tim Holtz Stencil and white and block paint.  I added another green gold box offset from the original and then a Turquoise Pthalo box offst from that.  I outlined elements using black and white Painters paint pens.  So far they are the best I’ve tried and do not let the nibs escape to ruin my clothes (Sad smile Sharpie).  Then I wrote in the lyrics of the chorus on the rays in white, outlined in black.  I think it’s done, but I’m not 100% sure yet!

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First Gelli print using leaves from my garden and texture from a shelf-liner.

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Ghost print from above.

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Another leave print.

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This one uses stamps I carved to lift paint from the plate and a Balzer Bits Stencil to create the tree mask.

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And this one is embossed cardstock used to lift paint.  I started doodling on the top two with a Sakura white paint pen, fine nib.

I also dyed 8 yards of velvet and 7 yards of Rayon Satin for an Etsy order.  My customer is going to make a Cos Play dress and cloak based on one of the Game of Thrones characters.  I can’t wait to see the pictures she sends me!

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A New Adventure: Art-Xscape, plus some gardening

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In the culmination of 6 months of work, I launched the Art-Xscape Retreat, a new mixed media retreat coming to ATX in 2014 this weekend.  There was a bit of a scramble at the end as my tech support on the web side of things (my dear brother) had to take shelter to avoid the second batch of tornados to accost the OKC area, just after closing on his new house!  All’s well that ends well, though.  He and the family are safe and sound, as is their new house, and the website made it up!  Please visit it and comment if you see anything of interest!  I’m pleased as punch with the line-up of classes and instructors! 

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We have been the beneficiaries of some of the wet stuff – to the tune of 5 inches at my house!  That has led to largess in my garden and flower beds.  I donated 5 tomatoes, darn it, to the local mocking bird this week before I got my bird netting up.  Hopefully, I won’t donate any more!  I’ve been harvesting green beans and cucumbers for a few weeks now, in addition to cherry tomatoes, but this week saw the first large tomatoes.  Marley has fallen way down on the job of patrolling the garden!  He’s been enjoying laying in the grass instead.

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I planted a bunch of dill in the hopes of having dill to go with the cucumbers for pickles.  Unfortunately for me, I’ve had swallowtail caterpillars chowing down.  I’m down to 3 out of the original 8 plants. 

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I managed to catch what I think is a baby dragon fly visiting my lemon tree.  He kept climbing up into the blossoms and curling his tail around them, but I got this shot where he’s extended out straight and his wings are just visible.

I had a visitor to the mist flower at the other end of the garden a couple of weeks ago, just as I was wrapping up in the back garden before heading out of town.

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He swung from the flower heads for quite a while.  I managed to get several really good shots before heading back inside the house.

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Happy June!

The Unveiling of Falerina, the Flower Fairy

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She’s finished, or just about.  I have her label to sew in and need to spray her face with fixative and stitch her basket to her hands.  Otherwise, she’s ready to take her bow!  She will be listed in my Etsy Shop late this week.  I have to haul out the back drop and the lighting to get her good pictures done, so that won’t happen until Wednesday. 

I am so pleased with her wings, which I finished up yesterday.  I saw a picture of wings by Deb Wood on the A-for-Artistic website and just missed signing up for her class.  I will definitely take it the next time it is offered.  I muddled through creating this wings with help from the class I took at Art Fest last year. 

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She has ears, unlike most of my dolls lately, because I wanted to use yarn for her hair that I got at Hill Country Weavers last weekend.  I’ll explain the relationship in another post.

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And here is Falerina with her basket of flowers.  I went shopping for the materials in my studio!  Gotta love it when you don’t have to buy anything to complete a piece!

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She got her gladiator shoes today.  She even has toenails, which you can’t see because she’s kneeling on them.

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Here’s a back shot of her wings, without her hair to get in the way.

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And a close-up of her basket.  Happy Spring! 

Speaking of spring – a few shots from my garden.  The flowers are definitely blooming.

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My patio at 10am this morning.

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Purple salvia in my back bed.  I will post more pictures of this bed a bit later.  I’ve got three varieties of salvia mixed together with rosemary, lavender, Mexican Petunia and a couple of trees.  The salvias are going nuts!  It must be the compost I added this year, cause the Hot-Lips salvia has already grown 3 feet from where I wacked it back and the red salvias have put on the longest flower spikes I’ve ever seen.  They are going to pop open any day now and it will be a stunning display.

The new flower bed is taking off.  The mist flowers and the copper canyon daisy are thrilled with their surroundings.

Flowers and Fairies

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We’ve been blessed with rain twice in the last week, with a chance for more in a few days.  We are back in extreme drought, which makes any bit of rain we get very precious.  The plants are soaking it up and putting on a bit of a show.

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I finished putting in the plants in the newest flower bed in my back yard.  I’ve been planning this bed for a while and I’m super thrilled to get it in this year.  It will help keep my foundation watered, if nothing else.  The rain helped the plants in this bed immensely, as well as making my garden happy!  I am not sure why, by my tomato and pepper plants in containers on my patio have already put on fruit while those in my garden are about a month behind, even though they were planted the same time.

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In addition to gardening, I’ve been working on the Flower Fairy.  She’s all dressed up and has arms now!  She has a linen petticoat lined with a ruffle and a second petticoat of embroidered netting.  This is topped with her skirt of a silky gauze.  She was at this point 3 or so weeks ago when I went to the last CTADS meeting.  I attached arms that night and the next and there she sat until this weekend.  I got her bodice and corset constructed and embellished this weekend.  Now I have her sleeves to make, after which, I’ll need to give her a face!  Her head is already sculpted but I’m waiting to draw her face until I finish her costume.

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Her skirt and corset have been hand-beaded.  The beading on the corset took me most of the afternoon.

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I designed her bodice with flowers in mind.  I wanted the impression of flower petals and leaves opening up around her.

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I really like the asymmetrical hemlines in the fashion magazines right now, which is what inspired her skirt.

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