Sunday, April 21, 2013

Honey Wine and Dogwood!

Hello All!
Hope you have been well!
I see that time has gotten away from me....yet again.
Haven't done a 'normal' post 3 weeks. Damn, how did I manage that?
Guess I better get busy with one, hadn't I? :)

Well, the deck extension is all done except the handrails. Not sure if I'm going to buy them or make them. I'm leaning towards making my own. I have also been doing some research for the top deck's cover. Still undecided as of this moment. Seen several things that I really like just haven't picked one yet. No huge rush...not like I'm going anywhere soon.

single step (flower pots on either side when ready)
it was at this point that I realized my deck was crooked,
the top one, not mine  :)
can you see it? BLAH!!

I finally got to crack open a bottle of my Black and Blue Mead! That was my first long ago. :) It was made with blackberries and blueberries (hence the name) in case you forgot. It's a dry mead (not sweet) and has a very nice color. It was yummy! Can't wait to taste the new batch!


Speaking of...still have no 'bubbles' in the new batch. The pressure is still there - the water in the airlock is still pushed to one side. I opened it and gave it a good stir after I checked it with the hydrometer. The alcohol level is already at 7.47%. I forgot to take a ready on the first batch, so I have no idea what the alcohol content is on the first bottles. I had a 'good feeling' from the couple of glasses I had. :P

 I watched a couple of movies since my last post. I watched The Hobbit, which I really enjoyed. And I watched The Hunger Games. It did not live up to the hype that it got. It was ok, but nothing to write home about. The Hobbit was nothing short of what I expected. My only complaint was the way it ended. I know it's part of a trilogy, but to build things up to that point and then just drop it...ANTI-CLIMATIC!!
Who else saw these movies? What did you think about them?

I've been working on updating my website as well in the past week. It's becoming a chore. Why? do you ask. Well, the one that is in place now was created with Microsoft Frontpage. Unfortunately, my web host is trying to get away from frontpage. So, I am trying to recreate my entire website in their program. It's like stumbling around in the dark. On top of not knowing where everything is, I have discovered that each page has to be loaded separately  Not looking forward to that. I'm sure it will work out in the end, it's just more than I had realized was necessary to accomplish. If you haven't been to my website, you can check it out here.

I'm sure you saw my last post, but it bears repeating....I have new paintings in my ETSY Shop! If you haven't already stop by to see them - do it now! :) You can also use the link in the upper right had corner of my blog. Thanks for all the support! I really appreciate it!

We made a trip to Atlanta this weekend to see the Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park. It's an annual art festival in downtown Atlanta. My daughter came with us too! Had a really good time. Haven't been in few years due to the fact that the organizers bring in the same artists and the same 'type' of work each year. This year was much better! New artists and artwork. They even broke down things into groups...local artists and genres. The colors were much more vibrant this time around as well. Lots of bright reds, oranges, greens and blues. They still had the muted colors but that only made the others pop out even more. The brightly colored artwork seemed to be pulling a lot of the crowds. Gave me some hope for my art, since I don't do muted, toned down work. Apparently, sometime recently, Atlanta passed a 'no smoking in the park' law. Annoying, but doable. And then they decided that you couldn't bring you dogs to the park for the festival. I think this is hilarious, since part of the festival is a 'dog show'. Frisbee catching and all. After tripping and being run over by strollers, I think that is what they should ban from the festival. Yuppies and their lazy children. Why on Earth would you bring a stroller to a crowded walking venue? And it wasn't even really the strollers. It was the snotty attitudes you get after they run into you. I practically bit my tongue off after this woman and her anorexic husband ran their stroller into me twice. It's ok though, the little old lady behind me jumped them both and promptly told them how rude and obnoxious they were. I met some amazing artist. No photos though. Most of the tents had 'no pictures please' signs posted. I'm guessing they had problems with it in the past couple of years. I got cards from a half dozen of the ones that I really liked. I won't go into explanations, but I will list the ones that caught my attention so that you can check them out for yourselves. There was a lady there that really deserves my attention. Her name is Marjorie Bowers. She does some amazing Pen & Ink work! She was also very helpful with information on the festival. She told me about the rules and costs. She informed me of what she was expecting to bring in for the weekend (which blew my mind considering they shut down on Friday because of the weather and that she doesn't sell anything on Saturdays). She even told me about a gallery that was looking for new artists (they have an opening for digital work). And then she insisted that I call her (several times) if I have any questions or need help with anything about the festival. I was really amazed at her openness and willingness to help. Most of the artists (in the past) treat it like it's a big secret. I guess they figure they had to struggle with it so every other artist should. Anyway, check out the sites and let me know what you think.

MARJORIE BOWERS ~ Pen and Ink. Amazing drawings. Mostly black and white, some with a splash of color. Wonderful lady, a joy to speak with.
BRUCE HOLWERDA ~ Figurative, paintings. Beautiful, vibrant, motion filled paintings. Had myself convinced to buy a painting until acted like he was too busy to speak to me. Shame, really.
GRACE KISA ~ Figurative, sculpture. Wonderful, whimsical sculptures. Lovely lady, we had a discussion on 'messy studios'.
TRENT MANNING ~ Figurative, sculpture. Stunning multi technique sculptures.
LIN MARTINIQUE ~ Figurative, painting. Colorful paintings with a touch of 3D.
JENNIFER IVORY ~ Insect, sculpture. Amazing sculptures that appear to be real until you get up close.
TAI ~ Illustrations. Truly outstanding drawings.

Well, I guess that's all for this time around. My daughter's baby is doing fine, she's getting impatient though. :) I'm filled with new vigor for my artwork. Who knows maybe next year I'll be telling you about my booth! First I have to straighten out my studio...looks like a tornado came through.

til next time....
Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy!!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Paintings

New Paintings in my ETSY SHOP!

I have two new paintings now available in my ETSY shop...

The story of Jaqlene the ripper.
A new take on an old nightmare.

acrylic paint, acrylic handmade transfers
5 x 5 gallery wrap

Helps gardens to grow

acrylic paint, acrylic handmade transfers
5 x 5 gallery wrap

Go take a peek, Then take one home!  :)


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Witches, Faeries, Rippers and...Alcohol

Hello All!
Hope you've been having a great week so far.
As you can see I missed my Sunday post....again.
It was Easter, so I kinda have an excuse...yes?? :)

Speaking of, I hope yours was filled with your loved ones and that it was a good day!
Mine was. My daughter was here, my son, his wife and my four grand kids. I made ham and mashed potatoes (my daughter insisted on gravy for the potatoes), cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beans, peas and sweet potatoes. We had twist bread and Bavarian pretzel bread. I did not however, make an dessert. The kids had more than enough candy from the Easter bunny. They had their egg hunt in the backyard - the rain they forcasted never showed! - and they got baskets as well. All in all, a good day!

Ding Dong, the witch is dead! :(
She died a horrible death.
Severe dehydration.
Splitting headache.
The cracks were way too deep for any hope of salvation. And then....pieces started falling off. Because I planned on 'punching' hair, I made the scalp too thin and it cracked, broke and fell off. Really quite depressing. So now I'm sitting here looking at an empty styrofoam head. Next time around I'll have to pretend I'm on 'Face Off'....only 3 days to get it done! HA!
the crack thru her face goes all the way 
to the styrofoam

these are the pieces that began falling off...
these photos aren't even the worst of it. 

I finished my 5 x 5 Faerie! Looks pretty damn good too! I added swirl-ies, flowers and some grass to the painting. Gave the wings and some of the swirls a coat of high gloss to make them 'pop'. I am really happy with the way it finished! I have to take another set of photos before I can put it on Etsy though. My secondary light was blown out and I'm not getting any usable shots. Hopefully I will get it posted to
Etsy this week.
terrible cell phone pic

top and side - i'm sure you get the idea...

I started and finished "White Chapel...the story of Jack Jaqlene"
I am really thrilled with how this finished up! If you recall, I started doing acrylic transfers on the Faerie. Well, the Faerie was done with 'direct' transfer. Meaning, the image was directly applied to the surface with acrylic gel. White Chapel was done with a 'true' transfer. Meaning that I applied the acrylic gel to the image and then remove the paper backing. I also hand painted some of the images on the reverse side to bring color into the piece. :) I think I really like doing transfers. Maybe I'll do a few more. I managed to get more process photos of White Chapel than I did with the Faerie. Wanna see?.... And yes, in case you missed it at the beginning...It's Jaqlene the ripper in this version. I used a familiar face for the character. If you know me (or have been reading my blog for any time) you'll recognize one of my favorite actress'.   :)
the prepped canvas and the first transfer..
a copy of one of Jack's letters. The gel is not completely
dried here...that's why it looks 'hazy'

prepping and placing the letter

this is my final image of the 'killer'. it's a combination
of photo and drawing. both of which were
entered into the computer and tweaked,
then output as a black and white line drawing.
the knife was added afterwards. the sheen you
see in the picture is the first gel coats. i think i did 
a total of 6

continued to work on the canvas while the
gel dried. added the beginnings of the chapel clock tower

this was the following day after the gel was completely dry.
here, I am removing the paper backing. the acrylic gel
'locks' the printer ink into it

Jaqlene and the clock face - transfers drying - before 
any color was added

the backside of Jaqlene - the colors (hair, knife)
were added and then a couple coats of white to
bring out the colors and the coat she wears

i decided that there should be a full moon...
i mean what lunatic would be caught dead without one...right?
so i created another transfer

the moon and clock face laid in place with
more acrylic gel. the moon has several 
colors through out it (hard to see here)

Jaqlene placed and ready to begin her
murderous streak! 

'the letter' with the corrected name  :)

On the 27th I began my new batch of Mead! YAY!! 
I began with 4 gallons of spring water and a gallon of wildflower honey. The water was heated and then let cool to about 140 degrees to which the honey was added. Stir, stir, stir until it was all mixed. While it was cooling I began cutting the fruit. I used 2 mangoes, 2 oranges, 3 plums and 3 red pears. I cut them up and put them in my new strainer bag. I learned what a mess fruit makes when it ferments (not to mention the mess it makes on the ceiling when it explodes). So now I have a nice neat bag to place the sliced up fruit. Then I got the yeast ready. I used a liquid yeast from Wyeast, it's called 'sweet mead'. After everything was cooled I placed it in my new container and took my first reading. Which was 1.085. Right where it should be. :) I then put in the fruit bag and the yeast. Sealed it up and watched for the bubbles. I cleaned up everything and put things away while I waited. No bubbles. Eleven o' bubbles. So I forced myself to go to bed. Checked it in the morning before bubbles. :(
The 27th was Thursday, by Monday I still wasn't seeing bubbles. So I looked things up and the suggestion was to add more yeast. I had a packet (dry yeast) from my first batch which was still good so I prepped it and 'pitched' it into my 'must' (honey, water, fruit). It was at this point that I decided that I didn't like the airlock that came with the container so I removed it and put my 's' airlock on. In the process of all of this I realized that there were tiny bubbles in the airlock and that the 'inside lid', which floats, was not sitting flat. It was at an angle, which probably means that it was fermenting just fine. So I did more research and there does not seem to be an issue with adding extra yeast. Whhhheeewww! That's a relief. I did notice that the water in the 's' airlock is pushed all the way to one side. Probably a lot of built up pressure in that container...hhhhmmmmm. :)  In 30 days or so it will be time to rack the liquid into another container and continue with the process. I think at that point I will start my other batch. I have orange blossom honey for that batch. Mmmmmmm, yummy! I'll keep you posted on the progress!
In the meantime, here are the initial photos...
my honey...ain't she sweet?  LOL

i had to split up the spring can see the water
level in the pan, that's two gallons and some room for
the honey. my new container, the spigot hasn't been put in yet

chopped up fruit in my new mesh bag

the 'sweet mead' yeast
blurry pictures are what happens
when you take your glasses off

first night...

after i realized there were no bubbles!
see the different airlock? see the water
level? all the water is sitting on the right 
side now. i'm praying i don't have another
ceiling coating explosion again!

Well, I do believe that is all for now....
Oh, wait! My daughter's baby is doing well. I only have one photo and I haven't scanned it yet. We should be seeing more shortly. Hopefully my daughter will email or text it to me so I have it to post! She has also started a new job and seems to be very happy were she is. I'm still having issue wrapping my head around the fact that my baby is having a baby. I can't possibly be that old...can I?  :)

til next time...
Be Good, Be Safe, Be Happy

p.s. did you guess who the actress was?