Tuesday, May 24

texture tuesday~ alpenglow

i set the background image to soft light blend. made small adjustments to levels and contrast. added a layer of kim's pumpkin grundge on screen blend at 53%, a layer of kim's warmsun on soft light at 60%, and finished with a layer of kim's yesteryear on multiply at 72%.

this photo was taken late last september at our home on ugak bay. it was 7:30 am, a rare day with not a cloud in the sky. it was so silent, there wasn't even a breeze, the bay was like a mirror. mist was rolling out from the falls, and when the sun popped up, the mountains were bathed in alpenglow. it was breathtaking. just as quickly it was gone and i continued with the breadmaking... here's the before: 

take some time to visit all the other beautiful work here!

Wednesday, May 18

here's the tail~

this is the third year i've participated in KICVB's Halibut Tail Art Auction. the visitor's bureau provides local artists (this year i think there are 14 participating) with blank fiberglass taxidermy halibut tail forms, which can be created on in any media we choose. kind of like the chicago cows. the finished tails are auctioned off at the KICVB's Chocolate Lover's Fling, which is being held this saturday. art & chocolate, what a deal.
this year two of the tails are being offered for public online bidding on ebay. this is happening now, check out item #180666099917 and #180666107692.
the past two years i've hand dyed fabrics and pieced, appliqued and beaded quilted "tail covers." 

clarice was first. i loved clarice.

last year was moira's turn. i loved moira. i am so so happy that a very dear friend now owns her. moira is very happy that she is moving to sunny florida, where the waters are much warmer than here...

this year i wanted to try something different. thinking a mixed media piece would be fun, enable me to indulge in my love of rusty stuff, and go together much quicker than a hand dyed quilted piece, i chose that route. it was a lot of fun. created a lot of interesting technical problems i got to work out. it got me to part with many of my beloved beach treasures i've been hoarding. as far as taking less time, well, not so much. but it's done now so i can love it at last.

this is the front.

here's the back.

with no real picture in my head of the finished project, i started by tearing up old tide tables, fishing regulation books and our navigation charts (so if we run aground, hit a rock or get lost at sea this summer, it's all my fault.) aged them with coffee & vanilla then applied them to the fin on both sides with gel medium. this was the only time i used a glue product on this project, i'm kinda happy about that.  then i punched out circles from more charts in 3 different sizes, distressing the edges. i layered them down the base of the tail to create a fish scale look. this took longer than i thought, mainly because i started obsessing over getting the correct halibut fishing areas to show on the little bits of map on the scales & fin...hind site has me wondering if anyone else will even notice that...

once i got the base done i realized this would be the perfect piece to highlight things i've found on the various beaches on the island. i used my trusty dremel tool to cut windows through the fin, where i could attach things like these gems:

it's hard to see, but the item on the left is an old brass navy button. the currant coast guard base on kodiak began as a naval base during WWII, and i often find wonderful rusty navy-type things on a couple different beaches. the tiny sand dollar was a score from a beach on nearby long island last father's day. i soldered around it so i had something to hang it by. in the rest of the windows i put a really awesome ice blue piece of beach glass, hardly ever find that colour, a nice chunk of pottery, and a soldered microscope slide with a mermaid on one side and a collage of old fishing boats i put together on the other.

while working on filling the windows i came across a quote that pulled the whole tail together for me, so to speak. it gave me just what i needed for the focal point to work, the focal point being my take on the sacred heart symbol:

the base is a rusted heart-shaped tin duffy & i found on our morning beach stroll. it was pretty nearly a zen moment for me. the rusty forks were another beach find, and those i wired and soldered on to the back of the tin, hoping to emulate the sacred heart's flames. along the inside of the tin i drilled holes, and wired freshwater pearls down. i brushed some beeswax over the pearls to ensure they stay put, i think it added a nice aged look.

i drilled a couple more holes on the top and wired in an arch some sea glass from another beach. on the bottom i dangled a bit of what looks like a piece of jadeite glass, a vial of white sand from a favorite beach we've all let our kids run around naked on when they were babies, and an awesome old key, nicely patina'd, with russian writing on it. it was hard to part with that one. also sewed on a mother of pearl button to the bottom of the middle fork that my daughter found on the beach a while back. i had to pay her a dollar for it.
i printed the quote out on a paper bag, and applied it to an awesome flat bit of copper (that already had the center hole in it!) with melted beeswax. it buffed out nice and shiny, love beeswax. i hung it from the top of the tin with some rusted & waxed twine.

i mounted the heart onto the tail by screwing it down with some old worn copper screws from my father-in-law's old screw bin. they look great peeking out. who knows how old they are.
i used an old salmon roe packing box (canneries have switched to plastic boxes now, such a pity) for the base. i covered the lid with another chart, aging it with more coffee. i screwed the tail on good and sturdy, then screwed the lid onto the box with more old brass screws. the final bit of glory for this piece came to me a week before the tail was due, when we rode out to fossil beach for an afternoon, and while walking through the seaweed i found an old halibut gagnion, all chewed & rusty (yay) with the most beautiful rusted circle hook ever still attached. i wrapped it around the base of the tail and wired it down. i included a tag so the owner would know where everything came from, and called it done.

i named this year's tail "Enduring Beauty"
and i sure hope someone bids on it saturday night.....

Tuesday, May 17

texture tuesday~ vintage

this week's texture tuesday challenge from dear kim klassen was to use something vintage as our subject. she provided us with a fabulous new texture "pourvous."
i could have pulled out any number of old things i suppose, but what came to mind right away was a treasured photo i have of my grandma arel, my memere. and no, i am not calling memere vintage.

i made some adjustments in levels, hue/saturation, & contrast, then added a sepia photofilter @66%.
i added a layer of kim's "trust" texture on soft light blend at 100%, then her new "pourvous" texture
on hard light blend at 69%. i erased a bit of the texture from memere.

my mom remembers this was one of the first photos she took with her new "Brownie" camera. i decided to leave the torn bits and worn edges alone, not edit them out. that's me memere is holding - thus the vintage label. as i approach the half century mark in a couple months, i feel i am certifiably vintage.
there are many things i love about this photo, first, that i even have it. there aren't many photos of the two of us. second - i love how skinny my legs are. they didn't stay that way. i love my saggy diaper and memere's saggy stockings. and her slippers, and her fancy watch. we used to beg to wear her fancy watch.
memere was french, born in quebec. she was the most amazing lace maker, and why oh why didn't i watch her closer. i have the sample book she and her sisters put together, another treasure. she spoke in a mixture of french and english, unless she was mad, and then the french flew. it wasn't very helpful french to learn i later found out in 6th grade french class.
at any rate, go check out all the other textured vintage lovlies now here!

Sunday, May 15

welcome to the house of arachnids...........

i have a very deep dislike for spiders. not a lot makes me scream like a girl (other than teenaged sons not taking off their muddy shoes in the house), but a spider, any spider regardless of size, brings embarrassing shrieks from me every time.
at our cabin i expect spiders and have fashioned a routine to deal with them. my husband goes down first, bombs the cabin, and a few days later i go down and sweep up the remains. a dead spider i can handle.
our home in town i expect to be spider free. during an average year we will have the occasional spider visits, which i have learned to live with. i would scream, and devon, my spider killer, would come running and make it go away. it worked well while devon was home. i hope the air force appreciates the sacrifice i am making for my country. because lately, my house is full of these:

i was very brave to take these photos, i think. even now i have goose bumps. this was not just an average "oh ick, a spider" spider, this was colossal. the size of a fifty cent piece. not kidding. no need for photoshop texture here - look at the hair on the back of this thing!!!!

this was just one from yesterday. before him i had one come out of the kitchen sink drain when i was washing my (now broken) coffee cup. how the heck do they get in our plumbing???? there were two more in the kitchen cabinets, one in the shower (sponge bath for me tonight...) and my personal favorite of today, one in the hood of my sweatshirt - that i didn't find until it crawled up my neck....ewwwwwwwww. last night cullan had one in his bed, so i took a good 20 minutes to shake out my blankets & pillows before i climbed in my bed.
why are they so profuse, and so stinkin' big??? was it the week of beautiful sunshine and warmth we just had? if so, give me back the snow and ice. perhaps there's been a bit of unreported chemical leaks, or nuclear stuff floating around???  these guys are so big even my pal duffy won't go near them. i'm pretty sure they could carry him off. i'm serious.
tonight when i go to bed there will be a thorough shaking of the sheets, i am wearing socks, and there will be a flashlight and a can of bear spray on my night stand. if it can stop a brown bear, i'm hoping it can stop these nasty creatures. gerry better hope he doesn't bump into me tonight...he'll get clobbered, sprayed and shaken out.

Tuesday, May 10

texture tuesday~ rerun

i know i've recently posted this photo of my pal duffy, but i didn't have time this week to get out and take pictures...an anyhow, doesn't he look like he's just waiting to be a part of texture tuesday?

i set the background on soft light blend, then used a gaussian blur. i placed a layer of kim's golden texture at 54% soft blend, then a layer of kim's mad love texture at 61%  multiply.

Disclaimer: no squirrels were harmed while taking this photo.

don't forget to go check out all the other awesome photography at kim's texture tuesday link-up here!

Tuesday, May 3

texture tuesday~ a cuppa joe

this week's challenge from kim was to use a photo of a coffee or tea cup, and her sweet texture "luminous." this is probably my favorite texture so far, i love what it did to this photo...like looking through an old screen door.

i used two layers of luminous on this, one on soft light mode and one on multiply.
this time i left them both at 100% as i really liked the aged look it gave the image.

my dad and i found this old rusty cup years ago while walking behind our old house back east. we used to hike on an old stage coach road that ran along our property, and we found all kinds of great treasures~ old bottles, china doll parts, tools. he loved it, and so did i. maybe that's where my obsession with rust came from...and pack-ratting...this cup has moved everywhere with me, been to college, art school, for some reason it even came to work with me in bristol bay...i'm just glad i've hung on to it all this time.
here's the before:

isn't photoshop something? and, just for fun:

this is using luminous once on hard light blend at 58% and once on multipy blend at 74%.

the modern quintessential coffee cup... now, go check out everyone else's photography here!

Sunday, May 1

make art while the muse shines~

it occurred to me that the only thing i've posted about lately has been photos for texture tuesday, when, in fact, i've been busy in my work room with other stuff too. having deadlines helps. this year's Whale Fest art show has been up for a month, and i finished two pieces to enter in it. after a serious non-creative blah spell, it felt good to get back to it and accomplish soomething.

this is an altered tin i titled "robert service's retirement plan". i forgot to measure it, i believe it's 2" wide and around 6-7" long. i let the tin get nice & rusty outside for a few weeks, then layered torn charts, a bit of rusty screen, a spot of embroidery i did on some rusty muslin (i love rust), & an old button all attached with beeswax. for the crowning glory - a beautiful old fork handle found on the beach (score) & a little compass i soldered to a piece of something metal, also from the beach. these i attached with rivets and wire.

the detail on the fork handle was so pretty, even after being in the sea for who knows how long.
i think it deserved to be dressed up with some pearls and crystals.

here's the inside. i'd never seen this particular robert service poem before, and it is what inspired this piece.

"When I have come with happy heart
to sixty years and ten,
I'll buy a boat and sail away upon a summer sea;
and in a little lonely isle
that's far far from men,
in peace and praise I'll spend the days
the gods allow to me!"

to that let me just say AMEN.

i layered it with gel medium to a chart on the inside top of the tin. on the other side i did a fabric collage with more rusty muslin, more bits of beach metal, some pearls & buttons & beads, a snip of old lace and a flower from some hand dyed silk ribbon. of course, there must always be a mermaid (especially if one is retiring alone) and i found this one from the graphics fairy (a fabulous site & my go-to spot when i need any type of clip art, that gal karen has it all and if she doesn't and you ask her, she will find it. a-maz-ing.) i printed her out on some pfd muslin and stitched her on.

"a red halibut" (un fletan rouge) was the other piece i did for whale fest. it measures roughly 11x14". i  machine embroidered the halibut onto yet even more rusted muslin (i know, but i really like it), then sandwiched it with some cotton batting and machine quilted it. sewed on a chunk of a chart with the latin name for atlantic halibut (realizing too late that it should have been PACIFIC halibut, oh well) with a chunk of lace, & added a chunk of well-patina'd beach metal. i prepared the foundation board with some paint, some tide tables, a few teabags and other stuff. added a really awesome strip of copper to the top (another beach score) drilled some holes in it, then sewed the quilted piece onto the board with -get this- butcher's twine i RUSTED and waxed. okay enough with the rust.

i also made this:

a real lemon merange pie, made with fresh duck eggs. check out that merange! i was feeling pretty cheffy. and it didn't fall, it stayed that tall to the last piece. from now on, it's me, donald and daffy in the kitchen.

in closing, i need to share with you something about that little bit of embroidery on the cover of the robert service piece. i have no clue how to embroider. my mom embroiders entire quilt tops. i did one cross stitch panel when i was in junior high. but i wanted some embroidery on that cover, and was determined to not have to ask mom not to do it for me. (you know, i've never been able to shake that "i can do it all by myself" thing)  thank goodness i discovered mollie johanson's blog wild olive, and feeling stitchy. between both these sites i found a plethora of tutorials, pictures, patterns, and help. they are both just beautiful to visit, with excellent photography to boot. so after a few hours of this:

(i couldn't have done it without my glow in the dark mary back there. she always has her eye on me)

and the smallest of tension headaches, i was able to stitch the little lazy lotus blossom (on - you got it - rusted muslin) all by myself. i showed it to my mom, but the poor thing just doesn't get my art. she came out of her laundry room with a bottle of Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing that she thought would help me get the rust stains out.