Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: The People I Meet...

Meet Grandpa Woodstock. I think the first time I saw him was in 2004, during a Woodstock Reunion Concert at Yasgur's Farm in Bethel, NY (where the original Woodstock festival took place). But over the years, I've seen him around both at Bethel and his permanent residence... Woodstock.

So, does Grandpa look like he's got some stories to tell or what? And that is something that inspires me very much... people and their stories. I love to travel the country and visit historical areas... eventually finding someone with stories to tell. Someone who's seen it... felt it... been there... done that. And Grandpa Woodstock is one of those icons.

But it's not just the stories. I'm absolutely smitten with his gentle personality, zest for life, and that fabulous hippie garb. I mean... how he can combine all those lovely flower prints and they still seem to go together. Those clothes have been chosen with heart and aged with love!

You know what he said to me? He said the important thing is to live for today. But he did mention that there was something good about tomorrows... Tomorrow you will be even more beautiful than you are right now. He didn't know me, but we parted with hugs and I hope to see him again some day in my travels.... and hear more stories.

Peace xoxox

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Step Right Up... The Carnival's In Town!

Ladies and Gentlemen... children of all ages... step right up! Don't be shy. You won't believe your eyes!

I am very pleased with my progress and the conjoined twin Tillie sideshow showpiece is nearly complete (although they have become Willie and Tillie — there's a story there). They still need a little hair... strings for their balloons... and I'm also going to attach some Christmas lights inside of the shadowbox. I think this is my favorite creation to date, and I'd love to do more folk art style pieces with a carnival theme. Hmmmmm....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Let's Put Our Heads Together...

They say two heads are better than one. But I guess it's all relative... huh? Recently I've been sidetracked by a sideshow themed project.... conjoined twin Tillies. My favorite local Asbury Park icon has grown a twin for a local gallery show coming up called... Double Take.

I had already been entertaining ideas in my head of carnival-themed projects, and when I saw the call for entries... well, I had to answer with my strange and unusual side. Of course I wanted to create these twins in one of my favorite genres... Folk Art Style.

Now, the reason behind that is two-fold: one, I absolutely love the look of Folk Art pieces and how they were made with love and care and very little artistic knowledge. This self-taught person just made something because they had a strong desire to make it. And two, it gives me the excuse to make something and pretend I don't know what the heck I'm doing. Especially in those instances when I don't know what the heck I'm doing! Takes a lot of pressure off, to not have to be perfectly precise about making something. Right?

I can love the lumps and bumps... and that one head is bigger than the other... but his ears are smaller.... and that the torso is off... that the noses are different sizes... well, you get the picture. And so—as hard as I can—I try to pretend that I don't know what I'm doing, just that I want to do it. And I feel like a kid again. Where there are no mistakes. Where there is no wrong way. Except to not do it at all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Now Where Are Those Missing Socks?

Oh... there you are, you little sneaks! All the time, you were right there in the dryer. How could I have missed you? Now you know I made you as Valentine's gifts for my favorite people. You shouldn't have hidden from me like that. I got a little worried.

Well, we weren't exactly here the whole time, you know? Maybe that's why you couldn't find us!

Oh, really? Is that right? Well... what do spare-socks-turned-sock-creatures do when I'm not around?

Well... Jay was hanging out on the counter for awhile because he thought it looked cool like an arcade...

Who are you looking at with that idiotic grin? You think that's funny?

And Mom—of course—stayed right where she was supposed to be. In the dryer. Near the lint trap. Waiting for the kids to come back...

Yeah, well... that makes perfect sense. Mom's good like that.

But I was so tired of hanging out all day in the laundry room... well... I just had to bounce!

Oh, I see. Well, I certainly get tired of hanging out in the laundry room. So I can understand that. But I'm glad I found all of you. Now I can gift you little creatures to your new owners. I know they'll be thrilled to have you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

Love! I think it is my very favorite intangible. You can't see it... or box it up... or buy it at the store. But you can give it to someone... and you can receive it... and you can actually feel it when you have it too!  I hope you have lots Love in your life... today and every day...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Patterns, Patterns, Everywhere...

Over the years, I have come to realize that I like repetitive elements in my art. Whether it be circles or stripes... faces or flowers... real or imagined... there seems to be a common recurrence of patterns of all kinds. And when I'm out of the studio, there is so much inspiration... everywhere! Like these motorcycles, all neatly parked at Bike Week in Daytona, Florida.

And on this mosaic wall in Seattle, Washington. Differing sized circles... hmmmm.

And I just love seeing these Coney Island Craft Lager boxes stacked together. Mind is racing!

Ooooh, these amazing rooftops in Portsmouth, New Hampshire simply had me mesmerized! Especially with the blue sky and fluffy white clouds as a backdrop.

Retro boomerang patterns on this service counter in Asbury Park, New Jersey send chills up my spine (and it wasn't because I got an ice cold Pepsi!).

And the weather-worn slats of my hometown boardwalk in Ocean Grove.... oh, the ideas!

Whether it's a walk around your neighborhood... a quick trip to the store... or a trek across the country... I hope you find inspiration all around you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quit Clowning Around... Actually... Don't!

Did you ever get one of those thoughts in your head that just won't go away? The kind where no matter how much you push it back and say, "not now, I can't" it keeps coming back with a vengeance? Yeah, me too. Ever since I made a carnival-inspired assemblage last fall, I've been wanting to create more.

Lately I had been making jewelry full-time. Now, making something that will be worn over and over (and over) means you had better make it last a long time without coming apart. Well—to tell you the truth—that kind of pressure hurts my brain a little. I needed to break freeeeeee! At least for a little while.

So I hired my handyman to build 10 boxes for me. And when he brought them over last Friday—all those pretty wooden blank canvasses—well, I just jumped right in! It was a veritable assembly line of fun! I couldn't stop myself.

I got out my vintage bulbs... and chose paint colors to match. I gessoed... and measured... and painted stripes of all colors. Then I collaged... and sanded... and aged with a wash of brown acrylic. Making messes and being un-perfect and scratching and scraping and covering up. Ahhh, sweet freedom!

Having grown up at the boardwalk and going to local carnivals and fairs... it has always been one of my favorite themes. It just brings back such happy memories. It's no wonder they keep coming back through my art. I'm looking forward to working more on these pieces to see where they evolve. I actually thought I knew exactly where they were going... but the objects I'm using seem to be making some of those decisions for me. Love it when that happens!

Monday, February 7, 2011

And The Winner Is...

I would like to thank everyone who took part in my Valentine Giveaway. It was great to read all your wonderful stories about why you love the Holiday! Since my blog is networked on several social media sites, I did things the old fashioned way... printed out all your names and randomly drew one out of a hat. And the lucky winner is...

Pamela Jane!

Her comment was: I'd love living in the garden of your imagination with this sweet fairy! And I love hearts and hugs and swooning over the perfect shade of red.  :)

Congratulations Pamela! Send your home address to me here and I'll get your Garden Fairy in the mail right away.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day. And I invite you to stick around... I have a new post every Tuesday and a new Thoughtful Thursday feature, where I talk about some of the inspirations behind my creativity. And who knows what other surprises I'll have in the future!

Thanks again!
Michelle xoxox

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: A Primer...

I thought (pun intended!) that I would start a new segment on my blog. Something where I could share a little bit about the inspiration behind my creations, the things I'm drawn to (another pun!), and what really turns me on creatively. And I'd do this toward the end of the week on the same day... so I  figured I'd call it... Thoughtful Thursdays.

So today's primer (yup, one more pun) is not only to introduce you to the segment, but to showcase one of my favorite creative themes I'm drawn to in my work... a monochromatic color palette. I love to start with a single color and then add onto the project with similar colored elements...

I'm not sure what drew me to this technique... although the first time I used Ranger's Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers in their coordinating palette trios, I settled in. They kind of took the guesswork out of color matching and from there I was hooked. At first I used just the paints themselves, but then branched out into using similar colored objects. Since I've been collecting "stuff" for over 20 years — ummmm — I've got plenty to choose from.

But why have I stuck with it? I'm not quite sure. Perhaps because having a singular color scheme really unifies a piece. Maybe it's easier on the eyes (and my brain) to only use one color group. Or it could be that it adds a certain whimsy. No matter the reason, you can count on seeing more monochromatic looks in my work for years to come.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Valentine Giveaway...

Just my way of saying how much I appreciate all of you, my lovely blog followers! I'm giving away this Valentine Garden Fairy Doll — handmade with love by me! Dyed with shades of cranberry and eggplant, this totally bendable doll is finished with silk flower fashions, vintage buttons, beads, baubles and an embroidered heart. Straight from my garden of imagination to one lucky winner.

Simply leave a comment telling me what you love about Valentine's Day. It can as simple as "those conversation heart thingies" to the more warmhearted "spending time with friends and loved ones." You have until midnight this Sunday, February 6th. I'll choose a winner and announce it in a blog post Monday, February 7th!

P.S. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet! Good luck!

Love Always,
Michelle xoxox