Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Homeless Finch Returns - The Journey Continues...Cali Style!




"All life is a journey; which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there." - A Little Book of Happiness

I started this blog back in 2011 with the idea in mind that I would be able to share my ideas and give inspiration and instruction to whomever might be interested in the same things that I was...art, upcycling, re-newing that which is vintage, exploring flea markets and surrounding myself with the things that I love and in which I found value towards making a life well worth living.  

Taking a rest atop a ridge overlooking Ojai.
I named the blog The Homeless Finch because I owned 4 pairs of finches and they occupied a small aviary in my then South Florida studio.  After many years and several life changing events, which took me away from blogging, I now live in beautiful Southern California; a dream of mine since I was a teen.  I just bought a circa 1928 Spanish Style bungalow in the Ojai Valley and am hard at work renovating, decorating, redesigning and loving my new creative and peaceful life here. I have thousands of projects ahead of me, both large and small about which I will be gleefully writing. 

So, I haven't addressed 'why Homeless in the title of the blog?'  I am a serial upcycler and re-purpose-aholic, vintage maven, fixer upper. I have the compulsive need to rescue all that is homeless, whether it is funny little treasures I find, purchase and fix or the creatures and people along the way whom I try and bring into my home and my life in a quest to help fix them.  Nothing should be homeless. Everything is renewable.  At 52, I am going to renew myself too...again. Join me on the journey...


Sneak peek at a "Before" image of my 1928 Spanish Bungalow.




Saturday, June 1, 2013

Simple Little Work of Art for Someone Who Means the World to Me

My week has been a little trying and I haven't had a ton of time in the studio. I also haven't had the time I would want to read some of my favorite blogs. So if you haven't heard from me, I apologize. Life gets in the way sometimes. Regardless, I wanted to post a mini-project that I did last week.  It was fun, quick and a delightful gift to give to my bestie.

I took this pic...well, I actually stole this pic off of my friend's Facebook page. He posted it a few weeks ago with a caption that read:  Happy Dog.  This is my best friend's Maltese, Missy chilling out at their beach house in Florida.  The overall feel and soft tones in the photo made me want to use it.


I popped it into Picasa and played around with some of the settings and then reduced the photo into a pencil sketch.

After printing the pencil sketch version out on a piece of 8 1/2 X 12 watercolor paper, I washed the different areas of the images with gouache.


As I worked with the medium, I made subtle changes to the image, changing the lines and direction in the foreground, creating a little more drama in the atmosphere and intensifying the depth of the ocean color.  This was a fun, relaxing project and I had a blast delivering it to him at his new art gallery that is under construction as this time.

It's fun to create something for someone you love.  There is a certain nervousness that is involved in such an endeavor, even with something as simple at this little piece of art.  In the end, I think he loved it. After all, it has his sweet Missy in the image.  Who wouldn't like something like that?!  

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Artist Dates and Small Works Make for More Than Just Paint

As an artist, I have come to realize how important it is to be connected to a community of creative people.  I love all my friends, whether they are creative or not.  They all play a different role in my circle of friendship. Heck!  My husband isn't a creative and I think he is pretty darn cool himself! But my artist friends understand me at a level that is only possible if you are crazy, weird, nuts sewn together in way that creative thinkers are knitted.

After reading through the first half of Julie Cameron's The Artist Way, I decided to take the initiative to champion a Artist Studio Date once a month with two of my favorite creative friends.  We get together once a month with a sketchbook and limited supplies to create small works of art, but more importantly to connect and talk and share.  The idea is to come with a loose idea of what we might paint on the page.  We paint, chat and stop for lunch. We sip Prosecco and laugh about our lives, our men and bounce ideas off of each other. These ideas are both about our studio work and about our lives.  We are three months into our dates and I wanted to share with you the three pages that I have completed.  
In my bag of tricks I pack drawing materials, a limited supply of brushes and tubes of gouache.  Here are the results of each month's date.



Pic from the first Artist Date
In the above small painting, I came with the goal to just paint something without thinking.  I brought a few brushes, pencils and gouache.  (For those of you who don't know what gouache is, it's a watercolor paint that has nice qualities that allow if needed for a more opaque result than most standard watercolor paints.)  I just did without thinking, laying down a layer of bright yellow and then just adding the elements.  I have glue relief stamps that I made and tossed in the bag that I used to create the square and rectangular shapes.  During the afternoon, one of my friends said, "You can't be erased."  It wasn't a direct comment at me, but an overall pronouncement.  It stuck with me, so I used it in the piece on the bottom right corner.



On our second Artist Date, I brought with me a copy of a photograph that my daughter took of herself to use as inspiration.  Here is the photocopy. It's a somewhat somber image.  She captures herself in many different moods.  I thought this image would be interesting to tackle both thematically and structurally.


Below is the small painting I did based on this photograph.


I decided on a brighter color palette and put down a basic background sketch using pencil.   I made the decision at one point to open her eye because I thought the downward gaze would help me illustrate the mood of the image. We, as a family, have been through a lot in the last few months.  I wanted to document this moment.

This past week, we met in MY studio for the first time. Boy was I excited to host the day.  We all three have come to look forward to getting together to share our work and our lives.  We can say anything and the other person doesn't judge.  We 'get' each other implicitly. Weirdos like other weirdos. Hee hee.

Gypsy the Studio cat!
For this week in addition to the Artist Date, I was attempting to also participate in an online community linky party sponsored by Inspiration Avenue.  Maggie picks a theme each week and all the participants create something based on that theme.  I rarely participate in these parties because my work is my work and I find it hard to paint something that doesn't apply.  The theme this week was "Retro Art 1950s and 60s."  I had the hair brained idea that I would create my Artist Date page based on the work of the 1950s and 60s artist Mark Rothko.  I love his work and thought it would be fun to explore this idea.

It turned out to be not the best idea.  I am not Mark. Will never be Mark. I hated the painting. It didn't feel like me. The rectangles were all off or something.  Couldn't put my finger on it.  Maybe it was that I drank too much Prosecco? (wink)


In the end, I was so unhappy with the painting that I added this random tree.  Why not?  It is what it is for sure.  One of my friends said that the painting reminded her of Jasper Johns, another painter from that time period. So hey, it's my Retro Art. Ha!

An artist's life can be very isolating.  I think it is important to get out with other creative people.  We feed each other.  We validate each other.  Sometimes...we just need to 'be' together, if nothing more than to realize that there are other weird people out there just like us!  It's worth the effort. I promise.

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