Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Holiday Ornaments-My Process to Create a Cat Ornament

Now that I’ve completed the Languedoc-Roussillon series, I must move on to the next task on my list: Holiday ornaments. I need to make several for NOA for their upcoming holiday season display (which sounds really nice; 5 white Christmas trees displayed in both stores & decorated entirely with local artisan-made ornaments.) And there are the upcoming shows on my schedule (Merrimack Valley Artisans, Bolton Artisans Guild, ArtSpace-Maynard.)  Time to GET BUSY!

Last year I made a few ornaments using disk shaped glass ornaments as my armature. Here is one example:

This year I decided to try sculpting over a round ornament. That comes with a different set of challenges as the shape can change the perspective.

I wanted to make a prototype piece first. This one is the practice piece and takes all the grief. Poor ornament.

Here is my process for this cat prototype. I started with white polymer clay, covered the glass ball and added facial features. I really struggled with the face. That could be because I haven’t sculpted in a while and was shifting gears from the encaustic work back to polymer clay.

I know I was also hard on myself in seeking perfection on a practice piece. I know better but it happens anyways. Just have to remind myself “this is only a test….”

Back view with tail

After proto-cat was cured and cooled, I added an antique wash of acrylic paint.

Not bad. Now you can see the texture I added with a needle tool.

Next up is adding more color. This year I’m experimenting with oil paints and coloring the clay. So I rubbed, smooshed, and then wiped off several oil paints to give proto-cat some color.

Well now he’s glowing. It takes a little trial and error when applying the oil paint. Be sure to wear gloves! At this point I’m not really happy with the results. What I see in front of me isn’t matching what is in my head…or my model/inspiration for that matter.

Taking a clue from my model (who is sleeping on the studio floor), I take a break and come back to the ornament in the evening. I add some more oil paint and additional color with Prismacolor pencils. This adds some depth and definition.

And a back view. I think I like his tail the best….

Sigh. I’m still not feeling the love here. Proto-cat looks a little alien to me. But that is why this is a prototype.

I spent some time really looking at the cats and the shape of the ornament. Proto-cat’s face still seems flat to me. It looks like a cat but it doesn’t. Some things I’ll change on the next one:

  • build out the face instead of adding face parts
  • make the eyes rounder
  • make smaller marks with the needle tool
  • work from a picture versus memory or a sleeping model
  • try a different polymer clay that is easier to manipulate

What do you think?




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Introducing Snapshots & Memories From Languedoc-Roussillon, A New Series of Artwork

Over the past several weeks, I have been working on a new series of artwork, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon. This series of artwork was inspired by a trip to an area of France known as the Languedoc-Rousillon region. The Languedoc-Roussillon region is a loosely formed triangle that includes such towns as Albi, Revel, and Toulouse. It is an area steeped in history, with many castles and ruins from the time of the Cathars. It is a magical place.

This series currently features 15 collectible pieces. All of these pieces are created using encaustic medium. Many feature the fusion of polymer-encaustic. That is, the combining of encaustic medium and polymer clay. All of the pieces feature my printmaking or my original photographs. Each image is fused to a board the size of a playing card (2.5″W x 3.5″L). The playing card size board is then mounted onto wood.

Some of the images are presented individually on the wood boards. Other images were combined in double and triple formats. Several of the pieces are additionally embellished with items I purchased at the local Vide Grenier (flea market) during my time in France. All of the artwork is ready to hang.

Arched Shutter_Revel

Chez Castre

Hear No Evil

Le Tournesol_The Sunflower (1)

Le Tournesol_The Sunflower (2)

Shutters de Montolieu

The Key

Weathered Door_Revel

Gnarly Dog_Gnarly Tree

Shutters de Soreze

Weathered Brass Knockers

Doors of Intrigue

France In Blue

Keys of Three

Rest



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That Other Form of Creativity: The New Fall TV Season

I miss LOST.

When LOST ended, I realized there would be very little on TV that interested me. In fact, as this new fall season was approaching, I commented to my hubby that I was pretty unfamiliar with any of the new shows.

Then I saw a listing of new shows in the NY Times. And I watched a few preview clips on YouTube. As of now, I still don’t think I’m missing much.

It started with The X-Factor. Perhaps you couldn’t miss knowing about this show between the online ads and media chatter. I watched/listened to an hour of the premiere while working on my new series of artwork. 60 minutes of it was all I could tolerate. I really don’t like watching the auditions. Some of it can be very painful to watch and hear.

This year was the first time I’ve ever watched American Idol. I was more curious about Steven Tyler and how he’d act on the show. Here, too, the auditions were tedious and the commercials annoying. Cut to the chase please. After while, the show began to wear on me. The judges were almost too nice. I mean, when I can hear a contestant singing off key and no judge comments on it, something isn’t right.

Anyways, singing and dance talent shows just don’t do it for me.

Person of Interest: Did you see this show? It caught my eye because Michael Emerson is in it. You’ll remember him as Ben Linus from LOST. The show is also a Bad Robot (J.J Abrams) production. Same folks who brought us LOST. So I thought it would be worth checking out.

Impression: Eh. The premise behind the show, the government tracking its citizens post 9/11, storing data, recording your every move, and using this information to stop a situation before it happens sounded intriguing. But I’m not so sure the characters are interesting enough to keep me interested. Michael Emerson was okay. James Caviezel was a little flat. I give it a B-.

Terra Nova: Another show I saw previews of over the summer. It looked like LOST meets Jurassic Park in the previews. The two-hour premiere confirmed that, right down to the tall gates built to keep the dinos out and the people in. Steven Spielberg is behind this mega budget show with the CGI dinosaurs. I like Jason O’Mara, who plays the father in this series and who I last saw in “Life on Mars” (US version.) And some of the action sequences were entertaining. But overall, just like Person of Interest, the characters aren’t terribly intriguing. In some ways the show feels a bit like “Land of the Lost.” I give it a C.

Project Runway: Okay, this show started back in August and I’d already missed two episodes before I knew it was back on the schedule. I’m a late-comer to Project Runway. I started watching a few seasons back, when they did their last show in CA before moving back to NY.  This show has become my secret obsession. However I’m not feeling very attached to any of the designers this season. No one has been a real standout. But I still watch. I like Tim Gunn. I do wish Michael Kors would wear something other than that same black outfit.

I was thrilled to see an ad for the upcoming Project Runway All-Stars series featuring Mondo from last season. He should’ve won Season 8. I think its great he’ll get another chance.

Once Upon a Time: This show doesn’t start until October 23 on ABC. It appears to be this odd mingling of children’s fairy tales and real life where the “real life” characters are the actual characters living in the fairy tales. Huh? It comes from two producers from LOST. Check out the trailers here. This one could be very interesting.

Work of Art: This is the Project Runway equivalent for artists. 14 artists compete for a $100,000 prize and a solo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The premiere season last year was pretty good and I’m glad Abdi took the competition. The show returns on Bravo on October 12

Alcatraz: Another J.J. Abrams show featuring another LOST alum, Jorge Garcia (remember him as Hurley?). Due to debut in 2012. Lots of chatter about this show but I don’t quite get the premise. A bunch of inmates disappear from Alcatraz 50 years ago and reappear in modern day CA. And they haven’t aged since they disappeared. Do they seek revenge? Do they go on a crime spree? Do I care?

So these are just a few of the new shows I’ve watched or put on my calendar. I haven’t bothered with any of the comedies or dramedies or other reality TV shows. Nothing there seemed of interest to me. And really, some evenings I’d just rather be in the studio.

What about you? Are you watching any of the new shows this season? How about the older shows, like House (now he’s in prison?) or Modern Family?

Do you even watch TV on a telly or do you watch online?


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Life Goes Blurring By

We took the train for our recent trip to New York. To me it is much less stressful than flying into JFK or Laguardia. No one asks me to take off my shoes. I can choose from an assortment of food to eat. The legroom is better. And they have wireless onboard.

I was a little bored on the trip home so I decided to aim my camera out the window and take random pictures. Some turned out quite nice…and in focus.

These, however, I found a bit more interesting. They captured the blur as we passed by.

I’m preparing for an Open Studio event this weekend. I’ll share pictures of my newest series, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon, next week.


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A Little Jaunt To New York

We got away for a long weekend to New York this past weekend. An early anniversary trip. Over three days we walked almost 30 miles. Those 30 miles included two museum visits, a trip to ground zero, and walking through part of Central Park and Times Square. All that walking and I still gained weight. Darn those cupcakes!

Below are some shots from our trip, most from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was our first visit to the Met. After a few hours we were definitely on art overload.

St Patrick's Cathedral at Night

Atlas at Night

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Klimt

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture

I was not familiar with Barbara Hepworth’s artwork. You can read more about her here.

Jackson Pollock

Pollock’s large paintings are really impressive.

I’m sorry I didn’t write down the name of the artist who created this piece above. I believe his first name was Robert. Yes, that is an eagle mounted to this mixed media piece.

Cy Twombly

Wharhol

Which do you prefer? Monet’s Irises….

Monet

Or Picasso’s Irises?

Picasso

I like both of them. Each are unique interpretations of one of my favorite flowers. I do think, however, that I like Monet’s Irises better than his waterlilies.

Salvador Dali

How is this for a mantelpiece? I believe it is from the Vanderbilt estate.

The last room we visited had all this amazing Oceanic art. The ceiling tiles below were all created individually and then assembled to form the roof/ceiling of a home.

Ceiling Tiles

Headdress

The headdress above was worn in a certain ceremony. A male and a female headdress were typically used in the ceremony. The dancer wore the headdress for a very short period. And then the headdress was destroyed.

Strawberry Fields

This time we walked much further through Central Park and finally visited the area now known as Strawberry Fields. The Dakota rises over this area of Central Park. At the heart of Strawberry Fields is the Imagine medallion.

Imagine

As we sat on a bench watching people take pictures of each other on the Imagine medallion, I remembered being in Italy last year for our 25th anniversary.

While staying in Venice we visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. In the museum’s sculpture garden was a “Peace” tree with little pieces of paper dangling from it. Next to the tree was a container with pencils and pieces of paper with strings attached. Visitors were asked to write their prayers and wishes on the paper and then to attach the paper to the tree branches.

The Peace Tree installation was created by Yoko Ono.

Sitting by the Imagine medallion, it felt like we’d come full circle.


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Monday Reflection: Tapping Into Your Source

TAPPING INTO YOUR SOURCE

There’s a reason that you can learn from everything:
you have basic wisdom, basic intelligence, and basic goodness.
Therefore, if the environment is supportive
and encourages you to be brave
and to open your heart and mind,
you’ll find yourself opening
to the wisdom and compassion
that’s inherently there.
It’s like tapping into your source,
tapping into what you already have.
It’s the willingness to open your eyes,
your heart,
and your mind,
to allow situations in your life
to become your teacher. 

-Pema Chodron

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