Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


New Animal Ornaments

I’ve been busy working away on more new animal ornaments this week. As I make them, I’m thinking of what to call this new line. One suggested name is “Ornimals” because these are animal specific ornaments. What do you think? It’s kind of catchy.

The three new ornimals I’m sharing today include a cat, a dog, and a chipmunk. Some progress pictures are also included.

The Grey Tabby

It is only fair that my next cat ornament be inspired by Woody, our oldest cat. When you have two cats, it is like having two kids. Got to be fair and include both of them.


Grey Tabby Before Paint

Grey Tabby Ornimal

The Chipmunk

We have numerous chipmunks running around our neighborhood. I was inpsired to include one in this line when one dashed across the driveway as I pulled in the other day. Yes, they can be a bit of a nuisance but they are cute.

Chippy Paint Progress

Chipmunk Ornimal

Chippy Backside

The Bernese Mountain Dog

I love Bernese Mountain dogs. I love big dogs. Even though I haven’t owned a dog in many years, I wanted to challenge myself and sculpting a Bernie as my first dog ornament fit the bill. Then I immediately thought I was crazy to even try. Cats I know; dogs, not so much.

However, with my trusty iPad propped up on my work table, I found some good images of Bernies that would guide me in this challenge. First came the nose and mouth. They have rather large heads so this part wasn’t too difficult, though the SuperSculpey does give this Bernie a rather cow-like appearance.

Next came the ears. Ugh.

I don’t like ears. I don’t even put ears on my human-inspired heads. But an “earless” Bernie would be rather scary. Thankfully Bernies have rather simple ears. Longish, flatish, nothing too dramatic.

Then came the eyes. Oh boy. This will take some time. Eyes are a challenge for me on all of my sculpted heads. I often place them a little too high on the face and that changes the entire appearance of the piece.

So I first tried a cane slice, similar to what I’ve done with my cat ornaments. Placed the cane slices on the face and mock up the eyelids.

Bernie Eye Test 1

Ugh. He looks like he is wearing a bad pair of sunglasses. Scrap that idea and sleep on it.

As I lay in bed I thought about the technique I use to create eyes & sockets on my human heads. I toy around with an idea and how it might work on an ornament sculpt. The next day I end up with this result.

Bernie Eye Test 2

I like this better than the cane slices. At this point I also have to remind myself that all sculptures look rather unattractive at this stage; fleshy and ghostly (or ghastly, take your pick.) It is only when they receive an antique wash and paint that they start to come alive.

Bernie Partially Painted

And the finished piece:

Bernese Mountain Dog

I’m pretty happy with the how she turned out. Painting on the eyes was a little dicey because, unlike acrylic paint, oil remains fluid and moveable until completely dry. Next time I might try acrylics for comparison.

And if you have an iPad or other tablet device, I highly recommend using it as your online sketchbook or source of image inspiration in the studio. Yes, I could’ve printed out a couple pictures and put them in my sketchbook for reference. But I can’t enlarge the static pictures in my sketchbook like I can on the iPad. That is one of the many things I love about my iPad when it comes to creating artwork.


Summer’s Bounty

With the heat of the past few weeks, our veggie garden is producing lots of yummy goodies.

First up, the ever popular grape tomatoes:

This is a rather standard variety. It isn’t too bad. Our favorites are an heirloom orange-skinned grape tomato. I don’t remember the name but I recognize it when I see it. Unfortunately, because it is an heirloom plant, it can be hard to find at the local nurseries. It is sweet and delish!

In the spring we had another favorite: asparagus! The last couple seasons we’ve had to deal with asparagus beetles. Nasty little buggers that like to nibble the tips and stalk of asparagus. I know, they don’t eat much. But when there are multiples of them…yuck. By now, the asparagus is past its prime. Which means we have an asparagus forest in our garden now.

Asparagus Forest

Love the ferns. We’ll cut these down later this summer. For now they’re pretty to watch as they sway in the breeze.

I also tried some new items in the garden this year: Swiss Chard and eggplant.

Swiss Chard is great. You can steam it, saute it. It makes a great substitute for spinach. And it lasts much longer in the garden than spinach (a cool weather green.)

This is the rainbow variety. I bought it in a six-cell pack, popped it in the garden, and have been enjoying it for several weeks. We also had red leaf lettuce and bibb lettuce. Those are cool weather plants which have since been consumed (and/or shared with friends.)

The eggplants are my experiment. I’m not sure when I started eating eggplant. Its only been the last year or two. When I saw the starter plant at the farm stand, I decided to give it a try. Eggplant is a warm weather plant. Some varieties can take up to 90 days to mature!

The recent heatwave has caused a profusion of eggplant to burst forth from our garden.

Young eggplant

Hiding eggplant

Because of the weight of the eggplants, I had to stake each plant, otherwise the entire plant was starting to face plant in the dirt. Sadly, one of the eggplant branches snapped and started peeling away from the main plant. That meant I had to remove a rather large eggplant and cut off the branch. The eggplant wasn’t ready for prime time. Its skin was quite soft; definitely underripe.

However, I was amused to see its ‘face’ when I turned it over. I dubbed it One-Eye before dumping it in the compost bin.

One Eye Eggplant

Though we have a fence around our veggie garden to keep out the deer, it hasn’t stopped a chipmunk or two from making themselves at home inside the garden. Along with the plants above, I also planted cauliflower and broccoli. The cauliflower never saw the light of summer as either Dale or Chip (or both) made short order of the cauliflower plant. One of the baby plants was literally ripped out of the veggie bed. The rest were chewed and stripped of their leaves.

Then D & C went after the broccoli, annihilating three of those plants too. They saved three others for us, except for several side leaves on the broccoli plants. And the other day, the little invaders were generous enough to only eat two large tomatoes and save two for us. Glad their mum told them about sharing the garden’s summer bounty.