I’m going to be at the studio today from 10-4. Stop in to see me at 307 S. James Street in Ludington (through the door, down the hall) and take advantage of 40% Off everything in the studio today! Originals, prints, canvas wraps, cards, stickers, and postcards!
Ever since I moved into my space at the back of 307 S. James St. I’ve been meaning to put something in the window that overlooks the office where I work. The truth is I like to take naps in there every once in a while and it makes me feel a little too exposed to lay on the floor on a yoga mat and know that anyone walking by the window can see me snoring in there. I could have just hung up a curtain but why settle for fabric when I can make something awesome instead? So naturally I decided to make some skeleton window art.
It took a little longer than I hoped and this was because I had to order more leading strips and paint colors directly from the manufacturer (Plaid Gallery Glass) and their cheapest shipping option turns out to be very slooooooooow. But oh well. I was busy doing other things, if you recall. It got delivered eventually and then the whole project was finished up quickly after that.
Step 1: Make a sketch
First I needed a design for the window. I settled on the classic Uncle Sam army recruiting poster as a starting point. Not hard to convert to a skeleton version. If anyone is interested in doing the same thing for themselves, just let me know and I’ll send you a scalable pdf file that you can use as a template.
Step 2: Convert to scalable vector art
Once I printed out the template I taped it up to the back side of the window and then started putting leading strips on the front side of the window, cementing them in place with a drop of liquid leading.
Step 3: Do the fiddly bits
I made the skull, hand, stars and lettering separately on clear plastic sleeves using the liquid leading. That’s because they were too detailed to do using the leading strips on a vertical surface. You can bend the strips into large, simple shapes but anything smaller and they don’t hold the curves. They peel off the glass when my back is turned and it’s frustrating as hell.
Step 4: Decide on a background
The next question was what to do with the background? It needed to cover the whole window, but the original Uncle Sam poster was just plain white. I wanted something kind of gothic. So I ended up using radiating stripes in purple and lilac.
Step 5: Break up the big shapes
Step 6: Fill in the rest of the color
Step 7: Enjoy my cool window art!
So this is it! This is my Uncle Skelly Wants You for the Skeleton Army window. What do you think? Pretty cool? I think so, too. And best of all, I can nap in peace!
This is a pastel painting of a tree in my back yard. I should say, my new back yard.
I am really enjoying the changing scenery right now. You know what I like best? There’s so much space. I guess I didn’t realize how closed in I felt walking in the woods until I had a place to walk that’s a mix of wide open spaces and clusters of trees. I could wander around here all day. The dogs sure wouldn’t mind it.
It’s so beautiful that it’s really hard to make myself go in to my studio in the mornings. But go I must because that’s where all my pastels are!
And of course the biggest reason to go is I get to paint stuff like this! So, yes, it’s a compromise, but it’s worth it.
Man. I can’t wait to see how everything changes once the snow comes…
I know this because I’ve added planking to my morning routine and it takes me exactly a minute and thirty seconds to get to the end of the The Star Spangled Banner. To get to two minutes I have to sing it over again, up to “…were so gallantly streaming.”
This is all occurs in my head, mind you. I don’t sing it out loud because Steve is still asleep and he’d be cranky if I woke him up, no matter how patriotic I’m being.
Every time I do this I flash back to the days when I would tell my children to brush their teeth while humming the anthem. The dentist recommended two minute long brushing twice a day and I thought that having them sing a song they knew would be more fun than a timer.
I settled on the Star Spangled Banner because, a) it was a song they ought to know, and b) I was pretty sure the song was two minutes long.
I’d tell my kids to sing it “with reverence,” hoping if they sang it like a dirge it would be enough time for their teeth to get thoroughly clean.
It worked well enough, I guess, although now I bet they probably can’t sing the song at all unless they have a toothbrush in their mouths.
Funny how the things you do because you’re being a mother of invention come back to haunt you. Sorry, kids! I didn’t mean to make you associate the national anthem with dental hygiene for the rest of your lives! I should have done more research and found a different song! One that was longer and that you’d probably never hear again except in an elevator sometimes!
As for me and my morning planking, the anthem works to take my mind off the burning in my stomach muscles, so I’m sticking with it until and if I ever make it to 3 minutes of planking. And then I think I may switch to this one.
This morning I slipped on my old shoes, gathered up the dogs and stepped outside to wander around my new back yard. Steve and I moved last weekend to a house sitting on ten acres of what feels like park land. There are trees and deer and grass and It. Is. Awesome.
No one else around. The world is brand new. There are scenic vistas everywhere I look that just beg to be painted. So many maples! This fall will be gorgeous. And I can’t wait to see it in the winter.
I could get used to this.
I just wanted to share some pictures I took this morning, one or two of which are soon to be landscape paintings.
Take a break with me and just breathe for a while.
My husband and I traveled north last weekend to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We hoped to see some fall color and relax a little before the next big event in our lives (we’re moving to a new house in another week).
It was a great trip, not least because we had no internet access for three whole days.
I got a lot of reading done, found time to paint, spent a good portion of the weekend walking around on the Lake Superior shoreline, visiting waterfalls that I vaguely remembered from my youth, and just enjoying the outdoors.
We stayed in a little place called the Handshake Motel and Peninsular Patchworks. The owners, Ronnie and Tom, bought the cottages twenty years ago and named them for the early retirement plan that Tom took advantage of. Ronnie is a divinely talented quilter (that’s the Patchworks part) and she’s got a studio full of quilts and wall hangings and just anything you can think of to do with textile art. I was quite jealous of her space. It’s huge.
The cottage we stayed in was paneled in knotty pine, the bed was large and comfortable, and there was a big kitchen table suitable for playing Bananagrams, so perfect for us. They’re in Hulbert Lake, a tiny little town relatively close to White Fish Point and Grand Marais and a ton of state campgrounds, which we checked out for future camping trips.
We had an adventure getting back from Lake Superior on Sunday morning when a storm moved in on the beach where we were collecting rocks and soaked us and the dirt road we had traveled on to get there. We were in the Focus rather than the Silverado, so no four-wheel drive, but Steve has had a lot of practice in less than optimal conditions. We made it back okay and I only was terrified for probably ten minutes at the most.
On the way home on Monday, the end of the trip was marked by my phone dinging and buzzing as the messages/alerts/emails that piled up during the weekend came in all at once on the Mackinac Bridge. Of course I had to look, but I was already half missing the quiet.
Here’s a time-lapse of a painting from one of my photos of the upper falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
Man, it’s pretty there. Not many people came out in the rainy weather so we had a lot of the place to ourselves. We did all the stairs and my calves are still stiff! But it was worth every riser.
Would you like to purchase this painting? It’s available for $175 in my shop, along with prints and cards.
I moved my studio/gallery/office this past spring. Same building as before, but now I’m in the way back. Like, really far back. Like, so far back that no one really knows I’m there yet.
Which is kind of a relief.
To be honest, the space at the front of the building, with the big plate glass windows, felt too exposed. Anyone could see in.
Sometimes I’d put the closed sign on the door, just so I could relax a little bit. You know, roll out the yoga mat, do some stretches, take a nap, adjust my attitude.
There were days when I dreaded going in because the place was such a wreck. When I paint I have this tendency to pick pastels up and then drop them on any available surface and then it might be a day or two before they all got put back where they belonged. Yes, all right, it took months sometimes.
This was a problem because someone might see. But I couldn’t seem to stop making a mess. And then I’d feel embarrassed. Which is wrong, because a studio has to be able to be messy. That’s when the creativity happens for me. When every possible thing is floating around inside and outside my head. When it’s all loose.
But the old space was also a retail space and an office. So I was feeling some pressure to keep it looking nice.
The new space is not so nice, if you know what I mean. The brick walls are crumbling in spots. The drywall on the ceiling needs to be painted. The floor is plywood with gray paint on it. I’ve got frames and paintings everywhere.
My handy husband made me this huge table from two by fours and a varnished closet door and I’ve spread all, and I mean all, my pastels out on it. I can see every color of the rainbow all the time! It’s like living in a Froot Loop fairyland.
Anyway, I hope you stop by and visit the new digs. I plan to make lots of art and a ton of messes and I don’t care who sees.
If you’ve been by my shop recently you may have wondered if I’m still around. Especially given there’s a “For Rent” sign in the window and the giant “Bonafide Gallery” sign on the front window is gone.
Fear not! I still exist! Just on a different plane now.
I’ve moved, lock, stock and barrel, to the back of the same building.
To get to my shop you need to go in the front door (next to Cosmic Canine Creations) and down the hall and up the ramp. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can park in the newly created city parking lot behind 307 S. James Street off Filer Street and walk into my shop through the back double doors.
I’m loving it in the way back. There’s lots more room to spread out and paint! Plus I’ve made a new display for my skellies.
I’m still moving things around, trying to get the best, most efficient use of all this space. One question I’ve gotten over and over since my move: how the heck did all this stuff fit it into the considerably smaller space up at the front of the building in the first place? Answer: No freaking idea.
Hours are still 10ish to 5ish Monday through Friday, unless I’m outside painting plein air (most mornings) or going to figure study class (Thursdays) or doing a hundred other things. Magpie brain, you know. It rules my life. Regardless, you can still come enjoy the art on the walls in the hall and have a peek at my studio.
Here’s what it looked like right after I got everything in there.
I’ll post a video of my finished space soon!