Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Gourds...

Well here they are my six neat gourds. I cut them off the vines the other day and left neat stems, a few leaves and tendrils. I can not wait till they get dried so that I can actually do something to them. Wonder how long that will take???

My sister came up to the mountains and gave me the news that I need to forget about these gourds for about six months. So I won't be able to use them until next year. As Ron Pircio would say Bummer!

I can use them right now though for my still life paintings.

You can look back on my older blogs and see them hanging on the fence.

Making Concrete Leaves...

When my artists friends, Southern Colours, came up to my mountain house we made concrete leaves. It was alot of fun and they really turned out pretty. I'm going to give you step by step directions in case you might want to make them.

I am hoping that mine come out okay, since it is right around freezing. I did them this morning after the sun came out good, but I can't move them into the basement, so they are under the porch. I covered them good so I will keep my fingers crossed that they turn out.

The materials that you need are: Quikrete Vinyl Concrete Patcher, leaves, water, small pale, stir stick, and a wheel barrel or something to hold sand or a sand pile.

The first thing that you do is lay out your leaves and depending on the size of the leaf, you make a mound to lay the leaf over. Place the leaf on the sand mound FACE DOWN and then you will mound the concrete on top of the leaf. You mix the concrete vinyl patcher with water to a consistency of a stiff batter. I've included a picture of the mixed concrete. My sister told me how to do this and they have tried all different methods of making these leaves. The vinyl patcher is strong and doesn't need any additives.

The leaf needs to have a sand border around it to keep the concrete on the leaf. If it does come down and touches the sand it make a pretty sand edge on the leaf. Personally I like the sandy edge on the leaf but you can put plastic down over the sand, then the leaf and concrete. It works best if you mound the concrete up in the middle of the leaf and start patting it down to the edges. You have to keep patting and the water in the concrete comes to the surface. This is good and it is getting rid of the little air bubbles that form against the leaf. You want the concrete patted smooth against the leaf, at least 1/2 inch thick. The thickness depends a little on what you plan to do with your leaf. Small leaves don't have to be very thick, but the larger leaves need to be thick enough to keep them from breaking, probably an inch and more in the middle back. I've also read where you can reinforce the leaf by putting some metal wire within the concrete (be sure to cover the wire good). I also read that you can make a wire hanger and put it on the back to hang the leaf if you want to. After you get the leaf covered you can press another leaf onto the top of it and have an impression on both sides. The top impression is not as dramatic as the bottom one.

After you have done this you need to wait.... 24 hours is good, but the next day look at it and test the edge to see if it moves easily. Carefully lift it up and turn it over. Sometimes it might take longer for it to dry and small leaves might not take that long.
In this picture you can see how the leaf made an impression in the sand mound and I turned the leaf over and removed the natural leaf. Turned out pretty.

Now this is what not to do... you remember that I said to wait 24 hours or more for large leaves? Well this is what happens when the leaf has not dried enough. Ugh!!! I just barely snapped the first picture took the camera down and there it was breaking. The leaf was just on uneven sand but it just wasn't dry enough. Possibly if I had cushioned it better after I turned it over it might not have cracked.... but it isn't worth it. Just wait till you can look at the concrete and see the dryness in it as opposed to the dark gray of the wet concrete.

My experimental dish type piece using the ground pine pressed in isn't completely dry either. I am being extremely careful of it now that I know what can happen. The concrete platter is what I wanted to turn out. After it dries I can brush sand out of it and seal it, using it inside or out. I'm afraid to do too much to it yet. You can see the edges are a light gray but the center is still the darker (wet looking) gray. The picture doesn't show the ground pine impression very well, it will be pretty once it's dried and I can clean it up.
Have fun and be patient, not impatient like me.... Sally

Fall in the North Georgia Mountains...

Welcome to my place in North Georgia. This is the road in front of my home and it is alive with fall colors. I love painting this view, especially in the spring, but now I'm thinking that fall might just be the prettiest. I decided today that I need to walk around again and take pictures before fall disappeared. I guess you might call this "the peak", supposedly the very best time to experience the fall colors. Many of you might not be able to see the North Georgia Fall, so I will send you pictures of fall at my home.

I love fall, mainly because I enjoy the changing seasons. Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida there was not fall, at least I don't remember it as a little girl. The colors of fall are so pretty and I guess the warm hues of reds and golds complement the cool in the air, making it spectacular. In this picture the beautiful clear cool blue sky really sets off the reds and oranges in the maple leaves.
This was an oak tree still bright with its gold leaves. I also like the slivery bark of the tree here with the light bouncing off of it. Hopefully I will have some paintings in here somewhere.

Here the persimmons are still hanging on. If I could get up to them I might try to make some persimmon jam. I've heard that after they have had frost on them they turn sweet instead of being really tart. Mrs. Weaver makes persimmon jam out of them. They are up very high though and as soon as they land on the ground, the deer and raccoons make them disappear.
We have sumac sprinked around the property and I caught this in the light right in front of the house. The light was hitting it perfectly to make it stand out against the stone background of the house.
The fall is quickly slipping away, with the leaves dropping as the wind blows. Here you can see it's still beautiful from my studio windows. It is really neat to be able to paint from my picture windows if I want to stay inside. Who can stay in though when it's this pretty outside.
Have a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Southern Colours Art Retreat...

Finally the day was there for us to begin our "Artist Retreat" in the mountains. It is sort of like over the river and through the woods, and a few of them got slightly lost when they just couldn't believe that you went through a rusty red gate across a pasture (with no visible tire marks) and up a hill that looked like it went no where. Poor Tracie went on out the road till she thought she better turn around, then going up to a house with a driveway that she was afraid her little Mercedes couldn't make it up. So then she climbed the hill up to the house, where she met my inlaws that told her she was almost there. I know she was nearly dead after climbing that hill that's almost a mountain. In spite of it all everyone eventually found there way to 28 Bucktown Trail.

On Thursday after we got there we walked around and showed everyone the various places that we thought they might like to paint. Only part of the people were there on Thursday, the rest coming up on Friday. So after we walked around and decided where we wanted to paint, I took them with their painting easels and supplies on the four-wheeler so they would have more time painting before the weather changed. Just after I got everyone settled, Tracy said it's raining, and to pastelists that is a real problem. I went and got Sallie, who was down by the big pond; and no sooner had I gotten her than the rain stopped. She set up in the open garage to finish her painting, while I went to check on Donna and Cyndi that wanted to keep on painting.

I had promised we were going to do a "surprise" so Sallie and I began to prepare for it. We were going to make concrete leaves. We had gotten the sand put in the wheel barrel and the concrete mix ready so when they were through painting they could each make their leaf. The leaves after they were made had to sit 24 hours to set good before they should be ready to move. We had alot of fun making the leaves. Sallie had brought angel trumpet leaves and a napa cabbage and I had bought some ornamental cabbage to get leaves off of too. It was a very successful venture and everyone took home really beautiful concrete leaves that looked like they had been dusted with fall. Sallie had brought mineral pigments from a painting trip to France for us to use on our leaves. So when we were making them we dusted the leaf with the burgundy and ochre pigments. They looked like fall when the green leaf was pealed off to reveal the leaf detail in the concrete.

As usual they brought tons of good food, from chili on the first cool night to bagels and lox for Saturday brunch, and everything good in between. It was all delicious! Best of all was that they did all the work and I just enjoyed being with all of them.

On Friday the drizzle was becoming more intense, but that didn't stop us, after all we are artists. We were painting everywhere from the open garage, screened porch, patio under the screen porch, front porch and Cyndi had even set up in the upstairs bedroom window. All of the spots had various fall vistas. Then the rest of them had been gathering up my things to set up a table full of various still lifes to paint in the studio. We all were painting as fast as we could.
Friday night I did an encaustic demo for them. This let them see why I am so in love with the encaustics. As usual I probably should have stopped before I did, but I just love layering that wax. I also tried to show them different applications using the different tools.

The one thing that didn't cooperate was the moon. The clouds and fog set in and didn't allow us to paint either of the evenings. We still had plenty to do. We took time to visit and tell a few stories. You know when Diana comes that she has all sorts of activities planned for entertainment. We were really to tired by then to need much entertainment. Like with the painting everywhere, we were also sleeping everywhere.

I am going to put on the Southern Colours website about our trip and the others are sending me pictures since I didn't take any. Use this link to read and see more...

We all had a great time but I have to catch up on my sleep now. Sally...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall and Southern Colours

Well it has been along time since I've written but I have really been busy with a bunch of different things. It's Fall and the trees are starting to change. The picture was taken at our home in the mountains last Wednesday evening after it had rained and rained. The sky was absolutely beautiful, pink clouds with purple, blue and yellow swirling around in the sky. The red and yellows in the trees were reflecting the sky and it just had a really warm glow.

My Southern Colours Art group are coming up this next week to paint. Becoming an annual field trip for us to recreate the beautiful fall colors on paper and canvas. We have alot of fun just immersing ourselves in ART! Nothing stops us, if it rains we can do still lifes inside, and when it's sunny, plein air of the "country scenes". Last year we painted harvest moon paintings at night in the cold and had so much fun producing some really neat paintings. This year we are going to do nocturnal paintings. Starting even earlier in the evening, not waiting for the moon to come up, I want to catch that twilight glow. It only lasts for a little while, hope I can paint fast enough! The moonlight will be there too because it will be close to the full moon. Sallie Atkins read online that Marc Hanson uses little booklights with full spectrum bulbs to do his nocturnal paintings by. Well .... we are ready, have the lights, paints and want to.

I've been busy trying to get everything ready for my artists friends. They are all great about arranging and bringing the food, we always have so much. It's really fun, for just a little bit, to just relax and think about painting. Then to see what you can accomplish in a short time is surprising. Do you have to be an artist to understand that? Sally...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One more thing about pets...

The last time we went off for vacation, Linda Dragonette rode up to the mountains with me to drop Toby off at Terry's folks. They usually keep him when we go off. She said as we left he (Toby) looked at her like "don't leave me with the old people" as he was crying to go with us. Pat says he cries for an hour or so then he gets okay.

Well we are going to Terry's high school reunion and will be gone a few days so we left him again. As we were driving off today this was the sight I had.

What do you think he's thinking? Sally...