Blacksmithing Art How To

Why blacksmiths? If you had a weekend to learn anything creative, what would you want to learn?

I asked this question on our Facebook group a few months back and was surprised by the answers. I assumed, and wrongly, that most people would put “drawing”, “painting”, “knitting”and so forth. But no, what I saw were things like “blacksmiths”, “glass blowing”, and “welding”. Things that I myself have been curious about but haven’t pursued.

I decided to begin a search, to find these people in our area of the country. The ones that use materials not always associated with the arts.

This past weekend such an opportunity dropped right into my lap. A group of blacksmiths were doing a demonstration in my small community of Humboldt, KS. Because I needed to work my day job, my husband was kind enough to go take some images and video for me. Admittedly, it took some coaxing to convince him to take time out of his day off, to take a few pics of the demo. When stating my case, I told him it wouldn’t take more than “thirty minutes to an hour tops!”. It wound up becoming more like a couple of hours. Not because they were slow, or he was pokey. It was that he simply found watching them incredibly interesting.

As the opportunities arise, I will share images and videos of other topics that people said they would like to know more about. If you know of any glassblowers, weavers, bookmakers etc.. in the area please drop me a line through this webpage, social media, or just email.

To start things off I would like to share with you a few images from Saturday afternoon with the “Free State Blacksmith Club”. https://www.facebook.com/freestateblacksmithclub


Blacksmiths Art How To

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Artist How To Blacksmithing

I have a small exhibit now hung in Chanute, KS at the Chanute Art Gallery. it will remain there throughout June. On the 16th there will be a public reception. As I am well aware I am not the best speaker or socially smooth person, so it all is being kept casual and low pressure.

"knit 1" Oil on Canvas

“Knit 1” Oil on Canvas

I still am working on the knitting designs and I have an eBook on knitting in progress.  But from the looks of an informal survey I conducted over the last 24 hours, it will need to be put on the back burner. Oh, I will still knit. But, realistically getting eBooks completed and on the market sometimes trumps our obsessions. So, it will get completed, just not before the things that pay the bills. As they say, “Girl gotta eat!”

Knitting Lace Shawl in Progress

Knitting Lace Shawl in Progress

Sitting here at my computer, it is a blustery day in Kansas. So windows are shut tight and allergy problems are being attempting to be avoided. I did get out over the weekend though.  Sunday marked the annual Neosho Valley Art Exhibit at the Chanute Art Gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to be awarded the Best of Show for the second year in a row.

Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mike Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mr. Derosa of Coffeyville judged and critiqued the show very professionally. But probably the best comment I heard was ‘The best thing Bob Ross ever did was die.”

BOS entry over the weekend

BOS entry over the weekend

Aside from the award it was amazing seeing everyone again.  Many of these people I have known close to twenty-five years. Hubby even came with me. :0)

In the studio/office I am working through the piles of “stuff” I have let get away from me. Again I have a VERY large pile of books sitting on the floor, checked out from the library. I prefer to work in an orderly environment and like many always attempting to tame the clutter.

Smaller piles

Smaller piles on side work table.

Aside from the expected knitting and art books I also read a number of business books. One particular book that is resonating with me is “Overcoming Underearning” by Barbara Stanny. Women and creatives seem to have a big problem in this area. or, at least I do and many around me do! (Note: Link on cover goes to Amazon, but I am not currently an affiliate.) FYI The copy I have checked out is covered with Post-It Notes for areas I need to look into further.

"Overcoming Underearning"

“Overcoming Underearning”

Easter is going to be here before I know it and we are hoping to have grandkids here that weekend. Oh and their parents too of course. So mentally I am thinking of what I need to get accomplished before then. On the top of the agenda, after getting all the books under control, is to have a painting currently on the easel completed and a shawl for the month of April begun.

The painting is for inclusion in a solo exhibit coming up in June and the shawl is for a collection i want to release later on in the year.

Shawl with COLOR!

Blocking in process – Shawl with COLOR! 40X14.5″ Lion Brand, Amazing, Mauna Loa 53% wool/47% acrylic

Last week I managed to get a new painted started.  I only got as far as starting the underpainting. I have a show in June at a small local gallery co-op and one would think I would feel more pressure to have a LOT of new work to show.

But the truth is I am OBSESSED with knitting. Notice the painting is of hands knitting? Chances are most all new pieces will be knitting themed.

Oil Painting in Progress

Oil Painting in Progress

I have decided this is the month I will officially start designing some of my own things. The first thing I have in mind are working with lace. There just happen to be a number of lace weight yarns in my stash calling my name.

I made a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of this year to not buy anymore yarn until July. So far this year I had to buy one skein. ONE. That is pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

NOTE: And it was to finish a lace shawl I was making. (Pats self on back :0)

How to stay motivated in the art studio

I am juggling painting new pieces for a small show to finish a book, with making one shawl a month for the 2014 year for a future project. I am doing this with a part-time day job and other responsibilities of my home studio business. I am not complaining. I know I am a lucky one to have this problem!

It is not so bad to feel free to use things and events around me that I love, to influence my work. I look out my window and I see birds, plants and every so often a deer or fox in our yard. I live in a small town where walking down the road for a fountain drink also means being waved at by locals in trucks and cars.  Many wave whether they actually know me or not.  The clerk ringing up my purchase will briefly chat about whatever is the current local hot topic, and it would not be unusual to speak with someone that knew my husband since he was a small child.

I come back and settle in with my to-do list and calendar and am thankful for where I am in the world.

 

 

Below are images of a recently completed Estonian Lace Scarf. The pattern is Lily of the Valley from “Knitted Lace of Estonia” by Nancy Bush. (Note: Not an affiliate link)

I used Paton’s Lace yarn.  It is not as crisp as others I have used in the past, it has more of a halo. An acrylic blend, so I am not sure I like it. If  it is not used for another lace shawl I can always use it for baby items. It is soft, and washable! And very inexpensive in comparison.

Estonian lace shawlFolded Estonian Lace ShawlIt is freezing outside, but inside I was more than a little pleased to discover my plant blooming. It was a gift last year for Mother’s Day from a son-in-law.  Just a few days before I had made the comment that I “…hoped it would survive until Spring”.

That’ll teach me!

flowering plant in studioBelow are a few images taken around the studio/office area. :0)

Blue Scarf In Studiopeacock Feather in StudioSheldon Cooper Painting With Frame Art Studio dollThe goal for 2014 is to have one significant shawl completed for each month. I am not sure if I want to begin on a idea that has been peculating in my noggin, or jump right into creating an Orenburg shawl next.

Eventually it will all come together for an eBook tutorial with original designs.

Talk to you all soon and have a wonderful rest of January! Stay warm! And please be sure to leave comments and/or suggestions.  I always love hearing from you!

Just a quick recap of the past week:

This past Saturday was the opening of my show at The Bowlus Fine Arts Center. A collection of oil painted portraits on stretched canvas.

Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Panoramic View – Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

I can not say enough good about the staff at The Bowlus! The day we were to hang the show my back was out, and I was walking like a bent-over-little-old lady. It reminded me of a “Evolution of Man” chart.  The more vertical throughout the day, the straighter and more upright I became. But the employees were all extremely helpful, positive and dependable.

Oil Painting Portrait Exhibit

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We had a decent turnout and other than my social awkwardness things went smooth.  Note: I am much more comfortable in front of an easel than I am in front of a crowd.

Tip: I forgot to designate someone to take photos that evening. I wish I had! Hubby and I were so caught up in everything we both overlooked it. So if you can find a trusted friend to take some candid shots during a reception it is a good idea.

For a long while now I have thought, “If I can just get this show together it will be smooth sailing for a bit”. HA! Was that ever a chance for God to laugh at my plans.

The very next morning (Sunday) my Dad was admitted to the hospital, in ICU sixty miles away. By the time I got there, an hour later, he was sitting in bed joking around with nurses. By Tuesday he was released and going for his daily walk at the local Wal-Mart. (SMH) Thankful, but NEVER boring around here for long!

What is next? I want to finish up a couple of pieces that I wish I had had completed for the show. Try to take things up a notch as far as size and skill.  The immediate time pressure is off on these two so it will be interesting to see if they come out as I envision.

Still obsessed with knitting, and now that it is getting cooler it is calling me louder. I am sure lace will not add much warmth in a Kansas Winter, but that is what I am hooked on of late. It helps me clear my head. This is particularly true of knitting shawls. They are large enough to hold my interest between painting, but small enough to carry with me.

Also, if there are any writer’s reading this I am sure you are aware that as of today it is National Novel Writing Month! If you are not familiar with NANOWRIMO, it is a non-profit program that encourages people to write fifty-thousand words during the month of November. I have participated in the past, and want to this year. But my want, and hours available are not cooperating. I have not openly committed to participating yet this year.  Then again, November isn’t over yet either.

Last but not least, in a little over a week I have vacation time from my day-job in a public library. Nine days in a semi-open time frame to paint, knit and write! Aside from a day trip to Wichita and perhaps KC, I plan on being in full hermit mode the entire time. Ahhhh bliss!

Today was spent boxing up all the work that is ready for a show that will be hung Monday. I also updated inventory lists and made sure marketing materials are up to date.  There are still three paintings I could not pack up as they are still drying in some fashion. But they will be ready to go and walk out the door by Monday.

Below are two items that will be included.

16X20" Oil on canvas

16X20″ Oil on canvas

9X12" oil on canvas

9X12″ oil on canvas

So the big question now, what is next?

  • Well hopefully I will have some sales (or LOTS!) at the exhibit, perhaps line up some more commission pieces?
  • Then to line up more exhibits over the next year. There are some small galleries in the area I have not shone in for years so perhaps at least one will be on the agenda.
  • I now have ties in Wichita so I need to look that direction for possible opportunities. I keep thinking KC also, but Wichita is calling me.
  • I also need to have reproductions made: Something else I have not looked into for years.
  • Finish writing that book, the one that I now have a multitude of notes on from research!

But for now, I need to get this studio back into shape. Every surface in here is covered with books, photos, notes and painting supplies. Then I want to just sit down and knit for a few days, without interruption. To clear my head and further challenge the analytical part of my brain…..while eating chocolate. Who knows maybe I will design a thing or two while I am at it. :0)

So supposedly the ideal image to have on Pinterest for marketing is vertical.  It helps to gain more exposure due to the layout. But HOW do you go about making one fast and inexpensive?

I have Photoshop and Gimp, both of which can do pretty amazing things.  But I prefer to use PicMonkey these days for quick edits that do not require more complicated results.

Pinterest How-to VerticalLooking at JUST creating the layout that is necessary, lets get started!

  1. First you need the images you want to include in the collage.  It is a good idea to have them where you can easily locate them, such as on a folder in the desktop, or on a jump-drive.
  2. Go to Picmonkey.com and click on Create a Collage, click Open Photos and add the ones you want to include.
  3. Go down to the icon below Create a Collage, choose Biggie Smalls with the largest number of squares on the right. You can easily change the number of whichever one you choose, but for ease of starting lets stick with that has the most.
  4. Click Open and drop and drag the images where you want them. If you want to add text in an open space keep that in mind and do not place images in each one. (To remove a square go to that square and click on the X to delete.  To add drop and drag you image to the space between the squares)
  5. Save the image by hitting Save, then Save Photo – Again in an place that you can easily locate.
  6. Close the project by hitting the X in the upper right hand side of the PicMonkey work area. Not the browser “X”
  7. Open PicMonkey again and this time click on Edit a Photo and open the collage you just made.
  8. Click on Crop and adjust to create the shape you desire, click on Apply.
  9. Add any text by clicking on the P, choose the desired font and click on Add Text. A text Box will appear on the screen. Make necessary adjustments in the size of the font and location of the text box.
  10. Hit Save, then Save Photo again to your desired location.

TA-DAH!  Now you can upload the image you just made to your Blog or Pinterest.

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“Wha?!” 8X10″ Oil on canvas – NFS

The above piece is a quick study I did the other day. Created from a photo that captured my attention.

My fourth of July will consist of the traditional food, fireworks, family and friends. This year it will be on a smaller scale since it falls on a Thursday.

I haven’t taken the week off.  But I guess I am giving myself a lot of leeway. As of the last two days I focused on painting and napping. Not necessarily in that order.  My husband is on vacation from his job this week.  So it is hear-by decided I can blame him for my lack of initiative!

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