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Activities & Events, Art & Creativity, Uncategorized

Large Abstract – Into a Land Flowing With Milk and Honey

Recently, I enjoyed working on one of the largest paintings I’ve ever attempted, and it’s an abstract, nonetheless. As much as I like working more abstractly, it exercises a different set of muscles that I have yet to really develop. The process still feels a little foreign and uncertain to me, but maybe that’s what also makes it exciting.

When I started work on this piece, I had a very vague idea of what direction this would take. It began one way, then took various twists and turns along the journey of process. Here’s what things looked like towards the beginning (my little helper, as pictured, is fascinated by brushes!):

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My son, Asa, was having some fun in the studio.

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Whipped yogurt is one of my favorite snacks. Don’t forget the baby monitor.

There were several features I began with that ultimately were edited out, including the long stream of dark paint drips on the right (see first post image). I just kept building upon the texture and continued to add subtle color variations into the background. Metal stencils, honeycomb pattern, gold leafing…it all kind of converged for the final effects:

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Applying gold leafing to a few honeycombs.

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I couldn’t really capture a good photo of the whole painting that did it justice. But if you’re local to San Luis Obispo, you should come see it on display for Open Studios Art Tour, 2016. The tour is two weekends in October,¬†8-9 and 15-16 from 10am to 5pm. Come by studios #73 and #85. Joining me at my home studio will be the incredibly¬†talented encaustic artist, Maura Fox. We hope to see you there!

 

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Art & Creativity, Weekly Art

Weekly Art: Wallpaper Sunset & a Commission

Since my last post, Open Studios Art Tour happened. I can gladly say that it felt like a big success. And it was¬†such a joy to talk with so many different folks about art, inspiration, creative processes and anything remotely related. Several originals found new homes (hooray!), and I’m working on a couple¬†commissions. So I’ll share one of those here. But first, I wanted to show you last weeks piece, Wallpaper Sunset.

Here’s what I started out with…

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And here’s how it ended up…

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Detail of texture and the sun

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Detail of tree and sky

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Wallpaper Sunset – Acrylic and Mixed Media on Wood – 16 x 20 inches

Then I worked on a commission for someone who was really drawn to a painting that had already sold this weekend. Here’s the original version of Cranes on a Branch:

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Cranes on a Branch – 16 x 20 inches (Original Version)

And here’s the commission that I just finished working on today…

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Cranes on a Branch Version II – 16 x 20 inches

Grateful for these opportunities (and baby Asa really loved socializing with some of the folks who came through for Open Studios!)

~Holly

 

 

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Weekly Art

Weekly Art: Another World & Key to my Heart

Wow, it’s been forever since the last blog post. I guess I’ve just been focused on being a new mom to baby Asa and put a few things on hold. I’m loving the new role, what an incredible blessing. Asa is a really sweet little guy and it’s so much fun seeing him change before our very eyes. As each new phase comes and goes, I try to just appreciate the moment, knowing that it’s all so fleeting. But knowing, too, that those little moments, experiences and lessons build into a precious life.

All that being said, creativity is such a part of who I am. In my desire to be the best mom that I can be for Asa, I find myself feeling conflicted over when and how to squeeze time in for creativity. I’m trying to make some space for it without taking away from the time, care and attention I give to baby boy. But I also know it’s rather vital for me to have a creative outlet to help¬†fuel energy and passion for my most important roles as wife and mother.

Here’s the challenge I’m giving myself: to work on art a little bit each week and share it here. Maybe on some weeks I’ll finish multiple pieces, while on other weeks I’ll be lucky to make progress on an existing piece. But it’s worth it and necessary to keep making art. I look forward to the process and sharing it with you.

Without further fuss, I’ll get this started by¬†sharing two recent pieces. The smaller one I worked on during this past week and it got me through a particularly¬†frustrating day related to our home renovation (I know, of all the silly things to get frustrated about, we’re very fortunate!).

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Key to my Heart – 6×8 inches – Mixed media on wood

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And then there’s this piece from two weeks ago. I love the rusted metal rings…

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Another World – 16×16 inches – Wood, metal, acrylics, embroidery floss on wood

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Thanks for allowing me a space to share a bit of my “creativity” with you!

~Holly

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Around the Home

Furniture Refinishing: A Dresser for Baby

With hubby having some vacation time off between Christmas and the New Year, we were able to get a start on our baby nursery. Hooray! The walls got a fresh coat of paint (white walls with one gray/neutral accent wall), and I was able to refinish the dresser/changing table I found at an antique/thrift store ($82, not bad). We also got everything cleaned out of the room so we could put down the new zebra stripe area rug I found on Amazon…love!

Here’s what I started with…

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before3before1Here are the materials I used to refinish the dresser:
1. An electric, hand-held sander
2. Dark Walnut Wood Stain and Sealer (Varathane at Home Depot)
3. Polar Bear White Paint on the drawers
4. Foam roller to smoothly apply the paint
5. CLR (hubby cleaned the hardware to bring out that copper shine!)

And here’s what it looks like now…

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Now it’s on to the next phase of nursery for baby! Stay tuned for more.

~Holly

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Around the Home, Art & Creativity, Works in Progress

Happily and Completely Lost – Assemblage Art

When’s the last time you were so lost in something,¬†undistracted by the world, completely absorbed in the moment, expressing your creativity, unhindered and unafraid? That beautiful place is exactly where I lived for large sections of the past three days. Initially inspired by a sleepless night, when my brain just wouldn’t shut off, I formulated an idea for some artwork. Artwork that I wanted to create for my favorite person (AKA, hubby) and myself. Just because. Just to enjoy in our home. Not to sell or to get anyone else to like it or for any other silly reason.

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Here I’m experimenting¬†with layout of my objects

I got really excited about this art. There wasn’t anything else pressing on the agenda. It’s funny how I almost felt guilty for fully enjoying three days of pure creative process. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much fun making and hanging art. Perhaps it’s important to interrupt the “ought to’s” and agenda on a regular basis to keep those creative juices flowing in other work, no? I think it’s true and beneficial, for the soul even.

I started out with three 24″x24″ wood paneled old paintings that I decided to repurpose. I also gathered other small, inexpensive canvases and painting surfaces, old frames, etc., things I already had laying around.¬†I even picked up a few random goodies at Brook’s Woodcraft, one of my favorite stores in town (full of treasures!).

Anyhow, here’s a little about the process (in pictures & captions), as well as the finished three collages. If you feel so inclined to create some personal and significant art for your own home, feel free to steal ideas…

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Metal, wood, silver, gold, canvas, you name it

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I taped off some simple patterns on the small canvases to include in each collage then used gold spray paint

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Once all my components were ready to go, I used Gorilla glue, wood glue and lots of heavy objects to hold everything in place while drying

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The Yellow One – FinishedCollage #1

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Details. I love the “banana paper” on the left, it’s such a fun texture

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Picture frame and embroidery floss. How can you go wrong?

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Here you can see the thickness of the 24″x24″ wood panel that it’s all mounted on. No framing necessary

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The Red One – Finished Collage #2

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Some hand lettered (white paint) scripture

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Yes, I used a bit of graphic design too and printed out some compilations of digitially colored vintage wallpaper patterns

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The Blue One – Finished Collage #3

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Our wedding date

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Of course my favorite part of this one is the metal letters…but the “E” was painted in

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All three up above our dining room table. I definitely made sure to mount these into wall studs, they’re a bit hefty

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It’s about time we had more art on those white walls

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I love the way the sunlight and bold colors reflect off the metal

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thanked God for the gift of creativity and beautiful white walls to hang art on, especially in the past few days. If you’ve tried something like this, or decide to, feel free to¬†¬†link back to your project in the comments of this post, I would love to see it.

~Holly

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Around the Home, Mood Boards

A Nursery for Baby

  1. Love this illustration by David Fleck
  2. This Bookshelf is from Urban Outfitters
  3. Red floor lamp by Bukowskis Market
  4. Simple white crib from Ikea
  5. Cozy glider/rocker from Target
  6. A large, plush, zebra printed area rug by Sculpture
  7. Snake Plant found on Country Living
  8. Beautiful tree ring wall art, by Heather Montgomry Art 
  9. Picked out some bold, colorful fabrics at Chameleon Style in Arroyo Grande
  10. Mini Iron Dog Lamp by Style Craft, found on Hayneedle
  11. Dresser by Oeuf, found on 100 Layer Cake-let
  12. Artwork from Etsy, by Pool Pony Design

If you haven’t heard yet, we’re expecting a baby in March! After two back-to-back weekends of art shows in October, I took a little time off from painting in the studio, “worked on”¬†resting¬†and recovering from a cold, and then we had our first ultrasound! After we found out we’ll be having a BOY, I naturally couldn’t stop thinking about anything else besides my next “art project”…the nursery. I’ve had so much fun, sketching, pinning, dreaming, looking at fabric swatches, and so forth. I just wanted to share with you some of the plans in progress. Although there’s a lot of work to be done (cleaning and painting walls first!), I’m so excited to see this room unfold.

And here’s one more picture for you, it’s the gem of a dresser I found at Brooks Woodcraft in SLO. Of course it needs some paint and stain, but this thing is solid! And those pulls…

Looking forward to refinishing this for a dresser/changing table

Looking forward to refinishing this for a dresser/changing table

~Holly

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Around the Home

DIY Entertainment Center Project

You know how it goes, you buy that beautiful¬†flat screen TV and are so excited about it! But then it sits on the floor for couple of weeks while you figure how/where to mount it and how/where to hide¬†all those crazy looking electronics¬†and wires that no one really wants to look at. This was where we found ourselves not too long ago. Routing wires behind the wall wasn’t really an option because (as you may notice) there’s a gas fireplace beneath the flat screen. Given that it’s a gas fireplace, which¬†doesn’t give off a ton of heat and there’s a bit of a gap below the TV screen, we’re thinking (and hoping!) it won’t get fried.

This is what our wall looked like before our project began:

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Husband & wife¬†pondered this wall for quite some. First, the wall was painted in Potter’s Clay, for a slight tonal difference.

While trying to determine the best solution for what would inevitably be the focal point of our home, I did what I do whenever I need a plan. I sketched¬†a picture…

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My Aunt Leslie is an interior designer and suggested we have some shelves running up either side of the wall, so I went with it.

Once we decided to try and build shelves and cupboards, we went where many might go for a project like this…Home Depot. We bought a bunch of unstained wood, nails, screws, sandpaper and hinges. Then hubby began to build. Hooray for being married to an engineer who likes to figure out “puzzles”! I might also mention that ¬†David covered those orange looking tiles along the bottom with a white washed/grayish wood laminate (also from Home Depot).

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Shelves and cupboards in progress. All this wood was cut with a hand saw!

So once the building was complete, it was time for me to take over with the staining. I used two coats of Weathered Gray by Varathane. It’s a stain and sealant in one, so it gives the wood such a nice finish.

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Next it was my job to stain.

We chose some door pulls from World Market, aren’t they fun? This is what the stained wood looks like up close. There’s a bit of shine to the finish.

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Close up of the cupboard doors (where we’re hiding all those unsightly cords and electronics).

Once we stained everything, David bolted the whole unit to the wall and screwed in the long shelf running along the top. The whole thing is solid! It’s not going anywhere. And then of course we made a little trip to Home Goods for a few finishing touches (the bonsai tree, yellow lantern and tulips). The painting above the flat screen is something I found a while ago at Bed Bath & Beyond. I just loved the colors in it and touches of gold. Helps bring it all together, don’t you think?

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Is that little bonsai tree in the corner not the coolest?

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I was blown away by how well David constructed this whole thing. Thank you, My Love!

So there you have it folks. If you’re ever feeling as¬†crazy as us and want to attempt something like this, don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. We’d be glad to share from our DIY experience!

~Holly

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