Monday, March 21, 2011

Where Have You Been???

When I was five or six...or maybe seven? My brother and I got lost in the woods behind our house.  Lost enough to scare my mother,  get our cousin on horseback and bring my dad  home from work to look for us.  We finally emerged, hours later, covered in scratches, minus one of our toy guns, lunches in still in lunchboxes (his was the A-Team, mine was Strawberry Shortcake) because we were too scared to stop and eat.  How did we get so lost?  I think it had something to do with a very bad habit of mine...I act like I know what I'm doing. Very convincingly.

Back then I convinced my big brother to follow me. Lately, I've been convincing a few more than that.  And have I been lost?  Probably a little bit.

So I acted like I knew what I was doing and convinced my husband that we needed to paint our living room.  With it's impossible heights of 20 foot ceilings.  We had a 10 foot ladder at our disposal and an extension rod.  And I thought we might die a couple of times. Up the ladder, down the ladder, move the ladder, stretch.  Repeat. And then because I'm a total sicko, I painted the laundry room.  And the trim. Including the spindles in the banister and ten door casings.  I had moments of terror, knowing full well that I would never be done painting.  I would just grow a paintbrush on the end of my arm and that would be me from now on. But we did finish.  Hours before we served dinner for 18.   And yes, it is white. Because I've arrived at a level of sophistication that says, "I can paint a room white because my junk is now cool enough to pop against a neutral background."  Either that, or I just couldn't think of anything else we would like and the previous color yellow had to go!

Painted the ceiling white in here, too.

When I had finished at home...or at least, gotten it to the point where there were no longer paint rollers in the kitchen sink...I moved on to the Heartwood Gallery Makeover.

For about a week, there was an option on the table of me having my own shop.  I had heard about a place with amazingly cheap rent. So cheap that I had to consider it. But after a lot of thought...most of which centered around the idea that I could not NOT be in the pool with the kids this summer....I chose instead to throw myself into helping the Heartwood Gallery, where I display my mosaics, re-invent itself. 

After being a member of this collective for over two years, I knew I really wanted to stay there and keep displaying my work, but I also couldn't stand the fact that it was missing it's obvious potential as a really great retail space.  So I acted like I knew what I was doing and called a meeting making the suggestion that we change pretty much everything.

To my great surprise, more than 12 women agreed on a paint color and a time-line; 4 round tables less than 35 dollars each became available to me, and my husband wasn't traveling for a whole solid week.  All of which conspired to make this happen:

If that doesn't seem like a big deal to you, here's the BEFORE:

And all it took was 60 hours of my time! (And the hours of help from many of the gallery members) 

Admittedly, a little pooped after that, we spent a fun Saturday as a family at a mall.   Peyton Hillis is a professional football player for the Cleveland Browns who played for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  He was in the area signing autographs, and because he was AWESOME this year for the Browns, we went to meet him.  My husband was suspicious that I commented that he looked like he smelled good.  But just look at him...doesn't he look like he smells good?

The following week was spent trying to recover. I'm not sure how successfully I did that, but at least the flea market booth was updated, the etsy store restocked, the house put back in order, and plants got re-potted. 

One of those house projects was hanging these wooden drawers that I got out of my Grandma's garage attic years ago when her house was auctioned.  I had no plan for them at the time, but I just liked that they were made of solid wood and had dovetailed corners. They have been used for storage of garage stuff for a while now, until this idea popped into my head.  I used heavy duty L brackets on top and bottom to attach them to studs in the wall.
My favorite part of this project was finding the secret message inside the middle drawer,

written in scrawling, child's written pencil..."From Judy and Bonnie" aunt and my mother.

Robb likes this one that I had previously designated "Junk Drawer."  Indeed.

I had one other project up my sleeve....this old print of Jesus on the Road to Emmaus once hung in Robb's grandfather's office.  It was out of charity we have had it hanging somewhere in our house for the last 14 years.  But in the last couple of moves, it had gotten really scratched up and sad looking.  Robb confessed to me one night that he didn't even really like it.  Which was pretty much permission to try something I'd been contemplating for a while now....

With U2's "Love Left a Window in the Skies" blaring, I used a knife to carve a window in the thick cardboard of this old lithograph.  From there it was a roller full of latex paint watered down to a wash which I then hand-wrote the lyrics to the U2 song out on.  I used the navy blue paint from the laundry room project to make the window pop, with little silver stars hand-drawn in for whimsy.  Then it was time for the rebellion in me to come out....I used a sander to distress parts of the image, which was wildly satisfying.  Finally, I added some old letters to create a graphic effect with the song lyrics.  I wished I knew how to print the letters the way I saw them in my head, but I'm ok with the way these look too.  I surprised Robb by hanging it back up in our room where it had been previously and he instantly understood what it meant...for us, our faith isn't some Swedish Jesus in a too-nice setting.  It's as gritty as our favorite Irish rock band. 

Robb is now convinced that I should try altering all kinds of old prints, but it will be hard to find one as satisfying as this one was.  I have a couple stacked up on my studio table, but first....I have this little gem to work on which I have been looking for for months!  The War Eagle Spring show is just about a month and a half away, and this is going to be one my key pieces. If I can bring myself to let it go...I made the mistake of putting it in my big window, and now it's the only place I want to sit and work.  I'm sitting here now...

And that, my friends, is where I have been. I'm totally winging it.


Sara said...

so awesome! I enjoy all of your talents! Thanks for letting us have a glimpse of "your world"

Love you!

Jess said...

Everything looks amazing. Great job. :) I am totally jealous of our artistry and industry. I mean like TOTALLY!!!

Keri said...

yes-- what they said! Love the new look of the gallery and house :-)

Holly said...

Yeah, you're crazy. But talented!

stephanie garcia said...

I just don't know how you do it! But I'm glad you have the gift and share it with us. :)

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