Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 151 - 365/2014

Day One Hundred Fifty-One

I went to the lumber yard today, ready to ask if they had a scrap pile like in the old days where you could pick through leftovers and purchase them.  When I got to the lumber yard I was saddened to see that they were closed...apparently they close at 2 pm on Saturdays.  Oh well.  I did the rest of my errands and went home...but when I arrived in my driveway I was delighted to find a carpenter with a chop saw working on wood trim.  I asked him if he would make ONE cut for me if I paid him.  He asked what it would be, etc. and said sure, bring the board out and he'd do it.  I parked the car, ran in the house, swept everything off the bottom shelf on the wall near my desk and confiscated the long piece of pine.  I grabbed a ten dollar bill and took the board out to the carpenter.  He had already taken the saw off of his table and was on his phone while he waited for me.  He initially politely refused the money, but I insisted saying he had to stop what he was doing, take the saw off the table, it was really hot and he was drippy wet with sweat...all that stuff...he finally acquiesced and then cut my board with one drop of the saw blade.  YAY!!!

A little later on I took the board down to the basement to pick up where I left off yesterday.

The board cut by the carpenter.
Figuring out how to position the posts for legs on the board for a base.  Today everything went as smoothly as I hoped it would yesterday -- the drill went right into the wood, the screws went right into place.  Easy just took a bit of time.
Yay -- the legs are not exactly stiff and stable yet, but they are in place.
The board is not as wide as I had planned, but you make do with what you have on hand sometimes...the posts on the outside corners of the board will work just fine...I will have to reinforce them for strength at some point, but for now, they are in place.
I chose one of the larger tomato cages and I actually found 4 of the copper things I was hoping to find to secure the legs/tomato cage in this first stage of construction.  The metal cooperated and bent easily and the screws went in easily, too!
It's kind of hard to see in these photos right now, but this is how the skeleton of this guy looks.  I have no idea how he will turn out -- this is REALLY what I call starting from scratch.
Another view...the camera couldn't capture what I was seeing...the wires are so thin they get lost in the photo.
And another view from another angle...I don't know if the big end with be the head end or the tail end...probably the long legs of the tomato cage will turn into a tail -- that makes the most sense to me right now.
Pretty decent is a little wobbly, but it holds together!
What will come next is figuring out what the heck this guy is -- in a preliminary state...which end is which, etc.  I have that papier mache "rock" that Ingrid gave me...that might come into play at some point...we'll see.  I want to keep the body fairly lightweight and yet solid.  I will probably pack the tomato cage area with wads of plastic wrappers that have accumulated in Studio B.  Dunno yet...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 150 - 365/2014

Day One Hundred Fifty

Shopping in the basement...ideas abound...thwarted by not-very-soft wood products.

I've had some ideas poking at me lately and it was today I couldn't ignore them any longer -- it was time to go "shopping in the basement" for materials to build a new large-ish plaster cloth guy or two.

There used to be a partial wall around the furnace and water heater area in my basement.  When we had the machinery replaced it was easier to tear the wall down than to work around it.  I had them stash the wood pieces against the far wall.  Every once in a while I go pull pieces out and clean them up and reuse them for body parts -- like the legs of the rabbit guy.  Today I pulled a couple of long pieces of wood out and decided they'd be legs for a new guy...but that meant I'd have to pull the nails out and then cut them up.  The other day when my sister Sue was helping me try to assemble the rabbit guy's legs and torso and base, she asked me how I determined the length of a creature's legs -- how did I know how tall I wanted something to be.  This is a perfect opportunity to show Sue how I do it.

Where the partial wall was -- there are still a few bits of it in place.
The scrap pile.
Getting ready to pull nails.
Sue -- how I determine the length of a guy's legs:  I stack two lengths of leftover wood together and tape them together in several places.  Then I cut off the excess icky part, trying to make only one cut if I can.
Ha -- I won!
Then I measure what is left and divide that number in half.  You know I'm not a great numbers person, Sue, so I take one initial measurement then check it by numbers...then I use the yardstick from what should be the middle (by the numbers) and then I come up with the actual middle (by yardstick length).
Then I tape the middle area really well on both sides and start sawing.  I go at it from all sides...
...including the flat/long side...
...and I eventually get the job done...hopefully without too much splintering.
Ta-daaaaaa -- four legs that are the same length...I don't even know for sure the real measurement.
And now I will need to do a basic sanding/clean up so that I don't get slivers when I am working on the plaster cloth part.

Now -- to find a few possible items to use as the inner structure for the new guy.

I have had it in mind to use a tomato cage on its side for a body...but we will see.  I have two or three sizes and thicknesses of tomato cages...I also have various gridded metal sections.

And while I'm at it I thought I would try to be more practical this time and the guy's legs right onto the base at the beginning, rather than trying to add them later like I usually do.  But I found that pretty much all of the wood/wooden materials that I have are really hard.  They are either plywood or pressed wood or laminate covered MDF products -- none of which were willing to be drilled or screwed into today.  Man!  That was really frustrating.  I stripped several screws trying to work with that stuff before I finally surrendered.  I will go to the lumber yard and see what sort of soft wood scraps they have available...I also have a couple of long lengths of pine that are currently being used as shelves in Studio A -- they are fairly empty and I could use those -- but that means I'd have to cut them and though they are not thick, they are kind of wide -- at least when it comes to hand sawing them. 
This is a section of what was once a wooden shipping crate for the insides of an Art-o-mat machine that were shipped to my house.  I was pretty excited when I got the screws out of the corner but that dwindled quickly when I learned how HARD plywood is...I couldn't get the drill to go in very far and this is what I stripped the screws on...LOL

I was going to try to find another project to work on tonight but I just couldn't get into anything.  Not even outlining another collage/canvas.  So instead I am making a couple of new mix CDs for the car.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 149 - 365/2014

Day One Hundred Forty-Nine

I finally settled on the five pieces I wanted to submit to the Biennial Member Exhibit at Paint Creek Center for the Arts.  Last night when I started to put the CD together I realized that a few of the images were larger than they wanted so I needed to wait until daylight today to retake a few photos in smaller format.  (I can no longer use my old photo program with the newer just isn't supported, but I found a workaround for today.)  I ran the entry over to the post office and it should make it to PCCA in plenty of time.  I hope I get one or two pieces into this show.  I submitted:  Cat King, Creatura Lupus Ursus, Djubi, Pup, and Time for a Nap.

Cat King   (3D is allowed 2 pics...this is the main one)
Creatura Lupus Ursus  (Latin for "the creation of a bear wolf")
Djubi  (he also got 2 views, this is the main one)
Time for a Nap

This evening I have been working on darkening the outlines of the three young creatures in one of the repurposed collages.  This collage is the only one that is made on a watercolor painting on heavy watercolor paper.  It has been a challenge from the very beginning because of the warping and other minor issues.  I like these little guys a lot but I need to figure out what they are about...give them a back that I can do a little more with them (hopefully).

darkening the outlines
done with this part for now
first little guy -- his nose is hidden under his arm
middle guy -- I love his little jacket
third guy -- kind of badger-like -- I need to figure the rest of him out
Twink joined me towards the end
 I need to think about what the creatures look like...none of them are actual animals, but they do have some familiar animal-like similarities.  They are all definitely creatures or monsters, though.  Now, what exactly are they up to?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 148 - 365/2014

Day One Hundred Forty-Eight

Today I was actually able to join up with Joan and Leann for a Wednesday Morning!  We met at Tuscan Cafe for coffee and talking and Joan and Leann worked on small (portable) projects.  I was just not in the right place to work on stuff at that hour I had nothing small to take to the coffeehouse.  Most of my stuff is large or has a bazillion parts or is really messy.  I love our Wednesday Mornings!

After our meet up I had an appointment at the eye doctor then I ran a few errands and came home and conked out (unintentionally) on, this season is pretty brutal already.  Then I woke up just in time to become more upright and walking around and Kurt called to say that he and Joanne would be by soon.  Whew -- great timing!

Kurt and Joanne arrived and I explained what I had in mind to Kurt.  I showed him the old plans for the construction and getting the rabbit guy vertical.  Somehow between the old plans, my messed up explanation, and his sense of tools and putting things together, Kurt came up with a simpler solution (that I definitely could not have done on my own) and everything came together...I "helped" by holding pieces in place while he drilled holes and drilled in the screws.  THANK YOU, KURT!!!

I think I am pretty wiped out for tonight but now I can start thinking of what will come next with the rabbit guy.  He needs arms/hands, shoes/feet, and I need to come up with what his story is...what he's all about.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 147 -- 365/2014

Day One Hundred Forty-Seven

Well, when things don't go as planned, play Yahtzee instead.

And that is exactly what we did.  My sister Sue (and my 4-legged niece Abby) came over.  Sue was going to be my second set of hands for putting the rabbit guy together this afternoon.  But even with the new and improved plans, we couldn't pull it off.  I think this is going to require more drilling (and more precise drilling) than I am capable of doing.  Even with a pilot hole as deep as the drill would go, the screw just would not go in all the way.  Joanne's husband Kurt agreed to help me with this, I guess I am going to have to call in heavier duty help than just Sue and me. after Sue and I got back from a late lunch/early dinner at Thai Basil in Livonia, we pulled all the stuff together and got started.

Ready to get started.
Sue's main job was to hold the rabbit guy's head off the table and to give resistance when I was pushing forward with the drill.
This is as far as the screw would has about a half inch to go.  AND the screw is stripped now.
Thank goodness the screw unscrewed with a pair of would not cooperate with the drill to unscrew it.
My four-legged niece Abby -- such a sweet, good natured, well behaved girly girl.
Let the battle begin -- we play three games at a time in a best two out of three match.
HA! -- I WON!  And I went on to win a second 3 game match!  This hardly ever happens -- Sue is generally the "Queen of Yahtzee" in these parts.

It is always a good time with Sue and Abby.  I considered doing something else art-wise tonight to make up for today's no-go project, but the Benadryl is kicking in and I am getting a bit loopy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 146 - 365/2014

Day One Hundred Forty-Six

Wow...this has been a very long time in the making (completing).  I think this guy is finally done.  A link to his past is here.

Photos from working on this collage from today:

First I darkened his outlines.
Next I got out the coloring materials...watercolor pencils, transparent watercolors, wax crayons, and blending chalks.
I started by coloring the shirt with a light blue watercolor pencil, then I used water and smoothed out the color...the left side shows the water smoothed color.
I added white to his sleeves with blending chalk.
And here he is so far.
I added pink blending chalk around the polka dots on his shirt to make them different from the other dots in the collage.
Next I started to add yellow blending chalk to the neck/face/ears.
I used Prismacolor pencil to add white to his eyes.
All done...I sprayed the canvas with Krylon low-odor matte spray and it didn't dull out the colors too badly.  I am happy with him!
Now comes the hard part for me...naming him/titling him.  I thought I had a frame that came with him but I can't seem to find one...oh well.  I also need to get him a frame.
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