Sweet Stuff

Maple SyrupThis must mean spring. Sweet sticky syrup that I pour on everything. The syrup in the Mason jar is made by my neighbour. He taps a number of sugar maples along our streets and cooks it up in his sugar shack on his back lot. The willows from our yard have flowered so we cut them and use them amost everywhere, until the daffodils bloom.

The scones are Maple Syrup Scones (that’s partly why the maple syrup jar is half empty!). Great flavour with whole wheat pastry flour, rolled oats and maple syrup. Here’s a link to the recipe so you can try your own.

The painted project is a used sap bucket. Our local hardware store cleans them up and sells them…for sap, apparently. They were a little confused when I came in and only wanted one tin. Then when I told them I was painting the tin, they looked at me like I was something unusual.

I kept the painting steps for the bucket but they’re not yet written so anyone could understand them. If you’re interested in receiving a free download, leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I’ll you know when the design is ready for download.

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A New Look for an Old Pot

Coffee potI often drop off unused clothes or household items at the local thrift shop; but I rarely wander in deeper than the drop box. The reason – if I’m scaling back my “stuff”, simplifying my living space, then why wander the aisles on the chance I’ll bring home more.

But one day, right there at eye level, was a shelf filled with silverplate. Grimy, black and bleak silverplate. And I saw the potential. I bought a few of the larger pieces, brought them home, put them on a shelf and waited for inspiration.

Inspiration finally came for this piece by way of a magazine cover.  The cover was a collage of neutral yellows and greens with pops of black and some grey. The combination was enough to make me get out my wire brush and start cleaning the grime from the coffee pot so I could give this muted color scheme a try.

Here’s the result. And, if you want to try your hand with the design and colors, here’s a link to a download for free instructions and pattern.

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Spring on a Cheesebox

CheeseboxIn university, I took several fine art courses. All of these were studio courses requiring textbooks.

Decades later, I still have most of these textbooks and I love exploring the images on these pages. How things have changed! But the one constant from the 70s to today seems to be repeat pattern, particularly repeat pattern for surface design.

I recently visited a quilt show with my wife where vendors displayed bolts of fabric. And when I explored the fabric designs, particularly the imported fabric designs, so much of what I saw is still inspired by the designs I grew up with.

So I’ve gone back to my early textbooks for inspiration. I plan on incorporating repeat surface pattern with contemporary, graphic designs on any surface I can find!

This design is an exercise in repeat pattern using acrylics, graphite and acrylic ink on a 12” diameter cheese box. The background is painted with alternating layers of drybrushed paint (oranges and yellows) sandwiched between layers of gloss gel medium to add both texture and depth.

Cheesebox 2

After I layered the bright oranges and yellows I decided I wanted a softer spring look so I mixed a little blue and yellow with white gesso, brushed it over the entire surface and wiped back with a slightly damp shop towel to expose some of the color below. To break up the expanse of soft green on the box I painted the rim a pale blue.

Since I wanted a spring feel, I loosely painted tulips using a round brush from white through yellow to a deep orange and leaves of mixed greens with touches of orange and pale blue.

The rim pattern was inspired by a design in one of my textbooks of an Indonesian textile. I used Liquitex acrylic ink in black and a nib pen to create the design then added touches of orange from the background palette to punch up the look.

Cheesebox 3
Then I covered the top of the lid and the bottom of the box with Tri-Art dry media ground. When the medium dried I used a graphite pencil (HB) to loosely outline the leaves, flowers and to add the circles and lines on the bottom of the box.

To preserve the graphite, I carefully spread a layer of gloss gel medium over the entire cheese box, let it dry, and then topped with a couple of coats of a matte varnish for protection.

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Rhodo blogLast year this rhododendron had perhaps three flowers on it. A landscaper told us to wrap it in burlap for the winter to protect it from wind…and look what happened!!

This is the first blooming of the flowering shrubs in our yard and I wanted to do something special to celebrate.

I went into the studio today, looked out the window, and tried to create a color palette matching the colors I see in the rhododendron and surrounding area. I used Jo Sonja Titanium White, Trans Magenta, Red Violet, Dioxazine Purple, Teal Green, Aqua and Yellow Green along with various mixes of the colors. The tube pigments, except for the white, are shown from left to right in the bottom row of the picture above.

I’m going to use those colors to paint some placemats and a placemat box.

Looking forward to starting the project this week. And I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and here’s a picture of a close up of the rhodo flowers.


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