Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013

Our military in Afghanistan takes a timeout for a Happy Thanksgiving Day dinner. But they stay armed. Regardless of your political leanings, be thankful that they have volunteered to serve their country, regardless of their own political leanings.  [Photo: Omar Sobhani]

Visit with family and friends, eat too much, pretend to watch football on TV while you take a long nap and ignore the urge to buy things you don't really need, no matter how cheap they are, on a day when you don't need to be shopping.

From your mostly-vegetarian Blog Wrangler: Happy Squash Day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Smokey Joe and the Boys

More Potato Heads. Remember, these guys are just about 2-3 inches high.

When I take a walk in my neighborhood I visit with Smokey Joe. He's a sucker for attention and I like having a 5-minute chance to have a pet, without having to pay vet bills or buy food or clean a cat pan!  You can thank Zappos for my new lime green shoes. Do these photos count as my first Selfies?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Painting Birds

The school semester is almost over and we've had to quit doing "wet" work and the kilns are crowded with last-minute work. Last week I had some birds with some fantastic glazes on them fired. But that day the Kiln Goddess was not smiling at me. Another student's piece blew up in the kiln and that ruined my work. I can't get mad about it because we've all had our problems and it was just my turn to get the hickey.

Susan reminded me that I could use acrylic paints on my bisque fired pieces and they would still be interesting. I fought the idea - they are ceramics and have to be glazed! She ignored me and reminded me we had painted the little ceramic books we made a few years back and they looked great. I fought the idea.

I was testing out color combinations and had a lot of paints on the table. She went into my studio, got a bird, brought him back out, and grabbed my brush and slapped acid yellow paint on him before I could stop her. Damn, why is she always right!?!?

Next time I'll also put gloves on when I paint because she is right when she says the piece has to be worked around in my hand while I add colors to it. Otherwise, it won't look like patina.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Still Painting

The question from Robyn at ArtPropelled was about the little paintings I'm making:  They are small canvases from Michaels, very cheap on sale. The previous ones were about 2x3 inches, the ones above are 4x4, below are 5x7, the last ones are 4x4 but only a half inch thick, not one inch like the ones above.  I like painting around the edges so I'll probably always look for the fatter canvases in the future, regardless of cost.

The middle photo shows how I've used painters' blue tape to mark off the white squares. The ones in the first photo wound up having blue painted on in some areas just because I liked the way the blue of the tape looked. The next step will be to add lots of details -- dots, lines, marks, etc. I'll know when I've added enough when Susan says "You had better quit that now because you are one paint stroke away from Wretched Excess." I should listen to her because I'm in her space but I probably won't.

By the way, if you've never seen ArtPropelled, go there now and prepare to spend a lot of time in awe of the great blog Robyn has created.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Zen of the Painting Groove

I've been glazing some of my Potato Head people with underglazes lately. This means that the color I put down is essentially the color you see in the end. As you can see, I've carefully labeled my bottles of glaze on the tops so I can easily pull them out of the drawer amd spread them out all over my table.
After I've been quietly doing this glaze painting for a day or so Susan will come into the room and say, "You've been too quiet lately. Don't tell me you've gotten into the Zen of your painting groove again!"
Well, yes. Sometimes I need to get back to painting on canvas or working on my maps or something less physical than slapping clay around because clay is clay, not a canvas. So Susan will push and shove and shame me into putting my artistic whims into the appropriate medium. As punishment for her, I take over her studio space (the dining room), which works out OK this week because she's sewing (in the bedroom).

The blue tape is painters' tape.

This is just the first phase, I'll get into my painting groove and they'll get more paint applied to them. These guys are real small but I'll soon be moving up to larger sizes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remember: Veterans Day, November 11, 2013

It's Veterans Day. You get a break from work, maybe a break from school, and lots of sales to shop at. Just remember that this is what veterans saw on D-Day, June 6, 1944, on the beaches at Normandy.

Thanks to our government, this is what the few remaining veterans of D-Day, most in wheelchairs, saw at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC last month.

Wait, you ask, if the park was shut down, how did they get in? Gee, do you really think after surviving D-Day they would let a barricade stop them? They didn't.  But, you ask, how could the government be so stupid as to shut down something like a memorial to war veterans?  Easy. Only 89 of 435 House members have served either on active duty or in the reserves. In the 100-member Senate, only 19 are veterans.

I served in Vietnam. I came home.

Barry Brown didn't come home.

James Clifford McKittrick is still MIA.

Part of John Jones came home.

Please remember that there are still men and women serving in the armed forces. I hope they come hope so you can honor them on Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Potato, Two Potato

More little Potato Head guys. I like the way the screws and nails get a beat-up look from the kiln firing. We took 3 days off and went to Houston for the International Quilt Festival. Some really great quilts and interesting vendors but overall (as Susan summed it up) "underwhelming".

The heavy rains that blasted through Central Texas last week managed to slide far enough to the east to avoid raising the level of any of our lakes. The main impact is that the rice farmers to the southeast need the lake water for their crops so it becomes a tug-of-war between the farmers and the people upstream who want the water for their lawns, farms .... and drinking. Although everything looks pretty now that it's been watered, it's too late for a lot of trees with long-term drought damage. As if we thought we could bargain with Mother Nature!

Just for the record, it's not always about me. Susan also makes art:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Here's Looking At You, Kid

He's about dinner plate size. The yellow is not what I wanted it to be, I was hoping it would be a  sort of ochre that wasn't so neon looking.  Pick any one of these?