Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sitting On The Fence with a Broken Heart

I'm back from my self-imposed hiatus, my dears, and I have missed you all terribly.  I have oodles of blogs to read and much to catch up on.  Life, once again, reared it's ugly head and demanded time for other things besides art and blogging.

I actually have been dabbling in art the past month, just not in the form that you're used to seeing.  Some of the wood fence that surrounds our patio needed replacing, so we started researching options.  I wasn't happy with the flimsy examples exhibited at the big box home-improvement stores, and was even less happy with the gaggle of estimates gleaned from several fencing companies.  Being a Custom Kinda Gal, it was time to take matters into my own hands.

We have an affinity for the Craftsman style of architecture, signified by simple, elegant designs using natural materials.  Of course, trying to incorporate this refined style into a 50's tract ranch is sort of like putting perfume on a pig,'s our pig, and it's smelling a little sweeter with every project we do.

Lots of internet research turned up the Gamble House, an extraordinary example of the style by Arts and Crafts architects Greene and Greene.  One particular detail in the house caught my eye: the angled pieces in the upper parts of the windows that are said to simulate the rays of the rising sun.

Well, we can all use a little more sunshine in our lives, right?  With this detail in mind, I sat down to design and build a fence.  (Yes, stand back...I have power tools and I'm not afraid to use them.)

A few sketched plans and several lumber purchases later....

... a fence began to take shape.

After a couple of weekends of work, I had my sturdy, custom-built fence at a fraction of the cost of having a fence company build it, a money-saving strategy that would make my penny-pinching Scottish ancestors proud.

In between jobs and fences and holiday get-togethers, we were caring for one of our kitties who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Yesterday, we chose to end Maxxine's battle, and she is now at peace.

Maxxine was 16 years old.  I found her and two sisters in a hollow log when they were about two weeks old.  I took the kittens home, bottle raised them, and of course couldn't part with them and kept all three. Samantha passed away several years ago, and Gracie is still fat, happy and healthy.

Maxxine definitely wasn't the smartest sister, but what she lacked in cerebral abilities she more than made up for in cuddliness.  She had a raucous meow that she used frequently, and had a purr that was so loud and deep that you felt it in your bones.  If you closed you eyes, you would swear that you had a cat-sized motorboat sitting in your lap.  With Maxx gone, the house just seems too quiet.

Queen Maxxine Jean the Jellybean
1994 - 2010
Thank you for sharing our lives these past sixteen years.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Kinda Likable Oops

In between pressing winterizing tasks around the house (it got into the 20's here last night...brrrrrrr.  I was all set to complain about it, but the poor folks in northern Indiana got several inches of snow, so I'll just shut up), I was determined to fit in just a bit of art.  So I did a quick giraffe sketch (gotta go with what you love), and then for a change of pace, quickly outlined the sketch in India ink. 

As I began to fill in the form with some acrylic ink, the India ink began to run into my nice, clean colors, giving the giraffe an undesirable muddy skin condition.  In my haste, I had grabbed the water soluble India ink, rather than the waterproof one.    Oh well.  I had already begun, so might as well go with the flow, so to speak.  After that, ink was just brushed on with abandon.

After all was said and done, I rather liked this girl, if for nothing else than for her spontaneity, looseness and complete lack of an over-calculated attempt at control.   She's fresh, if a tad mucky, and was a blessed half an hour of just devil-may-care painting.