Friday, July 31, 2009

"Arachnie" Pumpkin Almost Done!!

I've been painting the last several days because I just wanted a mental break from the clay. I think it is something we all go through...wanting to sculpt when we should be painting or wanting to paint when we should be sculpting. I just like to change it up every now and then. I really think it helps the creative juices to address an idea when it is beckoning us to a particular piece. Below is the first in a number of new Halloween and Vine pieces, Little "Arachnie" Pumpkin. This fellow loves his spiders and is shown with an asymmetrical vest with a spiderweb design on one side with a scalloped edge, and a straight edge on the opposite side with a spiderweb kerchief. I'm thinking he needs bling on his little bow tie so German glass glitter will be added this weekend. I also want to do a little bit more on his lip needs a little more definition in color.

Hope you liked the peek at this spider loving character....he tries to wear one everyday to go with his attire . (They do his tailor work after all!!)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Logo for Monkey-Cats Studio

I'm getting ready to have a few things printed for the studio and I felt I needed something new for the printing. As most of you know, my two long tailed cats are the inspiration for the name of my studio. We have called them the Monkey-Cats since they were just little guys because their bodies never grew proportional to the length of their tails. This is one of several images I came up with after I spilled a diet coke on the last nearly completed painting.

I've played around here with a couple of ideas for the studio's new stickers that I need to talk to a blogging friend about, plus I know I'm not a graphic designer, don't pretend to be, so I am going to be sending some of my figure images out to be made into cards along with these two silly faces to hopefully be incorporated in the design some way.

Just wanted to show you I'm not being a slacker!! I really am trying to get some things done.

Wow, can you believe July is almost over?!!! Where is our summer going and will I get everything done for Halloween and Vine by September 26? I see late nights in my future!

Have a great day everyone!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday WIP Update

Here is an update on the WIPS for Halloween and Vine and STJ. Faces have been built, boots have been added, arms and legs have been "grown" and I have suddenly realized I was really into the pumpkin heads this session. I have big heads, medium sized heads and little heads, and almost all of them are pumpkins! (Nana Lori, have you been in my head influencing the pumpkin creations? Lots of cobwebs in there so don't get lost!!) Anyway, I did build two witches, one of which still needs her arms, and I have skelly figures and vampires in the sketchbooks to get done.

I made one more squash figure as well with a big forehead and a stem hat.

I also finished the new coat on the paper mache bowl. The bowl is now drying, and I have about three cups of paper mache clay left over to work with so I better get back to work on the new skelly heads. La Te Dah Te Dah....squishy stuff!!

Have a great weekend!!! (I'll be in the clay again, but might have to break out some paints for a change of pace for a few hours!!)


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Here a WIP, There a WIP, Everywhere a WIP

I am mixing new batches of paper mache clay daily right now trying to get ready for Halloween and Vine plus two other local fall shows I will be participating in. I build in stages and thought I would show you how the figures evolve. In the photo below you can see some basic sphere forms (the top hat is setting on top of one) that develop into pumpkin shapes with the addition of clay, and later develop faces by pinching and pulling bits of paper mache clay to form noses and mouths. I use to build the entire head at one time, but I got tired of removing fingerprints, fingernail pokes and flattened spots and realized I needed to complete the heads and torsos in stages.

This weekend I completed 9 of the bases I use for my "legged" figures, which will need to have the boots added, and then the torso placed on the legs, which will get arms and hands added. It takes several days to complete one figure to a state that it is ready to dry and then eventually be painted. There are many little components such as bow ties, buckets, scepters, hats and other little elements that I sculpt separately, and then add them to the figures as they are finished and dried.

This photo shows some of the figures with their heads painted, which establishes the personality for me and helps base my decisions on how they would dress and what type of additional accouterments they might need. Often the original sketch I begin with doesn't match the finished figure as anything more than the origin of the idea.

I need to get back to work now!! As I finish some of the WIPs (Works in Progress) I will pull a few together for peeks at their progression.

Have a great day!!!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Last Orb Figure

The fourth and final figure was painted on the Halloween and Vine Orb yesterday. I just could not focus, and this little image did not want to be easy either. I have no idea what was going on, but I caught myself watching the dragonflies landing and taking off from the cattails in the lily pond, the baby squirrel on the grapevine watching me through the patio door window (he was so little and so cute) and the second batch of baby bunnies that came out from under the deck (yikes). Of course, the cats both wanted to be on the studio table for a front row seat so I had a circus and did not function well as the ringmaster.

After the hubby got home the cats lost interest in me and I was able to complete the figure. To balance the bat-winged skelly on the opposite side, I gave this little witch a set of wings as well. She changed a bit from the original sketch, but I think she works with the other three figures.

Now, just a few jack-o'-lanterns placed here and there, a few other little elements and the orb will be done, varnished and ready to take to Halloween and Vine. Whew!!!!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Orb Update

I had a great painting day yesterday and was able to get two more of the figures painted onto the Halloween and Vine orb. Below is a bat-winged skelly figure emerging from behind the tombstone, and.....

the second figure is the lumina pumpkin-vine figure carrying his "comfort" pumpkin (kind of like us with a teddy bear) and his cat bucket. I also added more stars and swirls to the spiderweb sky.

One more major figure goes on the orb today and then the background filling begins. If all goes well I will have another peek available for you tomorrow or Friday.

Fingers and toes crossed hoping for another great day of painting!!! (Toes are hard to cross!!)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Painted Orb WIP

What have I been up to? Well, I started on this orb over the 4th of July weekend and I have been painting little details on it as I have time. I thought it was far enough along to share a few pictures of it evolving. The top is a painted spiderweb sky with stars and swirls in the very lowest portion of the black background. I have also finished painting Goddard, the pumpkin boy, holding his skelly balloon and a little row of jack-o'-lanterns off to his left.

I have been having such fun glazing over the cream colored background making the lumps and bumps of the paper mache more visible. I really love that quality of paper mache and I am so glad I discovered the material I'm currently working with. It is very forgiving of my scrubbing (don't read this Carolee) with my paint brushes and fingers.

I obviously have much more to do on this sphere, but thought it might be fun to see it develop over the next few days.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spooks and Jingles on STJ!!!

I can't believe this past year has passed so quickly and that we are already celebrating the first anniversary of SpookyTime Jingles. It was one year ago that I first put my work online for people to see and purchase instead of just selling locally at art and craft shows... and what a year it has been!! The friendships I have developed both with artists and collectors has touched me deeply and I'm so thankful for the experiences of the last 12 months.

To thank you for your support and encouragement we will be offering free shipping this month on STJ, except for the unusual works that may need additional postage. Plus, 10% of all of my sales will be going to the Kearney Area Humane Society in the name of the buyers. As an animal owner and lover I just think supporting such organizations in their efforts is a good thing and I hope you will agree with me. Many of the STJ artists will be making similar donations. Another thing to look for this month are the door prizes. I know there are currently over 20, so give the works a look and when you register mention which work you would like to receive as your door prize. When possible, the work and winner will be matched. Now, how is that for customer service!!!!! **giggle** (For buyers...25 extra door prize entries will be given for the purchase of a Christmas piece, and 31 extra door prize entries will be given for the purchase of a Halloween piece....that helps the odds of winning!!)

This is the Monkey-Cats Studio's ACEO door prize...remember, the ACEO works only measure 2.5" x 3.5", so I think the work is actually larger in this picture than it really is. He is a cute little guy, celebrating his love for his small pumpkin friend who is singing under the moonlight. These little cards are adorable framed and placed amongst your Halloween collectibles.

I will have three little spooks offered this month...."Bertram Goodhue", "Mr. Purrsonality" and "Squish Squash". If you want to read more about them and for additional views just look to my recent past posts.

I will also have two little jingles, "I. M. Schnoozle Snowman" and "Purrseus" the cat. Additional views of these two figures can be found on my flickr page by clicking on their image below.

I hope you discover a new original you need to add to your collection this month on SpookyTime Jingles...where sweet and spooky commingle!!

SpookyTime Jingles updates Sunday night at 12:00 a.m. Eastern time. I think it might be worth staying up for!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bertram Goodhue on STJ

Have you ever heard a name and you just liked it....well, that is what happened to me when I first heard the name Bertram Goodhue when I was in the 4th grade. Who was he? Well, he was an American architect and he designed the State Capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska. I love that building with it's mosaics and murals and perhaps that is why I never forgot his name.

When I finished the lumina pumpkin figure below, the name Bertram Goodhue jumped in my head and wouldn't go away (no, I don't hear voices!!). So I decided his face was made up of "good hues" and certainly Bertram was a great name, so why not?!! The name seems to suit him for some reason.

Bertram is shown above with his spindly vein fingers holding onto his skelly bucket, and below you can see a close up. Lots of good little details on this piece.

Betram is going on SpookyTime Jingles this month. As part of supporting the Kearney Area Humane Society, 10% of his purchase price will be given to them for their good work in the name of his buyer.

Bertram thanks you for your consideration. Again, this is the 1st Anniversary for SpookyTime Jingles (updates at 12:00 a.m. on the 13th) and there are some great pieces for this anniversary so stay up late on the 12th to see all of the sweet and spooky goodness!!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Peek at Purrseus

Just an update on little "Purrseus." I worked until late last night finishing up a few details on the figure. He now has a striped hat with tinsel trim, a red bow tie and a striped vest under his high collared white jacket trimmed with holly leaves and berries. Lots of details on this fellow.

I put a little more gold in his eyes, worked on the cheeks, painted a peppermint button on his vest, a snowflake on his hat and....

gave him striped socks to match his vest and trimmed his boots in holly leaves and berries to match his jacket collar.

Remember, as part of the SpookyTimes Jingles 1st Anniversary Celebration, Monkey-Cats Studio will give 10% of the sale price to the Kearney Area Humane Society in the name of the buyer. They do such good work I'm very excited to do this.

More peeks to come! Enjoy the day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

SpookyTime Jingles 1st Anniversary This Month!!!!

This month SpookyTime Jingles will be celebrating it's first anniversary as an online marketplace. I have been fortunate to be with SpookyTime Jingles since it went live last year, and it has been a wonderful place for me to grow and meet other artists and buyers. STJ has great talent and I feel honored to be in such wonderful company!

As part of the 1st anniversary celebration the artist will be participating by giving back in two ways. First, the shipping will be free site wide on most pieces (except those unique pieces that require additional shipping expenses due to size or weight) and two; the artists will be giving a portion of their sales to the ASPCA or to their local animal shelters.

Monkey-Cats Studio will be participating in both, and because of their good work in our community I have designated the Kearney Area Humane Society as the recipient for the donations from my sales. For each work sold by Monkey-Cats Studio in July, 10% of the sale price will be given to the Kearney Area Humane Society in the name of the buyer. I love animals and know how much they can improve our quality of life so I think this is a really great idea for us to embrace. I hope you all agree.

Below are two of the pieces that will be coming up in July on STJ. Below is "Mr. Purrsonality" that will be one of the Halloween offerings. He still needs his bucket so he isn't completely finished yet.

"Mr. Purrsonality" is a smiler and has a bit of a twinkle in his eye. He learned as a kitten that if he smiled it would make those around him smile back so it is a lesson he never little kitty!!

Below is "Purrseus" and he is just freshly into his paint so has much work to be done on his surface. "Purrseus" will be on the Christmas page as one of the works offered for the winter season. Like his Halloween friend, he also knows how to get to us humans with his wide grin.

These two boys ask that you support your animal shelters and hope you have a great week!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Such a Sweet Buyer!!!!!

I just received this poem from the buyer of the Ode to Edward Gorey Orb. It was so sweet I had to share!!!


Laurie, how I love the orb.
So many details to absorb!
When it arrived on this morn,
the packaging was very quickly torn.

The drawing is oh, so intricate
You are a wonder just to think of it.
Many hours of careful labor
I will stare, marvel and savor!

It is so perfect for Halloween,
but other times it should be seen.
We thank you so very, very much
To have an Edward Gorey tribute of such.

Cindy gave me permission to post the poem. I was so touched she took the time to compose the poem and wanted her to know how much it meant to me.

Have a great week all!!!!

Squeal Squash

Yesterday you saw "Squish Squash", and today you get to preview his brother "Squeal." "Squeal" is the younger brother of "Squish", but unlike his brother he has legs to elevate him above the Squash family vine. This little guy assists "Squish" in protecting the vines from insects...he is sort of like the beaver tail alarm for the squash, using his sharp, high pitched cry that alerts his fellow squash of oncoming insect threats. This is something this little guy started to display while he was just a mere bump on the end of his bloom and it gave him his name "Squeal."

Wanting to be known for more than his ear piercing scream, "Squeal" decided to do something else associated with his name...yes, his attire is giving him away, he is a biker dude and he loves to accelerate quickly and "squeal" his rear tire. This isn't something his mother is proud of and hopes that he will outgrow, but in the mean time he wears his black leather boots and outerwear, and having watched old biker movies he also slicked his vine into a spit curl of sorts. "Squeal" thinks it makes him look a little more like a rebel. Silly little squash!

I still need to get some details finished on his boots and I may also give him a bucket, but I thought I would let you see how things are progressing.

My hands are getting better each day, but I learned something yesterday. While I was holding an unpainted figure that I had made from that batch of paper mache clay that irritated my hands so badly I started to feel a burn going again. I've decided its like a chemical burn...too acidic or too alkaline, it just doesn't like my skin. The minute the figures are sealed with paint I don't have a problem. I'm hoping my remaining 175+ pounds of fastmache aren't like the current bag I was attempting to use. Thank you all for your suggestions and recommendations on how to treat my sore little phalanges!!!

Have a great day!!