Meet my studio assistant, Barty Crouch

For the past few years, my husband has said that if we ever got another cat, he wanted to name it Barty Crouch.  We weren’t looking to add another pet to our household menagerie of two cats and a big black lab, but fate had a different plan.

As you may have suspected, our family has loved the Harry Potter books and movies.  I haven’t enjoyed them as much as my husband and children, but sometimes one just has to be a good sport, right?  And, we’ve always had a soft spot for orange tabby cats, as we had one for 18 years. Nate, our beloved old guy, passed away in 2011 at the age of 19.

So, this past summer a 4-week-old kitten was brought to our veterinary clinic while we were on vacation.  His left eye seemed to be non-functioning and sinking back into the socket.  Since he was from a humane society many miles away and was so tiny, the relief veterinarian told the workers they would need to bring him back when he was a bit older.  My husband would then remove his eye so he could be put up for adoption.

That’s what happened…almost!  Since we only live a block away from our clinic, it was great fun for my kids and me to go over and see the kitten while he was recovering.  We all loved him, but were apprehensive about how my other cats would react if we were to bring him home.  The humane society allowed us to take him on a trial basis, but we knew by the second day that he wasn’t going back!

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Barty when he first arrived at our house. He still had his stitches.

It has been so much fun to have a kitten again.  He loves to be with us, no matter what we’re doing.

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Barty helping me get ready in the morning.

His silly antics make us laugh everyday, and remind us to enjoy the little things in life.  He does come in my studio to “help” me, but the closest he’s gotten is stepping in a plate of gesso!  Uggh!  I had to immediately rush him to the sink to rinse it all off….no time for a picture.

He especially loves to play with his toy mice.

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We frequently find catnip mice in our shoes, and have decided that must be one of Barty’s favorite games.

Sometimes, he needs to take a break, though.

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If you fit under the sofa, it’s a great place for a nap.

Thanks for visiting my blog and letting me introduce my studio assistant, Barty Crouch.  He hasn’t yet offered to wash my brushes or fetch my tea, but I’ll let you know if that happens!

Have a great day,

Melanie

 

 

 

Tribute to my mom – Chanel inspired collage

In my last post, “What do you do when you’re uninspired?” I had started a collage girl in honor of my mom, who left this earth on Christmas Eve.

Using Christy Tomlinson’s “She Art Girl” instructions, I started this collage:

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Initial placement of collage pieces

I can’t even begin to write about the amazing woman my mom was….at least not now.  She never wore a Chanel gown, but if anyone deserved to, it was her.

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Finished collage, 6×12 on canvas  

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Close up of top – “She was brave”

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Close up of feet – (my mom always had to special order shoes because she wore a 9.5 narrow!)

Thanks for visiting my blog.  If you still have your mom, give her a hug and tell her you love her.

Blessings,

Melanie

 

 

What do you do when you’re uninspired?

I know every artist has times when inspiration just isn’t there….or, it’s there, but the cares of life overshadow any creative impulse.  The recent death of my mother and other challenging circumstances have found me in that place.

And yet, I am an artist.  To not create feels like being absent from my very self.  To not create means that the darkness wins…and I’m not about to let that happen!

So, without much enthusiasm, I took advantage of a New Year’s Day sale and signed up for a series of mixed media workshops by Christy Tomlinson.  I decided that I could go through the steps and learn some new techniques.  It wouldn’t require inspiration to follow directions and make something.

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6×12 canvases covered with base layer of collage papers

It took me three days just to get the base layer on these three canvases.

The next step was to add some paint and pattern to the backgrounds.

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The 3rd canvas only has a layer of watered down Golden High Flow Acrylic at this point.

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It did thrill my eyes to open a jar of Primary Magenta and start mixing color.

Christy Tomlinson’s She Art Workshops are all about creating whimsical girls and giving them inspirational phrases to convey a message.  To be honest, I’m not very good at following directions.  In the middle of the first tutorial I felt the need to do my own thing.  Rather than following Christy’s lovely instructions, I wondered how it might work to interpret images from an old Chanel fashion book.

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A dress photo from ‘Chanel, The Couturiere at Work’

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Trial placement of collage figure

For the figure, I’m using book pages from my pre-1900 copy of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.  It was one of my mom’s favorite books, and I purchased this copy a couple years ago.  It seemed like a special way to honor her memory.

That’s as far as I got today, but it felt great to start working again.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Wishing you a day filled with inspiration and joy,

Melanie