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Straw.  (What did you think I was going to say?)

Friends Patricia, Joan and I got together for some food, painting and, of course, laughing.   Patricia had seen someone on YouTube paint a tree with watercolor and a straw. So we gave it a try.   It was hilarious and fun.  Here are the results.

Cherry Blossom straw trees

Straw Trees 1

Straw Trees 2

It will never stop snowing here.  Ever.  Gothamist just posted this:  More Snow Expected To Hit City Today, Possibly Every Day For Eternity!  Since it’s so cold and snowy out, there are any number of Buzzfeed tests on the internet to pass the time until Spring.  And since I can kill time like nobody’s business, I’ve been enjoying (although not agreeing) with a number of them:

What state do you actually belong in?  (I got NH, then PA then TN)

What career should you have?  (Humanitarian – stop laughing, then Professor)

Which Star Trek character are you? (Chekov)

What font are you?  I got Courier.  My friend Judy got Futura. She said “I was sure I had a serif in me but apparently I was sans serif.”

And in case you didn’t know, here are the 5 stages of Winter:

Here’s to April!

Bike and graffiti on wall – Work in Progress on 1/2 sheet of 140# Arches coldpress

Now that Hurricane Sandy has come and gone the devastation still lingers.   Thank you to everyone who emailed, called, texted or commented on this blog to check on us.  We are both fine although I haven’t seen the husband in about two weeks with the exception of a quick hello or goodbye.

Everyone I know lost power, but some lost much more.  My sister-in-law and her husband live on the Rockaway Peninsula and lost everything on their first floor of their home as well as their cars.  My niece lived on the first floor of an apartment building and she lost everything. Here’s an interesting piece 60 minutes ran on a particular area called Belle Harbor where they live: 60 Minutes Belle Harbor.   But it wasn’t just Rockaway,  It was so many areas in the NY/NJ/CT/PA Metropolitan Area.  Little by little we are on our way to getting back to normal.

I finally got a chance to paint and started with the work in progress above of a city scene.  This is a building I see from the art studio window.   Someone painted a blue bicycle on a yellow field on a brick wall.  Add some graffiti, water towers and it’s right up my alley.  I’m thinking that after I finish painting it I may deconstruct it a bit by splashing water and paint on it.   Everything else in the City has been splashed with water!

11″ tall decoupage under glass vase

Here’s another vase I’ve recently completed.  It’s got blue birds and apples.   Silver metallic with a white background.  When I start out with just a clear piece of glass it’s called a vase.  Long “A”.  When I’m done and it looks like the above it’s called a VAHSE.   Just so you know.

Utah – Bryce, Scenic Byway in Moab, and Arches on 1/2 sheet of 140# Arches coldpress.  Each image is approx 5 x 8 inches with approx. an inch and 1/2 space in between.

I’m back in Utah! Well, not physically, I’m still in NYC, but blog-post wise I’m back in Utah.  I feel like I’ve been astral traveling:  Utah, NYC Urban Sketching, Utah again and then a quick stop in Florida (see the decoupage under glass plate below.)   If only I could get some frequent flyer miles for all these trips.

The left panel is Bryce Canyon.  The middle is on a scenic byway in Moab. Which was a beautiful road.  The Colorado river was a muddy rust color, with purple-ish mountains on the other side and trees that clearly had been burned in a recent fire and then these bizarre little clumps of neon green grass growing.  The final panel is from Arches National Park (I think).

This is the first time I did a triptych.  I felt it worked well with the imagery I chose to paint.  I have so many images in my head (that often fight with the voices) and I’m torn between my cityscapes and this amazing Utah landscape.

I’m also working on some coasters and plates for the upcoming Putnam Arts Council Holiday Craft Sale.  I have to work like a busy bee the next few weeks to get some inventory ready for the sale. I just finshed this 7″ plate of Florida Oranges.

Decoupage under glass – 7 inch glass plate with Florida Oranges image, with metallic and acrylic paint.

I have a number of these 7″ plates which I plan to sell along with some vases and other glass items.  I will go into busy bee mode to make a bunch of coasters for the holiday sale.   I can’t believe I’m already thinking about the holidays.  So, if you don’t hear from me, check to make sure I haven’t collapsed under a mound of glass coasters, Elmer’s glue and metallic paint.

People have asked me how I create the decoupaged glass pieces I post on the blog.   I will show you how step by step.  Remember, there are many ways to do this; this is just one example.  The process can be very time consuming and I have cursed a blue streak while working on these pieces.

Let’s do this!

Select an image and make a few laser or toner copies (not inkjet).   Glass should be clear.  It can be a vase, bowl, plate or anything else you find that you might want to use.  Cut out your Xeroxed image.  The more “filigree”  the more spots where the metallic and paint can show through.  For this demonstration, I chose a clear round plate and a dragon image that was on a blue field.  I cut around the dragon and got rid of all the blue background.

Check to see how you want to place your image on the glass.  This is how I chose to layout my dragon.  

Make sure your glass is clean!

Get two paper bowls.  Put some Elmer’s Glue (white glue) in one bowl with a few drops of water and mix that up.  Put clean water in the other bowl.  Have a small sponge handy.

Next smear the glue all over the back of the glass.  Gently place the image on the glass.   If it’s very large you may have to glue it in sections.  Remember it’s the front of the image to the back of the glass.

Put some glue on your fingertips and GENTLY press on the image to get the bubbles out and to carefully re-position some areas if needed.   This is the part where I start to curse.  I have ruined many a piece at this stage.

After you’ve gently pressed most of the bubbles out, take a wet sponge and GENTLY PAT the glue off the glass. DO NOT RUB.  I have rubbed many an image right off.  You know what happens?  It goes right in the sink because it’s Ruined!  Ruined! I say!  Don’t let this happen to you.  Dip the sponge in the clean water bowl, rinse and PAT the glue off.   Do it again and again until most of the glue is off.   Be very careful not to tear the paper since it is pretty wet and it will very easily tear.   I’ve torn COUNTLESS images at this stage, but they can be fixed.  That’s why you made multiple copies.  More on that later.

From the front your image will first look like this.  Amazingly the glue in front of the paper will dry clear.

After you’ve gotten most of the glue off, let it dry.  Go back later and clean some more glue off.  You can use a Q-tip to get into the small spaces or even an X-acto knife to scrape away some of the glue.

Once your image is clean and dry, it should look like this.

Bored yet?  Have a smoke.  Have a drink.  Listen to music.  I am humming “the Girl from Ipanema.”   I have no idea why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO4pJstv_TM

OK, break over.  Next steps:  Metallic paint, background painting and sealing.

Back? Ready to work?  Let’s go.  This is the “finishing” section.  Soon your piece will be ready for the coming out party at the decoupage debutante ball.

Once you’re satisfied with your gluing and subsequent cleaning of the glass, the next step is to select some metallic paints to sponge onto your piece to give it a little pizzazz.   Of course there is pizzazz and then there’s PIZZAZZ.  I am often stopped by my teacher after I’ve covered the whole back of a piece of glass with metallic paint.  She gently tells me it should look classy like fine art, not loud and garish.  (Did she just meet me?)  Her motto is Less is More. My motto is If Less is More, More must be Fabulous.   I chose gold for this project.

Put some of the metallic paint on a paper plate, take a sea sponge, dip the sponge into the metallic paint and then dab the sponge over the paper plate until the paint is almost dry.   At this point you are ready to enhance and elevate your glued paper and glass to the next level of awesomeness.  Gently press the sponge on the back of the glued image so that only a bit of metallic is showing…almost as if the image is glowing. Try different color metallics.   I often use silver, three different kinds of gold, chocolate and sometimes red. Not all at the same time.

Let the metallic paint dry.  If you think it needs more bling, go for it.  If you think you overdid it, scratch some off with your fingernail.

Next, select a background color for your piece.  In the studio we have a giant box filled with the free paint chips you get at the hardware store.   We try them out until we find a color we like and then match it by mixing the color using a variety of basic acrylic colors.  Another option is to decide on a color…let’s say red…and then pick out all of your red paints, paint a small swatch of each on a piece of paper and let dry.  Once the paper is dry, hold it behind the glass and see which shade of red works for you.

Paint the back of the glass until there are no streaks and the background is a solid color.  If you are using craft paint you may need four coats of paint.  Thick bodied acrylics should only require two coats.

Let dry.  Enjoy a cosmo and some fine dark chocolate.  I prefer the Lindt extra dark in the black wrappers, but this was all that was available.

I often put a final coat (or two) of metallic paint on the back. Finish with polyurethane or varnish.  Clean the edges and whatever paint and glue on the glass with a straight edge razor.   You may clean the front of the plate with glass cleaner.  Don’t soak or put it in the dishwasher.

Ta Da!

Congratulations, you have completed your first project.  You now absolutely detest this and never want to do it again…or…you will become consumed with looking for glass in different sizes and styles and images to copy and paste.

Some general info:

1.  This is only one technique.  You may know of different ways to achieve the same or similar results.  If you do please comment and share your knowledge.

2.  This is not an exact science.  I have ruined more pieces in either the gluing or cleaning of the glue than I want to remember.  Once I dropped a piece that was practically finished.  Boy was I broken hearted when it shattered.

3.  There are fixes for some mistakes.  (But not if you drop your glass and it shatters.)   If you’ve horribly disfigured a section of your image but everything else looks good, wait for the whole thing to dry and then carefully cut the offending section off and glue a new section on.  This is why it’s a good idea to make multiple copies of your images.

4.  If you don’t have another image to use to make a fix, and a piece of your paper has torn slightly, sometimes a colored pencil or marker on the back of the paper may cover the tear enough for it not to show.

5. If you see a bubble after the paper has dried, gently poke a small hole or make a small slit with your xacto knife and try to get some more glue in there.  Or get it a little wet and press down hard on the paper.  Don’t rub.

6.  Use one of your own original paintings!   Make some copies of your painting, cut it out and go to town.

7.  HAVE FUN!

Thank you for your time and patience reading the longest blog post ever.  Good luck.  Let me know how you do.

A big thank you goes to Nicola of Pointy Pix for passing along this Liebster Blog Award to me.

Liebster translates to sweetheart, darling, dearest one. The award originated in Germany in 2009-2010 and it was for blogs with less than 3000 followers.  Nicola nominated me with this comment:

Carol King who is always Painting, Drawing, Complaining! She just makes me laugh with her New York wit and she does cool paintings too!

Aww shucks.  Thank you Nicola.

Now, I’m supposed to tell you 5 things you don’t already know about me, and we’ve been through this before with the other award.  Since the pressure is on, I thought I might knuckle under and give you a few tidbits about me that you haven’t already figured out from my blog posts.

1.  I am not tall.

2.  I cannot sing, but wish I could with all my heart.  Of course this does not stop me from singing at the top of my lungs when I’m alone in the car.

3.   I have never lived anywhere else other than NYC.   (Neither did my parents.)    I live 1/2 mile from where I was born.  Sad.

4.  I like to travel, but hate to fly.  Thank God for little yellow pills!

5.  If I was on death row (someplace I hope to never be) my last meal would probably be potato chips.  Plain, not flavored.

I’m to pass this award on to 5 other people.   All of you on my blog roll inspire me, but you didn’t take me up on it last time I got an award and nominated all of you, so here goes, in no particular order:

Jana Bouc     Virginia     Rhonda     Leslie     Irina  and   Alice (my sister).    Yeah, yeah, so there’s six instead of five.  Math was not one of my better subjects.

I’m in the process of creating more decoupage under glass including documenting the steps since so many people have asked about it.  I hope to have it all ready to post soon.   So get your Elmer’s Glue ready!

Glass vase with Etruscan Art.  Each photo shows a side of the vase with one of the Etruscan images.  Vase size is 8 inches tall, 4 inches across the top and 6 inches across the bottom.

Who were the Etruscans?   They lived in Italy and eventually were subsumed into Italian culture.   I love all things ancient.  Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, me when I’m trying to get out of bed in the morning.  I was recently bantering back and forth with some friends of whom I am the oldest.  I told them this was my theme song and one of them asked if it was available on an MP3 download or only on Victrola.   Oh those kids.   Anyone else remember this song?

GET UP AND GO
 Chorus (and after each verse):
How do I know my youth is all spent?
My get up and go has got up and went
But in spite of it all I’m able to grin
And think of the places my get up has been.

Old age is golden so I’ve heard said
But sometimes I wonder as I crawl into bed
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
My eyes on the table until I wake up…

There’s more to the song, but if you’re into it, Google Pete Seeger and Get Up and Go and you’ll find lots of YouTube clips of him singing this.

The vase above was completed using a decoupage technique of these Etruscan images along with bronzing powders, acrylic paint (that’s the background color you see) another full coat of a reddish metallic bronzing powder and then a sealant.   Again, everything is done from the inside of the vase.   The outside is just the clear glass and you are looking in.   Like Alice and the looking glass.

Are the Olympics over yet?

Rectangular decoupaged glass plate – 4.5″ x 6.5″ with a bit of a bevel in the middle 

I have never been an optimist.  I like to smile and laugh, but when it comes down to it, I am a realist.  The Husband on the other hand is quite the optimist, which is unusual, considering his profession.  He is happy when he wakes up.  I am filled with dread.  (I’m working on that.)   Here is a conversation we just had this morning.

ME:   OMG,  it’s so hot today and I’m so tired and I don’t think I’m going to last all day at work.

THE HUSBAND:  As least you weren’t one of the four people shot in my area last night.

Really,  how can I respond to that?  He makes me laugh.  And smile.     And he’s always got some sort of comment or smart ass answer for me when I veer towards the darkness.    Yay the Husband!

Today I have one more decoupaged plate to show you while I’m in the midst of some paintings.    Hope you like it.

In an effort to stave off senility, I have decided to learn Spanish.   I took Spanish in high school (along with one year of Latin) and I also took some Spanish in college.  Sadly, nothing stuck other than knowing how to ask where the bathroom is.  I recently started listening to Pimlseur on my iPod.   I can now be seen on the subway semi-silently mouthing Spanish phrases. But here’s the problem.  The conversaciones are ridiculous.  It’s either a perverted sounding man trying to pick up la señorita Gómez or Maria asking Juan if he has any money. WTF?

May I suggest to Pimsleur that if they had more interesting  conversaciones I would be far more able to aprender español.  

Maria:   Hello Juan, do you have any pesos.   Hola Juan, ¿Tiene usted algunos pesos?

Juan:   No, I don’t have any pesos.  ¡No tengo un peso!

Maria:  Do you have any dollars?  ¿Tiene algún dólares?

Juan:  No I don’t have any dollars?   No, no tengo ningún dólares.

Maria:  Adiós

Seriously?     Now if the conversacion when more like this:

Maria (at the methadone clinica):  Juan,  do you have any pesos?  I really need a fix.  Juan, ¿tiene usted alguna de pesos? Realmente necesito un poco de heroína.

Juan:   Maria, I told you a million times, I’m not giving you any more pesos.   You better get clean or else.  María, te lo dije un millón de veces,  No te voy a dar un peso más!. …Será mejor que te limpies, si no…

Maria:  Don’t make me cut you!    No me haga que le corte!

See, NOW I can’t wait to habla me some español.    

Charlie, my old dog walking buddy who is now living up in Maine, once taught Spanish to prison guards at the Coxsackie prison correctional facility. I swear. I bet some of those phrases would be interesting to learn.   Oh well,  I can ask where the Hotel Columbus is like nobody’s business.   ¿Dónde está el Hotel Colón?

The above plate is an 8 inch square clear class plate with all of the decoupage done from underneath.  These are fun to do but very time consuming.

Cutting Board 15″ x 11″ tempered glass

12″ square plate

6″ square plate

On February 29th, 2012, Davy Jones of the Monkees died of a massive heart attack.  I was sad.   I liked the Monkees (no they were not the Beatles or the Stones) but they were fun and cute and had a stupidly funny TV show that I watched when I was a kid.  I had a crush on Mickey Dolenz and not Davey Jones, but I’m still sad Davey’s  gone.  (He was 66 and had a 36 year old wife!   Maybe THAT’S what killed him?)

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees, and people say we monkey around.

But we’re too busy singing to put anybody down.

Now I have those infectious Monkees’ songs in my head.  At least they drown out the voices.

What’s up with February 29th?   It’s a strange day.  When I was home yesterday switching over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar I wondered why we have a February 29th.

The Gregorian calendar includes leap years so that one day we don’t wake up and find ourselves celebrating Christmas in the summer.   Leap years are defined as follows:  Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year.  

Got that?  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

When my nephew Jimmy was young (and a smarty pants) he asked his dad why October is the tenth month when Octo means eight. (Think octomom!)   His dad explained that October USED to be the 8th month but then Julius and Augustus Caesar wanted their own months…namely July and August.  Jimmy thought for a moment and decided to he wanted his own month to be called Jimuary.   Cool!    Now I want my own month.  It will be called  Napember. It’s a month were we can all catch up on our sleep.  (you may recall that I retain the title of  Tiredest Person that Ever Lived.)

I’m working on paintings that aren’t even in a stage where I can show them as a work in progress, so here’s some decoupage under glass pieces I’ve also been working on.   Glass is hard to photograph.

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