Christmas

Who Am I Kidding?

I guess you all know me well enough by now to not be the least bit surprised by the fact that having gotten my life in such supremely good order… cleared my calendar, waved buh-bye to commitments which were leaning more toward the possibility of “killing me outright” than “making me stronger,” shifted a crapton of things from the Bucket List to the Fuck-it List, hell, even finished making, buying, wrapping and mailing the Christmas packages so they will actually arrive before Christmas this year…I would just stop posting anything at all on my blog.

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Well. I’m sorry. God knows it pisses me off when other bloggers do it. So if you’re pissed I don’t blame you. I’m pissed at me too.

I just find it so odd that an empty schedule creates the exact opposite effect than what you would expect. Wouldn’t you think if you had a completely free day to make art (or update your blog) in your newly organized studio with a big cup of hot Market Spice tea wafting inspirational steam up your nose that you would just go crazy creating? Well, think again.

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That saying about “if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it” is right. If you want something done, don’t ask the person with the free time to do it. It’ll get put off until tomorrow. Which means never. It’ll get put off until never, and then you will end up doing it yourself anyway when you are already busy and the person you asked to do it will resent you because you went ahead and did it. Trust me, I know this. I have served on Committees.

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So I guess I just need to accept the fact that if I’m going to do a blog I need to have too much on my plate. Be really stressed. Probably being spiteful about it wouldn’t hurt either. Well it’s almost Christmas, and a whole New Year is right around the corner — one which I have lots of plans for, so there is definite hope that soon I will be majorly swamped.

May it be so. And Merry Christmas.

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The Sun’ll Come Up?

I actually woke up this morning with that stupid Annie song “The Sun’ll Come Up Tomorrow” playing in my head. Annoying orphan chorus and all. “Bet your bottom dollar that tomorroooow there’ll be suuuun!”

At 6:30 in Boise in January I have my doubts,

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but it’s the metaphorical sun I’m still waiting for anyway so I decided to go ahead and get out of bed.

Yep. I’m still stuck on “Imposter.” But while I keep hacking away at the underbrush trying to clear the path for the “Great Big” idea which will get me to “Whew!” I’m paying more attention to the finer details of this process. That’s right, I’m witnessing my own agony so I can share it with you. Aren’t you glad?!

Here’s my first observation. I totally underrated how much work the first stage is when you have the “good little” idea and you have to just do it because you might have five or seven ideas that all require the time it takes to get out of your head and onto the paper — otherwise they don’t count.

Talk is crap. You have to do the work.

What? You wanted more insight than that? Well I want my lazy-ass muse to stop rolling her eyes at me and help me take down the Christmas decorations so I can go to my studio and start playing with my “good little” ideas so they can grow into a “Great Big” idea and I can finally get to “Whew!”

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Now somebody bring me some coffee!

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Here’s my second observation: it’s time to stop talking, go get my own cup of coffee and get to work!

Merry Birthday Logan!

Logan Blackburn Chambers was born on December 25, 1989, which means that for the past 24 years every Christmas dinner in our family has ended with Birthday cake, ice cream and hopeful wishes.

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Pretty Sweet.

Merry 24th Birthday Logan! And many mooooore!!!!

Crazy “To Do” List

Lina arrived safely from Chicago for Christmas, meaning it was time to relax and play and enjoy the holiday, right? Only I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, I pretty much put her straight to work. (Tell me I’m not the only one with a crazy “to do” list in her head?!)

Well, we let her refuel first.

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Twice.

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I’ve been wanting to build a snowman for days, but it’s been so cold the precipitation has all been powder. Finally, it warmed up enough the snow could stick and then (of course) it all started to melt. So, first things first, we made 3 tiny snow creatures…

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Quickly.

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Next there were cookies to be baked and decorated at mom’s house with both Lina and Logan…

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And then the real work began. Lina introduced me to the 21st Century. (I don’t always move quickly.) She set me up on Facebook.

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I’m only about 10 years late to the party and I’m really planning to stay only as long as we can talk about art. And I can already hear my more literary friends practically screaming in unison (some with really bad Scottish accents)… “and the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.”

But I’m here now, and Facebook actually let me open a personal page and an artist’s page, and a few of you already like me. You really LIKE me!

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I will try to keep up with the whiplashing pace and volume of information (Hey Deby!!), but I will also be honest and say my hope for Facebook is that I can finally share what I’m doing with my art with a much larger audience. Color me crazy!

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I hope your crazy “to do” list is as short, and sweet, and colorful as our plate of Christmas cookies. And vanishes as quickly!

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Merry Christmas!

Second Helpings: Painted Christmas Dishes

Painted dishes are a bit of a repeat for my Second Helpings posts, but then knowing “I paint everything!” you can figure I’ve painted quite a few dishes, and these are definitely in keeping with the season.

I painted an entire set of black glazed dishes including dinner plates, bowls, cups and saucers with winter evergreens, holly berries, ivy and acorns.

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I had fun with the cups and saucers, assigning 1, 2, 3 or 4 holly berries to each set. Just in cases.

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We needed more than four dinner plates however, and being out of the black glazed plates, I decided to paint four white ones, and I used another Pebeo product for added oomph.

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The new Pebeo product is the Pebeo Cloisonne Outliner. It comes in a bunch of colors — I’ve gotten it in black, white, red, and turquoise — and my favorites, the metallics: Copper, Vermeil and Gold.

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It’s a dimensional outliner, so after you paint with the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 then you apply this last. Make sure it sticks to the surface — don’t leave gaps between it and the plate, but don’t be too gloppy or it will fall off or get knocked off later when you are using the dishes.

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Have fun with it. It’s a little like icing a holiday cookie — only you bake it after you ice it, and I don’t recommend you take a bite (though I have certainly bitten into some Christmas cookies that were as hard and tasteless as I’d guess these plates would be) — Ok, ok I’m done.

Remember, you may not be able to play with your food, but you can always play with your dishes!

Ready? Set! Be Merry!!

Christmas Vacation has officially begun in the Chambers’ household! The only work that will get done around here for the next 4 days will be holiday related. Or it will just have to wait.

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I will not answer my phone unless this face appears under the number:

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or this face:

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I will encourage lazing by the fire:

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and wearing fuzzy slippers all day no matter how much they look like Snug’s disemboweled rat toy:

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I will be charmed by sequined felt:

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and folksy wood block houses:

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I mean really, what’s the point of going to the trouble to do all the decorating and baking and party planning and present selecting and making and wrapping and mailing and opening if we don’t take the time to enjoy it too? Anyone?

So, my plan is to do just that! And that, as they say, about Wraps it Up!

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Somebody quick, bring me an Eggnog Latte!

Useful and Decorative

I know I announced my intention to “shop my studios” for Christmas gifts this year, but, there are always the hostess gifts and the stocking stuffers and the one last thing needed to round out the boxes to be mailed.

These are my solution for those situations this year…

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They are useful but decorative too.

I bought a bunch of bamboo kitchen utensils and then painted their handles in a variety of colorful patterns. New work, but not exactly a new inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with revisiting a good idea.

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One year I painted stainless steel serving spoons and forks using the acrylic that’s intended for painting on metal. I kept a few of those for myself.

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Another year I painted a couple of sets of bamboo spoons and forks. All of those found new homes.

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Tonight is the TVAA Kringle Mingle and we’re having an art exchange where you bring a wrapped piece of art you’ve made, and go home with one made by another artist.

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Somebody’s going to get these two bamboo utensils, in this wrapping, tonight.

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I’ll show you what I get, tomorrow! Jingle, jingle!

Eye of the Beholder

I could have saved this for a Second Helpings post, but it’s actually a multipurpose post because it’s subject is also Christmas themed, and it shows how I work in both 2D and 3D and sometimes the two approaches inform each other.

Meet my multifaceted friends:

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If the Chambers were tiny wooden reindeer cut out of some 1960’s hobbyshop kit we would look just like this: Ma, Pa, Sissy, and Lil Smack.

You don’t even have to ask. You already know that I found them in a secondhand shop, unpainted, unloved. Missing a googley eye here and there. $1.99 for the ziplock bagful. There were more than just the first four…

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Lil Smack had a friend. (Both of them have issues making eye contact.) And then there were a couple more that found their way to me as well. Herding instinct is a powerful thing.

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It should also come as no surprise that I saw through their plain brown exteriors to their true, technicolor personalities waiting to burst out. Acrylic paint and tiny brush to the rescue once again.

I bring these guys out every Christmas and finagle them into the decorations some place different every time. This year they’re in the new cozy dining room:

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I had so much fun painting these reindeer that in turn they inspired a 2D painting which hung in TVAA’s first Foray exhibit two years ago. The painting was done in a combination of watercolor and acrylic. It’s one of my pieces which is available as an archival giclee print. The title of the painting is “Democrats in Idaho.”

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You might have to actually live here to understand why that’s funny, but you don’t have to live here to look at these guys and have them make you smile. Nevermind their inability to return the eye contact!

Second Helpings: Christmas Lantern

Any excuse to paint a cast off works for me, but Christmas definitely brings out my inner Santa’s little helper. Plus, I think you’ve gathered by now that I’m a sucker for the misfits.

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This little number was far from the typical shiny, eye-catching item destined for centerpiece glory we’ve come to expect. It had misfit written all over it. Dusty, and rusty, I knew it would be perfect for a Second Helping.

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It is made out of metal. Some kind of metal that rusts. Not very heavy, it can’t be pure anything — I guess it’s what my mom would call “pot metal.” But being metal you can’t paint it with regular acrylic because that would just peel off.

Luckily for us there is an Acrylic craft paint that is made specifically for painting on metal, and any art supply or craft store should stock it, or be able to get it for you.

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Don’t confuse it with metallic acrylic paint! Make sure it says right on it “no prep metal paint for painting metal surfaces.”

Besides being made for painting on metal it behaves exactly like any other acrylic paint, so just go ahead and use it in the same way. Mix your colors, paint your piece, clean up with water.

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Sometimes all it takes is the right materials, and a second look. Polka dot snow fall, swirls on reindeer, a balsam scented candle, and this misfit can be my centerpiece anytime.

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