My colored pencil collection has outgrown its humble home. I knew it would happen. One solitary can that used to hold diced tomatoes simply cannot contain all the colored pencils I want to possess.
To give myself an attractive new way to store my art supplies, I first switched from a can of tomatoes to many cans of cannellini.
If I could have made them do the can-can, I would have, but cannellini beans are notoriously uncoordinated.
I picked up the spinny device, meanwhile, at Goodwill.
If your Goodwill doesn’t have spinny devices, you can order a Lazy Susan Bearing online for about a dollar more. (Go cheap. You don’t need this bearing to hold a lot of weight.)
From there, it’s really just a matter of stripping and cleaning the cans, then drilling holes to bolt the cans in place.
I was a little proud that I didn’t make myself measure for these holes. For once, I just eyeballed it.
I had 3/4″ bolts, or I had 2 1/2″ bolts. Thank goodness for bolt cutters!
Of course, the problem with bolt cutters is that they can alter the direction of thread, making it impossible to remove the nuts from the bolts. So. I had to gesso these bleeping cans just like this, instead of separately, as I’d planned. LESSON. LEARNED.
Now it’s time to pretty up the cans, but that’s where I have to leave for the week. I stayed up very late drawing new “labels,” and this morning, I didn’t love them. If we’re going to log the hours, we want to love the results, right? Next week, I’ll be back to show you the pretty parts, and with any luck, we an all love them together!
When I last went to Goodwill, I found a huge canvas for $2.99. No, seriously.
This is how huge. (That’s my younger brother, helpfully providing a size reference during a recent visit.)
This huge canvas appealed to me because lately, I’ve had my eye on this enormous $120 dollar sign that says
At first, I thought, “I’ll make my own and save $117!” But I couldn’t bring myself to take another artist’s idea, even for my own personal non-commercial use, so I scrapped that in favor of painting a rebus, by which I mean the sort of “puzzle” in which an illustration of a bee stands in for the word “be.” Remember those?
I planned to paint BEE + EWE + TEA, at least until that idea stopped speaking to me. Instead, I settled on BEE + EWE, after which, as you will see, it became a sort of message from my subconscious to myself.
Gesso + base coat
I love this damn bee! So fuzzy!
Here’s the part where my subconscious jumped out. I tried to paint this ewe’s face many different times. In the end, she just had to be sad. I don’t even know if you can see it in this picture, but she is extremely sad.
This is the point when my husband walked up and said, “Oh baby! Is it okay to be you even if you’re sad? Is it okay just to be sad and not put on a clown nose and a party hat and pretend everything is great?” I looked up at him with giant eyes of wonder and revelation. I have been incredibly sad lately, because 2015 is dumb. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about what I was painting in those terms, but he was exactly right. I need to give myself permission to be sad. I don’t need to dress it up, for myself or anyone else. I’m sad.
And look. I tried to put up party flags and they fell down, because that’s what happens when you try to pretend you’re not sad: It doesn’t work.
After changing the scalloped sides to curtains, I felt finished. Bee Ewe, little sad pants! It’s okay!
Now the salespeople who come to my door with annoying frequency have twice as much to look at!
Also, it’s like a cute, quirky cafe that serves two.
Every time I go to an antique mall where I have a chance to interact with a dealer or an owner, I am thrilled, because I invariably learn something new. Last weekend, I learned that people collect old glass slides that were used to teach art history back in the day. Oh yes. It’s a thing.
They look extremely cool displayed on window ledges!
Prices for these things are all over the map. Some are rare, and some are hand colored. Those all cost more, so I suggest avoiding those. I bought a “lot” of them on eBay, and after I paid for shipping, the slides were still less than $2 per slide – which was about $10 less per slide than I had seen them selling in the antique market where I discovered them.
I plan to use these slides in several projects down the line, but first things first, I wanted to display one in the negative space in my dining room wall, also known as a “pass through.” I dragged my son to Goodwill, where we found a frame that would fit the slide for $0.99 cents, and I used some eye hooks and random chain I had around the house.
I see a cheap frame and I want to paint it black.
Oh wait. The back will be visible, too. Guess I’d better paint that!
Adding eye hooks.
Can I still make a “baby got back” joke? No? The moment is long gone?
Here’s the slide on display!
Woo! I found a way to hang art in negative space!
I would like to pretend this makes me a wizard, but I have to let my beard grow out first.
If you’d like to get your hands on some of these, you can search Etsy or eBay for “art history glass slides” or “Magic Lantern slides.” Have fun!
HEY KIDS! I know it’s been a while since I’ve been around, and I’m trying my hardest to remedy that now. It’s crazy how crazy it’s been around here, but things are getting less… crazy… hopefully soon. HOPEFULLY.
It’s been so crazy that I actually did this page at least four weeks ago and never had a chance to edit video until now. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!! Crazy, that’s how.
This week’s video is inspired by Cage the Elephant’s Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. Here’s the official video:
It’s an awesome song that inspired a ridiculously goofy art journal page. I mean, ridiculously goofy. That’s okay, though, that’s how I roll.
Last year, in a Living with Art post called “Picture-Perfect Porch,” I hung a canvas outdoors. The results looked like this:
A year later, I am happy to report the canvas is in great shape. It has not been stolen, ripped, ruined, or pecked to death by Hitchcockian birds. Sometimes – okay, one time, but humor me – visiting repairmen even ask to take pictures of it. That’s pretty fun.
What is less fun, at least contextually, is that yellow chandelier, which originally matched the shade of the door. Now that we’ve repainted, the yellow looks out of place. I wasn’t at all sure what I wanted to do about that until I received this beautiful art doll in the mail this week:
Created by Juli Waller
Immediately, I had an idea, which was to put her in a bottomless cage and display her on the porch!
I love the new display, which is extra-fun insfoar as it reveals itself the closer you get to the house. I also love the new cushions. But I love the doll more!
The residents of Planet Internet have long since established the crafty value of a pair of shutters. I have only one new point to add, but I think it’s a pretty good one. In a word, paper clips.
And yes, you might wish to point out to me that that’s two words, but it’s one good idea – and I can say that without being immodest because even though I’m the one who thought of paper clips, my husband is the one who sorted out how to attach them. Good job, husband!
As he demonstrated to me, paper clips can be slipped through the small metal rings that attach the tilt rod to the louvers.
Yup. That long, skinny thing you move to open and close the shutters is called a “tilt rod.” I looked it up for you. Now we both know.
Slipping paperclips through these metal rings creates far more display space than I have seen on other shutter projects, which is good, because I always want to display a lot of mail art.
As you can see, the paperclips are oriented in opposite directions, with one space in between.
Sliding the paperclips on is slightly counterintuitive. If you want the paperclip to end up pointing right, you insert from the left, and vice versa.
It doesn’t take long, although I’m proud to say I screwed up the counterintuitive part at least six times. Okay, not that proud.
Once you have the paperclips in place, you have complete and total flexibility to display any size of mail art, in any orientation.
The 3×7 on the right is held by two paperclips. The Artist Trading Cards on the right work perfectly, even though one is portrait and the other landscape.
For my shutters, I decided to create a “Saints and Sinners” display.
When people come over to my house, they are immediately greeted with art. It’s hanging on the walls. It’s hanging from the ceiling. It’s practically running up to them, barking and sniffing their No Parking zones. (Thankfully not, though. There is no sniffing. We have no pets. Or art with legs.) People assume all the art they see is mine, and after I explain that it’s not, the next question is almost invariably, “Well, what is yours?” Erm. Uh. *Cartoon collar stretching*
To resolve that problem, I decided to keep a little canvas I made this week and hang it in my kitchen. This 4×4 black canvas started as an experiment involving clear gesso and colored pencils. When I finished, I added a border and some red glaze, because The Shining.
I still want to give you a tutorial on turning these guys into pins or magnets or ornaments or something, but I can’t seem to make that happen. Maybe next week. Maybe next month. Before Christmas, for sure! Pinky swear!
So let’s talk about my laundry room for a second. First, I’m very grateful that we have not only a washer and dryer, but also a room where they can live. In our 20s, we logged the hours walking across South Boston with overstuffed bags of laundry on each hip, leaving stray socks in our wake like Hansel & Gretel en route to the candy laundromat. Except the laundromat had no candy. Any means of cleaning our clothes that isn’t that seems pretty great, I’ve got to tell you.
That said, my laundry room isn’t too attractive. It doesn’t live with art. It lives with recycling. I decided to give it some art by painting this light switch.
Before I unscrewed it from the wall, I was thinking, “I’ll be clever and paint the guy who invented the light switch!”
Yeah, I couldn’t find a picture of him, and then suddenly, I was painting a two-headed mermaid.
They’re looking around for sharks, I think. Or maybe socks.
That’s way more awesome than a plain old light switch cover, right? Now I want to hang some more art in here. I mean, I at least need to cover up those screws! Yeesh!
“Trash to treasure” is a very common phrase in the arts and crafts world, but this week, I’m really just interested in the trash receptacle. Specifically, I’m interested in this trash receptacle, which cost me $2.99 at my local grocery.
It’s not sexy, but then, sex appeal is not widely available at the $2.99 price point.
Why am I interested in this trash receptacle, you ask? For a couple of months now, I’ve been mildly alarmed by the thought of robbers stumbling into my master bathroom and peering into my trash can. Like, I think they would judge. I need a new trash can, my friends. I cannot have robbers judging me over that when they could be judging me over my art supplies, and my shocking dearth of yellow paint.
If you have a gnarly trash can you might like to replace, you’ll be happy to know you can knock out a kickass trash can in one very long day or two nights. I vote for the nights.
I can’t freehand a rectangle, not because I can’t freehand a rectangle, but because if I freehand a rectangle, it will keep growing and growing until it demands its own monster movie franchise.
Four coats of gesso was the magic number. I tidied the edges with rubbing alcohol and a couple of cotton balls.
Tidy edges. A base coat not even a mother could love.
More paint with a yummy Transparent Brown glaze.
For me, that was night one. On night two, I had to settle on my idea. You might not be a Doctor Who fan, so in case you’re not, watch this 14-second video. It will not hurt you.
“It’s a big ball of wibbly, wobbly, timey wimey . . . stuff.” Can a quote get better than that? I decided to riff on that like this.
Trash. It’s just big balls of sticky, icky trashy-washy stuff.
From there, I was off!
Hmm. Some color integration, please.
Definitely getting there!
Now I’ve added “From a nonlinear, nonsubjective view” at the bottom. The actual quote is “viewpoint,” but if the Doctor Who Quote Police want to write me a ticket, so be it.
I’m trying to decide if I want to put a scalloped border on the sides (but only the sides). Any thoughts?