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Sunday, December 23, 2012

new painting-War Bonnet

Here is a new painting-War Bonnet. Oil on linen canvas, size is 16x20. This model had a very contemplative look, but he was actually trying to get his horse to mind him. He will be the subject of a larger piece coming up.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New painting-"Rodeo Queen"

Newly finished painting-"Rodeo Queen." This is a  9x12 oil on linen panel. The reference was shot out in Montana at the All-Indian Rodeo in Crow County.

Monday, December 17, 2012

If the show fits....

Here is a pair of leather moccasins I just finished. They aren't much to look at, but are appropriate for everyday dress.  I am planning out a new large painting with three figures. My reference is going to be composed of multiple pieces of reference. Erik will be modeling for one of the Indians in the scene. 
This means learning a new sewing skill- hand sewn leather work. 

 Some patterns just purchased to make a wardrobe of Native American dress. The tall moccasins look really fun to make, but I will not be attempting any beadwork.
These are some leather buckskin hides. They came from an unusual seller on Etsy. He does not hunt any of the animals that are made into hides. All his animals come from roadkill and other sources of recycling so nothing goes to waste. Sewing leather by hand is slow and painful on the hands. I don't know how Native Americans accomplished such fine garments using sinew of all things.
Here are some antique moccasins I own. After seeing how wonderful the beading was on these, I decided to use them for display and reference. The use of color and pattern is quite lovely. These are beaded using the lazy stitch technique.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Big ugly chair-finished

Well, here it is, the big ugly chair has been finished. I learned quite a bit about upholstery, but have a long way to go. It was not as hard to get a smooth finish on the front panels, as they curve outward.

The back panels show every flaw, especially the weave flaws inherent in antique linen.
Antique brass rolling wheels were added to the legs. This chair is quite heavy, and they help to move it around.
The edges of the linen were topped in vintage cotton tape, with a subtle pale green coloring. The brass tacks were put over this for a cleaner edge. 
Badger cat loves his new chair. An old down pillow was added over the foam cushion, making for a pretty comfy cat chair. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Big Ugly Chair project

 I am trying out my first experience with upholstery. This is a big ugly chair that was purchased for 100.00 about 8 years ago. We needed something rococo-esque for the 18th century pieces I was painting.  The fabric was this awful polyester brocade, which only  made the bright gold leaf more gaudy.  I am using a piece of antique French linen to re-cover the piece.The tools are a tack hammer, tack puller, tacks, and some vintage cotton tape trim.
 Here is a finished panel, it is very hard work, and one understands the expense of  having something re-upholstered. There were tacks on every panel before-except they were not spaced, but neck to neck. It took many hours to remove them and some blisters to boot.

The back of the chair with the burlap "guts" and exposed woodwork.
Here is a chair from Restoration Hardware's Deconstructed line that borrows from this stage of uphostery:
My chair will be finished on all sides, however. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New painting-Feather Dancer

 Here is a new painting titled "Feather Dancer."  I know my titles are pretty boring, and unless something pops into my head while working on it, a simple plain title is given in last minute panic. This is a 20x40 oil on linen on board.
 His outfit was quite intricate and lovely. The materials all looked period-correct. 
There was a real eagle head on his staff, along with many feathers from an assortment of birds.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Big Sky Country" final painting image

 Here is the shot of the painting "Big Sky Country" 40x60 oil on linen canvas.
 The rider is a Crow Indian, wearing the traditional elk tooth dress. Her ensemble included extensive beadwoork.
 The horses bridle and breast plate were all hand sewn beads on leather.
She has a beaded leather blanket draped over her lap. The hours to make everything shown must have been in the hundreds!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Road Trip Tucson

Erik and I went out to Tucson a couple of days ago. We delivered four new paintings to the gallery.
This big one was just finished the night before, so I was putting some retouch varnish on it. Erik took a better shot of it, and I will put it on the blog when I get the image. 

We brought the pups with us, they were very good children, and slept most of the trip.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Painting-"Red White and Blue"

Here is a new piece. It is a 14x18 canvas on board. Titled "Red, White, and Blue."  I really liked the interesting mix of patriotic motifs blended with the traditional.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two new bonnets Regency Georgian hats

 Here are two new hats I was commissioned for. The first is a flat straw bonnet. My client requested a green bird and a golden/natural color palette. 
This type of bonnet is more difficult to make. The straw cloth must be dyed and treated. It is more flexible than buckram. All edges have to be covered to prevent fraying of the straw. I used silk satin for this purpose.
I used antique soutache braid for the trim as well as antique feathers, vintage flowers and new silk satin ribbon.
The second hat is a Georgian style late 18th century hat. These were sometimes called flower pot hats, and were similar to mens riding hats. My client requested a blue palette for this. It is made from silk taffeta in a navy blue shade
The back is trimmed in an antique silk woven plaid ribbon from the Victorian era. 

The front is finished with antique ribbons, an antique millinery plume with porcupine quills, and an antique bullion star.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Painting-Fancy Shawl Dancer

 Here is the finish (finally!) of an Indian dancer. This is the largest piece I have done at 30x40."
 She is a fancy shawl dancer. This style of dance is newer to pow wows. Previous dancing styles for women were more stationary in movement. I have seen some dances where the dancer takes tiny footsteps to move about three feet in 5 minutes. The shawls have fringe which bounce and flow through the movements.
For aesthetic purposes, I changed the coloring of the lower skirt flounce, taos-type motifs, and shoe motifs to a turquoise shade. It was purple, but I felt a blue/green and orange/yellow complement scheme to be more pleasing.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I have a flipper for a foot-Stingray sting

Last friday Erik and I did our usual beach steps workout followed by an ocean swim. Rarely does the water get warm enough in San Diego to actually go swimming. This month it has been in the high 60's/low 70's. I barely went out in the water and immediately stepped on a sting ray. If you have ever stepped on one, you will confirm it is about the worst pain ever.

To quell the pain, you need to get your throbbing foot into really really hot water, and keep it in the hot water for a couple of hours. Flush the wound, and keep it clean. I thought everything was in the clear over the next couple of days. My foot only hurt mildly, and I went for a few short runs during the week. On friday, the week after the sting, my foot starting itching with crazy madness. I wanted to take a bbq brush to it. By Saturday morning, after a night of itching and pain, it was obvious that it was now infected. I went to the urgent care and got the nasty antibiotics and some hydro cortisone.
My foot feels like a flipper.

If you do step on one, keep your eye on it, the bacteria from the stingray stinger gets trapped in the wound and gets you later!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Color comp-Crow fair Indian on Horse

Here is my color comp for the next large piece. This is from the reference I shot in Montana two weeks ago. I spent a couple of days stretching the canvas and drawing in the image. It will be a 40"x60."

The comp is sized at 8" by 12."
I learned a lot from doing the comp. The original reference is very high in contrast. I tried to adjust this in the comp by adding cool highlights to the horse and to the rider.

I think it could receive even more of the sky colors to make the image more believable. Erik suggested lowering contrast in the sky area as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crow Fair-pow wow 2012

Last week I went to Montana to photograph the Crow Fair Festival. It is a large pow wow type event with over 1000 teepees. Of course, there are modern amenities as well, and the teepees really represented a link to the past. Most sites had trailers, gas stoves, etc. Each day had a pow wow dance, all-Indian rodeo, and a parade.
I tried to get some action shots of the rodeo

The sun was going down, which helped with the warm weather for the dancers:

The weather was actually quite cooperative-the preceding weeks saw temperatures in the high 90's to 100's. The first day of festivities saw a break in the temp down to the 70's.
The parade was a great opportunity for the participants to show their family's pride in terms of beadwork and costumes.