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Oil Painting

Busy Busy
So it's been awhile, I know, but I have good excuses. This summer has been the busiest summer ever! I got married in June, went to Yellowstone for the honeymoon, taught What's Your Story at RIT's Kids on Campus in July, and am now in the process of buying our first house. I'm also trying to get motivated to plan for the upcoming school year where I will be teaching a new class called Digital Art.

This is all very exciting stuff but it left me little time to work on my art. I've been craving creativity and I'm dreaming of my new studio space!

There are a couple of mini-projects that I want to share:

- I made my wedding bouquet and my husband's boutonniere out of hens and chickens. I kept the roots intact and then transplanted them into a pot the day after the wedding. I can't wait to plant them in my new garden! Hens and chicks were also the little gifts we gave to family and friends.

- Yellowstone's landscapes were amazing. We took so many great pictures.

- I entered a back-to-school-inspired-centerpiece contest for the EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine and I won! Above is the photo I entered and below is what was published. Check it out in the September issue.
Topic(s): 2009 craft contest photography workshop
By Heather on August 13, 2009 at 1:54pm EDT Add/View Comments (1)

Grandpa Donn's Roses
I started this oil painting in the summer after getting an idea to transform a painting I had stored away for a long time. It was an unfinished painting by my fiance's grandfather that I wanted to preserve. It was off the stretchers and slowly falling apart. He loved roses and I'm grateful to have beautiful flowers from one of his rose bushes every year. The background is of his painting that I weaved together and stretched over 3 boards. It formed a trellis-like texture for me to paint the roses and pollinating bees on. The frame loudly repeats the nature inspired theme with real tree bark assembled like a puzzle. Again, I was experimenting with texture and color.

I really enjoyed working on this piece, especially while remembering summer as I was finishing it up in December. :P

Grandpa Donn's Roses is on display (as well as my students' and colleague's artwork) at the Rochester-Finger Lakes Regional Exhibition at RIT's Bevier Gallery from January 30 - February 25, 2009. Reception is Friday January 30 from 5-7pm.
Topic(s): oil painting 2008 exhibit
By Heather on January 28, 2009 at 9:20am EST Add/View Comments (3)

I did this small oil painting (about 16x12 I think :P) of Alicia, my fiance's cousin's cute little girl, over my 2008 winter break. I experimented with the canvas by painting on an antique looking floral fabric that I thought suited her sweetness. I loved playing with color and tried not to over think anything. My goal is to start doing more experimental studies like this.

For fun, I used this for a family Santa Swap and remarkably her parents went first and picked this gift. No stealing needed!
Topic(s): oil painting 2008 portrait
By Heather on January 25, 2009 at 4:08pm EST Add/View Comments (2)

Drake and Rascal
This was a wedding gift to some good friends. It is of their rambunctious dogs that they love very much. I had a lot of fun painting their unique features, especially Drakes droopy eyes and flops of skin (foreground). I made the time of year in the painting early fall, just like their wedding. My only complaint is that I wish I would have pushed the fall colors a little more, especially after the beautiful drive through Pennsylvania on the way there. I think I was in denial of fall.

But what a perfect fall day for a wedding, no denying that!

Oil on 48x24 canvas
October 2008
Topic(s): oil painting 2008
By Heather on November 5, 2008 at 11:38am EST Add/View Comments (3)

Happy Halloween Everyone!
Recycled...Origami...Dia de los Muertos...Skull a Day...Inspired Skull

I was approached by my principal to create a Halloween inspired project for our 7th grade advisement group. I struggled with an idea for a while because I didn't want just a meaningless "craft". Thankfully, I'm surrounded by creative people and my sister was a lifesaver with an idea! She was very excited to tell me about this interesting artist, Noah Scalin, that she saw on TV. He introduced his new book called "Skulls" that was assembled from all of the creative skulls he posted on his award winning blog called SkullADay. As the site suggests, he created a skull every day for a year out of every imaginable material! As an artist, I'm completely drawn to the repetitions of the subject as it's transformed by its medium.

So now I had my inspiration! After flipping through the pages, I noticed all of the organic produce and recycled objects that were used as mediums, so I decided on a recycled theme as well. We used cast-off copy paper and made simple origami skulls. Then we stuck them to a skull that was glued with torn copy paper, to help fill in the gaps. It's quite large so you get a different perspective depending on whether you stand up close or far away.

We also touched on the fact that Dia de los Muertos is coming up (Nov. 1 & 2) and that skulls don't have to be morbid, but rather symbols of remembrance. They embellished the skulls with color and patterns, similar to Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls.

40 minutes is not very long to teach all of those things and do a project, but all in all, I think it was pretty successful. I mean, you can't go wrong with letting boys make freakish skulls!
Topic(s): middle school lessons
By Heather on October 30, 2008 at 1:10pm EDT Add/View Comments (2)

New Meaning from Local Yums
What's for breakfast?

What's for lunch?

What's for dinner?

I love good food! Who doesn't? Pale and I just went to the Rochester Public Market and bought some beautiful local produce. We bought organic green beans from a little boy so cute that it just made the whole trip more meaningful. It felt strange at first, throwing cash and coins in every direction, but now we have blueberry, raspberry, and HUGE blackberry gems in my fridge and golden apricots, tiny tart yellow plums, and juicy tomatoes on the counter. We are definitely going back!

I just finished Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall and I can't seem to get her "eat local" and "do you best to take care of this earth" messages out of my head. We also recycled computers and other junk at the Seneca Park Zoo rally in Rochester this weekend. It's part of my nature to reuse or maybe it's because I'm frugal, but I see art in trash sometimes. These pans were destined for the garbage but remade into soul-searching art.

That's why I'm posting these pieces. I looked at them yesterday and smiled. They mean something totally different to me now than when I made them in 2004, which had somewhat of a negative subject. The titles were supposed to act as a nag because sometimes ones ego can suck all the fun out of food, something my family still struggles with while juggling hectic lives. But food can be fun if you can let go of your expectations and really savor simple flavors.

I look at these differently now and they proudly hang in my kitchen, reminding to have fun! I giggle at the surrealism because it's less serious now. I know now if I mess up and make something dreadful... it's ok, no need to go coo coo! Furthermore, I don't always have the time to paint but I can get my creative fix by cooking.
Topic(s): oil painting recycled food 2004
By Heather on August 10, 2008 at 4:59pm EDT Add Comment

Summer Workshop
Well I've had about a week to recover...

The lack of posts has been because during the month of July, I was instructing kids how to make web comics at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It's a really fun summer program that keeps kids from going completely vegetable and keeps me busy as well. So instead of running my blog, I organized a blog for a wonderfully goofy group. KOC 2008 looks very similar to my site (Thanks Pale!).

Check out the blog and the students' websites! We used traditional drawing techniques, Photoshop, a digital camera, and Dreamweaver to make everything...oh and don't forget our whacky imaginations.
Topic(s): webcomics photoshop middle school lessons summer
By Heather on August 9, 2008 at 9:08pm EDT Add Comment

I'm not a sculptor but that doesn't mean that my work will never take on a 3 dimensional quality. This piece titled "Enlighten" (2004) is basically a bunch of 2d components organically stuck together to make this nature inspired sculpture.

I forgot about this piece because it was done quickly and then stored away. Many of my friends and family have never seen it, so it is time to give it a chance to glow (and it does!) once again.

The main structure is made from papier-mache and a textured spray paint. The petal forms are sheer fabric sewn to wire wrapped in natural material. As you peer inside, a translucent watercolor moth glows from the lights hidden in the base. The use of paper helps to illuminate the entire piece. Enlighten was inspired by the amazing work of Lee Bontecou. Her structures continually shape my ideas.
Topic(s): 3d mixed media 2004
By Heather on June 28, 2008 at 6:00pm EDT Add/View Comments (4)

Birdhouse Gourd
Well with refreshing spring on my mind and Mother's Day almost here, I thought I would share with you a little crafty project I did over the weekend.

My studio is filled with all this fantastic but overwhelming "junk". It is time I use the things I've collected or get rid of them. This birdhouse gourd I dried two years ago and decided to make it a Mother's Day gift. She adores nature and the hand made. I love the natural markings the mold made as it dried. Call me crazy but nature is beautiful, mold and all. I decided to personalize it by wood burning dogwood blooms into the surface. Dogwood trees remind me of my Poppa, which adds a nice family connection. My Poppa is the greatest nature teacher ever.

I think that I might try to grow the seeds that I retrieved from the guts. They may or may not grow because they've been around a while, so keep you fingers crossed!

Happy Mother's Day everyone and don't forget to do something sweet for Mom!
Topic(s): craft gift woodburning 2008
By Heather on May 9, 2008 at 11:47am EDT Add/View Comments (2)

At first, watercolor is sometimes frustrating for students to learn because you have to be organized yet flexible. If they have experience in painting with other mediums they tend to get discouraged by the fact that you can't paint over your mistakes because of watercolor's transparent nature.

Students learned watercolor techniques such as washes, wet into wet, dry brush, splattering, sponging, etc. Experimentation with color theory by breaking up the composition with color variations was also an important component.

I like teaching watercolor because students learn to be patient to prevent unwanted bleeding of colors and at the same time be spontaneous by noticing "happy mistakes" that naturally occur with the different techniques.
Topic(s): high school lessons watercolor
By Heather on April 9, 2008 at 11:29am EDT Add/View Comments (4)
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