The Bunny

Oftentimes I get the itch to make 3-D stuff. Sometimes it's just because I have to do creative stuff to make my brain happy, but also because I am always making samples for future art camps and after school art experiences. I have found during my years of teaching some awesome techniques to use with kids. A few years back, before life got to be...well...LIFE I attended lots of art retreats. Gosh I love attending art retreats. The energy, the classes, the getting away with other creative minds, it's just DREAMY. I've attended many different types of classes over the years. Some were taken to enhance my painting vocabulary. But I have to say my favorite have been the 3-D sculpture classes. I've learned techniques I'd never have thought of on my own. Pieces and parts of each class put together in my unique way make the creative journey more adventurous and special.
Which leads me to Peter Rabbit here. I think I saw something on Pinterest using paper clay. Dang Pinterest. It's my rabbit hole, between the complete food envy and the how did they make that syndrome I get lost in a world that perhaps is like a drug. And I can't get out. Until I break down and bake the Ooey Gooey Oreo Bars and sculpt the Peter Rabbit. Well, that's this week's attempts anyways.

I love working with paper clay. The brand I usually use is DAS, but this summer I found Polyform brand Model Air clay delightful. Plus it's what I had on hand this particular day. I always start with Styrofoam ball bases and foil to build up areas. For the ears I stuffed popsicle sticks in and molded around them. One day I'll make you a video of how I make these creatures. For now, the supplies used are: Styrofoam ball, Popsicle sticks, clay, glass jar, acrylic paints, wire, brown oil paint, vegetable oil, paper towels and other embellishments.
I have found that allowing these sculptures to completely air dry AND NOT get impatient is key for less earthquake size fault lines in the final pieces. Sitting them in the sun helps, but ovens tend to melt the styrofoam insides and lead to cracking on the outside. That's just not the look I'm going for. In other words, plan on these sorta things to be more than one day projects. Now the paint however, I am all about heating up and moving on. Peter loved the blow dry below. Above is a photo before I added the secret aging step. I wish someone could rub something on me and within 5 minutes reverse the aging in the opposite direction I took him....just saying.
After he dried I used a secret technique I learned in one clay class to make stuff look old. Basically you use an oil based paint and a tad bit of vegetable oil to rub all over him. I put more in the seams and places I wanted to accent, like his teeth. I like my sculptures looking a little "Old Timey". Of course he had to have a party hat and collar on. I made him glasses too but decided the wire whiskers and the glasses competed too much.
Last details are my favorite. And learning to edit, from decorating to my wardrobe is always an issue I fight. He's on top of a glass jar I filled with glitter and hope to find some tiny Easter eggs to put in the jar too. The collar is vintage crepe paper streamers I bundled up on top of tacky tape. The hat is paper covered in glitter and topped with a pom-pom. Last, I cut some floral wire I had on hand and made the whiskers. I just adore the way he turned out. My little sister collects rabbits, so I think I'll mail him to her!

So....what have you been crafting lately?


Take Your Heart With You...

So we did end up with a snow day Wednesday. And the snow never came. Just buckets and buckets of rain. I was so disappointed....this southern girl loves the cold and the snow. And boy was I dying to try out the new snow saucers from LLBean. With a snow day though I was able to get several little projects around the house done and slap some white paint on the giant painting I'd started over Winter Break. Woohooo!! Lawrence of course supervised the process. He cracks me up having to sit in my lap while I paint. The dogs really prefer when I sit at the art desk with the yellow chair. It's much more comfortable. He eventually fell asleep. And then fell over into my lap.
We really need to cut his toenails. Look at those things! Anyhoo....here's the start to the white paint. By the way I bought a fresh tube just for this 4'x8' painting.
Now you see why I placed the red so randomly and cray cray. I wanted the hearts to be softer and more like whispers in the background. If I'd drawn and painted them in it wouldn't have given the same affect. I just love seeing my work in progress. I take tons of photos along the way with every painting. It really gives a unique perspective seeing it on film. I teach this in my classes, to take photos of your art throughout the process. It's like knew eyeballs.
Speaking of eyeballs, these birds have some awesome ones right? These new bird designs are definitely going to find their way to a few more paintings. I want to make one with rainbow wings under a giant umbrella! Can't you see that? With heart raindrops. Oh boy. I need to get home and get into the studio asap.

I started another larger one right after finishing this one. I am loving it as well. Hopefully I'll get into the studio on Saturday for a spell. For now, I've gotta go teach a bunch of elementary kids all about the Underground Railroad Quilts and their secret messages. This is such an awesome way to crossover teaching history and art. I love my job.


Heart Necklaces

I've had a couple of requests for my heart necklaces recently and I had a friend with a special birthday so I actually whipped out the blow torch and made a few of these lovelies during winter break. Which, I might add, was genius since it was a bit nippy in the basement. No wearing gloves for this project!

If you are interested in a special heart necklace please email me at jennihorne@ymail.com so I can get one made just for you!


Winter Break 2015

 Winter Break 2015 looked a lot like this for the Horne Family:
I know right? Slackers to the 10th degree. This winter break was a little weird because it's the first time in 5 years we did not go to Disney. Mailey really didn't want to be away for her 13th Birthday and it turns out my husband had a CRAZY work week. Like leaving at 6am getting home at 8PM for days including Sunday. Which, he teaches Sunday school so that meant getting up, teaching, then going to work until late. I hate seeing him work so hard but love that he does it so willingly to support our family. He didn't complain ONCE. I'd have been a big fat whiny baby if I had to work that much!  William made the high School baseball team again which meant he couldn't go anyways, so we decided to just put a little more money into the Spring Break vacation pot.

Anyhoo....Sunday-Wednesday I got up and decided that one room a day I would clean out from top to bottom. Starting with the laundry room, ending with my studio. It was such an awesome feeling to have the time to clean and get rid of just STUFF. We have so much STUFF in the Horne house. Kinda grosses me out. 

Anyhoo....once each project a day was done we either played, shopped, worked out or slept. The dogs preferred the last option the most. I did get into the cold studio for a spell and worked on this idea swimming around my crazy creative brain for a month:

I haven't had the energy to work on it again. I don't like working this large, so why I did it in the first place flabbergasts me. Hopefully we'll get snow tomorrow and I can work on it then. HA.
It was insanely cold in Georgia last week so the unfinished basement where my studio is was a tad nippy let's just say. I don't mind really, but my hands needed these cute fingerless gloves to work. I have to say it's a first.

William finally got to play his 1st real high school baseball game as a high school student. Tuesday and Friday games were canceled because of the temperatures, but Saturday they played a double header. 
He played catcher the 1st game. And his first at bat, 1st pitch he swung and HIT A FREAKING HOME RUN!!!!! I about died. I wasn't ready with a camera or my phone. I mean really?

I love this photo I did get of him running home with his teammates all at home waiting for him. Funny enough he didn't realize he'd even hit a home run because as soon as he hit he took off running like usual and as he ran towards 3rd said to his coach when he saw the team gathering at the plate, "COACH....did I hit a home run?" "Yes William...now keep running!!!!" Awesome right?
The last thing we did during the week was celebrate our baby's 13th Birthday. Oh man....really? When did she get so big. sniff...sniff.....

She wanted a huge boy/girl party. So we did it. And we all survived. Thank the good Lord above the weather warmed up just for that ONE day. They ate pizza, cookie cake, danced like crazy to really loud music and hung by the fire pit. She was so polite all night to us...not that she's not usually polite but she was overly nice to us all and SO happy. Like big old smiles. Of course having 10 boys at your house and 8 girls will do that to a 13 year old girl. Come to think of it they were all really sweet and well mannered.

So that was our week. In a nutshell. It was nice to come back to work today and get into a routine. So what's up next for the Horne family? Well...baseball. A lot of baseball!!  

PS...in case you are wondering that's a big pink dinosaur on her cake. It's what she picked. She has such a strange sense of humor.


The Mirrors

About once a month I get an itching to go junking. Not looking for anything in particular usually,  just getting out and into shops that make my nose twitch from the smells and my heart thumping when I find the FIND. I like to fly solo on these adventures so if one spot I decide to hang an hour in and the next 5 minutes no one is waiting or irritated with me. I also enjoy being alone honestly. Teaching all day everyday you get over being spoken to. Do I hear an AMEN from other teachers out there?  hahaha....
Last Thursday I should have gone home and worked in the studio. But honestly I wasn't in the mood. Instead I headed off to a local antique shop and the Goodwill. These hand mirror were in an antique booth for $1.49 each. I immediately knew what needed to happen with their plain ugliness.
Vero, the Naked Art Gallery owner really prefers that we make our art from recycled products. Well, except the art, we all do tend to paint on wood panels and such. But her gallery is know for art that functions, is a little funky and is recycled. So I knew these mirrors would strike a happy cord with her!
I had to clear gesso and black prime them first. Then I painted with acrylics and sealed with clear spray. I hope the paint stays put. I listed them at $14 each and are available at the gallery here.
The mirrors fit perfectly in your hand and would make great Valentine's Day gifts for friends and family. So have you found anything cool lately and made it extra special? I love finding old treasures and re-purposing them. Wait til you see what I'm doing with my wine bottles!


Bike Paintings

A few years back I started painting what I have dubbed, "The American Still Life". Basically these paintings are of objects that have some sort of fond memory for myself from childhood up until adulthood. And most of them have wheels.
Bikes, trucks and campers are some of my favorite to paint. I find that having this type of genre in my art booth really moves people, some to the point of tears. You see, I think we as humans gather and hold onto memories in funny ways. I can vividly remember being piled up in the back of our olive green station wagon surrounded by Barbies as we drove the 8 hours to Sarasota, Florida every year. I can feel the scratchy carpet on my skin. I can smell the plether seats. This vehicle brings back magic memories of our time as a family unit. We ALL cried when we sold the wagon and bought a brown Peugeot.
I can also remember my first real bike, down to the detailed race number on the front. How the rubber handlebar grips always blistered my hands. I remember riding all over town on this girlie dirt bike, making wooden ramps with the boys on the school basketball court every weekend. I remember when my little sisters brown cameo themed banana seat bike was stolen from our yard and how the police brought it back we were so scared. Why would someone steal her bike?
A friend of mine told me when she was a teenager her parents rented an RV and took off for the summer. Her memories of this adventure will forever be embedded in her mind. So you see, you don't necessarily have to be a bike rider, own a truck or camp in a camper to want to own one of these simple paintings. I find my art tends to find homes with people who embrace the story that accompanies the art or reminds them of their own story.
 Maybe by purchasing and hanging one of my American Still Life paintings you can open a conversation up with your family about, "remember that time we...." And then that story can be handed down to the next generation. What a lovely way to share your life, through art. Don't you agree? These are available to purchase at my Birmingham gallery, The Naked Art Gallery. Check Vero out, she has an awesome selection of artists.


Happy Monday!

Oh it's a happy Monday. 5 days and then we get 9 whole days off!!! I am so ready. Although I am a teensy sad, this will be our first Winter Break in 4 years not to go to Disney. The kids didn't want to go this year. Plus William has high school baseball games. Last year he had games but Mailey and I went anyways with girlfriends. I never thought I'd be the "Disney person"....I don't like have our family in stick figure stickers on the back of the van with Mickey ears....and I don't own a stitch of Disney clothing.....so I'm not that insane Disney....but I really love it there. You can't help but be happy. And where we stay I don't have to drive anywhere or cook or clean or do laundry! Yeah....that is part of the magic of Disney to me. And they have really good Sangria at the pool bar. I'm going to miss that.

Anyhoo....the above painting is for my friend Malena. She's an amazing clay artist that donated adorable clay hearts to all our retreat attendees. As a little thank you I painted this for her new home she and her husband just bought. I truly believe in supporting other artists and their creative journey. It brings me such joy to receive their goodness in my mailbox. I have several of her pieces hanging in my home. And now she has a new one from me to add to her walls. I hope it brings her years of joy. So what are your plans for this Monday?
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