29 March 2011

Carving Coyote

I'm more known for my 2-D artwork, especially with the painted feathers over the past few years.  Branden has been working in sculpture for as long as I've been drawing and painting.  But, me being the competitive artist that I am, wanted to try my hand at carving and sculpting.  It took me a bit to learn the tools...mostly because I am horribly stubborn and want to learn on my own rather than having someone looming over my shoulder.
This was my second attempt at carving; I think I spent two to three days working on it.  You'd never know by the simple, stylized design.  Even though soapstone is relatively soft as far as stone goes, it's still a temperamental medium to work with.  I didn't want coyote out of it when I started.  The original piece was twice as large, and I had big ideas...and then it cracked.  And what I was left with on one half of the remaining sections, looked to me like a coyote howling.  So I took away what was impeding the look of a howling coyote, and now I have this little guy.  Sometimes, it's more fun when you can still make something out of misfortune or mistake.

19 March 2011

One Of The Signs That Spring Is Coming

For the past few nights, I have gone out for a moonlit walk, to find a tiny green tree frog sitting on the porch chair.  Being the porch is screened in, I don't want the little thing to somehow get trapped without food, so I pick him up and put him right outside the door.  It's an ordeal that takes a few minutes usually.  The little frog is about the size of a quarter, and likes to cuddle down in my palm to warm himself a little before hopping to the plants.

It's one of the many signs that spring is finally breaking through the cold.  The turtles and the frogs have come out after burying themselves for the winter.  I'd normally say that you can see the plants going into bloom, but around here, our flowers bloom throughout the year and a good portion stay green leaved if they're not flowering.

Ride the Wild Horses

I've noticed there has been a large number of individuals that are claiming horse totems.  So I figured I'd give doing a horse painting a second try...and this time...not spray it with clear coat.

It turned out much better this time, I'm sure part of it has to do with the fact I used a slightly bigger feather.  But only part of it.  This was also trying out a different set of paints.  They mix a bit smoother, and there's a wider range of colors pre-mixed.  But they're also less heavy, so it took a little bit to get used to.  I'll still have to work with them a few more times...but so far so good.

Quahog Totems

Walking along the beach in Frisco, you'll come across tons of these little purple and white shells, polished smooth by the sand and salt water.  The natives of the area used to collect these, just as many tourists do today; noticing the rare, deep purple color.  Using everything that they found, the natives used this shell as a type of wampum.  It is still used today by natives, being shaped into feathers, animal fetish carvings, and beads.
I wanted to try something a bit different with my paintings and the quahog.  I've noticed that a lot of the new age/pagan/native shops always have little stones with laser cut totems on them; simple little silhouettes that you can keep with you anywhere you go.

It took me a little bit here and there, trying to find a good way to portray some of the animals.  The striking contrast of the purple and white also presented a small problem at times.  All and all, there's about 60 as of today; from feathers to bear paws and frogs to sharks.

Double Feather Earrings

Fluorite and Unikite
As I'm getting ready for the Powwow, that is slowly creeping up on me, my mother send me a box full of little turkey feathers.  While they're not big enough to paint on, they're pretty enough to do some simple feather earrings.
Amethyst and Shell

 I've used surgical steel ear wire.  Half of the reason is convenience on my part and the other half is to help them be cost effective.
Rhodonite and Moonstone
I hope to do many, many more before the event.  They're quite a bit of fun to create, and they take considerable less concentration than my paintings!
Rose Quartz and Shell
 While most of these are meant to be sold as just the earrings, I may decide to make a matching necklace for the ones at the bottom; made out of turquoise and coral stones.
Turquoise and Coral

03 March 2011

He's Such A Happy Copperhead

I've always loved snakes.  I think they are beautiful and amazing creatures, whether they are venomous or big enough to swallow a five year old.  We have our share of poisonous snakes here on the island, mostly water moccasins and copperheads. I've seen them both, but not very often, and each time, they just wanted to go about their business.  None of them wanted to "run me down" and attack, they said hello and went about their merry way.  Then again, I didn't really startle them by screaming and jumping around either....

I think I've only gained some fear over the years from everyone else freaking out about them and how dangerous they are.  I recall there was a time up in North Park in western Pennsylvania, I was having a picnic with a few friends.  There was a tiny garter snake that I picked up and held.  He was so small he curled up in my palm.  He sat there calmly until one of the guys, trying to be macho, went to poke it.  The snake pulled away from him abruptly and wouldn't calm down again.  So back into the grass he went.

Then I noticed what looked like a tiny head moving in zig-zags across the water.  My first thought was perhaps it was a turtle.  As it came closer, I realized that it had trailing zig-zags behind it....snake!  It swam right towards us, and sat partially out of the water.  None of us moved for a minute, it was a fairly large one, maybe about 5 feet long.  I wasn't familiar with the pattern, and couldn't see it's eyes, so I didn't want to agitate it.  I decided to take a few steps towards it, slowly.  It continued to look at me, staying still.  I got about a foot and a half away from it, and it came a little closer to close the distance by another half foot...slowly.  I never felt threatened by it, I just wanted to say hello.  I guess the guys wouldn't be outdone by a girl, so one decided to jump off the table from which they were standing towards the snake.  (I should note this was the same guy that poked at the baby garter).  The snake raised its head for a second and then shot off in the opposite direction.  It's been a long time, and I'm still not completely sure what kind of snake it was.  It could have been a northern water snake, but I remember it looking more like a copperhead.  I only found out what a copperhead looked like much later, but that experience changed the way I thought of poisonous snakes.

There are Ocelots in Texas

Even though I should know better (and there's somewhere in my head that said "duh") for some reason I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that we have ocelots in the states.  I'm not sure why this confused me so much, or where exactly I thought ocelots did live, but I had no clue they were in Texas.
They're beautiful cats!  I found a few lovely reference photos while browsing about the creatures and decided to take advantage of them and do a painting.  I wasn't seeing very well that day, so I had to go back and touch up a lot of things, but all and and all I'm pleased with the way it turned out.