Friday, September 12, 2008

Some Harley stuff

Well, I did say I'd throw in a little Harley trivia for good measure now and then :D

The other night Chopper brought home some paperwork on the new trike Harley is making. My first Harley was a Servi-car and I had a blast on it. It was only a 45ci engine and top end going up a hill was a strain at 45mph tops.

 (check here for more photos of us on the road)

I traded up to a 1200 Sporty after a couple years, but I really loved some things about my trike, like the reverse throttle on the left and the shifter on the tank (a nice brass skull for the knob) and that oh so comfy solo seat. 

Due to my health issues I haven't had a scoot in 6 years now and now that I've improved a little I sorely miss it. To be honest I have my eye on a Cross Bones (very old school design which I like) but my shoulders are a bit weak and not sure I could handle keeping the wheels on the road in a dicey spot (like when they leave 5 inches of gravel down on road construction or some blind old person decides their motorhome owns both lanes). 

I really am unsure of getting a trike again...I really liked the fine control I had on 2 wheels, but it does have a 103 CI motor (teehee) ,the box looks like it could be customized for Boots and it does have a reverse, something that was invaluable on my old trike. On the minus side it has a fairing (garbage wagon!) but I suppose that could be removed...the windshield on my old trike came off pretty quick, so this would too...was just a bug collector and besides, what's the sense of riding if you can't feel the wind in your face?

I'm short, so the Cross Bones might not be a good fit and would be a bit heavier than my Sporty was...but still...hairpin curves just aren't as much fun on 3 as they are on 2 wheels. And how the heck do you race the old man from light to light in a big ol' trike? :D

I suppose it's all a moot point old man may work for a dealership, but that doesn't mean we get a break on the prices...the trike would cost more than our turbo Subaru plus it's extra for reverse! 

But a girl can dream, eh? It took me til I was 40 to finally get my first Harley...I guess I'll shoot for my 4th one at 60 :D After's all cream at this point...never thought I'd make it past 30!

Happy riding and I'll return to the regularly scheduled art programming tomorrow :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Great Balls of Fire!

Fire seems to be the theme these last couple days, so thought I'd share my latest Jammins'© sculpture, Great Balls of Fire!  Overall size is just about 4 inches long by 3 1/4 inches high.

I was looking through the netsuke book I downloaded a couple days ago and am totally in awe of the detailed carvings. You'd think wood, ivory etc would be hard to coax details from but I couldn't even dream of getting that kind of detail with clay, it's too mushy. I am trying to learn patience and put it in the freezer to harden up, but I get excited to see the end result and rush too much.

Speaking of carving, my friend Kathy (she's the one I made the fire troll for) is into woodcarving and it seems she shared an inspirational link on her women's artisan forum to my website. Someone kindly left a comment in my guestbook (thanks again, Keoma!) and I found the forum link through my stats counter info. Makes me want to carve but trust me, you don't want to see me with a knife in my hand :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


This isn't actually my first sculpture(I think that was a hand in the peace sign position back in the 60's lol) but it was my first character piece and so is the ancestor of my Jammins'©

I made it for my friend and fellow artist Kathy Robbins (she's next week's art site of the week) when she was having troubles with pit firing. I told her she needed a kiln troll and proceeded to make one. I loved doing it and would have continued to sculpt, but I had used a plumber's epoxy and had a horrid allergic reaction to it...this was four or five years ago.

So let me introduce Vulcan the kiln troll...

the hair is part of a dog toy I cut off (don't tell Boots)
not sure if you can see, but that's a 'lit' match he's holding
I didn't use any armature for this
even firetrolls have plumber's cracks teehee

those are sequin eyes

Kathy has since moved on to wood carving but he did the trick for her pit firing! 

A little of this, a little of that

The moose are back, but clandestinely sneaking around inside our fenced back yard in the wee hours of the morning (4 foot is nothing to those long legs I guess.) We have security cameras and caught them walking back and forth on our patio and staring into our glass door. Chopper is cleaning up the video for youtube, I'll post a link when he's got it done.

Stopped in to see some old friends at Art and Artistry today, a really great forum. Due to past spamming issues they ask that you register to look at what's there, but trust me....there's a mother lode of information and great artwork there, free for the looking :) 

I'm glad Tuesday is over...that's my mowing day. It's great exercise but after weekly mowings on a hilly 1/3 acre all summer I'm pooped. Did notice that the trees have gone real red on the hills behind us.

Planning on taking a day trip north of Yellowstone a couple weekends from now, hopefully the leaves won't be gone by then. Should have a nice batch of photos to share when we get back.

I started on a new sculpture yesterday...thought I'd have trouble working some parts out, but so far it's going fairly well, you can follow the WIP on my website.

And check out this sculpture site... Netsuke by Tom Sterling 

I found his site thru a blog called Unique Sculpture and got to Tom's netsuke page after downloading his free (huge!) PDF file on carving netsuke. Not that I'm going to take up carving but thought there'd be a lot of good info there that would also apply to modeling. Sadly Tom says he's no longer carving netsuke...a shame because I really like his work...I think my favorite is the baby alligators coming out of their eggs. Check it out!

Monday, September 8, 2008

An artist's worst critic

There's one critic every artist should fear...themselves. Being critical is sometimes needed to produce better quality work the next time, but artists are terribly hard on themselves.

The first thing to know is that you will never attain perfection. You also need to know that mistakes are how you learn and grow. Art is expression, technique just a tool to get your point across succinctly. Things you may see as failures are noticeable to no one but yourself in the main...sometimes we get lost in the process, caught up in the details. 

Time is a great mitigator. It's good to take a look with fresh eyes days later...not just looking for improvements to make but to see things as a whole. I've found that often the pieces I'm least happy about are the ones others like the most, and forced to think about it, realize it is the rawness that attracts. 

People drawn to art aren't looking for perfection and usually not even great technique...they are looking to connect emotionally. The rawness is pure emotion, the details sometimes afterthought and less pure.

It's been said before...paint or sculpt just until you've said what you need to and then stop. Sometimes the detail is necessary to the message, but most often not. Make it real. 

Whoops, forgot to put up a new artist site of the week (got so excited about the moose lol)

This week I'd like to introduce you to a wonderful Australian realist oil painter, Martin Clarke. He does the most beautiful seascapes I've ever seen and has some wonderful portrait work too.  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How to turn artist burnout into inspiration

Artist burn-outs aren't just about not having any idea what to work on's what got you to that stage to begin with. 

For one thing, artists seem to run on hyper mode a lot...there's a flash of inspiration and then the compulsion takes over until the piece is finished. Do that day after day, with the rest of life thrown in there, and it can bring you to the brink of physical and mental exhaustion.

So you need to take some time for yourself to rejuvenate. Not everyone is a nature person, so maybe a nice long soak in a tub or a quiet moment at a favorite spa will do it for you. 

But for me, I just force myself to take 10 minutes out and go sit outside and just turn it all off. No trying to figure anything out...just look at the clouds, listen to the birds and chill. And the funny thing is that once you've done this things just start to flow...ideas for new work just seem to spring from nowhere, and it's because sometimes creativity gets trapped by all the noise in your head and it needs a quiet moment to be heard. 

So try it...10 minutes agonizing over why ideas won't come, or 10 minutes to just relax...even if the creativity doesn't flow you've given yourself a break that was much needed and deserved.

Moose on the Loose

Well, it's Sunday and I was being lazy about getting my blog up today...I had an art related subject but fate stepped in instead when I got a phone call and a quickly whispered message from my neighbor informed me there were moose in my front yard. 

Now, although we live in Idaho, this is the southeast and until we moved up on the hill three years ago I wasn't even aware there were any around. Each spring and fall one to three moms bring their first year babies to munch on our gardens and trees. Often they strike in the middle of the night...I only knew they were there this spring because they ate the whole top half off my plum tree (it's small...just 3 years old).

So, anyways, I looked out the front moose. I have trumpet vines along the fence at the side of the house though and they prune them for me every fall, so that's where I headed. I opened the door to see mama staring at me, she acted really freaked out and when I heard a munching sound right next to me I realized baby was pruning not one foot away, I couldn't see him though, it's a big bush. I stayed inside while mom tried to decide whether she needed to attack a threat to her baby, but the fence decided the issue. 

I then got some pics when they decided to go next door for desert. Enjoy!

mmm....mama thinks roses for desert sound good!

better check and make sure the little one is ok

hmmm...thorns don't go down well! (hope you can see the tongue lol)
baby wants to check out the rose dessert
baby going thru my yard...maybe about 5 feet from me

crossing the road to get away from all the people