Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree


This year we decided that we would put some of my husband's dead trees from work to good use.  We have a business outside Carlisle.  The township requires us to plant white pine trees around our lot.  We hire a landscaper but for whatever reason, these trees do not thrive.  The poor guy is always coming to dig the dead trees up and plant new ones.  Recently while talking about what to do for a Christmas tree, Mark said, "Hey, lets do a Charlie Brown tree!"  To be honest, I don't know what a CB tree looks like, but I had some ideas about what to do with his dead tree that gave him the idea to start with.  

We both agreed that it should be spray painted.  My boys suggested black.  That was quickly vetoed.  Mark thought white or silver or gold (which I agreed to with some reservation with the gold), so we decided that these 3 colors would be tried.  

What I was not counting on was how much paint the tree would absorb.  I went thru 3 cans of spray paint very quickly, which is not good for the environment or my lungs.  By the way, we tried gold on a few branches, too.  I didn't care for this color because it ended up looking yellow, which was what I was afraid of happening.  Yellow is a no no for a christmas tree-I really, really do not do yellow.  However, now that the tree is finished, I believe that black would have looked really cool, too.  

How to do this: 

1.  Spray, spray, spray, preferably in the direction with the wind.  Don't wear glasses or you will find overspray on your glasses.  Don't ask me how I know this. 

2.  The tree needs to be really really dry and free of rain water.  

3.  Don't cut the tree down until after it is sprayed and dried.  

4.  When you  transport your free tree, don't use a bungey cord because guess what happens?  The bark will come off of your dead tree.  If this does happen some how, get your paint brush out and match the color because your tree won't look...healthy... with the bark gone.  

5.  Be careful with the branches, wear your glasses, because you will poke your eye out.  Don't ask me how I know this.  

6.  Use plenty of lights and hang your ornaments on the inner branches for the most effect.  I chose some of my "Kolene Spicher" paper ornaments (12 Days of Christmas and Polka Dotted Christmas stockings) from Ballard Design and also some very light weight huge silver balls. The Santa stocking was made by myself 20 years ago out of paper mache'.  Don't ask me how I did this as I HAVE NO IDEA.   ALSO, check out the goose's necklaces, these were purchased from Goodwill's grab bag section for $5 a bag.  I have another idea, too, for these necklaces.  If I have time, I will try my idea and post it! 

Finally, the best thing about my CB tree is that I don't have to water it.  Also, there are no messy needles to clean up.  I took a piece of fake green pine rope and wrapped it around the tree stand to give it the illusion of LIFE.  I think in some ways, a CB tree is the best choice.  It is bringing life to something that no one REALLY values.  I am being green by doing this, BTW.  

Merry Christmas!   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

THE WHALERS-They were in REAL danger.

THE WHALERS-They were in REAL danger

Ha!  I don't know where that REAL stuff comes from, maybe it's Pennsylvania dutch!   (I like to add 'real' or 'really' to a lot of my sentences.)  This was one of those paintings that I really did too large, really.  Every customer who wanted it had an issue with the size.  It was too large for their fireplace, too large for their den, too large for the wall.  The area was too small for the large scale.  You name it. 

The painting is 4'x5' but It's not too large for me.  So I have it in what I call MY SEASHELL ROOM.  This is off of my living room and beside my studio.  It gets the morning sun.  By afternoon, it's nice a toasty in there.  I have a large mirror in that room, so when I decide to sit down and take a break,  I recline on this soft blue chair and look at my painting in the reflection of a REALLY large mirror. By this time, it's nearing 3 and I'm really ready to take a nap. 

A lot of the details of this piece sort of disappear from a distance, but that is the beauty of my paintings. I like to add little details that come to life only when you interact with the painting up close.  This piece has things hidden beneath the water, written in the waves, and can truly be appreciated up close and back far.  

I like the soft puffy clouds and transparent irregular blues that are mixed with warm grey and green in the water.  The painting is full of action and the water has a suggestion of shallowness that enables you to see the silhouettes of the whales that swim beneath the water near the boat.  I don't figure that whales hung out back then by the mother ship, but it was fun to pretend that they did (for the sake of my painting).   These sweet looking black blobs in the water were in REAL danger! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Whaling School

A School of Whales

I don't know about all of you, but I have yet to go on a whale watch that ever looked like this.  Recently, while in Alaska, I went on my first whale watch.  Can you believe it?  Twenty plus years of painting whales and nautical scenes, and I have NEVER seen an actual sperm whale in person.  The whales in Alaska were different.  We couldn't get up and close...something about protecting the whales, as if they wouldn't swim out of the way.  I was disappointed.  

In my painting, I show a large grouping of them with the water very softly painted over each whale and just the tip of them exposed.  This was a long a narrow painting in an antique frame and it was shipped to Nantucket Country!  

Hope you all get to go on a whale watch where you can actually see the whales!  I fell asleep on mine, I am serious.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Moby Dick

My version of Moby Dick

I love to paint whales.  Moby Dick is no exception.  Because I am in love with Nantucket (and because people LOVE the whole Moby Dick story line), I find myself frequently painting whaling scenes that contain WHITE whales.  

I learned early on that nobody likes to see a dead whale, so in my make-believe painting, the whale always wins.  Don't get me wrong, I've painted them the other way, too, because it's historically accurate to do so, but I get objections. 

"Oh, this is so violent!"  "Oh my, why would you kill a whale?" 

 But the whale didn't always win.  Whaling was a tough career, and not for the faint hearted.  Frequently, the little boats, containing the seamen, would get violently hit by the whale or drug out to sea by their harpoon line that was connected to a very angry large fish.    

Because the pay was decent,  it attracted  the educated and talented alike.  We have some beautifully illustrated whaling journals indicating that it also attracted people from the arts, as well.  These little treasures are a valuable part of our history and can be seen at many whaling museums.  

This particular piece is for sale at my gallery that I exhibit thru on Nantucket.  Some day very soon, I am going to write a detailed little paragraph with information about Nantucket Country. She has antiques and quilts and little hard-to-find accessories and one-of-a-kind nautical pieces.  Her walls are covered with my prints, and the back of the store has a very large wall that is filled with original artwork.  If you ever get to Nantucket, it's well worth a stop.