Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hand Building Pottery

My Black Tin Can Vase 

I used black clay to achieve this look 
This was fun to make and my family likes it.  I used black clay and black glaze.  The flowers were a give from Mark. 

I like how the bottom was left unglazed.  

The top has little ridges in it that were used with a wheel.  

Thanks for looking! 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hand Building Pottery Class

Twine Holders and Butter dishes! 

Scissors from Dollar General 
I use a bunch of string.  It just seems to come in handy.  I tie a bag shut, a wrap a gift, I stake some tomatoes, a bundle some boxes…the list goes on.  One thing that is always frustrating, however,  is that the string inevitably would fall apart and unravel from it's nice form. After all, I always store it in the junk drawer!  I needed a good way to store it.  This was my solution.  I have never seen anything quite like it, either.  I made a pile of them and gave them for gifts.  Everyone loved them.  

This is the part of the dish that will store the water. The tall cylinder
in the background is another chicken roaster, which makes
a very delicious chicken! 

These pictures show the butter dish in an unfinished state.   There are many steps in making pottery.  After the item is made, it needs to be left to dry.  I then sand it, bisque fire it, glaze it, and pop it back into the oven!   

The smaller dish in the background will fit inside the bigger dish in the forefront. 
 I decided to have some
fun and carve it like a tree.  

This is the dish that the butter will be stored. 
The dish that will hold the butter is actually the top part where the lid is attached.   Water is poured into the bottom section to keep the butter fresh.  The idea is that the butter will maintain its spreadable consistency because it is stored at room temperature but will remain fresh because of the water that prevents air from oxidizing the butter.  

The clay is still very wet.  I will post some pictures when it is finished.  
Thanks for looking! 

Merry Christmas! 

Hudson River Moonlight Landscape

Moonlight Over Many Waters 

A Moonlight Landscape - Hudson River Style 
By Kolene Spicher 

Although this was painted this week, It looks like it could have been done in the 1860's 
My latest 'thing' that I am enjoying painting is landscapes that are blurry and romantic.  They put me in mind of the Old Hudson River School which was popular in the mid-19th century.  American painters 
involved in this landscape movement were influenced by romanticism.  The paintings for which this movement were depicted are what we know today as the Hudson River Valley.  This would include the Catskill, Adirondack, and the White Mountain regions.  It would later 
encompass New England and  Maritime artwork as well.  

This is a small painting.  It almost measures 7 1/2"x 9".  The frame has a lovely feel to it and is made out of Mahogany.  It is an antique.  The inspiration, although Hudson River School, actually was painted after Laguna Bay, a place that I visited about 12 years ago.  I loved the way it looked by moonlight.  

The sky has a nice glow to it and I am pleased with how it has turned out.  This will be one of many that I will do, as I love this new look.  It always makes me excited when I can develop 
something different! 

The next step for me is to paint a larger version of the same.  
**UPDATE - I painted the larger version, check out February 2, 2015 entry. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

American Country Home Catalog CIRCA HOME LIVING

circa HOME living 

2014 Supplement
This is a 'partial' image of one of my prints that circa HOME living has for sale! 
Today, I opened my mail and found these lovely catalogs.  Actually, my artwork was featured on the supplement which I presume is tucked inside the larger catalog~not sure!

Full of upscale home furnishings 

This company takes all of the guesswork out of finding quality AMERICAN MADE products.  Believe me, this can be hard to do in today's world.  They have 'scoured' the markets to find top-rated, juried artisans in order to provide
the American made products that they feature in their catalog. 

They sell theorems, yellow ware, vinyl floor mats (awesome), crocks, pewter, baskets, furniture, lighting, candles, and books.  PLUS THEY SELL MUCH MORE. 

What do they sell of mine?  There are several items, I noticed, but today I will focus on the artwork. 

Each frame is a lovely tiger maple

It's no secret that I love primitive.   The problem is I love everything.  Sometimes it's hard for me to know where to put my focus.  This above print is reminiscent of the 1800's.  The out of scale figures were commonly painted by non-academic artists.  I guess that means me!  I did have some training but not a lot.  When I look at this print, I have to laugh.  There is no way that these little kids would stand there long enough for an artist to capture their likenesses.  This was one of the prints that decorated some of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's hotel rooms but are now available thru circa HOME living.   

The warm greens look great in a period style home

This is also a nice painting for a period styled home.   I love the man that both women seem to be eyeing up.  The proportions are sort of 'off' but that's what makes it appealing to me.  I love the zigzag like water, again very 1800's.  LOVE the colors. 
The pathway to the country

Finally, This is the featured piece that was used for their cover.  I love it.  It's been so long since I painted this style, but I can tell you that I got my inspiration for this painting from a piece of English Staffordshire.  I collect 19th century children's soft paste mugs.  I have a mug that says "Playing with Pompey."  

Apple tree

Willow tree 

Lastly, I present the trees.  I love these trees.  Like the first few pieces, these trees are very nostalgic looking and are suggestive of a time long ago.  I feel these paintings have an innocence and naivety to them that some of my later artwork doesn't reflect.  

Take a look at these prints in circa HOME living.  Like them on Facebook.  Ask for a catalog.  Hang them in your home! 

To coin their slogan, their catalog is the pathway to the American Country Home. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chicken Roaster Thing - Hand building Pottery

My Chicken Roaster 

A while back, I posted some pictures of some of my hand-built pottery.  This was a piece that finished 'less than perfect.'  I thought I'd bring it home, anyways, and try it out.  

If it turns out that it bakes a decent chicken, I will toss this one and make another one that isn't messed up (there is a crack that you can't see).  

Here are my steps that I took to prepare and make the chicken.  I know, this isn't a cooking blog, but it is an "Art" blog, and I consider cooking an art.  

This was the smallest chicken that I could find at the store that wasn't 'cornish.'
I cleaned the inside of the chicken out really well and patted it dry.  I then salted the thing like there's no tomorrow.  My experience is that most of the salt cooks or runs off.  If you don't season well at the beginning, it isn't as good.  

I then took fresh rosemary and thyme and stuffed it down INTO the piece of pottery along with some hot water and vinegar and garlic.  
I shoved a half a lemon into the rear end of this bird…interesting. 

I also put some rosemary into the pan to flavor any juices that are created in the baking process.  I lifted the skin away from the bird to stuff Rosemary and thyme under the skin.  I shoved some garlic down into the bird. 

Because the bird sitting on the pottery piece sits much higher than normal, I had to adjust my baking racks inside the oven.  I removed all but the lower rack, and turned on my circulating fan and adjusted the temperature to 375 degrees F.  I plan on leaving it in the oven until it's done (there's a little thing that pops out.)  **Also, I EVOO the outside of the chicken and put some misc. spices on the outside of the bird--including, salt, pepper, garlic, and Trader Joes Lemon Pepper!! It's in a self-grinding container.  

Also, I added some potatoes and carrots and onions into the red baking dish.  They will get crispy and delicious.  Some of the vegetables will not be consumed in their whole form, as I plan to put them into a blender with the drippings to make some sort of gravy when the chicken is finished.  


It will be interesting to see how this turns out.  The bird looks huge on this pottery stand…  My teacher will be pleased to know that I tried it! 

Merry Christmas! 

Kolene Spicher 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Vintage Santa Clause

A Work of Love

Each little package in his bag was hand painted
When I was a little girl, we had a busy household.  My mother worked very hard.  Being one of 6, there was a lot to do.  We seldom ate out.  There were countless loads of laundry and dishes, and there were a lot of errands and appointments to run.  Somehow, despite her load, each Christmas, Mom was able to find time to make cookies, hang wreaths, decorate trees, and make our  house look amazing for Christmas.  There were so many gifts at Christmas, too.  The "playroom" floor was covered with presents, some wrapped some unwrapped. Think about 6 kids times 10 gifts = a lot of stuff LOL.   It was like zoo in our house Christmas morning.  Dear old DAD who I still have with me, just would laugh.  He was so outnumbered in a family of all girls.  Some things don't change...  

Anyways,  MOM had a love for Christmas that crossed over into her decorating and collecting.  

This guy on the right looks like he is singing a solo! 

One of the things she LOVED to buy was Santa Clause items.  They had to be antique or at least look vintage.  It was with this in mind that I decided to make these ornaments. It was one of her Christmas gifts from me!  These little guys were a work of love.  It took me forever to make them.  To this day, when I get them out of this special box, I think of her.  I have quite a few of them, and I thought about putting one of them on Etsy.  I just miss her so much, I don't know if I can part with one of them.  Silly me. I might part with ONE for someone special. :)  

Each one came with their own custom tag.  They were made out of fabric and glitter and glue and clay. They measure about 7 inches tall~I am guessing. 
 I love this old guy.  His little crooked arms and legs and long beard speak to me of time and the course of life.  Santa represents giving.  Giving represents God.  I think of God at Christmas and the birth of Jesus.  He really is the reason CHRISTmas is celebrated.  BTW, I painted that little house, too.  Another one of my time consuming projects.  This, too, inspired by Mom and her many collections!

Merry Christmas!

Kolene Spicher 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sailor Musician

Aboard the Abercrombie 

For Sailors I made my Song.
Painted many years ago - LOOK at his sweet face. 

Today, I was down in my 'TV' room looking around and came across the painting.  It's been a while since I did any posting about sailors.  I know I am repeating myself, but I love sailors, my husband is one!   This guy is one of my favorite and that's why I still have him.  My little niece about 10 years ago, threw a block at him and broke the concave glass.  I was sad but it was an accident.
I love pinstripe and incorporate this look frequently into my sailor men! 
The water in this painting is more translucent than I paint today, but it is nonetheless pretty.  It really shows how my art has changed over the years.

LOVE the yellow ship.  It's so … primitive. 

The old grained frame really compliments this piece.  How I miss that curved glass…

This was painted A LONG time ago.  I love the subject matter and enjoy thinking about what those guys would have done to pass the time of day.  At night, you know they sang to candlelight and drank beer and rum.  This is primitive but I really enjoy this style.   I am going to guess that this was done 18 years ago…smile.  I am still at it! 


Kolene Spicher 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hudson River Landscapes

Etherial, watery looking landscapes
Hudson River Styled 

I love these for on a table or beside a bed or a dresser top 
So I have a lot of frames, as I have mentioned.  Some of them are in poor condition but they are old.  I love them.  I am always trying to figure out how to incorporate them into my life.  Here's some of the photos that I took with my new 'impressionistic watercolor' technique.  The tone, feel, and colors all say "HUDSON RIVER" to me, that is! 

The slashes are deliberate.  I like them.  :)

Some of these are vintage frames that actually have velvet backs. 
More to come, so stay tuned! 

Kolene E Spicher

Miniature Ship Portrait

Ship Portrait in Miniature

This little print measures about 4 3/4 " x 5 3/4" 
I placed this around the house in different spots, and it looks cute a lot of places.  I just listed it on ETSY and am running a special for December.  Go to my ETSY KOLENESPICHER page to check it out.  You have to enter the code to get the special, however.  Here are some other shots.  

I like it sitting here, too, in front of my GW bust.  LOVE George Washington!!! 
The back of this frame was really neat, so I decided to frame it with sheet music.  Check this out!   It would fit well in a stocking for Christmas-hint. 

I don't know who the Foster Brothers were, but I like their stuff!

Here is a closeup!  I like to hang my artwork around the real antique.  I think it really blends and just works well.  The miniature portraits that are shown (below) came from Nantucket Country.  She has the best antique miniatures.  

Jones was a famous sailor name! 

The paper really comes thru here.  The paper, actually was a page from an old book.  The backside, again, is very cool.  Unfortunately, I cannot show you, but it was painted on old marbled antique paper from a book from the 1850's.  

Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mermaid's Christmas Sled

Beating the Winter Blues

Holding on for dear life! 
This was a really fun painting to do.  The first thing that I did with this one was to do the background--that is, the sky, the snow, the trees, and the water.

Then I painted the horse and sled.  I had a bit of a break and then sketched the mermaid, etc. in place.  As I painted it, I decided NOT to have the mermaid standing.  Too dangerous.  
The snow looks brown here, this is NOT accurate.  The snow is white! 
This painting was shipped to Nantucket Country if you are interested in purchasing it!  It is being shipped today!

Love her!!  
Here is the final picture!  Thanks for looking at this.  I love this time of the year!  Guess what, I turned this into a Christmas Card.  I ordered them, so we shall see how they get.  If I like them, I will post a picture!

Have a great day!