Yesterday was filled with fun and surprises! It was one of those days where I set out to accomplish some things and actually got everything done – and then some. It really made me feel so very fortunate to be doing what I am doing and living the kind of life I live. Sometimes I just like to take a breath and drink in the contentment.
I spent most of the day working on my new project. While I had somewhat of an idea as to where I wanted to go with it, the vision of the finished project was not crystal clear. I haven’t designed anything for painting of this style in a long time, and a lot of paint has crossed my brushes since my last attempt. While most of the time I paint more in a style of ‘realism’ with a clear subject (usually from a photograph) I rarely just draw and let my head take over. The boots and hats were a bit of a stepping stone, to this style, with me just coming up with different patterns to put in each one. But somehow this one felt a little different.
The idea of making candle trays to paint came to me last week. I stumbled across some small “penny rugs” somewhere online and thought how they were very similar to my own scrolled candle trays. I immediately thought how easily the basic concept of the trays would adapt to painting patterns. By no means do I think that I am the first one to come up with the idea, but I haven’t really seen any painted ones – at least not patterns for painting them and even if there are some out there, I doubt that the style of the painting would be exactly the same.
So I thought I would give a try to designing some of these and offering not only the patterns, but also the wood pieces for these trays. I had some nice 1/4” high quality plywood, which would not only be strong, but would resist warping too. I had used this wood for the snowflake puzzle pieces that I did for another painting artist and there was still a lot of it left. With its smooth surface and lack of voids, I thought it would be the perfect choice for these painted trays.
I came up with a simple scalloped round design and made three versions – six scallops, eight scallops and ten – so that I would be able to have a bit of a variation in designing. I also plan to do some off-center or oval trays later on, but that will come in a bit after we see how these go over.
I still bevel cut the circle in the center so that the ages are raised and the piece looks framed and more interesting. This is something that laser cutting can’t really duplicate so it will give my pieces a slight ‘edge’ over other pre-manufactured pieces. I kept the pieces to under 8” in diameter which means they will fit into a standard padded envelope and mailing even a couple of them would not even require a box. This would help to keep shipping costs down.
Since there are no inside cuts on the pieces, this makes them relatively quick to cut and also very sturdy for shipping. I am going to ship them flat and allow the customer to glue in the center piece after painting, as it will not only take up less room in the envelope or box, but also be easier for them to paint. All in all it is the perfect piece for this type of design work. Painters that don’t have access to a woodworker can order the piece from me at a good cost and those who do cut wood will be able to replicate the piece easily. They can even reproduce the patterns of the round versions on a wooden plate if necessary with some slight pattern modifications.
So on to painting. . .
I began by base coating things out in a warm color. Initially I wanted a black background or even a dark, navy blue, but when thinking about it, I wanted to be sure that the pumpkins and all the details would show up nicely. The center of the tray I wanted a warm yellow, as it will be a full moon:
At this point it isn’t very impressive. I was still thinking about how I wanted to do things. Initially, I had four shades of orange to base coat the pumpkins, but I figured that by the time all the shading and highlighting was finished, the color difference would be minimal and it would complicate things a bit too much. I already have a tendency to be quite detailed in my instructions and explaining four color schemes would probably be too much.
I continued to paint throughout the day and around 9:30 I got to this point:
At this point, I was getting tired but I was extremely happy with how it was progressing. Since I don’t paint all the time, I find that I lack some of the confidence in myself as a painter. I sometimes wonder if I will remember how to paint and make things look decent. But I must say that I truly surprised myself at how this came out. The colors go well together and overall it looks decent.
Part of me wanted to just leave it ‘as is’ like this, but being me I am not going to let it alone. I have more surprises to come and plan on working on it today and finishing it up. You will have to come back tomorrow and see what I have in store for it. I think it will bring it up to another level. ;)
On another subject – I had a wonderful surprise yesterday afternoon from a friend here on the Lumberjocks site – KnotCurser (Bob). Bob is also a scroll sawyer and I believe he creates some of the best portrait style scroll saw plaques that I have ever seen. He has many well-known subjects and the way he is able to translate the pictures into wood is amazing. Among my favorites are his plaques of The Beatles. They are spot on and simply amazing. His page is here: KnotCurserhttp://lumberjocks.com/KnotCurser if you want to see his work. I am sure you will love what you see.
So I go to pick up my mail yesterday and here is a package from Bob waiting for me. I was puzzled and surprised because I wasn’t expecting anything. I opened it and inside was this wonderful “I Can Has Cheezeburger” cat (http://icanhascheezburger.com/) plaque that he scroll sawed! Anyone who reads regularly knows how much I love that site, as I use many, many of their fun photos here to entertain you. I am a big fan of the site, as it brings so many smiles and I can’t believe how kind and thoughtful that Bob was to send me this awesome plaque:
It is truly a wonderful gift and I will cherish it always and think about what a wonderful place it is here on Lumberjocks. I have met so many wonderful and creative people here! Thank you so much Bob for your thoughtfulness and kindness! I really appreciate it so much!
And finally for today, I wanted to share a link with you that my brother sent me. This is wood-related and just shows that the scope of creativity in people have no bounds. I think you will enjoy this short video with your Saturday morning coffee.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday today! I am going to have fun finishing up my tray and working on some other things. It is a good day already and I look forward to see what it brings for me. Have fun and be creative!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"