Tag Archives: art

These Cherry-Blossoms

Let me count the things…

For my spring bulletin board I was inspired by images of lush cherry blossoms. After deciding that I wanted to recreate one branch, I knew that I needed a Japanese haiku to accompany it, and turned immediately to the words of Basho, whose poetry you probably read in school. I considered some other cherry-blossom haikus but ultimately thought this one the most accessible to schoolchildren, although it’s really about the fact that Basho is, at the time he wrote it, an older man recalling his childhood.

I cut the flowers from 4 different types of paper I found around the school. They often change suppliers so I’m never quite sure what I’ll have, but this offered a nice effect. I cut them all from a single stencil, and created the anthers from 5 staples for each flower. I estimate that I used 1500 staples here, so maybe 300 flowers?

First, though, I cut the lettering. I wanted to make it look like it was done with ink and brush, so after cutting the basic shapes, I went back and snipped at the edges and I have to say the effect is perfect. I’m so thrilled with this one and would like to keep it, but I don’t know how to deal with the 1500 stapes, and half the flowers are construction paper, which tends to fade in the sun anyway. Japanese people use the time of the Cherry Festival to reflect not only on the beauty of the cherry blossoms, but also upon their fleeting, delicate, and ephemeral nature.

Big Little World

I’m only limited by the scope of the canvas and the amount of paint I can afford.

This was supposed to be…something else. The Coyote and I get up to some shenanigans. He deconstructed two Amazon boxes to got with some finger paint I had. (Full disclosure: I bought them last year for my nephew before realizing they would be a pain in the butt to carry on an airplane and that I couldn’t afford to ship them to Canada. Sorry, kid, but I’m sure you have other artistic outlets.) We were going to do something very different with this setup, but sometimes he gets other ideas and he just decided to let me paint something.

Part of me was wondering what I would do with this masterpiece, but then of course the Coyote wanted it for his own house. It’s a big house and one of the rooms didn’t have any artwork whatsoever. So now it’s bolted to the wall and it really classes up the joint.

The canvas/cardboard is about 10 feet wide by 6 feet high. I used all my finger paints and some of his as well. I would have kept painting but I had…other things to do with my evening.

Let Love Grow!

First you have to put down some good roots.

This is, of course, my Valentine’s Day bulletin board. The leaves are hearts, the fruits are hearts, the roots are hearts, and the trunk is hearts. I did the roots with a scalpel in one piece. All the hearts I cut freehand. I folded all the leaves and stapled them down the center line to create dimensionality.

Great Horned Owls, Autumn 2021

Owls say, “Time to get spooky!” Just kidding. Owls say, “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!” all night long

Aside from the logistical issue of having to use small sheets of black construction paper to make up for the weird lack of large rolls of black butcher paper (sorry, but light gray just won’t cut it for Halloween/All Souls/Dia de los Muertos season; this is the dying of the light we’re talking about here, not the general malaise of the light) this one came out pretty close to perfect.

I was inspired by the vast number of great horned owls in this neighborhood; I never see them, but I have frequently heard them and occasionally found their feathers. They’re definitely around. I’ve even heard them in a tree on the school property, although I used for my model and different, more photogenic, and creepier tree two blocks down the street.

Weirdly, none of the pictures came out great, but I did get some nice details of the owls, which I might put on Instagram. You can find me @hubris_and_smoke. It’s mostly photos of flowers but there’s other fun stuff too.

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

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What a conveniently placed rock!

This card is from my stepdaughter’s birthday a couple weeks ago, before the end of the civilization as we know it. It’s fanart from a newish Netflix cartoon called Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, about a post-apocalyptic Earth where most of humanity lives in underground burrows because the surface is rules by mutant animals. If you are trapped in your own home and enjoy that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.

Peach Love

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Hints of Eric Carle in this peach

I’m not really allowed to discuss what this card means just yet. Perhaps I can come back later and elaborate. But I made this delicious peach card: it’s a peach, and a heart, and a star. Tissue paper, butcher paper, matte medium, on medium card stock. I love how the colors on the peach came out. It gives me a lot of ideas for using these materials to create other cool colors and textures.

A Red Fox Card

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Happy birthday, dear Foxy…

This was a fox card, for the Fox, obviously. One thing and another, I didn’t actually see him on his birthday because he was busy with Otter stuff, and then I ended up looking at this piece all week and seeing all these little mistakes I wanted to fix, but he loved it, so it’s good, I suppose. Except for the 5000 times my terrible cat knocked it onto the floor; that part was less good.

Tissue paper, butcher paper, matte medium, on heavy cardstock.

A Collaborative Piece

50th

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Our family’s present to Mom and Dad for their 50th wedding anniversary (it was on Christmas, but I’m just getting around to posting it now because the last 2 weeks have been crazy).

For my parents’ 40th anniversary, my sister presented them with a quilt made up of a squares decorated by pretty much everyone they knew or were related to, interspersed with family photos. She just reminded me that the project actually took 5 years from start to finish. My sister-in-law had knitted a square that represented her being pregnant for the first time, but by the time my parents received the quilt, there were photos of my 2 nephews included.

So I had this idea that I wanted to do something like that—collaborative art, a group effort that would create something personally meaningful for my parents—but would not involve herding cats and would be completed in 6 months. I asked my sister for ideas, and this was the one she came up with. You just take a photograph, divide it into a grid, and assign each person 1 or more pieces. All the different art styles and media come together to create this cool gestalt art.

Amazingly, we managed get all the pieces completed and to the framers within the deadline (granted, The Man was still working on his an hour before I went to the framer) and nobody spoiled the surprise, even though a goodly portion of the people involved were small children.

This piece is based on a photograph I took of my parents in a local rose garden. The square I spend the most time on (the enlarged segment on the right side of the photo) is mostly fabric, but the hands are made of leather, and the zipper pull is a real one cut from a discarded pair of The Man’s jeans. I also did the blue sky piece that says “50.” That one is all tissue paper, using the same technique I do many of the little animal cards in: just torn paper and matte medium. I also did the flower bit, far left, second from the top, in crayon. My sister’s pieces are all gouache. Her husband did his part (third from the top, third from the left) all in wood and The Man did his (right side, second from top) in metal. Other materials include oil pastels, colored pencil, and acrylic. My brother-in-law facilitated the process by creating the individual black and white pieces for guidelines, and by cutting all the 6″x6″ squares so everything would fit together perfectly.

Hygge on Mount Lemmon

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To be honest, it all feels worryingly ominous to me, but I’m given to understand that some people actually enjoy this sort of thing.

For this year’s winter bulletin board, I was inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, which is a national emphasis on coziness during the darkest part of the year, often involving hot cocoa, but I wanted to give it a local spin. Of course, snow in Tucson is rare and scanty when it comes, but up on the mountain it falls in abundance and people who enjoy things that are cold, wet, and inconvenient can go up there and get whatever it is that people who didn’t grow up in the midwest and don’t find the cold debilitating get out of it.

All my bulletin boards are intended to be secular (well, OK, some of them subtly reflect my personal views of pantheism with a sprinkling of paganism and Buddhism, but they are never meant to reflect anything beyond the most superficial trappings of Christianity) but people will insist on attributing everything to Jesus. Apparently the Christians have a monopoly on the word “peace” now? It’s not for Christmas. It’s for winter. We could all use peace and coziness, regardless of whether a fat man in a red suit has ever brought us presents.

Dream Big

summer 2019 bulletin board

Back to the basics here.

How can it be summer already? But it is. School here ends May 23rd, and I’m off to present my thoughts about Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics in Michigan, so I decided to clear this off my plate in a simple but elegant fashion before I left. I’ll do something fancier in the fall. I’m trying to dream big, like I did as a kid, and I hope the kids at this school are too.

The top font is called Indie. The bottom I just drew freehand.