Friday, April 29, 2011

Precious Visitor!

Kim calls our deck "the ark" because of all the wildlife that visits - usually at night. We leave treats for them and word gets around in the woods apparently! I was suprised to see this little raccoon show up in the afternoon a few days ago. We've named him "Cookie" (his mom - we guess - is called Cupcake) and he's actually looking through the glass door at me. Again, the best camera is the one that's with you, so this is an iPhone photo!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Working on Pandas and Playing Cards!

I'm working on some pandas for the Philly show today so I thought I'd change the header! As I was looking through my files, I saw some photos that I haven't shared. A while ago, I took a design class at a local community college. One of the projects was to design a deck of playing cards. Well, don't you know that I used my little bears and bunnies and an elephant! The four card suits were represents by different flowers.I even wrote a little back story about a mythical island where all these creatures live together in harmony! Thought you might like to see a few of them!

The queen was a pretty polar bear!

The Jack had to be a rabbit!

And this dancing elephant I made
out of polymer clay was a perfect
....and here is the story that brought the project together:

Beyond the edge of land, somewhere in the mists of time, lay the Isle of Terre des Fleures. The land was divided into four Kingdoms which were each ruled over by just and kind Kings and their Queens.

The land was extremely fertile and rain was plentiful. The inhabitants all shared a love of growing fruits, vegetables, and especially flowers. Each of the Kingdoms had one particular flower which they were know for and cultivated to share with the rest of the world. Great ships would come to the shores to trade for the plants and bulbs so prized by those not fortunate enough to live on Terre des Fleures.

The inhabitants of the Kingdoms realized that if they worked together sharing gardening secrets and knowledge gained through years of weather observations, that all on the Isle would prosper……..and so they did.

Don't you love it when your can write your own happiness?!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gifts from Debbie!

Can you just imagine my surprise when my mailbox had a wonderful unexpected box inside with my name on it! My friend Debbie, who lives in Richmond, made wonderful gifts for Rocky, Cleo, and me and sent them our way. Debbie is a fabulous needle worker and her gifts included a crocheted bunny for me and knitted snakes for Rocky and Cleo. I don't know who was more excited!! I must say that most of the photos I took of the kitties playing with their new treasures were a blur! These little snakes are just wonderful. The kitties grab them up and toss them about and then chase them all over the place.
Rocky needs that extra toe to keep up with these adorable little snakes! He doesn't realize he's meant
to have the blue "boy" one.
And Miss Cleo has been carrying around that blue one since the package was opened! You know kitties, they will play with any old snake!
Rocky's not so sure the bunny is for me!!!

'Cause guess where his snake went.

You might remember that Debbie made wonderful little penguins for Kim and me. I thank you so much, Debbie, for sharing your artistry.  All of us appreciate your kindness!
And finally, this lovely iris! I wish I could claim it in my garden, but it blooms at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. I had my camera along yesterday when I went to the clay studio. I've always had a fondness for the blue iris - though I realize this one is kind of "purpley." The blue iris was my grandfather's favorite flower as he was colorblind to most colors. Blue was one of the only colors he could enjoy. I think that must be why blue is one of my favorite colors!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tree house update, a pretty kitty photo, and a little bear inspector.

So now I have cut the door and windows out of the little bears' tree house! You can see the very basic tools used for this operation - knife and cookie cutter! Shortly after this photo, I affixed the door - slightly open - back into the house, using the holes for the windows to adjust it and secure with a strip of clay. My hands were too muddy to take up my camera during this operation. Now the waiting, and careful drying under varying layers of plastic, begins!
Do not adjust your computer! My camera was right side up when I took this photo of Rocky. He's a great one for flopping over on chairs and that's what he'd done for this photo. You can see the seat of the chair just under his head. He seems very comfortable upside down!

And finally, little Todd inspecting a new little bear head. Faces are everything, aren't they?
Spring has sprung here in Virginia and we are all thrilled here at the Griffin house - two legged inhabitants, four legged, and those tiny ones who dance in the moonlight!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Art Is What You Make It!

"Art is what you make it" - a wonderful statement for the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia, where it's such a joy to go and make art surrounded by friends in the studios there. I took the dogwood photos out the window of the clay studio where I'm preparing more "tree houses" for my little bears for the upcoming show in Philadelphia.

I think these photos could be good subjects for paintings and I might do that if there's ever time. Just now, I'm working in three dimensions making "wood" out of clay.
So here we have the beginning of the process. After rolling out the slab of clay, I then roll a piece of driftwood across the clay.
I roll a large piece of this clay around a form - in this instance, its a large oatmeal box. I then partially dry the clay with a hair dryer so that it will be stable enough to stand upright.
Then I turn the "tree" upright and slip out the form. After it dries for about a week, covered by plastic so that it won't dry out to quickly, I'll cut the door and windows for the tree house. I'll post those photos as the tree house progresses! I'm actually making a few of these houses in different sizes to use in the forrest scene where my little bears will be playing for my table for the show! I hope you'll enjoy following along with their construction!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Looking toward Philadelphia

Seeing the morning light
for the first time, Todd who was born last night will be among the little bears traveling to the show in Philadelphia in May. This show promises to be great fun so I hope you'll be able to join us!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Showers

Jason came for a visit over the weekend and he and I enjoyed a day of shopping and a movie on Saturday. As we started across the James River Bridge on our way home, a storm was brewing.
This is a good example of one of my favorite sentiments - The best camera is the one that is with you! Jason drove and I aimed my iPhone at the remarkable weather spectacle! There's a wonderful book with the title of the sentiment filled with the author's iPhone photos.

If you'll notice in this photo, the tower which holds the power lines looks like it is dancing in the rain storm. That effect is just a result of the motion of the car and the not-so-fast shutter speed of my iPhone. I heard this morning that the next iPhones will have an 8 megapixel camera on board. Wow! That certainly won't replace my Nikon, but it will be great to have in my pocket!