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4 posts from October 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Palettes and More Palettes


This is not my calling in life.  Or, maybe it is.  I have no idea anymore.  My creative brain takes me in so many different directions that I imagine that I am on some dusty intersection out in the country somewhere, only today, I've been saddled down with palettes. 



Aren't they pretty, though?  My deck is officially my woodworking studio.  I go out there to make a mess of everything and it doesn't matter either.  Why?  Because our deck needs a demolition team - one of these days.
I've got quite a nice one man assembly line goin' on here.  I especially love these sunny days when I can lacquer the palettes and let them dry quickly in the sun.  The sun heats up the lacquer and it smooths out nice and even - just like glass.


The only thing I hate is all the hand sanding.  Bob cuts the palettes out of the sheets of birch. 


Then I pull out my spindle sander and sand down all this stuff you see around the edges.  Then I take 200 grade sandpaper and sit in the shade and sand all the curves to a nice, smooth finish.


Then I sand the top and the bottom of the palette, and sand the curves some more.  I know I'm done when my neck is stiff and my right shoulder is on fire.



Nice curves don't ya think?  Then I admire my hard work and I pull out the stain. 


I stain the palette, then I sand it.  Then I get lunch.  Then I stain it again, and I sand it again.  Then I take a nap.

Then I pull out the lacquer and paint on one coat and let it sit in the sun for 20 minutes.  Then I sand it and lacquer it again.  Then I sand it and lacquer it again.  Then I take 3 Advil. 

But it's worth it.  I'm selling them!  And, they are beautiful and comfortable and I'm proud of them. Just know that I'm not going to be making these forever, so if you want one for a Christmas gift, you better put in your order now!



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Red Easel Designing


As some of you may know, I have a small place on the web for visual artists that I call "Red Easel."  It is where I share stories from my studio, tutorials, and it has emerged over the last 2 years to a nice little place for visual artists to share their stories, their tutorials, their paintings, and more.  I also have listings of galleries, and I have an artist directory with over 100 artist listings if I can ever get around to finishing adding those artists that still need to be added to the directory.  I even have information and resources for visual artists.  A whole bunch of neat stuff in one place.  

Red Easel was the first blog I ever had and the first one I ever designed.  I was new to all this stuff 2 years ago and I used a simple template and then added my own banner and background.  Nothing fancy like you see here on Raisin Toast.  Believe me when I tell you it has been quite the learning curve for me in web design.  Blog design.  Whatever you want to call it.


With everything going on here at home, though, I got so wrapped up in Raisin Toast, that Red Easel sorta took a back seat.  My bad.  So bad.  Anyway, that is something of past history as I am trying to revamp Red Easel.  I have over 550+ subscribers to my monthly newsletter and that in and of itself surprises me.  


Red Easel needed help, though, so this week I have been working on redesigning the site.  I will hopefully be able to launch the new design on November 1st, but that might be a bit optimistic.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing this week, if you're wondering why I didn't post yesterday, well, not only was I working on Red Easel, but I was also cutting out, sanding, and staining 4 "Red Easel Master's Palettes," and, well, I'm tired.  And yawning.  And my eyes are watering.  And I'm ready to hit the sack.

Thanks for stopping by!  Is everybody ready for Halloween?  

If it's any consolation - I'm not.



Friday, October 23, 2009

WooHoo! I'm a TypePad Champion!


I was looking around TypePad this morning seeing what they have new going on and ran across a story about TypePad Champions, and boy was I surprised that I was on the list.  Check this out!...


Our "Champions" are here to answer your questions and help you get the most out of your TypePad blog. Be sure you stop by the Get Satisfaction forum and say 'hello' to them and join the discussion. Let us know if you or someone that you know wants to be part of the Champion program and help grow our TypePad community!

Christine herron Christine Herron was ranked among the Top 20 Women in Technology in 2000 by AltaVista and is a tribal kitchen goddess in her spare time. She's been blogging about technology, society, and best practices at Christine.net since 2005. Favorite TypePad features include the easy integration of third-party sites and services through the widget gallery and using her TypePad profile as OpenID credentials.

Cynthia McCracken was previously a clinical therapist but health issues forced an early retirement and she began blogging not long after. That was 2003. She's a full-time mom as well as the author of four different blogs. Straight from the beginning she felt as though TypePad really cared about its customers, she liked the personal touch that we've provided and it has set the tone ever since.Visit her at Forever a Fangirl.

John T. Unger is the founder, lead author and developer at TypePad Hacks, an alternative knowledge base and design shop for TypePad blogs. TypePad Hacks is the leading expert in custom design and coding on the TypePad platform. As a result of his work with TypePad, Unger has also been asked for feedback by AdaptiveBlue, AddThis, Cocomment, FeedBurner and has done consulting work with PayPal 1000Markets.com, and Etsy.

Mipmup has been a member of the Typepad community since 2003 and blogs about design, food, shopping and green ideas on mipmup.com. She has provided design and set-up services to many leading blogs and web sites. Her expertise includes custom blog design and set-up on TypePad, Movable Type & Vox, advanced templates design, and integration of third-party features such as advertising, stats, search and social networking applications. 

Robin Capper lives in Auckland, New Zealand and has been blogging on TypePad since 2004. He discovered TypePad through Autodesk's company blogs and began his own site after discovering how easy it was to create and publish without the hassle of learning a publishing platform or coding a website. These days Robin blogs about CAD, design, IT and various web theories on RobiNZ Blogs.

M. Susan Vaughn is a busy wife, mother, grandmother and artist. She produces artwork in oils and has sold her paintings around the world and won a number of awards. She has been blogging on TypePad for two years and finds it to be a wonderful creative outlet. TypePad laid the groundwork for Susan to learn HTML, CSS, Javascript and code for designing her blog. Visit her at Raisin Toast.

* * * * * * *

Thank you TypePad!  You know I love blogging on your platform, and enjoy helping others, too, make the best of their blog design.  You've given me an entirely new creative outlet!



Saturday, October 03, 2009

Design is Everything - the Perfect Palette


Well, today I won't be posting the Saturday Morning Skraw, but I have been drawing things up this week.

Plato once said "Necessity is the mother of invention" and working as hard and as long as I have this week in my studio, I got so frustrated and covered in paint that I decided I was going to do something about it.  You see, I have 2 palettes that I use when I paint - a hand-held palette, and a table palette with a glass top for easy clean up.  The problem I have been having is with the hand-held palette.  After searching for hours online for a palette that would solve my problem of getting oil paint on my left sleeve and arm, and the occasional stress and pain I feel in my left arm from holding the palette a certain way, I sat down and designed my own palette - one that would put an end to paint on my left sleeve and arm, one that would rest comfortably on my left hip or belt if I wanted, and one that had the correct angle at the fingers that I could place used brushes in my left hand easily.

So you can understand what I created here, let's take a look at some artist palettes:



This is an example of the palette I have used for years.  When I hold this palette in my left hand and rest it on my left arm, the paint on the palette gets all over my sleeve and my arm.  There is also no good place to stick a medium cup onto the palette.



This is Renoir's actual palette.  I have to admit that I have wondered if the image was on the palette when he was using it.  That would make mixing colors complicated I would think.  Still, the square design does not make for comfort in resting the palette on your left arm.  I've known a number of artists that use the square palette and they are really uncomfortable - I mean, the left bottom corner of the palette gets in the way of your arm and your clothes and makes it cumbersome on your arm.



This is the palette of renowned portrait artist Nelson Shanks. He is probably one of the most outstanding living artists of our time.  Now this is better design - well, sorta.  First of all, see the opening for your fingers in front of the thumb hole?  This design makes it difficult to place brushes in your hand while holding the palette, and I've noticed in some video of his demonstrations at the Studio Incamminati that his palette is sitting on a table in front of him rather than on his arm.  In addition, the curve that would be at your stomach is too deep, and the curve that rests on his arm would again be cutting into the bend of his arm at the elbow thereby getting paint on his clothes and arm, unless, of course, he holds it at the curve you see at the bottom.  The problem with that, though, is that the palette will curve right into your stomach, so it doesn't conform to your body comfortably.



This is the palette of artist Fatima Ronquillo.  Love her artwork.  She has mingled classical portraiture with modern design by creating portraits of characters you might say.  Children, but no particular one.  You can't help but be drawn into her work.  So, let's look at her palette.  She has room to hold her brushes in her fingers, however, the palette curves towards her stomach when she is holding it, and again, the left bottom corner curves right where you don't really want it to - in the bend of your arm, making it nearly impossible to avoid getting paint on your left sleeve and arm.



So, after drawing, erasing, and cutting out multiple designs, I finally designed the best dang palette ever.  It is so good, in fact, that I am going to offer them up for sale.  Made in America I might add.  Better yet, made in Charlotte, North Carolina - in my studio and on my deck to be more precise.

I made this one out of birch, but I am going to go to the lumber yard next week and get a sheet of Mahogany and Walnut, and make palettes out of those hardwoods as well.  The only difference will be that the palette will be heavier.  This palette is nice and lightweight.  



It doesn't matter if you are left or right handed - all you have to do is turn it over for the hand that you hold your palette.  This picture was taken right after I had  finished sanding it.  My Big Bear cut it out based on my pattern that I drew on the Birch wood panel.



After I sanded the palette, I stained it with equal parts of Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber - that way it isn't too Red or too Brown.  A perfect mid-tone.

Next step is to varnish it after it dries and to prevent it from absorbing the paints when placed on the palette.

Here is an explanation of the features that were important to me in the design ...



Click on the images to see a larger view.  Pretty cool design don't you think?

Here are the dimensions:



I am really proud of this palette and its design.  I hold it and it is lightweight, comfortable, and doesn't get in my way when I paint.  It curves around the bend of my arm and I don't get paint on my arm and clothes.  I have plenty of room for my palette of paint colors and for mixing and also for attaching a medium cup.  I love the fact that it rests on my arm so comfortably and I can rest in on my hip too.



I am calling it the "Red Easel Palette" after my Fine Art company "Red Easel, LLC."  

And guess what?  I am offering it for sale right here on Raisin Toast and also on my Red Easel site at www.redeasel.com. 

I think it is a great value at 139.95.  I priced palettes across the internet that were approximately this size and a few were as expensive as 150.95.  Small ones were as inexpensive as 26.95 but very small and basic. 

Just consider this - it is entirely handmade!  On my Deck!  In North Carolina!

Hope you like it.  That is what I have been working on all week at the expense of the laundry which I promised my Big Bear I would get done today. 

If you would like a Red Easel Palette of your own, just email me at [email protected] and I'll get right on it.  I've even provided a BuyNow button below to make your purchase easy via PayPal. 

Hope you have a great weekend!  I'm gonna paint!



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