In addition to other creative activities, I also design and make handmade goods which I sell to be used as decorations and gifts. I’m counting this activity toward my creative challenge too. In addition to these items today, I also designed a 20-page course catalog for a local community’s quarterly parks and recreation activities. That may not have been the most creative thing I did today, but it pays the bills really well. And then there were some photos on black and white film which we’ll see someday, a little writing and a few other designs I spent some time thinking about, Quite a busy day!
This year I’ve been designing and creating keepsake items to be used as memorials to pets. I designed animal sympathy cards in 2009 and have always wanted to add to gifts to what I offer. In 2018 I made my first votives including “Star of Wonder” intended as holiday items, and to my surprise people purchased “Star of Wonder” to give as a gift, or to use themselves, to remember beloved pets. That confirned for me that my idea for memorial gifts was valid.
This particular design was based on a chance photo from a June morning in 2009 when Cookie and Namir and I were out in our back yard, each doing our thing, they smelling and tasting and stalking, me racing from flower to glistening dewdrop with my camera. They often followed or preceded me as I wandered, and I happened to see the stepping stone at the bottom of the steps with my wet footprint and two pawprints. Seeing the position of my foot and only to pawprints, it’s likely I reached down and picked up the kitty and walked on. We lost Namir a few weeks later, and when I reviewed the photos from that morning I found this one, and immediately knew it had to be one of the set of sympathy cards I was designing and what text I’d use.
The card has continued to be popular and I’ve also sold a few prints of it. It’s one of three in the dozen that are non-species-specific, so can be used for any pet with paws; in some cases those distinctive pawprints stand for animals in general.
These items are called “shelf-sitters” today, but ten years ago when I made a series of them with just my art I called them “wood-mounted art”. They can sit on a shelf or table, or because the “cradles”, or wooden frame backing, can be used for hanging like a canvas print, they can also hang on the wall.
I’ve wanted to make more of them, some with just images and some with inspirational or humorous text, so over time I gathered a variety of cradled wood panels intended for painting. I have such an abundance of ideas but lack of space so I didn’t manage to make any for last holiday season. But I’ve been organizing the panels into size and shape and organizing what ideas would work best on what I have. This was my strongest idea, and because I’d already started offering pet memorial gifts I thought I’d start with this design. I prepared things yesterday and put three of them together today. I’m very pleased with how they turned out.
I had intended to make the sides look like faux stone mimicking the stone from the design. I added a soft cool gold transparent glaze to the wood, then sponged on a shade of lighter green around the edges of the top and around the top of the sides, intending to add a bit of darker brown and copper toward the bottom, then finish with shadows and highlights, so the rectangle would resemble a stone memorial.
But as soon as I finished the first one, I liked it with just the light green, and thought it looked natural, mossy. I looked at it over a few hours while it dried and decided I’d wait on any additions. And then I decided to share it as today’s creative challenge entry.
My fine felines helped me stage the photos.
I may play around with adding more color to two of these three, just to see how it looks. When I’ve finally decided they are ready, I’ll take “good” photos of them and add them to this website.
If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it!
And on to tomorrow, another creative day.
I began this year with a pledge to myself and my art: To be certain I won’t let ideas pass me by I’m setting myself up for a personal painting challenge in February, similar to the painting challenges I’ve participated in in past years. I aspire (but don’t expect) to create a painting or sketch every day in the month, to be posted on my blog each day.
This is my post from Day 11. See other paintings in this and other painting challenges on the page Creative Challenges.Other items with the same art or design To find all items on this site with the same art or design, use the search box for the name of the artwork and you'll find all that's available.
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