Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat Vintage Style

I'm the angel in the bottom middle (the one
with the ridiculously short bangs).
See that boy to my right? (your
left) He's the first boy I ever
"played doctor" with.

Yes, that is me dressed as St. Teresa. I cannot
imagine any circumstance under which
I thought this was a good idea, but
it's a good thing it was 1963 and 
I attended a Catholic school.

As I write this it is the Saturday night before Halloween in New York City. I just went out to walk the dog after spending two days inside with a bad cold and discovered the streets are peppered with drunken "trick or treaters" on their way to the local bars. I personally saw Batman entering the Social Club with Lady Gaga.  I can attest to that, Perez Hilton.

It reminded me that I was going to blog about Halloween memories. Some of my best memories of my mom were around her creativity -- and on Halloween she was the queen.  For several years on end she made -- easily -- a hundred candy apples to give out to the kids in the neighborhood. Ours was the most popular stop in town, for sure. I remember older boys standing outside the house hollering, "Mrs. Mezzo, I want another one," when she ran out.  After a while she had to stop making them because she couldn't keep up with the demand on that day. 

And we didn't only give.  Halloween was second only to Christmas as a day when my two older brothers could indulge their acquisitive natures, and they didn't miss the opportunity; they took their candy gathering very seriously.They would go out with pillowcases right after school and didn't come back until they were at least 2/3 full. They always had tales about houses with cider and donuts, large Hershey bars or similar treasure.  At the end of the "gathering," we would all dump our booty out on the dining room table, (I'd have something to contribute, but nothing like their loot),  pick out our favorites, and then mom would put the rest in large metal tins and let us eat a little each day.  We were still eating Halloween candy after Christmas.  We knew we were at the end of the candy tins when we were left with green gumdrops or Good 'n Plenty.  Or those Peppermint Patties.  Even at my most desperate sugar moment I couldn't force myself to eat those.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Keeping it Together

My inspiration board had lots of peach and bronze this week. You know how artists have their blue period or pink period?  I think I'm in my pumpkin pie period right now. 

I'd love to paint from a living model, but for now I still have to settle for using magazine pictures, which I tear out and scatter about me.  I often use a nose from this face and eyes from that one.  I usually like to paint very earthy faces, uncluttered yet sophisticated. I use my fingers, brushes, a palette knife - whatever I can find. 

Sometimes I collage first, scrape paint over that to complete the background and then paint my images on top.  For this one I was thinking of doing encaustic wax over it all, but I'm not sure whether I'll do that final step or leave it just as it is. (This particular painting is made with shiva paint sticks, one of my favorite mediums to work in.)

I love the effect of the paint over the collage squares. There is a mosaic tile look, and always a reminder that we are all made of many pieces arranged together, not cut from one cloth as we may appear to be at first glance.  As I was working, I was thinking: what is the glue that holds my life's "pieces" together?  For each of us it is different ... our families, our motivations, our faith.  Some people are always searching to find the answer to that question, while others are certain of the answer throughout their entire lives.  My glue is my love of family first, and my desire to change my world in some permanent way second.  Do you know what your glue is?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

T-shirt necklace tutorial

I had so much fun making this t-shirt necklace!  It's fun and easy to do. For this one I used a plain old grey t-shirt, but you could use a colorful tye-dyed one or a mixture of various colors.    Here are some basic instructions:

1.  Lay the t-shirt flat on the table. Cut off the bottom band.  Now cut layers straight across so that you have round cylinders of t-shirt fabric.

2.  Pull on the round pieces of fabric and they will curl in on themselves to form tubes

3.  Place the fabric around your neck and measure for length. If you would like the necklace shorter, cut each strand and then tie one to the length you like.  Now measure all the others so they match that length, but don't tie them. Just cross their ends over at the spot where they would tie.  Tie the necklace together at that spot with another piece of fabric.  

4.  Now you have your basic necklace.  You can embellish it with buttons (lots or just a few lovely ones), a fancy pin that you change with your outfits, old mismatched earrings, little dangly things that hang from your cell phone or purse, or any other decorative thing you might like. (I have a sheriff's pin my husband purchased for me that I'm planning to pin on one day soon!)

If you have any questions, let me know!