Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Vacation: St. Croix!

We just got back from vacation!  We don't go away often, but we just had a fantastic vacation in St. Croix.

Mike's sister has a house there, SolMates, which she rents out when she and her husband can't be there.  It's fabulous!  2 bedrooms.  2 baths.  Kitchen.  PRIVATE POOL!  Here's the link if you want to check it out.

One of the first things we did was a Snookah Tour via AQUAMAN.  Well, one of the first things we really did was drive across the island to Cane Bay and getting lost a few times across the way.  Mike did a fantastic job driving on the left side of the road.  I was navigator.  But there was a turn off that we just couldn't find.  It's pretty tropical down there.  Not everything is well marked.  But we found it eventually.  And THEN we did a Snookah Dive.

See the tube coming off Magoo's back?  That's his air tube.  The Snookah (also called Snuba) is a combo of snorkeling and scuba.  The air tank is on a little raft on the surface.  We were tethered to it (which was comforting for this Mom) but you could stay underwater the whole time.

It was fantastic!  I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you get a chance.

Another super fun activity was taking a tour to Buck Island, snorkeling the underwater National Park there, and spending time on the most perfect sandy beach that I've ever been too.  We did this tour via Caribbean Sea Adventures.

Our guide, Summer, took this underwater shot of Magoo and I snorkeling.

Mike got this great shot of some brain coral.  I LOVED the brain coral!  It looked like a Keith Haring painting.

The Political Line by Keith Haring
Here's the beach!  Isn't it gorgeous?

We did a half day trip, but if we go back -- or rather when we go back -- we'll definitely do a full day.  It's soooo wonderful!

Anyway, that's what I've been up to.  Fun in the sun.  I hope you've been enjoying summer too.
Thanks for dropping in!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Recent Works

Bowl of Pears                      2016                       j. c. phillipps

Hi there.

June is kinda a crazy busy month for me.  School is out.  (Magoo, I am proud to report, got straight A's all year long.)  Lots of birthdays.  My art is up at a restaurant called The Spicy Green Bean in Glastonbury.  And I'm preparing for summer art camp at the end of June.

But I have had a little time to work on some art.  The piece above, Bowl of Pears,  is a watercolor that I recently completed.  I am trying to do smaller watercolors, as I have had a difficult time selling the larger ones.  Also, if the original artwork is smaller, it will fit in my scanner, and I can get a better reproduction for prints and cards.

The work below was done for a specific show at the West Hartford Art League in the Fall.  All pieces have to be 24" X 24" and self-portraits.

Julie with Poppies                 2016                   j. c. phillipps
I thought for awhile of what direction I should go with it.  It's unlikely a self-portrait will sell.  And 24" X 24" is not tiny, so this was either going to live in my basement or I had to come up with something I wouldn't mind having around.  I played with a few ideas, but I settled on the collage mosaic because #1. I have the paper.  #2. I love mosaics.  #3 It's just stylized enough for it not to matter a whole bunch if it's an awesome depiction of me.

It went faster than I thought it would and I enjoyed making it more than I thought I would.  But, as a 44 year old woman, hunching over to place tiny squares of paper on a canvas is not easy on my back. I don't think there will be too many of these in my future.  Still, I like how it turned out.

Did you see the Tonys?  Go Hamilton!
My heart and love goes out to Orlando.
Hope you all are well.
Thank you for stopping by.
Love is love is love is love.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Celebrate West Hartford 2016

This weekend was our town fair, Celebrate West Hartford.  Mike and I let Magoo loose to create havoc and mayhem with his middle school friends, and we hit the art show.

My friend David Davis Wilson is a fabulous potter.  I could lose some serious cash in his booth, but instead, I choose to build my collection gradually.  I already had the bowl with the houses.  It's my favorite go-to snack bowl.  So I bought the one with the truck this weekend.  I call it my Town and Country set.

If I was rich and had many houses, I would buy a lot more art.  It was a really good showing this year.  Lots of wonderful crafters and art.  I love wood crafts.  I would have loved to find some smaller salad bowls, but we did find this one man, Forrest Doyle, who makes these amazing cutting boards.  

He had a ton of wonderful pieces, but we settled on this one, The Golden Ratio.  Technically, it's a cutting board, but we mounted it on the wall of the dining room because it's really too nice for the mess that we would make of it.  That said, if I'm having a fancy party and need a nice cheese board, I might put it into use.

Later in the afternoon, Magoo called to be picked up.  I met him in a parking lot and saw that he had a GIANT alien with him.

After a failed attempt to deflate it, and trying to fit it into our small car this way and that, this is what we ended up with.

You can imagine the stares and giggles we produced on our way down the street.  That kid's a sucker for inflatable aliens.

Saturday was sunny and great.  Sunday went from overcast to storms.  I hope my artist friends didn't get too soaking wet on Sunday.  (This is why I only do indoor shows.)   But it's also nice for me to be able to enjoy Celebrate West Hartford, because I do love my town and I enjoy celebrating it.

Hope you all had a great weekend!
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Collage Challenges and Becoming a Duck

I had the pleasure of traveling out of state to visit a lovely school in Waltham, MA this past week for my final author visit of the 2015-2016 school year.  I had a lot of fun with the Kindergarteners and the First Graders, reading Wink and telling them about how I made the book.

Then we all made collage ninjas.  Usually I do this project with second and third graders.  There are some slightly challenging bits that the youngest kids have a harder time with.  I've figured out short cuts for almost everything except one concept.  When it's time to apply the glue to the ninja (that has been cut out of black paper) I always tell the kids to put the glue on the pencil side.

I make everyone stop what they are doing and look at me.  I show them which side is the pencil side and which side is the clean side.  I show them how to put the glue on the pencil side.

I say, "Which side do you apply the glue to?"
"Pencil side," they say back to me.

And always, always 50% of them put the glue of the clean side so all the pencil lines are showing at the end.

I understand why this is happening.  In their minds there is a front and back and you draw on the front and you glue on the back.  That concept is so concrete in their minds that they can't override it with specific directions to the contrary.

This only happens with Kindergarten.  Pretty much everyone else - first grade an above - gets it if they are paying attention to me.  But not the little ones.

I discussed it with my friend who is the drama teacher at the school and she suggested that I have the kids draw an X on the belly of the ninja.  So when I give the glue instruction, I tell them to start by gluing over the X, then the head, arms and legs.  That way, they have a concrete item that they are gluing.

Did it work?  It did not.
Same amount of kids glued on the "back" side of the ninja.
Funny, right?

Anyhoo ...

Usually, I am booked pretty solid at an author visit, but I had a chunk of time at this one where I was able to sit in on my friend's drama lesson.  She reads these Mrs. Wishy-Washy books to the kids and then they act them out.  Basically it goes like this:

One by one, animals roll in the mud and make a mess.
Mrs. Wishy-Washy puts them in a bin and washes them.
Animals roll in mud again.

After watching one, I got to be a duck.

Here I am as Mr. Wishy-Washy puts me in the washing tub.  See how I'm selling that duck!  I have my arms in wing position and a vacant look in my eyes.  I have to put that theater degree to work any time I can.  :)

Then we all took a bow.

I love going to author visits and doing my thing, but it's really fun when I can also be a part of their regular day.  It was definitely a treat!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you're all having a lovely Memorial Day Weekend.

Monday, May 16, 2016

LEGO LADY: A True Tag Sale Story

This past Saturday, I had a tag sale.  This is what happened.

Thanks for stopping in.  I hope you're all having a lovely May.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Sunny Day for Hidden Houses

My artists group, the WeHa Artists Emporium, held our art hunt event this past Saturday.  What a beautiful day!  The whole thing was so dang smooth and lovely, it really could not have gone any better.

Nine local artists made 138 tiny houses and they were really, really cute. The temptation for me to hide a few in my living room was great, but I was good.  All houses made it out into the wild.

The Hiders met at 7:30 that morning.

We had 5 teams, each with a box full of a variety of houses and a section map.  Elizabeth Park is a big place and I can be anal when it comes to organization.  But that makes things go smoothly, right?  I think so.  Anyway, we all knew exactly what section of the park we were hiding in.

One of my little Irish Cottages, in the wild.

Photo by Phyllis Meredith
After hiding, I returned home to man my computer and post the secret location promptly at nine a.m.  Smart Hunters were already dressed and waiting in their cars for their destination.  The Hiders that stayed at the park said that the hunters descended like locusts.  Some people were dropping other people off and then finding parking. 

I waited five minutes at home to see if anyone had any questions on Facebook, then I got on my bike and rode back to the park.  It really is so much fun to watch a place fill up with adults and kids all excited to be hunting for treasure.  I looped back through my hiding zone and gave a couple hunters hot/cold tips.  "You're getting warmer....warmer...you're hot!"  But most of the houses were already found.

Photo by Phyllis Meredith

Photo by Phyllis Meredith

There were even several reports of children giving the houses they found to others who couldn't find one. And more reports came in that kids went home and started making their own houses to add to their little house community.

It's extremely gratifying to spend the morning making people happy and spreading art and inspiration. If you want to see more pics, here's the link to the album on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.523694494483259&type=1

Thanks so much for stopping in!
I hope you had some fun this past weekend too!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hiking the Reservoir

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  It was so beautiful I spent the morning doing yard work and the afternoon hiking around the reservoir with the menfolk.  Here are some scenes.

In other news: This will be a week of prep for the upcoming artsy weekend.  Hidden Houses is on Saturday.  I need to make maps of the hiding zone and post rules for the hunt on the Facebook Event Page.  Sunday is the Spring Pop-Up show.  I have prints and art to mat, labels to make, inventory, pricing, blah, blah, blah.

It looks to be good weather on Saturday (fingers crossed.)  And not-so-great weather on Sunday - which is PERFECT for coming to an art show.

In the meantime, I'm trying to get out to the yard every afternoon.  Slow and steady wins the race (of getting my yard into decent shape.)

I hope you are all enjoying Spring!
Thanks for stopping by!