Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I painted this portrait of my family's yellow Labrador, Marley, as a Christmas gift for my parents. A few years back I had done an oil painting of our former black Lab, Tobey, as a Christmas gift for them and I felt it was time they had a painting of our current dog.

Marley just turned six years old this month. People always ask us if she's named after the book Marley & Me, but she is not. We got her about six months before that book was published, but she was so crazy as a puppy that everyone assumed we named her after the book. Pure coincidence. At one point I think we had about a half dozen copies of the book because people kept giving it to us, exclaiming, "It's totally your dog!" Marley has since (thankfully) mellowed out a lot and she's now a very cool dog.

This painting was done with watercolor and acrylics on watercolor paper, measuring 10" x 12". Completed in December of 2009.

Prints of this painting are available here!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Painted Wooden Kitchen Stool

A few months back I picked up a wooden stool that was being discarded. It was pretty dirty and had paint smears and drips all over it. After cleaning it up and sanding off the paint globs, I sprayed it with primer. Then I re-sanded a few rough patches, spray painted on the base green color, and then hand painted the dark green trim and the leaf on the seat. The final step was to spray a clear coat finish over everything to seal it all.

Voila! A new stool for the kitchen.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Print Shop Sale!

Right now there are a variety of sales going on in my print shop, just in time for the holidays!

From now until December 10th, all ceramic mugs are 15% off!

Photo paper prints, the kind most commonly purchased from my shop, are 20% off from now until December 13th at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

If you've been waiting to purchase something, this sale would be a great thing to take advantage of! DeviantArt print services said some more things might go on sale between now and Christmas, so I'll post here if anything good is marked on sale.

Much thanks to anyone who has purchased a print from me before or plans to do so in the future! I really appreciate the support, and I always love knowing that my art is going to be in someone else's home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Recycled Plastic Bag Christmas Wreath

Earlier this week I made a Christmas wreath for the apartment's front door. It actually looks great as just a general winter wreath, so I plan on keeping it up beyond the holiday season.

There was a pile of plastic grocery store bags in my kitchen that I kept forgetting to recycle at the store. I was gathering them all together when I got the idea to make something out of them. I've seen Christmas wreaths made out of rags before, so I thought why not try that with the plastic bags?

I started with a green wire wreath frame from Michael's, purchased rather inexpensively by using a coupon and my teacher discount. However, I thought that with that frame alone, the finished wreath would look too skinny.  You could also make your own frame out of wire, if you have enough, but I was looking to cut out that step by purchasing the ready to go wire frame.  If you do make your own frame, I suggesting twisting the wire double for more durability, like I did with the extra ring I added below.

I solved that issue by adding an inner ring to the frame with some aluminum wire that I had already on hand, twisting it double for strength. I used thinner wire to hold it to the frame.

After that I just started tying plastic strips cut from the bags onto the wire frame, using a double knot so that they wouldn't come undone. No glue is needed.  I didn't cut the strips in any uniform manner because I wanted the plastic to look somewhat leafy when I was done. I also cut off any letters or logos because I didn't want those to show. The bags I used were all either white plastic bags (from Target) or transparent grocery bags (from Wegmans).  It is also easy enough to go back and trim any overly large pieces of plastic bag at the end if there are any bits that are sticking out too much.

When I bought the wreath frame, I also bought some plastic silver leaves and small branches to include in the wreath, found in the holiday fake flower section at Michael's. I used the thinner wire to secure the branches onto the wire frame, and then I tied the plastic strips over the stem to hide it. The supplies for this project were cheap, with the branches costing anywhere from $0.29 to $0.49. I bought the stems on a separate day from the wire frame so that I could use more than one coupon.  All told, I spent maybe $10 at the most on supplies.

I didn't keep an exact count of how many bags I used, but it had to be at least 30 plastic bags or more. Tying all of the plastic strips on took a while, but it was an easy project to work on while watching some DVDs. The finished wreath is about 20" wide and very lightweight, so it's easy to hang with a 3M plastic hook and sticky tape. I definitely plan on saving this wreath to use next year.