Sunday, July 2, 2017

It Started With An Abandoned License Plate ....

   Thoughtfully folded this found license 
   provided inspiration for a new style 
   birdhouse! How it would end? No idea.

Recently, on my usual early morning walk (early being sometime between 4 - 5 am when my Lab wants to eat), as we were walking east along Ramon Road here in Palm Springs, I spied an Oregon license plate in the brush just below the airport. It was folded and standing there, images of things I could do with it washed over me. Picking it up I had a vision of using it as the roof of one of my birdhouses. I had seen photos of birdhouses on Pinterest that used old license plates so ... I thought, why not give it try?
The beginning
   I thought, at first that I would use an Oregon theme. The plate has a pine tree on it so I could festoon it with trees and maybe even include a scene of Mt. Hood, rivers and such. Forestry!
   I wasn't all that convinced to use this theme and concentrated instead on several other birdhouses letting this one percolate a bit more.
   Once the others were completed I decided to try the birdhouse with the license again. What to do. Looking at all the accessories I had I hit upon a wooden pine tree half. It was tall so thought it would be perfect on the back. Then came several variations of a picket fence. One fit under the perch on front so I pulled that out. And before long I had quite an assortment of things that I could put on the birdhouse.
   Finding the pieces to use was the next battle. After picking
   items randomly it suddenly seemed to flow together 
   in ways that continued to evolve.
    Looking at these items I suddenly hit upon this theme: why not make each side the symbolic items of the four seasons. Once I hit upon that theme, suddenly it all fell together. I put items loosely on each side and then worked to get them to flow through the seasons. Summer was the front, autumn became the right side, winter with its tall, thick pine tree the back and finally a woodcut bouquet with painted flowers spring.
   Once summer was completed, it was
   a simple step to keep adding the
   seasons on each of the other sides.
      Using the colors from the old license I painted the entire birdhouse a medium teal. The roof was white as was the base color of the license. I used a deep burgundy as the base color and found some wooden beads to turn into feet.
   After painting the body, I next painted the roof white. The license was not a perfect fit so I want to make sure it was coated and ready to have the license fitted permanently on top. 
   With the roof sides and base painted I started one side at a time. The front was first. Flowers were painted behind and above the fence. Two types of flat flowers were glued between a button for depth and another button was put on top of that! Adding a small birdhouse cutout above the opening seemed the perfect touch ... a kind of house within a house.
   I found a "harvest" sign with a hanging pumpkin, added a variety of leaves painted in autumn colors, even found a wooden acorn half ... there was autumn. 
Winter fading into Spring! Pine cones
and snowflakes add the perfect touch.
   Winter was fun. Resisting the urge to make it a Christmas theme, I opted instead for snow, pine cones and snowflakes, the perfect symbols for winter. Having grown up in Portland, OR I can remember snow days and hours spent sledding down the hills that surrounded us. I lived in the Mt. Tabor district, on the slope of an old extinct volcano.

   While rain seemed to be never-ending in Portland, endless heat seems to be the norm here in the desert. Odd that I would end up here.

   I used a cutout of a wooden bouquet for Spring adding colorful flowers to compliment the big flowers. 
   Because so many of the sides had items going beyond their sides, I felt that I needed to add some feet to the base. Midriff bulge didn't look so good! So poking around in my collection of balls, turnings, and beads for feet I hit upon these turned beads. It took several coats of deep teal to cover them but I think it all looks pretty good. I felt it was the final touch that it needed.
   Tiny bird and tiny birdhouse add 
   a wonderful touch. Always keep 
   them guessing!!!
   In my search for the feet I came across some miniature birds I must have purchased during one of my week long outings at the Painting Convention in Las Vegas. I knew that this birdhouse was never going to go outside so I thought well, why not? There is a perch, I have a little bird ... its a marriage made in birdhouse heaven!
   One of the things I do everywhere with the things I create ... where I live decorating each room, yes even the bath, and in my creations, I want there to be unique details, the unexpected. I feel that there should be something for you to find, something to see, beyond the safely tried and true that makes you reach, touch, read, and view. 
   As an artist, self proclaimed I guess, I still have the drive to be an artist and I want to be unique expressing my vision, one that may go against the popular style of the time yet that clearly fits me and lets me express myself.
   I urge you to do the same. Like this lonely license tossed aside in the desert scrub, you never know where an inspiration will come from. What I do know, and urge you to know as well, take the chance. Try to do something beyond your comfort zone. As they say, come on in ... the water is fine!

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always have. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ...

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