Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Decorating and others thoughts

Today was decorating day...the day when the decorations of 11 months are put away for a vacation! While not quite as thorough as years past (there was no village this year), I was pretty much able to decorate the house for the coming holidays... in one day! And that included having to repair several items including installing a new stand for our Christmas tree! It fell over, mostly decorated, when the broken leg re-glued with Super Glue and duct tape failed. A trip to Target for a new stand and several attempts to make it stand again, finally got the 20+ old fake tree to stand upright (there is a chair leaning against it just in case it can't make it through the night).

Blending decorations of 30+ years and 60 + years inherited from my in-laws who ONLY collected Santas, you begin to realize a certain pattern in Christmas decorations. Colors, shapes, themes. I reflected on the fact that one glance was enough to tell you what something was. It was the different ones - due to color, shape, even theme that stopped you and actually made you look at them. 

It dawned on me that too much of the same thing was two things: comforting and boring.

How much of life falls into these categories? None of us could actually handle a life where nothing is the same and every opening door was a new experience. We all want our lives to be mostly predictable. Yet, often we think that so much of our lives are boring. Face it, we can't have it both ways. 

The arts - music, art, sculpture, movies, the theater, books, even architecture are attempts to give us variety. While we want things that bring us ease and comfort, often it is the thing that is just different enough that captures our attention. Hence the Christmas ornament that follows the theme, but is enough different that it causes you to pause, look at it for a moment and possibly give it a place of honor, that captures our attention.

Crafts and art often fall into this same category. We think we want something that is familiar yet often pause and look at something that is not. Why? What arrested you? Do we often close our eyes to a different vision? Colors that are not quite our style or favorites? 

We forget that today, after over a century, the Impressionists of the 1860's through the early 20th century  were vilified by their peers. The Salon decided that these artists were not suitable for selection to the finest galleries of their day. Yet, if you love art, who doesn't know Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas and so many others? Their paintings literally showed a world of light, color and beauty in their surroundings that shimmer even today. Does anyone remember the artists of the Salon?

When you view the creations of your peers today, and yes, not all are of wonderful execution or quality, I do urge you to try to understand what their artistic vision was. Some are just better than others. Does that make their statement any less relevant?

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Red Birdhouse for the Holidays!

Decorated birdhouses are certainly popular items. It you check out the site there are over 225 pages of them in a wide variety of styles from very simple and rustic to very ornate.

As a vehicle for decoration, they certainly have an appeal. Here you have a nice clean space, often 4 sided but also round, six sided or even more! A birdhouse just seems a natural item to decorate whether the bird cares or not!

I started my craft painting after looking at a birdhouse on sale at Michael's one day. They had finished imports that were rather drab with no color and certainly not imaginative. I found a book on Pennsylvannia Dutch motifs and thought, I could do this.

Over the years my style has become more refined, details clearer and I have learned to do in a stroke what it took many strokes to do before.

The hardest thing is the choosing of colors. After the original sketch is created, then comes the color selection process...bottles are lined up, caps off, then comparing tone, hue and intensity. Color charts are nice, but I think that underneath it all, what you feel in your "gut" is what will determine the colors to use.

Check out my store and see the new items. New Christmas items will be added soon!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Cleaning

After a few weeks of planning, reading and yes, finally opening and posting items on my ETSY site, the time had some to clean up the home office. Littered with photos, cameras, paintings, lists of things to do, and things to post, the measurements, the ideas about selling price and a few other projects thrown in as well, the time had come. I couldn't see the counters anymore despite the neat (and not so neat) piles of papers.

The one thing I can say about, there certainly is no lack of information. You can sign up for a multitude of newsletters. However, as much as I try, and maybe being a senior citizen is part of the problem, I have yet to easily link this blog to my ETSY store, links to Facebook (something I have yet to figure out) and well, I haven't even tried linking to Twitter. I can't figure that at all. I got two books on ETSY and even the ETSY FOR DUMMIES didn't do it for me. I guess I need to literally see the work well, and if I can replicate it, then I can master it. In the meantimeI guess I need to find some teenager to show me how to link these all least like the guy on Handmadeology says it can be done.

Does anyone read this? In the meantime, if you do and know how to do this linking, please let me know!

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Items Added at KrugsStudio ETSY store

This afternoon I have added two new items to KrugsStudio at

Be sure to check out the decorated wooden box that has a mesh top suitable for potpourri as well as many small items!

This is a design that recalls early Americana as well as an Egyptian influence on colors I saw on our trip a few years ago. Don't you hate the blandness of America today? Look down a row of cars in any parking lot and they are white, grey or black. We have become a nation of conformists. 

Guess its my age showing but I remember the 50's when tail fins were big and colors both inside and outside the car were bright. Orange, turquoise, pink, yellow and red.

For those of you wanting a more muted palette check out my new outdoor suitable bisque birdhouse. Decorated with climbing Morning Glory's and green leaves, this is the perfect addition to any yard that encourages winged visitors.

There are three similar birdhouse available for $25.00 each. Note that while they all use the same basic design and colors, because they are done by hand, from the drafting of the design to the painting, each one is unique and different. You will definitely have a unique piece.

There's a great deal of talk about making this Christmas an American Christmas...supporting local stores, businesses and I would guess artists. While it is difficult to purchase many items used for crafting here that are made in the United States, the artist does live here. Items made by artists such as myself and the thousands on make unique gifts that no one will have. You are supporting people that live here and would definitely appreciate your support.

First posting November 11, 2011...11-11-11!

Its amazing how in retirement, the time just seems to fade away! Rather than nothing to do all day, the day is cram packed with things to do! I was taking photos, editing them, then getting them ready to post while also trying to put together a book on a wonderful summer vacation, finish a painting, create a PDF book out of one long since published by my art teacher...and that was just the beginning.

I was finally able to get a six-sided birdhouse posted on my ETSY store and a California landscape painting created earlier this year. You always have to wonder, what will others think? Will they like it? More important, will they BUY it?

Check it out on my ETSY store, KrugsStudio!