Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Making Of A Birdhouse Saloon!

Every now and then we need a bit of whimsy. Here's my latest!

While I don't remember buying this blank birdhouse from Michaels, and you can bet it was on sale, I do know I found it in my garage when I was ready to start a new project. It was the perfect foil for a recent "cow skull" purchase I made in Arizona. I only bought one of these birdhouses because, at the time, I had no clue about what you could do it it. All the decorating that could be done would have to be on the back and sides.

The skull was one of those purchases that had no real aim except that it was pretty cool and I knew that I had to have one, or three in this case. Now I wish I had more as this could be a fun series, the "Last Chance" series. For now, at least, the limit is three.

Before my uncle died he gave me an old wooden crate filled with old photos of my family. In it was a very faded photo of an old ranch house dated 1909, Montana on the back. I put them all aside until one day I decided to scan the nearly invisible photo and was stunned to find a very clear, if very scratched image of my great grandparents, my grandmother as a child and more family members gathered around the high technology of the day, a Victrola! The other thing that garnered my attention was the cow skull perched on the peak of the roof. How cool is that? Maybe that was my inspiration. In fact, it was. I was looking for a suitable birdhouse when I came across the item above. I was inspired to a southwest scene when I put the skull in place after pondering what to do. After that it all fell into place.

I was doing two projects at the same time, this and an Easter-Spring Time basket realizing that even though they were very different I could pretty much use the same colors. So I painted away putting in the purple mountains, putting down the background clay for the dirt and two toned blues for the sky and a yellow sun, front and back. Next came the cactus, gully or roads, grasses and antiquing. I kept looking at the front and thought it needed something else. What is this?

Viewing the Disney exhibit at Ronald Reagan's Library I noticed a sketches of a western town and realized that was the final piece, a faded, run down saloon...the "Last Chance Saloon." I put in the sign, penciled in the letters, used a Sharpie to color them in but was shocked that even after several days, the ink ran when I sprayed a varnish over the entire project to protect it. Then I realized, it's SUPPOSED to be faded and worn and now it was for sure.

I urge you all to keep an open mind and be ready, often at a moment's notice to shift gears, to create a new plan on the run. That was hard for me at first but as I become more confident in my craft I realize that the greatest successes come from on the fly design and being able to seize a new item and on the fly create a plan for that as well.

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