Friday, December 4, 2015

Planning For Christmas Gift Giving

Ah, the possibilities
I don't know about you, but I am always reluctant to give items I have created as gifts. I am always afraid that it will be considered cheap, not something anyone would like. This year, with vastly reduced finances I find that I have no alternatives.

Whether it is a canvas, or in this case a birdhouse, it begins as a blank slate. Because of my advertising training in Journalism School, and the directors insistence that we make pencil sketches of the ads we were to create (yes he even collected those too!) I always make a sketch of what I want to do. It may not always look that way but I find that it gives me a place to start, a kind of roadmap of where things are supposed to go. Like, with all things artistic, I often go on a tangent and what I originally design may not look like that at all. We try but, well, what can I say? Here is a case in point.

While this birdhouse is a bit bigger than the tiny ones I am used to working with, the original design called for a snowman's holiday. By that I mean snowmen all over the place.

The first step was painting the background ... of course! I used a variety of colors to give the feeling of distance. Even the trees got lighter and smaller as they moved away from the front. Somehow, along the way, I felt that even while bigger, this birdhouse was still too small for a bunch of snowmen. Instead I created a small village on the front and one side letting the hills and forests follow around the rest of the birdhouse.

The piece de resistance was the roof. You can see the star side here, the other has a half moon similar to the one used by Proctor & Gamble. I don't like dull boring roofs anymore so always want to jazz them up. I then used some Elmer's glue mixed with water and coated the entire roof. Once that was done I sprinkled gold glitter all over the surface letting it fall and stick wherever it wanted. The effect is of a snowy, wintry day with the moon and the stars overhead. It doesn't get better than this! The ladies at the home loved it!

The other lesson here was creating the trees. While they were indicated with triangles, I remembered seeing a technique using a brush, perpendicular to the surface, and dabbing on the branches. This was the first time I had done this, other than in classes I had taken in Las Vegas. Using a very small brush I found that I didn't have to be so precise and that let a little color show though from behind it. I loved the effect. Then to jazz it up a bit more there was random snow giving the feeling of a forest and a snow covered village. The final touch was making all the trees up front look like Christmas trees using red dots of color. The effect is truly amazing.

Everyone here at the home loves it and I think secretly pine for one of my creations as a gift. I have sold one in fact. No one realizes the amount of work each piece takes. It is literally a painting ... but on a wooden surface.

Using the original sketch I have in fact begun a new birdhouse, this time larger that has snowmen all over the place! The hills are there getting lighter and lighter in the distance, the trees are also smaller and lighter as they move away from the front. But there are snowmen everywhere and I think soon to be added to the roof as well. The trick will be to make them appear to be standing on it in some kind of 3D look! Ah another challenge.

I still have time and only a few people to give gifts too. There are some other items I have created here at the home that may well end up wrapped for family and friends.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please check out the previous blogs. I try to cover all things that man designs from birdhouse, haircuts and beards, computers, movies, software, Apple and all the rest. I want to make people aware of the fact that everything in our lives is designed. Nothing just happens.

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