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i forgot that i already scheduled a blog post for today so this is #2… ah well.
for those who know me, my deep adoration for poison bottles and specimen vials is pretty obvious. it’s a year-round, deep and passionate love, but during this time of year i think a lot more people share my penchant for such things. as such, i’ve just created and posted two new digital collage sheets for the altered bits site (click to enlarge):
you can find these and 7 other new digital collage sheets here: http://alteredbits.com/digital-collage-sheets.php
do you want to know how i create some of the aforementioned poison, alchemy and specimen labels i use in a lot of my assemblages and books? then read on!
this is an extremely easy process and it’s both fun and super cool looking. use them in a cabinet of curiosities or oddities assemblage or book, or just display them on a shelf. once my stupid over-priced epson printer is fixed (their warranty service is not my friend today — one would think for $2600 you’d get more than a year of coverage) i’ll be making lots more with the new labels i created. [cross your fingers my husband can fix printers — he’s super handy and has recently fixed a stove (twice), a washing machine, a toilet, a sink, a car bumper that decided to fall off, a rototiller, a few musical devices, a broken deadbolt and some other stuff — he’s pretty amazing so a printer should be a cake walk… but i digress…]
okay… to start, you will need this stuff or similar alternatives:
- a bottle of any sort, filled with your specimen(s), or whatever you’re using (there are usually lots of little bottles on the Altered Bits site).
- natural beeswax and something to melt it in
- acrylic paint (burnt umber is used above)
- a paintbrush
- a baby wipe or other moist wiping device
- some sort of scraper can be a carving tool, a super-sharp pencil, a thick needle, an awl, etc.
once your bottle is filled and corked (or capped if that’s what you’d doing), melt some beeswax. when thoroughly melted, dip the top of your bottle into the wax to cover it, and let it cool. keep dipping the top into the wax and let it solidify between dips until you feel it’s built up enough. i typically dip about four or five times for small bottles, more for larger. Set aside and let it dry/harden for about ten minutes.
with your carving tool (or needle or whatever you’ve opted to use), carve some random scratch marks into the wax. pierce it, puncture it, and carve it to give it an old or aged look. remove all little waxy remnants.
now whip out your paint and paintbrush. paint it all over the wax, taking extra care to get it into the grooves and divots in the wax. now wipe the paint off of the smooth parts of wax – the paint will stay pooled in the scratches, cracks and divots and look really quite cool.
(in the above specimen bottle i was going for a wormy-type effect but the green is a little NOT what i was going for. the strands that kinda look like gross tape worms are strands of hot glue i dried on parchment or wax paper and shoved inside — the green is natural food coloring but one of these days i’ll provide some way better coloring ideas. i made this about three… or five years ago and i’m smarter now.) <3
you can find a PDF tutorial of this here, complete with at least one typo (scroll to the bottom of the page): http://alteredbits.com/art-tutorials.php i’ll actually be adding a couple more “waxen” tutorials (waxen book and waxen dolls) in the coming months as well as recipes for natural dyes, assemblage projects and other fun stuff.
i meant to post right after opening night of my show at radio room but i’ve been a busy bee. the night was fantastic! i had so much fun getting out, visiting with friends and yes, selling art. it was quite a success, at least to me, with six paintings sold plus eight prints. should i not be sharing that? i have no knowledge of what’s proper and what isn’t in this area so i’m sharing. i’m kinda proud of myself. until i haven’t been the “get our there” type and i’m really quite enjoying the transformations this year has brought.
i’m currently working on several larger pieces which is totally atypical for me, mostly 12×24 plus an 18×18 and 12×16 commission. in the spirit of october, i’ll share my “zombie girl with a brain balloon”. she’s still a work in progress but i’m certainly enjoying working on her! i’ve since fixed the balloon more so it doesn’t look so flat and made her eyes a little better (still slightly askew, of course! my favorite!). i’m loving how the string of the balloon turned out, all tangled in her hair. i’m considering doing a small zombie series — maybe three. sounds too fun not to do and if nothing else, my little zombie-loving-eleven-year-old would be thrilled to have them in his room.
another one i’m working on (that also isn’t done) is this… unnamed as of yet. i’m not sure if i’m going to list her or hang her in my bedroom (we’re in the process of painting and remolding it and i think she might look pretty fantastic in there). like the zombie girl, she’s 12×24. she’ll have some ravens (or at least one) flying over head i think. i’ll share once she’s done either way.
as for the show, one of my favorite paintings that will soon be off to her new home is entitled “with music and with song” (i took that title for the little piece of antique sheet music used in the piece). short story: i usually arrive about a half to full hour early pick my son up from school so i can walk around the park, get a little exercise and breathe some fresh air, enjoy the trees, etc. every day i see this stunningly gorgeous indian lady in her beautiful black scarf. she just radiates beauty and love! one day she was wearing a red scarf instead of the black one i’d always seen her in and i just had to paint her. one of my favorite gals from shaman class snatched her right up and i couldn’t be more thrilled.
another one that i sold, is one of five more abstract pieces i had in the show. sometimes i need a little break from faces, although they are still one of my artistic obsessions right now. this is called “breathing holes” and measures 12×24. it will be flying off to new york at the end of the month to live with its new owner. it’s funny — i only like painting portraits and specific things in the summer, but this kind of work i love to do year round. i always wonder why art is so cyclic for me (for example i pretty much only make books in the autumn and winter). hmm. something to ponder.
this is my super favorite piece in the show and it’s still available. she’s entitled “nothing really bothers her, she just wants to love herself” and is 16×30. i know i shared a partial photo of her before but here she is straight on. you know i love anatomical hearts and redheads so that’s why she’s my fave.
over the next couple of weeks i’ll be posting the remaining pieces on my site… which brings me to more news. unless it’s made from the products i’m selling, i’m no longer putting my art (such as paintings) up on the altered bits site. i’m going to instead put it on my new art website (which i literally threw together in half a day and isn’t done yet so don’t judge): http://aliciacaudle.com/art. eventually the site will have all of my art, my shamanic and healing services, my farm blog and a gluten-free/non-gmo wholesome food blog ’cause that’s another one of my passions.
and i’m off… i have a bit commission to complete of a big painting with three girls in it. it’s for a friend who i used to do spiritual and light work with and cross-overs and such (i’ve probably never really shared that side of myself much, huh?). what are you working on today?
p.s. i’m having a one time only 25% off art sale from today through saturday for all remaining pieces from show. i have a sudden and unexpected car repair and outdoor school for my sweet boy all coming at once. i’ll be listing them on my site but in the meantime you can see photos (of not the highest quality) on the altered bits’ facebook page here.
november is art every day month. you can read about this here and see all of the participants here. please sign up if you feel you would like to — it’s such a great idea and i’m thankful to have heard about it before too much of the month got away from me.
i will be creating every single day of the month and will try to post at least every other day. this of course doesn’t mean i’ll have a new project completed every day, but i will be getting lots of things created.
right now i’m working on a series of ghost pieces… or haunted pieces. the first one i’ve completed is of a belly dancer (i’ve layered several vellum copies of her on top of one another, some wrinkled on purpose to give a more eerie appearance).
as you can see, i’m still quite obsessed with using these super cool old coin charms and tribal chain pieces. love them and for this piece, they felt quite befitting.
my second piece is in tribute to adella lineberry, 1885-1902, who died by getting trapped under ice while traveling with her husband and two small children. of course i made up this story, but i’m sure things like this have happened a zillion times in the past. i’ve always had a passion for memorial art, fact or fictitious (and i’ve done several custom pieces for people who have lost loved ones, which is some of my all-time favorite art — even though i don’t share it due to the sensitivity of it all). adella is not quite done, but here is a peek:
i’m kind of digging how the crystals look like ice (and yes, i’ve used that tribal chain again!). i’ll post more photos once it’s complete so you can see the silvery icy-looking cracks in the wooden substrate. today i have to write her obituary which will be included in the piece and then it’s almost done.
i have several images ready to go for this series and i’ll share two (these are more “haunting” than “ghost-like”). both of these images were taken on my new free phone’s camera and the camera sucks arse but it kind of adds to the effect, maybe. you can click to enlarge if you’d like.
and next, two sets of twins, or at least two sets of sisters. can you see the younger girls within the photo? i am thinking that this piece may have to light up from behind because it gives a hugely different effect depending upon the light you’re viewing the image in.
anyway, you get the gist. i will be posting each of these assemblages as i complete them, along with some of the other things i’m working on right now (the tallest handmade book in the world, some mini assemblage ornaments, and some new paintings). i’m taking this “art every day of the month” thing seriously (not that i often go a day without creating, but sometimes i get in too big of a funk to do much at all). i will not let my potential funks slow me down this time and with any luck this will give me more impetus to blog more often, too.
what a grand summer! arting both alone and with the kids, camping, traveling to see properties (that we can’t buy — more on that another day), weeding my ass off in the garden. it’s all around good times.
i’ve been spending a lot of time painting over the past couple of weeks while gearing up to break out piles of assemblage supplies (i like painting in the summer because it’s more portable — i can sit in the sun, or shade if i’m smart — i fry in the sun). here is a peek at some recent girlies. i call them my imaginary friends. well, four of them at least. the others are a bit standoffish.
these are available in my shop, here: http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php
the “tallest” handmade book in the world is slowly but surely coming to fruition and more resembling an actual book than a pile of gorgeous pages. i’ve just added drawers to the back cover but no peeks yet! i shall post some in the next week or three. i don’t know what it is with me and drawers and secret places in books, but i like it.
in the meantime, i wanted to share some of the fun art some of the kiddos and i have been creating. we’ve been trying to get together with a couple specific friends every friday for art, and have another couple of friends who come here on an irregular basis. friday before last, we made collaged “special boxes”. we thought we would make them so they can put other projects they’ve made into them to keep them save, along with other treasures.
finn (my 10 y/o son) reminds me of myself sometimes. somehow a nude stamp got into the pile of goodies which i thought i had edited well, but i hadn’t. his friend elie turned it up-side-down and diverted her eyes when she happened upon it, and finn snatched it up before a word could be said. here is the top of his box with the nude stamp and some skull beads (AND i am the lucky recipient of this box!):
miss el started to create a box house for some of her tiny dolls. i wish i would have gotten photos of the completed box house but i was too distracted. they both had so much fun collaging, painting and finding random items to glue on.
here is the table — think i brought enough stuff for two kids to make boxes? (this wasn’t even all of it!)
after that, finn was quite inspired to surprise elie with a doll house the following friday, and look what he made, complete with popsicle stick hardwood flooring, wainscoting, etc. i helped, but shhhh. she loved it and we had super fun making it. good times all around! this is a bad angle — there are photos of birds on the walls on the lower level.
soon we’re going to be working on some sculpted covers for handmade books (i’ll probably bind them for them). i love sculpting with the kids! in fact, here are two bird dolls el made before summer. these weren’t done when i took the photo, but you can tell she is an amazing talent!
here is a detail shot of their super cool heads:
anyway, having lots of creative fun both alone and with the kids, and loving every minute of it! hope you’re having a creative summer too.
i am one damn lazy blogger! after all these years this is only my 200th post!? that astounds me. i would have guessed at least 350. hah. but it is what it is… if i wasn’t so sleepy and side-tracked by my still-wet paint pallet i would do the math (i love math) to see what my average is. meh.
recently, i was commissioned to do nude portrait but something quite unanticipated emerged, which i felt i must keep. it’s the fault of these wonderful 20 minute paintings mentioned in my previous post. if you paint and you haven’t tried it yet, please try it! or do a 20 minute collage. or a 20 minute assemblage (i’m not sure even i could do that, but still — timing yourself and forcing yourself not to touch it after your time is up is kind of spiritual in a way… and shitty in others, but humbling and fun and free). i pseudo-timed myself on this one (after spending 4+ hours on many backgrounds and underpaintings.
acrylic, collage, graphite, ink and white gel
8×10 on canvas
it doesn’t look like me and is muddy, but i felt really drawn to her for some reason (more from how it makes me feel than from how it looks). so, she’s mine. i think i want to paint over that eye now, looking at it here. but enough of that.
sooo…. i’m having a post memorial day sale starting this very moment, through friday. $25 off select paintings. PLUS, anyone who buys a painting will be automatically entered into a drawing for a free 20 minute painting from me. you can pick male or female, nude or not nude. i hope you don’t pick a nude male — i’ve never tried one before. but i will if you do! see my sale paintings here: http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php i’ve never put my art on sale, but shameless admission: i’m nearly out of paint and canvases and need some art supply funds. is that bad to admit? well, even if it is, i just did.
here are a couple/few of the paintings up for sale (these were NOT done in 20 minutes):
after i posted the second to the last one (the noseless gal with blacked out eyes), i got a commission to do a custom rendition of her in 30×30″. this is going to be fun! and my largest painting ever.
happy memorial day to all!
i have a new obsession: timed 20 minute paintings. jane spakowsky (a.k.a. “gritty jane”) has an online art group called the trodden path which i am a part of. within that group is a sub-group of 90-something people who have been been doing this. it really is quite freeing but sometimes it’s very difficult to stop. my eye twitches to see some of the outcomes, but i’m loving it none the less.
here are my first four, where i did not go over the 20 minute mark…
acrylic, ink, graphite
6×12 on watercolor paper
a guy i dreamed of
acrylic, ink, graphite
6×12 on watercolor paper
acrylic, ink, graphite
6×12 on watercolor paper
acrylic, ink, graphite
6×12 on watercolor paper
none of the above are available any longer, but i will be listing the one below for sale soon (along with several other new paintings and a few potential assemblages).
and for my fifth, timed 20 minute piece…
a guy i think i used to know
acrylic, ink, graphite
6×12 on canvas
try it and let me know how it turns out. are you able to stop in 20 minutes? personally, i think i do better when i don’t think about it. my brain really starts to get in the way sometimes.
and in other happy news, i’m going to be reviewing a MAGNIFICENT mixed media art book here very soon. stay tuned! you are going to love it!!
i’ve never been very creative in my naming of things, but there is typically a story behind all that i create. there is emotion. passion. every single piece i make is a reflection of what i’m feeling at that particular moment in time… i’m moody — and i think it shows.
i started this piece several weeks ago and kinda fell in love. i wanted to hold onto it for awhile before posting it up for sale. do you ever do that? feel a connection with your art and along with it the need to hold onto it for a wee bit? it’s the heart — i am a deep lover of all things anatomy, particularly hearts, and this one is pretty fantastic in my opinion.
here is a detail shot of the heart:
i typically work fairly small, but this piece measures 16″x20″ — i’ve been doing larger things lately and i’m liking it!
a really wonder what an art therapist would say. i was looking at some photos of my most recently completed pieces and they all seem to have some line(s) of separation. divided color and texture. two totally different halves/portions.
and some up-close details of the texture/patterns:
this piece is currently available here (along with additional photos): http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php
next up: some movable, light-up pieces i’ve been working on the past couple of years. or that’s the plan. i always get distracted or discouraged with the “whoops, got the wrong kind of LED” and whatnot then put it off again for another few months. we shall see how it goes.
the husby, son, pup and i went down to lorane oregon last week to look at the cabins i mentioned in my last post. so in love!! i hadn’t been there in a couple of years and hadn’t walked out behind the property and in the surrounding area in about… twenty years!? even the boy, who said “we’re never moving from this house!” when we left said “ohmygawd, you have to buy it now! it’s so beautiful here!!”. he’s such a sweet boy.
it’s no wonder my fellas have fallen in such love with the area like me — look how beautiful it is!! these are all within a few moments drive from the property (which, by the way, is WAY more beautiful than the previous photos depicted — i was an arse and didn’t take any photos though!! wth!?):
in a nutshell, the property (despite being so very dear to me) may not be as perfect as we once thought. the surrounding area is owned by weyehauser (too lazy to look up my potentially-wrong spelling right now) and they to aerial herbicide spraying, or at least used to. fuckers. i refuse to live around that. the sole water source to the cabins is via a mountain spring which could easily be contaminated, for one. BUT, there is a stream through the property with a state protected salmon run so they may not be able to spray anymore. i’ve only found evidence that they have been doing regular spraying up until 2011 so either they stopped, or they didn’t. if they’ve stopped, i will make an offer on the property and live happily ever after. if they didn’t, we will find another property.
all of this has clearly effected my most recent art piece: cabin in the woods under the moon (shown above in my front garden). maybe i’ll create 7 of them for some universal magic. <3 this piece is currently available in my online shop along with a couple of other new pieces i haven’t shared yet >>
here are some detail photos:
this piece measures 8×10″. ingredients: 1920s sheet music (the cabins are 1920s also so it felt befitting), acrylic and ink on clay board.
this week, my heart is in lorane, my mind is on the gorgeous seven cabins (i already picked out my future art studio which has ivy growing up the side and japanese maple outside the window), and i’m hoping to find out about the stupid spraying so i can see what our next step is. either way, there is now a fire under our arses to find that perfect property for us so we can branch out, have a larger farm, get goats and more chickens, and live off the land. i’m not going to let this get me down. we spent 9 months trying to find the perfect place in alaska after spending last summer there and when we discovered a school issue and that we couldn’t move there for ten years i got into a huge funk. not this time! whatever is meant to be will happen. i think. and i will be happy. i have to.
UPDATE (about an hour later):
apparently there has been no spraying for 2-4 years and will not be any more spraying for 50+ years, once the trees behind the property are old/tall enough to harvest again. in 50 years i’ll be 89!! :)
meeting with mortgage guy today. woohooo! (oh, and the seller told the realtor who is his son that he loves that i was born there and that we would sign 2 year lease agreements with all of the tenants!) it’s still hopeful after all! little straw bale house and cabin-art-studio and art retreats and organic farm, here we come! :)
first, the old.
the perimeter of my studio has been getting more and more cluttered over the past [VERY busy year] but now that we have a new pup and i want him to be a studio dog, i’m tackling the boxes and mini-piles. somehow, i managed to find a small cache of artwork that i never posted up for sale. this is round one of “the old”. since my walls are pretty much covered from ceiling to floor as it is, i’m having a “vintage alicia-art sale“.
charlotte in spring: i did do a blog post on this piece once many moons ago, but never ended up listing it. why? i’m ADD and am easily distracted by
shiny rusty objects (and i have plenty of those around here to catch my attention). otherwise, i have no excuse.
charlotte’s song #9: i did a 20 piece series called “charlotte’s song (late 1800s to early 1900s sheet music and frozen charlotte dolls, you see)… and this is the only one that remains. eighteen of the others sold, and one was given to my mum because she was in love. so sweet of her!
charlottle sometimes: i created this piece in late 2010, originally [i think] for kerin gale’s book “inspired remnants, curious dreams” but i ended up submitting a different piece instead… so she ended up in the “post this on your website when you have a spare hour box”… apparently it took a couple of years for me to remember to do what i had intended to do back then.
if you’re interested in any of these pieces, you can find them here >>
next, the new.
over the holidays i ran out of time to work on my “keepers” series of little assemblages, but now that my weeks and weeks of company are gone and craziness is over, i’m back at it. part of this was created awhile back, but i’ve just now finished it. i bought two pairs of these eyes that i used in the piece and lost one, so only have one left. if only i remembered where i bought them!! these were among my favorite taxidermy eyes ever! even worse, i had 6 of these little round metal bits that they fit perfectly in, and now at least three will go eyeless. about time for a taxidermy eye shopping spree again if i do say so myself. if you have a favorite taxidermy eye shopping place, please let me know. van dyke taxidermy is fantastic, but i can’t remember the other place i’ve gotten them.
the keeper of color. 5×5″, handmade box on collaged canvas.
click to enlarge if you’d like to check out the detail. my favorite part? the eye. i covered it with several layers of resin and crackled it around the edges. see:
this piece can be found in my regular shop, here: http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php, along with several additional detail photos.
holy cow. i was totally abducted by aliens and what felt like three days “up there” was actually, roughly, 3.33 months here on earth for the rest of you. funny how strange time is from dimension to dimension. upon my return, i had a bit of a mid-life crisis (that is mathematically accurate if i live to be precisely 76)…
i realized that i’ve not been 110% happy, and i do think everyone should be at least THAT happy in life. what’s to be unhappy about when you’re the mother of the best boy on earth and the wife of the hottest and kindest [younger] man in the world? it took a wee bit to realize that my problem is that i’ve wanted to have a farm for as long as i can remember. i want to be an artist farmer… or a farmer artist. over the past two decades i’ve outgrown web design. i LOVE design. but i HATE coding. i’m too old school for all the new school technologies. the fam and i have been looking for a new house with room for me to have a wee farm for over a year and a half but to no avail, which has been borderline crushing. it’s really sad to fall in love with, for example, a 1920s 7 bedroom farmhouse on 9 acres only to find out at the last minute that it’s on a flood plain and flooded the year previous. no thanks.
but…. i’m 98% happy now! we have decided to buy a parcel of land instead and build our own little farm house — that way the house will be perfect and not mediocre (we have picky tastes). we’re actually looking at 60 acres in douglas county, oregon (about 3 or 4 hours south of where we currently live in portland) and another 160 acre parcel a little ways farther down the road. yes! i have already morphed into a temporary architect and designed our house (a real architect said my designs were fantastic — apparently i have a knack for home design). we’re building a straw bale home, complete with solar and wind power, and hydro as well if we have a good water source, and recycled rain water system (perfect in oregon) for bathrooms and laundry, a well for drinking… totally not quite off the grid. we’ll have internet and cell phones, of course. heat: a huge masonry stove. passive solar. all the good green stuff i love. i totally should have been born in the pioneer days ’cause that’s really my cuppa tea for some reason.
to crank the happiness notch up a bit more, we’ve decided that since it will be a couple/few years before we can buy our land/sell this house, there is no reason we can’t have a mico-farm here. we already have a 1919 farm house… so now our entire yard is a huge garden, complete with greenhouse, cloche and all sorts of goodness. i’ll share more about this soon for my gardening friends (have several hundred veggie starts already inside, in the greenhouse and in the cloche). we got a little farm pup named modoc… a 10 week old lab/border collie mix and 6 chicks hatching in a couple weeks (huge chicken coop/run done and ready to go). i’m elated! i now get to play in the dirt (we have about 1500 square feet of garden beds which is no “farm” but it’s a fantastic start), grow things and paint every day, along with the whole home school adventure, dog potty training/stop chewing that/let’s go on a walk, etc. it all makes me so happy! so, for the moment, i’m an artist and an urban farm girl. woohooo! if you’re in the area and need some organic tomato starts let me know ’cause i have 72. i now realize that’s far too many.
despite my silence, i’ve been arting a lot as you can see above and below. some of the pieces are still available on my website: http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php. i’m working on some assemblages next which anyone who knows me knows i loveloveLOVE (1374% out of 100). due to limited space at the moment (gearing up to do lots of remodeling around here) i have to work cyclically: paint/collage for awhile, then put that away to do some assemblage for a wee bit, then put that away to work on books, etc..
i have some other new stuff but i’ll save that for another post. this is already so long!
now, to save the best for last, i got an email from seth apter this evening to inform me that i will be featured in his tell all portion of the pulse next sunday. cruise on over to the altered page and have a look and a read. you don’t have to wait until next sunday — go over there now. he always has such amazing posts… i could spend half my life there and would be elated to do so. (thank you so much, seth, for all that you do!!) i will post a reminder on sunday morning in case you forget.
p.s. here is a photo of our new baby. my second son, the canine: