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Monday, October 22, 2018

One Last Declutter for the Garage

This summer we did one last decluttering of our garage (it stays quite cool in there so it is a good place to work when it is hot out).  It was in pretty good shape to start out but needed some tweaking.

My workbench was the problem child area.  The top had become a dumping ground.  And the tubs of creative material (stash) had not been gone through in a long time.

That has been taken care of.  The ladder rack of drift wood/boards is waiting for cooler weather as I need to empty it and wash what wood I am going to keep.

Himself cleared up the supply shelves enough that we have open space!  Now I can bring down some supplies that are stored upstairs to free up room there.

The area to the right is for recycling and mailing supplies.  (Himself hadn't taken the recycling out in a while... looks much better now!).  Need to do something different with my mailing stuff.  Working on ideas for it.

Himself's stash.  On top are things I need to fix.  A lot of it needs a bit of gluing but I find the odor of E6000 glue so nasty I'll only do it outside.  And it has been too hot for that for months!

And everything else.  Not necessarily "pretty" but organized and functional.  Hey... it's a garage!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Splat Painting

When the pour painting class was over, I decided to have just a wee bit more fun...

I knew the woman sitting across from me and noticed she had a lot of paint leftover in her catch pan.  It was really pretty so I wondered what it would look like if I dropped a canvas on top of it.

So I did.


Not quite what I was hoping for.

So C and I decided to keep fooling around with it.  I took more paint from the tray and filled in the areas where there was no paint splatted in.

Then C took some leftover paint from her pour container and dripped onto the canvas.  I did a bit more smearing with the palate knife (and my fingers) until I was satisfied.

Here's the finished piece.  One person said it reminded her of Monet's water lilies.

I like that!  😉

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Smiling Over Spilled Paint

I have always loved the look of Italian paper marbling.  Even as a child I would collect old books, fancy pencils, book marks... whatever I could find that had marbling.

Even now I'm not much my little obsession.  So you could imagine that I would be totally infatuated with the new "Pour Painting" techniques.  The only reason I hadn't embraced the art was that it seemed really wasteful of paint and I just couldn't go there.

But when the DAC (Downtown Artist Co-op) had a workshop with a really good price, I jumped on the chance to learn.  Himself had to drive me to the class as my eye was still healing from the injury I told you about last time... so he was able to take photos for me.  Good thing~ my hands were quickly a MESS!

I found it is not nearly as paint wasteful as I thought.  However, when you tell a Scots woman to be frugal, that's what you get!  See that little circle of paint at the top?  

I was a wee be too frugal!

Splat!  Better that time!

First I smeared it around.

Then it got the tilt treatment.

Next I blew it around with a straw.

Just a wee bit more to get it over the edges...

... oh so carefully!

And here's the finished piece!  Do you see the little dragon in it?

Repeating the process.  We made two 4x6 canvas pours and one 8x10 canvas pour.

This time I jigged around with a skewer instead of blowing with a straw.  I liked that better.

Using the skewer to drag color up into the white paint.

Tilt time!

Piece number two... with more dragons!  (Himself says I have dragons on the brain...)

And finally my large canvas.

I did a lot of dragging the paint cup this time.  I wanted to try a different technique with each canvas.

No dragon this time.  Definitely a flying fox (bat).

I really, really wish I had stopped here!

What a beautiful mess!

And here is my final piece.

I am absolutely hooked on this.  It takes a lot more skill and planning than you'd think, which I love.  Later on the instructor is going to have a class on how to make the paints (you've got to add stuff to make it flow easily and to make those cells/bubbles that are soooo cool).  I've already told her I want to take that class too!

A table of pour paintings set out to dry.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Plank in My Eye

See that tiny little speck?  For me... it was a PLANK that could have had very bad results...

That quarter inch speck is a single needle off of a cedar tree.

Last month I was pruning my collected cedar trees before I placed them on their new bench.  At 56, my eyes have changed to the point that I no longer need glasses for close work like reading and pruning.  I had taken my glasses off and was happily clipping away.  Then POP!  That one stupid needle landed in my eye.  OWWWWW!

I flushed it out immediately.  The pain went away although it still felt very irritated.  I thought, "Well, yeah... it is going to be irritated for a while" and went on about my business.  It stayed 'off' all evening.  After we went to bed, it really started bothering me.  I did the tug at the corner of the eye one uses to remove a contact lens and felt movement onto my lower lashes.  I pinched a hold of it and got up to see what it was.  That's it above~ a green cedar needle!

I went back to bed feeling confident that the problem was over.

However, my eye stayed slightly irritated for the next week.  Just slightly.  Since 1. I have a slight contact allergy to junipers, that would cause prolonged redness and 2. it is ragweed season- my eyes are going to be red for weeks!

That all changed 5 days later when I woke up in pain with a very red and slightly swollen eyelid.  It was time to go in for the big guns.  I was given eye drop antibiotics.  

Then the weird happened...

My eye was somewhat light sensitive and we drove into town for an appointment.  The sunlight was really painful and the strobe effect of sun and tree shadows was terrible.  

Long story made short...

I managed to strain the wee tiny muscles that make your pupil contract.  The strain caused major pain (like cry out with the pain).  Ones pupil contracts in response to light and when you focus on something close.  It also contracts when you THINK about bright light.  Bet you didn't know that one.

For three day I stayed in my basement studio with all lights off and it's tiny windows covered up.  For several days after that, I wore sunglasses in the house.  Then it got better literally overnight.

So please take a word from a much wiser Teri.  


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Open House for Bjorn Bjorholm's Eisei-en Bonsai Nursery

Nashville, TN has become one of the hot locations for bonsai with the opening of Eisei-en bonsai, to round out several bonsai nurseries already here (Tupelo Bonsai, Turnbull Creek Bonsai, and others).

(Bio is from Bjorn's web site (  ) so I don't mess it up!)
"Bjorn L Bjorholm, owner of Eisei-en, is a bonsai artist and instructor who spent six years as an apprentice under Master Keiichi Fujikawa at Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Osaka, Japan before receiving certification as a bonsai professional by the Nippon Bonsai Association. His tenure as an apprentice at Kouka-en was followed by three years as artist-in-residence at the same location, making him the first and only foreign-born working bonsai professional in Japan. During his time in Japan, Bjorn's works were featured in the Kokufu-ten, Sakufu-ten, and Taikan-ten exhibitions, among many others.

In addition to his work in Japan, Bjorn travels the world, from Europe to Asia to Latin America, teaching bonsai art and providing services to private clients and international organizations. He operates intensive bonsai schools with affiliate nurseries in Spain and the United States, while also working with international bonsai organizations.

In 2017, Bjorn and his wife Nanxi Chen relocated back to the US, and they are currently working to establish their bonsai nursery and school in Nashville, TN, with plans to officially open in late 2018."  (Bjorn Bjorholm)

September 1st and 2nd was the grand opening... and we were there!

Just through these gates are bonsai like you've never (probably) seen before.

"The name, Eisei-en, is as multifaceted as the garden itself. The term eisei is a combination of two Japanese Kanji characters. The first, ei (永, pronounced ay), is defined as forever, eternal, ever-lasting, and perpetual. The second, sei (青, pronounced say), means young, green, blue, and adolescence.

The combined word eisei could, therefore, be interpreted as forever green, eternally young, or ever-lasting youth. Beneath these more direct translations, though, lie several deeper meanings that speak to the core values and principles expressed in the garden - namely, always maintaining a youthful, energetic approach to learning; focusing on the future while never relinquishing the truly open, adolescent mind; and forever striving to provide for, and transmit knowledge to, the next generation.

The final character, en (園), means garden or nursery. Thus the name Eisei-en is brought to life, representing the garden's dedication to the future of the American, and the global, bonsai community.

Eisei-en is open by appointment only, Thursday thru Sunday, 9am-5pm. The garden is closed Monday thru Wednesday, and from mid-December to mid-February each year."  (Bjorn Bjorholm)

Blond hair, blue eyes, and tall is not what one thinks of for a bonsai master.  Bjorn has been called "the Brad Pitt of bonsai".   Yeah, he is kind of cute... and young enough to be my son!

This was my favorite tree of the large ones.  I was surprised at how many large bonsai there were.  Remember... "bonsai" means "Tree In Pot".  The pot can be really big!

Below are shots of some but not all of the trees at Eisei-en.

Amazing aren't they?

Bjorn also has a selection of Japanese pots and some viewing stones for sale.

It is going to be fun having him in the area.  I'm really looking forward in a year or so to being able to take a few of his workshops!