Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a quickie...

ACEO star catcher
I wonder where that one came from?:)

A Visual Treat

New Year is the holiday of my childhood, that was most loved at the time. We did not celebrate Christmas in the Soviet Union, and New Year took it's place for several generations of people who were born and grew up during those years.
New Year was the time of new hopes, presents, most delitious meal of the year was served, you would put up a tree and wait for Father Frost to show up.

I am a child of that age, so New Year is very very special for me. Still.
It is the time when I clean my closets, dig up old sketches, think of new ideas. I listen to lots of music and look at my favorite artists.
I would like to share the work of this wonderful photographer Matushka Medous . You can see all of her works HERE
The first image is dedicated to the animation Tale of Tales, that I have been talking about for the past two weeks:)
And here are some more beauties.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Movie Monday 12

A Documentary On Yuri Norstein . If you liked the Tale of Tales and the Hedgehog in the Fog you will certainly enjoy to see the great Master at work.

Documentary Part 2

And a short commersial by Yury Norstein, a great little animation that I discovered this morning

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have Enjoyed...

Some of the things that I have enjoyed in the past week of "pre" and "post" holiday flurry of things

We had a beautiful snow (for 2 days, ha ha)My son made me smile over and over again when he blew the candles out 5 times, because he is 5 and only seems fair that that should be done. I wonder what he will say when he is 37?

I got some AMAING gifts from Santa this year. Almost all of them handmade:)

Can you spy a cup by Stepanka and a cup by JDWolfePottery in this photo?:)The earings by Jorgensen Studio that Santa chose have already gotten me a million compliments, and I am simply in love with them
I also got a great set of blank watercolor postcards that I wil be sure to fill out with some images that are about to be born in my head.And then I got to see a fog. And it was a very nice quiet sort of fog,that makes you want to go out and wonder around the city dreaming of tree spirits.

What are you enjoying most during this season?

Friday, December 26, 2008

IF: Clandestine

The bottle that she found near the river looked extremely strange with the words "The bottle of spring" written on it. The girl suspected that there was a Clandestine message inside, and stories of Alice in Wonderland rushed through her head.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wishing you a Wonderful Christmas!

Trying to get into the Holiday Mood. The house is still a mess, just like one of thresuries states:), but I am working to get it all organized!
Happy HOlidays to all of you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kings on rollerblades, Kats and Birds on skates...

There is a poem that I really love that goes something like that "Kings on kingly rollerblades, Cats and Rabbits up on skates"..and it goes and goes and talks about a painting that is ment to be a Birthday present for a girl who turns 5. And some lady offers to buy that painting, but the painting can not be baught--beacause it has friends that are going to the birthday party. And friends can not be sold.

My boy is turning 5 today. And I wanted to paint something very special for him. All the characters from this poem dancing on paper would make a lovely painting.

My little boy. My big boy. My serious, smart, playful, delicate , excited, tired, happy, jumping on the bed, jumping in the puddles, throwing snow, refusing to try new food, drawing wonderful abstract pictures, always playing war, the youngest one in the class, loving history more than I could ever imagine, knight, loving to sit in my lap, still waking up at night, afraid of monsters under the bed, not afraid of spiders and goblins, driving me crazy , making me super proud.

I stayed up drawing till 12 am last night , but I did not finish the drawing. Being sick does not help in the matter. But I've got some sketches. I think I will finish it within next week. A cat on skies is going to be part of it:)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movie Monday 11

Tale of Tales
Wikipedia puts the plot of Tale of Tales in this paragraph, which I think says it very well.

"Tale of Tales, like Tarkovsky's Mirror, attempts to structure itself like a human memory. Memories are not recalled in neat chronological order; instead, they are recalled by the association of one thing with another, which means that any attempt to put memory on film cannot be told like a conventional narrative. The film is thus made up of a series of related sequences whose scenes are interspersed between each other. One of the primary themes involves war, with particular emphasis on the enormous losses the Soviet Union suffered on the Eastern Front during World War II. Several recurring characters and their interactions make up a large part of the film, such as the poet, the little girl and the bull, the little boy and the crows, the dancers and the soldiers, and especially the little grey wolf (Russian: се́ренький волчо́к, syeryenkiy volchok). Another symbol connecting nearly all of these different themes are green apples (which may symbolize life, hope, or potential)."
The words of the lullaby that is the main theme of the animation are these:
Не ложися на краю.
Придёт серенький волчок,
Он ухватит за бочок
И утащит во лесок
Под ракитовый кусток.

Baby, baby, rock-a-bye
On the edge you mustn't lie
Or the little grey wolf will come
And will nip you on the tum,
Tug you off into the wood
Underneath the willow-root.

Friday, December 19, 2008

IF : Voices

Winter hats on Etsy
Wondering in the snow, they did not speak at all. In fact they wondered for so long that everyone forgot they even had voices. Old folks say, that they were the winter spirits disguised as people.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Bits of Color

I am being counter productive today. And yesterday , and the past couple of days as well...
Trying to make a difficult decision of weather or not my almost 5 year old son needs to say in Kindergarten. I am leaning towards the fact that he does not. For the sanity of all of us, and not to kill his love of learning. I think I am taking him out for now, and may be we will try again next year. Or he will go to school only when he turns 6. I feel sorry for the kind of schedule he has to follow daily and I am going nuts trying to make things smooth.

I can home school him for now, and let him do all the extra things he is doing now. Plus he attends Russian school on Saturdays. It's a lot for not even being 5.

But I have to say, this is the hardest decision I have EVER made. Ever. I can even hardly sleep now, trying to figure out what is best .

Meanwhile a couple of pieces I painted trying to put my mind to some kind of peace.ACEO on EtsyACEO on Etsy

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sculpting with Kids

I have been asked many a times, what is the best medium for sculpting with kids?
My usual answer is the non hardening clay, Plastelin(a) as it is often called. I get mine from Dickblick.com

No, not play dough. Here in the US, play dough seems to be the medium of choice offered in every pharmacy and very very commonly used to sculpt with kids. However, I find it very inflexible, the colors can not be mixed and small details can not be made. My test for kids clay is if you can roll a long long "sausage" as I call them out of it, and it does not start braking and will not stick to your hands so that it makes you uncomfortable--than it's a good choice.

I had my private lesson with kids yesterday. My 2 year old daughter is always part of the lesson, and I have to tell you that I was majorly amazed at her yesterday. She stayed the whole time (a bit over an hour) and she was busy making a hedgehog. He he, it must be in the blood.;) Not only did she keep herself busy, but the hedgehog turned out quite reasonable and hedgie like. I am super proud of it. Almost as proud as if I made it myself.

I love using various objects with plastelina. Buttons, sticks, beads, wiggly eyes (those make the figure instantly come alive) and kids love to incorporate these objects into the figure. I try to keep the lesson a game. We do not study , we talk, we make, we play, we learn. We learn proportions, we learn anatomy, we learn Art history (I keep a ton of books at hand), we learn color combinations, we learn about composition and balance. I believe in serious education, yet I feel it is absolutely necessary to keep it a game. I hate underestimating my students. A 5 year old CAN make a figure that IS NOT a stick figure. But it takes time and discipline to stay focused on a task.That's why we play. When they play--they stay focused on the game, of course provided they enjoy the game.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Movie Monday 10

A story about a winter fish, an old man, a girl in red hat and a cat.
Slightly scary, but all ends well. shows nature of children's nightmares very well

Give Away winner (s)!

Winter hats pendant
Luck is a whimsical character, today as we did the number drawing from the hat, I asked my son to pick out a piece of paper with the number, but then my daughter came along and of course she ALSO wanted to pull out a piece of paper. So--we have 2 winners!!!!!!

First one was the comment # 4(Christina Silverio), and second was the comment #8(Rossichka) . Congratulations ladies! Please visit my shop and take a look. You can pick any one print or pendant that you like.

Thank you for participating! And I need your mailing addresses . Please drop me a note at golosa.zemli@gmail.com

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our first Tree or Holiday Smells

We got our first real Christmas Tree yesterday. It's our 7-th Christmas--New Year together as a family. All the years before we used a small artificial tree that we got from a flower shop in Midtown. I love that tree..I looks very real, and it grows out of a real tree stump. And I was against cutting real trees for the pleasure of having them in your home for a couple of weeks. Blah, blah, blah...Here we are. Why? Partially because I wanted my kids to know what a house smells like when you put a tree up (I remember waking up to that smell as a child), secondly I wanted to put our presents actually UNDER the tree, rather than on the table, and third I could not put another "no we don't do that" thing on my son this year. Halloween was the big "we don't do that" for this year. So one thing at a time.

It was great. We all went out around 8 pm last night, to the corner grocery that sells trees now. Picked out a fluffy green beauty, and then carried it home. Everyone smiled when they saw us on the street, and I felt particularly proud of my family, marching all together in the cold wind. Bundled up in scarfs and woolen hats. I like seeing my family dressed warmly:) I have no idea why.

And then we decorated it, with random things that we found around the house. I did not have any toys in store, but we had a few thing here and there that fit the purpose. And an Ikea straw toy collection came in very handy.
The cat thought that the whole thing was done to please him, and to make up a new game for him. I did not want to disappoint him, but when he tried to climb the tree, it had to stop.
So now we have a real, green, wonderfully smelling Christmas tree! YAY!
How about you? Are you getting ready? What smells do you find most holiday like?

Friday, December 12, 2008

IF: Rambunctious

Even the moust Rambunctious kids get tired. However sometimes getting them there takes the whole house being turned upside down.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I finished it!!!

It took me forever this time. I am not even sure why..The sketch did not form as fast as usually, I could not get the idea together. But, after several revisions --it is here!
Another custom portrait of mine, for a beautiful couple of fellow New Yorkers! I wish them happy happy holidays and many years of love and joy!


Who Put the Socks into my Printer Box?!

image comparisonI have gotten myself a new printer!

My older Cannon was doing a pretty good job printing, but the scanner there was dying a slow and painful death. Or should I say it was killing my scans? Slowly and painfully. They gradually became more and more grey, less and less contrasting...And finally I decided I needed to replace it.
It turned out that buying a separate scanner is almost as expensive as buying an all-in-one. So I chose the later. It is a Epson Artisan 800.
And it is still on sale on Amazon for something like $229. I used to own an Epson about two years ago, but my incompetence brought its life to a premature end. And I have been reminiscing about it's scans ever since.forest
Just to show the scans done on my Cannon and on my new Epson I will show you a couple of images.As you can guess the one on the left is the Epson one.
What does all this have to do with the socks in the box?
Well, the box that the printer came in proved itself to be an extremely valuable and useful thing.
First it was a boat, then it was a space ship, then it was a house, and later it was a Bear's den. How many thing can do that? I can assure you, that not too many. At the end of the day I find food, toys, my cooking devices and all kinds of random objects in that box. I think I will keep it for another day or so, and then send it for reincarnation in recycling.
I love that my kids can play these games. I love seeing that their imagination is well and alive and keeping them busy. Competing with computer games is no easy task, but so far so good--I like that they can now the joy of these simple games.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Movie Monday 9

Expecting a crazy Monday tomorrow, so posting today:)
A beautiful, touching motif, great graphics, very beautiful melody. A Yiddish song about a mother and a child.

Friday, December 5, 2008

IF: Similar

My study had shown that when placed in SIMILAR environment different foxes behaved differently.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

GIVEAWAY--for the best idea

UPDATE: forgot to mention I am part of the December Pickaland project. It is a beautiful blog featuring many many many talanted artsits that I admire, and I am very excited to be part of their package this month.
Little Piece of Summer

I am wracking my brain to figure out a way to get more exposure to my shop. I do get regular sales, no complains here:) and a BIG THANK YOU! to all my buyers especially to the regulars--who keep me going.

BUT, what I am looking for now is to get to a level of 3-5 sales a day. May be more;)

Any of you who have an idea for me (as for changing the products in the shop, advertising, blogging, website etc. ) ANYTHING that might help is invited to participate. Also this thread might be helpful to other struggling souls like myself, who are trying to make a living out of this Art thing.

The best advice will receive either a pendant of a print from my shop. They choose!

What am I doing so far?

Twitter--has proven to be a very efficient and worthwhile tool to market. I try to promote regularly, as well as write random things that are happening, to keep it livelier.

Project Wonderful--running a few ads here and there. Some of them give me hits to Etsy, others dont', but it's still too early to say if it works or not.

Hoping that Delightful Blogs will give some hits to my blog and hence to the store.

Bought a new printer that will allow me to print cards and may be even small calendars.

I started to promote EVERY Treasury I'm in. Supporting the Treasury makers, and fellow strugglers like myself. Also if it gets to the Front Page of Etsy, that would be nice.

Exploring the making of small useful things like magnets. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) Art has to be not only beautiful but useful for folks to want it.
And last, but not least. Should I keep making these? These are Art dolls, with moving legs:) A laminated print that can be used both as a hanging decoration, or as a magnet, if requested.

Walking Talking Horse

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Old creations, new creations, same creator

Holidays are always the time of reflection. At least for me. When I go back to my parents house for Thanksgiving each year, I think back to the year before, and before, and before. The house does not change much it just gets older and shabbier each year, I change. My work changes. My Mothers house is a museum of my work, starting from my High school ambitious horrible still lives, to college not less ambitious but a little less horrible visionary paintings, to my first dabbles with watercolor, that had some good ideas....They live their own lives there, hanging and hiding all over the house and being happy to See me again. I am not very original in my feeling that my Art pieces (especially the ones that took a lot of time and energy to create) are my children. I used to stay up all night painting in the basement of that house, listening to music and smoking. I quit as soon as I got pregnant with my first baby. I had big dreams, big ideas about painting. All that has scaled down to a more realistic size, but it's good to go back and refresh the feeling. The feeling of making Art JUST because. Not thinking about marketing, shops, commissions, business card design, Project wonderful, directories and all things of that matter. Now I know that one should go hand in hand with the other, but keeping the RAW approach to Art is absolutely necessary in order to produce something that has a breath of fresh air in itself.
Here are a few of my old creations. A painting of the Fire Element

A collage instalation called "Old friends", that one means a world to me. It is a closing painting of my Italian life. My friends that are no longer close (Marina, if you ever read this say Hi)

And an Icon that I painted for my Grandma. This one was an experiment in using Egg tempora with a recepipt from an medieval book. I guess I did not do it quite right, since it already crumbles and looks medieval:)

And what am I doing now?

I made magnets with glass tiles. Yes, it is not egg tempera, but it was a very fun thing to do. I think they turned out quite well for the first batch. Look for them in my shop now.

glass tile magnets

Monday, December 1, 2008

Movie Monday 8

I'm a little late today, but it is still Monday:) we just got back from our Thanksgiving travels to my parent's house, very tired but happy to be home.
This cartoon is from a series called "Lullabies from around the world" there are a few beautiful animations in this series and I will post the ones I like best. I will start with the Ukrainian one, watch past the the first minute to get a full feel of it. The first character that appears is not the best , but the music is beautiful throughout the whole cartoon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

IF Baloon

Flying horses
Tamers of the wild flying horses travel in their hand made air balloon and play the Magic Flute. The flying horses can not resist Mozart. Once you have their attention and they feel they can trust you you can start feeding them rose petals. You have to pay special attention that the petals are not too dry, or that there are no lady bugs on them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My new batch of Art Pendants has arrived!

I am very excited, since the old ones sold out RIGHT BEFORE the Holiday Season. I was not sure if I could get the new ones in time. But they are here:) And they are beautiful! I can say that without being bashful, since I do not make the actual pendant:) I am thrilled that the shoestringgallery does such a beautiful job for me!
Lots of different ones, and all of them are ready to find their new homes.
I personally will keep one of these for myself,
I already have one I like to wear, and I got a special multi-layer necklace for it. Here you can see it, the head had to be cut off though, since the facial expression would ruin the shot :) I am not very photogenic

We are on our Thanksgiving trip in Maryland. All of us, including the cat, who turned out to be a great travel companion.
My brother is coming back from college for his first "come back" Thanksgiving, and I am very excited to see him. So I am off to pack, drop things of at the post office and register our new car. We will be driving our brand new Scion XB, which is a rather funky looking car, or should I say unusual looking? But it goes well with my new hat, so I like it;)
Have a lovely weekend all of you! And I will be back with a more informative post next week!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Movie Monday 7

Dedicated to my dear husband:)
We had a truly awsome date yeasterday.

Friday, November 21, 2008

IF: Opinion

It is a well known opinion that babies need lots of love, sleep and fresh air. And this mermaid was determined to take good care of her little one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I am being Santa

Yes, it's this time of the year again. Wishes are being written down, miracles are expected and dreams about the Holidays are swirling around in my kids heads.

The older one (will be 5 on Dec. 23) has a very defined wish list, so being Santa for him is not too hard. He is still into knights and castles, Roman soldiers and good books (which makes me really proud)
The younger one 2.5 years old is just approaching the phase when girlish pink stuff seems more and more attractive. And you should see those pinks! Most of them are the horrible shade of the medicine you use for your upset stomach. I do admit that pink can be beautiful, but somehow it is not the kind that you usually see. So I am on the conquest to fight the excessive princesses and try to give her a slightly broader perspective to life. Which makes finding gifts not that easy.
So I will settle for some puzzles and games I think. And a toy bed for her stuffed animals.

And then there are always books....Toys and children's books are personal favorites of my to look for. I enjoy a good hunt for a great illustrator, an original puzzle or something that is well made and pleasing to the eye.

Last night I was making my list. THE LIST. And these are a few of my favorites that I have come across.

I find the books very well drawn, the colors are fantastic, and the elephants (especially the grey ones) have fantastic faces:) The story itself leaves a bit to be desired, but it is still good. I thoroughly enjoy looking at these books.

The book above is not the one I purchased for my kids, but the illustrator is the same Valeri Gorbachev. I remember him since the days I was little, he draws very unique looking bunnies and wolfs. So when I saw one of those critters on the shelf of Barnes and Noble the other day I had a very strong flashback. I am very glad to see that he has made a wonderful career here in the States. Books from our childhood do stay extra special throughout the whole life, it's been more than 20 years since I saw his illustrations:) Yet I remember them as clear as can be.

The one above has amazingly great watercolor washes ! Such delicate yet strong line work, I should rather say absence of the lines and the watercolors at their best. Also you can see the fox, which I liked so much that put into one of my last watercolors. The book is written by Hisako Aoki and illustrated by Ivan Gantschev

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making bits and pieces dance together

When I feel especially down, and unable to paint or draw I turn to my all time magic resource--sculpting. Well, sculpting is actually too big of a word to describe what I do, it's more like doodling with clay.
Somehow polymer clay is the medium that lets me doodle without too much thinking, and allows me to create characters that I like and that instantly boosts the creative potential, and I can paint again:) That's my cycle of boosting the creativity.
Also about a year ago I have discovered collages. Not that I did not know about them before, but that language of visual expression was foreign to me.
Step by step.
First I rediscovered Sergei Parajanov a master of cynomatography who also created amazing symphonies of color.

Parajanov collageParajanov collage And then there is always flickr. Flickr--full of wonderful pieces of Art that make me spend minutes and hours just browsing and admiring what can be done.

I absolutely adore the work of Sarah Lechner, the weaver of textile collage magic
Sarah Lechner image

And another Artist who never seizes to amaze me by her ability to use regular images cut out of magazines to create a surreal and Salvador Dali like world--Olga Golanov
So, what do I do with all this inspiration that I get?

Well, my collages are far far far from any of the above. They are still clumzy and very simple, but the truth is--I enjoy making them more than anything else. I savor making these, and leave this to the days when I do not feel like doing "serious" work:)


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