Monday, November 30, 2009

Eco Art: Self Portrait in Charcoal

This portrait is just a teaser, cause tonight I am working on a much larger charcoal drawing using the charred wood from inside my wood stove (which I am burning wood in for winter heat.) The drawing here though was a quickie self portrait I did while thinking deeply into how I can make fine arts truly part of my life again with the same joy I had when using the easy to access toxic art supplies I used to buy. Art by virtue of it's rebellious political stance really should naturally lend to a more earth friendly, recycled, upcycled and natural formation - AKA maybe a lil' less purchasing of mass manufactured supplies and more learning how to create our very own art supplies. Free is always good for the 'starving' artist anyhow. :)
This self portrait took only a few minutes, and was done on trash paper that had been stuffed in a box that was delivered to the house here... which made it 100% free and eco.
Can't wait to show ya' the next one...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wrestling In Big Sandy Mush Part 3

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Championship Wrestling in Big Sandy Mush! Oh yeah, I bet you thought it was over, that these guys packed away their speedos and wrestlin' one-sies just cause the winter weather came!?! Hell NO! These guys (and a surprise gal) came back with vengeance, to acrobatically, dramatically, and fantastically fight once again for the championship belt. You know, who wouldn't wanna come wrestle in the middle of nowhere at an abandoned school--- count me in!
I arrived fashionably late as always and missed the beginning of the first round where some smaller guys from South Carolina were getting boo'd off the ring from the strangely mixed crowd. The crowd was not only the die hard kids, guys, & old men who are familiar to me now, but I swear a mini bus load of hippies & hipsters had been dropped off this time too - and they were intoxicated, which meant more DANCING, yelling, jumping, laughing, fun.
I was particularly smitten with the big wrestler from Waynesville NC, because he was wearing the most awesome 'all in one' "USA" red white and blue outfit! He also beat the poor tiny guy from South Carolina... in fact their size difference made it nearly unfair. Moving right along to the next round were some guys I am now familiar with - the Hillbilly & TNT...
Even though the crowd was wild and plenty amazing tricks were being done, I got the feeling the wrestlers themselves were sluggish due to big Thanksgiving meals and lazy holiday-ness was creeping into their souls. Their match went on and on, and ended in a 'draw' in which the announcer said "We have two winners, not two losers!" :)
Then something totally new and shocking happened! A .... girl.... came out with the current Champion.... the crowd went bananas....
She was taking no prisoners, she wasn't there to be sweet - she was there to scream, yell, distract, support her honey and strut her stuff...she was the perfect authentic wrestling ho, to flank the readily boo'd evil Champion. One old man in the crowd started yelling at her "Go Home YOu JeZebel!!!!"With Jezebel at his side, the Champion beat out the opponent with no problem...
This costume below completely got my attention, he wore an "Army" shirt on the front but the back side of his shiny spandex finished the story... it looked like maybe he wrote "KILLER" on there with freakin' white out! Now that is scary stuff. Only true pysco's write on their outfits with shit like spray paint or white out or puffy paint.
KILLER and the whole gang all jumped in the ring at once because the last match was the winner will be the last crazy guy in the ring - and you had to be thrown over the top rope by any of the opponents in order to lose the round! It's a sight to behold when all the tight pant winners and all the loose pants losers are throwing each other out the ring left and right... I basically didn't know WTF was going on till there was only two left.
When you have a Jezebel hottie by your side, you are bound to hold onto the Chamionship belt... all my favorites, all the good guys, all the tiny guys, all the funny guys got thrown over the rope. Evil takes all again!
After it ended I sat in my metal folding chair and watched the men take apart the traveling stage (layers of canvas, padding and wood). I was pretty excited because I was asked by the head guy to be the "Official Blue Ridge Championship Photographer" and was wishing I could accept such an honor. Cause how cool is that? Not sure my health would really permit, but I sure as hec will make an effort. I was also contemplating why the group of Hippies and Hipsters thought that they should be the only ones to get the free wrestling posters being signed by the wrestlers and left the rest of us in the dust! Lame! Can't they share on their commune, and let us have one too!!! ;)
HA! In the words of AC/DC "aAAAHHhhhhhh A, THUNDER!"
Bye Ya'll!!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eco Art: Black Charcoal & Egg Paint

Woo! I have another color to add to my non toxic art-senal. Black, one of my long missed dark colors I used to liberally apply on my toxic acrylic paintings back in the day. I have not only missed the color itself but I have also missed the thick goopy opague quality that acrylics gave my art work. Last night I learned how to powder charcoal from the wood stove here, and turn it into paint!

1.Using a rock and a wood surface the charcoal was carefully crushed into a power by rubbing the stone over the charcoal... this was actually fairly easy and didn't take long at all.
2. After powdering the charcoal I took the powder and added it to an egg yolk (just the yellow part of the raw egg).
3. Stirring it together with bamboo stick (you can use a spoon, knife or anything laying around) it immediately turned black and was a thick dark paint ready for use!
I tested a blop on some scrap paper and it was good to go!
I made a paint brush by cutting a small bit of my hair out and tying it to a stick with a rubber band, then applied the paint to this scrap piece of wood (end piece from a lumber mill). The wood was rather rough and my brush was too soft for the rough wood, so the paint could not go on smooth - the surface in which you paint has ALOT to do with how much paint you will have to use and how it will look when applied (same reason why canvas is ghesso'd before use). The thing that was really cool about the black egg paint was you can easily scrape back into it and draw using the 'negative' technique (like scratch board). I drew this simple owl into the paint, while testing out how the egg & charcoal would apply, work, and especially how and if it would dry correctly after!
While waiting for it to dry i smashed some poke berries on the surface and stained the wood with it- using a little water to spread it around. One of the amazing things about the charcoal/egg paint is that not only did it dry rock hard, but it keeps a bit o' shine to it... in other words it does not really dry to a matte finish, it has gleams of light reflecting off the surface. Very cool!
This (new for me) discovery of using powder in egg yokes for thicker colors is awesome... you can most likely apply other natural & non toxic powdered colors like various spices and herbs (turmeric, paprika?) , and I would love to dehydrate native dye plants growing in the woods here and make my own organic egg paints for free with a wider range of colors!
When this project below finishes drying what i want to write above the 1970's looking owl is "Kiss me Stranger". :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gretta's Guinea Hens

This Thanksgiving I awoke to a new flock of hens here in Big Sandy Mush... Guinea Hens!!! My friend Gretta found this tight group of chirpers running around her Knoxville,TN neighborhood and captured them in a dog crate in her back yard. Gretta's brother Bort picked up the flock late last night and brought them to the old chicken coop & free range area here! YAY!
They were safely shut in the coop when I first saw them and did not seem all that scared of humans. They stayed together, very close - a behavior that is much more extreme then I have seen with domesticated chickens. Their faces look alot like vultures and they tend to put their neck in while resting, in the same position vultures assume while napping on a tree branch. Their feathers though are so vibrant and patterned so beautiful - striped like the back end of a male turkey, but all over their body!
They filed out together into the field to peck around in the grass...
I gave them food scraps but they showed no interest in them (unlike chickens) - if anyone knows about these birds I am open to suggestions on how to care for them.
In the meantime, check out how the flow of their back feathers are so dramatic and gothy. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oops! Ants

Sometimes when you cut up bamboo for kindling (for the wood stove fire) ya might find a lil' family living inside the hollow & cozy stalk! This whole colony of black ants fell out of a piece of bamboo onto the floor...
In order to get them back together, I took a broom and gently swept them into a dust pan. Bort (co-fire starter) got the idea to put them in a tin can with paper to hide under, and once they settled in there I put the can o' ants in one of my large potted plants so they could re-colonize somewhere more pleasant. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wanna See Someone Cute?

Oh, she is so key-ute-es! She built the neato nest you can see here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Funny Fungi

Heres a few of the remaining Mushrooms from this month (November)... once the real cold winter comes there is not much fungi action. We have been unusually warm this November, it's felt like a nice cozy spring most of the fall - with warm sunny days and intense ground soaking rains... good conditions for some mushroom bloom. These pictured here are my favorites cause they are bunches of fun. Fun-gi, he he. ;) The pink one up top is some type of cup mushroom... while the one below here is a mushroom with a twist!
These tiny fungi's growing on the dead apple branch below really fascinated me, how they look like the spokes of a wheel on the inside. Or maybe like the fury petals of a blooming flower? It's a beautiful basic pattern that can lead the imagination to so many places and inventions (and ya'll know how I am all about sum' biomimicry!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sketching A Sustainable Dream

There are some adventures which are just still a dream, but the only way to make that dream happen is to clarify your intentions and follow every avenue of possibility towards making it happen. I make creative lists, and now I make drawings of what I want too! Right now I am looking for land to purchase (with or without a structure already on it) so that I can begin where I left off a long time ago, in building my own eco & sustainable homestead to live out a peaceful and natural life on. The above pic is my drawing of what I want to happen, I got the idea of drawing when a old neighbor from back in Marshall NC told me once she looked for her farm for almost a year and couldnt find anything she liked, she finally sat down one day and drew an exact picture of what this dream farm would look like - she drew in small details like spring fed concrete watering hole for her horses and hills rolling a certain way, barns in a specific place. After she made the drawing it was in almost no time she pulled up to her future farm, which was an exact replica of every detail of her drawing.
Another thing I am loving to do, is take the online photos of all the places that woo me on the TInY HOuSes BlOg, and save them in a folder for inspiration! Below are some of my most favorites I wanted to share with ya'll... to see tons more like these, go here.
I am attracted to natural wood, whether it's flat, round, logs, cordwood, or a shack - if it's made with wood in a natural rustic way I fall in love. Being in a forest setting, these structures make more sense- they blend in better and hopefully attract wildlife. :)
On the TiNy HOuSes BlOg, there are so many hand built homes that are on trucks or made from horse trailors and other wild imaginative objects. This one below is an antique/vintage photo which is why it holds that true gypsy style and energy.
And of course- here is my dream hobbit cabin, which looks not only like heaven to me but also not too hard to construct.
Now we get to interiors of tiny eco homes- which make good use of natural materials, space, and re-use.
In the pic above I love the wooden counter top, I built an exact counter top like this in my favorite house I ever bought - and would love to do it again! The bedroom pic below gets me because of the feeling of a loft, yet full private room to sleep in- it is very well designed.
Now, the cob house kitchen below freaking rocks, basically cause a real tree with bits of branches in tack was used to hang things off of and i lovvvvvve the micro sized kitchen! I am not into cabinets, everything I have is useful most days and i like having little open shelves like in this micro kitchen.
And last... quirky construction, so quirky I don't even comprehend - but all those warm looking wood slats on the walls, floor and ceiling. Mmmmmm, COmE On DReAM HoME, I am ready for you!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Animal Tracking: Wild Turkey Scat

The other day I was walking in the woods when I stopped because I thought I smelled something odd. Within about 30 seconds I saw far up the hill behind some trees were a group of wild turkeys sneaking away! After crouching down and watching them slink out of sight I stood up to continue my walk... I then realized I was standing in a spot with turkey poop (aka- scat) on the ground and that was what I had been smelling.
Yay for my nose!


Small Grey Snake

I did not expect to see a snake in mid November! Usually they are hiding away from the cold, but it just has not been cold the last few weeks- and after more of days rain this snake came out into the morning sun to heat up his cold blooded body. It was a rather small snake and very well camoflauged into it's surroundings- so well in fact that i had no idea i was sitting about 8 inches from it, while i was scraping some sap off the bottom of a pine tree.
Look in the pic below and see if you can spot it?
It's scales were mainly a grey color but there were tan bits and a tan belly. It was highly alert about me being there, it's tongue never came out, it didn't move and it took one breathe to my every 5. Watching it breathe made me forget about everything in my life I think is important, the movement was mesmerizing & beautiful.
Does anyone know what kind of snake this is? It seems rather common here, especially near creeks and spring water.