Birch Bark Wall Art Sculpture

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So A while back my husband and I came across some birch logs that someone was just going to get rid of. I wanted them immediately to use for pedestals for putting Art pieces on. Well as they started to dry out one of them started to have it’s bark peel. It was just a little at first so I didn’t think anything of it. But then the other day I noticed that it was coming lose big time. So I decided to help it a little. My first thought was that maybe if I socked it in water I could slowly flatten it out and then paint on it. But when it came free it was so beautiful just the way it was.CAM00376So I decided that I was going to make a wall sculpture piece with it. First I let it dry a little in the sun and cleaned it up a bit with a big brush. Making sure to get any decay off of it. Then after it was dry I put a coat of clear none yellowing varnish over it, front and back.

Then I had to think about how I was going to mount this thing on the wall. I tend to do my best creative thinking at night right before I fall asleep. So true to form just as I was ready to dose off the answer came to me. I would cut out wooden shelf like shapes that would be the perfect couture of the bark so that it would hold it’s shape and give me something to nail a backing board to.CAM00382

This was a little tricky but with some cardboard to make templates I eventually got the shapes I needed. Then I just traced those shapes on a piece of wood and cut them out with a jig saw. I then nailed them in place with a nail gun that was powered by an air compressor.

I then cut out a backing panel that I would nail (with nail gun) to the shelf like support boards. Once this was done I needed to drill wholes in the backing board to be able to hang it on the wall.

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Here is where it got a little trickier. Since this piece is a little heavy I wanted to make sure I was nailing into the studs instead of just the sheet rock. So, because I wanted to hang it over the guest bed,  I found the center of my head board with a tape measure and marked my wall. Then I took my stud finder and located the two nearest studs.  I found that they were 15 1/2″ apart.

Next I  measured the sculpture to find it’s center. Then I measured from each center to each stud and found the placement of where I should drill my hanging holes.

Once the nails were in the wall, The piece went up. I looks even more fabulous that I thought it would! Our guest room is painted in a grayed moss green with white trim, so this was the perfect accent pice for the room.

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What do you think?

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Published ~ Cow Tagging

12512315_10153292609467548_5967448448657354210_nI am so excited to announce that my Colored Pencil Piece “Cow Tagging” is Featured in Jan 2016’s  Color Magazine!  2015 was an amazing year for me and my art. In January like many of you I set 3 goals for myself.

#1. Was to Be in at least two art shows.

#2. Was to teach art classes

#3. Was to become more business minded

The year started out with me planning my son’s wedding and I was so wrapped up in it that I didn’t have much time for my art. Then one day my sister came over to visit and told me that “I have just been down to the local art shop and I asked them if they needed teachers. To which they said they did, so I told them that my sister  I would love to teach for them. I gave them your card!”

Well I was shocked, I told her no! I couldn’t possibly. I had a wedding to plan and so much going on. Pretty much came up with every excuse possible. I agreed to pray about it, and told her I would go down and meet them in a week. Well that interview went so well. I just fell in love with the ladies that run the shop. SO in February after my son’s wedding I started teaching. I have been teaching and loving ever since.

Of course now that I was teaching at Ye Olde Art Shoppe, they wanted some of my art hanging in their gallery. I was also able to hang one of my works as a member of the Umpqua Valley Arts Member Show. I was also contacted by Mind Power Gallery in late summer, who were interested in hanging my Tree series acrylic paintings.

I Love My Life! Boys Gymnastics

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I got good news last night! I was promoted to lead coach of the little boys gymnastics team.

I was so proud of my boys as they gathered around the pool before their big competition. As I was looking around for something (can’t remember what) I accidentally bumped into the soccer referee and nearly knocked him into the pool. He was very upset with me, but not for bumping him, NO, it was because I was wearing my pajamas to the gymnastics meet. I though to myself, how can this be? I know I spent time picking out my cloths for my first big day! It was so tragic. So I told my boys was going to run home and change quick and be right back. I felt so bad leaving them by themselves when they must be nervous about competing.

So I rushed out into the parking lot to look for my car. The parking lot was more then full as the collage across the street was having a graduation today day as well. I walked quickly through the lot looking up and down the isles to try and see my car. I walked through buildings and tunnels and even a few tents looking for my car when I finally found my little white diaper wipes box that had a few of my purse items in it. What is this doing here, I wondered? Well at least now I had my keys. ( You see I had lost my purse earlier and had to make due with the diaper wipes container.) A few tunnels latter I found my purse as well, but still No car. Then just across the way I thought I spotted my daughters red pick up truck. Just as I turn to head for the truck someone touches my head and wakes me up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATotally confused I jump and say “WHAT?”

My husband just replies with “I Love You!”

I ask him if I was talking in my sleep or if he needed something?

he said “NOPE! I was just thinking about how much I love you and wanted to tell you.”

So my dreams might be a total chaotic mess, but thank God My real life is wonderfully put together.

I smiled as he said “I’m sorry I woke you.” I told him that I loved him too and turned back over and went back to sleep.

When I woke for the day I rolled over to get out of bed and ran face first into the guest room mattress that is being stored beside our bed during the remodel. LOL! So maybe real life isn’t as pulled together as I would like! ~~~ I Love My Life!

 

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I Love My Life ~ Keys

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I went into town today to see the chiropractor, then I thought I would look for a valentines gift for my sweet heart. I found a large bulky object, to be disclosed later, then had to carry it to the front of the store and though the cattle lines to the cashier. Yeah, probably not the smartest thing to do after a back adjustment, right?
 
So then I go to meet a friend for coffee. My back is hurting, of course, so I decide to just take my wallet and my phone into the coffee shop and leave my large purse buried in the van under stuff because it’s just to heavy for me today. We had a great visit, then I went to reach for my keys…
 
There were no keys. Guess what I locked in the van with my purse? Genius! Thankfully my friend hadn’t left yet and I was able to get a ride over to where My husband works, instead of having to walk a 1/2 mile in the cold and rain, without the coat, that I had left at home today! I know, smart-right?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I am clearly on a roll today!
 
I walked into the store and said to my husband “Please tell me you have the extra van key on you today!” To which he said, “YEP!” with a bewildered look on his face. I tell him “Story later, got to run!”
 
Happiest day of my life!!! Well close anyway! God is good! Yep,
~I love My Life!

Chutzpah for 2016

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At the beginning of 2015 I set three goals for myself and decided to act on those goals with determination!

I had really never done this before, instead I have always given myself room to fail, as secretly that is what I expected I would do anyway. I am not sure when exactly in my life I had adopted this stupid attitude, but I was tired of it and I had decided that 2015 was going to be different! This time I was going to write my goals down and hang it where I would see it everyday, and be motivated into action. AND IT WORKED!

Goal List

#1 Teach art classes. This one the Lord had to give me a little nudge on, because though I wanted to teach, I still lacked the confidence in my work to feel that I had anything to teach to others. But through a series of strange and miraculous events, by mid February I was committed to teaching art classes at Ye Olde Art Shoppe in Myrtle Creek Oregon.

I have learned so much about how others see my talent and have learned to value what I know and have to share with others! I have also grown to love my students and all the precious people I have met through my time there.

#2 get my art in at least TWO shows. My art has been on display at our local Art Shop/ Gallery where I now teach art classes since  I started there. I also had opportunity through them to show my work in local summer festival booth. I finished out the year with a reception and showing of over 30 of my pieces as their Featured Artist there as well. On top of all that, as more showing opportunities came up I was able to get all of my art work framed in less then one years time.

I also became a member of the Umpqua Valley Arts Association and was able to hang my Colored pencil painting entitled Emerald Eyes in a members show in July and August.emerals eyes

In May I was contacted through my online Etsy shop by Mind Power Gallery in Reedsport Oregon and was invited to hang my 5 piece Tree Series acrylic paintings with them. One painting has already sold and the rest will be remain till I am able to switch them out for other pieces of mine soon.

Starting 2016 with a BANG

Starting Jan 2016 my coffee paintings will be featured at My Coffee in Roseburg Oregon . Then after they are done hanging there they will move to the MindPower Gallery.

I also started entering my art in contests. In November my piece “Cow Tagging” won in the beginner level in a national colored pencil group. This prize came with the honor of my painting being published in “COLOR” magazine which is for color pencil artists. I my piece just arrived in the January Addition.😀 Starting off my New Year with a Bang!

Cow Tagging facebook jpg

#3 Become More Business Wise. This journey was complicated and tough, but well worth it. I learned to value my own work and the time it takes me to complete a piece. It taught me to put a dollar value on it as well, without feeling guilty about charging people for something that I enjoy doing.

I also had businesses opportunities come up that were both exciting and terrifying at the same time, causing me to spend serious time counting the costs and much time spent on my knees asking for guidance and wisdom. This process awakened an excitement and vision concerning the business side of my art that had not been there before.

I also purchased and set up my own website Jackielittlemiller.com. Here I have set up an online portfolio with added links to where you can view and purchase my work.

This year I have set new goals; along with each goal I have set a list of ways actions I plan on taking to achieving those goals. While I have been embolden by what I’ve learned this last year, I still have a long way to go. It seems silly that at 53 year I would still be dealing with such insecurities, but that is just the truth of the matter my friends.

This year I have been asked to describe my goals in just one word. The first word that came to mind was brave, but it isn’t enough. It’s just not the right word. Maybe courage? NO! Still not what I need. Then the perfect word came to me, Chutzpah!

Chutz.pah

Shameless audacity, Impudence.

Synonyms: audacity, cheek, guts, nerve, boldness, temerity

I’m tired of being timid and reserved. I want to stand firm, bold in who God has created me to be, and the talents that the Lord has given me. My word for 2016 is chutzpah. So if you hear me being timid and doubting myself, and my abilities. Please make me stop it, and remind me of my word for the year!

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Outside The Box ~ Outside The Box

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So I have enjoyed doing the outside the box portion of this blog for years, right? Anyway I recently fell in love with a selfie my son and his boss had taken while at work at Crowder Brothers Ace Hardware in Lakeland Florida.Leigh and Charles

I knew immediately that This was going to be my next painting. I love doing portraiture with intense expression, especially if that expression causes people to smile. I knew that the title would be “Out Side the Box” right away too. My original thought was to put them looking into a box and having the box flaps framing them in. I tried this but couldn’t get the perspective of the box to look right and everyone thought it was a sack. LOL! So I canned that idea. I will have the final piece matted with a cardboard brown mat to get the same look.

SO I set forth to making my preliminary drawing and getting it on canvas.I tried painting it in acrylics, during a heat wave. Very bad idea as acrylics dry so fast. It was so frustrating because I just couldn’t blend the skin tones like I wanted. So I thought “well I will just finish it in oils. But I hadn’t worked with oils in a very long time and didn’t have the size brushes I needed to do the job right.

So again I went back to my original sketch and this time I drew it on all Media board and worked with colored pencil. I have only been working with colored pencil for about 6 months, but I absolutely love them. Being a art teacher down at the local art shop, I used this piece as a technique and style lesson. Double bonus points right?

Anyway I worked for days to get the faces just right, but was never satisfied with them. I liked the face of my son’s friend, but then I didn’t really know him. But Knowing my son so well I just wasn’t satisfied with his look. In frustration I decide to work on the background and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t touch the subjects again till the back ground was finished.

Do now I had to decide if I was going to do the ceiling of the store, or if since the title is outside the box, if I should place them outside and let the sky be their ceiling. I thought the second idea might be too tongue in cheek, but since I had planned to do a sort of comic book, realism cross kind of style, I figured I could get away with it. So on came the clouds. I have always been one to kind of avoid background because to me they are the hard part, but as I laid in the clouds, the faces became alive to me. I actually at one point teared up as I saw my son in the painting looking back at me. I am now a true believer in doing my backgrounds first. I hope you enjoy the final painting. And I hope you continue to think outside the box!

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We don’t go to church! ~ Food For thought

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Where are we as a church today? I was talking to a neighbor a week or so ago who had fallen a year ago and broke her leg in several places had pins surgically implanted, and has been wheel chair bound since. She was saying that she was frustrated with all the work that needed done around her place , weeds a foot and a half high, grass that needs mowed…and how her daughter was struggling to make ends meet and how she had just broken down crying at her in ability to do it all. Then she said something that brought me to shame. She said that she has had people come to talk to her about Jesus and not one of them have lifted a finger to help. She then made the statement that still rings in my ears, “Let them show me Jesus by helping me in my need, then I will be glad to listen to them tell me about their God!

Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick and touched the untouchable.

We “go to church!” Something is wrong here.

So today As I was getting ready to go to Sunday services, I was thinking of what I should wear, what the weather was going to be like so I wouldn’t be to cold or to hot. I made sure my hair looked great. Well as close to great as it would get this morning any way. I knew that we were going to have to leave with in minutes to make sure to get there in time and have a few minutes to chat with people before the service started.

I was putting on my make up When my son walks in the room and says that his Girl friend (who is house sitting for another one of our neighbor ladies,) had sent him a text LAST NIGHT. So apparently she had gone downstairs to get a snack at about midnight,  and noticed that all the food in the fridge was warm, that the Fridge was no longer running. But My son, knowing that we were already asleep for the night decided to be a sweet heart and not to wake us but to tell me in the morning. Probably not his best decision,  Right? Right!

So now there I stand in my prettiest cloths and I need to make a decision. DO I go to church since I am already 12 hours late on this info and there is probably little I could do, Or do I scramble the fleet and get as much food salvaged as possible for my neighbor and friend?

Well it turns out I really didn’t have to make this decision, because we don’t go to church! I didn’t have to take a vote and ask the family how many wanted to attend services and how many wanted to save food for our precious neighbor. I simply looked ant my husband and he looked back at me. It was immediate, it was understood.

Without thought of himself or if he would be late for work, my husband headed out the door to check out the situation. Was it a blown breaker? Was it going to be an easy fix or would it take more drastic measures? Even though he was supposed to leave for work in just a few minutes and he hadn’t eaten or packed himself a lunch. HE went and he served.

I pulled on an apron and opened our chest freezer and started to rearrange, evaluate, clean out and move what I could into our small refrigerator freezer to make room for our neighbors freezer food that was still frozen.

We have a lot of Ice in our freezer because my husband fills up every extra square inch of our freezer with water filled milk jugs just in case our electricity goes out so it will help to keep our food frozen longer. So I sent my son to take all of our ice from the freezer, put it in the van and drive over to the neighbors to pack her fridge with the ice and bring all the frozen stuff back here. If the fridge food was warm last night I doubted that much could be saved this morning, but by packing the fridge with ice it would keep what ever might be ok, cool till my neighbor gets home this afternoon to decide what to keep and what to throw out. He also put as much of her frozen stuff in her chest freezer as would fit, and brought the rest here to fit in our freezer space quite nicely.

By now it is late, maybe too late to get to services on time, but with out much thought we decide to go anyway. On the way there I realize that the van needed gas or we were not going to get to services at all, so again we stopped. As the tank was filling, it was 10:00am and services start at ten and we still had a 25 minute drive ahead of us. But we were not discouraged or stressed, We were not even late for church. Why? Because We don’t go to church!

We are the Church! Church isn’t a building with 4 walls, it is the body of Christ loving our neighbors as ourselves.

I have not told this story so you can see what a sweet family I have, or how wonderful we are. No! This I tell you because I think much of this truth gets lost in our busy lives. So often these days we get caught up in looking like the church but not actually being the church. My neighbor lady knows I go to church every Sunday and though she respects me and my family, she probably would not have been impressed or felt the Love of Jesus,  if I had chosen to go to church and leave her food to parish. But I guarantee that she will remember and has already been blessed because the church came to her this Sunday, and met her in her need.

So next time your on your way to church and you see a stranded motorist who needs their flat tire changed, or a lift to get gas, or some other need that needs met, but you are late for church, ask yourself. When was the last time I truly was the church? Food for thought!

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Food for Thought ~ Hurry Up and Wait

Gamer 12"x12" Acrylic on Canvas Commission

Gamer
12″x12″ Acrylic on Canvas
Commission

It’s the beginning of the hurry up and wait days to come. Today my son and his to be bride come home to be wed. So this morning is spent in anticipation. Things were done in the early hours of the day and now I sit and stare at facebook and surfing the web just to pass the time without going crazy. Then this after noon will be cram packed filled with things that need to be done in rapid succession and there will be no stopping till it’s time to sleep. But God is good and I am filled with a joy that overflows. My son is coming home for a visit! I am blessed! He brings with him a beautiful gentle woman that adores him and cherishes him and Loves God with all heart heart soul and mind. Who could ask for more then that?

I so wish I had a better recording of this, but since I don’t hear goes nothing!

check out the link to a song I wrote about this time in our lives.

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Up Coming Events ~ Art Classes

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I am so excited to let you all know that starting mid February I will be teaching art classes at Ye Olde Art Shoppe down town Myrtle Creek. I will be over seeing a Wednesday class from 9am- noon and a Thursday class from 1pm -4pm in mixed media. Bring what ever art you want help with , no matter what medium you are working with! Class fee is $10.00 per lesson. Feel free to ask questions.

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Spice 12" x12" Acrylic on canvas SOLD

Ye Old Art Shoppe will be holding a CHRISTMAS PARTY
on Saturday December 20th from 10:30am to 1:00 pm. It will be potluck style so bring your favorite finger food.This would be a great opportunity to check out the place and meet instructors and fellow students.

 

They are also going to have a white elephant gift exchange of a Christmas ornament, so dig out your old ornaments, wrap one up and bring it in for some fun.

SEE YOU THERE!

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I Love My Life! Quitters

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578830_3099162418600_1089490711_nSo, I have had people telling me this week that I should Quit, Your getting old they say, Retire! But this is who I am. It’s part of me. How does one just stop being who they are? I have to say it hurts! It hurts me deep! But I’m just not a quitter.

Am I just too old to do this anymore? I’ve spent days analyzing it all. Earlier this year I participated in the back yard extreme hammock Slam! It’s rough and not an easy sport to  master. It’s much like stepping over the hammock but you have to get your momentum going at just the right pace as you lean all of your body weight forward. Then just as you would have normally clear the hammock you need to catch your toe on it in just the right place like a drag line on an airline carrier, which will launch your body forward and slam you to the ground before you know what happened. I haven’t quite figured out the point system yet, but again I must have shown lack of talent and been a complete failure at it because I was encouraged to stop it and never do it again.

So many of you have told me I should go down quietly while I’m at the top. And, well I tried. But Last Sunday I could feel myself slipping, Losing my grip even. Addicted to the sport I threw myself into Extreme Stair Traverse. But my husband told me It sounded like someone threw a bag of books down the stairs. It was horrible! The whole family just looked down on me. I could see their disappointment and embarrassment in their eyes as they helped me up.

I haven’t even broken a bone in years and the last few events I’ve participated in have even been lacking in trophy bruises. This last one being the worst as it is in such a place that I can’t even proudly display it!

Some of you have suggested that my down fall was because I wore socks. So now I question myself constantly. Should I have worn my support hose instead? I really thought I was doing the safe thing by wearing socks and keeping my toes warm, but maybe I was being too safe. But I could have died with my boots on. I just don’t know.

To tell the truth it is made even worse because most of this advice has come not from fellow contenders, but from complete  amateurs who have never tried the sport themselves. Can I even trust their advice?

I know Extreme Clutzing  is dangerous! I know I’m getting old and I should quit. But we all know that once an adrenaline junky, always an adrenaline junky. Lets face it folks , it’s just how I roll. ~~~ I Love My Life!

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