Charming charms for purse pulls

Charming charms

Charming charms

I had a little bit different project than painting for this week.  Back in the 60’s-70’s I had two charm bracelets started for me, one silver and one gold toned.  It was the thing to do back then and I had charms I was given and charms I bought. Some I know the origin of and some I have no idea why I have.

But you know, I haven’t looked at, much less worn, the bracelets in over 4 decades.  I decided that something useful might done with them.  No one I knew was interested in them as wearable bracelets, so I got the bright idea to take the charms off and make some zipper pull fobs from them.

Side one of an unknown ccharm

Side one of an unknown ccharm

Side 2

Side 2

I went to the box store and got some lobster clips to attach to the charms and started the project.  Some were more difficult than others to add the clips to.  I don’t really have the proper equipment to separate the coil on the split rings so I had to use my thumb nails.  After doing over a dozen, all I can say is ouch, and I’m not finished yet.  Two to go, one silver and one gold toned.  I hope what thumb nails I have left will be able to handle it.

City landmark?

City landmark?

I have a quick question for anyone out there who might help me identify these last two charms.  As you can see, the gold one is architectural in its decoration, with a Parthenon style building on one side and a lighthouse or silo with a wheel shaped object behind and water in front on the other side.  I have absolutely no idea where I got it, just a thought that I might have bought it on my high school senior trip to Washington DC, way back when.  I can’t imagine buying it any later than the early 70’s and there is nothing else I can connect it to.

The silver one should be more straight forward.  It is obviously some city landmark but I can’t place it.  My first thought (and the thought of anyone I have asked) was the space needle in Seattle.  However, the space needle top is more like a flying saucer rather than the ball here.  I thought about the Montreal Expo too, but no go there either.  And the Epcot center in Florida is set lower to the ground.

As an aside, our internet has been out since yesterday.  Talk about withdrawal and then trying to catch up.  It’s been a busy afternoon.

Aha!! One mystery solved.  The silver one is the sun sphere from the 1982 Knoxville TN World’s Fair.  We were there!

As for the gold one, it is definitely the Parthenon.  I have found several charms almost exactly like the front side, but nothing with the reverse.  I must have gotten it either in DC on the high school trip or at Centennial Park, Nashville TN, in the 90’s where there is a reproduction of the Greek Parthenon.  A google image search hasn’t turned up anything yet, but I’ll keep looking.  I’ll just keep it in my personal stash right now.

 

 

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Polar bear finished

Polar bear

Polar bear

Here is the third and final post for Mr. Polar Bear.  I think he is pretty much finished now.  I worked mostly on the base area where he is walking and softened the sky on the upper right.  He didn’t seem grounded quite enough  and I just didn’t like the sky area.  I toned down some of the colors across the whole painting, but especially on his body shadows.  When I put the gloss sealer on in a week or two, it should brighten it up a bit and deepen the colors some, but not too much.  I thought it was just fine on the calf the first time I used it, so I expect it to be okay.  Any more changes and I think I might be just fiddling around with not much to show for it.

It has been cooler the last few days around here – back down into the 30’s and 40’s, but this week brings back the 50’s and 60’s.  My daffodils are still blooming and I have brought a nice bunch inside.  The scent of the doubles is just wonderful.  Yippee for spring!

 

 

 

 

 

Polar bear #2

Polar bear

Polar bear

Second effort on the polar bear.  I’m not totally happy with the shadow underneath, but it looks better in the real thing than in the photo.  I think it just needs to be softened a bit.  Sometimes the photos, while not totally accurate, give me hints on how to improve whatever I am working on.  I am sticking to an impressionistic style for the time being due to my inability to paint the detail work thus far.  I’m not unhappy with the way the animals are turning out, but I would like to be able to do more detail work.  I’ll probably paint one more time on this before I call it quits, mostly refining the darker, shaded areas.

The flowers have decided it must be spring, even if the calendar says not quite yet.  My daffodils on the hillside next to my garage parking area started to bloom over the weekend.  I hope the weather cools off at least slightly.  Daffodils prefer it to be cooler rather than warmer and the blooms last longer if it stays below 60.  70’s are too warm and the flowers will fade quickly.

Polar bear painting

Polar bear

Polar bear

Moving back to the animal paintings, here is the preliminary acrylic  of a polar bear.  I’ve modified an old zoo photo slightly for the composition, but I’m not quite satisfied yet.  I think I am going to enlarge the ice floe some so it is more substantial under him, even though this is very close to the photo layout.  He looks too big for the ice area.  That is one nice feature of acrylics versus watercolors – larger changes can be made more easily.  That is a good thing for me.  It will be interesting to explore the surface texture of the water, sky and ice, as well as the actual bear itself.

Spring is springing around here.  Temperatures will be in the 60’s for the next week or two.  While I appreciate the warmer weather, I am always concerned that the trees and shrubs will come out too far too early and get seriously burnt by what would be a normally dated frost.  I almost lost my wonderful Japanese maple that way one year.  I saved it but it took several years not to look pitiful.  I look forward to hearing the peepers soon too.  That means spring to me.

Another blech in the works?

Wisteria?

Can you tell it’s wisteria?  I can’t.

I tried a floral painting this time around, but it seems well on the way to another blech rating.  It’s not as bad as the barn painting was, but this one may be destined for the circular file too.  This is the second session for it, but alas, not much improvement has taken place.  It’s not awful, but it’s not very good either.  I am still having trouble with applying the thick bodied acrylic paint.  I have used an extender and a slow drying agent, but I am still feel I am fighting the paint instead of using it.

I am definitely thinking of taking a refresher class for acrylics over the summer.  I feel my problems are more technique related than use of colors or composition and it’s been a looooong time since college.  Not that my college works were any great thing, but I have concentrated most of my efforts in the last 30 years in pen and ink and more recently watercolors and I think I have forgotten a lot in the process.  I think the acrylic animal portraits have been better because the style is looser and less requiring of detail.

I had one last session with the Gizmo pet portrait while doing this and will post the results next time.  I think it turned out okay.

Gizmo 2

Ginger cat

Ginger cat

This is much better, isn’t it.  As my daughter’s cat, I am very familiar with him and, in some ways, that makes it harder.  I want to see the cat I know emerge from the canvas.  His expression is much more defined now and some personality is starting to come through.  He basically is a happy little guy, though somewhat the chicken where bravery is concerned.  Hence the slightly worried face.

I wasn’t concerned about the preliminary being over bright.  I softened the orange, added the brown stripes and highlights, and  textured the fur.

There will be a few more changes after I let it sit for a bit.  I need to tone down the orange in the left side of his face, add shadows and a few whiskers, and deepen the colors in  his eyes.  I am pleased so far.