Sunday, July 17, 2016

Travel: Doll's Head Trail, Atlanta

Doll's Head Trail

At the beginning of June, we visited the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta then found ourselves at a loss of what to do afterwards. We weren't hungry, so finding a cool restaurant wasn't an option. I consulted my ever-growing list of weird things that I must see and/or do and convinced my family that yes, we have to visit a hiking trail that's famous for it's creepy name: Doll's Head Trail
About DHT from History Atlanta: In southeast Atlanta lies a nature preserve unlike any other in Georgia. Doll’s Head Trail at Constitution Lakes Park is part wildlife refuge, part hiking trail, part snake pit and part art exhibit. The land has been transformed by both humans and the flooding South River into an ecological sanctuary smack in the middle of an industrial district.
It’s called Doll’s Head Trail because of the in situ artwork created with trash, many of it doll heads, that is left over after the South River floods. At the center of the park lies two small lakes that were formerly excavation pits created by the South River Brick Company digging out the soft red clay for bricks. It’s a must visit for Atlanta art lovers, urban explorers, birders, fishermen, tree huggers, history buffs and nature geeks.

I've been all up and down Moreland Avenue for years and never noticed the entrance to Constituion Lakes Park. It is easy to miss, since it's not clearly marked from Moreland.

The first park of the trail is paved. It's an easy walk to the lake and you quickly forget that you're close to the city and several major highways.

Doll's Head Trail

I could tell that we were all kind of apprehensive about walking an unknown trail, especially one with a weird name. We came across a message scribbled in the dirt: TURN BACK NOW! While we considered the message two strangers appeared on the trail and spooked us. They were nice and we all shared a few laughs after they assured us the trail was fine. 

Doll's Head Trail

Finally! The entrance to the trail! There are fishing bobs attached to the trees. Make sure to follow those around the trail. 

Doll's Head Trail

You know I am all about these artists!
(Check out my posts about visiting Pasaquan & Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens)

Doll's Head Trail

Doll's Head Trail

Doll's Head Trail

Doll's Head Trail

Doll's Head Trail

I took plenty of photos along the trail. See then entire collection on Flickr. 

If you're into unique adventures around Atlanta, then Doll's Head Trail is a must-do! Everyone we met on the trail was very kind. However, my daughter was creeped out when we got back to the car and now, several weeks later she makes a weird face whenever I mention Doll's Head Trail. Go with your folk-art-loving friends. They'll appreciate it more than the kids. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Art: The Accidental Chalk Artist, Part One

Remember when I participated in a Sidewalk Chalk Festival in Macon? I can't believe it's been almost a year and a half since then!

Well, I didn't work on any chalk art during all of 2015, but it seems as though 2016 is the year of the CHALK. I recently re-connected with the artist that worked next to me in Macon (Jessi Queen) and she has introduced me to the awesomeness that is the Georgia Chalk Artists Guild. Jessi, her husband, and a fellow guild member came to my town to chalk during the Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Sidewalk Chalk Festival, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to rain. But thanks to some quick thinking, the artists knocked out some amazing pieces under the pavilion. Check out the blog post here.

Now, this blog post is called The Accidental Chalk Artist for a reason: I didn't think that being a chalk artist was a thing that I'd do. I mean, I just did that one festival in Macon and that was it. But I did help plan the Sidewalk Chalk Festival in town for two years in a row, so that counts for something, right? Right. 

I've since become an official member of the GCA Guild and recently took part in a small chalk fest alongside the McDonough Spring Arts Festival on April 30th. I had a 5' x 5' square to work with and I thought it would be cool to do a big hummingbird. Everyone loves hummingbirds!

Also, I have learned that it's best to keep the chalk pieces large and simple. At least, until I get faster with the chalking.

McDonough Spring Arts Fest 2016 
My original plan started with gridding the entire square and then carefully sketching out the bird, making sure it was correctly proportional. I got about ten minutes into it and decided to just wing it. 

McDonough Spring Arts Fest 2016 
Wing it, I say! Puns for days!

McDonough Spring Arts Fest 2016 
The finished piece. About 6 hours of work. 

McDonough Spring Arts Fest 2016 
Details on the face.

McDonough Spring Arts Fest 2016

This hummingbird was based off a photograph taken by a local photographer, King Davis. He gave me permission to use his photo as a reference. Thanks King!

Just this past weekend I participated in the first chalk festival in Fayetteville, Georgia. Details on that will be in Part Two. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Travel: Final Resting Place of Bob Ross

Bob Ross, what can I say? Everyone has a story about spending part of their childhood watching "that guy with the calm voice and the big hair" on PBS. In fact, the other day I overheard someone say, "You know that dude that painted on tv in the 70s!" and I tried my best to not put on my nerd glasses and say well was the 80s. But I digress...

Bob Ross, America's Favorite Television Painter, creator of Happy Little Trees and Almighty Mountains, one of my childhood heros, passed away in 1995 when I was 13 years old. I remember reading the news in TV Guide and feeling heartbroken about the loss of an artistic mentor. Like most people, I never painted along with Mr. Ross, but instead just watched him construct beautiful landscapes with just a few scrapes of a palette knife and a couple swishes of a fan brush. Every episode would blow my mind and I was left wondering, How did he do that? 
In high school, I scrawled There are no mistakes, just happy accidents. on my bookbag.

Here we are, over 20 years later, and I still consider him a huge influence in my life. My Bob Ross obsession was rekindled after discovering that all of the Joy of Painting was made available online through Hulu and YouTube. The first randomly selected episode brought me to tears when Bob said, "When you purchase your first tube of paint, you are issued an Artistic License that you can do anything you want with". This is exactly the thing I want to instill in the people who decide to come to my studio to paint. There's no right or wrong, it just is. The good is in the painting, the creating, the sharing. That's the art, right there.

As with any obsession, I had to get any and all information on the painter I love. I read through his Wikipedia page and discovered he was buried in Gotha, Florida. When I looked up that town I found out that it's right next to Orlando...and we were planning on going to Disney for Spring Break. Perfect timing! was a helpful resource and listed his exact placement in the huge Woodlawn Cemetery. His gravestone can be found in Section O. Just park right next to this sign, near the statues of the holy family praying, and you'll be in the right place.

Bob Ross' Grave, Gotha, Florida

I took a few steps from my car and spotted the collection of paintbrushes. In other photos I've seen online, people have left coins, paint pots, and even a statue of a little squirrel.

Bob Ross' Grave, Gotha, Florida

Bob Ross' Grave, Gotha, Florida
I stuck my own little offering into the vase. 

Happy Little Trees Art
A small painting on wood. Sprayed with several coats of sealer to hopefully withstand the weather.

Bob Ross' Grave, Gotha, Florida
Another artist left a painting and a letter. I imagine it said something close to what everyone else would like to say to Bob Ross: Thank you for sharing your gift.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Art for a Good Cause: Pigs 4 Kids

Last year I had a passing thought: What if I did a huge project for charity and made art for a large audience? 

This idea came about after making some new artist friends who create large scale paintings during events. It's painting as performance art! People get to watch the entire piece develop over the course of a few hours or days, depending on the event. After they're finished, the painting is available for purchase. (Shout out to Crispy Printz! They are such an inspiration to me!) As with most of my ideas, it starts out with I WANT TO DO THAT! And so I figured out how I could.

Here's a peek into my thought process: I could paint one huge thing, but then who would buy one huge painting? So think smaller...that means multiples of one idea. Cool. How about 100 of something? Got it. How about a local charity that helps feed children? Perfect. How about setting up at a local BBQ and music festival that was created to benefit volunteer firefighters? OMG THAT'S IT!

Since it's a small town, I had a direct connection to the folks in charge of Smoke on the Water BBQ Cook-Off and Music Festival. I typed out a quick message and just like that I had myself a new project to work on! Looking back at my messages, it looks like I got the idea approved last year. So I had plenty of time to work out the details.

Buying 100 canvases would be expensive, so my dad and I spent an afternoon cutting down three sheets of birch plywood. For a little over 70 bucks, I had plenty of panels to paint. 

But what was I going to paint? What do people like? Well, since I'll be setting up at a BBQ fest, why not PIGS! People love pigs!  

This project is called "PIGS FOR KIDS" and I'll be painting 100 8"x12" pigs on wood. Each pig painting will be $40. ALL of the proceeds benefit Food for Thought, a volunteer non-profit group dedicated to making sure Thomaston, Georgia schoolchildren don't go hungry. Children in the program receive a food bag every Friday afternoon to take home for the weekend as well as bags for school break periods. The group is in their fourth year and puts together almost 7,000 bags every school year. The bags of food cost about $4 each.

Like I said before, it's a small town and I know the folks in charge of Food for Thought. I ran the idea by them and they happily agreed!

So there you go, you have the WHO, the WHAT, the WHEN, the WHERE...but what about the WHY. Why do I feel compelled to do such a huge project? And the answer is just a simple because I want to. I live a very sweet life & I'm very fortunate in so many ways. Why not use my talents and abilities for good if I am able to? Besides, I love doing passion projects like this to keep my creativity flowing. It's a win-win-win all around!

I started painting on February 27th, 2016 and today is March 31st. So far I have created FIFTY pig paintings. That means I have grossly underestimated my ability and my time to paint so many pigs. I'm right at the halfway point and the deadline is well, tomorrow.

BUT GUESS WHAT! It's my project and I can extend the deadline if I want to. I'm still setting up at Smoke on the Water this weekend. And I have plenty of pig paintings to sell. 

Here are 35 random pigs from the 50 that have been created. Hopefully they all find new homes soon!

If you're on Instagram, follow my progress at @Fawne or #Pigs4KidsProject

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Celestial Folk Art Series - Capricornus

Capricornus is often portrayed as a sea goat, a mythical creature that is half goat & half fish. After studying the constellations and reading this information, my first thought was, "A sea goat?!? Oh wow, I have to paint that!"

And so I got started.

Capricornus - In Progress
I painted this so fast that I didn't take the time out to get many in-progress photos.

Capricornus - In Progress
All acrylic on canvas. Some of these paints are left-over house paints from previous mural projects.

Capricornus - Complete
48" x 36"
Acrylic on Canvas

From Wikipedia: Capricornus is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. Under its modern boundaries it is bordered by Aquila, Sagittarius, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus, and Aquarius. The constellation is located in an area of sky called the Sea or the Water, consisting of many water-related constellations such as Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus. It is the smallest constellation in the zodiac.

Capricornus - Detail
Detail of the tail.

Capricornus - Detail
Isn't it the cutest darn sea goat?

Capricornus - Detail
I especially like the tail. I think its scales came out really well.

Capricornus - Detail

Check out some of the other paintings in the Celestial Folk Art Series: Cetus & Lepus, Canis Major, Pisces, Cygnus, & Ursa Major.
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