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Organization and Creation

Organization

I find that when I am unsure what to tackle next, I clean up the shop. The act of cleaning and organizing seems to reset my creative process. This week I discover that needed to take time to organize my online workshop. I realized that I was showing items on my website that I have already sold. I had a collector come to my home to pick out a few paintings for a baby shower gift. It was nice to get the positive feedback and she had been to my website and ask if I had any more available. I was able to load all my current paintings and I still have to photograph and add more of my sculptures and furniture to the site.

Check out my gallery for all my current paintings.

Creation

I have painted several paintings of our dog Niko, and on request completed paintings of Hazel and Fuji for family. I will do pet paintings on commission, with a good photo.

This past week I start painting dogs and cats. Several of them were memories of my youth. I love being a full time artist, I have the time to try more new things.

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Cloud Lamp

The cloud with the crystal rain drops is a whimsical night light. Just another tangent of art without boundaries, going where ever my thoughts take me.

By using Swarovski crystals it sparkles and shows rainbow effects on the wall. The cloud lamp is made to use the 5v led strip lights so that it is powered by a USB charger, like the ones use to charge phones.

This is a new take on my original umbrella light. How did this all start, I was playing with a strip of LED lights that I used in my tall wood strip lamp and had a jar of tiny crystals on my workspace, I saw the sparkle and thought of slashes in water. Pick a few crystals and add a little wire and raindrops. a little wide and raindrops.

I will sell the lamps soon on my site.

I have included several build pictures if you want to try building it yourself. LEDs were purchased from amazon. Crystals were ones I got from a clearance sale at Swarovski Lighting when I worked there. I used separate pieces of 1/4” plywood to make assembly easier. The switch and 5.5mm plug were also purchased at Amazon. I made sure the base would be heavy enough to avoid tipping and thick enough to allow installing the plug and switch. Paint with enamel paint and a quick spray of blue paint. I then added the crystals with a dab of hot glue.

Let me know if you have questions about the build.

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First Driftwood and Stone Lamps

Hollow Branch Lamp

Another week of free time in the studio. I was able to get to a location that had internet access where I could start to upload more images for the web site. I have major problems with internet access at my home, no cable and no DSL that works. Now my wireless hub is acting up.

I promised lamps in an earlier post so I have finally been able to get some photos and upload them to the site. I completed 4 lamps so far and have a couple of others on the workbench. I enjoy the beech feal with stones and driftwood of our shoreline.

You can find the rest of my lamps in my gallery under furniture.

I have put in applications for a couple of art fairs and if I am accepted I will add them to a calendar of events. I am also working on a newsletter that will celebrate all the art items I had produced for the month.

Spiral Branch Lamp
Spiral Branch Lamp
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A Great Week in the Studio

For the past week I have enjoyed the ability to spend almost all my time in the studio. Now that I am retired I look forward to every day. I have been delayed posting by internet problems. It goes up and down and is one of my biggest frustrations and concerns now that I work for myself.

I made 50 frames for my most recent paintings, and after mounting all the paintings I find I need a few more. Not all 50 paintings are from this week, I have only finished about a dozen since my last blog post. Most of the remaining paintings are from earlier this year. My header photo is from my shop showing some of the frames in process.

I work in watercolor but I like to spray them with a UV protection and finish with Kamar varnish so I don’t have to use glass. I like the matte finish of the final product. The frames are all made from cedar that I cut to size and that lets me set the subject in the best position. Making frames is enjoyable and I love the smell of cedar.

Finishing without glass makes the paintings of bunnies, puppies and birds appropriate for a child’s room. No broken glass if one gets bumped off the wall.

I Painted some puppies this week.

I’m going through the stack of finished paintings and photographing them, and once my internet situation improves, I will post to my gallery pages.

Enjoying Life….

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Buzzing Around My Studio

This whole weekend I have been buzzing around my studio jumping from one project to another. That’s when I’m not out blowing snow from the recent storm. I will admit that time on the tractor is a way to slow down and not feed the frenzied thinking. After doing 5 neighbors I ran out of warmth and snow.

All I can think of now that I am no longer tied to my job, is all possibilities to make art. When I go into the studio I find that I’m trying to do them all at the same time. I pick up one item and while holding it I will see something else that I also want to do.

Even when I settle on a project, I will find myself thinking about all the things I want to do to begin to build my art business. I’m sure that this state of frenetic activity will calm down as time passes.

I needed to end the day today with my paintbrush, just to help myself to slow down. I chose a calming subject, Sleepy Puppies. Of course I still couldn’t just do that, so I set up a way to shoot a time lapse video of the painting process as well. Ooh, Now I have to figure out how to post it, and feed Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube.

Ron

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Preparing for Transition

This week is very odd, I am working with my team in the office to prepare them for my departure. Friday is my last day at my job and dumping all the key information in my head to my team is harder than I thought. I touch on one thing and a dozen other important tidbits pop up. Trying to stay at a high level, it’s nice that my guys are so professional, and it really helps that they are all smarter than me. That is the key to success, hire people smarter than you, set high expectations and turn them loose. They have never disappointed me.

I will miss my team and many of my colleagues. The nice thing is I live in a small town so I will bump into them often. I hope to see them at local craft markets.

I have not gotten depressed about being laid off, quite the opposite, it’s hard not to smile. With the company struggling, I was anticipating drastic changes. I’m not surprised it was me that got laid off. I developed an incredibly strong team that are more than capable of carrying on without me. I basically have worked my self out of my job, and I’m proud of it.

I do feel for the others in the lay-off. I am the lucky one where I had planned for this. I have contacted several others to pass along contacts for potential jobs. Good thing the local job market is strong.

I do have a lot of things to take care of over the next month or so due to the changes. Finding good affordable healthcare options is the big one, but I will take advantage of the employee assistance program to get things started.


My plan is to take a few weeks to enjoy not having a day job and spend quality time in the studio. This is the first time since I was 15 that I have not had a job working for someone else. I’m sure I will learn a lot about being a full time artist, and plan to make this blog a journal of my journey.

Sleeping baby chickadee wood carving.

One thing I am scrambling to do is get more of my artworks onto my web site. Like this carving, the challenge is getting good pictures.


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Unexpected Changes

I am now a full time artist. Less than 2 weeks after I started this website I was “downsized” from Swarovski Lighting / Schonbek. I was Director of IT for 31 years, and due to cost cutting measures I am no longer with the company effective next Friday.

The downsize is not a big surprise and frankly I have had a smile on my face since it happened. I was prepared to retire early, I just got a push and a decent golden handshake. Now it’s on to my art full time.

No longer having to divide my time between my last career and my new one, I now proudly say I am an artist.

Cheers and smiling all the way home.

Ron

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Bow Lamp

My most recent endeavor is making lamps. I have a barrel of odd looking driftwood and a couple of pails of nice stones from the beach and decided to combine them. I have a large stump and root-ball on the beach with rocks caught up in the wood. I have used stones from the beach for some of my sculptures, so coming up with a way to add them to the driftwood lamp was a natural fit. So now I have a lamp with stacked stones, it’s kind of like and stuff happens and then Lamps. This is the first in a whole series of lamp, more in future blogs.

Spoiler alert, the natural edge slab-table you see will be the subject of my next post.

In the future, I plan to offer some instructional information about how I make these lamps along with materials and tools I used.

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Starting Over

Today I dumped my whole web site and started over. Adding in the e-commerce and rebuilding all my pages. It will take about a week to get it all back together again. You can visit a version of my old site at RRRodgers.com. There you can see a lot of my art but not my most recent projects.

If my wife will part with them I will put them up on the gallery pages.

Ron