Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 25 - Nature

Oh my, what a week it has been. Last Friday I started to get a sore throat, it is much better now. I also lost my voice for a couple of days. Black Cat was kind enough to point out that maybe I shouldn't have eaten all of those Christmas goodies that I so lovingly devoured. He was right in saying that and I did agree with him.

All of the props are ready for the window display, it will be installed next week.

Jack suggested that I put together another little tour of my brain blog post. I wasn't certain what to write about and after talking a bit we decided that it should be about nature and how it influences my art work.

A little later I overheard Jack saying to Black Cat, "That should keep him occupied and maybe he won't wander about sighing after each cough."

They laughed!

I love flowers, they are a wonderful exuberant explosion of colour. I prefer flowers that haven't been hybridized although there are some that I make exceptions to.

Click on any of the images for a better look at the photos.


I don't create landscapes in my sculptures just small bases for the characters. In the back of my mind I do imagine them in a larger environment.

Spring is such a wonderful time of the year, so full of promise and surprises. The first snowdrops are a sign that Spring is here. I know that the calendar says Spring is a little way off but that doesn't matter.

The base for "Mrs, E. Rabbit" uses several different colours of hand dyed sisal twine, erica moss, reindeer moss, and composition stones peeking out amongst the ground cover. Tucked in the grass are yellow vintage flower stamens that give the impression of little Spring flowers. The variety makes the base look more realistic.

"Mrs. E. Rabbit" is a candy container, here she is open.

Early and late Summer in the garden. The yellow flower in the top right-hand corner is called ligularia. It has beautiful chrome yellow blossoms on a single stem and the back of the leaves are a rich maroon.

I was going to do one group of trees but couldn't decide on which ones to use,so here is the first of two groups of trees.

I like old trees, they have so much character. A garden with an ancient tree in it has so much more character. I have seen gardeners keep a tree that is past its prime and only take it out when it is beyond hope and safety. I respect those gardeners.

Here is the second group of tree photos. The photo in the upper right corner is a huge maple tree in the forest at Royal Roads. I refer to it as "the party tree". The limbs stretch out almost level with the ground for about 20 feet. The entire tree is about 40 feet across and about as high. It is truly amazing.

I would love to to do a photo shoot with lots of antique Japanese silk lanterns hanging over a large platform with tables brimming with delightful pastries and cakes on elaborate dishes and stands.

In this pull toy, "Just Arrived", I have treated the tulip in the same manner as a large tree by placing other interesting plants around the base of the leaves. When you think about it the size of the plants doesn't matter everything gets stuck cheek to jowl whether it is a huge tree with large bushes beside it or a small flower with other plants tucked around it.

Man made structures with plants next to them become softened and are more interesting to look at. When those structures are older or falling apart they take on a very different, much more interesting personality.

The base of this candy container has "Mr. E. Rabbit" walking down a very old and overgrown stone path.

"Mr. E. Rabbit", shown opened. I had great fun putting together the Spring bouquet from the vintage millinery flowers that were on hand.

Fences are very interesting to study. I love the character of aged wood, metal, or stone fences. That bent wire fence is in front of a 1920's house down by Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. I may replicate it in a sculpture one day. The galvanized fence in upper right-hand photograph is used around several fields at Royal Roads, I would love that fencing around a section of garden

This double sided portrait rattle shows "Jasper" on one side and "Hanging Out With the Guys" on the other side. I tried to give the effect of a dying overgrown Autumn garden. I also had to hide the wooden support that is visible between the pickets of the fence.

It is all in the details. I am always looking at these little landscapes so that I can reinterpret them later in my sculptures. It is the details that make a piece come to life.

In this candy container, "Bentley the Crow and Carl", I did not want to leave the bottom of the nest plain so I tucked in some bits of reindeer moss and a small tuft of dried corn silk.

Here is  "Bentley the Crow and Carl" open. If you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces in this post or any others for that matter drop me a line at lenbenny@shaw.ca.

So there we are, another tour finished. I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I do. It helps me to understand my own work process and opens up more ideas to pursue.

By the way Black Cat has decided that he does not want to be my "Moral Compass" any more. He said that I was too much work!

For those of you new to my blog check out this post about "Black Cat and the moral compass".

For further adventures of Jack and Black Cat check out these posts here, here, here, and here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

EHAG and The Spring Window.

I won't have a piece ready for this months EHAG Emporium. I have been very busy cleaning the studio and doing display work and consultations at the shopping centre.

I am getting the props together for a new Spring window. The large window that had the Christmas display will have a ornate chair, frame, and column in an outdoor setting that are being consumed by the Spring garden.

I am constantly on the look out for inexpensive but good quality and good looking faux flowers. Faux flowers can be very expensive and unfortunately there are no florist wholesalers on the island any more. Buying wholesale can still be prohibitive if you are on a limited budget but need a large number of flowers. I like to buy at thrift stores and any place that has a deep discount. Most of these flowers were bought at Superstore. They must have been last years flowers that did not sell but I bought a huge whack of them.

I picked up this chair from the side of the road about 6 months ago. It looked sort of interesting and the fabric that was on it has been taken off and washed to be used later on another project. I was going to send it off to Salvation Army but realized I could use it in the Spring window.

After stripping the chair down to the frame I nailed a thin sheet of pressed wood to the bottom of the seat and the back of the chair. Florist foam for dried flowers is held in place against the wood with wire mesh. The chair has been spray painted watermelon pink and left unpainted where the flowers and upholstery will going.

I am working in the living-room at the moment because the area that I was working in at the shopping centre is now occupied. The yellow column will be used in the window. I am using bright colours for the column and the chair as a counterpoint to the realistic looking flowers. Those pots of narcissus are some of the flowers that I bought at the Superstore. They cost $2.44 each, an amazing buy for the number of stems in each pot.

This picture frame I bought for $25.00 at Jacklin Trading Post. It was damaged and didn't sell but I like it's Rough Lux qualities. Originally it was to be used in the Christmas window but it didn't work. Except for the narcissus at the top of the group of flowers almost everything else I picked up at Salvation Army.

It is raining and overcast here so the colours in the photo are rather dark but it gives you an idea of what the chair looks like. I dislike flash as it tends to flatten everything.

Just so that you don't get all mushy and romantic about the chair this is what you don't see! It certainly looks trashy doesn't it?

I will post pictures of the finished window sometime next week.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The First EHAG Emporium of 2011.


The EHAG Emporium will be throwing its doors wide open for the first time this year on January 31st.

There are three wonderful prizes to be won. The three lucky winners will be announced on January 30th (the day before the first Emporium update of 2011!)

Iva Wilcox of Iva's Creations created this mysterious "Curious Eye" Halloween ornament.

This pumpkin has attitude! David Everett of Chicken Lips created this whimsical Halloween pumpkin ornament.

And finally, Laurie Hardin of Monkey Cats Studio has created "Gregory Gourdhead".

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A little tour of my brain, part 24 - More candy images

My goodness it has been two weeks since my last post! It has been somewhat hectic and chaotic around here. Black Cat or as he likes to put it "My Moral Compass" has been a bit of a nuisance. Despite my complaining about him nosing in and disrupting things it hasn't stopped him. Enough of that... in August of 2009 I did a post A little tour of my brain, part 4 - candy. Here is an update. Just a minute, I think someone is at the door.

I just stepped away and you see what I mean, he is typing on my blog.

"B.C., I am trying to work!"

He says that I have way too much stuff in my studio and that I should give it to someone that could make better use of it. The only thing is that I think that the "someone that could make better use of it" is the one that is telling me to get rid of it.

Where was I... oh, yes back in August of 2009 I did a post A little tour of my brain, part 4 - candy. Here is an update to go along with that original post. All of these photographs were taken before Christmas.


This picture and the one that follows were taken at the local Chapters bookstore.

I love the close-up images of the candy.

There is a new candy store at Hillside Shopping Centre called Sweet Delights. Since taking these photos they have moved to a new location in the shopping centre and are getting the store ready for a grand re-opening on January 21. The interior is looking great!

In the old store there was a back wall of wrapped candies in cubbyholes, the overall colours were lovely.

There is something about bright coloured shiny things that gives me great pleasure.

More shiny candies! I love the colours of those long spiral suckers.

This final section of the back wall shows some of the British candies that are available in Canada.

It is not just the individual cellophane cones of candies but the mix of colours that overwhelms the eyes that I find visually exciting.

Bright saturated colour and fun graphics help to sell cheap kid's candy.

Some candy comes in a toy that can be played with after or collected and displayed. I admit that I do have some candy in toys that I have collected over the years. I will photograph them and do a post about them at some point.

I wonder how long it will be until someone comes along and decides that it is not politically correct for young children to be eating candy cigarettes and chewing bubble gum cigars?

All of the colour and all of the graphics are promises of candy Nirvana.

"Black Cat would you stop that!"

He is dancing about waving his arms and chanting in a a squeaky voice, "Sugar high! Sugar high! Sugar high!"

Maltesers, KitKat, Yorkie, and Areo candy bars take care of the chocolate craving.

The packaging colours, the graphics, the special font created for that candy and finally the candy itself become a recognizable treat that is part of everyday life.

Do you have a favourite candy or candy memory?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Black Cat and the moral compass.


Jack and I were talking the other day, I can't remember about what, but I happened to mention the phrase "moral compass".

"What's a moral compass?" asked Black Cat as he appeared in the doorway.

Jack was still annoyed with B. C. for something that had happened between them earlier. "A moral compass doesn't go around and listen to other people's conversations", was his reply.

More was said but that is neither here nor there. What did come of it was Black Cat's decision to be MY moral compass.

Like all New Year's resolutions I can only hope this comes to a halt soon.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 23 - Christmas Cakes and Pastries.

Last May I did a post called  A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 19 - Cakes, Cookies, and Pastries. Here is the Christmas edition of that post. All of the photographs were taken at Thrifty Foods at Colwood Corners. I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves. I don't know why I like looking at desserts but I do. Enjoy a calorie free dessert course.

I love the colours, decoration, and shapes of these cheesecakes and pastries.

More pastries and cheesecakes.

"Petite Pastries".

More "Petite Pastries".

Small cakes and fruit tarts.

Tarts, bars, and mini cakes.

Mini cheesecakes, tortes, and flans.

Big cheesecakes and mini cheesecakes.

More cheesecakes, including chocolate cheesecake.
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