Archive for January, 2007

Chardin and Stillness

Chardin‘s only child committed suicide.  The great still life painter had lavished a classical artistic education on his son,  (Chardin hadn’t received such an education himself, but had longed for it).  The boy had tried, struggled not very diligently, started many paintings, finished few, and at the age of 41 threw himself into a canal in Venice.  Chardin was 72.

So there’s a horrofic irony in the still lifes that Chardin had spent his whole life painting.  Arranged in softly arresting forms; pots, pitchers, fruit, and more often than not, dead game or fish; a rabbit, or a bird, draped carelessly among the mix or hung from a wall.  Recently killed, an opaque eye or a limp paw unsettles the otherwise peaceful scene. 

 Chardin’s paintings give new meaning to the gently oxymoronic term “still life”.  The objects are excessively still, the game completely lifeless, the painted scene could only be in a room where no people are or have been within the hour; that solemn limbo time between the morning hunt and preparations for the midday meal; after death but before the participation in life.  Chardin captured it unerringly time and time again.

And those seven years after his son had died and he lived on?  I’ve wondered a little, vaguely, and not until now giving the question a form, whether those years were those still lifes, taking the form of his own . . .

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Easy Etched Window Edge

 We’re etching the edges of the windows all over the house with our personal symbols. A dragonfly is mine, befitting a slightly over energized person. Paige with the vibrant personality has the butterfly. And Ryan, a summery sort of guy with regular sparks of enthusiasm has the firefly.

Etching is easy! But beware the flashing neon danger lights ahead.
Step 1: Clean the glass. Position the stencil. This is a special blue stencil for etching. Available at crafts stores; Michaels or Hobby Lobby. (A custom stencil can be made, too, but that’ll be for a future blog.)

Tape stencilStep 2: Tape stencil, blue side down with masking tape or even packing tape (anything sticky washes off)

Step 3. Use a popsicle stick and firmly rub all over. The stencil lightens as blue film adheres to the glass.

Popsicle stick
Step 4: Remove the tape and the clear top sheet. Toss. (No, not with joy – you’re not done yet.) Toss in the garbage. Retape the edges.

Step 5: Here it is. Flashing neon danger sign. The manufacturer declines any liability which means if you don’t don a space suit and seal yourself in a bubble you’ll be permanently disfigured, more than likely blind, and forget about having children.

It’s not that bad. Just remember to wear gloves and goggles, be near a water source and a phone (Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222), and prepare a container of egg whites (in case someone swallows it).

Step 6: Now that we’re comfortable, let’s begin. We used Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream. It’s thick so we can do vertically placed windows and it won’t slide off (much). Spread it all over the stencil with a brush thickly. Whatever glass the cream comes in contact with will be etched so stay inside the borders.

Spreading cream - not edible!

Step 7: Wait one minute and wash off etching cream wtih lots of water. The stencil and tape will come up, too. Clean it all with a glass cleaner.
Dragonfly

Blurry dragonfly picture
There! The camera had trouble with this.  I took about 30 pictures but it still looks a little blurry from here.  The real life version isn’t.   Now we get to do all the other windows!  Each one will get a different styled etched insect (like we don’t have enough in this house in the woods already!) And then there’s mirrors.   Haven’t decided what to etch on those yet . . .

We really like details.  They can be so charming. 

Mermaid Musings

Mermaid tales are ancient and lovely myths first blooming 3000 years ago among the Assyrians. 

The goddess Atargatis fell in love with a shepherd and . . . in the process, killed him.  Proving once and for all and early in our civilization that “love hurts”.

Horrified, she tried to take the form of a fish but because of her divinity the magic warped wrong and the result was half human and half fish.  The earliest pictures of this showed poor Atargatis with the head and the arms of a woman and the rest fishy.  Luckily for her image, subsequent tales made her more beautiful – so much so that later, the Greeks mixed the story up with Aphrodite and, of course, the Sirens, those famous sea creatures that lure men to their deaths – like Atargatis’ hapless shepherd.

There is though another tale of Atargatis that the young man impregnated her and in shame she flung herself into the sea and again human female/fish.  The child grew up to become Semiramus, queen of the Assyrians.

There is a blue then green then black poem by Adrienne Rich   “Diving into the Wreck” which is achingly lovely. Disturbing. Perfect.

Thus the origins of the name for the Glintlit’s Mermaid Blue Collection.

Rusty Rear Retreat

Here we go again, making something older and better. Lots of things are like that; cheese (sometimes), certain wine, and women.
And yes, the above paragraph was written with false bravado after
finding a grey hair. Ok, three. Older. Better. You bet.
We took the wooden back door and bathed it in a patina of . . . rust. For all anybody would know, it’s about to crumble into metallic flakes of decaying tetanus riddled iron. Just what we wanted. Really (Cross my heart and hope to die. Of old age.) We tried three different painting techniques before we settled on this one.
Recipe to Riddle the Rear Door with Rust
1. Paint it black. Two coats, of course.
2. Assemble rusting ingredients. We did it from a kit from Michael‘s this first time, but it’s not necessary. All the ingredients are readily available. Use acrylic craft paint.
rusting ingredients

3. Dip a sponge in brown paint and pat all over.
Patting all over

4.Dip sponge in sand.SandYou won’t need this much. Pat alternately in brown paint and sand, dabbing randomly.5. Damp sponge and dip in yellow paint and pat randomly.Pat6. Put 1Tbsp of dark red paint with 3 Tbsp. water in a little spray bottle. Shake well and spray. Pat the drips with a sponge.
7. Do the same with very dark brown paint.
Spray 8. Done. The result is gritty. Forget scrubbing to clean it. Just use one of those feather dusters.And done!This recipe is straight from Freebird’s blog.
DEATH by Chocolate (is there any better way to die?)
Ingredients: 1 devils food cake mix, prepared and cooled
1 can Hershey syrup
1 (10 oz) Cool Whip
2 packages instant chocolate pudding prepared accordingly
5 Skor or Heath candy bars (or favorite candy), chopped.
Bake cake. Poke holes in cake. Pour Hershey syrup all over the cake. Pour chocolate pudding on top. Spread cool whip over the top of the pudding. Sprinkle with your choice of candy. Cool. Eat. A lot.
Easy Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients: 6 T. oleo 1 1/2 C sugar 6 T milk 1/2 C choc chips Directions: Bring oleo, milk and sugar to rolling boil. Boil 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in choc. chips. Stir until melted. Pour over cake.
 Brought to you by your friendly and fatter neighborhood decorator at www.glintlit.com