Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Back at work

I'm back at work in both my studios, yeah!  I'm working on some sea life pottery and"...........................................

I'm working on a large commission piece, it's got a long way yet.  

Too much fun.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Connections Project II- A Mosaic of the Keys.


Here is the "call to artists" that went out from the Florida Keys Council of the Arts late last year.  400 canvases, each 6"x 6" were distributed to artists and art lovers throughout Monroe County


The Florida Keys council of the Arts would like to invite everyone in the community to participate in The Connections Project II- A Mosaic of the Keys.

We will provide one 6 x 6 inch blank canvas for you to create a piece of artwork. People of all abilities and skill levels are encouraged to participate. After all individual works are collected; almost 400 canvases will be assembled and exhibited as one project; featuring the talents, diversity and uniqueness of the artists and citizens of the Florida Keys. Then we will take our show on the road county-wide! With the support of our business partner, Royal Furniture, we invite you to join us at seven receptions.

We invite YOU to CONNECT!
Create a canvas.
Attend an opening reception.
mosaic projectConnect and collect: make a $40 donation at a reception or online to receive a randomly selected completed canvas in the mail!
Proceeds directly benefit artists and arts organizations in the Keys through our grant programs.
The canvases will be numbered at random and you will not be able to choose which artwork you receive. Each work will be accompanied by an artist’s statement that will provide insight into the origin of the work and the artist’s thoughts and inspiration.

To facilitate this process I gave a workshop at The Key West Art Center on 12/14/2013 for 26 artists.
FKCA provided the canvases, The Key West Art Center and I provided the paints and brushes, and the artists provided their enthusiasm.  I was assisted by Sue D'Antonio, FKAC board member and mixed media artist.

The group didn't mind the tight space and the sharing of paints.

Here is satisfied artist, Gary Young.

Everyone was having so much fun they were updating their Facebook status and posting their paintings.

Some of the artists had photos on their phones they referenced.

I brought in some of my rooster photos.

Last Light
6 x 6" acrylic on canvas
For the Keys Connections Project II
©Maggie Ruley 2013

Schedule of the receptions

Opening Receptions throughout the Keys:
Join US! 5:30 – 7:30 pm - Refreshments will be served.
Key Largo - January 22nd – Royal Furniture
Key Largo - January 28th – Murray Nelson Cultural Center
Islamorada - February 20th –Islamorada Library Community Room
Marathon - February 27th - Royal Furniture
Big Pine Key - March 14th – Artists in Paradise Gallery
Key West - (new town) March 24th - Royal Furniture
Key West - (old town) April 4th - Gato Building
To make a donation for the Mosaic Project Click Here
The Monroe Council of the Arts Corporation dba Florida Keys Council of the Arts is an IRC 501(c )(3) organization and your contribution is tax deductible.
You will receive a randomly selected canvas from our project. We hope that you will consider joining the Arts Council if not already a member. Memberships and contributions support our programs and grants for all the ARTS in Monroe County.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Universe Rewards you for sharing.

On the same day that I was writing and posting my thoughts about the new store in Key West, the Funky Chicken Store,
I got an e-mail from the store owner telling me that my large painting
"Wing Man"
had sold.
It seems like positive energy gets positive results.
And, not only did this painting sell, he asked me to paint another large painting for the store.  And here is an interesting note.  He asked if there could be more green in the next one because his customers are requesting green to go with their d├ęcor.
Anybody else out there getting requests for green?
Wing Man
20 x 24"  acrylic on canvas
©Maggie Ruley 2013

Funky Chicken Store
814 Duval St.
Key West, FL

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pinterest and Me, and You??

At first I just didn't get it.  A giant on-line bulletin board?  My first thought was "this is going to be something that just uses my time without giving anything back".  Boy-oh-boy was I wrong.  Huge apologies to Pinterest, mea culpa.
Pinterest is a very giving space and that is because of all the engaged people who share. They share tons of useful information in small visual blocks.  I use it way more now than Goggle.  I can get info on make it yourself "green" cleaning products by looking at pictures!  How cool is that.
Let me say that again,
I can get information by looking at pictures!
I have been a Pinterest Member now for about 3 months and I have been busy curating boards that I think my friends will enjoy.
My Pinterest boards so far:
a fun board I can keep building, adding new artists all the time
We have so many galleries in KW, I am adding new ones all the time.
There is always something going on here.  I am wondering if I should divide this into monthly boards?
Photos I have taken and ones that others have posted.
Key West is dog friendly and we should let the world know it.
This board needs serious work, but it will get there.
Self explanatory.
Also self explanatory
My Etsy listings
My Blog in small bites
All things beach related, photos, products, color schemes.
Useful for my paintings, great color combos.
Remarkable reusing of things.
I think I should change this title to something like "Projects for young artists", not sure yet.
Tutorials and how to articles of all kinds.
Self explanatory.
Wonderful Horse photos, and ladies do yourself a favor and check out the cover photo.
Food, glorious food.
I wanted a friend to see some photos and this was an easy way to do it.
Electronic art made by me.

All of these boards are works in progress which makes it fun and evolving. 
 Are you on Pinterest?
Do you like Pinterest? Let me, and my other blog readers know in the comments below.

E-mail subscribers

LOVE, Gettin' Diggi With It

Wishing you Hearts and Stars on St. Valentine's Day
Big Love to you!
from Me and my beautiful granddaughters
Kathryn Ruley
Caroline Ruley
Big Love

Polka Dotty Heart and Stars
by Caroline Ruley

Emerging Love
by Kathryn Ruley
Lovey Dovey
Hidden Love

e-mail subscribers you can

All images digital files
Big Love ©Maggie Ruley 2013
Polka Dottie Heart and Stars ©Caroline Ruley 2013
Emerging Love ©Kathryn Ruley 2013
Lovey Dovey ©Maggie Ruley 2013
Hidden Love ©Maggie Ruley 2013

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Marc Hanson knocks my socks off.

I am blown away by the work Marc Hanson is doing this month.  Click the link below to go to his blog.

Painting My Way Through Life: A LEAP INTO FEBRUARY!: A Leap Into February... I'm 5 days away from beginning this 28 day painting marathon. February 1st, at some early and unknown ho...

Marc Hanson is one of my favorite contemporary painters.  He is painting 4 paintings a day through the month of February.  He is sharing them on his blog.  Click the link above to go to his blog and see all the wonderful paintings he has done so far.

The photo above comes from a wonderful article by artist
 Lori McNee about how Marc makes his own painting panels
4 paintings a day!  Now that's a challenge!
A note about sharing:  at the bottom of Marc's blog post he has a row of buttons for sharing his content.  One of them has the little blogger symbol and that is how I got the link to show up on my blog page.  And I really do hope I am not stepping on any toes by sharing the link to the Lori McNee article.
Please note that I have the same row of sharing buttons below each of my posts and if you would ever like to re-blog, tweet them, share them on Facebook, please feel free to do so.
Now everyone go quick and look at Marc Hanson's wonderful paintings.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coaster Tutorial Part 2 0f 2

When we last left our coasters in progress we had finished painting the decoration.  Now we are ready to glaze and fire them.  If you missed part one of the tutorial see it here.   
Why glaze them you ask?  Because the glaze gives them the high gloss surface I love.
I use Duncan Envision Clear glaze - IN1001 glaze. This glaze is cone 06 and is lead free and non toxic.  I have tried Duncan's Pure Brilliance glaze, I find it hard to work with.
 The glaze goes on an opaque blue, but fires clear.  While this glaze is not considered a dipping glaze I often dip and pour this glaze on my other pottery pieces.  Here I am using a brush because it makes clean up of the bottoms easier.
I use a soft hake brush to paint on 3 coats of the glaze. The glaze has to dry between coats. When the final coat of glaze is dry to the touch I wipe off any glaze that may have gotten on the bottom of the coasters.  I wear gloves when I glaze because the glaze leaves a blue stain.  The stain is not permanent and will go away in an hour or two if I forget to use the gloves.
A hake brush is a style of brush made by a number of companies see an example here. 

Here are the coasters with the glaze on them and ready to go into the kiln .
It is always fun to open the kiln and see all your finished creations.  I just love that bright shiny surface. 
But we are still not done. Now we have to put the non-skid rubber pads on the back.  You don't want to scratch up your friends table tops. 

I get the non-skids from the same place I get my tiles and if I order 100 tiles I order 100 non-skids, that way I know I always have a non-skid for each of my coasters.

I sell the coasters in sets of 4, so as I am putting on the rubber pads I start to get them into their groups.

The coasters are stacked all facing the same way. We have put a lot of work into them and if we stacked them willy-nilly it would just look sloppy.  Now the groups of 4 are all set up and ready for the last step.

I use monofilament fishing line to tie the groups. The clear monofilament is almost invisible.  But for this photo I used a colored string so you could see it.  I put the knot on the bottom where it is hidden when the coasters are displayed.

And Voila, the coasters are finished and ready to head to their new home.
I have no affiliation with any of the suppliers I mentioned.  All of these products are available from a number of suppliers. There maybe suppliers closer to where you live, which might decrease your shipping costs.  And of course you can always "Go on the Goggle" to find these products.

Monday, February 10, 2014

DIY - a coaster turorial, Part 1

When I get a wholesale order for 24 sets of coasters, I have to get ready to sit down and paint and then glaze and fire 98 individual tiles. Like any project it is always more manageable when it is broken down into the individual steps it takes to finish the project.  If you have ever thought about painting your own coasters this might help you or give you a place to start.  If you don't work in clay or have a kiln you can paint with acrylic paint on the tumbled marble tiles you buy at the home improvement stores, or use glass paints to paint on glazed tiles.
I buy my unglazed bisque tiles by the case of 100 tiles.
I paint the tiles in groups.  My work space fits 12 tiles, and my paints and brushes. I am going to show you the steps I use to paint some of the coasters that Margaritaville Key West gets from me.  They have Jimmy Buffet song lyrics on them, so they are only available through Margaritaville.
The colors you see going on the tiles are ceramic underglazes they call Cover-Coats or E-Z Strokes by Duncan Ceramic Products.    The steps I am going to show you are the basic steps I use on all my pottery decorating.  However here I am decorating a store bought bisque tile rather than handmade greenware.
Bisque means that the clay has gone through its first firing.  Greenware is clay that is dry, but not fired.  If you added water to a greenware piece it would turn back into clay and you could use it to make something else.

The tiles get a quick sponge bath to remove dust and then the first color goes on.  Here I am laying in the shape of the wine glass with a few quick stokes. This Duncan color is Neon Green - CC205


The wine glass gets a highlight with a lighter green.  Notice that at this point I am not worried about being really neat.  The lighter color is Neon Chartreuse - CC203

Now the glass shape gets a blue highlight with a color named Blue Green - CC161.  I almost never use just one color on a shape.  I find layered colors richer and more interesting.

Next I block in the table top area.  The lighter orange and fruit on the glass is a Duncan product called an E-Z Stroke,  it is Orange - EZ 034. The accent stripes are painted with one of the Cover Coat colors called Neon Orange - CC204.

A light coat of Turquoise - CC133, is painted in as the background color.  Notice that I leave some white showing.  I like the look of some crisp white showing. I use a soft bristle brush. 

Next using Neon Red - CC206, I put in a little sailboat shape and that cute little umbrella we all want in our tropical drinks.

In this close up you can see the painting is really loose .  The next step is going add definition to those shapes.

I use a squeeze top to give me nice clean lines for my lettering and outlining my shapes. I like to use a metal tip that I buy from my ceramic supply house. Duncan Bright Blue CC159 is the color I use here.

I buy my colors in pints whenever I can.  Here you can see that it is time to stop and fill up that little squeezie bottle.

Most of the outlines I do in the Duncan Cover Coat, Bright blue.  I outline the fruit on the drink with an E-Z stroke called Coral - EZ057, and add a little accent of E-Z Irish Green -EZ003, on the glass.  I buy some small little squeeze bottles and the caps just happen to fit on these E-Z bottles.

Where to buy the tiles and Duncan products?  The bisque tiles are heavy and I recommend you try to find a supplier close to you.  I buy mine from Axner Pottery in Florida. I buy my Duncan products from Miami Ceramics and New Mexico Clay.

How do fight boredom when you are doing the same thing over and over?  I listen to books on tape or listen to Pandora or some other thing on my I-Pad.

Next the tiles need to be glazed and fired.  I will show you that in part 2 of the tutorial.
See it here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Honor System

The Honor Jar with cute little envelopes I made out of damaged prints.
My painting studio in Key West has a small area that I like to use as a tiny gallery and display area. This little area helps me talk about and show my work to the art enthusiasts who come to The Studios of Key West (my parent organization)  monthly open house.
 I am not in my painting studio everyday because some days I am in my pottery studio.  However, The Studios of Key West building is open most days and my studio door is always unlocked and visitors are encouraged to enter and look around.
My studio greeting area has my guest book and biz cards and bios and now my new easy-peasy payment system.
I have recently added an Honor Jar to my studio greeting area.  And it has been a pleasant surprise to come to the studio and find envelopes with money and little notes telling me what has gone to a new home. 
New fish spoon rests (really cute) $22.00

Recently some of these new fish spoon rests have found new homes via my new payment system.
I am away from my studio visiting family in North Carolina for a couple of weeks.  If you are in Key West, please feel free to stop by my studio leave me a little note or use the Honor Jar!
The Studio of Key West
Historic Armory Building
600 White Street
Key West, FL 33040
open M - F 10 to 4
various hours on Sat and Sun depending on events

Monthly open house which is called Walk on White,
 the third Thursday of the month from 6pm to 9pm



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