July 31, 2012

textured silver jewelry

handmade textured fine silver hoop earrings by Jennifer Kistler
textured silver hoops
Here are some pieces I worked on last week. I had done this woodgrain-like texture on some heart pendants in the past, and wanted to try it on some other basic shapes. I use a simple sculpting tool and hand-sculpt the grooves across the surface of the metal clay before cutting out the shape, so each one is unique like a fingerprint. When finished, the texture has a look that I think is both nature-inspired and modern.

I made some hoops for earrings (shown above left) which I'm keeping for myself. I have been wearing them the last several days, and I love them! I plan to make more pairs to sell. I also made small circle connectors that will have stones dangling from them, and a couple heart pendants that will hang at an angle instead of straight. Several of these will be available in my Etsy shop soon. I'm considering developing a full line of jewelry in this style. Most will be bright silver like these, and some will be oxidized (so the grooves are darkened).

handmade textured fine silver jewelry pieces by Jennifer Kistler
textured silver pieces ready to be made into jewelry

July 18, 2012

what's blooming

Here are some things that are blooming in my yard right now. The clematis we've had for quite a few years, and every summer it brightens our little porch by the front door, growing up the corner post.

The daylilies are new. Of course now that I took the photos I realize I need to pull out some old leaves. Good thing this isn't a gardening magazine! We had a gift certificate to a nursery that we spent recently, and they were part of what we picked out. I've never had daylilies before, and I am thrilled with them. These particular ones are smaller plants than some. We planted them in a long-vacant spot in the flowerbed right by the driveway, so they will be enjoyed often. I just love the grass-like leaves and the gorgeous blooms. I'm wondering why I didn't get some years ago!


another daylily

July 16, 2012

underwater watercolors

nautilus (based on photo by unknown) 4 x 6" watercolor

It has been good for my boys to see me painting. They've seen me work on different projects over the years, but not painting a "regular picture". When I took time to do these little watercolors, they each got inspired to work on something creative. In addition, my younger son decided he wanted to tell me what to paint! He had me get on the internet and find some images of sea creatures I like. Here are the first two results of that project. I admit that I lost track of who to give credit to for the photographs these were based on. I usually try to capture images just as they are, but for these I made the backgrounds light instead of dark where these creatures are usually found, for a more cheerful effect. I have to say I have never painting anything like these before, and they were fun!

cuttlefish (based on photo by unknown) 4 x 6" watercolor

July 13, 2012

more petite watercolors

watercolor painting by Jennifer Kistler Columbia River sunset copyright 2012
Columbia River sunset (based on a photo I took) 4 x 6" watercolor

Here are a few more of the little watercolors I did last week. (read more about them here) They are are from photos I have taken over the years on visits to my childhood home on the Columbia River.

watercolor painting by Jennifer Kistler heron bird at low tide copyright 2012
heron at low tide (based on a photo I took) 4 x 6" watercolor

watercolor painting by Jennifer Kistler mud hens on river number two copyright 2012
mud hens in winter #2 (based on a photo I took) 4 x 6" watercolor

July 11, 2012

petite watercolors

watercolor painting by Jennifer Kistler mud hens in winter copyright 2012
mud hens in winter (based on a photo I took) 4 x 6" watercolor

When I was packing to spend a week at my parents' place with my boys recently, I wanted to bring a creative project or two to work on while I was there. After discarding the ideas that would be difficult to pack, I decided to do something I hadn't done in far too long. Paint.

I realized that, besides painting scenes on large stage flats for VBS, I hadn't actually painted a picture since my oldest son was born. Really? Maybe I'm forgetting something, but the last picture I remember painting was while I was pregnant with him, about twelve years ago. As a kid I drew a lot of pictures (mainly horses). But when I got into high school and took every art class I could, I fell in love with painting. Acrylic is my favorite because it allows for infinite fine-tuning, laying light over dark when needed, and very precise control (and all this in the hands of a perfectionist equals very long projects). I also enjoy watercolors, which better lend themselves to quick projects, at least for me. I made sure all my tubes of watercolors were still good, grabbed a little 4x6 inch pad of watercolor paper that is bound on all sides (that I had saved for years), found some suitable brushes, and I was good to go!

I figured I would do some painting from life, and also printed some photos I had taken in case I wanted something different. Here are two from the first afternoon I got my paints out. And wow, it felt so great to paint again!

watercolor painting by Jennifer Kistler Columbia River Cathlamet Bay view copyright 2012
Columbia River view (from life, July 2012) 4 x 6" watercolor

July 10, 2012

a priceless afternoon

freighter going upriver at sunset
I logged into my blog today and realized I hadn't posted since my post about spring break. Whoops! I have a lot of different posts in mind, so please come back for more summer reading! I will also be sharing some little watercolor paintings I've been having fun with.

Last week my kids and I spent at my parents' house, my childhood home, just outside Astoria, Oregon. (Yes, where we also spent spring break and last Christmas, so I hope you don't get bored!) It is not an area known for great weather, but almost the whole week was incredible, fabulous, unbelievable. Truly. I am not making it up. (those who have spent time in the area will understand the emphasis on this!) For example, Fourth of July morning we went clamming at Fort Stevens near the Peter Iredale (more on that later), and not only was it sunny, but there was no wind, and I ended up wishing I'd left my coat in the truck. Northern Oregon beaches are always windy and usually cool, the degree of cool ranging from "somewhat" to "extremely" depending on the season and weather. Anyway, this terrific weather was such a gift to our visit.

My parents will not always live in this house, at some point they will move permanently to a house they recently bought in Arizona. While I am happy for them, it is a bittersweet thing to think we will not always be able to visit my childhood home. So while we were there, I was trying to soak it all up for future remembering (and took a few photos for future digital scrapbooking).

On one afternoon in particular, I sat on the edge of the deck, the sun on my face, just taking it all in. The Columbia River, the geese out in the marshy islands, the freight ships quietly slipping by in the channel far away, the gentle breeze bringing the scent of plants and sometimes a hint of river smell, an eagle occasionally swooping by. Priceless.

Cathlamet Bay of the lower Columbia River

For those interested in local geography and history, my parents' house is situated above the river (a steep private trail leads down to it), near Twilight Eagle Sanctuary along Burnside Loop, about 9 miles east of Astoria just off Highway 30. This area was visited by Lewis and Clark and they commented in their journals about the very noisy geese (and other waterfowl) that are abundant here. The Columbia River is quite wide here, with the main shipping channel on the far side near Washington. This side of the river, which is slow, shallow, and full of marshy islands is called Cathlamet Bay. The main island close up in the photo above used to have pilings near it that rafts of logs were tied to until they were taken to a sawmill by a tugboat (something I remember seeing when I was a kid).