Foxy Miner Sign Repair

Fox Miner Sign

Foxy Miner Sign

This red foxy miner looks like he is saying, “Aw, Shucks!” with his thumbs tucked behind his yellow suspenders. He must have a bag of gold nuggets stashed at the lodge. You can see that he has some damage around edges and at the base of his feet. He has minimal pokes all over his body in random areas with no specific areas concentrated on. With this in mind, my repair will concentrate on patching more than repainting the entirety of this foxy character.

No Stranger to Foxy Characters

This is not the first time I have painted fox images, the wiley fox is a character that has fascinated me from early days as an artist. One of my first watercolors was of, “Two Foxes“. Following is a link to the actual definition of the fox specie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox

Fox Repairs

fox 02 white repairs

Starting off with the fox repair white areas, I paint his miner hat lamp, then eye ovals, his tail tip, and then the space between his legs. Many times, when patching white areas it takes more than one coat to fill in and get full coverage.

fox 03 yellow repairs

Next in sequence are his yellow suspenders, and yellow helmet, and I notice that the new layer of paint is much brighter.

fox 04 Body YlwOrg Repairs
fox 05 Body YlwOrg

fox 06 Body YlwOrg

Yellows, Orange and Reds

Keeping yellow on the brushes I am able to start on the fox body areas. To attain a 3D effect I begin with the lighter yellow (more upfront) areas, gradually blending oranges and reds into the further away surfaces. His nose is definitely upfront along with his arms and hands over his chest. Additionally, I accentuate the top of his tail, top of his left foot and the big toe and ball of his right foot or paw that is facing us. The most needed is where his tail meets the elbow and shirt areas.

fox07BodyYlwOrg

Down to Details

Now I am down to finishing the details on our fox with black, white, and his green shirt. Luckily, I discovered that I needed to let him dry before completing all of his details as there are too many edges wanting to bleed together. Consequently, the fox is placed on the table to dry with the raccoon and bear.

fox08dry

You may notice that his eyes are darkly outlined in black, well, those eyes being outlined like that call to me every time I walk past. They are looking wide open and scared instead of friendly and happy. This is not what I had in mind for him.

Many of the changes needed to my art are discovered in this manner. I hang it and walk away, and then the next time I see it something reaches out and grabs me. Fortunately, you just keep noticing it more and more every time you walk by till you change it.

Fox Rabbit 10 finished

Correcting his eyes and exaggerating the darkness between elbow and tail along with accentuated fur around ears and eyes and an addition of polka dots to his suspenders completes the details. Here he is drying on the table with the rabbit. the Mr. Foxy Miner Sign Character is all finished and ready to greet people on the hill again.

Plumeria Watercolor

red plumeriaPlumeria Layout

Finishing a pencil layout for a plumeria watercolor of seven blossoms I am now able to begin painting the first red bloom. Painting this subject is therapeutic for my soul. I almost feel the soft smooth petals with their bends and curls as I imagine the intensely bright colors and intense perfume. Can’t say that I miss the sticky fingers from the sap. But, their heady perfume was always the most welcoming part of getting off the plane whenever I went back home. Isn’t it funny what things you miss the most about childhood memories?

The smell and feel of a bag of plumerias. Hmmmm.

red plumeria up closeThe Colors In Red?

Here is the red plumeria paint up-close as it dries. I love the way watercolor does half the work for me by moving of it’s own accord wherever there is water to blend with the other colors. It lets me add drops of bright magenta or yellow that completely changes it. I add light washes of darker shadow details after the wet parts dry. I re-wet the dark shadow areas putting a dark line “cast-shadow” where the petal curves up toward itself. To feather the inside edge of this cast shadow I carefully add a little more water for the paint to fade into.

Making the Center Hole

Later, re-wetting the center, I put a thick small drop of blue and paynes gray. A little dark dab expands perfectly making the hole in the center and, showing where you thread the lei needle through coming out the back stem ready to thread the next flower on.

red, white & yellow plumeriaThe next blossom starts out as a white with yellow center plumeria that is partially covered by other flower petals on both sides.

four plumeria colors

four plumerias up closeThe first four plumerias are painted on the top in a variety of colors. You can see that the top right blossom has changed to become a light pink & yellow and the blossom directly below it is now the white & yellow instead. A closer shot shows how I can go darker pretty easily, but not lighter. 

peach, white & yellow, red, pink plumeriayellow & white plumeriaAnother white & yellow center on the left side is followed by another dark red on the right. Here is a closeup to see how the watercolors are working, specifically where the hole in the middle bleeds so wonderfully. Now, the next trick is to decide what colors go where for the last three flowers. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Backgrounds

I am happy with the random placement of color for now but how about the background?

water background plumeriasI thought of another custom that used to be practiced by us, it was to put a lei in the surf when someone you love goes away or passes away. The flowers float on the water for quite a while. You can sit on the sand and think for quite a while.  I decided to paint water for these plumerias to float on. You can see how I use lots of water to drop different colors into. Fun!

plumerias final detailsThe last decision is to make the last central bloom a light pink up front and center. Our pink tree had a very sweet perfume. It took an hour or so to put light and dark shadows to help show shape with light and shadow.

plumerias finishedPlumeria Watercolor Finished

It is all pau! I am sending it to a friend I have known since 4th grade in Kahaluu, who used to make lei’s and ride the school bus among other things with me.

Betsy, Mele Kalikimaka!

 

 

 

 

Sandwich Board Sign Repair

Sign Surfaces

lessons sign sanding 1The sandwich board is laid flat out on the table ready to sand. You can see that it has been used quite a long time with 3 to 4 layers of different stuff. I even ended up using a grinder to get the glue-on letters off so that the sign paint would adhere without blistering.

lessons sign sanding 2

Recycling

This is a sandwich board sign needing repair for 49 Degrees North Ski Resort. It is used on the lower walkway to assist lost people going to their ski and snowboard lessons. The rub-on lettering says, “Never skied, Welcome.” I vaguely remember that sign on the hill years and years ago.

lessons sign snowflakes 1

Snowflakes

The request was for blue snowflake pattern on the sign with wording same on both sides. Some of my best friends are flakes, but, I still had to look up snowflakes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much geometry is involved with drawing them. They are six sided gems and quite beautiful how they reflect lights. Check paper snowflake instructions here… I enjoyed looking at actual pictures of real snowflakes to prepare good looking flakes. 

lessons sign snowflake closeup

I went with a basic bright white background for the sandwich board sign. Using light blues and touches of magenta, rendering 2 snowflakes, one large and one smaller on opposing corners. Using a small sponge dabbed into white and blue helped make snowflakes appear as a texture around the border and randomly in the center.

lessons sign snowflakes

Lettering

The wording and arrows were painted in simple black. By the way, lettering is not something I do often. It has been 30 years since sign lettering was even a weekly project for me. I didn’t take any chances and opted to trace the letters onto the board first. You can see the pencil outlines in these pictures. Honestly, any self-respecting sign painter would not be caught dead outlining the letters like this.

lessons sign snowflakes w/ background

lessons sign snowflakes wording penciled

For a 2-sided sign, I had been reminded to reverse the arrows, but promptly forgotten it. After finishing, I got surprised. One side of the sign told me to go one way and the other  side told me the opposite. Ooooops! Consequently, I had to reverse one side’s arrow heads to correct this.

lessons sandwich sign 1lessons sandwich sign 2

Sometimes, my memory goes missing when I least expect it, but luckily, most things can be fixed!

Bluebird Sign Gets Repair

Shovel Packing Bird Miner

This sign is a shovel-packing bluebird with a large orange beak who is ready to find his own gold mine. Spending some time on the internet I tried to identify what type of bird he must be. Unfortunately, I was not able to find him. But, there are really interesting things about birds to check out if you are interested in amazing beaks on birds.

bluebird sign dryingThis bluebird sign is in need of quite a bit of repair since he has had a lot of traffic on the trails. The first thing we do is sand him on both sides, seal the back with a coat of white paint and let him dry.

Standing Mr. Orange beak bluebird up alongside the table edge shows me that he is still stable and intact on the bottom, even though there appears to be a lot of damage.

bluebird sign vertical

He got hits all over!

bluebird sign on table

After lifting him up onto the tabletop I begin to see the details of his damaged edges and surfaces. It is evident that his claw feet are simply worn away on the bottom edge. Along the right side, his shovel handle has become quite uneven with repeated ski pole pokes. I won’t worry about the rough edges for these though, as both claws and shovel handles can be uneven and no one will notice.

Face and Neck Repairs

bluebird sign close face

Now, our bluebird has damages that require some creative redesign and crafty  changes. Wear and tear shows on his neck, his left eye and the light bulb on his helmet. I believe I can remove his mining helmet and use that upper area for his blue head instead. This will allow me to move his face to the right enough to be able to give him his eye back. Artistic tweaking.

Bluebird Back and Tail

His body back and all his feathers got traffic but his lowest feather got the worst of it. The bluebird needs lots of paint.


bluebird sign close tail

Beginning with his bluebird tail feathers and the rest of his body, then proceeding to orange claw feet and beak.  Browns are next for the shovel handle and grays for the shovel. I put highlights on wings and body, purposely making them rougher looking to help disguise the damage and uneven surfaces.

Using black and white paint to repair his eyes and the space between him and his shovel, the last touches are complete. I hit any highlights or shadows that seem lacking in other areas at the same time .

bluebird sign dry with raccoon

The final adjustment is taking his beak right across his eye in the rear, which gives a better representation of 3D with it’s overlapping. Another last minute item was the addition of some orange eyebrows.bluebird sign finishedOur shovel-packing bluebird with a large orange beak is finished and sealed, ready to go back up on the hill and be discovered by those skiing the trails. Another of the fun animal character signs at the best family ski resort, 49 Degrees North  Ski Resort in Chewelah WA.

 

Gold Panning Bear Repairs

Damage Assessment

bear panning gold beforeThis gold panning bear is grinning happily because he has some gold nuggets in his pan. He has had a lot of interaction with the kids on the hill over the past ten years. Honestly, his gold pan is completely empty, so, it is logical to assume that gold nuggets are an  intense natural target area.

bear Gold Panning InitiallyInitially, we had placed him in the “trash” stack because his right leg was gone! But, I see minor damages on edges and scattered across his interior body, so he catches my attention again. 

Barely a Second Chance

bear panning gold face & hat

Looking at this poor gold panning bear dude a second time an idea comes to me. We could change his standing position to a kneeling one. This would require only minimal grinding and painting. Hopefully, this will work. If it does, there will be one more animal character returning to the kids trails up on the mountain

Gold Pan Bear Repairs

gold panning bearFirst, I seal this gold panning bear’s green hat and edges along with any random poke holes in this color area.
Second repair area, are the whites in his eyes and teeth and then switching to black doing the same.

Third, I get out the blues and work on his blue jeans figuring out the best shape to make him kneel. The trick being, to try and make the trimming at the base simple yet strong as possible.

Fourth, his gold pan needs new shadow and some bright highlights to be ready to discover some gold. We start with pan paint still wet and sprinkle in some glitter to give the pan some shine. Then blue dots are added to his red suspenders over where the holes are from getting poked. Nothing wrong with filling the dents in if I can.

bear gold pan glitter
Fifth, all of the brown fur area needs repainting to fill in pokes and accentuate the highlights and darks to bring them back alive. Then, we cut the bottom of the sign off even and paint in his blue jeans as if he is kneeling on a rock by a stream.

bear gold pan upper body

Foremost in my mind is a desire to direct the anticipated damage to a more durable area on the animal. The gold pan is low and centrally located and the gold pebbles were all taken that were glued there a decade ago. So, the logical solution is to make that gold pan a real attractive area, with shine and gold again.bear gold panning nuggets be4ar gold pan nuggets

Our happy gold panning bear is all done, ready to return to the trees on the hill! Would you like to learn a little about gold panning?

Pirate Birthday Cake

Jake the Pirate Birthday Cake

The request is for a birthday cake with “chocolate!!!” and Jake the Pirate from Disney. After looking up the kids animated series and found the cutest characters. I need to make a real quick sketch to verify if this is the correct series, then I do a pencil sketch for Henry to have of his own.

Jake the Pirate sketchJake the Pirate Drawing

Bake and Fill the Cake

First, I bake four layers of really rich chocolate birthday cake.

four chocolate cakes

Next, quickly whip up a special secret “flavored” cream cheese  filling for between the layers. Finally, I finish up by cooking a batch of real fudge frosting to ice it with.

Birthday Cake Fondant

Now, comes the hard part for me on this birthday cake. I have never made fondant before, so I looked up how-to on the internet and get to making it. I wanted to make the cartoon characters and his name out of this fondant instead of using frosting. You know, always trying something new.

fondant topping

The recipe made up a lot of fondant, actually it was too much, so I covered the top of the already frosted birthday cake and decided to paint a little scene on it.

 

More Than Just Sticky

I know the recipe said it was sticky but there should be a stronger word to describe how sticky fondant really is. Wow.

The next process for me was experimenting with my food coloring and cake decorating glitters to see what they would do on this fondant top coating. It is a very different glowing kind of coloring. It almost seems like a glaze after you coat it a few times. Hmmmm. Here is the background sand, water and skyline.

Pirate, 6, bird characters on cakePirate and number 6 on cake

The little characters took longer than expected due to the stickiness and getting the paints to work on them after cutting them out. This is Jake the pirate on the cake and the number six on the counter with the parrot with the paints. Whew! Frosting seems much easier all the time.

Henry's name on cake
Finishing up you can see that I have made Henry’s name in the same style that they use on the series. Which kind of looks like shipwrecked lumber nailed together. After getting it all assembled I went ahead and sprinkled some more shredded chocolate on the top.
finished birthday cake

Chocolate Birthday Cake 

I am really sure that this cake will not be mistaken for anything but chocolate.

 

Nervous Bear Ski Repair

Looking at the BearBear Skiing Sign 01

This animal character sign is a bear learning to ski. While his major damage is not very obvious, he does have poke holes in scattered places  the majority of them being the ski pole and claw area. Most importantly, he is missing half of his back ski. I wonder how many people will notice that the ski is half gone?

Bear Repair Process

Bear Skiing Sign 02

First, I paint the bear fur in browns using a red tint to bring some surfaces closer in appearance.

Colors Change

Bear Skiing Sign 03

This close shot shows how a warm red tint tends to draw his front leg closer to our eyes. In contrast, an addition of a cool blue makes shadow appear pushing his other leg back away from us. Isn’t it amazing to move areas with just a small addition of different colors? Certainly, art is cool.

Drying

Bear Skiing Sign 04

I paint the various blue accessories, including his small blue neck warmer, ski’s and pole and set him to dry. Not everything can be done on wet surfaces, and needing a completely dry surface to apply details, I set him down to dry.

Details

Bear Skiing Sign 05

Working on camouflaging the bear’s missing ski problem I use his ski pole to diffuse attention as we visually separate the skis. The ski pole basket is deliberately located right at the intersection point of the two skis. Hopefully, this will cause a distraction resulting in effectively blurring the area between the two ski surfaces. Best case scenario result is, a redirection of the viewer’s attention away from the bear back paw being located way to far back on the ski. With an ounce of distraction the artist becomes a magician. Bet you didn’t know that about being an artist.

Bear Skiing Sign 06

Continuing, with black outline details that exaggerate his wide-open expression and adds shadows above and below the eyes his face transforms.

Bear Skiing Sign 07Likewise, his mouth line makes-ready for later additions of his tongue and sweat. Why? Because, I plan to make him have a really nervous expression as learns to ski. A similar expression to the little people that will be poking at him later on the beginner ski trails.

Finishing

Bear Skiing Sign 08
Now, the nervous skiing bear repair is complete and he is drying on the table. Even though he is a nervous wreck as he learns to ski he will be ready to go play with the other kids learning on the trails up at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah WA.

Snowshoe Rabbit Fix

Ouch

Rabbit Sign
rabbit after sanding

This poor snowshoe rabbit holds a pick ax on his way to look for gold in, “them there hills”. As a result of the traffic in the past decade,  a lot of damage evident. It looks like the majority of the hits are on his paw holding the pick and the paw below. Similarly, the cheeks, mouth, ear, nose, and eyes have gotten their fair share of damage. Repairing this character is a real art challenge, but hang in there, because his transformation will amaze you.

Animal Tracks

This critter is one of the types making those footprints that you see in the snow when you are going up the lifts on chairs 1 & 4 because you get close enough to the ground to see them there. It is kind of amazing how far they can jump, even in deep snow. Do you wonder what bunny tracks look like in the snow? Check them out here

Backgrounds

rabbit sign 02
It is obvious that this fluffy furry guy is mostly whites with a few facial, ears, and tool shapes scattered here & there. I will use methods that I employ when painting snow landscapes in the fine art world. Most importantly, this means that I can not use much white straight out of the can. With a limited pallet, I give you clues by tinting the whites differently to show varying depths of field.
rabbit sign 04
On this area, I add a touch of blue and gray to the white as I coat his body below his chin.  I need to trick you into thinking he is a real live rabbit standing in front of you. Certainly, a limited white and grey  pallet are not making this easy to accomplish on a flat piece of wood. Um Huh!

What is Next?

rabbit sign 05
Painting over our rabbit’s other features and you may notice a slight yellow tint in his whites on the ears, cheeks and eye area. Because, those surfaces need to appear closer being lighter and warmer. Additionally, I move his right hand location away from the most severely damaged area. This gives a new target to aim for, that has not had any damage yet. I apply a coat of white and light pink to toes, ears, and nose and thankfully, I can still see where the eyes and teeth are underneath. I put a watered down coat of purple brown on the ax handle so I can see where to paint paw hands.

Rabbit Values

Darkening the chin under the rabbit teeth, nose and between the eyes makes his features begin to pop. I darken the chest and belly and you can start to see that 3D thing mentioned before. The uneven values and layers are beginning to hide the majority of the damages that were so evident before.

See how much white it takes to really cover?

rabbit sign 06
It drives my husband crazy when he sees me dip my brush into paint cans without washing it first, because he used to work in a hardware store mixing paint for people. Ha Ha. You can see my fancy artist palette upfront on the table. I use a paint can lid turned over with drizzled spots of the paints that I anticipate mixing. Truthfully, I hardly ever use a plain clean color while painting murals or signs. The only place I feel it is necessary to keep paint clean and pure is when I have to paint the walls of a room or a house exterior, otherwise “the sky is the limit” when rendering, right?
rabbit sign 07
A closer shot shows the blue grays working to distance his chest and make his teeth show up front. His hands are placed on the ax handle and more grays areas are put on his ears and cheeks.

Darkening the lower belly and lightening the leg upper thighs starts to show the separation between the knees and hand paws up front. Progressing, the highlights are added to toes with a touch of light on his shoulders to keep the body connected to his face and neck. Seems like his rabbit character is coming to life.

rabbit sign 08

Finishing

rabbit sign 09
drying

Coming into the home stretch now, you will notice details around his eyes, ears, nose and whiskers being quickly added. His teeth are now casting a shadow and his arms holding the ax are outlined to separate along with his kneecap and ear intersection.
Our fluffy snowshoe Rabbit, is drying on the dining table ready to greet the kids on the hill again at 49 Degrees North this winter.

Animal Character Signs

Mystery and Adventure

animal sign repairs
Peter repairing animal character signs.

The animal character signs tucked in and around the trees are one of my favorite things at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort (Chewelah WA). We are lucky to have really talented people in the ski school (Rick) and childcare center (Allison). Great things happen when experts teach our youth to love a sport, because they think of these kinds of tools in their program, a mystery scavenger hunt through the trees. First of all, Eric’s sister (sorry I don’t know her name) started it all. She is an artist who designed some great cartoon animal characters in a miner’s theme. She painted them on the walls in the kids club area and on plywood signs… hence, starting this whole thing way back when.

These animal signs are strategically placed in the trees on the bunny hill trails for the kids to find. Most of the time, the kids touch or poke the animal as they ski past. Everyone tries to be the first to find all of them, as a result, learning to ski is a lot more fun.

Sign Maintenance

About ten years ago (2008) when I painted the children’s nursery, it seems like only a couple years ago to me, anyhow, I repaired and painted some of the old ones and made some new animal signs. Well, these animal characters get a lot of traffic and they consequently, need some tender loving care. Pete and I repaired the damage this week getting them ready for this season. There is a total of 12 animal figures that we loaded up and brought home. All in all, we were able to resuscitate 10 of them so far.

Before

Bear on Ski's SignBear on Skis

Blue Bird With Shovel SignBlue Bird with Shovel

Fox SignFox

Frog SignFrog

Moose A SignMoose A

Moose B SignMoose B

Rabbit SignRabbit
Raccoon SignRacoon

Red Bird on Cart SignRed Bird on Cart

Snake SignSnake

Both Moose are still being painted but all the rest are done and we will show you progress pictures on following posts. We are waiting to find out if the hill management wants the two other guys redone or redesigned or used for fire starter. They got missing limbs.

Broken Miner SignBroken Miner Sign

Broken Bear Panning for Gold SignBroken Bear Panning for Gold Sign

Come check out the slopes

up at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort, maybe we will see you up there. Kids are happy up there, so are the adults.

Finishing Details on Mural

1_49MuralDetail

Adding finishing details and final touches to this winter scene interior mural at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington. My scaffold gets packed up and I use the ladders to work on the last parts of this project. With my smallest brushes, I paint, then backup to see how the whole wall looks to me. This little step-back-and-look habit, always really helps me to change my perspective making it possible to see things I do not notice when I am close to the wall. After repositioning myself, I usually see missing items better.

02_49MuralDetail

Watch Out

Mountaintops in the winter can easily become an addictive thing. This whole project is quite an enjoyable one for me as I am painting from my own memories on the hill. There is absolutely nothing like spending the day speeding down a powdery hill feeling the cold wind kissing your face. Your eyes take in some of the best views on the planet as your heart races similar to being on a rollercoaster. If you have not tried skiing yet, don’t miss out on this wonderful experience in your life. You may find that winter will become your favorite time of year! Really!

I tell you the truth, skiing is just about as much fun as you can have without breaking any laws.

01_49MuralDetail

Finishing Touches

I carefully add scattered groups of detail in larch and birch between the evergreens bringing a little realism into the whole impressionistic view. Stepping back, lets me notice that I am missing majestic tamarack trees both in the background and up front. Next some shrubbery is added at the tree bases using a rigger brush with dark browns and then adding snow on some of them. Some of the closest snow mounds receive a stroke of white to finish them up.

03_49MuralDetail

Standing back to get a better look, another missing ingredient comes to mind. I can’t forget to add little clumps of snow resting on the branches of the trees. If you knew our family, you’d know why that snow is important! Especially Patrick, who is known for sharing those clumps of snow with unsuspecting fellows on the slope. Okay, remember now that payback is patient dude!

Wall “A” is a twenty foot long space and all details are complete now.

Finished 49 Mural Wall A first half Finished 49 Mural Wall A second half

Wall “B” is a forty-foot wide wall in three sections, having 2 columns and a doorway in it. It also has a rather large storage cabinet built into the corner behind the cash register. It was kind of tricky to figure out where to put the finishing details and not cause confusion or competition with the door or columns, and use of the benches. People tend to hang out and examine the details in a mural, so I try not to interfere with the business by drawing attention with the placement of details to areas away from traffic patterns if possible.

finished 49 Mural Wall B1 Finished 49 Mural Wall B2 Finished 49 Mural Wall B3

Wall “C” is now finished as the shortest twelve foot wall that divides the nursery from the children’s club. The cash register counter is on the right where parents check-in with their children dropping them off for lessons on the hill.

49MuralWallC

“All Pau!” with this winter mural.

When you are all finished with something, then you are “all pau” with it in Hawaii. Which is simply a scrap of trivia information for those of you who enjoy collecting those little bits of information. I can’t wait to start skiing this season! Hope you can come up to 49 Degrees North to see the mural and let me know what you think. Time to pray for snow everyone!