project 365 | days 215 thru 234

Now that Christmas & New Year’s are over, I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great holiday. Wonderful, actually. It’s just…after all the holiday parties, birthdays (I have too many friends/relative with Birthdays that fall within a week of Christmas), shopping, gift making, gift wrapping, Etsy Shop tending, cooking, drinking, etc., I feel like I need a week’s vacation just to recuperate my energy. Or just 24 hours to sleep. THAT’s what I should have asked for this year. Sleep.

Regardless, my holiday was fantastic. I spent time with family. I ate some great food. I attended some great parties. I got all I wished for and hope you did, as well. Now it’s time to catch up on to some Project 365. To catch up on all my Project 365 posts—starting at day 1—you can go here, scroll down to the bottom and select older posts (more than once). Today we’re starting with Day 215. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Day 215, I just realized it has been almost a year since I’ve had my hair cut, which is why I seem to have more split ends than healthy ends. Excuse me for a second while I go make a hair appointment. Day 216, in case you didn’t know, Target is a black hole. On this day, I believe I went in to buy one single package of cat food. On my direct route to reach the pet product section, I had to stop off first and browse the greeting cards for almost an hour, which happened to be across the aisle from the hair care products, which led me to picking up some new shampoo, which got me to thinking about new accessories for my bathroom, which is why I left with a month’s supply of toilet paper and an entire set of new towels. Black hole…or the smartest retail store layout EVER?

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Day 217, one of my closest college friends—a sorority sister I hadn’t seen in almost 4 years—came in town for the weekend to visit. After picking her up from the airport, we began at my favorite neighborhood Irish Pub, Celtic Crossing, for a round or two of drinks. Day 218, there just so happened to be a Beer Festival (Cooper Young Regional Beerfest) less than two blocks from my house, so of course I happily dragged her there before later walking back home to watch our alma mater (Mississippi State) beat Tennessee, 41-31.

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Day 219, we rounded out my friend’s weekend in Memphis with brunch down the street at The Beauty Shop. I had so much fun, Kish, & I miss you already. Maybe next time, I’ll actually take you out of my neighborhood. Day 220, this is what happens two hours after gifting Maddie with a new toy. She’s only 45-ish lbs, and yet she destroys chew toys faster than my parents’ 80 lb. behemoth, Bogey. Kristen and I were picking up stray pink strands from every random corner of our house for weeks.

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Day 221, looking for the best toasted ravioli in Memphis? Visit Dino’s Grill in midtown, located on N. McLean. Plus, they have all-you-can-eat-spaghetti every Thursday night. Day 222, I put our mantle chalkboard to good use when Kristen’s friends Trish & Brian came to stay with us. I then became super lazy and left that welcome message up there for about two months.

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Day 223, everyone always says my sister and I look extremely alike. We get asked all the time whether or not we’re twins. While I agree there is some family resemblance between the two of us, the only attributes that are identical are our voices. When you talk to us on the phone, it’s basically like talking to the same person. Day 224, ever since I moved to Midtown (about five years ago), my favorite local Mexican restaurant has been Molly’s la Casita. Forewarning, their margaritas will put you on the floor.

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Day 225, my sister attended Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), while I attended Mississippi State University (MSST). Even though she could care less about football, I love the bragging rights that came with this absolute athletic domination. SEC all the way. Day 226, Maddie has recently decided our home isn’t good enough for her and begun the daunting task of digging her way to China. I’ll let you know if she at least makes it to the neighbor’s yard.

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Day 227, I forced Kristen to watch the Presidential debates with me. I’ve already touched on my stance with discussing politics, so I’ll leave it at that. Day 228, have you seen Argo? It’s the best edge-of-your-seat thriller I’ve seen in years. Kristen and I were literally on the edge of our seats throughout the movie. I was anxious and scared the entire time. I’ll be surprised if—come Thursday morning—it doesn’t receive at least a few Oscar nods. It’s a must see.

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Day 229, I recently finished reading the Beautiful Creatures series (also known as the Caster Chronicles), ahead of the first book’s film adaptation coming out February 2013. While this series didn’t excite me quite as much as The Hunger Games, it is better than Twilight. I think it would have been better suited as a trilogy, instead of stretching the story into four novels. A little long, but still a decent read. Day 230, I’m a horrible pool player. At least, I usually am. On this specific night at Young Avenue Deli, my partner and I won six or seven games in a row. I have no idea how this freak accident occurred, but I sure hope it happens again.

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Day 231, Kristen & I spent a lazy Friday night stretched out on my couch in front of the TV with our friend, Audrey, eating Swanky’s Taco Shop take-out and drinking beer. Night well spent. Day 232, Kristen and I attended the Dixon Gallery’s Art on Fire fundraiser event with my friend Jennifer. Food, beer, wine, bonfires, live music, fire performers, art, charity auction…I have a feeling this will become an annual event for me.

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Day 233, my family gets together every year before Halloween to carve pumpkins. Correction: my family gets together every year to watch my brother and I carve pumpkins while they eat and drink. With him being an architect and me being an artist, we typically go all out to see who can carve the better design. This year, however, I was lazy and only did the Apple logo, while he carved out the Autobot symbol from Transformers because his son is beyond obsessed with everything Transformers. My nephew freaked out and loved it. Day 234, my office got a new touch screen phone system. While I like to consider myself somewhat tech-savvy, it took me over a week to figure out how to use this thing. Which is why when I finally figured out how to access the voicemail, I had close to twenty urgent messages. #Fail.

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That’s it for today. Coming soon: another wood art post, plus a list of my favorite books read in 2012. Happy New Year!

– lindsey archer

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painting premiere

I get to start this post off with some good news, which is always nice. The paintings I’m about to show you, as well as the pieces I recently wrote about here and here, will soon (if not already) be hanging in an art gallery. Nicole from Allie Cat Arts approached both my sister and I on Etsy about showing some of our stuff at her gallery in our lovely neighborhood of Cooper Young. Located at 961 S. Cooper, the gallery is only two blocks from our house.

I’ve never had my work in a gallery before, so I’ll be honest. I am freaking out a little. It always feels good to have someone you’re not related to appreciate your art, though it still seems slightly unreal. Now, for those who message me on Etsy asking if I have a shop in Memphis, I’m one step closer to saying yes. Next time you’re in the Cooper Young area, please stop by Allie Cat Arts to see some of our work, along with the work of other great local Memphis artists.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about some paintings. These are the last of my first round of experimenting with gel medium I don’t know what I’m doing series. We’ll call it EWGMIDKWID for short. This is one of the first abstract skylines I painted using the mixture of gel medium and acrylic paint. While I like the coloring and the actual size of this canvas the best, the paint could have been thicker. I wasn’t quite sure what the gel medium would look like once it dried, so I was somewhat shy with slopping the thick, white, glue-like substance onto my canvas. What did I learn? Gel medium dries clear. I shouldn’t be shy.

For those who are wondering, these skyline/cityscape paintings are not reproductions of any actual skylines or cityscapes. I went more of an abstract route and painted random building shapes and sizes. We’ll call it Skyline à la Archer, as in it came straight out of my head instead of from a real picture. Or, you can use your imagination and pretend it’s your city and I painted this just for you. Regardless, I plan on attempting a few paintings that resemble real city skylines. Some day. Maybe soon.

This next blue skyline/cityscape is my favorite. Well, other than the big ass blue canvas, which happens to be remarkably similar to this one. Because I got over my shyness with using the gel medium, this painting is extra heavy on the texture. When I first envisioned what I wanted to accomplish by mixing gel medium with my acrylic paints, this is it. It only took me eight or ten tries to get it right. Not bad. Plus, I love how the yellows and blues ended up blending together here.

This last acrylic painting translated very well into a print, which I hope to add to my Etsy shop very soon. And unlike the skylines/cityscapes, this is an actual reproduction from a real city. While still slightly abstract, I modeled this painting off of the Hernando de Soto Bridge, which connects Memphis, TN to West Memphis, AR—via Interstate 40. I feel this bridge is an iconic part of my city’s skyline. I love creating art pieces around it, so I definitely have more Memphis bridges in my future.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these three paintings are now available at Allie Cat Arts. Fellow Memphians, if you’re in the mood to support some local starving artists, please stop by and take a look at all the great pieces Nicole has hanging in the gallery.

Up next is another Project 365 post. Stay tuned.

– lindsey archer

project 365 | days 175 thru 194

It’s been awhile since my last Project 365 post, so I thought I’d knock one out today to try and catch up a little. Instead of the usual 16 images, I’m posting 20 photos today. Bear with me. To catch up on all my Project 365 posts—starting at day 1—you can go here, scroll down to the bottom and select older posts (twice). Today we’re starting with Day 175. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Day 175, my sister and I decided to hold a preview party to show off some of our art before the Cooper Young Festival. How did we get people to come? We bought out Cosco’s wine supply. It’s crazy how excited people get over the prospect of free booze. Day 176, here was the set up in our library for our preview party. The wine flowed, as did some of our art. Win, win.

 

Day 177, my youngest nephew turned one. Whether he liked it or not, his older brother was more than happy to help him eat some of his birthday cake. Such a caring big brother, reminds me so much of mine. Day 178, Kristen and I have become obsessed with salvaging wood. We’ll be driving down the road and the second one of us spots a pile discarded on the curb, we yell out at the other to pull over. Immediately. It’s like a game of who can spot it first. Riding around with us is like being stuck with two people suffering from Tourettes. Except, with a limited vocabulary, because all we scream out is “Wood!” or “Palettes!” or in some cases, “DOORS!” It’s become sort of a problem. It does make great art, though.

 

Day 179, it’s a rare moment when our two animals can sit within inches of each other without fighting…like cats and dogs. I had to capture it before any eyes were scratched out. Day 180, first NFL football game of the fall had Eli Manning leading the defending Super Bowl champions to its first loss of the season. Very sad day for the Giants. I yelled at the TV. Multiple times.

 

Day 181, it’s not often my to read pile stands at only two books tall (both of which have been read by now). So, of course I had to go spend more money at Barnes & Noble right away. Talk about a problem. If there’s a twelve step program for people who spend their entire paycheck at Barnes & Noble, I need to join. The first step is admitting your problem, right? One down, eleven to go. Day 182, this is what Mulligan does when I ask him to pose for the camera. He can go from being an adorable cat to being a stubborn little shit faster than my crappy iPhone 3GS can snap a picture.

 

Day 183, opening football weekend for my beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs. We beat Auburn 28-10. War Eagle, what? And no, I don’t want to talk about the last two games where the Bulldogs apparently forgot how to play football. It’s too depressing and I prefer to block them out. Day 184, Kristen and I performed a practice run of setting up our Cooper Young Festival Booth on our back deck. Perfection takes practice.

 

Days 185 and 186, samples of some of my wood art for Cooper Young Fest. I was creating new pieces down to the final days before the Festival. I work well under pressure. It also makes me work very quickly. My fingers were raw for about a week from rubbing off all the excess paper from the ink transfers on the wood. Art is all about sacrifice.

 

Day 187, this is what I often see when I wake up in the mornings. In case you didn’t know, pets don’t care whether or not you’re a morning person. They also don’t care what time of day they wake you up. Crack of dawn? Sure. Three o’clock in the morning? Why not? Mulligan loves climbing on top of my chest at 6:00 am, his face inches from mine. He then emits the loudest purr known to his kind, so as to let me know he’s bored and in need of entertainment. Apparently, I live to serve him. Day 188, this was my response to Kristen when she texted me asking if I was ready for our Cooper Young Festival Booth in just two days. Obviously, I’m a natural rapper.

 

Day 189, remember Day 174’s photo of the day? The big ass blank canvas? This is a close-up of the finished product. Naturally, I completed it the night before the Festival. I’m a more talented procrastinator than I am painter. Day 190, our official Cooper Young Festival Booth, put together at the crack ass of dawn. Despite the fact it was an extremely long day, Kristen and I had so much fun with the booth, the festival…all of it. We can’t wait to have another booth next year. Thank you, again, to everyone who stopped by. And an even bigger thank you to all those who made a purchase. We hope to make the booth even bigger and better next year. Can’t wait.

 

Day 191, Maddie joined us in having a lazy Sunday after CY Fest. I haven’t been that tired in I don’t know how long. Still…definitely—definitely—worth it. Day 192, Monday Night Football with my boyfriend, Peyton Manning, and his new team, the Denver Broncos. 27-21, they lost to the still undefeated Atlanta Falcons. I may have cried. A little. It’s okay. My good friend, Justin, happened to be in town from Denver to watch it with me and brought me some bourbon to ease the pain after we finished off my six-pack. It helped. A little.

 

Day 193, Kristen and I packed up some wine to head over to our friends’ house to watch my other boyfriend, Matt Bomer, in his fantastic show, White Collar. If you have yet to discover the awesomeness that is White Collar…I feel sorry for you. You are depriving yourself of perfection. Day 194, I was one of the first to take advantage of the new Twitter profiles. I know. I’m so tech-savvy.

 

And that’s 20 and done. I still have 50 photos to get thru before I’m even close to being caught up, so check back soon for another few Project 365 posts. Until then, pray with me that my Bulldogs remember how to play football tonight against LSU. Go Dawgs.

– lindsey archer

a little rock, a little roll

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the abstract skyline paintings (you can go here if you missed it), I’ve been experimenting with adding gel mediums to my acrylic paints.

This first painting shown here is my least favorite. So, let’s get it out of the way first. The colors didn’t exactly turn out how I pictured them in my head, which happens more often than I’d like to admit. Sometimes, I’ll think up something in my head and when I try to render that to a canvas, the picture gets lost in translation. Naturally, this means it is everyone else’s favorite. My sister loves this white guitar and isn’t happy about my desire to sell it. Oh well. It’s for sell in my Etsy shop here.

I like the blue abstract guitar painting much better than its white cousin. I think the blue colors make more of a pop. As an artist, I don’t choose colors or shapes that particularly mean something to me. I didn’t paint this blue guitar because I was sad and it represents a certain blah blah period in my life. I simply purchased some new blue paint I thought was pretty, so of course I wanted to try it out right away. I’m not one of those artists who bleeds thru their work, not that I’m knocking on them. It’s just not my process. I paint because I like to add colors to canvases and see what I can make from them. I enjoy it. It’s a hobby. Does that make me less authentic of an artist? I hope not.

This blue abstract guitar painting is available in my Etsy shop here.

This next guitar painting was a work in progress. While I completed my skyline and other guitar paintings in one sitting, this one dragged on for a few weeks. It was my first guitar attempt and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted it to look like. The background is loaded with colors, a few paint layers thick, simply because I couldn’t decide what I liked. After each layer, I’d take a step back and…I wasn’t feeling it. So I added some more paint. And some more. And then I said screw it and left it on my easel for three to four weeks. If you follow my Project 365 posts, you’ve already seen this canvas twice. Click here to see it in its first incarnation, from blank to first official coat of paint. 30 days later, I finally added the top coats and the guitar. At least it didn’t take me as long as my trolley painting. It turns out, these final colors compliment our living room perfectly—where the painting is now hanging.

Considering my sister is obsessed with the color purple, she freaked out a little when she saw this abstract piano painting (can you tell I like painting abstracts?). This was actually my first attempt at using gel mediums on the background. I didn’t use quite enough, which is why this background doesn’t have quite as much texture as my other skylines I wrote about yesterday. I still like how it turned out. I grew up playing the piano, so I couldn’t paint a guitar without painting this one. One day, I will own a baby grand. One day.

That’s all for today. Not all of these are available in my Etsy Shop, but as soon as I figure out a cheaper way to ship large canvases, I’ll be sure to add them.

Oh, and today is my wonderful sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Kristen! Everyone pay a visit to her latest blog post, where she shows off her beautiful Memphis Letters photography print. Or you can just skip straight to her Etsy Shop and buy one. Do it. Don’t fight it. Just let it happen.

– lindsey archer

painting the town

Before Cooper Young Festival, I went on a painting frenzy. While I’ve painted for years, these paintings shown below are my first attempt at working with a gel medium and palette knife. Now I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to paint without them.

If you’re not familiar with gel mediums, they work to help thicken up your existing acrylic paint. I then used a palette knife to add in some details (like the windows of the buildings), which added to the overall texture of the painting. My experimenting resulted in these abstract skylines/cityscapes over water, in front of a sunset/sunrise. This blue painting is currently for sale in my Etsy Shop here. As always, click on images to enlarge.

For my second attempt, I switched up the coloring for a warmer sunrise/sunset. This one is also available in my Etsy Shop here.

For all my paintings, I cover the back with acid-free brown kraft paper for a clean, professional look. I also add hardware for easy hanging, like the sawtooth hanger below.

I have more paintings to post this week, so check back soon!

– lindsey archer

loose ends in my etsy shop

Cooper Young Festival may be over, but I’m still creating art.

It’s no secret I’m book obsessed. And since I recently started collecting bookends, I figured…why not make some of my own?

In the months leading up to Cooper Young Festival, my sister and I stockpiled quite the salvaged wood collection. You’d be surprised by how much wood people throw out on the street. Cedar wood. Wood Palettes. Huge two by fours. The only problem? If I wanted to make bookends or art pieces, the wood would need to be cut down. And, well…I’m not so good with powertools. Seriously. I hear the sound of a power saw and my eyes squeeze shut automatically. Which is obviously the safe reaction. Right? Every time, too. You may hear a simple power drill, but I hear Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Except, in Tennessee. So, I guess, Tennessee Chainsaw Massacre. It’s unhealthy. I know. But what can you do?

Well, you can do what my sister and I did. Beg your Dad to spend a few hours every other weekend sawing two by fours and planks of cedar down into various small pieces so you could create art. Of course he said yes (we love you, Daddy).

Once I had wood blocks in the correct size, I painted them, transferred the ink from various graphic design & painting prints via a gel medium, distressed the edges with a sanding block and topped them off with a protective coating of polyurethane.

Without further adieu, I’d like to introduce you to the latest additions to my Etsy Shop: wood block bookends (as with the Project 365 posts, click on images to enlarge).

First up, the black and teal typewriter. Teal paint + a simple black vector graphic of a vintage typewriter. Available in my Etsy Shop here.

  

Next up, green guitars. Green paint + black vector graphics of a few different guitar ends. Available in my Etsy Shop here.

  

Next up, perfect for any tech geek, I give you the Three Finger Salute. AKA…Ctrl Alt Del (every computer user’s favorite three keyboard keys). Teal paint + some simple typography. Available in my Etsy Shop here.

  

For my next bookend, I used a print of one of my original acrylic paintings of the Memphis Bridge (you can see it hanging in my house here). Black and white paint + bridge painting print image transfer. Available in my Etsy Shop here.

  

Then, I can’t do a Memphis bookend without creating one with Memphis’s best zip code. Green paint + black 38104 (midtown Memphis) typography. Available in my Etsy Shop here.

  

And because I had some longer wood block pieces to work with, I made two simple home decor pieces (they were slightly too large for bookends). White and teal guitar accent and a Warhol-esque version of my original acrylic Memphis trolley painting (see the original in my house here). These two pieces are also available in my Etsy Shop here and here.

  

  

Coming up soon, I’m going to show you a few of my original acrylic paintings, followed by a Project 365 post or two. Also, there’s this little thing called National Novel Writing Month coming up in 9 days.

Stay tuned.

– lindsey archer

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