Tag Archives: Lewis Art

Calvin and Hobbes Mailbox Decoration

I think this is my favorite of the many mailbox decorations we’ve made. It makes me feel good when I see it. This is the back of the piece. you can see where I’ve tried to incorporate the mounting bar into the design.

Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip by American cartoonist Bill Watterson that was syndicated from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995.

 

This is the front. The piece is about 2-1/2 feet tall and about the same wide – 3 feet + with the mounting bar and tail. We grabbed the design from the net. My husband translated the picture into code that the computer-guided torch on our CNC table can understand and cut out. We used a transparency and overhead projector to mark the bare metal for painting. I then painted both sides and then sprayed a clear protective spray on it. I hope this decoration gives people a warm feeling as they drive by our home.

 

Calvin and Hobbes by Sarah, Quotesgram.com

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Filed under Hobbies, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art

New Gloves for Everyone!

In my travels around the yard recently, I noticed that the robots on either side of our garage door needed some refurbishing. Each had a pair of gloves that had almost rotted off with the combination of wind, sun, and rain. I got a couple of pairs of old gloves from the shop, laboriously stuffed the fingers and palms of each with plastic bags, and they sat on our table waiting. Yesterday was the day. My husband did most of the work on getting the new gloves on once I removed the old ones with a combination of a screw and wire. I then added duct tape around the top of each to prevent wasps from building nests inside the gloves. (Lesson learned the hard way.)

This one is a “Cleaning Robot.” He has a broom in one hand and a ‘dust pan’ in the other, ready to do a quick clean-up when needed. His bow tie used to be bright red. Since his has really faded and is also rotting, a new one is on the way. He is made from a combination of an old propane tank and scrap metal, plus an old set of fireplace tools.

 

This is our “Gardening Robot.” He’s ready to help with mowing, planting, filling holes, mulching, and more in his tennis shoes and overalls and heavy gloves. He wears a bandana around his neck. We’ll get him a new one at Yeager’s today, I hope.  He is made from an old propane tank, a metal box for his head, tube iron and scraps.

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Working on the New Mailbox Decoration

Kurt Vonnegut via CrafterHours via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m taking this quote to heart as I work in the shop on the new mailbox decoration for December.

This is the decoration we THOUGHT we had already made, but hadn’t. We went out to the shop at the beginning of the month last December, only to NOT find the decoration! This is along the same line as being able to hide our own Easter eggs…..

I almost have the back of the piece finished. I have some accents to add and then when it’s dry, I’ll turn it over and start on the front. I’ll take a picture before I begin painting the front so you see what is done to ‘mark a piece’ using the overhead projector.

Right now the weather is really nice here, with bright sunshine. This won’t last, though, as the forecast is, “Saturday:  Showers and storms will arrive mainly after sunset lasting until midnight.” This is bringing a strong cold front that may bring sleet and snow to NW Arkansas tomorrow, but will just bring US a cold, wet, Easter morning with temperatures decreasing during the day….

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday.

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New Christmas Mailbox Decoration in the Works

 

 

We found this cute drawing on the net and decided to use our CNC setup in the shop to cut it out for a mailbox decoration next December.  My husband did his magic, generating the G-code the computer uses to guide the torch on the cutting table to cut out the design from a sheet of metal. The piece is about three feet wide and about 2-1/2 feet tall.

 

We used an overhead project and a color transparency to mark the piece. I’m starting to paint it now. I’m doing the back side of the piece first to work out any problems. The first code I call ‘color blocking’ because the first coat on metal is so awful that it only serves to mark the areas as particular colors. The second coat enables you to finally see the design well and then put accents on.

I did the first coat on the back side yesterday. Today I’ll try to do the second coat. I’ll take some progress pictures and post them.

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Latest Mailbox Decoration Progress

In December last year, we discovered that my husband and I shared a ‘senior moment,’ with both of us thinking we had created a new mailbox decoration for the Christmas season. We looked in the hanging bar where we keep all of our mailbox decorations, but it wasn’t there. We looked laboriously all over the shop, thinking maybe we had started it, but hadn’t finished it. Nope. Nada.

After finally admitting we were definitely losing it, we started over. My husband used the reference picture we got from the net and generated the computer code that tells the torch what to cut.

Yesterday afternoon he made the piece we use to attach the piece to the mailbox and got it welded to this. We attached the piece to our stand with a huge clamp, then used the overhead projector to mark the piece on both sides. It is now ready for me to paint.

I always start with the back, making decisions and working out any problems there before I turn it over and paint the front. I’ll post progress pics as the piece is painted.

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St. Pat’s Mailbox Decoration Up This Morning

When we first started making metal decorations to attach to our mailbox, we used to have to manually cut the designs out using a welding torch and then spend a LOT of time smoothing all the edges, front and back, before even thinking of painting it. It was the best we could do at the time and some decoration is certainly more fun than none.

When we got the CNC set up, where my husband could convert a drawing we found on the net to a code the computer could understand and replicate, cutting it out of sheet metal, we upped our game and a wonderful new adventure began! We have so much fun making these. We now have too many to display each year! We change our decoration twice a month, and then we try to display as many of the other designs we’ve made that are unrelated to a certain holiday as possible.

Now my husband looks for designs that allow us to display something 3-dimensional to take it out of the more ordinary designs. Such a fun way to spend time together – scheming on what to make, how we’re going to make it, cutting it out, marking it, and painting it – and then, finally putting it up on the mailbox, hoping that others will smile as they pass. :0)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Fritz the Cat Mailbox Decoration

Fritz the Cat is a comic strip created by Robert Crumb. Set in a “supercity” of anthropomorphic animals, the strip focuses on Fritz, a feline con artist who frequently goes on wild adventures that sometimes involve sexual escapades. Crumb began drawing this character in homemade comic books when he was a child. Fritz became one of his most famous characters, thanks largely to the motion picture adaptation by Ralph Bakshi. ~ Wikipedia.

Of course, this is one of my husband’s favorite comic book characters. This was a difficult piece to paint, since the picture from which we were working was all done in tiny dots. This is one of our larger pieces, and it is HEAVY.

The picture above is the back of the piece. I had quite a time trying to blend the vertical support into the design.

 

This is the front. It shows up pretty well down the road.

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Snow-Goon Mailbox Decoration

We love Calvin & Hobbes. One of our favorite parts of the series was the killer Snow-Goons. Today it’s 77 outside, but tonight a cold front is coming through, so we may get our chance to build one of our OWN Snow Goons before the winter is over. This is the back of the piece, where I try to blend in the attachment support into the design.

 

I love the way my husband was able to weld ‘arms’ on and make the piece 3-dimensional, with the Snow Goon holding its head.

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Slug

saga

I’ve been a slug today. I guess I wore myself out yesterday, feeling 110+ years old when I woke up today, joints creaking, muscles aching. We did errands, but that was it for the day. I had a nice nap under my throw in my recliner this afternoon.

One thing I forgot to tell you that I did yesterday was finish the repainting of the Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin mailbox decoration for October.

I don’t think he’ll glow in the dark, but he’s the very brightest orange I could find, and I think he’ll light up well when headlights shine on him.

 

He looked okay on the mailbox last October, but I was hoping for a Day-Glo type look, if not glowing in the dark. I used a paint called, Neon Orange. The only actual glow-in-the-dark paint I could find was in a spray can, which I couldn’t use on the piece.

 

This is the front.

 

And this is the back. We hung him up on the proper hook in the shop, waiting for next October.

Next, I’ll be doing a refurbishing on our ‘box turtle’ who has an eye falling off and paint pealing off his ‘shell.’

We’re on the edge of the map as to whether we’ll get a wintry mix this evening into tomorrow morning. We’re thankful to have a warm, dry home with our animals close around us.

I hope you’ve had a happy day, too.

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Cheshire Cat

We put this up this morning.  I forgot to take my camera (surprise!) and so I’m posting pics from the last time we put it up, when things were green and the weather was deliciously warm. Today it’s 30, but sunny. Tonight we’re supposed to get a wintry mix and tomorrow the low will be 14 and the high 21….

 

We needed something happy to take our minds off another possibility of ice. The Cheshire Cat is just the ticket. :0)

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Happy New Year – 2018

We put up our “Happy New Year” mailbox decoration with Calvin & Hobbes today.  I’ve still had to ‘think’ a bit when writing a check to get 2017 on it. NOW – another year has whizzed past my head, making my hair blow!

 

“My Wish for you in 2018:

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires.

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy.

May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words …….

May 2018 be the best year of your life!!!”  ~ Source Unknown

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Fun Afternoon

I wish I could say the painting of the tree above is ‘mine,’ but it isn’t. Some talented person painted it, then someone else tagged it to put on pinterest. I don’t even know who the credit should go to. :0(

I’ve had a fun afternoon finishing painting presents for Christmas.

I love thinking of my friends as I paint, trying to do something I hope they’ll like. It fills me with the Christmas spirit – the joy of giving.

Tomorrow, when the paint is dry, I’ll wrap up the last of the presents for our good friends. I’ll give them to people based on if I’ll see them again before Christmas or not. I love a month where you’re deciding when you’ll try to make your friends happy with something you’ve bought or made especially for them. We should do this many times a year, I think…

 

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Santa is UP

We put our Santa mailbox decoration up this morning. I’m not sure if you can tell it from this picture, but the white of his beard, the snowball and fur on his hat, his eyebrows, mustache, and bands on his mittens are all textured with SnoTex, so they have a 3-D feeling. I like that stuff a lot.

We have a mystery, though.

I asked my husband if he would get the mailbox decoration that has two children on either side of a Christmas tree so that we could put it up today. He came back, saying he couldn’t find that one, but had brought back Santa. I went out to the shop and looked through the decorations and I couldn’t find it, either!

I don’t know if I’m losing my mind or what! I can’t find any pictures of the decoration, so there seems to be no record of our making it. I’ll have to look on the net and see if I can find it again. Could I have DREAMED we cut it out and painted it?

Kind of rattles my confidence a bit…

 

 

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Thanksgiving Mailbox Decoration

We put the turkey up on the mailbox yesterday. I’m starting to get into the swing of Thanksgiving, finally.

We have our good friend, Nora, coming for dinner, and are hoping that another friend, Carla, will also be free. I have the fixings for our dinner in the house, and will move the turkey from the freezer to the fridge to start thawing on Monday.

I’m thankful for so many things this year –

  • My good friends from Lunch Bunch,
  • My husband playing ball with our ‘puppy,’ Amber, who now officially weighs 81 lbs at 8 months old, and keeping me company while I made two more 39 gallon trash bags full of leaf mulch this afternoon,
  • having a fun family of my husband, two dogs, two cats, and four fish up here in a house we love on top of a ridge line,
  • our son MAY be coming home from Thailand for a visit in February,
  • my husband and I are free to spend our days enjoying our lives and each other with very few serious problems

I hope that you’re looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with people you love in a warm, dry place, filling your bellies with good food, and your hearts with good cheer.

 

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Creativity

GrowingBolder.com via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m having fun trying to make Christmas presents for friends and family. I don’t work in my art room every day, but I’m making progress. I’m doing some things I’ve never tried before, so I’m not sure they’ll be successful – in fact, I did some things and ended up tossing them because I really didn’t like the way they turned out. If I keep at it, though, I hope I can make something people will like.

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The Best Compliment Ever

Awhile back I posted that I had closed down my website, Creative Artworks, after about 17 years. I had the work of several artists besides myself displayed, and I had the best time promoting our work, plus made some good friends. Then it got to the point where a small group of artists were actually working with me, helping me keep our standards high, helping me with contests, keeping their part of the website up to date. There was a larger and larger group of people who were just there. I actually had some who embarrassed me. We would get an order. I would email them, and they would respond, “Oh, I haven’t made those in a year.” I would have to refund money, disappoint a customer, and creat something for them to try to show them how sorry I was for their inconvenience. When this happened more and more, I decided to shut down Creative Artworks. I keep my own work on ArtFire.com and Etsy.com.

I received a phone call at about 6:30 yesterday evening. It took me two tries of the man saying his name before I recognized who he was. This was a customer of mine for whom I had painted and personalized wooden ornaments. He tried to go to Creative Artworks, finding the link no longer took him to the site. He tried emailing me at the email address I used for business, and the email bounced. So he called me, still having my phone number from the last custom order!

He wants me to paint and personalize more ornaments for him! I was astounded that he went to so much trouble to contact me. I had tears in my eyes while I was trying to talk to him. He now has my regular email address and we’ll work out the details of which ornaments he wants, how many, and possibly for multiple years, but I’m still tearing up.  Of COURSE, he’ll get a nice discount on whatever he decides to order. :0)

What a beautiful compliment! To say this warm feeling has started off my Friday well is a vast understatement.

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Lewis Mailbox Decoration – First Half of November

This is the front of the Sylvester and Tweetie Pie mailbox decoration. My favorite thing about this one is that my husband was able to weld on whiskers for Sylvester and hair on Tweetie Pie without burning through the metal – a hard thing to do!

 

Here’s the back of the piece.

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Fun in My Art Room

Yesterday afternoon I finished digging out the iris from the backyard planter. (I still need to make sure the planter is completely cleaned out, add more potting mix and  replant some of the iris, but I declared victory for the day.)

I rewarded myself with some time in my art room.

I’m working on some Christmas presents for my good friends from Lunch Bunch. (Shhhhh!  It’s a secret!) The time flies by while I’m up there, thinking of my friends and trying to make something I hope they’ll enjoy. I have quite a few things to make, so I’m hoping I can sneak up there a lot in the coming weeks.

I also have some refurbishing to do on some of our yard art. Our ‘box turtle”

needs an eye re-glued, plus some touch up on peeling pain on his back.

 

I found some orange “neon” paint. I repaint the orange on both sides of the jack-o-lantern, hoping the paint will make him pop when headlights hit him next year.

 

We have an 8 foot tall (with stem and leaves) metal flower attached to a power pole in the back yard. Some wasps figured out a way to get between the metal of the flower and the plastic saucer type thing we glued to the center and covered with glass beads. We think our spraying has finally at least caused the wasps to relocate, if not die outright – so we’ll bring this into the shop. I’ll remove the center piece, clean everything up, caulk the center back on and replace the glass pieces that have fallen off.

I’ll work my way around the yard, repairing things as best I can. We’re also looking to repair some other critters still in the shop so that we can attach them to the ham radio tower extra length part we stood in concrete recently.

We have a few things in the shop that need to be repaired or finished that we can hang on here, plus critters we make in the future. This will be our “Critter Tree.” :0)

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Lewis Halloween Mailbox Decoration # 2

We took the Jack-O-Lantern down this morning and took it back to the shop. I’ll clean it carefully and then use some really bright, neon orange paint to see if I can get it to show up better at night when car lights hit it.

 

We put our ghost up for the rest of the month. This is the back of the piece.

 

This is the front. It’s funny, but this is one of our most simple pieces. It shows up at night better than anything we’ve made before or since. I love his happy expression. I hope he brings a smile or two.

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Mailbox Decoration – Jack-O-Lantern

We just put this jack-o-lantern mailbox decoration up. This is the back of the piece.

 

And this is the front. I wish he glowed in the dark…

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Scarecrow Mailbox Decoration

This is the back of the scarecrow mailbox decoration. You can see where I tried to blend in the mounting hardware tube into his legs and the straw coming out of his jeans.

 

This is the front. This piece was fun to paint, trying to make his overalls look like denim.

He definitely makes it look as if fall has arrived, although we’re having two weeks of temps into the 90s in the afternoon with strong sun. They’re saying that by the end of next week, we could actually see some more reasonable fall-like temperatures. We’re really ready.

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Mailbox Decoration

Yesterday we changed our mailbox decoration on the way to Lunch Bunch. This is Wyle E. Coyote paying Sonic the Hedgehog to strangle the Roadrunner. This is the back of the piece. My husband is pleased with this one because we managed to add a bit of 3-dimenionsal quality to it with the legs welded onto the main piece.

 

Here’s the front of it.

The school bus goes by our driveway on week days. I hope that the kids get a kick out of seeing what we put on the mailbox.

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Steam Bath

It’s the chicken and the egg question – we’re not sure if WE brought back the hot weather by putting this up on the mailbox on the 15th, or if it would have come anyway. If it’s our fault for the 95 degree weather plus a heat index making it feel like 106, we apologize. It’s always hot in Arkansas in the summer, and particularly in August. This year has been so wonky, though, with the grass staying green all summer, rather than turning brown and crunchy, that we got spoiled. It’s like a steam bath out there now.  This is the back of the piece. I tried to blend the support bar into his feet.

 

Here’s the front.  We thought this decoration wouldn’t be appropriate in that we’ve had so much rain, but that won’t be a problem much longer.

 

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And We Pronounce It Finished!

 

We just hung up the Sun/Moon Metal Wall Hanging, pronouncing it finally, “Finished.”

 

It’s about 4 feet across by 2-1/2 feet high. The moon is a separate piece.

We hung it in our office, over my computer area. I learned a lot doing this piece, and look forward to doing more air brush work.

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Tasmanian Devil Mailbox Decoration

We put up another of our favorite cartoon characters – The Tasmanian Devil – on the mailbox today. This is the back of the piece.

 

And this is the front. We hope he gives people a smirk or laugh as they drive by.

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3rd Time?

the afterlife of billy fingers via cathy ruggiero

Now my husband wants me to add more yellow to the sun/moon piece with the air brush.

I’ve quit worrying now about whether its ‘good’ or not, and am concentrating on having fun with the air brush, plus making something my husband is happy with. I’m really enjoying the experimenting with a totally new kind of painting. We’ve ordered a set of air brush paint, empty bottles for each color we use, plus an adapter and hose so we can hook it to the air compressor in the shop, rather than having to use a can.

So far, we’re learning to clean the system properly, keep it going, and adjust the spray a bit. I’m hoping to find a video on YouTube so I can watch someone who knows what he/she is doing.

Learning a new technique opens up a whole new world of possibilities, making your mind race and your mouth water.

So, maybe the third time is the charm on the sun/moon metal wall hanging and maybe it isn’t. We’re having fun in the trying.

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Finished for the 2nd Time…

This shows you the sun/moon metal wall hanging after I masked parts in order to use the air brush for shading.

 

Tracing paper is off. Finishing touches are ready to be done.

 

Offset ‘moon’ ready for mounting on the piece.

 

The piece is now drying. I’ll take a final pic when this is up on the wall in the office.

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2nd Try on Sun/Moon Wall Hanging

123RF

Once I got over the initial disappointment at my efforts on the sun/moon wall hanging painting, I got excited about a do-over, trying to make it come out more as I had hoped.

 

This is the picture and design my husband found on the net. There is a LOT of shading involved, and I chose the wrong color for the background initially.  Yesterday we got another sample can mixed at Yeagers and I got busy.

 

This is the initial try. I didn’t like the background color of the sun, and my husband didn’t like the shading. Other than that…. :0)

I got more of a coppery brown color for the sun this time. Yesterday I scraped off a  LOT of the paint and all of the accent lines. I then rubbed in the new background color with a cloth. Today I’ll use a sponge on the sun to get rid of the remaining ‘lines.’

When that is done, I’m going to mask off a lot of the painting and try using an air brush to do the shading.

It’s fun to learn a new technique. I’ve never done air brushing. I’ve seen some beautiful work that can be done with one by someone who knows what he/she is doing. I’m just hoping for a more subtle shading.

Wish me luck!

 

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2nd Try

I finished painting this and wasn’t satisfied. It just didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. My husband tactfully agreed. Today I started scraping off a bunch of the paint. I’m going to repaint the two parts with background paint the best I can. Then we decided, as we were discussing what might be done, that I might try to use a used air brush setup I got a long time ago but have never used.

So, I’ll finish scraping paint, redo the background colors with sponge or cloth, and then we’ll see what we can do with the air brush.

Maybe we can do a better job this time.

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Sun/Moon Wall Hanging is Drying

I finished the wall hanging last night. We’re letting it dry, and then we’ll bring it in and hang it up and see what we think. You can’t really see the 3-dimensional aspect of the moon in this picture. I hope it shows up better when the piece is up on the wall. Will take another pic later.

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Wyle E. Coyote Mailbox Decoration

This is the back of the piece.

 

And this is the front. He’s about 2 feet tall.

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