More Costuming …

Still working on a set of two new and one updated costume for this Halloween and a Comic Convention for this Fall.  Unlike the Batgirl costume from last year, my Jedi costume is being made completely from scratch.  The Batgirl costume was a modified store costume, and that was mainly because I just was not in the mood to fight with all the planning and sewing for a project such as this.  But this year….I felt like I was up to the challenge.  It’s been a bumpy road to success.  And I still don’t know if success is really on the horizon.

One thing that I have found to be stressful is that I keep worrying about people being critical about my costuming, which is ridiculous.  This is for fun.  I am not entering a Star Wars technical costume contest.  I am just putting something together for fun.  But I also want to make this in the spirit of the Star Wars universe.  I think I am having bad flashbacks from my old Ren Faire days when we encountered the dreaded costume Nazis, who often thought they knew more than what they really did.  So I keep telling myself that if I encounter these kind of people – they may encounter the dark side of the force.  :)

So here is a visual update on our Star Wars themed project for this year.

Awesome fabric for the Wookie costume.  I was seriously surprised and impressed with this fabric that was purchased online.  I normally prefer to touch and examine the fabric that I purchase, so this great fabric was a wonderful surprise.

Awesome fabric for the Wookie costume.   I was seriously surprised and impressed with this fabric that was purchased online.   I normally prefer to touch and examine the fabric that I purchase, so this great fabric was a wonderful surprise.

Cutting fur fabric is always challenging.  Putting the fabric face down and keeping the scissor blades up high and short while cutting.  This helped to reduce chopping up the fur threads.

Cutting fur fabric is always challenging.   Putting the fabric face down and keeping the scissor blades up high and making short cuts while cutting will reduce shredding up the fuzzy part of the fabric.     We also took a pencil and traced around the edge of the pattern.  This also made cutting easier.

Needed to alter this store bought shirt/sweater to make the sleeves the correct length for the costume.

Needed to alter this store bought shirt/sweater to make the sleeves the correct length for the costume.

Section of the sleeve to make it appear to have long sleeves.  It was a real challenege to find a fabric that would look okay.  Getting a perfect match was not going to happen.

Section of the sleeve to make it appear to have long sleeves.    It was a real challenge to find a fabric that would look okay. Getting a perfect match was not going to happen.

Here's what it looks like when the sleeve sections are added to the store bought item.  I still need to find a way to keep this item closed in the front.  I selected it for the design that worked well with the Jedi style of garment.

Here’s what it looks like when the sleeve sections are added to the store bought item.    I still need to find a way to keep this item closed in the front.   I selected it for the design that worked well with the Jedi style of garment.  Please note that the seemed area will not be seen since it will be underneath another garment piece.

 

This vest like piece has been complicated to construct.  For me, it is really important to be comfortable in a costume.  I construct my costumes to be clothing and not costumes so much.  Comfortable is everything.  This is constructed from upholstery fabric.  It had the right kind of texture and weight that I was observing in some of the Jedi gear.  One thing I noticed from the movies was that the clothing worn by the Jedi had lots of texture and was not made from a simple sheeting fabric.  It had nice texture and flow.

This vest like piece has been complicated to construct.   For me, it is really important to be comfortable in a costume.   I construct my costumes to be clothing and not costumes so much.    Being comfortable is everything.    This is constructed from upholstery fabric.    It had the right kind of texture and weight that I was observing in some of the Jedi gear.    One thing I noticed from the movies was that the clothing worn by the Jedi had lots of texture and was not made from a simple sheeting fabric.   It had nice texture and flow.

I hope my photos will provide some fun inspiration for your costume projects for this Halloween or other times when wearing something completely fun is in need.  More updates will be coming soon.

 

Gretchen Winkler © 2014

 

 

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Posted in Costume, Culture, Halloween

Templar Holocaust Remembrance Day – October 13

I created this artwork in honor of the Order so that all remember - My heart is Templar!

I created this artwork in honor of the Order so that all remember – My heart is Templar!

Today is Templar Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day in 1307 the Knights were betrayed by the Roman Catholic Church and the French Monarchy, who claimed to be good friends of the Order. The Knights were not attacked because they did anything bad or morally wrong – it was because the knights had money, power, and self direction which neither of these two parties could stand. The French Monarchy borrowed tons of money from the Knights to have their petty little wars despite the fact that the Order tried to make borrowing more money an expensive venture, but war against their neighbors was more important. This is where DeMolay unwisely miscalculated the desperation of his supposed royal friends. Only the desperate will borrow money at that rate and generally with no plans of paying it back. The Roman Catholic Church had no real control over the Knights and like the ancient Order before them the Templar were slated for destruction. So on this day in 1307 Grand Master Jacques DeMolay, Sir Knight Guy D’Auvergne, and one other upper level knight were taken into custody to begin seven years of confined custody of daily torture to be only finally boiled alive. Yes, boiled alive not burned to death like the history books says. A sick and barbarous murder on a public level to instill fear into all those who opposed the Roman Catholic Church and the French Monarchy. But those three virtuous Knights were not the only ones to suffer from the brutality of this treachery – the order was sent out by the Roman Catholic Church and the French Monarchy that every single Knight and person connected to the Order be murdered. The riders went out on this day and began their slaughter of men, women, and children. The parents and grandparents of the knights were killed, the siblings, spouses, and children of the knights were murdered, and they even slaughtered all the animals that belonged to these people. No one was safe. The order went out through the ranks of the Order that they were to leave and bring all their family members with them as possible. This also meant Squires, Pages, and Sergeants. And it was the brave Sergeants who donned knights gear to protect the Order and pretend to be the main target of their enemies’ treachery so that the Knights could get as many as possible to safety.

They sailed away on the Templar Fleet, rode away into Eastern Europe and Northern Europe, and were hidden away in the Mountains of the Alps. Many European royal families dared to protect the treasures of the Order as well as their members and knight’s knowledge. It was no easy task and often at great cost. The Knight who had become the next Grand Master, who was of some Scandinavian descent, during this period oversaw the fleet of rickety old ships set sail off the coast of France from the beach where the escape and bloody battle had just happened. They sailed away into a great storm that would brutally toss and crush one of the older vessels carrying many of the elderly and wounded. A sad memory he would carry for the rest of his existence.

History is written by the winners, so don’t believe all the nonsense written about the Order. This was a holocaust most cruel and unjust. It was a cold murder planned only by people who lusted for money and power. The French Monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church greedily seized much of the property owned by the Order. Their prize for destroying a group that did so much for all the people. They were peace keepers making sure that travel was safe. They were observers of public safety and kept an eye on ports and cargo to make sure that plagues did not travel into the continent. They developed and established a safe banking system so that commerce could happen with little risk. The Knights were loyal to their code and not to just one nation. They were of many nations and as time progressed the Order realized that like the Order of Knights before them – one had to embrace the old Ways of Europe in order to protect the people they served, which meant the Church no longer had complete control over them. The Knights learned more of what the reality of life was and embraced it. They were not afraid of people with different spiritual beliefs, but the Church was. And thus, the Knights were tortured and murdered by frightened men who lusted for power and wealth.

Some will point out that the Roman Catholic Church was having political problems at the time with there being two Popes, and recently Church officials have somewhat apologized for the actions taken and have tried to distance themselves from the responsibility. It was up until 2007 that it was still illegal in many European countries to be a Templar Knight. Seven Hundreds years of persecution for being agents of the people and guardians of the truth. It will take time before the Order will feel less angry about these years. The French government still has not completely acknowledged their part in this brutality – and well look at the state of their nation.

Freedom is not free. And as long as the hearts of humanity still feel the lust for wealth and power over what is just and true, then sadly enough, there will be more holocausts.

G. Winkler – © 2014

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Posted in Culture, Education, History, Inspiration

Last beach visit to Tahoe this year….

2014FallSand Habor Banner 1000wI wish we could have more beach time at Lake Tahoe.  I really love it there.  There is something truly magical about that place.  I always feel better after being there.  So I am sharing our last beach photos for this year.

The water is still low, and we really need a good wet Winter this year to help recover from this drought.  One interesting thing about a drought is that it allows one to see further into the Lake’s depths.  Lake Tahoe has experienced droughts in the past and it will experience them again in the future.  This is just part of the cycle of nature.  It’s when the cycle does not return back to the moisture laden years that it becomes a concern.  Let’s hope this Winter will prove to be refreshing for the Lake as well as the whole surrounding area.

We spent the September day at Sand Harbor, which is my favorite beach area up there.  The giant granite boulders are really sticking out, but the seagulls don’t seem to mind or the young children that had plenty of shallow water to frolic in.  The divers didn’t seem to mind the shallow water either.  They returned back to the icy depths below several times during the day.

So I took lots of pictures to remember the day and to make sure that I had good ones to share since I have an average everyday camera that works pretty good.   I am not a professional photographer, but I do appreciate a well composed image, and I assume my audience also appreciates good photos as well.  ;)   I hope you will enjoy the last day at the beach.

Gretchen Winkler (c) 2014

This seagull enjoyed trolling the beach for any goodies that the humans may share with him.

This seagull enjoyed trolling the beach for any goodies that the humans may share with him.

2014FallSand Habor 02 1000w

Divers heading out to the deep water.

There were lots of small children there having a good time with their parents.

There were lots of small children there having a good time with their parents.

These rocks looked like giant feet sticking up out of the water.  It was fun to imagine what the rest of the giant granite being would look like.

These rocks looked like giant feet sticking up out of the water. It was fun to imagine what the rest of the giant granite being would look like.

Small fish swimming around the rocks.

Small fish swimming around the rocks.

Side view of the odd rocks that everyone wanted to have pictures of.

Side view of the odd rocks that everyone wanted to have pictures of.

The water was so lovely and clear.  Notices how the sunlight seems to ripple through the water.

The water was so lovely and clear. Notices how the sunlight seems to ripple through the water.

Boulder seems out of place - notice the water line at the bottom of it.

Boulder seems out of place – notice the water line at the bottom of it.

2014FallSand Habor 09 1000w

Popular bunch of rocks for sun bathers to climb and jump off of.

Water so clear and calm at the time when the waves come in about mid to late afternoon.

Water so clear and calm until the time when the waves come in about mid to late afternoon.

I had a good time watching large schools of fish swimming through the shallow water.

I had a good time watching large schools of fish swimming through the shallow water.

Seagull enjoying the later afternoon sun.  Until next year....

Seagull enjoying the later afternoon sun. Until next year….

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Posted in Digital Photography, Travel

Star Wars costume update

Star Wars Update 01So my companions and I have decided on new costumes this year for Halloween that will also serve for attending a comic book convention this late Fall.  This of course requires planning and lots of fun of dreaming up creative ideas on how to solve various problems that arise when making costumes.  I probably should be a “Cosplay person”, but I’m not sure I really fit into that crowd.  Not really sure what that all means, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, back to the project….  So we have a Star Wars theme this time since I have been watching the reruns of the Clone Wars, which I have seriously enjoyed.  I keep wondering if we shall see Ahsoka and Ventress again, since we don’t see them die anywhere and they are both trained in the ways of the Force.  So I was inspired to be a Jedi and did some drawings for figuring out how the costume should look since there are some variations within the movies.   My husband is going to repair his Mandalorian  costume, and we decided to make our friend a Wookie costume since he has always thought it would be fun to dress up in a fuzzy costume.

Okay – that seem pretty straight forward huh?  One costume is basically complete and just needs repairs and a few additions.  Repair the Mandalorian and add  jet pack.  The Jedi Knight is a basic series of layers, which is no problems for a person that has designed and sewn Renaissance clothing (most specifically Landsknecht), and the tough one is the Wookie costume.  Never made a giant full bodied gear such as that before.

So far….  the Jedi costume has been a bloody nightmare.  Could not find the pattern I wanted – it was discontinued.  The pattern that I did obtain does not work well for females.  It appeared to be a more male oriented, so I knew I would need to make some small adjusts.   I selected and cut out an appropriate size  since the pattern said that the small and not the extra small would fit my measurements.  HA!  They were totally incorrect!  I cut up my lovely light tan fabric, which I can’t get anymore of, and made a beautiful tunic that fits my husband and not me.   :(

Old linen like fabric that my Mom had in a box that had the best texture and flow for this part of the costume.  Too bad it does not fit me.

Old linen like fabric that my Mom had in a box that had the best texture and flow for this part of the costume.     Too bad it does not fit me.

So back to the drawing board.  My budget is limited.  I need to buy fabric for the tunic now, which before the funds were slated to buy fabric for the cloak.  So I start looking through my old collection of fabrics and discovered I have enough wool to make a black Jedi cloak.  Hmm.  Black.  Not what I planned.  Luke wears black and so does Anakin/Darth Vader….hate Palpatine…not a Darth Mal person.  And originally I was not planning on doing an actual character within the films.  I was going to make a generic character of my own based upon the concepts of the Jedi characters.  This has been a roller coaster, which was unexpected.

Working developing a pattern that works for my body type.

Working developing a pattern that works for my body type.

So I designed a whole new concept around the black cloak idea and need to perfect the other patterns before I go any further.  Started with an old bed sheet to redesign the Jedi tunic piece.  Still in that process.  Halloween is not far away and I still have a Wookie costume to construct!  The stress is on.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Costume, Culture, Halloween

The Great Seal of Nevada – My way!

NV Seal BannerThe State of Nevada is about to celebrate its 150th birthday this October 31st, and being a native Nevadan, I decided to do some artwork to celebrate this occasion.  Since I was born here and went to school here, I fondly remember always having Halloween Day off since it was Nevada Day too.  They don’t do that anymore, now they stick the holiday next to a weekend.  What a bore.  It’s not even celebrated on the correct day.  Anyway, I digress….  The point is when I was in high school, we did the parade in Carson City and when I was in elementary school, we did coloring activities that were supposed to educate us about the state’s history.  I fondly remember being given a ditto copy – that weird purple inked stuff – of the seal of Nevada to color.  I thought that was good fun.

NV Seal 01 500w

You know what, it still is.  This is the first of a small series of paintings I plan to do celebrating the history of Nevada.  And apparently not too many years ago, they actually made an official colored version of the state seal, but to be honest, I don’t care for it much.  Perhaps the photos I have seen online are not that good.  Who knows.  But I see Nevada’s landscape and coloring a bit different from that version.  This is my way of reliving that creative fun as a child and making something to express how I see the region that I was born in and grew up in.

On this first version of the seal I didn’t want to step too far away from the original concept.  Nevada is called the Silver State because of the amount of silver ore that was mined out of her during the 1800’s and basically bought the statehood for the region.  On October 31, 1864 Nevada was made the 36th state of the union, and since that event happened during the American Civil War, it may have given the North the winning edge they required to win.

NV Seal 02 500wOn this painting I decided to make it be displayable without a frame, so I selected the 1 inch thick canvas.  It’s a round image on a square space.  I could have purchased a round canvas, but those are hard to find and hard to frame.  I also decided to make the extra space into something interesting by writing the reason for the subject matter on the side of this canvas.  Then the choice of what to do around the seal was also important as well.  On this one I selected a metallic sage color since sagebrush is so prominent in Nevada.  It is designated the state flower – which seems odd because it is a shrub like plant.

NV Seal 03 500wThe mountains on this version are more like the Sierra Nevada range that I am very familiar with in that blue green appearance from all the evergreen trees.  If you live in Reno, Carson City, or Sparks, you will be familiar with this as well as the sparse contrast to the east where the mountains had been stripped of their timber by the gold/silver rush days of the Comstock Lode.  So this silver ore made my decision to make the section of the seal with the lettering metallic silver in color was a “no-brainer” as well as the dark blue colors behind the 36 silver stars.

During my years of life on this earth, I have lived in many locations some of which have been in different locations in Nevada.  Some of these locations made travel through the state on a regular basis a necessity, so I can honestly say that I have seen a good portion of the state’s landscape.  The only area I have not seen or recall seeing is the northern-eastern portion.  I say recall because my parents lived in Wells, Nevada for a few years, and they drove all the way to Reno to have me born in a proper hospital that could handle my medical needs as a baby.  They left Wells shortly after I was born and returned to Reno, so technically I was in Wells, but I don’t recall it.  I have been told that there were some interesting mountain ranges nearby that were fun to visit.  So I have lived in Reno, Austin, Las Vegas, and Henderson.  I have driven the complete stretch of highway 50 across the state many times, camped in the desert near Schurz, and attended a fencing tournament in the Black Rock Desert – no, not during Burning Man.  Can’t image fencing in that heat.  Whew!NV Seal 04 500w

So I can safely say I have a pretty good idea of what this state looks like….although Nevada can be like a puzzle with small hidden gems tucked away in the desolation.  You have to do some hunting to find those really special places.  I like to think that Virginia City is one of those special places.   The small living ghost town is often what I think of when looking at the mining operation and the railroad aspects of the Nevada Seal.  Sure other places had mines and railroads, but we associate what is close and familiar with us when observing art and symbolism.  The plow and the bundled wheat have never made much sense to me although I do recall the region having a lot more cattle ranches and alpha fields when I was young.  I suppose much longer ago that perhaps more farmers existed in this area.  Drought and people moving from California has really changed the look of the western part of the state.

NV Seal 06 500wSo much has change that I am contemplating doing a 3rd version of the seal with modern components within the seal.  Not sure how that will go over.  The second painting I am currently working on has a winter theme to it and I have changed the direction of the sunlight, and so far this second version is proving to be a challenge well worth the effort.  This painting can be found for sale at the Buy Nevada First store in what I call the Reno “Old” Town Mall that is just across the way from the Atlantis Casino.  This has been a good project and was well received by the people at the store, so I am hoping that someone will like it enough to make it a part of their everyday life.

This is the completed painting which later I relalized that I forgot to include the smoke from the train and mill, but smoke in the air is so rare these days so it was easy to forget.

This is the completed painting, which later I realized that I forgot to include the smoke from the train and mill, but smoke in the air is so rare these days so it was easy to forget.

Side view to see how I handled the large canvas without a frame.  It needs to have a finished look in order to be displayed in a pleasing manner on the wall.

Side view to see how I handled the thick canvas without a frame. It needs to have a finished look in order to be displayed in a pleasing manner on the wall.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Art, Culture, Halloween, Nevada

Courage

Courage comes in all sorts of packages. Sometimes courage is grandiose and fabulous with death defying feats while sometimes courage is small but meaningful like a baby’s first step. I am writing about courage that is more akin to the later one. With kind loving support from my husband I brought my artwork to the “Made in Nevada Store” and was greeted warmly by the people that run the shop. So I am proud to announce that some of my artwork is for sale at a local store that sells other items made by people locally.

Getting over this odd little emotional hurdler was great for me and gave me the chance to see all the wonderful things that other people in the area are making. (Not everything has to come from China.) So often life throws obstacles in one’s way and these obstacles can grow to boulder size especially with some of the experiences I have had with people throughout the years. These obstacles can be debilitating. Don’t let other people’s rock throwing get in your way of finding your path in life. Those kind of people are often petty, jealous, and have no real path for themselves and they enjoy ruining other people’s joy.

If you find an obstacle in your path and you can’t simply work around it, then find a friend or a means of helping you climb over that boulder in your path so that you can get to the other side. I did and have done this many times before but there are times when pebbles can seem like boulders. This was a pebble in my path. It appeared to be a boulder. Now I feel silly for letting it get in my way.

Finished painting - photographed outdoors.  The color difference is amazing.Both photos have vivid color quality and yet are so different.  I think the outdoor photo is more true to the actual appearance of the painting.  This is why I often photograph my artwork outside and that can be challenging at times when the weather is less than cooperative.

Pinto Valley Wilderness

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

Here are the two paintings that I have put up for sale. I also have a bunch of cute little wooden houses that I have painted as well. So if you live nearby and want to see my artwork as well as all the other locally made items, I encourage you to do so. Maybe you have something that you make and would like to sell.

Here’s link tot he store’s website for more information.

http://www.livelocalrenosparks.com/

G. Winkler ©2014

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Posted in Art, Inspiration, Painting

To sell my artwork or not to sell my artwork? – That is the question.

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

I have two paintings that are ready to be sold. And usually my biggest problem is finding a place to have them available for people to look at. Well, there is a place that was set up by a local businessman that wants to promote locally produced items. His name is Dave Asher, and he has put together a store in what I call “Old Town Mall” and now it goes by something else…oh, Reno Town Mall and he is ready to receive items made in Nevada. Here is a link to his website: http://www.livelocalrenosparks.com/

Anyway, my point is that I have a location to bring my artwork to and Dave seems like a pretty decent guy, but I am having a hard time doing it.

Now in the past I have done paintings and have become emotionally attached to them, so this time I have hidden away the paintings so that I would not see them on a daily basis, so I am not allowing myself to become emotionally attached to them. So what the heck is my problem!?! Why am I balking at bringing down my artwork to his store?

Yah, sure I know the pictures may not sell. And I have selected topics that I think will appeal to the local population.   And yes, I am well aware of the possible rejection process that comes along with presenting one’s work to the public for sale purposes.

So I am mulling over other possible ideas of why I am having a difficult time doing this. In my previous blog article I discussed the fact that I have never had a mentor or a role model and strangely enough, many people commented to me that I did not need a mentor or a role model and that I should be the mentor instead. Which to me is not an objectionable idea, but what would I train or help someone with? I can’t even get myself to take a couple of paintings down to a store designed for people just like me. And as an artist I have never had that opportunity to show my art, but I do understand that work needs to be in a presentable condition. There is a certain amount of presentation awareness that one needs to be cognizant of.

Here is the first painting that I have ready for sale.

Here is the first painting that I have ready for sale.

Hmmm. How would I solve this if I were someone else’s mentor? I would go with them to meet Dave and look at the store. Then after that, if the person felt okay about Dave, the store, and whatever else may be on their mind, I would help them bring the items down to the store.

I don’t have that person, who says let’s go do that. So if I am in a rut or a hard place, I have to get myself out of the hole and it does not always work. It’s getting worse as I age. I have met so many untrustworthy people and have experienced being screwed over so many times that I have a hard time believing that anything will go right. There are too many disasters and disappointments in my life. Most people would have given up years ago.

So here I sit with two paintings already completed, two more started, and a bunch of other new ideas in mind. I need to get past whatever this is.

G. Winkler ©2014

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Posted in Art, Culture, Goals
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