Monthly Archives: April 2018

Trash 2 Treasure


The expression “Time flies when you’re having fun,” used to feel right. These days, however, the time seems to slip through my fingers no matter what I’m doing. I blink and a week is gone. I yawn and it’s a month. I sleep a little and discover it’s been five months since I wrote here last. (Sheesh!)

Much has happened at the Cockeyed Colorist in recent months. Lochinvar and I have taken our kits and original art to the Fountain Festival, the Mesa Arts Festival, the Great Fair, and the Tempe Festival of the Arts. In addition, I currently have three pieces in the spring show at The Grotto Gallery while Lochinvar has reinvented our festival set up to emphasize our new branding efforts which are leading to a new website (coming soon). Whew! As part of our brand building, I have decided to focus my work on upcycling items, so I have new piece that I’m excited to share with you.


I picked up this child-size violin at a local flea market.


As you can see, I had to remove a good deal of industrial glue with bits of synthetic wreath buried in it.


After a plenty of scraping and sanding, most of the goo came off.


Some of it was pretty stubborn, though, and refused to be separated from the violin.


A couple coats of Gesso and some chalk paint covered most of the flaws.


The fun part starts here. I used a gold paint pen to add some highlights around the holes in the body and at the top of the neck.


Next, I dipped some old silk flowers in plaster of Paris to give them the look of porcelain.


While the flowers dried, I painted some wooden keys and put them through the peg holes to hold the “strings.”


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Pearl trim serves as strings with an old button cover holding them together on the body.

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Next, I added the flowers which covered up the imperfections that were still visible through the paint.


Of course, the flowers needed some jewelry, too, so I added some pearl beads to finish them off.


For the background, I scanned old photos and drawings of women from a variety of eras into my computer and printed them in sepia. After layering them on a backer board, I used permanent markers and oil pastels to add “make up,” creating some painted ladies. I also gave some of them necklaces and glittery buttons using pieces of old jewelry.


Next, I dropped the background into a frame that we found on a “junking” trip to Tucson. (Of course, I HAD to add a little pearly silver highlight to the frame before adding my dressed up girls!) Then, Lochinvar attached the violin to the backer board with careful measurements and small screws.


In the final step, I added more embellishments in the form of flowers under the violin’s neck, a couple of small frames for my lovely ladies, and extra pieces of jewelry to add just a little more sparkle. (After all, a girl needs her jewelry!)

After spending several weeks working on this piece a little at a time, I’m happy to see it finished and excited to find more items like this violin that need a new lease on life. This piece is a stylistic change for me, but the idea of turning someone else’s trash into a treasure is what I really love about art and a thread that runs throughout my work.