Each year, I paint a bowl for Empty Bowls, the annual fundraiser auction for the Arkansas Foodbank Network. It started out as a "hey, you could do this, too" thing and ended up becoming an annual tradition for me.
I really didn't want to wait this year. I know life's about to get really busy, and I will be out of town a lot. So I decided that this particular Ladies' Night at Firefly Studio, I'd knock out my bowl.
As nerdy as it may sound, I've been thinking about this for a while. In fact, I've been thinking about it since last Empty Bowls, when I received some good commentary on what I'd done last year. I have been experimenting with geometric patterns, and so far have done a pointillized bowl, one covered with "e" swirls in various colors, and last year's -- which was a compass star in blue and off-white on a purple field on the back, and tiny blue and purple daisies inside.
On to the interior. I decided I wanted a tie-dye like wash to further reflect what I'm doing now. Get it -- travels being the map, tie-dye... oh, nevermind.
I accomplished the first part of this effect by dipping my brush first in water, then in blue paint, then tapping it up the inside of the bowl in each direction. I started with blue and red, then returned to the outside of my bowl.
I know the colors will fire up differently, but it was a little strange, using light blue and pink paint to slowly outline everything. I started with the interstates (which will be red), then the other highways (dark brown). I went over the interstates twice so the color would be dark. I then went over Highway 67/167 -- since it's not an interstate but probably should be -- in the brown so it wouldn't appear to be the same as an interstate.
I was originally going to put the highway shields on each highway, but then realized that (a) I couldn't get the paint fine enough, and (b) the shields would be the wrong way around on one side of the bowl. After taking a careful look at Pulaski County on the bottom of the bowl, I figured people would get the point and left them off.
I went back and marked the major metropolitan areas in yellow, the lakes in blue, and the national forest areas in green, just for some contrast.
After this, I returned to the inside, where I went between the red and blue I'd dotted in earlier and added green and yellow. This will be very, very light when it fires, since I only used one watered down layer, but I think it will look nice and not detract from the exterior.
The Great Kat whose signature is similar, but I have proof that I started signing my name this way back in 1993 -- it's on the old KXRJ programming logs, for sure!). This I went ahead and did with a paint tube... it can be dark. When someone's eating cereal out of it (as if!), they won't be able to see it.
I also added a fine wash-over with first red then blue paint along the edge. Naked edges look tacky.
I turned my bowl back over and did a little cleaning up with the paintbrush edge, and darkened Camp Robinson a bit more. And that was enough for me to call it good.
Tracee Gentry did one of her fabulous live paintings there.
Arkansas Foodbank Network -- which helps feed hungry Arkansans. Can't beat that with a stick. If you'd like to be one of the artists this year, or you'd like to buy tickets to the event, call the Foodbank at (501) 565-8121. Tickets are $40 -- $32 of which is tax deductible. You don't have to be a great artist. It doesn't hurt, but if I can manage to help out a little by slopping some paint on a bowl, so can you.
I picked up my bowl on Friday, January 18th. I am thrilled with it. I am surprised that the red on the inside stayed just as intense through the firing. And I think the contrast on the outside is incredible. From across the room, it kinda looks like a mashed up map.
It's not too late to make yours. The Arkansas Foodbank Network has a contest for the bowl that will go on its flyers and promotions for Empty Bowls -- that wraps up February 8th. But you have through April to get yours in. C'mon -- it's not that hard.
UPDATE: I've done a number of bowls over the years for Empty Bowls, but I've missed the last couple of years. I need to get back in the swing of things.
Any of you have any of those bowls I made?
Sadly, Firefly Studios is gone, but there's still the Painted Pig.