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Recently some local artists decided to get together to fight urban blight by painting art murals on the abandoned buildings that dot Route 1 in Hyattsville, Maryland. Here are a few photos I took during my most recent trip to Hyattsville.

While I was driving around Hyattsville I found another one of those Little Free Library boxes.

One particular feature of this Little Free Library is that there is a small box that has tiny erasers that anyone can take.

As for the new Hyattsville murals, they can all be found on Route 1. As the sign in the next photo states, this was a project that was undertaken by a local design firm known as Green Owl Design.

As you can see, the murals are definitely eye-catching and awesome to see in person. I would recommend parking your car long a side street and look at all the murals while you’re walking around.

This next photo shows a bush that was planted in what looks like a recycled bathtub.

Located at the intersection of Route 1 and Hamilton Street is Polka Dot Park, which is a brand-new urban park.

When I was there that day, some of the animators who worked on the new animated film Loving Vincent, which is based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, were there doing a special painting. By the time I arrived the painters had just finished and they were on the verge of leaving. They did their own version of Van Gogh’s classic Starry Night painting.

I made a brief stop at the Renaissance Square Artists Housing, which offers affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments to low-income artists.

One interesting feature is that this places offers its own version of the Little Free Library, with this one focusing exclusively on art.

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One Saturday I was originally scheduled to take a day-long seminar because I’ve been thinking about volunteering once again as an English teacher to recent immigrants through my church’s program. (I’ve done it a few times before and I decided to take some time off from it for a while.) Except the seminar ended up being cut short after a few hours due to poor attendance. (My church is planning on publicizing the fact that we need more volunteer teachers while rescheduling the training at a later date.) So my training ended when we ate the provided lunch.

I previously saw on Facebook that there were a few events that were scheduled in the Gateway Arts District of Prince George’s County [Maryland] for that day that I suddenly had time to attend. (If the day-long training had proceeded as originally scheduled, this post would not even exist.) I picked two of those events because they were located close to each other.

The first event was the Waterfront Arts Festival, which was held inside Bladensburg Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Bladensburg Waterfront Park isn’t just a lovely nature-filled park located on the banks of the Anacostia River but it’s also full of history since it was the place where the Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Throughout the festival there was a community art project where the general public was invited to paint on four bird statues. When I first arrived at the festival I came upon two of the birds that were being painted.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here’s the table which provided paints, brushes, and animal-shaped stencils.

Waterfront Arts Festival

I picked a turtle stencil along with some red and yellow paint. I painted a red terrapin with the letters “UM” in homage to my alma mater, the University of Maryland (whose College Park campus is located about three or four miles north of Bladensburg).

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

After I finished my contribution to one of the bird statues, I walked around the festival a bit while I was taking pictures. There was a children’s play area where kids could assemble giant building using these giant blue interconnected foam building blocks. The kids had a ball building giant structures using only their imaginations.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

The next two photos show a demonstration of making resin-based art.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

This table sold tote bags that were crocheted using yarn made from plastic store bags.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival


Waterfront Arts Festival

These two photographers were comparing cameras, lenses, and related equipment.

Waterfront Arts Festival

I came upon the other community art place where the other two bird statues were being painted by the general public.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

I made a contribution to one of those statues as well. I painted a black heart on top head of one of the birds.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival and the park in general.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

There was an all-ages button making table courtesy of Arts on a Roll.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

This last photo shows the one thing I purchased at the festival—a bar of soap from Kitty’s Bath Boutique.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Located just a mile or two from Bladensburg Waterfront Park was an artist reception that was held at Art Works Now in nearby Hyattsville. I managed to attend this one on my way back from the festival.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

The reception was for an exhibit called In-Cider Art, which featured the original illustrations that Caleb Luke Lin did when he designed the labels for Graft Cider. All of the original illustrations were available for sale.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

The refreshments included samples from the various different Graft Cider products. Having tasted two of the different ciders I have to say that I liked them both. If I ever see Graft Cider in my local liquor store, I would definitely buy it.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

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The Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 1)

The cooler than usual weather on this holiday weekend not only continued on the second day of the festival but it rained as well. Tropical Storm Harvey, formerly known as Hurricane Harvey, arrived in the area dumping a huge amount of rain. Fortunately it had lost much of its powerful punch that it unleashed on Texas and Louisiana by the time it arrived in the DC area to the worst that happened is that it was totally wet and cold outside. For the first time ever I wore a t-shirt, long pants, and a hooded windbreaker to an outdoor Labor Day festival.

The only major advantage is that parking was relatively easy to find compared to sunny days. I went to the festival despite the bad weather because I wanted to check out my submissions to the Art Show to see if I had won anything. Besides, the Art Show was being held indoors at the Greenbelt Community Center so it was no big deal to go on a rainy day.

As I was walking through the festival grounds on the way to the Art Show I saw that the entertainment had gone on despite the bad weather. As this next picture shows, there were a few hardy souls in the audience who stood there with umbrellas while there were others who decided to sit in the wet bleachers and groove to the band onstage.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

The next few photographs show the festival in the rain.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

The originally scheduled bingo games were cancelled altogether.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Some of the attractions were also closed, such as this giant slide.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Amazingly there were a few carnival rides that were still opened despite the rain. What’s more, there were people willing to ride in the rain. (Most of them were under 18.)

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

The Greenbelt Elementary PTA’s used book sale went on with tarp covering many of the books, VHS tapes, and DVDs.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

I arrived at the Art Show. I found that none of my submissions won anything this year. I wasn’t too bitter because I’ve won other years and I wasn’t obsessed over winning anything. I took a few pictures of my art on display.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

That day was also Community Day when various local groups and businesses have information tables out and they try to engage the general public. These photos show how the rain had affected the attendance at these tables.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

After checking out these tables I went to Makerspace 125 because it was indoors and it was sponsoring a special Make and Take event. Basically people could use K’NEX building toys to make their own Fidget Spinners (which is this year’s fad toy for all ages).

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

I gave it a try and here’s the Fidget Spinner that I built.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Here is what it looks like when I gave it a spin.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

I also took a couple pictures of the official Makerspace 125 parade float that would be used in the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in two days.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Compared to the day before, I decided to cut my time at the festival short because of the continuing rain. Instead I went to the local movie theater where I saw the film Wonder Woman, which I enjoyed thoroughly. (Yeah, I know I was watching this movie for the first time many weeks after everyone else saw it and made it into a huge summer hit. At least I finally saw it on the big screen).

Next in This Series

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 3)
Greenbelt Labor Day Parade
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 4)

I recently took part in the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show (which is usually held each year in conjunction with the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival). I submitted the maximum four pieces allowed per artist. Two of the pieces were older ones that I had never shown at that particular art show before but two of the pieces were newly created pieces. Here is some information about the newer pieces but, first, here are two pictures of these pieces.

Fashion Show
LEGO Minifig and acrylic paint on canvas
4 inches x 4 inches
10 cm x 10 cm

On Stage
LEGO Minifigs, acrylic paint, and computer printout on canvas
4 inches x 4 inches
10 cm x 10 cm

I got my inspiration for doing these two tiny mixed-media art canvases through some decluttering. I realized that I had purchased a bunch of tiny canvases in various sizes from various art supply stores but they had gone unused for many months.

At the same time I found three LEGO Minifigs that I purchased at a LEGO Store (either in Arundel Mills, Annapolis Mall, or Tyson’s Corner—I don’t remember which location). I remember how I came across them. Each LEGO store has an area where you can create your own Minifigs by assembling various parts together until you find the combination that you end up really liking. Basically you buy a set three Minifigs that your customize yourself for $10. I had this idea that maybe I could possibly make necklaces from these Minifigs that I could sell at future craft shows so I assembled three Minifigs of my own and purchased them. I think I may have purchased them at some point either before my hip revision surgery in 2011 or after the surgery but before my husband walked out on me just three months later (and three days after Christmas).

I never got around to making necklaces or any other kind of jewelry from them mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to put a loop at the top of the Minifig’s head without messing up the connected head and hairstyle. On top of it, the Minifigs are made from hard plastic so finding a suitable drill that could cut through the hard plastic while being small and thin enough to drill into a Minifig’s head would be a major challenge. Plus I was still reeling from my husband’s unexpected walkout and subsequent divorce.

So when I unearthed the unused tiny canvases and Minifigs I had an idea of pairing the two of them together into a mixed media piece. When I saw the redhead with the flashy off-the-shoulder top with a tiny silver star, I immediately thought of a fashion show. (I’ve also have long been a fan of Project Runway.) So I painted a fashion runway backdrop in acrylic paint and glued that Minifig to the canvas using an acrylic gel.

As for the other two Minifigs, I thought about the two of them being on stage somewhere (it could be in a small nightclub or a cafe or even a high school auditorium) being ready to perform. So I painted a stage backdrop for the two of them. For added measure, I printed out a small banner on cardstock and glued it to the canvas using acrylic gel. I got the “Everything is Awesome” slogan from the theme song to The LEGO Movie of the same name.

Those two pieces were formally debuted at the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show. Although I didn’t win any prizes, I heard some people respond positively to it so it’s all good. (I’ve won in the past so I’m not totally hurt if I don’t win anything at this year’s show.) I’m happy that I was able to find new uses for what I had lying around the house instead of just throwing them in the trash or recycling bin.

I recently went to a free rock painting event that was held at Artists & Craftsman Supply in Hyattsville, Maryland. This event was held to demonstrate some paint markers. I decided to try my hand at rock painting with paint markers. I was stumped for ideas so I decided to just paint a fox. I did the background in silver because one of the staffers said that it was among the new paint markers that had just arrived and the marker made a really nice metallic effect. I have to say that she was right because the silver paint marker was pretty neat to use. Another staffer was so impressed by my work that she asked me if she could take a photo of it to show the other staffers and I said yes.

After I left the store I took two photos of my new painted rock. Here is what it looks like in the shade.

And here is what it looks like in direct sunlight. The silver paint really shines in this picture.

Like I wrote earlier, I’m participating in two separate events at this weekend’s Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland starting this afternoon at 1 p.m. (when the Art Show formally opens to the public for the first time). I took advantage of the four-artpiece limit by displaying a combination of old and new art, starting with my acrylic painting, Desire.

Desire

Desire
Acrylic on canvas
9 inches x 12 inches
23 cm x 30 cm

Desire is the oldest of my paintings in this show. It was the one that I originally painted while I was recuperating from my hip replacement back in late 2008 based on my photograph of my in-laws’ dog, Jay-Jay, while he was begging for a snack that I was eating at the time (during one of my many visits to their home in Phoenix that I made with my then-husband before our marriage broke up). I originally displayed this painting at Artomatic in 2009 then I gave it to my husband’s mother and step-father as a Christmas present later that year. (We gave it to them during a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.) My mother-in-law passed away in 2010—just four months after we gave them that painting. When my husband’s step-father decided to move to a smaller apartment in a retirement community during the summer of 2011, he had to drastically downsize his possessions so he gave the painting back to us. When my husband left me in late 2011, that painting was among the many things he had left behind with me. I’ve displayed Desire at a few local shows in the years since (the most recent was the one in Baltimore last summer) but this will be the first time this painting will be displayed at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. You can read more about the making of this painting in a blog post I wrote back in 2011.

The second artwork is a piece I did for a contest last year where we had to create our art using a tiny canvas. I decided to submit that to the Art Show as well. Here is my piece titled Carousel Horses at Night.

carouselhorsesatnight-webversion

Carousel Horses at Night
Acrylic on canvas
3 inches x 3 inches
8 cm x 8 cm

You can read more about how I made this tiny painting in a blog post that I wrote last year.

In addition I created two new pieces. So far I’ve uploaded pictures of them on my various social media accounts. Here are a couple of Twitter tweets I made very shortly before the final submission deadline yesterday.

I really didn’t have much time to write anything in detail about these pieces. I’ll write more about these two pieces in a proper blog post at a later date.

In addition to the Art Show, I also intend to submit a couple of items I knitted to the Retro Town Fair, which will only be opened to the general public tomorrow from 2-4 p.m. Both are doll outfits that I managed to finish knitting last year and I made an unsuccessful attempt to sell them on eBay during the winter holiday season. The first one is a fur coat that I knitted using funky novelty yarn. This one is supposed to fit Barbie and other 1/6 scale dolls. This coat can also fit 1/6 scale dolls with large heads, such as this Blythe doll who’s modeling this coat in the photo below.

photo9

You can read more about how I made this coat while viewing photos of other dolls wearing it in a blog post I wrote last December.

Last, but not least, is this outfit I knitted for 18-inch dolls (such as American Girl). Here’s a photo of Addy Walker modeling this outfit.

photo4

You can read more about how I made this outfit while viewing photos of other dolls wearing it in a blog post I also wrote last December.

For information and directions to the festival, visit the festival’s official site.

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Yesterday I wrote about attending the grand opening of Third Eye Comics in Annapolis. The event was so well attended that I had to drive around the area to find some parking. While I was driving around I made this really cool discovery.

If you drive just around the corner from Third Eye Comics’ new location you’ll reach Edgewood Avenue, which has primarily warehouses that are covered with colorful murals, such as this one mural depicting downtown Annapolis.

The more you drive down Edgewood Avenue, the more wall murals you’ll see.

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I attended a reception for a new art exhibit that’s currently being held at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier, Maryland. It’s called Resist and it features art that was inspired by the new Trump Administration. The parking lot in the back of ReCreative Spaces features this really impressive mural that says “Deport Trump.”

Resist Art Reception

I returned to that mural a couple of days later to photograph it in daylight.

Deport Trump Mural

Here are some more art pieces from that same show that are currently being displayed indoors.

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

The opening festivities included a coloring event where we could color this page with three raised fists.

Resist Art Reception

Resist Art Reception

The person who ran that activity had posted examples of how we could color our pages by drawing patterns that looked like what I’ve seen in Zentangle. So I decided to follow suit by drawing patterns in my coloring page. I used TanglePatterns.net for pattern ideas. Here is my colored page.

Resist Art Reception

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