Chris Brandley Art includes everything from painting commercial and residential murals and faux finishes, to painting oil on canvas. Ms. Brandley’s paintings embrace a range of subjects, with her focus being on her expression of how a moment in time makes her feel, using light and vivid color.
This 1950 Chevy ended up on a Christmas popcorn tin at Big Lots...I can't tell you how excited I was!
The story about the truck's journey (as far back as I know it), goes like this:
My friend Janie acquired this old truck from somewhere out in west Texas several years ago. It was basically a heap of old, rusty metal, sitting at the back of a lot with tree limbs growing through the broken windows.
You may wonder why she would want such a thing...Let me tell you a little something about this spunky red-head; she is one of the most creative, "think outside the box" artists that I know. We met back in the 90's when we were both art teachers in the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. I always loved the days when all of the GCISD art teachers got together to go on field trips or spend the day creating new projects to teach our students. Janie always had wild and fun ideas to share. Currently she owns her own business, "Cavender Creations" with her husband, painting huge murals or sculpting unique artsy installations for companies all over the US.
If you have ever been to Grapevine during the Christmas season, you've probably seen her work. She's the one who makes all of those great giant holiday statues. Last year she made giant snowmen for the Gaylord's famous Winterfest. (You can see the making of these here on her website).
If you want to see some of her paintings of the truck in it's "BEFORE" state, click here.
In 2009, Janie ended up selling the truck to another friend of mine, (who was also an amazing art teacher in GCISD), Jeani and her husband, Fred.
The incredibly talented Fred took the Chevy from this state (not even running), to the beauty it is today:
(Fred and Jeani's son, Chad)
I have always been drawn to old cars...and I guess the artist in me really likes the look of the old, rusty, turquoise patinas. (These are finishes I would do for clients on purpose when I did designer finishes back in the day!)
(detail stone and rust finish of an archway I did for
a t.v. set)
On one of my visits to see Jeani out in Ponder, Tx , I got to see the truck while it was in it's middle stages of being restored.
primed and ready for a shiny coat of candy apple red paint!
After Fred did all of his magic, "Ole Red" provided itself as a prop for some really cool photo shoots.
The Cruce's also used it as a Christmas decoration, which is where my inspiration for the painting came from!
One day, I got a call from a lady at a tin can company in Maryland. She said that her client in Wisconsin found my painting "First Snow" on my website, and wanted to license it for Christmas tins. At the time, I had no idea it was going to be distributed through Big Lots! I didn't even know who the company was that licensed the painting (Mallory's Finest). Once the can company sent me samples of the tins, I asked them if there was a website I could send people to in case they wanted to buy one. That's when she replied casually "It's my understanding they will be distributed through Big Lots". I'm like "which one?" So yes, it came as a huge surprise to me when I discovered that they were selling all over the United States, and it was surreal to walk into my local Big Lots store to see them sitting on the shelf!
It was even more surreal to see photos of people with the tins from all over the States!
I'm so appreciative of all the support and those who joined in on getting all the great selfies at Big Lots!...Big Hugs!
We had reservations for the high speed train to Florence, where we would change trains and head to Cinque Terre (literally translated "five lands"). I noticed a sign in the station that stated some train times might be modified due to train strikes. I felt relieved when we boarded the train to Florence that out train wasn't affected.
Well, I spoke too soon!
After we changed trains in Florence, our train stopped in Pisa. Something was spoken over the intercom in Italian, and suddenly everyone got off the train...that is, everyone except those of us that didn't speak Italian! When we realized what was happening, we got off the train, and all the Americans congregated together as we tried to figure out how to get to Cinque Terre. We discovered there were no car rentals or buses going that way. Imagine a herd of Americans going up and down stairs from platform to platform (5x to be exact), trying to find another train headed to our destination. We'd find one only to discover that it too, was cancelled!
We finally found one, and about 2 hours later were back "on track".
After arriving in Riomaggiore, (one of the "5 lands"), we looked for the elevator. I had heard that the elevator headed up the mountain right to our hotel, but it was hit and miss. You guessed it, that day it was "miss". Up we walked, rolling luggage up steep hills and then 3 flights of stairs. I couldn't breathe by the time we reached the Sol Levante, but who cares, look at the view! The owner, Elisabeth was very friendly and the rooms were cozy and clean.
My main goal upon arrival was to find a great place to watch the sun set. We headed towards the village and up the hill and found a beautiful church with benches facing the ocean. Amazingly, it was quiet and crowd free!
The warm light lit up the village so beautifully, and I was inspired to paint it.
2. "Oil Paint" is a security buzz word (or any use of the word paint). Instead, refer to them as “artist colors made with vegetable oil.
**I always tuck a little note into my paints that explains this.**
3. Keep your paints in a separate plastic bag in case they leak during the flight and pack them in your check-in suitcase. I usually put each tube in a separate zip-lock bag and then place them all together into a larger zip-lock. It's even a good idea to unscrew the lid, place a piece of plastic wrap over the opening, and screw the lid back on. **DON"T carry the artist colors on board with you!!!
*Stick with the smaller tubes and leave the large ones at home.
4. Do not bring any solvents or thinners. These are not allowed on the plane. (If you are joining me in France in July 2018, I will provide those for you!)
(Most places will have access to purchasing these after arrival anyway.)
5. Pack all brushes and palette knives in the check-in baggage. (To keep brushes from getting damaged, place them in a canvas brush holder that rolls up.) Example:
6. If possible, pack all your supplies in a separate suitcase. If not, pack your supplies so they are on top of your other items in your luggage. This makes it easily accessible for a security check.
7. Pack your empty pochade box and easel in either your carry on or check-in baggage.
8. Place your painting panels inside your Raymar carrying case and place in either carry on or check in.
9. paper towels will fit into luggage better if they are taken off the roll and folded compactly.
If visiting Venice, I highly recommend getting a day pass for a vaporetto (water bus) and check out the Islands near by. It is well worth it, and you can see Burano, Murano, and Torcelli in half a day. We got a one day travel card for about $25 and had unlimited use for the day. It was less expensive than getting separate tickets.
Our 1st stop was the island of Murano, aka "glass island", about a 5 minute boat ride from Venice.
We arrived at about 9 am and went straight to the glass making studio. It was rainy and a bit chilly, which worked in our favor as we and 2 other people were the only ones there to see the presentation! Plus, it was nice and toasty inside as they held the glass over the fire. Watching the beads of color metamorphose into beautiful sculptures was mesmerizing! When we walked around the gallery afterwards to see the pieces, I was absolutely amazed with these works of art. My favorites were like paintings made of glass and gold leaf.
I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside the gallery, but here's a link to some Murano glass beauties.
Honestly, that was about all we cared to see, and I had heard there wasn't much else to Murano...and RATS, we couldn't have a picnic. (See below. I must say, I've found some pretty interesting signs around Italy that have made me chuckle!)
So, on to my favorite of the 3 Islands we visited; the fishing village of BURANO, known for it's colorful houses and lace-making.
I felt as if I were in a movie as I disembarked the vaporetto. (Keep in mind it had been completely overcast and rainy all morning). I walked down an alleyway, and stepped onto a bridge; and at this moment, as if the director of my movie yelled "lights!", a beam of sun rays poured through a tiny opening in the clouds and lit up the town.
It was like opening up a box of brightly colored crayons...an artists delight! As the origin goes, fishermen would go out to sea, and couldn't see their home through the fog, so each home was painted a different color. Also, the houses don't have numbers on them, they are only known for their color.
Here are a few paintings inspired from this quaint village:
Apparently we can thank Renaissance painters for making Burano lace famous! In the 1600's Burano lace gained such fame that it became a status symbol for European nobles. Portraits of nobles wearing outlandishly fancy lace collars—the kinds you see in the Renaissance paintings of Rembrandt and van Dyck—helped make Venetian lace a status symbol among aristocracy from Ghent to Paris. European nobles wore their Venetian lace finery to sit for portraits that would be handed down to future generations. Artists were challenged to capture the web-like intricacies of lace in paint.
I can totally understand the intrigue the artists must have felt to desire to paint the exquisite lace. I myself had to urge to rise to the challenge, and made the attempt:
"Leather and Lace" 16x20 Oil on museum quality panel:
Woman making lace using a tombolo (or lace pillow)