My 2020 Christmas art piece is a tribute to my Dad, Don Gibson who passed away a month ago at age 85. He was a machinist by trade, as well as a musician, gardener, softball pitcher, and woodworker not to mention a great husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He designed and made from wood the ladder chairs, sewing box, magazine rack, wine boxes, knick knack shelf, back scratcher and tray that make up this tribute.
Included are his tools, sheet music for the keyboard that he played, one of his harmonicas, coffee cup, his favorite peanut butter cookies, and a 3-D jeep puzzle that was one of the last things he made. You'll also see his all-time favorite food, wieners and beans. He was an avid gardener who grew the best fruits and vegetables we ever had.
I painted the 9" x 12" canvas of a Great Horned Owl that hangs on the wall. The owl means a lot to our family because some of us had interactions with an owl after he passed. Dad, you are cherished in my heart forever.
2017 Alternative Christmas Tree
My 2017 tree was inspired by the beautiful shoji screens from Japan. I used a window insert not being used from my house and glued different colors of tissue paper onto the back of each square. Set in front of the window the day light was beautiful coming through the tissue paper. At night, the lights gave it a totally different look.
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Shoji Screen'
2016 Alternative Christmas Tree
With global warming on my mind, I wanted to show what would be missing if the trees and animals were to disappear from our earth.
The 2016 tree is made from tree limbs cut from my backyard. A bear with bees, an owl, a squirrel and a bunny are painted in black to represent the ghosts of animals gone. I added a string of lights and a few of my knit crows as some of our heartiest animals still sitting on the tree limbs.
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Living Tree?'
2015 Alternative Christmas Tree
My 2015 modern triangle-shaped tree is cut from a piece of plywood that hangs on the wall. Objects such as plastic animals, kitchen utensils, beads and dolls are glued to the plywood, topped off with a mache' deer head. After the glue dried, the entire tree was spray painted teal green. The positioning of each object makes the tree into an artpiece, and the more you look at it the more you see. I call this my 'Green Tree' as it is made with recycled and found objects.
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Green Tree'
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Mid Century Modern'
2014 Alternative Christmas Tree
I never know what will inspire these holiday art pieces, and this year was no exception. When a friend gifted me with nine wood wine gift boxes from an Italian winery (without the wine, of course!), I was mulling over what to do with them until it hit me: this year's alternative christmas tree!
After some experimentation with balance and composition to get the form right, I placed colored paper inside the boxes in a random pattern, then used just a few of my ornaments to give it glitter and flash. Topped with one of my favorite glass objects and illuminated with only two uplights, this 'tree' has a distinctly mid-century modern style, and turned out far better than I'd hoped at almost no cost!
The boxes started out as trees, which were cut down and fabricated into gift boxes, and now they are a symbolic art piece in the shape and context of... a tree! Very circular. I have plans for these boxes after the holidays, so be sure to check back in a month or two to see if my newest vision comes to fruition.
2014 Alternative Christmas Tree
With the Mid-Century Modern tree placed in the corner of our living room, I decided that I wasn't done using my mannequin Velvet just yet. Inspired by an art piece I saw online, I fabricated a special holiday hat for her using a styrene top hat, fabric, ornaments and ribbon that fit her perfectly.
Alternative Christmas Tree - A Mid Century Modern home
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Mother Nature'
2013 Alternative Christmas Tree
Velvet the mannequin once again takes center stage in a new role as 'Mother Nature'. She's wrapped with 400 lights and draped with gliitered tulle like a windswept gown. Branches were cut from trees in the backyard, painted silver and gray and hung from the walls. To complete the nature theme, handmade paper birds and a flying falcon protect her.
I had a completely different vision for this project, but it changed dramatically once Velvet was wrapped in lights. That's usually the way it goes... the vision changes and the results are always a surprise.
2013 Alternative Christmas Tree
'Mother Nature' stands 6-ft. tall in my living room. Once the holidays are over, she'll become a lamp (minus the tulle and branches) and make a great addition to my decor... at least, until next year!
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Mother Nature' at home
Alternative Christmas Tree - 'Hillside Holiday'
2012 Alternative Christmas Tree
This year it was all about the painting. I was inspired to recreate a piece by Shag, one of my favorite artists and someone whose design style speaks to me. A 4 ft. x 5 ft. canvas creates the focal point for this year's Christmas art piece, telling the story of a holiday tryst somewhere in the Los Angeles nightscape.
The matte black bike rests after a run into the hills, making the perfect base for a lover's Christmas tree. Although not part of my original vision, I decided it was time for a real tree in our home, the first one in almost 10 years.
After the holidays, this painting will be the catalyst for renovating the room to reflect the colors and mood that drew me to the original Shag piece. This is the largest canvas I've painted so far, and it was a challenge to finish it in only one week. I'm very happy with the holiday tableu we created, and hope it will inspire you to try something different when decorating your home next year.
2012 Alternative Christmas Tree
Before installing this piece, I decided it was time to edit some of the accessories that had collected in my living room. We moved out a 6 ft. tall red curio cabinet which created more wall area and opened up the space. The hutch on the far wall has been with us since we moved in, has been repainted and may also be on the renovation chopping block. We'll see if it survives.
My design style tends to run modern, with flourishes of art and color and a dollop of beatnik retro cool. I'm a hard-nosed shopper and will run all over L.A. and Orange counties to find just the right element, but I always keep a resonable budget in mind. After all, I've been known to change things up with no little or warning.
Alternative Christmas Tree - Holiday Home 2012
Alternative Christmas Tree - 2011
It had to happen. Our houseguest Velvet (my birthday present in 2011) had been standing naked in the living room since July. In November I was hit with the idea of using all my extra yarn to dress her for the holidays, and I am extremely pleased with the way she came out. Her arms, shoulders, torso, legs and feet are wrapped in a single layer of different colors of yarn. NO KNOTS (hey, I want the yarn for later, right?). Her hat and skirt are knitted pieces, and I am especially fond of her shoe wraps.
To accompany Velvet, a yarn-wrapped flamingo with matching wrapped legs and a leash. No Name's body is totally yarned, and the wrapped base looks like the surface of a pond. I knitted some grass, scattered balls of yarn around and added yarn spooge to the tree. The look is couture, modern, a little crazy and very sexy.
Once again, the tall background tree was recycled from years past. This is the fourth time it has been part of our holidays and has finally been retired. I'm so glad that I had Velvet around to inspire me and offer herself as my creative canvas. Making art RULES.
2010 Misguided Christmas Tree
It took until the second week of December, but I'm really glad I waited for the inspiration to hit me and create this truly unique Christmas art piece.
It has been compared to a kite or a sail, but I was actually trying to recreate something based upon the 3-D toothpick stars that I learned to make as a little girl, the same ones attached to the face of last year's tree.
This sculpture is fabricated from 9-inch bamboo skewers, gift wrap and tissue, tulle, hot glue and tacky glue. Built as a freestanding series of triangles, my husband was convinced that it couldn't stand on its own without additional support. Measuring almost 6-feet tall and 4-feet across, it creates a sense of movement and motion, even though the entire structure weighs less than 2 pounds!
Once the holidays are over, this tree will remain in our home as an object d'art... as long as someone doesn't accidentally demolish it. Wish me luck!
Alternative Christmas Tree - Abstract Tree, 2010 Edition
Alternative Christmas Tree - Modern Tree, 2009 Edition
2009 Misguided Christmas Tree
For 2009, no political statements... I wanted to create trees that made purely artistic statements, and I think I succeeded!
Our main tree in the den was retasked from one we have used several times in the past. Standing over 8 feet tall, a modern color scheme was highlighted with Silver and Black glittered toothpick stars, along with one pulsing in Copper. Since Bob hadn't finished his latest remodeling project (sigh), the metal lathe covering the fireplace helped to create an industrial look, unplanned but effective... lucky for him!
The second tree in the living room was actually more of a decoration than a tree... in fact, it was two different trees in one. Side One was covered in a modern Red and Silver pattern with polka dots that reflected the lights... very cool.
Side Two showcases my crazy 3-D paper creations, attached to the surface of the tree like ornaments. I think there are almost 40 of them, and it was really hard to decide which to include since I have almost 100 made! I'm planning to create a larger wall art design using this tree and more of the 3D pieces, so we'll see how that goes as we jump into the New Year.
I really liked the idea of retasking the larger tree... this may be the fourth time it's been up since being built over 10 years ago. Talk about recycling!