Sunday, December 10, 2017

Re-Creating the Cricket

The historic Cricket Theater brings back many fond childhood memories from my childhood in Collinsville, AL.  

The Cricket has recently undergone a major facelift and the neon lighting was restored to its glory. On a warm evening on July 14, 2017 almost 500 people came to see the renovated marquee light up the Dekalb County sky. Read more here:

All of these memories and the excellent work achieved by the Collinsville Historic Society have inspired me to “create a cricket”  … gg’s style that is. Personally, I would much rather paint flowers, birds or animals, as painting buildings are certainly not my specialty. In fact, I struggled with the concept.

My first sketches in attempting to create the cricket

However, I wanted to paint a unique style of movement and color that would continue to bring enthusiasm to the ongoing need to restore the beloved Cricket.

Since returning to Alabama, it has given me great pleasure to participate and contribute to events that help raise funds for the Collinsville Cricket Theater, the Public Library and the Historic Museum. Below is a painting I painted for the Collinsville's Library's Annual Quilt Walk in 2016. Half of my sales of the original painting were donated to the Collinsville Historic Society. 

This summer with my ideas swimming in my head, I sat down to sketch and to create my own version of the Cricket. I wasn't pleased with the first sketch, so that is why I continued to sketch. Eventually three very different versions emerged from my drawing table.  

With Collinsville's annual 
annual Turkey Trot 5k Race and festival to be held on November 18th, my husband and I packed up my framed crickets ... and their prints and headed to my hometown.

The annual Turkey Trot is a big event for DeKalb County, featuring music, arts, crafts and food vendors!

One of GG's original paintings of the Cricket will be included in the Turkey Trot raffles 

I enjoyed hearing more interesting stories about Collinsville’s history from Myles Smith, a founding member of the Collinsville Historical Association.

See more here:

I was honored to take a photo of Mr Charles Moore's 'hand created' version of the The Cricket Theatrewhile we were in the Collinsville History museum today. Little Collinsville” is a collaborative effort by Gail and Charles Moore to re-create miniature models of Collinsville buildings from the 1940s and 50s. It features buildings of importance to Collinsville in beautiful crafted detail. For more info:

Turkey Trot has a long history dating back to 1912, but currently is used as a fundraising event to help the Collinsville Historical Association restore and maintain The Cricket Theatre. It gives her great pleasure to participate and contribute to events that help raise funds for the Cricket Theater, the Collinsville Public Library and the Collinsville Historic Museum. I donate one of the Crickets for the fundraiser raffle valued at $250.

On Nov., 18, 2017 during Collinsville’s annual Turkey Trot Festival, a fundraiser where all proceeds go to help fund the restoration of the Cricket Theatre … GG Burns, a Collinsville High School Alumni painted 2 several versions of the Cricket. GG donated one of her paintings to benefit the Turkey Trot Raffle.. GG is selling limited edition Giclée prints of both version a classic version highlighting the iconic neon in the day and a more stylized modern version that features the colorful neon at night.

 GG's Historic Cricket Theatre, “limited edition” Giclee prints can now be purchased at: W V Graves & Co Inc., 63 W Main St Phone: (256) 524-2155
11x14" matted and packaged in 16x20” double mats - $35
8x10" matted and packaged in 11x14” mats - $25

The Cricket Theatre was once advertised as the most beautiful structure in north Alabama. The front of the original Cricket was 40 feet with 6 different colors of lighting and more than 300 feet of tubing; this sign and the neon lights can be seen for more than two miles. In the 70’s Collinsville’s Cricket closed and like other historical landmarks quickly deteriorated. However, in 2010, The Collinsville Historic Association purchased the Historic Cricket. Since that time, a major restoration process has taken place to preserve and restore this beloved timepiece. 

Read more here about the history of and why we need to restore the Cricket

When you buy art from an artist, you're buying more than a gift or an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of inspiration, experiments, errors and determination. There are times when artist don’t feel like creating, they may even lose their ability for periods of times; but an innate force drives us to share with the world what others cannot see. When you buy my art, you are buying a little of me … a piece of my heart. By purchasing my art it allows me to give back to the community and to continue sharing my art with others. ~ GG Burns Birmingham AL

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall is here, say goodbye to the hummingbirds!

It seems when we're young we don't have time to slow down and enjoy small miracles. Like a humming bird for example. As a child I observed my grandparents sitting on their front porch watching the humming birds feed from my grandmothers' front porch flower planters. Back in the day, I don't recall having a humming bird feeder. Fast forward another few decades, humming birds brought my Dad and Mom great joy in their last years, especially when they were both too sick to  get up and about. Same for my in-laws ... they loved their hummingbirds and eagerly waited for them to a arrive each summer.

Buy GG's Hummingbird Art here:

Now, my husband and I do the same. I have been planting plants that attract hummers for years. But just this week, I've noticed only one. Next week he'll likely be gone as well.

Since hummingbirds are collected by many, I've been painting them on my Functional Art" for several years. I'm showcasing just a few in the blogpost.

Seven Austad from wrote an excellent article recently called:
Getting high nature's way.

In his story, Steven writes about how hummingbirds migrate to South America:

This remarkable hummingbird flight requires powerful muscles and massive amounts of energy.  The pectoral or flight muscles comprise one-quarter of a hummingbird's total weight.  They use energy at more than 10 times the rate that elite human athletes use during intense exercise.  Energy requires fuel - sugar and oxygen in this case.  To meet their energy demands, hummingbirds drink up to several times their body weight in nectar each day, loading their blood with so much sugar that they would be dangerously diabetic if they were human.  Oxygen is supplied by breathing 250 times per minute, faster than a dog pants, and passing that air through exceptionally efficient lungs.  Oxygen- and sugar-loaded blood is pumped to their muscles, brain, and other tissues by a heart that is five times the size of ours relative to their size.  That heart beats a machine gun-like 20 times per second. 

Because of these high energy needs, hummingbirds cannot go long periods without food.  As flowers wilt and insects begin to disappear at the end of summer, our hummingbirds must head south.  They winter in southern Mexico and Central America where flowers bloom and insects abound year round. 

Now comes perhaps their most remarkable feat.  As they prepare for migration, they begin to pack on fuel in the form of fat.  Within a couple of weeks, they turn from sleek athletes into butterballs, adding enough fat to double their body weight as they ready for a life-or-death flight. These tiny, moth-size birds now attempt to fly nonstop more than 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico.  The trip takes about 20 hours if weather conditions are good and if the birds are in good enough condition to make it. If you're keeping track that journey requires more than five million wingbeats in less than a day.  The ones that do make it will have lost more than half their body weight in less than a day.  Call it the Gulf crash diet.  They not only take the weight off, they keep it off -- at least for a few months. 

Buy GG's Canvas Prints and other Functional Art prints here:
Come spring, they will make the return journey.  Bulking up again and losing it again in that dramatic ocean crossing.  You might think that such an intense lifestyle would burn them out quickly, but some hummingbirds survive to make that Gulf crossing nearly 20 times. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pumpkin Paintings and Hand-Made Halloween Cards by GG Burns

Pumpkin Love by GG Burns - SOLD
Seems like I have a difficult time finding the energy to blog. When I finally have time to create, marketing my finished art beyond posting on Facebook seems to be last on my to-do list. Next thing I know the season has passed and I’m on to the next project. (Or as life would have it … I’m buried in the next crises!)

A scene from Sandra's Class
This summer I had the privilege of taking fine-art studio classes from master artist Sandra Fuller at The Artist on the Bluff in Bluff Park. Taking a class is a great way to stimulate an artist’s mind and to also help us explore something different. Many of us get into a rut and paint the same way or use the same tools, even though there may be many new products and techniques we’ve never thought about. This was the case in taking Sandra’s watercolor class.  It had been a while since I had painted with watercolors and when I did, I wasn’t thrilled with my outcome compared to the vivid colors I have been achieving with alcohol inks or when using Golden’s® acrylics. 
In Sandra’s class, I was thrilled to learn about newer watercolor inks, that are more vivid than many that I had in my toolbox. I’ve tried a few, but the QOR® watercolors by Golden® are my favorite so far. They contain a new binder that allows the ink to be more intense, plus they stay brilliant even after they dry!
A close 2nd are the M. Graham Artists' Watercolors® -  Their pigments have a binding medium of gum Arabic and honey, which allows the inks to not dry out as easily. 

You may ask, aren’t these expensive? Of course all quality art supplies are pricey. If artist add up all our trips to art supply stores, the amount we order online for: ink, brushes, paper, canvas, etc., it might scare us from creating! It takes years to stock a studio with good materials. Additionally, if we teach or produce a lot … we’re constantly restocking. 

So speaking of expensive supplies, one way we can offset those cost is to actually sell our artwork.

For the Autumn/Halloween season, I'm selling a few small original watercolors. They would make a great greeting or Birthday card to mail to your special someone in “snail mail”. 

You may be asking, “Do people still do that?”

Well thankfully some of us do. Framed or not, they make great gifts that can be displayed every season. My pumpkins can be handed down to the next generation. (See framed art for ideas.)

If you are interested, please message me on one of my Facebook pages and we'll work out shipping or delivery details. (Prices below do not include shipping.)

"It's a Great Pumpkin" by GG Burns
Mat only: $40

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"It's a Great Pumpkin" by GG Burns
Mat only: $40


Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor    
"Pumpkins are everywhere, they are taking over the shelves ...
it must be autumn!" 
by GG Burns 

$40, (Card and envelope included)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Pumpkins are everywhere, they are taking over the shelves ...
it must be autumn!" 
by GG Burns 

$40, (Card and envelope included)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Turning for Fall", by GG Burns
$50, (mat only)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Turning for Fall", by GG Burns
$50, (mat only)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Turks Turban", by GG Burns
$50, (mat only)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Pumpkin Chaos", by GG Burns
$50, (mat only)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Autumn Friends", by GG Burns
$85, (mat only)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
The Halloween cards aren’t new, but they have been sealed in plastic and will look like the day I made them when removed from their packages. All of these originals can be framed and used for autumn seasonal decorations for years to come.
Hand-made witch cards by GG Burns
one of a kind - for the collector
$10 each

"Halloween Super Witch Hero - Orange Hat", by GG Burns
$50, (mat only)
$75 Framed

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  
"Witchy Therapy", by GG Burns
$95, (mat only)

Original Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches professional watercolor  

Thanks to all of those in advance who buy my art, who call and say, “GG, can you paint a little yellow rose for my friend’s birthday”, or "GG, can you paint my Mom's dog for Mother’s day, etc?" Sharing my art with friends and customers keeps me going. ART HELPS ME BREATH.

May your autumn season be blessed ~ gg

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WALK of ART spring event will be held May 5-6 at the Hoover MET

The WALK of ART will be held at the Hoover MET on May 5-6, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sponsors are: The Central Alabama Art Guild, the Hoover Arts Alliance and Alphagraphics, Inc

This event is benefitting The Wellhouse, (a ministry that brings awareness to human trafficking occurring in our city) and the Hoover Scholarship Fund.

I've painted several new paintings, created many small gift items that I call "functional art" ... all perfect for "Mother's Day, graduation gifts, birthdays for the WALK of ART event. Most of my paintings are inspired by either flowers from my garden or those of my gardening friends. The fairies and hummingbirds are from my imagination.

Hidden Figures of the Iris, by GG Burns
My new work features spring flowers ... mostly irises and lilies, butterflies and birds of all kinds ... humming birds, blue birds, even tropical birds. I'm also introducing my "hidden fairy" artwork. I look forward in seeing you at the first ever "WALK of ART.

The WALK of ART will be held at the Hoover Met on May 5 and 6, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CAAG President Jinger Glasgow said the show will include areas for Central Alabama Artists Guild members and craft-makers to sell their products, as well as tables for local businesses to promote their services. 
The show includes judging and awards for Artists Guild members, as well as a silent auction benefiting the Hoover Scholarship Fund and WellHouse Ministries. 
Vendors who participate will set up in the Met's concourses the evening of Thursday, May 5 and take down their booths at the close of the show on Saturday. The Hoover Met will provide overnight security. The cost to rent a booth is $100 and can include a table and chairs. Vendors also have the option to donate an item to the silent auction. 
For more information, call Glasgow at 515-2705 or visit the Walk of Art Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Quilt Your Path Home - Collinsville's 15th Annual Quilt Walk

By GG Burns, Artist and Advocate

A few weeks ago, Rebecca Clayton a volunteer for the Collinsville Historical Association, (CHA) contacted me and shared that during the 2016 annual quilt walk, the CHA was also hosting their first Annual Art Show called: Collinsville’s Art Café.  

Without hesitation, I of course said I’d be honored to participate, knowing that my mentor and beloved Collinsville High School Home Economics teacher, Mrs. Martha Barksdale, had no doubt been involved with the conception of this new art event. 

Martha had inspired me, as well as many others, to attend college. Since early childhood, I had always wanted to become a fashion artist and Martha definitely played an instrumental role in my life as I pursue my dreams. 

While growing up in small town USA, I often had a pencil or paint brush in my hand. My inability to pay attention in class, once earned me a trip to the principal’s office for sketching a "portrait" of a substitute teacher in the first grade. (I wish I had that sketch today.) This is an image that my Mother saved from some of my early illustrations apparently from the 4th grade. 

My Mother was my first teacher … a historian in her own right. She preserved, recycled, and repurposed “everything” before it was fashionable. Last year, when she passed, I made sure some of Mom's collections made there way to Collinsville’s historical museum. When I’m gone, I hope some of my art, but mostly Mom’s quilts, and other collections that she’s passed down from many generations before us, will finally make their way to a place like Collinsville's museum. 

Last weekend, (yes last minute), I sat down to create art for the Collinsville event. I have lived in several cities, even another state since I left Collinsville a few months out of high school. However, I always made photos each time I was visiting, especially during the Quilt Walks or at Collinsville's famous Turkey Trot event. Sadly, when I was in town to attend families’ funerals, I also made photos. Photography and photo editing are to me as some enjoy reading or crossword puzzles.  

As I reflected on the history of this quaint little town and of my photo collection, there was one image that said, “paint me”. 

“Quilt Your Path Home” by GG Burns

Over the years, I recall standing and staring at a peaceful scene in front of Collinsville’s funeral home. The funeral home is housed in a large Victorian 2-story home that has been around as long as I can remember.

At first, I thought about framing the churches in a patchwork border … but that didn’t work. At the last minute, I sketched a fancy path leading into the church parking lot and added quilt triangles. 

“Quilt Your Path Home”  and GG's Grandmother's quilt"
These were much like the quilts I had watched my Grandmother Massey stitch as a child. Both my Grandmother and Mom were seamstress, artisans in their own way – who used fabric, patterns and thread instead of the paint and paper I use today.

If you haven’t been home in a while, regardless as to where your roots are – I encourage you to do so. 

If you are from the Northeast part of the great state of Alabama – please stop by Collinsville’s Historical Museum on Main Street. Call to check their hours at: 256-524-2323, but they are usually open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 1-4pm. 

Additionally, please join us for Collinsville's 15th Annual Quilt Walk at the beginning at the Collinsville Public Librarythis weekend: September 23 12pm-5pm – September 24 10pm-4pm

GG's quilted Chicks watercolor paintings and a painting of GG's great Aunt Alice's quilt"
I promise you will not be disappointed, regardless of how much time you have to spend. If you don’t have time to attend this unique 15th annual quilt walk this year, please mark your calendar for next year. 

I hope to see you there. gg

Live interview about the history 
of Collinsville's Quilt Walk 
and more:

Text me through my Facebook pages if you would like 
to order a limited edition print of
“Quilt Your Path Home”
Prints are available in 8x10” size, 
packaged in 11x14” double mats for $30 each or 
smaller versions of 5x7” packaged in 8x10” 
double mats for $20 each.


Standing by Mrs. Martha Barksdale,
Collinsville Historical Association Volunteer