Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Decorations, Inspired by Animal Print

Hand painted mini gourds - animal prints of course!

For most of my adult life, I have had a fascination with animal print when decorating. Since early childhood, I have painted almost every wild animal there is on canvas. I own furry slippers, blankets, throws, coats, scarves and jewelry with animal print designs. My favorite is 'zebra and leopard' in home decor as well as clothing. 

Even my dog and cat have their own zebra and leopard print beds. You could say that 'animal print' is a bit of my trademark. 

Re-purposed holiday wreath made with old frame and new ribbon

Over the past few years, I either handmade Christmas ornaments using animal print fabric or hand painted gourds and other items with a jungle theme. I enjoy recycling old ornaments adding gold threads, glitter and feathers. 

A few of my favorite ornaments have been purchased at Lucia's Boutique, in Lexington, KY. Lucia's offers fair trade products, allowing artists around the globe to improve the quality of their life.

This ornament was knitted in Peru. I bought it at a Church Holiday Bazaar recently from Lucia's. I imagined an artist or craftsman in a small town in South America, hand kitting this tiny zebra and wondered if they would know that the owner would eventually appreciate their time and work as much I do.

This year, I added my collection of 'animal print' inspire ornaments to a large tree in my den, along with lots of gold and silver bling. My new purchase was a $5 roll of gold mesh for my tree and some new metallic silver and zebra print ribbon for old frames that I turned into wall wreaths. 

Most of my ornaments have been re-purposed with gold and silver glitter. I hope my animal print decorations will inspire you to have fun. Life is short, find whatever makes you smile and share it with a friend. 

These are a few animal print ornaments that I have made over the years.

Oh and if you think for one minute that 'animal print' Christmas ornaments are unusual ~ think again. On a recent Google search for, Images for Christmas Decorations, Inspired by Animal Print, I discovered there were 67,800,000 links. Now I wonder where my Blog posting will fit into all of those pages?

GG's Pet Portraits

Growing up on a farm, I have sketched and painted pets as long as I can remember. Our pets are our joy -- they help us deal with the world around us. 

Below are a few examples that I've painted over the years. My style has evolved ... I once painted pets in oils, but later used pastels combined with acrylics. Now I mostly paint pets with watercolors, sometimes adding pencil or pastels to soften the image. Most of my prices begin at $95 for 11"x14", or slightly smaller if the customer prefers a smaller image. 

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Price for each painting, 
(from your photo) is $95.
(Add an additonal $30 for background art.) 


These are a few examples of pastels and acrylics combined.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge


These are a few examples of hand-painted art of your pet, painted on recycled vintage dictionary pages. For each pet, I have selected a page that either describes the pet's breed or the pet's name. There is a special meaning hidden in each piece of art ~ unique to the pet owner.  These paintings are hand sketched and painted with acrylic paint on the vintage paper ~ this is not a reproduction printed on a printer!  

Click on image to enlarge

For the long hair chihuahua named 'Kovi', I have selected a page with the word 'extreme', printed at the bottom of the page. According to Google ~ Kovi means EXTREMES in fortune, health and spirituality.

For the Boxer named Molly, I found a page that had Molly in the text.

mol·ly noun \ˈmä-lē\

by shortening from New Latin Mollienisia, former genus name, from Comte François North Mollien †1850 French statesman
First Known Use: circa 1933

Final dimensions are approximately 8" x 10" and will look great matted and framed in either custom frames or standard frames from your local craft store.

Price for each painting, 
(from your photo) is $95. 

This price does not included professional matting or framing, but I will include a heavy card stock and special clear jacket that will protect your art until you have time to frame it. For future references, an 11" x 14" mat will work with an 8" x 10" opening.

Pet portraits on vintage backgrounds, make unique gifts and are environmentally friendly. A one-of-a-kind piece of art for your home, plus they make great conversation pieces for that special someone.

None of the materials provided on this Blog may be used, reproduced or transmitted, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, printing, or linking without permission in writing from GG Burns. Removal of electronic copyright information, digital fingerprints, or embedded watermarks on any image is strictly prohibited

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Solaris Art Gallery - Day of the Dead Exhibit

We all enjoyed a beautiful evening last night at the artist reception for the "Day of the Dead", art exhibit at Solaris Art Gallery in Versailles, KY.

This in one of mine. It is an 8" x 8" print titled: Jack-n-Cat, printed by imageKIND on museum quality 80lb paper. Framed print is priced for the season at: $95. For more info to purchase GG’s art prints go to:

This watercolor painting is titled: Eye of the Beholder. Framed and matted size is: 16" x 20",  Price at $250. Beauty isn't really in the eye of the beholder ~ or is it?

Title: Broken Promises of Society, by GG Burns
Total Size with custom mats and frame is: 16" x 20"
Medium: Watercolor, Price: $200
This is a painting of an old abandon stable window on the Eastern State Hospital campus in Lexington, KY.  This building dates back to 1850, in a time when patients farmed and provided for themselves. (Farming was terminated in 1957.) A collection of GG’s photos from Eastern State Hospital can viewed at:

Artist, poet and musician Lane Stonecypher, standing next to his beautiful painting titled: "True Blood", at Solaris Art Gallery. Price at $450.

Theresa Williams, Owner of Solaris Art Gallery, wrapping up patron's art purchases.

Beautiful music by Sam Hawkins from Versailles, KY. 
Solaris always has great great music, entertainment and fabulous gourmet catered refreshments.

One of hundreds of fantastic watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings you will find at the Solaris Art Gallery, in the permanent collection area. This photo is titled: "Old Ham County Summer", by Perry Lee.

You don't have to go to New York, to add quality art to your art collection at bargain prices, visit Solaris Art Gallery in Versailles, KY.

Sculpture by Kathleen Friedenberg, American Academy of Equine Art. Priced at $7500. Check out Kathy's website here:

The Picasso's of tomorrow are here today, at at Solaris Art Gallery in Versailles, KY.

NOTE: Solaris Art Gallery has moved to their new location at 224 Yellow Jacket Dr. -- just across from the High School in Versailles. Drop by for a visit Tuesday through Saturday, 10am - 6pm and tell them, GG sent you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

'Gift it, frame it or plant it!' -- Art Made with Money Plants (Silver Dollars)

I'm always searching for a way to create art by using recycled materials -- creative yet functional at the same time. My Mother always loved the popular bi-annual flower, called Lunaria annua, Honesty, Money Plant or in the US, it is often referred to as the Silver Dollar plant.

A few years ago, I planted a few money plant seeds in my back yard. The seed package stated these plants were:
1.) Easy to grow -- check. 
2.) Heat and drought resistant -- check. 
3.) Bloomed beautiful purple blooms -- check.  
My favorite color is purple and I have added Purple Phlox and even trees and shrubs that have purple blooms to my landscaping. 

Regardless, this sounded like the perfect plant for me! The most shocking point of these interesting plant, were once I planted the seeds in the summer, they didn't bloom until the following spring. This is called a biennial.

At first they look much like a weed, then over the winter they actually continue to grow. In early spring this hardy plant takes off, producing a bounty of beautiful purple blooms by mid April. These are a few photos from my garden over the years.

My Backyard in early April.

If you leave the plant in your garden long enough, the blooms eventually turn to pods that look like green coins. As they dry over the summer, the 'silver dollar' emerges. Consequently, if you leave the plant standing, the pods will open and tiny seeds will 'reseed' your garden and your neighbors! Yes, I have actually noticed 'money plants' growing in several of my neighbor's yards.

Some people enjoy drying the money plant in their garage. They do make interesting dried arrangements. Personally, I enjoy adding a few with colorful ribbons or attaching to them to gifts containers for my friends. 

Functional Art is -- art you can use! © gg's functional art -- 2012

One of my favorite things to do is to add seeds from my garden, such as the money plant to handmade paper. I have always enjoyed making my on paper and card designs. Many of my friends are crafters and artist. A favorite escape is to spend special days with these friends either making paper or hand crafting greeting cards. It's a great way to relax.

Some crafters buy expensive gadgets and factory produced paper to make fancy greeting cards. I figure after the amount they spend on tools and supplies, each card produced must cost in the ball park of $20-30 each. I either sell my cards to local galleries, gift shops or give them to my friends as gifts. Some of my friends have framed my cards and over the years have filled up a wall in their homes, with of my art. This makes me smile that my creation is providing someone 'joy or decoration' through out the year.

Money Plant Card with Handmade Paper, by GG
Functional Art is -- art you can use! © gg's functional art -- 2012

When I use the recycled-hand made paper for greeting cards ... I often comment that the cards I make are 'gifts that keeps giving'. 
Some of my handmade papers were made with recycled napkins, fibers, scrap paper and seeds -- using a mold and deckle, as image below.

This is a messy, time consuming process that can take days to produce 30 sheets of textured paper. 

There are many books, websites and videos that explain the paper making process. This video is a basic way to learn how to use paper making kits or modify your own methods:

Making Serendipity Paper 
with GG Burns
                                                                                                             Several years ago, I found a marvelous technique, on the Internet. It is basically a fun crafting project that anyone can do. Children and adults of all ages, enjoy this technique. I use paper napkins, recycled wrapping paper, paper and fabric scraps, all layered in a bed of white glue.

Over time, I developed my own twist in making this paper and have enjoyed sharing it with many friends and students.

Here's how I make it: tear off large sheets of freezer paper, placed on top of several layers of newspaper. Cut, tear, shred, or punch out shapes of scrap pieces of scrap-book paper, colored tissue paper, card stock, colorful paper napkins, bits of fibers -- ribbon, lace, torn pieces of old music books, punch-outs or anything you want -- on your paper.

Dilute about 4 ounces of Elmer's® Glue in 2 parts water in an old plastic bowl.  Stir until you have a the mixture the consistency of soup. Paint a small amount of glue with a disposable brush onto the freezer paper first. (Shiny side up.) 

Then I think about what kind of theme I am wanting to create. Such as Christmas, Halloween, Autumn or Valentines. For example, if I have a lot of vintage paper scraps, I might want to put down a piece of sewing pattern, or even a sheet of netting or lace first. Often, I will place an unfolded napkin down first -- then layer my scraps/fibers on the top. Sometimes you can dip your scraps or fibers into your glue mixture as you apply to your craft area. Other times, continue adding glue as you layer on your pieces. The key to the process is to encase everything with the glue. When the entire piece is dry, it will easily peel off the freezer paper.

Allow your finished Serendipity image to dry overnight, before you try to peel it away from the freezer paper.

The finished 'Serendipity Paper' can be cut in all kinds of shapes for card making, gift tags or even framing. I find that a rotary cutter works better than a craft knife. Depending on how many layers you add they can be almost like a thin piece of vinyl.

The most important thing is to let yourself go (as a child) and have fun with this technique.
Each card or art creation made using this technique is unique, one-of-a-kind gift -- suitable for framing. Or if it has seeds from my garden -- planting!  

Most of GG’s cards include a package of seeds that actually makes this gift one that continues to give joy to the recipient year after year.  

Functional Art is -- art you can use! © gg's functional art -- 2012

© 2010-11 GG's Functional Art ~ All rights reserved.

None of the materials provided on this Blog may be used, reproduced or transmitted, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, printing, or linking without permission in writing from GG Burns. Removal of electronic copyright information, digital fingerprints, or embedded watermarks on any image is strictly prohibited.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

'Dress Up', by ~ hand made cards

A few weeks ago my dear friend Anita and I made a play date to make greeting cards. Anita and I have our hands full as care givers and we've learned that it's very important to take time out of our busy lives to 'smell the roses'. For us, that means making time to create.
to download template click here:

I had stumbled across a few templates from and wanted to use them as a starting point. Over the years, my card making stash has grown since I also enjoy creating handmade papers. I love to design functional art, paint or decorate. Anita is an incredible seamstress and jewelry designer. I've never seen anything that she couldn't create. These are a few of the cards that Anita and I made.  

Enjoy and happy creating.

Find template here:
Anita in my messy studio