Artist Shoutout: Troll Hunting the works of Thomas Dambo

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Yesterday my husband Frank and I had the day off work and decided to go on a day date adventure. I had heard that the Morton Arboretum was having a troll exhibit featuring 15-30ft trolls designed/created by artist Thomas Dambo. Needless to say, this Jim Henson, Brian Froud fantasy loving geek was in her glory. If it has to do with monsters, goblins, trolls, mermaids, fairies, gnomes, unicorns or anything else mythical from fairytale land…sign me up!

This is how their website describes the exhibit:
Journey through our far-reaching forest to hunt for six colossal trolls crafted from reclaimed wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Marvel at these 15- to 30-foot-tall (and one 60-foot long) sculptures that have been created to serve as protectors of our environment. These mysterious creatures—resembling the trolls of European folklore—were first spotted at the Arboretum in the spring of 2018. As sightings increased, an official investigation was launched to learn about these fascinating new residents. The trolls share the Arboretum’s desire to care for trees; however, they seem suspicious of humans. We need you to join the investigation and help trolls and humans come to understand each other. What will you discover when you join the hunt?

Seriously! Sign me up.

Well due to me still trying to heal from my sprained ankle, the heat and sporadic rain (which interesting enough made the whole adventure feel even more authentic) we decided to do the driving route. Doing the drive and park is the way to go even without a sprained ankle. You still have to walk and go find the trolls but you don’t have to walk miles upon miles to get to their general area. Not to mention you don’t get as tired and can really enjoy and take it all in. The arboretum is HUGE (17,00 acres) and the trolls are spread throughout all of it. Driving through the woods was magical in itself and the map they give you is both helpful and fun to follow!

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Here are some photos we took during our adventure. Click on any of them to enlarge and read the captions. These wood sculptures are massive but still incredibly detailed! We were blown away by them.

 

Such a magical day! I am literally honored we were able to experience these magnificent pieces of art and so thrilled that Morton Arboretum and Thomas Dambo brought this to Illinois for dreamers like us to enjoy!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole

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Drippings: Equinox

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So I haven’t been as active on here for the last past month. Despite having another fun ER scare (those who follow this blog know about my fun health issues) I also have been working on a very large commission piece for my Uncle. And when I say very large… I mean very large. So large that the art supply company I went through wanted to charge me $300 to send the canvases to me on a truck so I had to get canvas kits instead. Three canvas kits to be exact. And I had never stretched a canvas before in my life. Anytime I paint something on canvas it is already pre-stretched.  Lucky for me, when I was “down with the sickness” my husband Frank was awesome enough to take a stab at stretching the canvases and did an incredible job. Thank you Fredrix for you killer tutorial videos!

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But stretching the canvas was not the most of my worries (despite having to re-arrange the living room to make it happen). I was taking on a whole new challenge outside of what I considered my “comfort zone”. I was asked to do a fall landscape piece spread out among the three large canvases to make one large painting that will fill one large wall. The center canvas being 48″W x 60″ L and the 2 side canvases being 36″ W x 60″ L. So like I said.. very large.

The first thing we did was move the canvases to our dungeon (aka basement) where we had to make space for me to paint. My art room is our spare bedroom in our townhome and there was no way this was going to work in there. Then we set the paintings up and I got started.

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I had a sketch and some reference photos but was not sure what I wanted to do first so I started placing things to give me a general idea where I wanted them and started to fill them in for a nice base…

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At one point I kept saying how much I hated brown and tree bark ha ha ha….

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Then that turned into how much I hated green and grass ha ha ha….

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But before long it started to take shape…

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And then I changed my mind and painted over a few things that were just not flowing right for me and then the fun colors started to take over which got me out of my brown and green rut….

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Before I knew it a month had passed and I had put in 62 hours into this project. I even have the back pain to prove it ha ha. I decided to call the piece “Equinox”…..

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As nervous as I was to take this big project on, I am happy that I did. Yah the money is always nice to have but so is the ability to say I stepped out of my comfort zone and made it happen. I hit some definite learning curves along the way but I also learned a lot of new techniques and figured out fun ways to use various brushes I had never used before. I even did a little sponging in there as well. Most of all I am happy that my Uncle believed in me enough to push me to do this. To be told “no monsters or anything scary” was definitely out of my realm but with Autumn being my favorite season I was happy that is what he chose for this.

Also a special shout out to my husband Frank, my Dad and my brother who were my cheer squad during this whole project. They kept me moving forward with all their encouragement.

If you want to see more of my paintings on the Drippings page of my portfolio website! Now off to get some reference photos for another commission painting I am doing for a client on Etsy! Stay tuned!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole