Saturday, July 31, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

During my recent trip to Kansas, Gina booked a tour of the haunted Glick Mansion for us. Leilani, Trena, Gina and I headed out with the excitement of this grand tour and possibly freaking ourselves out enough that when we got back to Gina's later in the evening for our slumber party, we would be too scared and giggly to sleep. However, things didn't go quite as planned and the only thing haunting us was the memory of sitting through a depressing lecture at Glick that became known as "the funeral". It only made us want to start drinking sooner!

Damn Hell Bathroom Shot
Tourist Information Center, Atchinson, Kansas

Foursome on the porch of Amelia Earhart's home
Atchison, Kansas

Dinner at The Riverhouse
Atchison, Kansas
Ironically enough, there was a wedding going on at The Riverhouse. When the waitress came and asked us if we were with the wedding party, I blurted out "no, we just came from a funeral" which made us all laugh but the poor waitress went "oh, I'm so sorry!". Gina, feeling bad for the poor gal, told her we were only joking and we didn't really come from a funeral. :)

Leaving The Riverhouse. I call this shot "Reflections of Friendship". 

*After dinner we headed back to Gina's but we ended up stopping off at a strip club where we drank a lot of Mojitos, wasted a lot of dollar bills, got a little rowdy and ended up getting busted for dubious behavior!

*Uh-oh! Girls Gone Wild! Busted!

*Booked into the Atchison County Jail

*Story completely fabricated for dramatic effect...we're all angels! :)

One of my many talents is convincing my friends to go along with my crazy antics. It's just one of the many reasons I love them. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Exploration #6: Archaeological Dig

Me and Elvis, 1970

Exploration #6: Archaeological Dig
Collect objects that relate to your childhood or inspire memories. Write a brief story to accompany each object.

I decided to take a different route with this Exploration challenge and use what I already have. I don't have to go out and hunt for objects that relate to my childhood because nearly everything that does, I have held onto or collect! Yes, I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I don't live in the past, I just enjoy the things associated with it. Let's start with the two biggest influences of my childhood: Elvis and Barbie.
My Elvis and Barbie collections collide

It was December 3rd, 1968 and my mother, a huge Elvis fan herself, turned on the TV to watch Elvis' Comeback Special. I instantly fell in love. I was mesmerized by his beauty, enslaved by his voice. He was the first person I ever loved unconditionally. I loved him deeply. I threw a fit over him when I was just five years old. I was spending the night at friends house and Live a Little, Love a Little was on at 1:30am and her mother wasn't going to let me watch it. I cried and cried until I threw up and she finally called my mom to come get me. My mom popped popcorn and laid out blankets and pillows in the living room and we watched Live a Little, Love a Little, yes, at 1:30am.When he died, I mourned for a solid three years...cried nearly every day. I still do. I have a hard time not crying when I watch a movie or listen to his music. He came into one of my dreams a few years ago and simply leaned over the bed kissed me and said "thank you".
Handmade note card I made but couldn't part with

Holding a Titian haired Talking Stacy Barbie doll while my friend
Tricia rides my rocking horse. 

My first Barbie, a 1968 Brunette Hair Fair

Around the same time, actually Christmas 1968 I got my first Barbie Doll.  She was a brunette Hair Fair. I still have her and nearly all my original Barbie dolls. The clothes I have had to replace over the years because I made the mistake of thinking I could wash them all in the washing machine and they basically came out as shredded material and thread! Barbie was a huge influence on me. To me, she was an independent thinker who had grand adventures! I did have a few Ken dolls, but he was only there to drive my Barbies around in the car or camper or pilot the airplane so Barbie could go on trips around the world. Yes, Barbie had fashions out the whazoo, but it wasn't so much about that for me. It was about my imagination and creating stories, worlds and adventures for Barbie...and perhaps, one day for me.
Self portrait inspired by Exploration #6

Another collection based on my childhood is that of the Bradley Dolls. Someone gave one to my mom one year in the late 1960's as a gift. I wasn't allowed to play with it or touch it. She was beautiful with big soulful eyes and a gorgeous Victorian gown. I thought to myself "when I grow up I'm going to have one of those". 
Not only did I get one, but several and now I have a growing collection of these Mod girls from the '60's.

 I collect all the board games we played back in the late 60's, 70's and 1980's.  I still have my original LIFE, Operation, Clue and PayDay board games. Both Tripoly and Pitt bring back memories of our holidays at my grandmother's house. After dinner, the adults would get a game of Tripoly or Pitt going. The games got loud and rowdy and although us kids were interested in the toys we got for Christmas, I always wanted to be watching whichever game was going on. My siblings and I continue the tradition with an annual game of Pitt.  It still gets loud and rowdy. Alcohol may be involved. :)
The "stand-up" is when it gets seriously competitive! :)

When I was 12, I was obsessed with Farrah Fawcett. I continued to be a fan of hers right up until she lost her battle with cancer last year.  I used to cut pictures of her out of magazines, sketch her (I could never get her nose just right) and yes, even feather my hair like hers.  I only have one item left from the days of Charlie's Angels:
There are so many more items that recall childhood memories such as my Mrs. Beasley and Dancerina Dolls.  And there are some which I'm still searching for such as this original metal Easy Bake Oven:

Do you, dear reader, collect anything from your childhood? Or what objects from your childhood bring back precious memories for you? 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sketchbook Art

I've finished pages 4 & 5 of my moleskine for the Sketchbook Project 2011 and keeping with my theme of "Below the Surface", I did a two-page spread of a submarine. For this one, I used paint, markers and pens.  Simple, but with a powerful and inspirational quote. It's never really dark...there is always light somewhere, even if it's deep within our own's there. :)

I also did the second page of my Gypsy Journal. For this journal, I am taking text from a page of a magazine, using it to create a mini-story and then creating a page to match.

Still life snapshots
create a real-life sense of being
ponder little moments
connect to the world

This week I will work on my next Exploration task and a digital art piece involving four of my girlfriends as "just arrested" party girls! You won't want to miss that one!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Worldwide Photowalk Day 2010

For today's Creative Saturday, Lita and I got up early (4:30am!) to head to Hollywood Beach to participate in Worldwide Photowalk Day 2010. After a few sunrise shots and a group photo, everyone headed off to do their own thing and Lita and I strolled down the boardwalk to find interesting and odd things to shoot. Here are a few of my favorites from the morning:

Sunrise on Hollywood Beach

Mod Shadow Girls

Beach Pairs

Yellow and Blue

The walk was suppose to be from 7am until 11am when the group would then meet at a restaurant for lunch. However, after two hours of walking around in the sun and humidity, I began to get heat stroke so we decided to go to cool off in Barnes and Noble until it was time to meet for lunch. As is typical whenever Lita and I end up at Barnes and Noble, we lost track of time and missed the lunch get-together so we went to Friday's for lunch instead.

Lita at Friday's, snapping pics of pics on the wall. :)

After refueling, we headed over to Home Depot to get paint chips to use in a future Exploration task as well as Michaels where Lita purchased some watercolors and I got some decorative paper. All in all, it was another inspiring and creative day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sketchbook Project 2011: Nine Circles of Hell

My theme for the Sketchbook Project 2011 is "Below the Surface".
I originally thought of doing the entire sketchbook of sea creatures but then thought it more fun to come up with different ways of interpreting "Below the Surface".  Of course, this makes the project more challenging but it will be a surprise for the viewer, as each page will be something they aren't expecting.

For pages 2 & 3 I decided to do an image of HELL using some imagery from Dante's Inferno from his Divine Comedy. While perusing through the text, I started to get a lot of ideas and inspiration for future digital art pieces. The guy could paint pictures with his prose. And, I'm so glad I don't believe in his vision of Hell because it's a scary place to be.

For my work, I included the dark woods and the gates of hell along with Charon, the Ferryman on the Acheron river.  For the Nine Circles of Hell, I placed in each circle from smallest to largest and from least offensive to most grievous , printed text of the crime associated with that circle. I think I may eventually do a mixed media of this on a large canvas so I can include additional imagery such as the wind blowing the lustful souls around inside the second circle. But, for the Sketchbook Project, I included the Thorny Tree found in the 7th circle of violence and the river of boiling blood below(the scan didn't pick up the contrast as much as it is in the actual work, but you get the gist).

The circles are connected by bridges of words relating to the work such as Carnal, Wickedness and Vuolsi così colà ove si puote, which translates to "So it is wanted there where the power lies", referring to the fact that Dante is on his journey on divine grounds. 

I added my favorite quote off to the side about Hell, courtesy of Mark Twain:
"Go to heaven for the climate, Hell for the company".
With such a dark piece, I needed to add in a bit of humor! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Exploration #5: The First Thing You See

Start a collection based on the first found object you see on your walk, whatever that is.  You decide what the connection between the objects is (can be based on shape, color, size, etc.)

Since I'm back in the suburbs, there isn't much to be found that isn't nature related. Thus, the first thing I saw when I walked out my door was a downy duck feather. Perfect! With all the nature in my yard, this should have been easy, a variety of feathers to be found. Wrong! I found very few feathers over the week. A few from my favorite bird, the Blue Jay, were the most exciting find. I waited all week for Picasso the Duck to drop a loose feather that was on his back but as of today, he is still holding onto it! I did manage to find two large duck feathers and several of the super soft downy feathers including one that was all white, my favorite of the collection.
I will continue to collect feathers and put them in my Spirit Basket or use them in my art. Every time I pick up a feather, it reminds me of a time when Charlie and I were first dating and he was showing me around his backyard. When I picked up a feather he freaked out about how many germs it probably contained.  It makes me laugh when I remember that moment. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Gypsy Journal

My beautiful cousin and friend Missy made us matching Gypsy Journals filled with watercolor paper.  The journals are so gorgeous with a ribbon tie adorned with a metal key and heart. She even made a matching bookmark! I had originally sketched my first page while on our Bigfoot Adventure but had decided later that this very special journal needed a very special theme. I chose to fill this Gypsy Journal with "mini stories", each sketch/watercolor would include random words cut from one page of a book or magazine. The words from that one page would then be used to form a random story. The story would dictate the image instead of the image coming first. With the idea in place I cut the first page today, arranged the words into a mini story, sketched and watercolored the image:

I ran away
dressed in my petulant tears
holding my breath
Spellbound by
sparkling shades of turquoise
wearing a smile
like a globe of jelly.

This was a great challenge in that it could be done in a few hours. Fitting art into day is always a plus!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Creative Saturday: Art Books & a Sketchbook

Yesterday was Creative Saturday with Lita. We were scheduled for a Traditional Art day. Although we are better digital artists, traditional art still calls to us. We aren't professionals, we've not had many lessons, but we have passion and determination. Normally you would find us delving into something with abandon. But, since I had been on holiday for nearly three weeks we had more on our minds than art. We had some catching up to do!
So, we met in the morning at our favorite store Barnes & Noble for coffee and a chat before perusing the magazine rack where I purchased the latest Creative Photoshop and Lita bought Writer's Magazine.(I'm now trying to convince her to join me to write an entire novel in November!) Then, we hit the art books. Lita was a good girl and only purchased two items. We like our limit to be $60 or less when we go, which is usually just once a month during our Traditional Art days. I went a bit over that but got a bevy of fun stuff including the "How to Be An Explorer of the World" book that Lita and I have been doing tasks from. She was having to email them to me each week because I couldn't find it at B&N before now:
When we finally got back to my house we only had an hour before Lita would need to leave so we decided to have a creative powwow and come up with a list of ideas for my Sketchbook Project theme "Below the Surface". I had started the first sketch the night before with every intention of working on it for Traditional Art day but since time slipped away from us, the creative idea session seemed more feasible. I had already begun a list and had twelve ideas but by the time Lita left, we added 25 more to the list! Thanks Lita for helping with the brainstorming session!
Now, it will be up to me to execute them all!

The Moleskine provided it's own challenges, with thin pages not really suitable for watercolor. We can add our own paper to make it more durable but the dimensions must stay the same. My first sketch was a test to see just how my media would hold up. I chose pen, colored pencils, watercolor pencils and traditional watercolors. The paper did wrinkle from the water just a bit but not as bad as I thought it was going to. I'm probably going to stick with colored pencils and pens for this years project and maybe next year, after seeing how others incorporate other paper, I may try watercolor for the year 2012 (if the world doesn't end like the Mayan's say it will!).

My first sketch for the project comes from a dream I had which is also written on the page:
"The night before I received my sketchbook
I dreamed I was standing in a murky Thai river
and there were catfish all around my feet."
As I start the next sketch I wonder how my cohorts in this project are coming along...Missy? Phoebe?
Next week Lita and I will be participating in Worldwide Photowalk Day! Til then, keep art close to your heart! :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Exploration #4: Daily Walk

Here’s Exploration #4: Daily Walk- Collect objects only on your way to work or school every day. (Try to collect thirty).
Since I don't have a "normal" job or go to school, and I was on holiday in Kansas, I decided to collect items anytime I was out walking, shooting photographs of the Heartland.  
This task was a lot harder than it sounded. Oklahoma and Kansas are very clean...objects on the ground were few and far between. However, I did manage in the end to collect thirty items, in addition to, although not shown, a dead snake and a serious case of fire ant bites that swelled my foot up so that I became a "bigfoot" myself!
Below is a list of what I found with a corresponding photograph:

1) rusty nail
2) rusty can top
3) rusty tail pipe
4) rusty barbed wire
5) rusty hinge
6) thistle (which dried a beautiful purple)
7) dried wildflower
8) tiny feather
9) black rubber knob
10) roman candle 
11) real butterfly
12) faux butterfly
13) painted rock
14) three rocks from The Medicine Wheel in Lawrence, Kansas
15) paper parachute
16) toy bus
17) penny
18) pinecone
19) hair tie
20) rock from Gina's driveway
21) yellow rubber piece
22) sliver of seashell
23) horse chestnut
24) green leaf
25) yellow leaf
26) red leaf
27) rubber knob
28) mulberry stem
29) small round seed pod
30) large yellow seed pod

All these items were collected while I was with friends and/or family members. It made the "collecting" that much more fun.  It took longer than I had hoped but maybe it was a lesson to "slow down" and not try to rush my way through life. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Hula Hooping

Being silly in Target with my Gina bear!

Life should always include a little hula. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Hunt for Bigfoot

Missy and Laura's Bigfoot Adventures

Missy and I finally begin our long-dreamed hunt for Bigfoot!
We headed out into the foothills of Oklahoma with video in hand
to track down this mythical (or is he?), and honestly, quite smelly beast.

Our first stop was the last time Missy spotted Bigfoot when she was driving through Oklahoma.
He was standing in a field off a little country road. She tells it best:
I start to get just a wee bit freaked out when I smelled him, and let me tell you that's one strong scent he leaves behind. Probably the best piece of equipment for tracking this thing is our noses!

We spotted him down this Oklahoma red dirt road:

We thought we saw him dash off the road when we pulled in and sure enough, we found some tracks!

We continued down further into Oklahoma and out of the blue sky dropped a Flying Saucer!
It landed just in front of us in a field of yellow. By the time we got up there and pulled the car over, it had zoomed up to the sky with lightening speed and disappeared into the atmosphere!

Already it was beginning to shape up to be an exciting morning and after a quick stop for lunch we continued searching for him. We spotted him bathing, without soap, in this pond:
As soon as we got out of the car, he was running off through the trees.
We chased him down this old dirt road into a heavely forested area where, we finally lost him. :(

We will be updating our equipment and planning out our next search area soon, so stay tuned
for more of Missy and Laura's Bigfoot Adventure!