Friday, June 24, 2011

Flowers, Butterflies and Hummingbirds

A storm is brewing as I type this post. The constant singing of a female mockingbird has been temporarily replaced with the roll of thunder. Tiny specks of rain land on the window, each drop a bit larger than the one before it. The wind starts to wail. An intense tropical downpour. The first of the season and much needed. Seems I got home just in time from a morning out shooting flowers, butterflies and hummingbirds at Butterfly World. Here are a few of my favorites from today. Enjoy!

Summer Days

 Cains Birdwing

Pink Coral 

 Water drops are the latest fashion!

 Russelia Sarmentosa

Winged Rose

Sparkling Violet Ear Hummingbird on Takeoff

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fashion Photography with a Twist

Oh how I loved to play with paper dolls when I was a little girl! My favorites were Mattel's Rock Flower Paper Dolls (I even had the actual Rock Flower vinyl dolls too) and the Nanny & Professor Paper Dolls (remember that show?). I still have some of those, although they are in much-loved condition.

Playing with my Paper Dolls, 1970

Recently I have rediscovered that love, thanks to a new collage technique book called Collage Couture by Julie Nutting. I had pre-ordered it from Amazon and once it arrived, I read it cover to cover, oohing and aahing over the beautiful images created from paper and paint. Although I have yet to attempt any of the tutorials or techniques shown in the book, it inspired me to get out my pens, paper, scissors and glue and get to work creating my own paper dolls. What fun I had! And what a mess I made!

Fun in the Art Room

After I had made a few paper dolls, I decided to drag them into Photoshop and combine them with some of my travel photography. Just like when I was a little girl, my imagination had them going off on fabulous adventures wearing the most delightful fashions. A girl must always look her best when traveling! 

Streets of Siena

Out and About in D.C.

Kew Gardens

I've made each of these available in my Etsy shop as an 8x10 print. They will also be available on Zazzle as individual note cards and postcards. Eventually, I hope to make a set of paper dolls in matching fashions and make them available as note card sets with the paper dolls on plain white backgrounds. And, of course I hope to try some of the techniques shown in the book. So much to do, so little time! :)

I also did the first two pages of my Sketchbook Project. The theme is "Travel With Me". I started with a city that I have spent a few holidays in: Paris, France. My friend Phoebe is there I jealous? Maybe a bit!
She's posting pictures and blogging from Paris right now! Lucky girl!

Travel with Me: Paris

Should I point out that the architecture for Notre Dame is all screwy? Ah well, that's the nature of the beast. Sometimes you have good sketches and sometimes you don't. But it's all about the journey, right?

And finally, I picked up Pi's ashes yesterday. She is finally home where she belongs. I'm still emotional about it. Going from feeling guilty to acceptance and then back again. We have decided to adopt, either next month or in August. One never fully heals from the loss of a pet but we must honor the memory of one by saving the life of another. And that's what we shall do this summer. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Collectible Photographic Note Cards

It's been a rough week. All of your wonderful messages of love and support have helped so much. Or course, I'm still grieving for my precious Pi but I did manage to make four new sets of collectible photographic Note Cards. These come in sets of 12 with white envelopes and gold seals. They are wrapped in cellophane and tied with pretty bows, ready to give as gifts!  The note cards are blank inside and can be purchased on my website or from my Etsy shop.

Notes of a Forgotten Age; Set of 12 5"x5" blank note cards with envelopes and gold seals.

Carmyle Cottage; Set of 12 4"x5" blank note cards with envelopes and gold seals.

Phoenix Rising; Set of 12 4"x5" blank note cards with envelopes and gold seals.

Four Seasons; Set of 12 4"x5" note cards with envelopes and gold seals.

Finally, Charlie was out of town when Pi passed away so I went through it alone. She was a poppa's girl so he was pretty devastated. When he got home we cried together for about two hours, watching videos of her, looking at pictures. He brought me a Hello Kitty cat and some white carnations to represent her spirit. That next day, a single red rose suddenly bloomed in my garden. I like to think it was from Pi, letting us know how much she loved us. ♥

Monday, June 13, 2011

Life of Pi

This blog post is dedicated to my number one girl, Pi. She passed away today at the age of 15. She had the sweetest disposition of any cat I've ever had. And the softest fur, like a bunny. We called her Bunny Cat, Pi Girl, Princess Pi and White Cat. She was an inventor of games and loved to play with her toys. She loved to scratch on denim, eat Boar's Head deli turkey and sleep in boxes and baskets. Cancer slowly whittled her body away but she never lost her determination to keep going. She was a gift from Charlie when we first moved in together and has been there with us our entire relationship. She will be greatly missed. A hole in our hearts that will never be filled. Until we see you again, sweet Pi Ling. xo

To view a slideshow of Pi click here

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Week in Art

Most of my time this past week has been spent caring for Pi, my 15 year old cat with cancer. Of course, it's all I think about which is why it's so important to get time in for art, to help take the mind away from the situation for a couple of hours. I even managed to make a few things for my much neglected Etsy shop! :)

The French Artist
Necklace available in my Etsy shop

Packaged in a gift box featuring a painting of a French artist.
 Inside, a tiny scroll tells a short bio on the featured artist.

Expression of Dance
Mixed media on canvas

The above, original piece is available in my Etsy shop and the version shown at the top is available as a necklace and mouse pad in my Zazzle shop. Note cards can also be made, just email me. I hope to get them into the Etsy shop soon.

Winter Tree
Mixed media on canvas

Winter tree had been sitting unfinished in my art room for about a year. I had all the materials, just never took the time to create it! Finally, it's finished and available in my Etsy shop!

I started my Sketchbook Project this week also, finishing up the front cover. My theme is "Travel With Me" and I'll be filling the book with small sketches of my favorite places in the world. Just need to figure out what country to start with first!

Come Travel With Me
Pen and colored pencil

I've made the cover available as invitations for a "Girls Only Getaway"! The invitations are listed as singles, so you can purchase just the amount you need. You can find them here in my Zazzle shop.

I completed two more pages in my Doll Dreams art journal.

All crows are liars

Queen of Hearts

And, let's not forget about Photography! I processed two images this week. A sad number considering I have hundreds sitting in my travel files. :)

The Ghost that Walks
(oh yes, inspired by Karen Elson's song!)

(This gorgeous pic of Gina and I was taken by Ray and I processed it)

My "to do" list for the upcoming week is to work a bit in the watercolor journal, make some cards for the Etsy shop and process some more photos. I will probably do a couple of pages for the Sketchbook Project and I may even finish The Spirit of Adventure piece that I started last year!

Here's wishing you all a creative week ahead!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Electric Sign Goes Dark

I finally got out of the house yesterday and spent the time with my lovely friend and creative sister, Lita.
We spent a good portion of our time perusing vintage images and postcards at our favorite antique store.
I found a few good ones, along with one image that I am so pleased to add to my collection!
Anna Held, Paris 1898.
Being a vintage image collector, I knew that having a woman in costume, with a name printed at the bottom was most likely to be an actress. I Googled the name "Anna Held" when I got home and lo and behold, discovered such a great story! She was born in Poland, worked as a singer in the Jewish theaters of Paris and ended up in London, working as an actress when who should discover her but Florenz Ziegfeld himself! Yep, that Ziegfeld of Ziegfeld's Follies. He brought Anna over to the USA where he created a wave of interest by feeding the press stories of her. She was known for her risque songs, her flirtatious nature and her willingness to show off her legs. Florenz and Anna became common-law husband and wife but Ziegfeld had affairs, one with Billie Burke (Glenda, the Good Witch of the North) who he ended up marrying after divorcing Anna.

Using my membership, I was able to pull up her passport application which also notes her marriage and divorce to Florenz Ziegfeld. There have been two movies made about their relationship and even the poet Carl Sandburg wrote a poem about her after her death in 1918:

An Electric Sign Goes Dark

Poland, France, Judea ran in her veins,
singing to Paris for bread,
singing to Gotham in a fizz at the pop of a bottle's cork.

"Won't you come and play wiz me" she sang...
and "I just can't make my eyes behave."
"Higgedly-Piggeldy", "Papa's Wife", "Follow Me" were plays.

Did she wash her feet in a tub of milk?
Was a strand of pearls sneaked from her trunk? The newspapers asked.
Cigarettes, tulips, pacing horses, took her name.

Twenty years old...thirty...forty...
Forty-five and the doctors fathom nothing,
the doctors quarrel, the doctors use silver tubes
feeding twenty-four quarts of blood into the veins,
the respects of a prize-fighter, a cab driver.
A little mouth moans: It's easy to die when they
are dying so many grand deaths in France.

A voice, a shape, gone.
A baby bundle from Warsaw...legs, torso, head...
on a hotel bed at The Savoy.

The white chiselings of flesh that flung
themselves in somersaults, straddles for packed houses.
A memory, a stage and footlights out,
an electric sign on Broadway dark.

She belonged to somebody, nobody.
No one man owned her, no ten nor a thousand.
She belonged to many thousand men,
lovers of the white chiseling of arms and shoulders,
the ivory of a laugh, the bells of song.

Railroad brakemen taking trains across Nebraska prairies,
lumbermen jaunting in pine and tamarack of the Northwest,
stock ranchers in the Middle West, mayors in the Southern Cities
Say to their pals and wives now: I see by the papers Anna Held is dead. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scenes from London

With one friend currently in London and another on the way next month, I thought I would share some images taken on the most recent trip to my favorite city in the world. Enjoy!

Lunch in the Crypt
St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Egyptian Mummy, 3500 years old
British Museum

Me with Pigeon Flying By
Regent's Park
(pic taken by Gina)

The Anchor, Southbank

Elm Mews Reflections

Distressed Call

Watching the world go by

Smoking Rabbi


The last four images were taken from inside the Aberdeen Steakhouse in Leicester Square, my new favorite place to secretly people watch and snap photos. They have very large and very clean windows! :)