Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering Gettysburg

Having recently been to Gettysburg for the first time, I thought a fitting post on this Memorial Day would be to share a few pictures I took while there. I think about the Civil War more often now that I discovered a great great grandfather who spent three years marching and fighting for the Union. I honor him and all those that served and still serve today. A big heartfelt thanks for giving me the freedom to wake up every morning and have a choice on how I want to spend each and every day.

 Souls of Gettysburg

 Women & Children

 General Meade Monument

The Angle

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Artsy Fartsy Things

Hello friends!
I hope everyone is getting to enjoy a weekend that has adventure, creativity and joy!
I got all artsy fartsy this week! I did manage to process some very special photos from Gettysburg in honor of Memorial Day and will post them tomorrow.
For today's post, I hope you will enjoy this week in art!

Two pages finished in the Doll Dreams Art Journal:


An Angel for Pi

A spread added to the Watercolor Journal:

I even managed to work in my Mixed Media art journal! I love this journal because where the other journals are more planned out, this one is truly organic. I throw on some paint and just start doodling and collaging. The end result is always a surprise! In this piece I used a thank you note from Phoebe, art images from a brochure, paper, paint and ink.

European Enchantments

In one of my many Moleskines I did up several pages of Color Palettes. These are made up of just three or four colors and can be easily referred to when planning an art project. I find interesting colors in magazine spreads, classical works of art and even bolts of fabric. Next time you see something that visually catches your eye, jot the colors down in your Moleskine or notebook. Take acrylic paint or colored pencils and make a swatch of the color. See how many different color combos you can come up with! Fun!

Moleskine Color Palette

And, finally...look what came yesterday in the mail! Yep, that's right...I'm doing it again! The Sketchbook Project 2012 is on and I've chosen the theme "Travel with Me". The book is smaller in size and with less pages (only 16, 32 front and back). The pages are thicker and should take watercolor and other paint better. I've decided this year though to stick to pen & colored pencil. I will sketch some of my favorite moments from my travels. It will be good practice for the future Travel Watercolor Journal I'll be attempting soon!

The Sketchbook Project 2012

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Paths of Life

We all take different paths. At different times in our lives, these paths may be lined with thorns, obscured by fog or blocked by a raging river. We may be frustrated by our obstacles and yet they are not there by happenstance. Could it be we put them there with our choices? Or could it be that the universe is sending us a sign, to tread onward through the hardships for a life lesson, or perhaps, to turn left or right and choose a different way? It takes us all a while, perhaps years even, to get onto the right path and to find our purpose. And when we do, we find the path to be beautiful. Dappled with sunshine, scented with flowers, easy-going and smooth as silk.
That happy path makes all the others we had to tread worth it in the end. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Week in Art & Photography

My week in art & photography:

Winter Song
A page from my Doll Dreams art journal.

Pages from the nature-inspired Watercolor Journal:

Pinecone Collection

Lime & Wildflowers


On the Sweet Almond

Images processed:

 Country Lane Reflections

Spring's Last Hurrah

Sunny Days Ahead

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fantasy Inspired

Okay. I've accepted my cats fate and am handling it the best I can. Thanks for all your kind words!
Time to get back to being inspired and inspiring others!
Oh. my. gosh.
I am so in love with George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice & Fire
Last month HBO premiered Game of Thrones, a series based on the books. I was only able to watch one episode before I left on my travels to the East Coast. Of course, I recorded all the episodes but I couldn't wait until I returned to find out what happened next. So I bought the books. Best fantasy writing since Tolkien. And that's saying a lot because he's my favorite writer, like ever! I'm diggin' every second of this story, both in written form and in HBO's amazingly created series. And, it's inspired my art. Here are a few pages I did in my Doll Dreams journal while I was in Maryland. Inspired by Martin and his first book, Game of Thrones.

Winter is Coming
Colored pencil, ink, acrylic

This is a big journal, too big for the scanner which means even clicking on the image, you probably can't read the words. On the left page, I wrote a quote by George R.R. Martin. One that I completely and utterly agree with:

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli.
Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab.
Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves; rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. 
Reality is beans and tofu and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark.
Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot.
Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus. Reality on Southwest Airlines.
Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again. To taste the strong spices and hear the songs the Sirens sang. 
There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever, somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
They can keep their heaven. When I die, I'd sooner go to Middle Earth.
~George R.R. Martin

Then I added the line "Why so sad, daughter of the forests old?"

On the right page, I included a line from the series:

Winter is Coming...

Fear is for the winter when the snows fall a hundred feet deep.
Fear is for the long night when the sun hides for years and children are born and live and die all in darkness. That is the time for fear, when the White Walkers move through the woods.
~Old Nan

Stark Sisters
pencil, colored pencil, acrylic

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For the Love of Pi

The week did not start off good. My oldest cat, Pi Ling was diagnosed with Intestinal Cancer. It's possibly in one of her kidneys as well. She has lost two pounds since March and is now down to just 4lbs. She is skin and bones, so fragile. I cried most of Monday while she was at the vet but it was not a completely lost day. I scanned in all her old pictures from film. She is just over 15 years old (that's 79 in human years!) and digital wasn't around back when she was a kitten. The process helped me decide what I was going to do and that was, bring her home. As long as she's eating, I want her to finish her days here, with us, naturally. I'm not going to put her through surgery or chemo. I've opted to treat her with some holistic medicine, as there is always hope. A fool's hope, but hope nonetheless.
I have also done some sketching in my watercolor journal and will post the pics tomorrow. Art is very healing and when you are doing it in the garden, even more so. Til then, I hope you enjoy some of these scanned images of my Pi girl.

Pi & her Poppa, 1996

Thirsty Kitty! 1996

This is the life, 1996

Caught! 1999

And here is a more recent picture of her:

On Any Given Sunday, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nature inspired Art

I rocked yesterday. Yes I did. I was AC/DC compared to the day before when I was Yanni. I managed to knock out the laundry, cleaning and gardening. Which led to some picture taking of cute and pretty things sharing my outdoor space. Pictures I managed to process the same day! Shocker, I know. :)
I even started my gardening journal!
Temp: 79°
Humidity: 73%
Wind: 18mph
Wildlife spotted: Three Greenhouse Frogs, Zebra Longwing, Rambur's Forktail Damselfly, Shiny Orbweaver, Common Grackle, Bluejay, Morning Dove, unidentified caterpillar and Wasp.

I had been looking for the perfect Garden journal and found this one while visiting Annapolis.

Documenting the activities in the garden will help with future plantings but also will yield ideas for art, sketching and watercolor. It might even inspire a story or character. You just never know when and where inspiration will strike. And, I could always use another journal. :)

I named him "Bruiser" and tried to get him to tell me about his black eye but mum's the word on that!

This little Greenhouse Frog tries to blend in.

Garden Diamond. If only I could pluck it and wear it to some fab dinner party in Milan.

Abstract Hedge. Shot courtesy of my elbow while the camera was slung around my back. Cool beans.

Kaleidoscope Web

Poised for the Top

The Language of Rainbows

Coreopsis Backside

Mushroom Study

The mushrooms were found growing under the Ornamental Lavender. I've not been able to positively identify them but I think they may be the poisonous Deadly Dapperling. How's that for a name? Seeing these magical mushrooms encouraged me to finally start the long desired watercolor journal. I was inspired by Vivian Swift's book When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put.

When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put

I discovered the book at the famous Kramersbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Washington, D.C. The book jumped right out at me. I had been traveling for nearly two months and something (besides my grandmother) told me to "stay put for a while". I was captivated by the book. I'm ten years younger than Vivian but I could relate to her book in so many ways. I started traveling as soon as I was out of high school and haven't stopped. The wanderlust always seems to kick up and just a few months after one journey ends, I'm itching for another. In 2007 I traveled for two months straight and in 2009 I took six different trips. Her book has inspired me to "stay put" for a while and start a watercolor journal of my everyday...finding the same sense of magic and wonder in my own place as I would if I were riding a camel through the mountains of Israel or staying at a monastery in the South of France. Vivian's book mixes her everyday with tidbits from all her travels. A memoir of sorts. I liked that. As did both Missy & Phoebe who ordered the books as soon as they saw mine!

Of course I had lots of reasons NOT to start the journal now...I should wait until my travels this year are done, I should wait until the New Year, I should wait until I can watercolor better. I decided if I wait, I'll never do it. Yes, I have lots of projects in the bin marked "unfinished" but what the heck, it's fun to start something new! So here is my first entry in my new watercolor journal...inspired by my garden mushrooms. 

Garden Mushrooms, Ink & Watercolor

I did also manage to do some art while visiting Missy in Maryland and will share that tomorrow. For now, may you all dream in watercolor. :)