Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Almost Birthday Time!

Yes, it is true. In a few days I will turn 28 years-old...that is hard to believe! But more of a reality when you receive mail reminding you of the upcoming birthday! After work tonight, I found a super cool Birthday card from my friend, Jason, waiting for me in my mailbox. On the cover are those goofy cartoons named Hoops & Yoyo. It reads, "Do you know what time it is??" It opens up to read "Just Checking. Happy Birthday!" The best part when you open it is the wild and crazy birthday cheer. It instantly made me laugh. And the birthday wishes from Hoops & Yoyo go on for quite awhile.

I couldn't resist. I was on my way to my parents' house, so I put the card in my bag to see what sort of reaction my dog would give upon opening the card and showing it to her. AND I even brought along my camera so I could video it.

Kali gave me a couple of her famous Cairn Terrier head tilts. At first she's curious, but then it is almost like she tries to ignore the funny noises coming from the paper. However, she really can't resist; she has to look at it, as if to try and figure out why the card is talking. At one point she looks up at me as if to say, "Is Birthday time over with yet?"

Jason -- Thanks for the birthday wishes and for the entertainment! Although, I don't think Kali was as impressed with the special effects as I was! :)

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
- Samuel Butler

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession

On Thursday, I made my first trip to The Plains Art Museum with Tickpuppy to take a guided tour of Auguste Rodin's famous bronze sculptures in a visiting exhibit called Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession -- and it was amazing! If you live in the Fargo/Moorhead area, there is only one more Rodin Gallery Talk and Tour left, and it is on May 29th at 6:30 PM. However, the exhibit will be at our local museum until July 13th. So even if you don't make it for the guided tour, you can go and check it out on your own. So get out there and go!

It was amazing to see some of his most famous sculptures both in life size sculptures and also in smaller models called maquettes. And seeing a mini version of my old friend The Thinker took me back to seeing it for real when I was in Paris years ago!

The guided tour lasted for about an hour and was full of very interesting tidbits regarding one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. Like other artists of his time, Rodin constantly struggled to showcase his talent and abilities amid many harsh critics. I was very taken with the story of Rodin's Monument to Balzac. Rodin was commissioned to create this monument of the French writer Honore de Balzac forty years after the famous writer had died. This meant that Rodin had to study photographs for years in order to compose a physical portrayal of Balzac. When he finally finished it and presented Balzac to the public, he received very harsh reviews for his work. This affected him so much that he never cast the final sculpture during his lifetime.

Other personal favorites of this exhibit for me were The Kiss, The Gates of Hell (which Rodin was unable to finish during his lifetime and only pictured and modeled in mini form in the exhibit), The Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose, and Rodin's sculptures of hands (The Cathedral and Large Left Hand of a Pianist.)

The picture of Rodin that was displayed outside the exhibits was full of character. Tickpuppy took out his cellphone camera so we could take pictures of ourselves beside this great sculptor. He took a very nice picture of me with all of the words in the background. When it was my turn to take his picture, I ended up accidentally cutting off the words on the wall but thought it was better to capture his pose. *grin* We had a great time!

If you have a chance, go and support the museum and see this exhibit! It isn't very often that we have such an opportunity to see such a wonderful collection in our state. It is definitely a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.

To learn more about Rodin, visit these sites:
The Plains Art Museum

A quote to leave you with:

"I see the truth, not only what is on the surface."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Irish Blessing Sketch with Color

It has been awhile since my last post, hasn't it? Well, I have been busy being creative. I promise! Besides spending some of my tax refund money on art supplies for Altered Art, I brought out my watercolors and finally added some color to my latest Moleskine sketch.

What do I absolutely love about watercoloring? It is such a challenge, but at the same time it is so relaxing. I'd say the end result is as rewarding as finishing a challenging Crossword Puzzle or even a Jumble where you spent 15 minutes of your lunch break trying to solve the super-lame clue without looking at the upside-down answers. (Wink...wink Tickpuppy.)

This little flower pot, the two birds, and the shamrocks were quite the challenge. I even dug out my Masking Fluid and covered all the little flowers in the pot before touching my brush to my paints. I always feel like I should get out a clothes pin or wear a SARS mask when I crack open that little bottle of masking fluid. Stinky! But what would we do with out it?

After masking while holding my breath (OK maybe not), I attacked the greens. After the greens were done and I let it dry for awhile, and of course I had fun pulling off the masking with my eraser. However, after I removed the masking fluid, I always get a bit steamed because the brand I use has a slight yellowish tint to it. I like this color when working on white paper because it is easy to see where I've masked. But after pulling off the glue, it leaves a slight yellowish hue to where it was applied on my paper/canvas. I suppose it doesn't really matter because I covered everything up with paint. Even though, maybe I didn't want it to turn that nasty color underneath.

Next were the flowers. I also did the leaves in the flower pot and spattered a bit. (I "heart" spattering! My first painting when I was about 4 years-old was a spattering project. My Grandma clad me in an old shirt, covered the table and floor around me, and gave me a paint brush and some some watercolors. I remember being in awe at the different colors I could create. I guess that is when you could say I got hooked with watercolors. Later she had my spatters framed. That silly painting always made me feel proud. I think my mom has it now, I'll have to check.)

After the plant and flowers were finished, next came the pot and finally the little birds. In my mind I thought the birds were going to give me problems -- but they weren't too bad.

For whatever I work on next, I need to slow down a bit more and take the time to blend more. I naturally want to make my colors bright, but it also takes talent to really use the water in the colors in order to blend and create contrasts and shading. This worked out in a few areas here. It is a goal of mine to be able to create more details with the paints rather than to rely on my pen or pencil. Wouldn't that be wonderous?

Happy watercoloring!

"A little amateur painting in water-color shows the innocent and quiet mind."
~Robert Louis Stevenson

**Any comments or tips for improvement always welcomed!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

10 Masterpieces in One Night?!

That's right, I created 10 pieces of art with one of my favorite mixed mediums tonight...nail polish. This is the first time I've painted my toes for spring. (It's the little things in life that make it exciting, right?) Now I just need to work on getting my 10 little white piggies some sunshine. Sorry for the glare in the pictures. I promise to work on my tan as soon as the sun starts to really shine in ND.

I had to put on my favorite pair of very worn Earth sandals. They're the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. Earth shoes help alleviate back pain and posture problems because the heels go down in the back instead of up. Because of their unique build, they also help you burn more calories and tone your legs. I definitely recommend Earth shoes. They may be a bit spendy but are worth every penny in my opinion, especially if you have back problems.

It's sort of hard to see, but I also added little yellow flower decal stickers on my big toes. Fun! For those of you out there who love nail polish, I highly recommend OPI Nail Lacquer. It stays on longer than any brands I've tried. Especially if you use the base coat and top coat. The color I used to paint my toes tonight is called Japanese Rose Garden.

OPI Nail Polish "Japanese Rose Garden" NLF04

What have I been up to lately?

Well, I've been buying tons of stuff to start working on Altered Art -- cheap acrylic paints, brushes, Mod Podge, & etc. My favorite new color is called Parisian Pink. And it isn't normal for me to like pink. In fact, I'm not quite sure why the background of my blog is pink. I think the color is actually growing on me. I might just turn into a person who likes pink. It has been years since I've admitted this. I went through a pink-is-my-all-time-favorite color phase when I was about 8 or 9. But I got over it and started my purple-is-my-all-time-favorite color phase after I started reading the Sweet Valley Twins book and one of the twins (Jessica) belonged to the Unicorn Club -- where purple was the color only club members could wear. (Oh how I loved those books!)

Lately I've been stuck in the land of YouTube. It is so easy to get sucked into watching artists create all types or work, see tours of their studios, and hear them talk about their techniques and current projects. But I seriously need to stop doing this and put my own creative art corner to use. I just need to create! I hope to play more this weekend and have something to share.

Just for fun, I'll leave you with a link to a web page about The Sweet Valley High Series. (Of course, I also grew into these books when it was time to leave the 12 year old twins behind.) Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield were the coolest!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Very Special Gift From My Friend at Creative Solace

I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me in the mail when I got home from work on Friday! It was a package from my new Online friend, Heather. She is the owner of an amazing Mixed Media and Collage Art Blog named Creative Solace. Check it out! She's a very gifted gal full of creativity!

And now for the pictures of my beautiful piece of art that was made from a cigar box top...

Isn't it great? I adore it! I won it by entering her "Art Giveaway to Celebrate 20,000 hits" on her blog. That's a lotta hits Heather! Congrats! And Thank You for sending me this charming little boy on his elephant. After a rough week of being sick, this was such a lift for me to find this in the mail!

His new home will be on the top of my writing desk. This is the first piece of Collage Art that I've received. Collage Art or Altered Art is something that I'm very interested in and want to start doing. So having him sit at the top of my desk where I can see him will be very motivating! I've already started gathering pictures, papers, and found objects for making my own Collage Art. So I'm on my way!

"A true Friend is the best Possession."
~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Sick Day Sketch

After being sick all weekend long, I still didn't feel up to par this morning. So, I stayed home and slept until noon. I'm not someone who likes to stay home sick, and I rarely do. In fact, I've been lucky enough to stay healthy all winter long. Figures that I'd catch a bug after the snow disappears. But I'm on the mend. This cold won't dare to stick around much longer!

I've been sitting in my big armchair watching daytime TV with my trusty box of Puffs Plus by my side, and used tissues are scattered everywhere. I finally got up from my chair to grab a small wastebasket, but I also grabbed my sketchbook and my new 64 mini set of Crayola Colored Pencils (that I found for $2.60). I just wanted to have a bit of fun and made myself feel like a kid who was staying home sick from school. The colored pencils were flying. And here's my first scanned image from my new EPSON RX595 All-in-One :)

Random Thoughts:

  • I must really not be feeling well. I've got the TV on Oprah interviewing Tom Cruise...Bleh. Turning TV now.
  • I just printed the Everyday Matters list of weekly sketching challenges so I can start sketching. I've really been enjoying the posts from the people taking part in the Everyday in May sketching challenges on my Yahoo Group. It is truly a group of inspiring people!
  • Whew! I've finally added links to others blogs which I try to visit daily. Some of these links are Online friends, real life friends, and people from my Yahoo Groups. All are those who I admire as not just writers/artists but also as very uplifting people.
  • I can't stop thinking about France lately. This has made me realize that 1) I need to start a "I'm going back to France" vacation fund. 2) Now that I have my new scanner, I can scan all of my photos and also begin sketching them. 3) That I really want to create altered art with a French theme. (I've got a few ideas beginning to bubble.)
  • And now I've got to venture outdoors to the bank for quarters. My massive pile of laundry has my name written all over it.

Stay healthy! Here's a quote to leave you with...

"If you treat a sick child like an adult and a sick adult like a child, everything usually works out pretty well."
~Ruth Carlisle

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Remembering Mont Saint Michel - France

I'm working on putting together a list of my favorite links to blogs and other websites. In the meantime, I've been dreaming a bit about France today and came across this funny video on YouTube. It is just a group of friends dancing around to a song, but they happen to be dancing in front of a magnificent French background - Mont Saint Michel. This was one of my favorite visits when I was in France. And when you watch the video it can't help but make you laugh a little -- the three friends look like they're having a great time enjoying each other and enjoying France! They better dance fast though, it looks as if the tide is beginning to roll in.

Follow this link to Wikipedia.org to learn more about Mont Saint Michel in France. Someday I hope to go back again to visit this beautiful place and definitely recommend a visit for anyone visiting France. At any rate, don't take life so seriously all the time. Remember to let loose, unwind, and dance around a little.

“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.”
~Mark Twain

Update: After searching around YouTube further, it turns out that David aka Davey, the guy in green, has made dance videos from places all over the world. There are also a few more set in France. Just go to YouTube and search for "Davey Dance Blog." Happy dancing!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Springtime Sketching - An Irish Blessing

I thought I'd take a moment to share my latest Moleskine Journal Sketch. Watercoloring my sketch is next. I asked my Everydaymatters Yahoo Group about using Masking Fluid in my Watercolor Moleskine and several people assured me that it would be ok. So my plan is to mask the flowers and create a cool splash of greens in the background of the plant and add a bit of purple here and there. Here's what the sketch looks like before color... color coming soon!

Hopefully this will be one of my last photos of my artwork because I just purchased an Epson RX595 Photo All-in-One, complete with scanning capabilties. The only problem is my computer is a little bit sick right now. It has a virus (or two or three) and is running really slowly. I'm hoping to take it in somewhere this week and have it fixed so I can load the software for my new All-in-One! Oh the fun I plan on having with my new Epson! Just wait and see.... :)

This has been a crazy busy week and everything finally caught up with me because now I'm sick. That's right. I waited all winter long to catch a cold first thing Spring arrives! Now I'm going to curl up on my couch and continue to drink fluids so I can beat this cold and finally enjoy Springtime!! It is finally here!!