Friday, April 29, 2011

Illustration Friday: Bicycle

Sometimes you need your friends to give you that extra push! I am SOOO excited to paint this one!
Looks like I uploaded it to the wrong topic... I guess I should have uploaded this last night when I finished it!
Check out the other great entries!
Happy Friday Friends! Thank you for stopping by! muuuuuuuuuahhhhh!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Dare You!

I am so excited! I have an update since yesterday... The lady at the city liked my drawings and I colorized her favorite dude! He's going to be published in the City of Champlin Newsletter for their quarterly corner called "Talking Trash!" Seriously?!? I'm so freaking excited! 

One small step for Nat... one GIANT leap for small artist dreamer's everywhere!
I'm jumping up and down now! I feel like T-I-G-G-E-R!
I read this post by Goddess Leonie today and was so touched.
It really hit struck a cord with me today because I took that step with this little illustration. 
I dared to believe that my drawing, my talents were worthy!
Yours are too! Really!
And I'm blown away by all the blogs out there, I find new ones, and new ones find me. Seriously there are SO, SO, many talented spirits out there dancing and writing their dreams out right now!
Sharing, and growing and chasing dreams!
Today is the day to write it out.. declare it to yourself.
You are worthy of those dreams! You can dare to have them. Even if they seem scary and unreachable and "out there!"
I'm not 'talking trash' here... people! 
If you believe in yourself, it is yours.
And sometimes this is the hardest part.
Sometimes you aren't brave and that's why you just have to go. 
Don't stop. Don't think. Keep moving and feeling!
I've learned this with running. I never thought I could run, sometimes I don't believe in myself, and that's when I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Maybe you don't have confidence yet. 
That's okay!
I feel like Bambi learning to walk... but that's okay! 
I was such a scaredey-cat as a little kid (ok, I still am) I was afraid of the waterslide... when I finally got over being scared and just did it... I wanted to go down it all night!
I dare you to go do something you don't think you can do!
I'd love to hear about it!
Be Brave!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Talking Trash

A main part of my job is laying out and designing multiple city newsletters. I really enjoy doing the newsletters, they are quarterly and it's fun to see what the different communities are doing. I work closely with the cities and they give me the information and we go back and forth until the articles and pictures I find for them are just perfect. For the one I am working on right now they want to do a column that will be in every issue called "Talking Trash." The lady I work with was wondering if we could come up with some sort of character to always go with the article.
  We have a stock image library that we use and I thought... what the heck why don't I draw it?! I can come up with something better than what the stock image library has! (I would hope!) I drew a few garbage cans while I was sitting at my desk. I didn't have any good pens so I went home and worked on it a little bit and while trying to think of trash images my mind instantly thought of my favorite poem by Shel Silverstein. My first grade teacher would read it every day. I memorized the poem, and I think my parents probably did too from hearing me recite it so much. My parents bought me the book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" way back then and when I reached for it on the book shelf this morning... I remember the page number my favorite poem was on......71! What part of my brain was that stored in?? Seriously? I remember the page number?? I was six in first grade and I'm 27 now! I didn't think that was possible! Pretty fitting since today was garbage day too, and I'm always the one to take the garbage out! Here's my talking trash dudes!

 And my favorite poem from "Where the Sidewalk Ends!"

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out! 
By: Shel Silverstein
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out! 
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams, 
And though her daddy would scream and shout, 
She simply would not take the garbage out. 
And so it piled up to the ceilings: 
Coffee grounds, potato peelings, 
Brown bananas, rotten peas, 
Chunks of sour cottage cheese. 
It filled the can, it covered the floor, 
It cracked the window and blocked the door 
With bacon rinds and chicken bones, 
Drippy ends of ice cream cones, 
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel, 
Gloopy glumps of cold oatmeal, 
Pizza crusts and withered greens, 
Soggy beans and tangerines, 
Crusts of black burned buttered toast, 
Gristly bits of beefy roasts... 
The garbage rolled on down the hall, It raised the roof, it broke the wall... 
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs, 
Globs of gooey bubble gum, Cellophane from green baloney, 
Rubbery blubbery macaroni, 
Peanut butter, caked and dry, Curdled milk and crusts of pie, 
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard, 
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard, 
Cold French fries and rancid meat, Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat. 
At last the garbage reached so high That finally it touched the sky. 
And all the neighbors moved away, And none of her friends would come to play. 
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said, "OK, I'll take the garbage out!" 
But then, of course, it was too late... 
The garbage reached across the state, 
From New York to the Golden Gate. 
And there, in the garbage she did hate, Poor Sarah met an awful fate, 
That I cannot right now relate 
Because the hour is much too late. 
But children, remember Sarah Stout And always take the garbage out!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Illustration Friday: Journey

Last summer I got married and my husband and I honeymooned at the Gunflint Lodge in Northern Minnesota, so far my Minnesota favorite resort in the state! One day we went on a hiking journey. The Gunflint lake borders Canada and we hiked to the top of this bluff... to find an amazing view. The picture I took of my dog is my favorite to date... he was so happy! I started it awhile ago and finished it this week for the theme Journey! So here he is... on a journey with us!

I'd always wanted to do a pet portrait, I've been thinking about it ever since we adopted Bud, but thought I couldn't do it. So I kept avoiding it and then one day, I decided I wanted a portrait of him and started. Since I have never done a pet portrait I thought maybe I should take a class. And then I just stopped doubting myself and started believing in myself. Happy thoughts = Happy Natalie= Happy Painting! I think he turned out great. I added in his real details by just looking at him in person. In the picture his nose looks almost all black and it actually has a little bit of tan/pink and he he has a lot of gray's and white white hair that I added in. Here's the original picture of him!

Have a wonderful weekend and a HAPPY EASTER!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When it rains it pours...

That's me... the rock... just waiting for the sun to break through. Today gratitude is where I am turning my focus to. Last night I asked God some questions.
WHY? Why is it my friend who has to go through this? My family member who faces the struggles? Why do they have to endure this pain? Why do they have to go through so many valley's? 

Even though it seems so hard to understand why... 
I have to believe this is their journey. They are walking it for a reason. A reason that is not clear now, but will make sense later. Maybe their journey is helping someone else's journey right now. Maybe it is teaching them something that they will need later in life. Maybe their valley... after they get through it - will lead them to helping others in that same valley! When you love someone seeing them in a valley well, just plain sucks. And sometimes it's hard to understand why. It wasn't the road I took, or a road I understand... but it's not my journey, I have to remember that they are meant to walk it. I believe it all happens for reason. As cliche as that sounds.

As I look for road signs to give me some clues to where I am...
I hold on tight to my umbrella.

The wheels are churning and...
I start to think maybe God put them in my life with that problem or valley for me to help them.
Now maybe that sounds like a lot of pressure.
But I have deep love for those in my life who are facing the struggles of life, and when I asked God Why? The answer was...
What can you do right to make a difference in their life
That's when the gratitude hit me like a tidal wave. WOW! I am so grateful, for so many things.
Where do I even begin?
So my answer was...
Love some more.
Spend more time.
Tell them how much I love them.
And tell them more often.
And when all else fails...
Love em' some more.
Love em'.
This is my focus today... loving those close to me who are in the valley's. Take a look at your family or your friends and be that support to someone, be that light, that love... that lifts them up and cheers them on. By being there for someone else you will brighten you own light. 

If you want to cheer yourself up... Cheer someone else up!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Illustration Friday!

    I have this little dream... I remember telling the mama of the family I used to nanny for... I want to someday be a Children's Book Illustrator, she wanted to be an author. 
   I did murals for her children's bedrooms; an under water theme, and a butterfly theme. I worked at a childcare center and I babysat for a lot of families so word spread amongst friends and I did started doing canvases in whatever theme they wanted for their kids - I LOVED IT! This was about 8 years ago I was doing all the kid art and canvases. I've always just been a kid at heart, so it was a fitting and fun task! My husband laughs at how much I love kid movies and he sometimes catches me watching Saturday morning cartoons! There is something about Illustration/drawing/cartoons that I've always been drawn to. 
   In 6th grade I wanted to be a Disney Animator. Kind of ironic that I ended up going to school for Animation??! (I switched to Graphic Design because the jobs outlook for animation in Minnesota didn't look too good) No it wasn't ironic, really... I think it is what I was born to do. ( Did I just say/think/type that?!)
I'm serious, I was born to do it. 
That little dream hasn't really been thought about for a VERY LONG time =( 
I stuck in the back of the closet. How could I ever Illustrate a children's book? 

Too unachievable.
Too hard.
Don't know how to do it.
I'm not good enough.

Now.. blog world has gotten me SO, SO freaking excited about this dream again!!! 
I found Kristin's blog, which led me through to a million other blogs... of other artists and Illustrators!!!! Ahhhhh!!! I can't click fast enough! So much to see!

That dream has new found light! 
Thank you universe, thank you Kristin!
My heart is skipping and dancing!

So I've decided to take part in IF... Illustration Friday. You post your Illustration to this cool site and blog about it! Check out the talent! AMAZING! I've decided to start doing this in hopes I will draw more! I wasn't sure what I would draw for this week's theme "Bottled." I've always loved bottles so I thought it would be a bottle in the ocean. Then out of NO WHERE a tidal wave of inspiration came and I feverishly drew this out in minutes! I was so proud of myself I couldn't wait to get home to show my husband and put it up on the fridge!

I'm dreaming bigger than I was a week ago, it's so exciting! Thanks for joining me on my journey!
Hope you have a beautiful weekend,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An evening at the park!

It's beautiful here in Minnesota, and both Buddy and I were cooped up all day... we headed to the park by our house, that we LOVE!
Buddy watching the loons, basking in the sun!

The beautiful moon on the blue sky... that color is just STUNNING!

Buddy hanging out with his grandma in the woods... enjoying the view!

Pussy willow branches I cut for inspiration!

Two loons... one of my favorite birds!

Green buds, about to pop!

Sketch of Bear chasing the ducks!

Pussy willow from sketch book!
And LAST BUT NOT LEAST... I love this pic I took of Bear - had to manipulate it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I was free!

  My mom and I work out a lot together at the local gym by our house. Since it is spring they are starting back up an outdoor class they have called "Club Run." My mom had to sort of beg me to do this one! RUNNING? It didn't take much cause I'll do anything for my mom but... really? I suck at running. I don't run. I walk. I walk a lot because of my big bear! I take my golden on a walk for at least 45 almost every day.
 I love Yoga, Pilate's, lifting weights, and walking. And don't get me wrong I go on the elliptical or treadmill once in a while to get myself to sweat. But I don't ever really push myself. Well that all changed on Tuesday. 
   The weather was perfect that night and when we got to the trail - wow I was just blown away by the beauty! There was beautiful nature as far as the eye could see, lots of trees! The trail was winding and hilly, but the beauty of being out in nature excited me! We saw SO many birds! Blue jay, cardinal, robin, wren, and then we saw 4 huge turkey's! They have a few leaders in the group who kind of disperse themselves amongst the group of runners, because not all are on the same level. The leaders were so inspiring and positive! Within minutes of our conversation with one of the leaders we were talking about our personal lives, working out, and she asked why we were there? What did we want out of it? 
   And for me yes, I was dragged along but I'd love to be able to run a 5k! (and run the entire way) That seems so big to me! Almost too big. I know not to a lot of people, but you're talking to the girl who doesn't like running. I dreaded the mile day in elementary school. I was always one of the last girls - I had a 14 minute mile! YIKES! I admired the girls who could run a 7 minute mile. Never did I ever think I could be a runner, and a good one at that.
   The leader seemed genuinely thankful that we were there. So present. So sweet. I was so touched by that. She believed in us too! She had just met us but was already cheering us on and giving us a pep talk! As another leader approached she could sense I could go faster, she pushed me. "Come on Natalie! You can do it! Let's go! I know you can run faster!" So together we made it to the 1.5 mile mark. We cheered on my mom and the other leader. Full body sweat!  
Full body bliss. 
I had a "runners high!" Happy smiles gonna on! I felt empowered to do more!
   We were off again, and I was feeling great. I got past that tough part. They suggested walking uphill and jogging downhill if we got tired. Everything from the day seemed to be released. Gone. 

I was free. 
It felt like I had wings. 

I started jogging up the hills and down the hills only walking when I was desperate. 
I pushed myself like I've never pushed myself before.
I passed my mom and the two leaders. No headset (which I was mad about before I got there... silly me I didn't need it!) it was just me and the sky. Me and trail. Me and nature. Sweating. Releasing. 
  The club run leaders gave me a gift on Tuesday. They believed in me, when I didn't believe in myself. It translates into so many other parts of my life. I never thought I could have ran 3 miles like that and I did. Just think if I took that leap of faith and pushed myself harder than I ever have what else could I accomplish? What else could I do? Have you ever had this experience, where you did something that you didn't think possible? How did you get there? Did you have others encouraging you? Or what inspired you to get there? I'd love to hear about it!
How can you be that gift of positivity to others?
Encourage, encourage, encourage. Pour your heart out and mean it. Write a note, an email, thank someone for being who they are. Make someone else feel special today. 
I'm off to keep the torch going,
Happy Friday friends!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Creating!

Happy Monday friends! Did you have a good weekend?
I've fallen in love with a sketching style I learned from the SUPER talented Alisa Burke. She was one of the first blogs I discovered, and I instantly fell in love with her because we both share a love for photography, color, painting & and texture! She does amazing things with fabric! One day she had a post on her simple technique for sketching she uses! I tried it...Taking a simple sketch in pen like the one I did of the eagle here and adding watercolor paint to it! LOVE! I have a small little sketchbook, and this is a great creativity exercise that doesn't take long. Instant gratification! I've done it in bed at night, in my art room, or I can take the sketchbook with me on the go, and with a small amount of supplies I can make mini works of art! I've worked with watercolors but the one thing I didn't like about them was how everything just looks muted and fuzzy. So for the most part I didn't use watercolor, cause it wasn't the 'look' that I like. It was hard to achieve texture for me in a watercolor painting. I'd like to try sketching on a canvas with marker and then painting it...
This technique makes me LOVE watercolors again!


You might remember this drawing came from a picture I took when I went to the National Eagle Center a few weeks ago!

This weekend I did the Fraser Walk for Autism at the Mall of America. I wore this new necklace I made and got SO many compliments so I thought I would share it with you guys. I bought of few charms from Micheal's in this brand I LOVE! The brand is called Industrial Chic™. I really wanted more charms than the one set I had bought, I had a pile of my broken jewelry, with a ton of earrings that had lost their mate. I thought Hey - I can use what I already have! I started pulling together the pieces...A cross my mom got me in Arizona a long time ago, a peace charm off an old bracelet, and I used 6 old earrings that didn't have a match anymore! One of the earring's is a copper stamped piece I made by hand. ALL beautiful pieces just sitting in a pile waiting to be adding to this "charming" piece! Have a pile of broken jewelry? Create a new unique piece from all your broken stuff!