Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

 Hope you all had a great long weekend and a nice memorial day! It's the official, unofficial start to summer! YEA! I've had my hubby on my mind, he has been at his annual training for National Guard for the past 2 weeks. My husband is an Iraq vet, he served there as a Medic there for 22 months. I'm so excited I got the phone call this morning, he's on his way home from training! Tonight we will relax with dog, get some good food and celebrate him for Memorial day. There have been a lot of hills and valleys we've climbed together. His journey with the guard will be over at the end of this year (December) and he will NOT be deployed again! YEA!! And really it's SO bitter sweet for me! I've been thinking a lot about it while he's been gone. The army is such a part of my husband so it will be really hard to let that go. It's been such a part of our relationship. I'm sad and happy to see it go. Happy that we will have a little more freedom in our schedule and maybe start a family! I know how hard it is to have a family member at war. My love and prayers go out to all the family members who have/know a soldier at war, who have/know a soldier at home struggling with the after affects of war and for those families who lost someone at war. I lost a high school friend in the Iraq war and it's so hard. I am forever grateful for all the brave men and women who are out there are on the front lines for us!
This was my hubby back in 2007 in Iraq

Friday, May 27, 2011

Paint Party Friday!

Happy Friday a little late in the day! I'm participating in the Paint Party Friday, I found out about this little party from Kristen's blog!
  I drew this last night in bed... while missing my other half. And tonight when I got home from work was too rainy to walk Bear, so I painted my illustration! Check out the other artists here.

Thank you for all the comments! They make me so happy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wait, I gotta get the SHOT!

  A beautiful photograph is priceless. Capturing a moment in time that would otherwise be gone forever... is the reason I LOVE photography. I would love to make the viewer feel something. That is what I strive for with my paintings, and thinking about photographs in this way is exciting! The goal is to get the viewer to evoke an emotion or have a connection with the photograph. In college when I really started falling in love with taking pictures I thought maybe I could be a National Geographic Photographer. So after I graduated from college I bought an expensive camera and started taking pictures of everything, playing and experimenting. It was so fun. I thought maybe photography would be my career path!
   I subscribed to National Geographic magazine, I was in love with the colors, the new worlds, the wildlife, the cultures. What an adventurous job I could have if I was a National Geographic photographer! I bought lots of photography books, even took an all day Nikon seminar. And then they were having some of National Geographic's best photographers and film makers come to the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, I bought 2 tickets and took my mom. That night I was so inspired, so excited! They were living my dream! I get excited and happy just thinking about it! And although my dream of becoming a NG photographer has faded since my college days, I'm still quite obsessed with taking pictures. While trying to find something to watch on Netflix the other day I came across the movie National Geographic The Photographers. Although the movie was little old it was fun to see what it would be like to BE A NG PHOTOGRAPHER! Surprise, surprise I'm not not the only one that thought that would be a dream job! The movie talked about how everyone thinks it's the dream job and gave a peek into the reality of what it's all about. When I went to the presentation at the Orpheum one photographer touched on the living conditions, and how extreme they were at times, living in a tree house for weeks with no one to talk to, no showers...ect. The movie talked about bad living conditions, being away from family, getting sick with diseases, and getting better, the traveling conditions to get to certain places took days and there were delays, obstacles mentally, emotionally and physically. It doesn't sound as enticing as it once did. One thing the photographers talked a lot about was the moment they knew they got the shot!

  Getting that one shot, getting the COVER shot for the NG magazine! WOW! How does that happen? So many of them talked about how they could be shooting in a place for 8 weeks and only get 1 killer shot (If they were lucky!). I know your thinking ya right, but when you REALLY look at your own photos, not all of them are are A+ photos. (Be honest with yourself) An A+ is not only rare, but usually doesn't come with taking 1 picture. It comes with taking LOTS and LOTS. The colors, the emotion, the once in a lifetime unique shot, it's not as easy as you think. I know the feeling and oh, I know it so well. The moment, their face lights up, the lighting hits your subject just right or something amazing happens, the eagle soars right above your head! It's the best feeling in the world, you got the shot! I've learned that if I take 20 photos of bud in one session or 100 at an event, if I got one killer shot would be amazing. My husband laughs at me I'm always "WAIT!!!! I gotta get that shot, pull over, stop the car, wait, I gotta go back!"

Here's an example:

I took about 45 pictures of these cherry trees... I posted a handful of my rejects above and my fav. out of all the shots would be the large one. And really, I'm not even really sure I got the 'cover shot,'  But it was my personal favorite.

So here's my tip for the day... when taking pictures don't just take one! Take lots, from different angles and play with the settings on your camera, even if you don't know what you are doing. Experiment, and then when you look at them on the computer you can pick THE COVER SHOT if you are lucky enough to capture it!
Happy shooting!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Illustration Friday: Safari

This week's topic is Safari and of course I instantly think of my FAVORITE movie The Lion King. Yes, I have always been in love with Simba and that's why I have my own lion now... he he! What's not to love? The characters, the color, the message, the music! I love it all, my mom took me to the musical a couple of years ago when it was in town, so moving and beautifulHope you all have a wonderful Friday! And be sure to check out all the other amazing talent

This was done with the watercolor pencil too... I wanted a smoother look so I didn't color as hard as I did with the tulips the other day!

Oh, and I had to take share a pic of my lion at the watering hole. 

We were supposed to be playing with the tennis ball at the park, and Bear decided he wanted to take a dip and get a drink. Can you tell that I'm telling him to 'COME!' and he's just giving this look like, I know I have to... but I really don't want to! =)
Much Friday Luv,

Sketching LUV

Just wanted to share some of the fun new art supplies I tried out! It's so fun to try something new! It always feels good to experiment and challenge yourself. I got the Derwent Ink Intense Colored pencils which are a water color pencil and this SWEET BRUSH that I've been wanting to trying for the longest time! I sketched out the tulips I captured last week! I bought my new supplies... at Penco, in Minneapolis! It's an art store I've never been to, they had a offer on livingsocial for a great deal and my sweet husband surprised me with it! Yea! Happy Dance!
I was so excited to meet the owner of Penco and find out it is a locally owned store!! Now, don't get me wrong I love the chain Dick Blick but buying locally... SO MUCH BETTER! If you haven't been and you live in the area, It's awesome! My husband loves to watch me shop for art he thinks it's funny how my eyes light up like a kid in a candy store!

I highly recommend both the brush and the pencils! The pencils blend so nicely! I used water color pencils back in high school, and they were just a cheap brand and didn't work quite like these! You could just use a regular brush and water too but the brush holds water in it so if you are on the go or painting outside with limited supplies! How great!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Happy Monday! 
Sometimes I need a gentle reminder that I'm awesome! Negative people around you? Stress from family? Deadlines at work? Busy with life? Overwhelmed at all?
Posting an affirmation at your desk, it your kitchen, in your bathroom on the mirror, or even carry it in your purse or pocket ...can do wonders! 

Here's my affirmation for you today...
YOU WERE BORN to SHINE and make WAVES in this world!

Final! You were Born to SHINE!!!
Phase one - I liked it vertical.
One of my favorite blog and artists is Michelle Allen. LOVE her stuff, bought a couple clocks as gifts and just LOVE her style. When she paints she will often layer and cover up parts of her painting.

I didn't think I would be brave enough to do that.
(what was I thinking anyway?)

This weekend I cranked out a couple of paintings... gold light flowed from my heart to canvas! It felt so good. On this painting I just felt what I painted to too much (it's only an 8x10 canvas), it wasn't done. I had no idea what I was going to do to change it! And I just went for it! AND PAINTED OVER! I was afraid I was going to end up scrapping the whole painting cause I've tried doing covering things up in other paintings and never liked it.

I'm actually very pleased with the turn out of this one! I like the texture it gives the waves!

Sometimes taking that leap turns into something beautiful and unexpected!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Take time to smell the flowers in life!

 I've been using my camera a lot lately! Capturing pics at birthday parties, family gatherings and in my backyard! Here a few to inspire! This was the first year I planted bulbs so it's been really fun to see our yard start to come together. The colors are just stunning! I'm loving the purple tulips, they are my fav. So much so... I even painted my toes purple!

No... not eat them! SMELL Bear, Smell only!
I wanted to capture these... the weather is so unpredictable... a couple of days ago it was barely 60 now it's 80 and humid with lots of storms and hail! Gotta go.. my sketchbook is calling!
Hope you are all enjoying the spring!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Illustration Friday: Lesson

As I thought about the topic "lesson," I guess the first thing that came to mind was mom! My mom is my best friend and has taught me so many lessons. Some of my favorite times were with my mom in the kitchen, making cookies, making homemade pizza, I got to make the pudding all by myself! And stirring the hand beater for 3 minutes felt like FOREVER! I loved to help peel potatoes and carrots and shred cheese! And oh wow when my mom used the food processor.... that thing was magic! My mom worked full time but still came home and cooked a home cooked meal every night. As a child you don't really think anything of that if that's the way you grew up but now I realize how blessed I was to have that. My mom is an amazing cook and her cooking is something I've always admired about her. Is is a way she expresses her love. I'm excited to be a mom someday! My mom made such an imprint on my life, I just can't wait to do the same for my child someday! My mom is just so over the top loving, and giving... she is the glue that holds our family together. She spoils us with love and little surprises all the time, I feel very blessed! I'm excited to spoil her on Sunday, pedicures... maybe brunch? and some other fun stuff! Hopefully some sunshine!

Mom & Me.. I haven't drawn people since I was a little kid... they still kind of look the same!

Happy Friday! Hope you have an amazing day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living a Life With Meaning

Hope you all had a great weekend! Here in Minnesota... I think we are all just dieing for a little warmth! On May Day we had little snowflakes all day. My tulips are just on the cusp of opening but closed their heads back in like little turtles. Thankfully the snow didn't stick! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few nice days soon!
This weekend at church the pastor talked about living a life with meaning. Making a difference, living radically and boldly. He said something that I keep thinking about. 
He said "Don't just let 5 years go by, 10 years go by, 20 years go by." 
When I read this aloud to myself a couple of times, and really think about it, I almost want to tear up. Am I just letting the years go by?
We have to live with passion and take time to do the the things we love. DON'T worry about the pile of dishes or what other are going to think, OR whatever it is that is holding you back. Instead of just thinking about it, or reading about how others are doing it. 
Live the life you dreamed of.
Life happens quick. We blink and the years have gone by.
I'm just new to this whole dreaming big thing, but the Universe likes speed. That is from The Secret and when I heard that, it stuck. Go, if it feels good, go! Twenty years seems like so long to me.. but really!??? TIME DOES GO BY SOOOOOOOOOOO fast! Too fast!
This thought of not letting the years go by has me inspired, a little flame lit inside me. And then last night I was reading "The Conversations from the Local Ice Cream Shop" by Denny Stockholm and felt that same little flame ignite. On Friday I went to an Author Signing at the local coffee shop. Denny came and spoke about his inspirational book and how he made his dream of writing a book come true. How it took over 10 years because he kept putting it aside.
Fear, and just plane NOT knowing holds so many people back. It's held me back. How do I do it? What if I fail? What if I don't know what do to? What if others don't like my work?
It was fun to meet some new people and share our experiences and talk about moving past the "I'm scared stuff."
There are a lot of acronym's in Denny's book... The first one, the first chapter is FAITH.
FAITH stands for Finding Answers In The Heart.
This is another one my mind has been resting on the past couple of days.
So often we already have the answers to what we are seeking. We just need to look within.
Denny had a glow all around him, a big happy smile. Denny looks like Santa Clause, when he told us he was Santa, I thought that was pretty cool! (Cause I still believe!) He has a magic quality that I always knew Santa would have. Bright, kind-hearted, jolly and the perfect beard!

In the book there are prompts at the end of every chapter. After his chapter on Dreams (Defining Reality Eventually Achieves My Dreams) you are asked to write out your wildest dreams. All of them, no matter when they were in your life, no matter how crazy. Then from that list narrow down your top 5-10 dreams you want to focus on right now.
Here's my 5 biggest dreams right now:
1. Open an Etsy account with my art!
2. Create my own greeting card line!
3. Travel to all the Minnesota State Parks!
4. Save up enough money for a pop-up camper!!
5. Write and Illustrate my own Children's book!!

PLEASE take 10 minutes today and do this for yourself!
I'd love to hear what your biggest, wildest, scariest dreams are. Be brave and share! =)

I highly recommend Denny's book! At the end of every chapter he has prompts to getting you thinking about the topics, I really like that! You can find out more about him and book here on his website! On his website he also has a FREE newsletter you can sign up for! PLUS check out the contest he is having... you could WIN HIS BOOK!

Go. Live a life with meaning today. Make it all count.

Here is an update on my last Illustration Friday drawing...