A Beastly Sketch

Art

I’m always promoting the act of sketching. Not every drawing should be a finished piece and we should all learn to sketch out of habit as a way of learning, as a way of reflecting and as a way of observing the world around us.

The more we draw, the better we get at 99% of art forms. Period. Sketch for sketching sake.

That being said, I’m not always great at following my own advice. Do as I say, not as I do – yada, yada, yada.

I get it. If you’re like me, you want every sketch to lead to something grand. Something more than a fleeting thought. Ultimately, something more than a sketch!

But sketches are meant to be unfinished – that’s what makes them magical! Because documenting fleeting, unfinished thoughts on paper help us learn which direction we want to go in and can sometimes lead to the grandest ideas of all.

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to sketch more. Fearless sketching, totally unafraid of the prospect that some sketches will end up being nothing more than a few hasty scribbles on a piece of paper.

This weekend I held true to my resolution and flipped through my sketchbook pages rapidly, producing a number of very quick, very rough drawings. I drew ideas as fast as they came to me. And through this process, found some inspiration.

Portraiture. Faces. Taking a break from inanimate objects (which I do so love) and focusing back on the living and breathing.

Feeling inspired, I kept sketching. And actually did create a sketch I deemed worth sharing:

I love “Beauty and the Beast” and was drawn to capturing Beast’s half-human nature. (Admittedly, humanoid creatures have always been a fascination of mine.)

Because of this care-free sketch-session I’m feeling more inspired than I have weeks. Thank goodness I received a pile of sketchbooks for Christmas!

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Stitching Mythology: the White Stag

Art

I’m sure everyone can relate when I say that it’s always difficult to get back into the every-day routine post-holidays. With the close of the hustle and bustle also comes the inevitable energy crash.

It has definitely taken me some recovery time this year to get back to my normal routine, but I am happy to share that with this frigid don’t-leave-the-house-because-it’s-way-too-cold-outside weekend also came the time and energy to re-focus on my work.

My un-finished nutcracker embroidery is way too seasonal to work on in January, so I decided to put him away for the year, to be finished next December.

Looking to start something new, I drew inspiration from the -30 degree Fahrenheit weather outside and sketched the outline for a new fiber piece:

Now, before you start thinking that I’ve turned into a hunting-crazed Central New-Yorker, I’d like to clarify that what I have in mind for this piece is much more magical than a taxidermy deer head.

In fact, the white stag has a firm footing in mythology found in several cultures. It is often a symbol for purity and good fortune, and in Celtic myth is said to be a sign that the otherworld is near. The white hart is also a staple element in Arthurian legend.

I love the stories that accompany this seemingly ordinary animal and am looking forward to making this piece magical in subtle ways. There’s certainly more of a challenge in making a stag appear magical than there is in doing the same with a dragon.

Here’s to many cold New York nights ahead that will be spent working on this piece!

FOR THE LOVE OF SNOW

Art

Words cannot explain how excited I was to have a white Christmas this year! With all the Christmases of my childhood having been buried under several feet of snow, the green holidays we have experienced lately have left me feeling – ironically – a tad blue.

This year in New York, much to my excitement, we were surprised with a dusting Christmas Eve which continued through Christmas morning.

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Those of us who had the pleasure of growing up in chillier climates know that to a child, snow is just about one of the most wonderful things there is, especially around the holidays. Snow days, sledding, building snow people… the possibilities are truly endless!

Combining the everyday magic of the element with my excitement for this year’s beautifully white Christmas, I was inspired to create my most recent colored pencil drawing:

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Living in a seriously snowy region, a favorite pastime of the adults in my community is complaining about the winter weather. “It’s difficult to drive in,” “I hate shoveling,” “I’m freezing,” etc., etc. Another beautiful thing dissected and tarnished by the pessimistic eye of adulthood.

In this drawing, I was aiming to capture the love of snow that some of us (myself included) have managed to hold onto into adulthood and perhaps remind others that even as adults, we can still find magic in our everyday lives.

 

Tidings of Joy

Art

Combining my love of nutcrackers and their representation of good luck, I thought it only fitting that my last embroidery of 2017 be a nutcracker.

I’ll admit – I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to get this guy done in time for Christmas day! BUT that being said, I love how he’s looking thus far.

Just a little over a month ago he was nothing but a sketch…

Nutcrackers are also said to be messengers of good luck and good will, so from my family to yours, I’m sharing this nutcracker to wish you the merriest of holidays. May your heart and home be full of peace and love this Christmas day!

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P.S. Only 2 days until Christmas!

HOLIDAY NUTTINESS

Art

It’s the most amazing (and simultaneously most frantic) time of the year! With Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas on the horizon, words can’t express my excitement for this season. Food, drink, family and tradition, the holidays possess their own special form of magic.

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With so many recipe and craft posts ahead, I’m ringing in Thanksgiving 2017 with a whimsical colored pencil sketch of an acorn.

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Truthfully, I’ve always found acorns to be 1. adorable and 2. quite whimsical. I tend to imagine them as nature’s lockets, with secrets hidden underneath their quilt-patterned caps.

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As a matter of fact, this drawing isn’t the first time an acorn has appeared in my work. You can spy an unfinished embroidery piece in the photo below:

Part of the appeal of drawing this ‘corn was the color challenge. As I mentioned in my last art-post, featuring a fanciful cuppa coffee, I love finding all of the variations of brown in subject matter that most tend to view as monochromatic. Because when you learn to really look,  you find so many more colors than just brown in the shell of an acorn or within the depths of your whipped cream topping.

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I’ve also been spending time reading Gregory Maguire’s latest novel, “Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker” and believe that the book’s story subconsciously influenced my decision to spend time drawing a nut. (Or at least, that’s the rationale I’m going with.)

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Either way, this little acorn is a symbol of whimsy and a perfect mental transition for me between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here’s to wishing everyone a simply splendid Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to celebrate this magical season ahead.

 

Capturing Cozy

Art

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know that the insanity of wedding planning combined with home renovations and our attempts to sell our house has driven me to the Nordic concept of hygge, which is (simply put) the belief in coziness and simple pleasures. Let’s just say I’m trying to keep myself as calm as possible during what has been both the most exciting and most stressful time of my life.

While this has translated to the design of our newly-renovated house, I’m also seeing this hyggelig inspiration crop up in my artwork. Most recently, in this colored pencil drawing of a hot latte:

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While I’m not one to turn down an alcoholic beverage (trust me, I like my craft beer), there is undoubtedly something special about a hot cup of coffee. Ironically, coffee consumption has sky-rocketed in our household during the last few months as a means of keeping ourselves calm. Relevant side note: most of the coffee being consumed is now decaffeinated.

So for this piece’s inspiration I’m writing down 1. hygge 2. coffee (obviously) and 3. the fact that I’m one of those annoying people that’s already excited for the holiday season (I know, I know – but I can’t help it!). I’m already dreaming about sipping hot beverages in front of the fire while simultaneously gazing fondly at the adorned Christmas tree.

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This piece was also a fun challenge, forcing me to pick out the different tones of cream and brown found in a frothy latte – considerably more fun when you have a widely-varied colored pencil set to get the job done!

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Between the combination of the impending winter months and my obsession with cozy I predict there may be a new series coming on!

Fun Fall Sketches

Art

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a creature of the seasons, and with my favorite time of year upon us, I’ve been finding (making) time to break out the colored pencil set!

Between the foliage, harvest vegetables and colorful clothing, fall is a beautiful time of year. And if you’re an artist, it can be especially inspiring. Despite still being  overwhelmingly busy with home renovations, I’ve been making art a priority the last few weeks, and have been taking advantage of even the smallest available windows of “free” time.

While these small chunks of time don’t allow for elaborate pieces, I’ve found that I am quite content completing small sketches, inspired by the season. Completed art doesn’t have to be elaborate for an artist to get their fix.

Using these small windows of time, I’m seeking to capture that which I love most about this time of year before it passes by.

I love natural elements (such as the pumpkin above) but I’m also obsessed with fall fashion. I love the colors that the season brings out in fashion and am always drawn to the idea of cozying up in oversized clothes (see my latest post on hygge).

Then there are the textured sweaters, plaid scarves and (my all-time favorite) boots!

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I’m so incredibly thankful that our home projects have just about come to a close and I’ll soon be able to enjoy this season to its fullest. Whether its through fashion, pumpkin spice lattes or hygge, I hope everyone out there is enjoying nature’s most magical time of year!

Stay tuned for more fall-inspired artwork and new recipes to come!

Wedding Dreams and Flower Crowns 

Art

In the midst of all the wedding planning, I keep finding myself coming back to the dress, the flowers and all the girly things you would expect a 23-year-old artist to come back to.

While my fiancé and I have been focusing on nailing down all of the large commitments first, it’s been all too fun for me to browse through image after image of flower bouquets, table settings and flower-inspired fashion – all of which remind me of one of my most recent drawings.

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Ever since I started drawing with the Premier-grade Prismacolor pencils, I’ve been particularly attracted to hair. I thought it would be fun to do a drawing featuring a hairstyle, excluding the face and featuring a whimsical flower crown. To me, this was perfect summer subject matter (and I am, if nothing else, a creature of the seasons).

 

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Even though we are planning a fall wedding, I’m very much still planning on a classic, “magical” vibe and hope to incorporate a lot of flowers into this theme.

And while the wedding planning has been temporarily put on hold due to home-improvement/moving ventures, I’ve still had plenty of time to daydream about the big day and wrap my mind up in flowers and all kinds of pretty things!

Don’t be too surprised if you see much more wedding-inspired artwork from this bride-to-be!

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FOR THE LOVE OF PHOTOGRAPHY: A NEW CAMERA FOR CONTINUED INSPIRATION

Art, Inspiration

It’s been over five years since I last bought a camera. Needless to say, it was time for an upgrade.

Looking to up my photo game with with our wedding and honeymoon in Hawaii coming up next year, and the possible sale of our home this fall, now seemed like a great time to invest in a better camera.

Although I had my eye on a top of the line machine, we decided to go middle of the road, investing in a DSLR without breaking the bank (or our wedding fund!).  After scouring the internet for products and reviews, I came across the Canon Rebel T6 and after reading positive review after positive review, decided to give it a try.

An extremely popular model, we went with a kit purchase on Amazon and, in return, received the camera body, two lenses, a camera bag, a table top tripod, cleaning supplies, three filters, etc. etc.

Overall, I am very happy that we went with the kit and am especially pleased with the camera body,  the Canon lenses and the Canon case, and have been using the camera to capture moments around the house.

For the past year, a large portion of my job has revolved around taking photos for my company and as a result, photography has become something that I associate with my job. Buying this camera was also a way for me to reconnect with my artistic photographer side and enjoy capturing moments in my free time.

Long story short, I would definitely recommend this camera to a friend – or readers! Especially those who are just getting into more professional-grade photography. Truly, the camera is very user friendly while still offering a wide range of settings and capabilities.

Stay tuned for more refined photographs! But for now, enjoy these photos of Andy with our dogs. (Would you expect anything less?)

👑 Mermaid Embroidery

Art

The inspiration behind this piece is entirely clear and one that I can easily direct you to: “Imagine a Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art” by Dinara Mirtalipova. This book is simply lovely and an absolute must-browse for anyone that has an interest in Eastern European design.

Having worked in a public library for 6+ years, I’m very much inspired by books and this one drew me in the moment I saw the cover.

Taking in Mirtalipova’s illustrative style, I was inspired to get out of my comfort zone and create a piece based on the instructions in her book. While her recommended media is paint, I decided to try her style in the form of embroidery.

I was especially attracted to her take on mermaids, and thought that this sea queen would be a perfect summer project!

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While I was working on this piece I also developed a sketch to get a better grasp of the character. This can be a useful tactic when your subject matter is human or humanoid, and you’re looking to capture a specific persona.

Although tedious, embroidering the scales for the mermaid’s top was also fun and I’m in love with the end result.

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I would definitely recommend Mirtalipova’s book to anyone interested in design, illustration and folklore! I know that for me it definitely proved to be a successful source of inspiration.