And Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

Art

As I’ve come to learn at the ripe old age of 24, the most difficult aspect of being an adult is making decisions.

I am, by nature, a somewhat indecisive person and can be hesitant to dive in to new experiences, opportunities, etc. I always find myself seeking the perfect answer or opportunity, and drive myself crazy wondering if I’ll know said opportunity when it comes along.

But being an adult also means coming to terms with the fact that nothing is ever perfect and that you’ll never know the answer to everything. Rather, you just have to go with the knowledge that is in front of you and make the best decision that you can.

For me, this past year has been full of BIG decisions and plenty of opportunity for me to get outside of my comfort zone.

Between the decision of saying “Yes..”

…and the decision to become a homeowner…

I’m getting better at being decisive.

Growing up, my mother always told me to go with my gut and it’s something I took to heart. The voice inside you and literal “gut feeling” often knows better than your brain does.

Reflecting on this advice and my recent life events, I got thinking about how, funny enough, my mother’s favorite Disney character has always been Jiminy Cricket. Focusing on following my gut and letting my conscience be my guide I was inspired to do this quick sketch:

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What started out as a quick pen sketch, developed further through a layer of colored pencil I threw over top of him to give him a pop of fun and flair.

I love how cartoon sketches can be so simple, yet also challenging. There is a certain level of difficulty that comes with capturing a character’s likeness through a limited number of lines.

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Thanks for your words of wisdom, Mom. I know it will continue to serve me in this crazy journey we call life!

P.S. You can expect to see this one in your Christmas stocking!

 

 

 

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Old memories, new adventures and peonies

Art

With only 4 months left until our wedding, I’m happy to be getting down to the planning details. Big picture stuff is fun — but there’s something about planning the small stuff that makes everything feel more real.

Recently, we sat down with our wedding florist and we talked a lot of details.

Although I had come to the meeting prepared with a general idea and photos I had printed off of Pinterest, I wasn’t entirely prepared to map out what color the ribbon around my bouquet would be, or what variety of greenery would accompany the mens’ boutonnieres.

And so – before our second meeting – I did more research.

Needless to say, I’ve had flowers on the brain.

The drawing I’m sharing today was the last I ever did at our recently sold house. While I’m super excited to be over the house-selling process and in our new home, our first house together will always hold a special place in my heart. It was our first home together: where we had our first date, shared our first Christmas and first brought Auggie home to meet his big brother, Skeeter.

It’s also where Andy gave me flowers for the first time – a hand-picked bunch of peonies.

In this house, we were lucky to have peonies lining our driveway. It was these flowers that inspired the ink drawing I’m sharing today.

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This drawing isn’t anything fancy. It’s something I completed quickly, with a ballpoint ben pulled out of the desk drawer. It’s natural, sweet and not entirely unlike how I will remember our time in 12 Summit Street.

When Andy and I first started dating we didn’t have a lot of money. We couldn’t afford to spend our hard-earned dollars on flowers. But the gesture of that hand-picked bouquet spoke volumes. It was one of the first, I knew he was the one moments.

That bouquet still remains the best I’ve ever received.

 

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While we can’t hold onto past lives and past homes, I’m glad I have this drawing to remember our house by. For me, it holds a special memory from our early dating days.

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Here’s to a new home, a new stage in life and the opportunity to capture in all through art.

A Drawing Inspired by the Late Alexander McQueen

Art

It’s finally April and although it doesn’t feel like it in New York, I am so incredibly ready for spring. Unsurprisingly, this yearning is finding its way into my work.

Today I’m sharing a recent drawing of mine that plays homage to the transition period between winter and spring – although the weather may start to warm, we must always endure the inevitable period of rain and mud before the flowers begin to bloom .

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This drawing which hints to the described seasonal transition was also directly inspired by the late Alexander McQueen – a fashion designer who was more artist than designer. See the original here:

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I was so taken with this piece when I first saw it. The dress felt like the perfect mix between high fashion and a fairy’s ensemble, and you can’t help but be drawn in by the contrast between structural and organic elements.

It reminds me of something a character might wear in a modern “Alice in Wonderland.”

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Like many of my recent drawings, the piece was created using Prismacolor Premier colored pencils. I’ve really taken to drawing watercolor-styled flowers with this media and enjoyed switching back and forth from blending smooth, organic shapes to going back in with sharpened tips to restructure and add detail.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Alexander McQueen, I highly recommend you check out the book Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. This compilation of his pieces was first introduced to me during my undergraduate studies by my Fiber Arts Professor and is brimming with inspiration.

You can’t be a modern artist without appreciating McQueen; it just isn’t possible!

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Fingers crossed that spring is on the horizon!

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!

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.

 

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!

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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Drawing a Real Live Fairy: The Luna Moth

Art

Animal imagery is by far my favorite subject matter for drawing, especially that which can inspire a sense of magic. One particular species that has captured my attention over the years is the luna moth.

If you’ve ever seen one #IRL then you will understand my fascination. For those of you who haven’t, then what you have to understand is that seeing a luna moth is like seeing a real live fairy. Even in the pitch black of night, they positively glow, emitting a soft light as they fly through the air. Truly, you’ve never seen anything like it.

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My comparing luna moths to fairies stretches back to my undergraduate years, during which I time I created a piece that commented on the role science has played in the demise of myth. The piece (seen below) features a repeat silkscreen pattern of a luna moth, meant to mimic a butterfly board, with a 3D soft-sculpture fairy pinned to the center. The fairy, which symbolizes the death of myth and magic in the modern world, is adorned with a luna moth printed on his chest.

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I recently revisited the luna moth, in a cheerier, simpler piece, and was excited to tackle the variety of greens found in their wings with my Prismacolor pencils. I surprised myself, finishing this drawing rather quickly, all the while immensely enjoying blending the colors together with the blending tool. Although wing symmetry proved to be a bit daunting at first, the beautiful things about nature is that it’s rarely ever perfect!

Check out the finished drawing below:

The Fox and the Hare

Art

So I started this project a while ago, back when the big snowstorm hit the Northeast in March. As I watched the snow come pouring down by the foot, I turned my artistic eye to the future of spring and warm weather, and landed upon the idea of another fox-inspired piece, this time in my current media of choice: colored pencil.

As long as I can remember, the fox has always been one of my favorite animals. In fact, at a young age I used to beg my parents to buy me a fox costume similar the one worn by one of the lost boys in Disney’s “Peter Pan!”

The drawing you see now is the result of a combination of this fox-love and an image that inspired me on Pinterest.

Andy laughs every time I show him this drawing, reminding me that foxes and lagomorphs don’t play well together, and pointing out that the photograph I found was probably featuring a predator sleeping with its prey. Despite this bit of scientific fact, I wanted my drawing to display the opposite, providing viewers with a sense of tranquility.

Looking upon this piece, I wanted people to believe that these two creatures could be curled up together in the forest, not as diner and dinner, but as unlikely friends.

I can only hope that the radial symmetry, texture and color palette of this drawing have had this desired effect. I know that this piece certainly helped me through a storm (literally) and it might even find its way into my office space at work.