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!

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A Journey to the Past: Reviewing “Anastasia” the New Musical

Review

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind! More so than usual considering Andy and I’s engagement, wedding planning and our full-fledged, all-consuming focus on getting our house ready for sale. In this whirlwind, I’ve been delayed in sharing with you my thoughts on my first Broadway experience and one of the famed street’s newest shows: “Anastasia.”

Having signed up to chaperone a high school trip down to the city, I was especially excited to learn that we would be seeing this show. Aside from seeing “Wicked” off-Broadway this March, I had never before seen a show on-Broadway and was ecstatic to learn that my first show would be one featuring its original cast.

Needless to say, I had an incredible time and was thoroughly impressed by the storyline, the actors’ performance and the special effects. Truly, it was magical. My overall positive review being said, here were my favorite pieces of the show:

25ANASTASIAJP-master675SPECIAL EFFECTS: Typically, my textile artist eye is drawn immediately to costuming. And while this show does in fact boast magnificent costumes (that blue dress!), it’s this show’s special effects that really draw you in. I won’t spoil the show for those who haven’t seen it, but for those who have, you know I’m talking about that train scene! (And of course all of the beautiful winter scenery).

 

STORY: This is a beautiful story of love and the journey to finding one’s identity with inspiration drawn from history. If you love historical fiction, then you will love this show. That being said, the musical’s plot does inevitably vary from the original 1997 cartoon produced by Fox Animation Studios. While this is a point of dissatisfaction among  some die-hards, I personally thought the adaptation worked quite well and allowed the show to take on a more mature tone.Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 3.35.54 PM.png

MUSIC: It goes without saying that a Broadway musical should have spectacular music. “Anastasia” held true to this reputation and delivered an array of numbers that are as beautiful as they are catchy. Let’s just say I had “Once Upon a December” stuck in my head for quite some time. I loved that the producers included songs from the film while also adding quite a few original numbers. Again, more music for a further developed, more mature story.

THE BLUE DRESS: You can’t talk about “Anastasia” without talking about that dress. However, I’ll let this costume speak for itself:

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Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Seriously, so beautiful. I’m convinced there wasn’t a single girl in the audience who didn’t wish they owned their own version of this gown.

Case and point – next time you find yourself in the big apple and are looking for something to do, I would certainly recommend this show. Whether you’ve seen the original movie or not, this story will draw you in and make you a fan for life.

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Sketch for Inspiration, Not Perfection

Art

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time drawing with and talking about Prismacolor Premier pencils. While I’ve already shown you my latest hedgehog drawing, today I’m featuring a 45 minute sketch that actually pre-dated the hog.

I titled the piece “Expelling Evil” and, admittedly, it is way outside my usual subject matter and artistic vibe. It all started with a silhouette of a woman’s face, before then transitioning into experimenting with the wide range of colors featured in the pencil set. (Hence the purple-blue hair and bright red lips.)

I’m sharing this drawing not because it is one of my greatest works, but because it is a sketch in the purest sense of the word. While drawing, I reached a point where I gave up thinking about the piece and instead let my hand just draw.

As an artist, it is so, so, SO important to avoid getting caught up in your own mind. To do so would be to become crippled with over-thinking and not allow for your artistic instincts to reveal new perspectives of your creative mind.

Even if a drawing doesn’t turn out quite how you imagined it, there is so much value to be gained from trying new things. Much more value than if you were to draw the same thing over and over agin perfectly.

So get out there and drawing something new. Draw something ugly. Draw to discover a new side of yourself and to re-discover your inspiration.

Happy Holidays!

Holiday

Happy Holidays from the Perpetual Creator! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with peace and joy. Keep your holiday spirits high as we prepare for New Year’s Day this weekend and be on the lookout for some perfect holiday recipes!

Our 2nd Annual Oktoberfest

Festivity, Food

Growing up in an Italian household, I never had much exposure to German culture. That changed when I met Andy. Being more than fifty percent German, he possesses a passion for the culture of his heritage, particularly when it comes to food and drink.

Although neither of us have actually been to Germany, visiting Disney World’s Epcot theme park last summer inspired us to participate in Germany’s most famous festival: Oktoberfest.10502479_10153149017179064_3639388602894563004_n

While our ultimate goal is to one day attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, we thought, for the time being, it would be fun to have our own little take on the festivities within our own home.

What does this translate to? Well, basically a copious amount of home-cooked German foods and Oktoberfest brews. Last year, we went all out in cooking German cuisine and while most recipes remained on the menu, we decided to try a few new things as well.

OUR 2016 OKTOBERFEST MENU:

Appetizers:

  • Homemade Oktoberfest-style Pretzels
  • Horseradish Cheese Dip

FullSizeR (13).jpgMain Course:

  • Homemade Applesauce
  • Beer Bread
  • Potato Salad
  • Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage and Apples
  • Bratwurst and Sauerkraut

Dessert:

  • Layered Black Forest Cake 

Drinks:

  • Goose Island’s Oktoberfest
  • Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest
  • Apple Frost Wine from Fly Creek Cider Mill

The new additions included the Horseradish Cheese Dip (purchased at Fly Creek Cider Mill), Beer Bread, Layered Black Forest Cake, Goose Island’s Oktoberfest and Fly Creek Cider Mill’s Apple Frost Wine.

While we purchased the Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest last year as well, this company has a unique practice of partnering with a different German brewery every fall to create a memorable brew year after year.

The 2016 Oktoberfest rendition, a result of a partnership with Mahrs Brau (established 1670) is especially satisfying and perhaps one of the best Oktoberfest beers that Andy and I have ever tasted.

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That being said, the Goose Island version is pretty tasty as well…FullSizeR (12).jpg

So although neither of us have ever been to Germany, our German spirits are certainly high. Having our own Oktoberfest celebration is our way of saluting the culture and the fabulous cuisine it has to offer.

Stay tuned for recipes!

Perpetually Creating Through Year One

Inspiration

Dear Readers,

Exactly one year ago today I made the decision to start a blog dedicated to the idea of creativity and the power of inspiration. With this blog, I hoped to foster a creative entity that would break through the boundaries that so often segregate art, craft, cooking, writing and the many other ventures sought after by “creative types.” Three hundred and sixty-five days later, I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Thank you to everyone who has read this site during the past year. I’m grateful to every single one of you, the dedicated weekly readers as well as the occasional browsers. I can only hope that within the past year I have entertained and inspired you, whether it has been through my tips on creating hand embroidery patterns, my numerous pop-culture inspired drawings, my various book reviews or my favorite Christmas cookie recipes .

I look forward to commencing this site’s second year, anxious for the projects to come and driven by the mantra perpetually create.

–Emilee J. Smith

 

Falling Into Place

Inspiration

Make things happen. Although I created the image featured above for my internship at Career Services, I can relate to this design on a very personal level. I live my every-day life with the mentality that I want to make things happen. That I need to make things happen. Living like this means that most days are spent making and creating in hope of reaching eventual end goals.

Reaching end goals is something that takes up significantly less time in my life and I’m guessing, in yours also. Said times are rare moments.

This week was one of those magical times when this actually happened. This week saw the completion of three main events that not only signify the end of my time in graduate school, but also illuminate the future that I am soon to have.

Here’s a recap:

  1. Sponsors’ Night: This past semester I have spent 9 hours every week interning for Syracuse University Career Services. I am so thankful for having had this experience and being able to develop my PR skills, specifically writing and graphic design. Although my last day is not until this coming Tuesday, the internship is essentially over, having culminated at sponsors’ night this past Monday. A way to celebrate the end of the semester and recognize the PR Practicuum students, sponsors’ night was a lot of fun and a great way to wrap up the semester.

New dress, free wine and good friends. I'll deem sponsors' night a success.

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

2. Chobani Internship: I am extremely excited to announce that I have been offered and have also accepted a full-time internship position with Chobani this summer! My position will focus on internal communications (an area of interest of mine) and also allow for some community relations experience. Words can not describe how excited I am to be working for a company that I watched grow from nothing.  When I began my Master’s program last summer I  possessed the dream of working at Chobani. To now see this dream become a reality is overwhelming in the best of ways.

3. Campaign: This whole semester I have been working with five of my colleagues to complete a campaign for our client, the New York Beef Council. This project was actually a lot of fun to work on as I was able to design a lot of graphics and also make “cow pie” cookies for the presentation. That being said, it is always a relief to be finished with major projects, especially as the semester draws to a close.Yesterday we pitched our campaign to our client and were rewarded by her asking for a copy of our campaign book.

Congratulations to my wonderful team!

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In summary, it’s always fulfilling when hard work pays off. My time at Newhouse has been absolutely incredible and nothing short of life-changing. To watch everything fall into place is the best thing I could have asked for.

 

 

 

Prepared for New Creations

Holiday, Inspiration

Although I firmly believe that Christmas is not about gifts, I will say that I do love giving gifts to other people. It is not only fun, but allows you to show the people in your life that you care about them and have been thinking of them and their happiness.

I think most of us would also sheepishly admit that receiving gifts can be fun. I was especially excited this Christmas because I received a lot of thoughtful gifts from multiple people that have provided me with new inspiration. That being said, I am writing this post as a thank you to my family members who took the time to think of me and provide me with new inspiration.

1.Books from Andy: Both of these books “The Art of Disney Frozen” and “Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films” were on the top of my wish list. They are both beautifully illustrated production books that are full of awesome behind-the-scene information and artwork to two of my favorite franchises. 

  
2. Canvases and Sketchbook from Grammie: These are both essential items to artists and painters, but items that I don’t always like spending money on. Therefore I was very excited about having some new blank slates for creating over break.

3. Fabric and Markers from Mom: As a fiber artist I am always looking for new fabrics and strings. Gifted a variety of new fabrics, I am excited to start some new embroideries. And, as we know, I love markers. I am also thrilled that these markers are perfect for illustration. (More on that later.)     

4. Coloring Books from Matt: As I have mentioned before, coloring is awesome. I’m so excited that my brother has gifted me with enough coloring books to last a lifetime (or at least, until next Christmas).  

5. Nutcrackers from Dad and Sandy: After reading one of my recent posts and learning that I collect nutcrackers, my father’s wife Sandy went out of her way to find some awesome nutcrackers for my collection.

6. Pots and Pans from Andy’s family: Despite the fact that I cook multiple times a day, I did not own quality pots and pans prior to this Christmas. This was a wonderfully useful surprise. 

 
7. Game of Thrones Calendar from Andy’s Brother and Sister-in-Law: I love “Game of Thrones,” books and quotes. So this daily calendar will provide insta-daily-inspiration.

Thank you so much to all of these people and many more! I am greatly inspired and look forward to creating diligently during the remainder of my winter break!

Magic with Markers

Art

In life, we often come to associate markers with children. As if once you reach the age of 12 it suddenly becomes socially unacceptable to use markers for artistic ventures. Well, I would like to challenge this belief.

I love markers for several reasons:

  1. They are permanent. You don’t have to worry about smudging your work away (which happens a lot when you are a lefty using a pencil).
  2. They have good flow. Seriously, they are fun to use.
  3. They help you connect with your inner child. Whether its nostalgia or the bright colors, markers have a way of helping you re-connect with your fun side.

That being said, I recently spent an evening sketching with markers. I created these sketches in a small sketch-book, not spending a particularly long amount of time on either of them. They were, however, a lot of fun to make and, in their own way, pleasing to the eye.wicked witch east

I decided to focus of pop culture imagery, realizing that these sort of images pair well with the vibrant aesthetic of markers. The first sketch is that of the Wicked Witch of the East from “The Wizard of Oz”. Perhaps it is Halloween spirit that inspired this sketch, though I’m inclined to believe it was the stripes in the stockings.

Aside from my October-appropriate gal, I also sketched a “Harry Potter” inspired Pygmy puff. Over the summer my father and his wife took Andy and I to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida. As a huge Potter-fan since childhood I had been dying to attend the theme park since its opening.

The four of us at Universal Studios

The four of us at Universal Studios

That being said, I am very happy I went after the newest addition of Diagon Alley. The new park was amazing and I could go on and on about it for ages. But for now, I will tie it back to the pygmy-puff love that could be felt in Weasley’s Wizard Weezes and the Magical Menagerie. Both locations invited park guests were invited to “adopt” pygmy puffs.

Andy and I in Diagon Alley

Andy and I in Diagon Alley

I chose to draw this imaginary creature because of its vibrant color and also because of the body shape and nature of the fur. Both aspects of the creature’s physical appearance lend itself well to drawing, especially drawing with markers.

pygmy puff

Doing these two sketches reminded me that when you are an artist, it does not matter what your medium is. The important aspect lies in the fact that, no matter what, you are creating on a regular basis. And sometimes, using a “child’s” medium can spark fun and get you creating more.

So happy sketches! Perhaps I will revisit crayons in the near future…