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.

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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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Jam-It All!

Food
One batch of our homemade jam!

One batch of our homemade jam!

I feel a pressing urge to write all of my summer related posts relatively soon as the weather is already noticeably cooler and the stores are filled with pumpkin decor! So, in a salute to summer I present to you: Jam! More specifically, black-raspberry jam or as we (my boyfriend and I) call them, black-caps!

Although most things I do are an independent venture or challenge I can in no way take all of the credit for this delectable jam. As a matter of fact, it was earlier mentioned boyfriend Andy who came up with the idea. Seeing as our back lawn was being taken over by an ever-growing black cap bush he suggested that we collect the berries for jam, therefore using what would otherwise be a feast for crows (GOT reference for my fellow nerds).

And so we undertook a canning adventure. I wouldn’t say canning is difficult per say, but it is definitely a lot of work and more specifically, careful work. Thankfully there were two of us so we were able to designate tasks and concentrate on separate pieces.

  1. The first step is obviously to collect the berries. Simple enough, if not time-consuming. This was one of my tasks.

jam on spoon 2. The next step is to make the actual jam. As it turns out, black raspberry jam is essentially just sugar, with some sugar thrown in with a dash of black raspberry. Though a recipe we found called for 7 cups of sugar per 4 cups of berries, we scaled it back and did a cup for a cup. For one batch we would use 4 cups of berries mixed with 4 cups of sugar (I used a fork to integrate the two ingredients).

3. Once you have your mixture, you must proceed to heating it and bringing it to a boil. You want to be sure you boil it long enough to thicken but not so long that you ruin your jam. A good way to test it is by placing some of the mixture onto a spoon (cold from being in the freezer) and running your finger across it. If your finger leaves a solid pathway that does not run but can still drip off the spoon, then your jam is boiled enough. (This decision making was an Andy task).

4. When your jam is ready you can finally pour it into your sanitized canning jars. (We sanitized our jars by washing them thoroughly and then baking both jars and tops at a high heat for at least 20 minutes). If the metal tops of the jars decompress after setting you know that your jars have sealed effectively. If you choose this method, be very careful when putting the tops on as all components of the jar are HOT! Thankfully, I was not the one doing this step.

Again, not necessarily difficult work but there is a little bit of effort to it! But now we will have the pleasure of enjoying summer berries deep into the cold winter of central New York!

Can't wait to try this again next year!

Can’t wait to try this again next year!

Sunshine While You Can!

Colored Pencil

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Before I delve into this post I think a little bit of blog talk is in order! First and foremost I’ve decided to post weekly, publishing a new post every Friday. Why Friday? Because, in my opinion, Friday is the best day of the week! Also, I know that I personally tend to be most inspired and generally happier on Fridays. And, if I’m lucky, maybe this site will provide you with some creative energy for your weekend!

Second, I have decided to vary the subject matter to keep things interesting. Although I consider myself a visual artist above most other things, I have many more relatable hobbies that I look forward to posting about as well.

That being said though, I am kicking off this site with a visual art post! More specifically, a colored pencil drawing that I made the other day. For those of you who live in central/upstate New York, you know that nice weather is difficult to come by. Even in the summer we get chilly days and plenty of rain. So as you also know, when it is nice outside you really make an effort to GET OUTSIDE.

And it was GETTING OUTSIDE that inspired this simple sketch. Unlike many other artists, especially classical, I despise flowers as a subject matter. In fact, I typically try to avoid them. Because they are cliché one might assume that they are “easy” to render, while in truth it is the complete opposite. I myself, find flowers to be a challenging subject matter.

But as with any other skill, in order to improve, you have to challenge yourself. So, from time to time I make myself sketch flowers.

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For this sketch I started by outlining the basic shape in a neutral brown and light pink.I then filled in general colors, beginning with the lighter (“weaker”) colors. This is always a good way to proceed because they can be easily drawn over.

Once I had the lighter colors filled in I proceeded with the shadows and the details formed by darker colors. Sketching outside is great because you are not only energized by the fresh air, but you are able to observe your subject naturally.

That being said, however, bright sunlight can make sketching on white paper very difficult! Typically I like to mass in the overall idea of my piece outside and finish it up indoors where I’m not in danger of being blinded by my paper.

This sketch, is just that. A sketch. It is in no way magnificent or refined. But that is the beauty of it. It is simple and fleeting like the summers of central New York. It was a process of practice and sunshine and that is a process always worth carrying out!

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