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Posts from the ‘Travel’ Category

What Didn’t Make It

Sleepy Reader

A precious photo of me as a child revealing a habit that I still fall victim to that didn’t quite make the cut for my blogpost, What do you want to be..?

Today I’d like to share some photos that didn’t quite make the cut in my previous blog posts.  I wanted to share these because I find sometimes what was not shown or talked about is as revealing as what is.

Girls in studio

These girls blew me away with their talent and creativity in my studio this summer

This was a photo I wish I could have included in my blogpost, The Wonderful World of Kid’s Creativity.  Alas, this was taken later in the summer.  These girls are the older sister and friend of the kids I instructed at the art camp in the beginning of the summer.

Boy, were these girls ever enthusiastic, talented, and creative!  They took my assignments and ran off with them.  It was a joy and honor to have them in my studio for a few sessions!

Studio of Georgia O'Keefe

O’Keefe’s studio set up in her museum in Santa Fe.

This was Georgia O’Keefe’s studio table and easel (with a canvas in its very early stages) reassembled at her museum in Santa Fe, NM.  I had wanted to share this photo after I visited the museum last summer, but my desire to include her beautiful artwork won out.

I don’t know about you, but I have a fascination with looking at and reading about other artist’s studios and workspaces.  I love to see what inspires them, how they organize their supplies, and how their space influences their work.

O’Keefe’s set up exemplified that perfectly.  Above her table was a picture of what she would have seen out of her studio window and scattered among her paint supplies were bones, soil samples and other natural materials she used as inspiration.

Here is an article on O’Keefe’s studio and several other famous artist’s studios.  Pinterest is great for this, too!

Beautiful Stormy Sky

One of the original photos I took and re-edited for my blog-post, Letter to my 18 year old self.

This photo was reproduced many times in my blogpost, Letter to my 18 year old self, but not in its original form.  It was taken from my front porch one early evening when there were storm clouds brewing while the sun illuminated behind them.

It was also an evening where my husband was away and I desperately needed a time-out from the kids.  So I grabbed a beer and snuck out to the porch, observing the approaching summer storm for a good half hour until one of the kids finally discovered me.  It was heavenly!

Chinese squat toilet

A Chinese squat toilet

Finally, a picture that just didn’t make the cut from our travels in China, two summers ago.  Its an example of one of the many squat toilets we encountered in Beijing.  (This one is relatively cleaner then many of the others that we came across!)

All I can say is that I would have amazing thigh and calf muscles if I lived there!

Are you like me?  Do you like watching the out-takes and blooper reels of movies?  Are you fascinated with the backstories (sometimes maybe more so) then the front stories that you see in the news and tabloids?

Have an amazing, revealing week!!

Evolution of a Painting: Banyan Tree Series- Part 2

Detail from Banyan Tree Painting

A detail from a painting in my Banyan Tree Series.

You’re back!

Thanks for bearing with me on my previous long-winded explanation.  I hope it was helpful in describing how I got from there to here.

Where is here?  Here is taking an idea and creating something out of it.  Those banyan trees became a catalyst for a new exploration in my art.

There was something about those banyan trees that fascinated me.  I think I used the word, ‘audacious’ to characterize them in my blog post from last year.  I wrote:

They grew like weeds on the sides of buildings, through walls, and in the middle of city squares.  They were dense, twisted, and thrust their branches out towards the sun in whichever position pleased them.  Often a thick root would shoot from one of their upper branches into the ground- as if their portly trunk wasn’t enough!

Banyan Tree Detail

I discovered wisdom hidden in the nooks and crannies of the Banyan Trees.

My first step was to do a few sketches to get a feel for the trees and my approach to them.  I found that this was a very loose and freeing exercise, that I could be very liberal in my design and colors because the banyan trees themselves were so varied and diverse.

Banyan Tree Paintings on Paper

Mixed Medium works on paper

I took those drawings further by creating a series of works on paper with watercolors, oil pastels, and other mixed medium.  I spent a few days creating dozens of them, but in the end I only chose a handful of them that I deemed worthy of my vision to sign and frame.

I was itching to get back into my acrylic paints and had a small canvas calling to me.  So I began developing a painting that followed the same path as I had with the works on paper, but found that what works in one medium doesn’t always translate as well to another.  I had to rework it many times to get it to breathe on the canvas.

Spirit of the Banyan Tree Painting

Spirit of The Banyan Tree- 11″x14″- Acrylic

I decided to focus even further into the trees.  The subsequent paintings became more expansive in movement and design, yet honed in on only a small portion of the trees, as if through a magnifying glass.

Spirit of the Banyan II- 16"x19"- Acrylic

Spirit of the Banyan II- 16″x19″- Acrylic

I do want to make mention of a technique that I used in these paintings.  As I was priming the canvas, I embedded natural materials into the paint.  I used feathers, pistachio shells, and sticks- as well as paper and string- to give the paintings depth and texture.

Spirit of the Banyan III- Acrylic Painting

Spirit of the Banyan III

These last canvases are painted with a spectrum of colors that hint at the natural world but aren’t necessarily found there. (At least, not all at once!) The natural world intensified!  I also attempted to create a dialogue among those nooks and crannies of the banyan tree, using multiple layers of paint and even adding a few metallic colors.

The result is playful, exuberant, and full of life and movement.  They are my new favorites!  They look nothing like my first attempts.  Yet, I could not have created them without first developing my previous drawings and paintings.

What’s next?

I’m not done yet!  I still feel as if there is more to explore in those banyan trees.  But I’ve developed a new set of eyes from my trip out West which has inspired me to take more liberties and widen my range.  To quote from this blog post about it:

“…I’ll be experimenting with a wider spectrum of colors and investigating textures, layers, densities, and translucencies.  I’ll be taking more liberties and breaking more rules.”

Landscape out West

The inspiration I gleaned from the landscape out West is sure to infiltrate my future work.

I can’t wait to get started and will be sure to show you my work as it develops.  Perhaps there will be a Part 3 in a few months!  But along the way, be sure to like me on Facebook, where I will periodically post works in progress as well as inspiration I discover in the process.

Have a glorious week!

Evolution of a Painting: Banyan Tree Series- Part 1

References for Banyan Tree Paintings

Drawings and Photos that went into creating my Banyan Tree Paintings- Shown here as a work in progress

Its been waaaaay too long since I’ve shared my painting process!

I should know since it has been way too long since I’ve actually been able to paint.  But not for long- 1 more week until the kids are back to school!!

Once that happens, I may have to go into hibernation to create more work and catch up on my business.  Don’t worry, I’ll leave you with my Banyan Tree series.

I’ve decided to break this post up into 2 parts.  Part 1 will be a is my trip to China last year (where I discovered Banyan Trees) and a crazy story that explains why I created a separate page on my website for archived posts from a previous blog.

I think I’ll start with the blog explanation first.  (Those of you that subscribe to my newsletter may have heard part of this story already- I hope you’ll stick around for the juicy bits!)

Not too long ago I had a blog on another, non-Wordpress site.  It was named after my one of my favorite artists, Marc Chagall.  I called it “The Flying C_____. ” (Except it didn’t have a ____ after the C!  There is a reason I am being careful about repeating his name, as you shall see..)  He was an early modernist artist and his style and use of colors had been a large influence on my art up to that time.

Screen Shot of The Flying hippo

A Screen Shot of my previous blog with a name change to prevent any more legal trouble.

I had created my previous blog while I was in the process of rediscovering my creativity and forging my art career.  This was a very exploratory period for me, and my blog reflected it.  It began with many starts and stops, but as time went on, I became more confident and my blog started to reflect it.  I even began to gather a small but loyal following.

That all changed one day when I received an email from a law firm in Paris, representing the artist’s family, asking me to Cease and Desist from using my blog title and domain.

Once I verified that this was for real, I was caught with two emotions.  A part of me was flattered that I was singled out by the The Artist’s family (Chagall passed away in 1985) and part of an international exchange.  I was honored to be contacted by them, even though I knew I was a peon, just getting in their way.  I couldn’t help but feel a little star struck!

The other part of me was frustrated.  There was no doubt in my mind that I would comply, but that didn’t change the fact that the blog name was on all my business cards and marketing materials.  Luckily, my business name had nothing to do with my blog name, or I would have been in real trouble!

Then there was the problem of what to do about my blog.

I could have just created a new blog on the same site and redirected everyone there, but I knew that I needed a website and it would only be logical to include a blog into that site.  My problem was, I had to give myself time to create a new website and blog- And I couldn’t publicly tell anyone why I was doing it because of the pending Cease and Desist!

So I stopped writing blog posts and attempted to lead my followers to my new website, which was still a work in progress (with construction dust flying everywhere!)  It was not the seamless transition that I had hoped for, but I did the best I could.

There is a point to this story– There were some darn good blog posts on that previous blog site, some of which I’d love to link to when I talk about certain topics.  (Like the Banyan Trees!) But these links are hard to do with a now blocked site.

But I think I’ve found a way.

I still have access to that closed site (Now called The Flying Hippo, to avoid any further confrontation!) and was able to carry over relevant blog posts to a new page on my current website called Archived Posts.  This is an imperfect process and I’m still working on the formatting, but if you read my blogposts: My Travels to the Other Side of the World and Back and Finding Inspiration in China you’ll understand why I felt they were important to my story.

Again, please excuse the appearance of these blog posts as I try and work out all the formatting bugs!

Banyan Tree on side of Railroad Tracks

In my previous blogpost, Finding Inspiration in China, I describe the fascination I have for Banyan Trees.

They’ll explain about my trip to China last summer and the Banyan Trees that I encountered there.  Then it will make much more sense next week when I explain my paintings based on them.

I hope you don’t mind the extra reading!

Join me next week as I delve into how I created my Banyan Paintings and what I envision for them in the future.  Also. let me know what you think about this crazy story and if you have any suggestions on how I could better link the 2 blog sites together.

Until then, Have an amazing week!

How The West Has Changed Me

Western LandscapeI have been hit with a ton of bricks.

That’s what it feels like, anyway.  It has been over a week now and I still can’t fully immerse myself in the present.  Part of me is still on that trip.

At least now my memories have reached a dream-like stage.  I no longer look out my window expecting to see mountains.

Yet, I have been affected.  I have been knocked out of my shoes.   I am entirely at awe by what God has created.

Endless beauty

How will this effect my art?  I kept pondering that myself as we drove along and witnessed the changes of the terrain, the vast transformation upon the earth, and the kaleidoscope of colors that washed over it all, creating a spectrum of hues by the position of the sun or clouds.

I have finally come up with a few truths:

1.  Anything is possible.  There are no rules and endless potentials.  Witnessing the raw, wild beauty of the west made me realize that if God could create all these variations to the earth and sky, then how many more are out there? My art need not be bound as well!

2.  The earth possesses amazing capabilities.  Inspiration can be found in the textures of the land, the patterns in the sky, the layers of the earth exposed in the rock, and the twisted, gnarly foliage that dotted the land.  I have source material for many years to come!

3. There is no way that I could ever come close to replicating the beauty that I encountered.  I’ll have to let the responsibility lie in the photographs I took, which still don’t come close to the actual experience.  I have been humbled!

Amazing landscape

This exotic landscape will be source material for years to come!

What I do know is that I’ll be experimenting with a wider spectrum of colors and investigating textures, layers, densities, and translucencies.  I’ll be taking more liberties and breaking more rules.

This trip out west has given me a renewed sense of purpose and drive.  I am brimming with enthusiasm and itching to suck the marrow out of my experiences.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

Have you travelled out west?  (Or are fortunate to preside there?)  What have your experiences been and how have you been inspired by them?

Have an Enthralling Week!

Exploring the Wild, Wild West

Walking in Arches

You may not have even noticed it, but I skipped a week- following a blog post about preparing for a vacation.

You guessed it!— I went on that said vacation, and now I’m back to tell you all about it!

It was a glorious trip out west!  I had no idea it could be so wild and beautiful out there!!  It sent me on a tailspin from which I’ve yet to recover.

Beautiful Breckenridge, CO

Beautiful Breckenridge, CO

We flew into Denver, CO (to save on 5 days of travel there and back from Ohio!) and picked up our rental van.  Then it was off to Breckenridge, CO to spend a few days hiking and exploring that picturesque resort town.  From there we drove to Leadville, CO where we took a 2 1/2 hour train ride through the Rocky Mountains.

Train through Rocky Mountains

A train ride through the majestic Rocky Mountains

We drove on and set up shop in Moab, Utah, close to Arches National Park and Canyonlands Natiional Park.  Both absolutely, stunningly spectacular!

Hiking through Arches

My husband and son hiking up to one of the many erosion-made rock formations at Arches National Park

Majestic Canyonlands

The Magnificent Canyonlands

I could have stayed a week (who am I kidding, a month!) out there- but we had more to see, so we drove back through Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park, where the ancient ruins of the cliff dwelling Pueblo Indians are located.  Truly Awe-inspiring!!

Mesa Verde National Park

The ruins of the Cliff Dwelling Pueblo Indians at Mesa Verde National Park

From there we drove into New Mexico.  My husband was due to give a talk at a conference in Santa Fe.  This had given us the excuse to go out west in the first place.  So onward and upward we went! (The elevation of Santa Fe is 7,260 ft. above sea level.)

I could live there!  The city was saturated in history, culture, and art.  Art everywhere you turned!  The next chance I get, I’m going back!

Drawing Inspiration at the Geogia O'Keefe Museum

My son and daughter drawing inspiration from the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe

Reluctantly, we headed back North to catch a plane back in Denver.  But before we left, we were able to spend a night in Colorado Springs, and meet up with one of my sisters.  It was a short but rambunctious family reunion with my 3 kids and her 4!

Then it was a few quick stops to see The Garden of the Gods and the famous Broadmoor Hotel before dropping off our well-driven van (that had become a complete pigsty!) and heading home.

View of Garden of the Gods

View of the amazing rock formations at Garden of the Gods

Well, I’m home, but I still feel as if I’m halfway between there and here.  The past few days I’ve been dreaming of the places I visited juxtaposed with visions of home.  I wake up wondering where I am and what time it is.

I’m a little disjointed, but it’s not an unwelcome feeling.  It means I’ve successfully lost myself to another place and gleaned inspiration from it.  I plan to explore that inspiration more next week as I peel back more of the layers from our extraordinary trip.  Please join me.

In the meantime, Have a Gloriously Wondrous Week!

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