Amazing, the wonders a six hour nap can do.
I must’ve been more burned out than I thought from the past few eventful weeks, because Sunday afternoon I had quite the epic nap. Afterwards, I was so rejuvenated and amped up that I cranked out this piece.
I’ve started the same piece before, but halfway through making it the first time I decided I disliked the composition and scrapped it. Since then, I’ve been itching to redeem myself.
So here goes redemption:
Painting on cardstock is great, because it provides immediate background color (and saves money), but usually the background color doesn’t edit well after it’s scanned in. In the olden days of my naiveté, I used to be a stubborn stickler for working analog. But now, how I absolutely love the flexibility of working digitally.
It’s all about options, people. :D
I don’t believe there’s a more awesome name for a plant than the Pink Polka Dot Plant. Technically it’s called hypoestes phyllostachya, but I’m going to go with pink polka dot plant. Even though they’re more like splotches than dots.
This painting has been my first watercolor (aside from the patterns) that I’ve done in a long time. It may be because I loved the rich (not how expensive it is) quality of gouache, or it may be that scanning in watercolor is often disappointing. But whatever the case, I’ve started to dabble in it again. It seemed especially appropriate for this piece because it needed a freshness and lightness of color.
And since it wasn’t a complete disaster, there will be most definitely be more. But before I dash off into my secluded little studio- aka my bedroom- to work, I’d like to share this verse:
It’s an older version of the lyrics to “How Great Thou Art”.
I often wonder at myself, and I’m sure other people do too, why it is I love plants and flowers so much and why I’m so deeply fascinated by nature and all of the creatures and ecosystems in it.
It’s true that it’s an endless source of inspiration- so much form, texture, and color as to never run out of ideas. But honestly, I’m fascinated because it’s completely miraculous. Because all across the globe, everyone, no matter who they are and what they believe, can at least agree that men did not create this Earth. We didn’t design the plants or the animals that live here, and that’s fact. The simple, obvious truth.
Flowers, flowers, flowers. Day in, and day out. I just can’t seem to get away from them.
Above is a repeat pattern I made using the painting pictured below. The painting wasn’t originally intended to be a pattern, but I’ve been making so many this past week that my mind keeps trying to turn everything into one. In fact, I’ve had to start a whole new section just for pattern design.
Both botanical paintings were created in a fabulous new mixed media sketchbook. And I say fabulous because it is the only way to describe it- other than awesome, superb, superior, astounding, lovely, and absolutely mind-blowing. But yes, it is fabulous.
It used to be that I would snub and turn up my nose at any piece of watercolor paper less than 300 lb (no, this does not mean that the sheet of paper itself weighs 300 pounds). Anything other than 300 lb watercolor paper was uncooperative with gouache and collapsed, curled, wrinkled and tore with the slightest touch of paint or masking tape. But the 300 lb Arches watercolor paper can withstand the abuse I’m accustomed to giving. It holds up like a champ as layer after layer of gouache is applied. It is magic.
But alas, like so many good things in life, it costs quite a pretty penny. Like, thousands of pretty pennies. Let me tell you, buying art supplies hurts so much more than buying textbooks. At least those you can sell back at the end of the semester.
So after a routine perusal of the sketchbook aisle in Michael’s, I took a leap of faith and purchased a mixed media sketchbook. The Strathmore, 500 Series, 90 lb, hardcover, mixed media sketchbook. Sadly, it too costs an alarming amount, but with those handy dandy 50% off coupons Michael’s sends out it’s a steal.
It’s true that it’s still no 300 lb Arches, but it’s absorbent enough that layers of gouache don’t become too uneven, and thick enough that the paper doesn’t warp like mad.
And you can believe that I mean what I say, because I’m so in love with these sketchbooks that I am using up a whole blog post to talk about them, instead of the actual art work. About which all I can say is: expect more.
For the past year and a half, I’ve been giving succulents an undue amount of attention. Though in my defense, I only discovered succulents a year and a half ago and when I did, I couldn’t understand how they were real. I still don’t. Honestly, how are they real? They’re basically awesome flowers that will never wither!
Anyway, it’s about time that I gave some other plants a little loving. They still might be in the same family, but we’re taking baby steps here.
Part of the reason I painted this was out of wish fulfillment. I like cacti- I’d like to grow them, but a clumsy mess (me) does not do well around sharp, prickly objects. So for now, I’ll be content with simply painting said sharp, prickly objects.
What do you give someone who’s moving away?
It’s something I had to think about for a while, after I found out one of my closest friends Zoe, an old roommate from college, was going back to Korea.
I’ve already written and posted about the small, gift-wrapped box, and the hand-painted letters and envelopes. But more than that, I wanted her to have something by which to remember our times together in the States by, and something to cheer her up when she was down.
Practically speaking, the gift had to be small, so I wouldn’t be adding too much weight to or taking too much room in her luggage. Hence, miniature memoirs.
Using an inexpensive, small wooden box from Michael’s and acrylic paint, I decorated the box with flowers (to remind her of me), and one of Zoe’s favorite characters that she uses sometimes in her work. He (or she?) is simply called the Afro Clown.
It’s definitely a little time consuming to paint wooden boxes, especially one with a raised grain (even with extra sanding beforehand), but the results are well worth the effort.
But the best part was picking out the miniatures that would fit certain memories. Some were connected to places that we loved and went to frequently, like our guilty pleasure Harry’s, a burger joint in Providence that has a big fat model of a cow out front on the sidewalk. In the process of collecting all of these mini memoirs, I realized how much of our best times and memories together are related in some way to food.
Which I suppose makes a lot of sense; a lot of the time we had together was spent cooking and eating. It’s what got us through the crazy days and nights of working.
There was a point where I considered including a miniature mouse, as a testament to our developed expertise in capturing the many critters that visited our apartment, but I thought it best to stick with pleasant, nice memories.
When I get the chance, I love making cards for friends and family. It’s like a surprise bonus present, that makes the gift even more personal. So when I found out that one of my closest friends was moving back to Korea, I knew I wanted to create something special.
From a stack of blank cards from Michael’s, I made two cards; one for her birthday, and one a farewell.
Both were painted with gouache and gold acrylic. The gouache held up surprisingly well on the cardstock, with zero warping.
And maybe because they were for a good friend, maybe because they weren’t for work or for myself, or maybe because they were relatively simple to make, but i truly enjoyed painting them. It was refreshing, and made me want to paint even more.
And I’m beginning to think that I should make some to sell….. O.O
For someone deeply involved with the arts and aesthetics, I was surprisingly indifferent about how I present gifts. I s’pose it seemed to me an unnecessary and unsatisfying courtesy.
But no more! The symptoms of my Pinterest frenzy have taken effect . Recently, in saying goodbye to a friend who’s moving away, I gave a series of gifts wrapped and presented more meticulously than any I’d ever given before.
And my favorite wrapping was this little box.
In all likelihood, I appreciate this one the most for its simplicity. Take an old cardboard box, paint the top, wrap it up with ribbon and dried twigs and berries found right outside the house, and boom: an impressive presentation that costs zilch.
Having gone to school out of state and studied abroad, I realize I’m often guilty of romanticizing cities and Europe (Ron Swanson would absolutely loathe me).
But Maryland itself has a lot to offer- we have rural areas, suburbs, and cities, mountains, forests, rivers, and oceans. All it takes is a little bit of gumption.
So one day when our all our other friends were gone off to Myrtle Beach for family vacations, Gloria and I put our heads together and came up with the most affordable day trip we could think of. Hiking at Patapsco Valley State Park.
Just a short drive away from the both of us, Patapsco Valley State Park features a couple waterfalls- one man made, one natural. We were looking for the natural one, Cascade Falls.
It was hot and humid when we began our hike, but being the young, naive and optimistic souls that we are, we were undeterred and relentlessly positive…
Until we got lost three times. After asking for directions for three times from three separate people.
We had passed a small waterfall below us where people were playing in the small pool of water, but because of its size we didn’t think it could possibly be the one we were thinking of- so we pressed forward. And got lost. And lost again. And lost again.
We found out from an older couple that the falls we passed was indeed Cascade Falls, and they gave us directions back to it. We still didn’t find our way back to the falls. But we did find our way to our car, which was great because we were beginning to think we might just spend the night there.
And I would totally do it again. Sore butts and sweaty attire and all.
It was incredibly satisfying, and even more so when I remembered that we had spent little to no money to picnic and spend the day outdoors, and in great company :) And, as you can see, it was beautiful.
It also made me think that hiking could be a great option for regular exercise. But that’s a whole other mine field.
Card for Grandpa for Father’s Day. I hope google translate didn’t fail me… #myspellingishorrendous #fathersday #oranges
Beautiful printed scarf. @jeshikkaaa @zosephbae #floralpattern #printedscarf #patterninspiration #target