Wednesday, October 22, 2014

PHOTO TO FRAME: OCTOBER EDITION

We are officially over half-way through October. Fall is here, so are the pumpkins, and it's time to get those cute pumpkin patch photos! Am I right?

Here is your inspiration for today:


Since my little guy is such a cutie (sorry, mamas have the right to brag) I thought the before picture was pretty great. But with a few quick steps I got it frame worthy in about 10 minutes flat!

1. CROPPING is a must. Try to zoom right in on the good stuff. I made sure I eliminated the path on the left hand side because it draws your eye out of the picture.

2. I almost always SHARPEN my pictures using these Photoshop steps: Filter- Sharpen- Unsharp Mask and these are my go-to settings for portraits: Amount-500, Radius- .2, Threshold-2. And bam! there it is, sharp as ever.

3. My ACTIONS have been speeding things up lately. I used the Pioneer Woman Action Set 2 "Warmer". I love this action because it doesn't change much except it really brightens the photo and makes it appear warm and inviting. You can find the Pioneer Woman Actions here, and I have to say I love all of her actions.


Thanks for stopping by! Have fun getting some fall photos with your little ones and feel free to contact me if you need any help editing!






Monday, October 6, 2014

GALLERY WALL STYLE


Gallery walls have been on the scene for a while now. But sometimes finding just the right arrangement takes time. When we first moved into our home almost 2 years ago I had only 2 of these 6 pieces in my collection. I knew that I wanted to fill in the wall around my television to take away some of the focus from the tv, and I new I wanted a very "art centered" collection, without family photographs or monograms, not because I don't like those, but because they are featured in other parts of my home. 

Over the next year I acquired 2 more pieces, one as a gift from my grandfather, which was done by him years ago, and one at an art fair. With 4 pieces that fit together well I decided to look through my portfolio and find 2 more pieces that would really make the collection pop! I decided that by sticking with the same medium for both I could make the wall look very cohesive. I have a large collection of linocut prints from a class that I took as part of my BFA program and I pulled pieces from those. 

The top left -"Uprising"-and bottom right pieces -"Relief Print 4" are the 2 that I chose, and I decided to frame them differently in chunky black frames to bring solidity to the collection. I am really happy with how my wall turned out. If  you are looking for original art pieces without a huge price tag my prints fit the bill! I have many to choose from to fill in your gallery wall just the way you want. 

Please feel free to visit my Etsy shop by clicking this link!




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE & CARE FREE (YA RIGHT!)


For most of my adult life I have dealt with extreme stomach aches. A lot of my troubles began in my Senior Year of High School and continued for several months until my first semester of college. I didn't know why I felt so sick and why I couldn't eat almost anything without feeling sick to my stomach. I began losing a lot of weight and we started going to doctors. We saw several Gastroenterologists and there were varying degrees of input such as: eat more fiber (what?), an intestinal parasite, and IBS. But unfortunately no one was able to give any advice on how to deal with my stomach issues. Several years later as a Junior I started having similar symptoms. We had more tests done and saw more doctors all with the same outcome.

About a year ago my symptoms started up again. I had recently had a baby and had heard that some women develop lactose intolerance as a result of pregnancy. I immediately cut dairy from my diet. This helped quite a bit but didn't solve the whole problem. I knew there was still something I was eating that was making me sick. I kept a food diary and it was very inconclusive- why would a salad make me sick while french fries didn't? It just didn't add up. 

I needed to see someone ANYONE who could offer any advice. I made an appointment with a new Gastroenterologist and hoped for the best. I couldn't take another disengaged doctor who didn't care about my problems and would just write it off as IBS and offer no additional help. My new doctor was incredible! She listened to my problems gave me options about treatment and diagnosed IBS. At first I was skeptical (other doctors had diagnosed IBS and said it was a mental issue, and there wasn't much to do but endure it.) But this doctor had a plan. She gave me a pamphlet on the FODMAP Diet (learn more here), which contained a list of foods that are triggers for IBS attacks, something I had looked for for years. It was a long list. After leaving that appointment I felt enlightened but also overwhelmed. Looking at my list I could see there were a lot of changes that I had to make, and honestly I felt like freaking out. I felt like I would have to discard the last 4 years of work that I have spent collecting delicious, money-conscious and easy recipes. 

I have spent the last month completely overhauling my diet. Going gluten free, dairy free cutting out fruits and vegetables and other things that are part of the FODMAP Diet. And I feel great! The hard work has been worth it, but it has been and will be HARD WORK. I am constantly trying out recipes and looking for resources to share on this blog. Next week we will be talking more about the FODMAP Diet. If you are part of the gluten free, dairy free, bean free, high fructose corn syrup free band wagon please follow along on this journey with me and feel free to share your experiences!




Thursday, May 15, 2014

SUMINIGASHI


As an art teacher and mom I can recommend this as one of my "go to" activities. The simplicity of the technique means everybody (seriously EVERYBODY) can achieve AMAZING results. It is a fast and easy project that requires few materials and little preparation (reason #1 I said you would love it too!) It is also a great way to tie in a cultural lesson as "Suminigashi" is a Japanese technique.

"Suminigashi" literally means "spilled ink" and is one of the first techniques used to create a marbled surface. The ink is suspended on a water surface and is then transferred to paper. Because of the ever-changing qualities of water it is difficult to create a controlled print, but Japanese artists who studied Suminigashi were considered masters of control. One of the lovely qualities of Suminigashi is that each piece is unique, no-one will be able to replicate your work!

MATERIALS:

Large pan- I purchase metal roasting pans from the dollar store which come in packs of 2
Watercolor paper
Water
Acrylic paints from craft store
Toothpicks
Paper plates


PREPARATION:

1. Cut watercolor paper to size, making sure it fits in the pan.
2. Fill pan with about 1/2"-3/4" water.
3. Squish paint onto paper plate or palette.

PROCESS:

1.Traditional Japanese printing involves making many concentric circles using multiple colors (note- the shown piece is not necessarily traditional).To create a traditional print use two colors of paint and two toothpicks (I used about 6 colors on this piece). Dip the toothpick into the paint and very gently rest the tip on the surface of the water. Do not move the toothpick in a stirring motion or touch the bottom of the pan. The idea is to let the paint fill the surface of the water. As more paint is added you will be able to see the paint sitting on top of the water.


2.Continue to touch paint to the water and watch as it moves across the surface creating intricate patterns. This is a wonderful time to explore the medium and experiment with creating different colors and shapes.

3. When you feel that your piece is ready to be printed (I usually work on dipping paint for about 20 minutes) grab your piece of watercolor paper.

4. Hold the paper by the corners level to the surface of the water. Drop it to the water as flat as you can. Without spinning the paper, submerge it under the water, and lift up. 

5. Lay your print to dry. You have completed your Suminigashi print.

6. To make another piece just switch out your water in the pan and start again. I have found that the water is too muddy to result in a clear second print.


I love that each print is as unique as your fingerprint!
Happy printing!






Monday, April 21, 2014

LITTLE BY LITTLE


Just Breathe
Sold! on Etsy

Little by Little
Purchase on my Etsy

These are two little paintings I recently completed. I have been really inspired by the idea of collage and assemblage lately. With these two pieces I just let myself run a little wild and they turned out so fun and vibrant. The materials that I used to create these are printing ink, Japanese printing paper, oil, and ink.



It adds a great little bright spot to the home, doesn't it?
If anyone would be interested in purchasing or commissioning artwork for their home please visit my website or my Etsy shop

"Luxury is not a necessity to me, 
but beautiful and good things are."
-Anais Nin

As always thank you for taking the time to view my work.







Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ONE YEAR, ONE MONTH


I have been the mommy of a one year old for an entire month now! It is crazy to think how fast the time has gone and to think about where I was one year ago at this time. Slowly adjusting to motherhood, with long sleepless nights, so in love with this little boy, but so out of my element. Many people do not know about my fight with PPD (Post-Partum-Depression). I don't talk about it much, and the only reason I do today is to hopefully share a small piece of my experience to someone who is going through the same feelings. 

This is really hard for me to do. Our society doesn't share much of what it feels like to have PPD and often these most sensitive of feelings get characterized merely as post baby blues. But Post-Partum Depression is real. It has taken me almost an entire year to get back on my feet. There have been days where the fight was so hard I couldn't see how it could possibly get better. But that is where this little picture comes in. Look at this adorable, happy child. Seeing this picture is a reminder to me to fight every day for the good times and to know that it ALWAYS gets better.

There are many things to do to get help. For me right now, pictures are the strongest reminder of what I am fighting for, and a reminder of how good my life really is. I am truly blessed to be a mother. And would do the whole experience again in a heartbeat even if guaranteed to have the same post-partum experiences. I would also like to share a quote that has lifted me up when almost nothing else could:

"Motherhood is not a hobby, 
it is a calling....
It is not something to do if
you can squeeze time in.
It is what God gave you time for."

-Rachel Jankovic,
from Neil L. Andersen's "Children"
Nov. 2011 Ensign

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ART WATCH: ODILON REDON

Many of you know me as a mom, teacher, crafter, diy-er, but I tend to keep my "artness" a little bit sheltered. I am not sure really why that is, just that I don't want to bore non-art-enthusiasts with random "fun facts" that aren't really so fun! But this year, one of my New Year Resolutions was to be more confident in promoting my artwork and my skills as an artist. I am still shy about blogging my own artwork. But I am introducing "Art Watch" as a recurring theme on my blog which will spotlight artists that are really thrilling and inspiring me and my work right now!

Today's artist is Odilon Redon, a French artist who worked from 1900 until his death in 1916. He is considered a Symbolist artist, the Symbolists believed that it was their duty to interpret and visualize intangible ideas and emotions, which explains the abundant use of symbols in their work.

Redon's work is characterized by the use of intensely saturated color, brushstrokes filled with emotion, and a tight sense of value. I  am really excited about his use of color.


Arbres et Maisons: Vue d'Hiver

Homage to Leonardo da Vinci, 1908
Nasturtiums

The Turqoise Vase

Girl with Poppies

Thanks for enjoying art with me!