It’s been a while since I’ve updated life-in-general things. My last update was right after my sister’s wedding, so I go to my picture files to find out what I’ve been up to since then… it’s all a blur to me, so thank the Good Lord for digital cameras.
Hi all! A week ago I got home from visiting a friend who is going to school near Philadelphia. Philly is one of the few historic cities in the northeast that I had yet to explore, and let me tell you, I loved it! It helps that I am a big fan of the musical ‘1776’, so I had tunes to hum and lines to mutter [not so] quietly to myself as were wandered through 300 year-old brick buildings (Mr. A: “The entire universe was created in a week!” Mr. J.: “Someday… you must tell me how you did it.” Mr. A: “Diiiiisgustiiiing!”). I actually had a bit of a challenge balancing between jolly show-tunes and the awe-inspiring gravity of the REAL things that happened there. George Washington really was here. John Hancock actually DID sit there. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration was first read HERE, and no, they didn’t sing about it. Goosebumps galore.
I have several friends who are attempting the 365 thing this year… you know, where you post a picture of something from your day every day for a year. It is so much fun to keep up with when someone actually does it. I know a few who have; I love the idea, but we all know by now that I’m not good with staying true to a course like that. I might last a week, maybe. So I decided, hey, I can still put up pictures when I feel like it, of whatever I’d like to share with you. Duh.
So, to start with, here are some highlights from my Christmas season.
I made sugared rose petals for our Christmas dessert. It was Jubilee Cake, in honor for the Queen’s Jubilee. Two layers of s moist almond cake with clotted cream and raspberries in between. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right kind of cream to make clotted cream, so I ended up with sorta-thickish but still runny, lumpy cream. Hey, it still tasted good. But it did make me angry at the FDA or whoever it is that thinks we need to have everything ultra-pasteurized. But that’s a different topic…
Inspired by my friend Anne. Oops, I mean Ann. Without an e. I don’t know why. She wrote a post about the ten most important things on her Bucket List. Do you have a Bucket List? I’m sure you have. I have never seen the movie, but I have one; it’s a “Before I die, I want to…” sort of thing. Ann’s got me thinking. There are always, constantly, forever things that I casually say ‘someday I’ll do that’, but… will I? Will I even care next week? What are the things that have endured on my list for years, and will stay there until accomplished? Things I’m quite sure I won’t change my mind about. Ever. Until I kick the Bucket. Bwaha.
1) Hang-gliding. The closest man has come to actually flying. This has been on my list since I was just 3 years old and my family visited my Aunt in Georgia. We took a trip to Lookout Mountain TN, and I watched the hang-gliders launching from the top of the mountain and fly down to the valley below. (There are even pictures of me watching, but there’s a baby sleeping in my lap so I can’t go look for them right now.) It is magical. I can imagine how absolutely free you feel.
2) Visit Scotland in general, and Foulis Castle in Particular. It’s not a huge, romantic, fairy-tale castle. But it’s very real. And it’s the seat of my family’s clan. So… that’s a no-brainer. 🙂
I have my own studio now. It’s strange how it came into being. Years ago, when my youngest sister turned 13, my dad looked at my mom and said “I had better build her a play house.”
You see, he always meant to build us kids a play house. Now that his baby was 13, he realized it was his last opportunity. So, he built a 12 x 12 room with a loft, a picture window (A discarded glass door turned on its side. Having a son in construction comes in handy now and again.) and a small deck off the front. My sister used it during the summer as a place of privacy to practice violin and study apologetic and calculus. I do not exaggerate. A year and a half ago, she got a job and moved states away, and the little house sat lone and lorn.
Until I moved in. It took a while, since I had to talk my mom into the idea of someone other than Sharyl using it. It’s hard for her, as a mother, to admit that the chances of Sharyl moving back home in a year or two are really quite slim, and that we shouldn’t just let this building rot while we wait. So, I got Sharyl’s O.K. and moved a good percentage of my art stuff in, and shoved most of her old toys and rock collection up in to the loft for safe keeping. I haven’t really had time to make it ‘my own’ by decorating or anything yet. It’s not much to look at, but it’s sooooo nice to have a place away from the distractions of the house where I can focus. When I work in my room, more time is spent on vacuuming the carpet and dealing with stacks of magazines and papers than actual work.
So anyway, here’s a wee little glimpse of my space… still cluttered with toys from my own childhood, in the process of being stored away.
Yeah, this totally looks professional! 😉
About a week ago I finished this commissioned piece.
North Country Sugar-House. This sort of scene is such a part of my growing-up years, it made me happy to work on it. Even if it IS a winter scene.
Have you ever noticed Daddy-long-legs sitting in their webs, madly whirling in circles? I want to know what this means. I tried googling it and came up with nothing relevant. I did get to listen to a clip of a song by a group named after my jiggling friend, but it was definitely not my style of music.
In other news, today I am working on lesson #20 of my art class, which is lettering. I have always like calligraphy and at one time I was pretty comfortable with a pen, bottle of ink and Copperplate script which a beautiful 92-year-old lady who used to volunteer at out local library taught me years when I was roughly 10 years old. With it you can crate deliciousness such as this:
(And may I just say here that I’m very sad to hear how many schools no longer even bother to teach cursive writing? I have it on good authority that there was a day when everyone who went to school was expected to have ‘fine’ penmanship and slovenly writing was punishable by a wipping! I say we bring it back. *cough*)
However, this assignment of mine is quite different stuff, having to do with rulers and lines and comparative sizes and a great deal of accuracy.
“Every Feeling Revolts!”
I am so stinkin’ right-brained it isn’t funny. Consistency and perfectly straight lines make me cry. Or at least cause some degree of anxiety. I like swirls and roundness and free-style. I keep telling myself that I just need to get through this assignment, and then I get to move on to the next lesson, which is Composition. I’m pretty excited about that, it’s an area I definitely could use help in, and it doesn’t demand harsh lines.
I thought this would torment me since I love Disney movies in general, but surprisingly I know which one is my favorite!
Tangled comes very close. I adore that movie. But I found that it’s confusing the children. I’m not suggesting a boycott or any such silly thing, but most of the kids I know who like Tangled did not know the story of Rapunzel before it, and so their idea of the story is the backward version Disney put forth. HE was a prince, SHE was the daughter of peasants, and they wandered TWO YEARS before finding each other again. For me, part of the charm of the movie was seeing the re-interpretation of the story, but sadly, too many think it IS the original. Take my advise – go forth and read unto thy children the original before they watch the Disney. This goes for pretty much all the fairy tales.
Enchanted also bounced around in my head for a few minutes as a possible favorite candidate. I like how there are references to all the classic princess movies throughout. I love how Disney was laughing at itself. I like how she fell in love with a normal, imperfect guy and saw how unrealistic the love-before-first-sight thing is. But it didn’t quite make the cut because frankly, I hate the scene toward the end with the witch turning into a dragon. It’s really painful to watch and listen to. The dialog is painfully cliche and awkward. I feel like a five year old wrote it. I sometimes fast-forward to where she dies and just watch the kiss at the end. 😛
So, the winner iiiiiiiiiiiiis:
As cheesy as it is, as un-empowering as it is for girls, I love Cinderella. From the first bit of narration while the book is opening, it will give me goosebumps. I wish my voice would split into multiple parts so I can sing all of the harmonies in Sing Sweet Nightingale. Jak-Jak and Gus’s attempts to get the key and climb up that huge flight of stairs makes me break out into a cold sweat. Okay, maybe I’m getting a bit out of hand, but I did beg for the newly released DVD for my 18th birthday, and as a child I did once have a dream that I was Cinderella and Prince Charming gave me a box of chocolates. Yes. And part of it is the beautiful, beautiful artwork. Aaaah, they rarely create animated movies with that quality of artwork any more.
I sort of dropped of the face of the blog-sphere for a couple of weeks, but here I am again! Did you miss me? Wait, don’t answer that…
I have been having a ball, taking some art classes again after TEN YEARS of doing it all on my own. I have been planning and working bit by bit on illustrating a children’s book for several months (nowhere near done, but it looks great in my head. Harhar.), in a medium that I was not as comfortable using as I should have been. I know, I know, why use pastels for a project like this when you don’t know how? I’ll tell you why. It’s because I have a screw loose.
I actually thought it looked really simple, and in a sense pastels ARE simple. But I was floundering, not really satisfied with what I was coming up with on my own, really not terribly happy with what the internet had to offer – beginner pastel instructions that I found were for beginner-everything-else-too. I’m an advanced amateur, for crying out loud! 😛 So you can imagine how utterly delighted I was one day while strolling casually through a nearby city … village? Cute old town?? Anyway, I was strolling through and found an actual ART STUDIO SCHOOL that I never knew was there, and they were offering pastel classes the very next week. There is something about having a teacher right there in person that can never be replaced by books and videos. Soooo I promptly signed up. I even gave up a chance to see Mark Lowry live in order to go to this. That’s how excited I was.
Results after three classes.
It went really well! Right away I got along with the teacher. She was able to suggest things without being overbearing (unlike an oils teacher from days of yore who actually took the brush from my hand and painted a section on my canvas without asking. Ask me if I was steaming mad.) and when she mentioned that she specialized in portraiture, I knew I wanted her to help me try a portrait. They have always intimidated me, and I’ve never done one in color, so it was the perfect opportunity.
Not perfect, but she’s my first try!
That’s where I’ve been the past two weeks. Being a student again, and loving it. I think I want to be a professional art student.