Emerging from a Cloud of Charcoal

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Scribble gestures of gourds and peppers for homework.

Just another quick post on the fly to update you on some more of my drawing class assignments…

We have been getting more into “Mass Gestures” with compressed charcoal… So other than feeling like I have a constant black film filling my pores, I am loving this exploration of textures and media! ¬†Here are some of my homework assignments, along with some classwork.

My mass gesture study of a stuffed pillow in class.

The objective for this homework was to create a mass gesture of 3 stuffed objects… I couldn’t leave Cappuccino out of that one! ūüôā

Exploring my new world through Prismacolor!

Moving right along, we are preparing to take on landscapes soon, depending on how the weather treats us. ¬†Meanwhile, in a whirlwind of personal projects, I have been getting immersed in the world of Prismacolor pencils. ¬†I am developing an idea for a series that I will share when I feel they are ready. ¬†Here is a little cropping of one of the drawings I have been working on most recently. ¬†I have been kindling this desire to illustrate for children’s books, exploring more detailed renderings of subjects and really enjoying the journey! ¬†Thanks for stopping by my virtual studio! ūüôā

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life of an Art Mom!

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Here is a snapshot of the days that fill my every week in a nutshell (no pun intended)! :)…

Just the basic supplies to get me through the week!…

…and this is what I have been up to in the first 3 weeks of my drawing class!

To find out more examples of this week’s photo challenge

“Everyday Life”

follow this link and join in on the fun!…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near & Far

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While visiting Disney World in May for our ‘Familymoon’, we found ourselves in the midst of the new construction for the highly anticipated Fantasyland renovations. ¬†Disney announced that they would be phasing in new attractions, restaurants and shops, including the addition of The Beast’s Castle (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Prince Eric’s Castle (“Little Mermaid”) through 2014. ¬†Just past the construction barriers, you can see the beginnings of Belle’s stomping grounds.

A closer view of The Beast’s Castle under construction at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
(Photograph taken May 2012)

In a very Disney-esque style of forced perspective that is seen throughout all of their parks, the scale of the castle gives the impression of great distance.  The actual size of the castle can be better realized alongside the construction workers, in some terrific photos that I found online at: Inside the Magic (click here).

Click here to get in on the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Near & Far!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit!

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Just posting on the fly in this nut-astically insane week!… Here is my response to this week’s photo challenge!

Back in ’94, I spent an incredible week at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota… ¬†I still remember the sound of hooves rumbling across the hilltop as some of the Native men in the tribe rode around the camp and into the Arena before the start of Grand Entry for the Pow Wow. ¬†It was a heart pounding vision that perfectly portrayed the theme of Free Spirit… I will never forget it!

The riders circle the Arena prior to Grand Entry.

Riders exit the Arena during Brotherhood Days Pow Wow.
(Pine Ridge Reservation, SD)

One of the many beautiful shawl dancers during Grand Entry.

Now that I am older and raising children, it is no longer appropriate for me to enter the arena as a shawl dancer. ¬†This picture of another young woman shawl dancing during that pow wow, is reminiscent of my more ‘spirited’ and youthful years! ¬†ūüôā

Click here to learn more about this week’s photo challenge: ¬†FREE SPIRIT!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

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Back-to-School time for the kids and finally for me, as well! ūüôā ¬†We celebrated with a candy-jeweled cake created by our oldest daughter, right down to its delicious red velvety core! ¬†There looks to be a lot of new subjects to cover and activities in the works for all of us, so anticipation of first-time classes has been buzzing throughout our house all week!

When I saw the description of this week’s photo challenge theme, I decided to post my new ‘urban’ life on campus. ¬†Monday was my first exposure to the Fine Arts area of the campus, and I was absolutely delighted when I walked to my building atop an amphitheater style of grassy stonescaping, reminiscent of one of my favorite trips abroad to Paris! ¬†It felt like a providential embarking on my life as a professional artist… As corny as it may sound, it was thrilling and put a bounce in my step as I explored my new stomping grounds. ¬†As my kids would so eloquently say… This is gonna be an EPIC year!

The courtyard outside the Fine Arts building of my campus this year.

Place Rene Cassin amphitheater outside the Saint-Eustache Church in Paris (1996).

Positioned at the center of the courtyard, the 70-ton sandstone sculpture “l’Ecoute” (“The Listener”) carved by Henri Miller in 1986.

Ahhh… to return one day to beautiful Paris again…

To join in on the weekly fun of photo challenges, click on…

 Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Healing Through My Sketch Pad…

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What a whirlwind this year has been for our family! ¬†In the past year, we have been through selling a home, building a new home for our spankin’ newly blended family, a honeymoon, a familymoon, and some unforeseen surgeries following miscarriages. ¬†In an attempt to navigate through my grief and mend my broken heart, I began to nurture my love for the sketchpad…

In an earlier post, I described The Carousel Project that I have conceptualized for years. ¬†This project is becoming a healing balm for me now… As I blend my love for whimsical carousel characters with my desire to bring light into my painful loss, I have sketched a Christmas reindeer character for our first son, Nicholas.

Later in the summer, we learned that my father was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. ¬†During some of my prayer time, I was inspired to create a special sketch as a gift. ¬†His wife is Vietnamese and his life has been heavily influenced by Asian cultures. ¬†I chose to sketch a Vietnamese dragon grasping a pearl, as in the Eastern tradition, a symbol of protective strength and healing from Heaven. ¬†He was also raised Catholic, and I felt strongly that the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus should be represented within the pearl… a deeply soulful prayer for not only holistic, but also soul-istic, protection and healing. ¬†Embedded within the border is a scripture I felt led to include. ¬†It is a passage that speaks to our faith from John 11:25-26, translated from a Vietnamese bible…

Jesus said to her:  I am the resurrection and the life:

he that believes in Me, although he be dead, shall live,

and every one that lives and believes in Me shall not die for ever…

This is my first drawing that I have ever colored, so I wanted to extend the symbolism through the Heavenly blues and purples in the dragon against the background sunrise of hope… It is my prayer filled healing sketch on its way to Georgia.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge of Crystalline Deposits

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Last weekend, on our return trip from vacationing in Georgia, we had the opportunity to stop at Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. ¬†I have never toured the caverns… They were absolutely spectacular! ¬†So this week, instead of merging unlikely subjects in my photography, I could not resist sharing some of our pictures from the tour…

Stalactites & stalagmites finally merge to form a pillar as a result of crystallized deposits accumulating over hundreds of thousands of years.

Just to give you an idea of how amazing this cavern is, here is a brief synopsis on how these formations occur… ¬†Very simply, the cave deposits are formed by small trickles of rain water that pick up diluted carbonic acid as it seeps through decaying vegetation in the soil, and into the rocky cavern below. This combined with the cave’s atmosphere, creates a formula for lime precipitation to build in rings that eventually form the long stalactites from the ceiling. ¬†As the deposits then travel down to the floor of the cave, the same process occurs in reverse, where a stalagmite is built up ¬†from the ground. ¬†New deposits actively accumulate at the rate of one cubic inch in 120 years!!! ¬†Over the course of thousands, even millions of years, these stalactites growing downward and stalagmites building upward merge to form a column or pillar, resulting in amazing natural stone formations.

These photographs do not adequately convey the majesty of this cavern… definitely a must-see for any traveler!!!

A draped translucent calcite form of “Saracen’s Tent” at Luray Caverns, Virginia.

This double column formation is one of the largest in the caverns, standing 47 feet tall in the 60 foot high chamber of “Giant’s Hall”.

“Dream Lake” is no more than 18 – 20 inches deep and covers an area more than 2000 square feet. With no movement of the water, its mirror-like quality reflects the stalactites dropping down from the ceiling of the cave.

The “Wishing Well” appears to have a depth of 3 – 4 feet, but is actually closer to 6 – 7 feet at its deepest point. Over $898,000 have been collected and donated to charities since 1954!!!

To find out more about how to be a part of the weekly photo challenge, go to:

 http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/weekly-photo-challenge-merge/