Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bronx Zoo . . . Bringing Back Memories

One of my early posts when I started this blog was about my grandma. I shared a sketch I did of her and shared how close we were. (You can read that post here) She was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. I was also born there. She lived only a few miles from the Bronx Zoo. Most weekends growing up she would take my brother and I on the bus to the zoo. We loved it. I have only fond memories of my time spent with her there.

Today my husband and I went there and it was a beautiful day. It is the first time I have been back there in about 20 years. It was a strange feeling being there without her. When I saw the gates at the entrance (pictured above)and the familiar buildings my eyes welled up with tears. It was something I didn't expect and fought them back. Once we started walking around I felt better. I didn't want to feel sad although part of me did. Its strange how everything looks so much bigger when you are a child. I was happy though to be back there with my husband. I took so many photos!

This photo is of the Bronx River. I love the fall leaves.

I love these old concrete buildings that are found throughout the zoo.

This fountain caught my eye when we were in the butterfly house.

And here is a cutie pie sea lion! It was always my favorite stop as a kid. I loved to watch them swimming around!

I am hoping you will indulge me as I plan on sharing more zoo photos in an upcoming post! Stay tuned for some butterflies!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stretching to Sketch Challenge Week 7

Here is my sketch for this weeks challenge hosted by Kelly over at Kelly Berkey Designs. I have to admit I cringed a little when I saw the pose for this week. (Check out the original photo here) But as always I panic first and then when I start sketching I calm down and get lost in it. I often wonder how my hand is getting the image onto paper!

Each week I have worked through my initial frustration and the case of the uglies that sketch will go through in the beginning. I am glad I didn't give up on any even though I have made some adaptations to them along the way. This week I changed the pose of her hand.

Be sure to head over to Kelly's blog and have a look at all of the artwork for this week!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunset Scenes

Puerto Rico, 2003

I have always been a sucker for sunsets. I have quite a few sunset photos especially those that happen over the water. Today I wanted to share two of my favorites. The above shot was taken on my honeymoon in Puerto Rico. We stayed in Old San Juan. I took that photo from the beach at our hotel.

Malibu, CA, 1997

This shot was taken 13 years ago on a trip out to California. We were in Malibu at the beach. Wow, I can't believe it has been that long! So this was taken with film. I pointed and took the shot hoping that it was a good one. These days we are so spoiled with being able to see the shot digitally and can erase it and take a new one. Actually digital photography helped me to greatly improve my skills so I am not complaining! And all the digital altering you can do is so much fun!

Where have you seen your favorite sunsets?

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Images Of Fall . . .

This weekend we had beautiful weather once again so I took my pug out for a walk and brought my camera. It was a little tricky getting good shots with my pug in tow. He is always on the move and doesn't like to make any stops along the way! I wanted to share these pretty fall images today.
This shot above is someone's backyard who lives along the walk trail. Everytime I walk by especially when the sun is in just the right spot it looks so beautiful with the reflection of the sun on the ground through the trees.
I really like the misty look in this photo from the sun. I am loving all the oranges and yellows I see this year. I will miss the leaves when they have fallen away.

Hope each of you had a great weekend! I am hoping to have a very creative week! I still need to start on my Kelly sketch for this weeks challenge. Better get going on that!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Art Journal Frustration Leads To A New Sketch

I am taking Tam's free class Art, Heart, and Healing. It is my first class with her and love her style of teaching. I watched the first video for this week and was all excited to get started. I have never done an art journal before so I was curious.

I gessoed the pages of the journal to prepare it. But I was frustrated that my pages were warped and curling up. I was just too distracted by the warped pages to keep going!

So, instead of giving up I grabbed my sketchbook and graphite pencil. I decided that I still wanted to do the exercise even if I couldn't do the mixed media which I was so looking forward to after I watched Tam's demo. I sat and sketched this girl last nite. ( I have to admit that sometimes I enjoy sketching more than painting.) I finished her up this morning and used my very first stamp to add the hearts around her. I really do like her. I felt good when I finished the sketch. Although I gave up on the art journal I felt some sense of accomplishment with the completion of this sketch. I am finding that when I start something new I have even less patience for the learning curve!

If you haven't signed up already head over to Tam's site and join us! She is just lovely!

For those of you who art journal, any suggestions for my page warping problem?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stretching To Sketch Challenge Week 6!!

Here is my sketch of Kelly for the sketching challenge she has been hosting over at her blog Kelly Berkey Designs. If you haven't joined us already please do! Every Thursday she will post a photo of herself for everyone to sketch, paint, or whatever. I am really having a good time and learning so much!

If you remember from my sketch last week I chickened out on doing the face profile. This week when I saw the picture I cringed because I wasn't sure if I would be able to do the face. And I really wanted to try this time! Although it doesn't look like Kelly I am pleased at how the face profile came out. Boy did I have trouble with the nose at that angle. I must have done it over 5 times and gave up! And then of course there are the hands. I have kept it no secret that I have had alot of trouble with hands since the beginning of this challenge. I knew I wanted to have her holding a heart and hope it is a pleasant distraction!

Check Kelly's blog later when she will be posting all the sketches for this week. I am excited to see everyone's work!

Giveaway Winner!!!

I want to thank everyone once again for entering my giveaway! It was exciting for me and fun too!

I picked the winner the old fashioned way . . . I put all the names in a hat (actually it was a bowl!) and the winner is . . .


Congrats Leila on being the winner of my first giveaway! Please email me your address and I will get those 2 prints out to you!

In other news . . . I have just about finished my new Kelly sketch! Stay tuned! I will be posting it soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Colors Along the Walk Trail

Yesterday was a perfect weather day her in NY. It was 70 degrees, cool and breezy. Hubby and I headed out after breakfast to the walk trail with our pug in tow. It is just across the street from our house. I took the camera along. I was able to get some great shots of the foliage. Not sure if the colors have peaked here yet but they sure look close to it! I love the colors of the leaves reflecting in the water in the above shot.

Loving the orange and yellows!

More pretty reflections in the water!

My hubby took this one!

I may even try to paint one of photos with the water reflections if I have a brave moment! Water reflections are not easy with acrylic. Of course I can always leave that aspect out. Hmmmm.....not sure yet what I will do!

Oh, and today Art, Heart, and Healing a free course on willowing.ning starts! I am excited as I have never taken a class with Tam. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fun With Layering . . . A New Face

mixed media on 11x14 wrapped canvas

Yesterday I found an unfinished painting of a winter scene done in black and white. I stopped and left it out of frustration because I didn't like where it was going. So I picked it up and decided I would paint one of my face sketches over it.

I took my folk art italian sage and squirted some right onto the canvas spreading it around to cover all the black. And then I grabbed a paper towel to blot around and remove some. I was excited when I saw the design I had created with a little of the black paint showing through. Once that dried I put my sketch on the canvas. I had some trouble as I am used to the hard canvas board especially doing the face. When my girl was done I took out the paper towel with white paint and started pressing it into the canvas. Lastly I used my fan brush to add some black birds, which my hubby thought were bats, ( I wasn't going for bats but I still like the effect they give the piece) and was really pleased with the end result.

This is the first time I have done any layering with paint. I really have no patience for it! I think because I had the old painting it just lead me into layering this piece. I don't like to wait for the paint to dry between layers so I just don't do it. How silly is that?!

Anyone else impatient when it comes to layering?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Falling Leaves . . . A Landscape

First a big thank you to everyone for all your comments on my sketch! I am really having fun through this process and love sharing my progress with all of you! And I am excited that so many of you have entered my giveaway! A big HELLO to my new followers!

So for today I wanted to share the landscape I painted over the weekend. It is acrylic on 9x12 canvas paper. This is the first landscape I painted without a photo. I just painted what I could see in my mind. That in itself is a challenge for me. I went a little crazy with the leaves but they were so much fun to paint!

Wishing you a creative day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stretching To Sketch Challenge Week 5

Here is my sketch for this week's challenge over at Kelly Berkey's blog.
I suppose you could say I cheated this week or more like I got frustrated and gave up on sketching the profile of her face. I tried and tried but it just wasn't coming out right. So I decided to have her hair falling across her face. That was the only thing I changed from the original photo.

The hardest for me this week (besides the face) were the hands, legs, and feet although I think I am getting more detail in my hands from previous sketches. This is done in graphite pencil and I am loving my kneaded eraser wondering how I did the first few sketches without one!

Kelly will be posting all the results later today. Be sure to stop by her blog and check it out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My First Giveaway!!!

I was so inspired by all of the great comments about your love of my night photography that I decided to do my first giveaway!! And the giveaway is a set of 2 photo prints! Each print will be a 5x7 image centered on 8x10 glossy photo paper providing a nice white border for framing. The prints will be titled and signed by me on the front.

You can enter 3 times. First, all you have to do is just leave a comment! If you want your name entered a second time become a follower. And for a third entry mention my giveaway on your blog. Make sure you let me know what you do! I will be picking the winner next Wednesday, October 20th.

Here are the two photos included in this giveaway . . .

"Newport Bridge,RI"

"The Lights of Downtown Newport, RI"

Good Luck!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Lights of Downtown Newport . . .

I am excited that you are all loving these night shots! This photo was taken the same night I took the bridge photo. It is a view of downtown Newport. There is a nice park nestled along the ocean shore where I took both photos. The tallest building you see is a church. It is so very beautiful. I have many pictures of it.

It looks like a postcard scene to me. Although I have this same shot during the daytime it looks much more powerful at night. I love the reflection of the lights in this one too!

Yesterday I did some painting. Its a new landscape inspired by the beautiful fall weather we had here in NY. I will be sharing it soon!

Hope you had a lovely creative weekend!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Newport Bridge At Night

I am so glad you enjoyed my full moon photo. Thanks for all your great comments!

Today I thought I would share another night shot. This is the Newport Bridge up in Rhode Island. It is one of my favorite bridges. There is a lovely park where you can sit on a bench and just marvel at this view. My hubby and I were the only ones there that night and we set up the tripod. The weather was beautiful. It was the beginning of spring.

Luckily I had my tripod with me on that weekend trip. I also used the remote control so between that and the tripod I could ensure there would not be any shaking of the camera while the shutter was open.

Night shots have always been a challenge for me so I was very excited that I was able to get a clear picture. I especially love the wavy reflection in the water.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Full Moon Shining

Thank you for your sweet comments on yesterday's sketching challenge post! I am learning so much and already started on the new pose last nite!

Today I wanted to share this photo that took last winter. It was a full moon that night. I grabbed my tripod and camera setting it up on the front steps of our house. In the winter we have a nice view of the water. I don't use the tripod often but I knew that with a night shot the shutter was going to stay open longer and any tiny movement would cause the image to blur.

I wish I jumped into these moments more often. I must have been outside for an hour in the freezing cold but none of it mattered. I was completely immersed in capturing the image I wanted. I quickly got lost in the beauty of the moon shining on the water.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stretching to Sketch Challenge Week Four!

Here is my Kelly sketch for the weekly challenge. This one was more challenging than I initially anticipated. I was hoping to improve over last week but the back view was alot harder for me. This one is done in graphite pencil as my others but I tried to use all three this time which did help with the shading. And I finally got a kneaded eraser! Wow, that makes it much easier. Now I don't have to sit with a lap full of shredded rubber from the regular one I was using. I erase alot!

I feel like I put too much pressure on myself to do better than the last one. I don't think I realize that with each sketch comes a different set of challenges depending on the view and body parts involved. There will be new things to learn with each one. I need to be kinder to myself!

As always you can jump in and join us anytime! Kelly will be posting the results tonite and then a new photo for this week will be posted tomorrow. Check out the original photo here at Kelly Berkey's blog!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting Back To The Landscape

This painting was inspired by a photo. It is acrylic on 9x12 canvas paper. I love using shades of orange and purple together in a painting. I have fun painting trees. I don't know what it is about them but I especially enjoy painting the leaves. And of course as always I want to rush and see the finished piece! I try to add the leaves before I finish the rest of the painting!

I would like to get back to painting more landscapes. I haven't done one in a while. There are just too many things dancing in my head. But sometimes I feel like I should just stick to one thing and master it. And yet I don't want to limit myself. There is so much to learn and I want to experience as much of it as I can!

Ever feel that way?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Birthday Themed Bosco!

I took this photo last week for a custom etsy order. The request was for a pug photo card with a birthday theme. I didn't make any promises as my little guy hates to pose and hates clothes (especially hats) even more. My hubby helped me with the hat and held Bosco still.

This was the best one of the lot! I took the shot in color and then digitally altered it with an antique tone. He so doesn't look happy but is still darn cute! Then again I am biased since he is my furkid!

Hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend! It finally feels like fall here in NY! YAY! Finally cool weather!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Graphite Tips . . . And A New Sketch

Thanks for all of your comments on my sketching challenge post! I am really having fun with it and learning so much. And having all of you to share it with makes it all the more wonderful!

So yesterday I didn't even get a post together. I had a stressful day. Most of it self created if any of you can relate! In an attempt to refocus myself I grabbed my sketchbook. I wasn't expecting her to look like this but I think she is the release of my angst!

I used graphite pencil as I have been using with all of my challenge sketches. And I just realized that I am not even paying attention to the numbers on the pencils! For my sketch yesterday I used the 2H pencil and then last nite picked up the 6B. As I started to my sketch I noticed it was so much darker and smudgy than the 2H. I feel pretty silly even sharing this.

For those of you that work with graphite . . . any tips on using the different grades? I liked the darker shade of 6B but felt like my sketch was getting "dirty" from how smudgy it was. And thought back to my challenge sketch and now I know why it was so light! I also have the HB. Do you use all three in one sketch depending on the level of shading you want?