Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet Little Sweet Cake

I'm not sure what possessed me... my love of sweets? My recent vacation doodles? My restricted sugar diet? But whatever it was, I certainly was possessed! My desire to fill an entire 16"x20" canvas with cupcakes... and cotton candy... and donuts... and ice cream... and candy apples... and more... simply overtook me.

In fact, I was so in-the-zone that I never replaced the lightbulb directly over my work table. I was practically painting in the dark! I just didn't want to waste one moment. And, all along I knew I wanted to photograph the background before drawing out the cake shape... but I finished that part in the evening (when there's no good light for photography) and just couldn't wait to move forward. The curiosity was killing me!

So, I just did it. I kept drawing and painting and painting and smearing... and loving every single second of it! Masking the outer area with a light seafoam green acrylic just made me giddy with success.

Then for the inside. I wasn't sure if I was going to leave the colors graduated, but I stared at it for a while and felt an obnoxiously bright pink would tie it all together and make the candy pop! And when all was said and done (around 11:30pm!), I sat back and reveled in my sweet little creation. And that was the icing on the cake.

Okay... what's next?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What a Knockout.. I Mean Knock-Down!

A few months ago, I created a custom Knock Down Doll order for a couple's wedding reception. They were having a boardwalk-themed event and wanted a bride and groom doll — as well as a pack of Georgia Bulldogs — for an actual arcade-style game they were going to set up. These particular dolls were actually modeled after the real bride and groom... but the assignment gave me an idea!

My longtime Tillie-style Knock Down Doll should have a bride!

And so I went to work on a design, giving him a tux and tails with a striped vest and boutonniere. The new bride was dressed in white with bow detailing, ruffle edging and a bouquet of pretty red roses.

The fun part is always when I get to see them come to life. Adding the little details like a handmade ribbon bow for the groom...

...and real lace trim for the bottom of the bride's gown.

I created a new-style couple...

...and a distressed bride and groom (hey, we all know one of those, right?), made to look aged and worn-in (or out)!

But I have to say that the most fun I had was posing these Knock Down Dolls in... well... shall we say.... appropriate positions for my photo shoot. This one just cracked me up to no end. It pretty much sums it up.... what a knockout!

The bride and groom Knock Down Dolls are now available in my Etsy shop. Choose from new style, a distressed worn-in duo, and I can also take custom orders for civil union couples! Makes a great engagement or wedding gift for that boardwalk, circus or carnival-loving couple.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Courage, Grow, Discover...

In the months before my recent vacation, I spent most of my time preparing for an art show... so I didn't have a lot of time left over for fun painting play. Arriving home from Colorado... I needed to paint and this is what came out of me.

The lion originally was just a simple flower, but it told me it wanted to be a lion... so I complied.

The details are the fun part. Now that I've learned to play when I paint, I just paint what feels right in the moment, and worry about the composition as it creates itself.

I find that I am drawn to symbols like circles, swirls, stars, dots, clouds and raindrops.

And I'm still working on my faces while at the same time trying to find the perfect set of eyes. There are just so many ways to illustrate them in acrylic. Perhaps I'll make a whole painting of eyes to see what I like!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rocky Mountain High!

So I'm still riding high on my trip to Steamboat Springs, nestled in the Rocky Mountains! We had absolutely gorgeous weather (well except for that crazy hailstorm on the drive in!) which ranged from 60° in the a.m. to 86° at midday, then cooling down to about 50° overnight. And it was a dry heat. Being from hazy, hot and humid New Jersey, it was an exciting change for me!

We stayed with relatives and so the first day they took us on a bike ride along the Yampa River. Along the trail we wound around suburban areas, quiet forests, a little bit of downtown Steamboat...

 ...past some art galleries...

...and even took a break at a beautiful Botanical Garden that was right on the path! The ride ended up being about 12 miles long — and for someone who has not exercised in a couple of years — I was pretty proud of myself. Plus, we got to see an awesome cross-section of the area. It was a great day.

We also visited the natural hot springs for a dip... that's actually where Steamboat Springs got its name from. The pools were varied temperatures from warm to hot and some of them were actually cooled by the mountain stream that ran through the area. Harnessing Mother Nature's finest resources. It was very relaxing.

We took a gondola ride up to the top of Mount Werner to enjoy some gourmet appetizers at one of the restaurants and enjoy the sunset over the mountains.

Now I know what John Denver meant by, "I've seen it raining fire in the sky." It was simply breathtaking!

We hiked around Steamboat Lake....

...and up to Fish Creek Falls.

And no trip anywhere is complete without a little jaunt into town for some artsy landmarks, some fine cuisine... and some shopping! In fact, I barely shop local anymore. It's all too commercial. I save my money for when I go away and for good reason.

Like when I walk into F.M. Light & Sons and they have an entire wall of cowboy boots! When I knew I'd be heading out west, the one thing I wanted to come back with was a good pair of boots. And I did. P.S. I'm in love!

There were tons of old signs in town. I just love funky vintage signs. I could have made a whole trip of just walking around and taking photos of them all. Maybe next time.

Oh yeah, and we even went to a rodeo! I haven't been to one since I was about 9, when a bull came rushing toward the fence I was standing on and squished my little finger between it!

They had a fun, funky ragtime band playing while we munched on BBQ and waited for the competitions to begin. They actually lived only two blocks from the rodeo. Nice gig!

We took a side trip out to an adorable old mining village called Georgetown which was filled with art galleries, antique shops, eateries and the like.

They really kept a lot of the old architecture from the mining days and that made this little stop even more charming. It's one of those teeny-tiny towns where everybody's nice and happy and friendly and it makes you want to buy a home there and stay!

Oh yeah, and sometimes we actually just hung out at the pool or on the balcony of our condo... especially after all that exercise. You know the only one who gained any weight on this vacation was my suitcase!!

We saw tons of stuff, did lots of things, and spent most of our time outdoors in the amazingly fresh Rocky Mountain Air. Being at 6,770 feet (and higher sometimes!) was definitely a challenge, but we also took it easy and slow... how a vacation should be.

It was super nice to get away and spend time with family from all over the country that we don't get to see very often.... and Summer in Steamboat was an awesome way to do it. Until next time cowboys and cowgirls.... Yeeeehaaaa!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Airplane Doodles

My vacation to the Rockies was so restful and rejuvenating and relaxing that I had enough enthusiasm to doodle my way home on the airplane. Although reality quickly set in and I am still busy catching up, so I'll tell you all about my trip next week when I'm more grounded. In the meantime, thinks of sweet things....