Thursday, October 28, 2010

Elegance in Dance ~ My Secret Desire

 Back Garden Cabaret - Found Here 

My mother grew up dancing, going into New York City for ballet lessons but later giving up dance for career and family.  Her feet now a testament to years spent dancing on point.  Wanting to pass on her love of dance to her daughters, she signed us up for tap/baton lessons then later ballet.  I, on the other hand, hated leaving a game of kickball or hide and go seek to put on my leotard and ballet shoes for dance class. After years of dance I finally talked my mother into letting me quit for my new found love - gymnastics.  Looking back, those early years must have made a pretty profound impression because I love dancing and watching the creative elegance of a good dancer or performance.  Most improbable of all, at one point it was my secret desire to be a Broadway dancer - go figure!  So, now my newest love - The Ballet Project  A collaborative work of dance, fashion design and photography that showcases the graceful lines of dancers played out against the landscape of New York City.  See the gorgeous work here and a few of my select favorites below.

 Violeta - Tribeca

 Elina - East River

I guess my lesson in this, which I would love to pass on to my daughter is...Listen to your mother, she really does know best!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Student Spotlight - Women Who Art

This weeks spotlight shines ever so brightly on the very talented, Cindy McWater's and her Winter Snow Scene Portrait.  Cindy began painting this sweet image of her daughter and grandson last February.  She worked on the painting throughout our cold, wet winter.  Set it aside during the heat of summer.  Started painting her portrait again this fall and finished it just in time for the arrival of grand-baby number two, who is due this week.

A Snowy Day

Cindy began her painting with a graphed out sketch of the winter scene and a palette of green, gold and red acrylic paint.  A field of Evergreen trees arose from the background with dashes of color from her complimentary color palette.

White paint was quickly layered in various directions to add motion and texture to the snow.

Her daughter and grandson gave a burst of color and life to the quiet field of white.  While a layer of white, red, green and blue paint add a delightful quality of movement and light to the trees and shadows.

Once the basic shapes and color values were created, Cindy continued to use her basic palette to develop the work with layers of paint.

Painting in Process:
The work in process as the images, shown in chronological order, speak for themselves.

Cindy holding her daughter and grandson's finished heirloom painting.  A true work of love that will be treasured forever.  We can't wait to see what develops with grand-baby number two!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When two or more friends gather

It is indeed time to celebrate.

 A few weeks ago these two ladies ~ whom I met through the close relationship of our boys ~ and who have become almost like family, gathered in my home to step out of their comfort zones, learn a new skill and share my passion for paint.  It turned out to be a delightful evening and gave us another reason to get together to celebrate the great friendships formed within our families.

A glass of wine and a few helpful hints were all that were needed to get the creative juices flowing.

Even though our boys are away at college, they are always close by in our thoughts and conversation.  A testament to this is the design and color selection of my friends wine coolers.  Since all three boys attend the same school we three moms were in agreement on the blue and orange "V" composition of one cooler.

Given the fact that our boys and husbands love the beach and enjoy surfing together, we were greatly pleased by the surfboard design created on the other wine cooler ~ And knew it would be quite the hit with our sons and their fathers.

Obviously, one of us (that would be me) was much too busy talking to have either finished sketching or painting her wine cooler!  Coming from an art teacher who was notorious for saying, "When your mouth is moving, your hands are still" this lack of accomplishment was absolutely shameful.

Fortunately the cooler was eventually finished and fired along with the others.  Now all that was needed to christen the coolers was a reason to chill a bottle and raise a toast.  Which, with our group, is never that difficult.


 This past weekend, the "V" cooler took center stage, along with a few other orange and blue accessories, at our pre-game tailgate party held in the boys apartment up in Charlottesville, Va.  The food and companionship was so good it was hard to tear ourselves away for the real reason behind our gathering:


The game kicked off with "Cav Man" parachuting onto the football field for a perfectly executed wahoo landing.  Sending up an enthusiastic roar from the crowd who continued to be astonished as the evening progressed ~

Looking over with amazement as if to say "Seriously, have you seen the score?"

Even the moon peaked up over the stands to make sure what was shown on the scoreboard was, in fact the truth.  Yup - check out the numbers...we were actually in the lead!

It turned out to be a beautiful night and a well executed game ~ Spent in the company of wonderful friends and family members and capped off by a team in great form.

At the end of the evening it truly was a time to give thanks for good plays, fair calls, great friends, and the kinship of family.  We all look forward to a reason to gather and christen the two other wine coolers!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fresh Paint - Updated

Small Paintings Inspired by Old Family Photographs

These three small images, painted on 5 x 4 inch canvas, were inspired by family photographs of my mom and dad.  They started off as gray-scale value studies painted in shades of black and white.
Mom, as a young woman posing by her fathers car.

Mom and Dad, as a young married couple..  My father in his military uniform and my mother expecting her first child - my brother.
This painting is from a photograph of my mom, taken in the early 1960's.  My father was out to sea and mom was busy raising two babies (my brother and me) - and may have been pregnant with my sister.  Mom had just gotten her long hair cut into a much more manageable short hair style.

All dressed up and ready to roll.

Together We Serve - Ready to Serve their country and family.
Moms Time Out
These small paintings are available for sale here and would make a fun gift for a new driver, a young couple, your best friend, mom, sister or for anyone who loves vintage/retro decor.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Haunted Family Portrait

 Family Portrait found here
A few weekends ago, while in the throes of redecorating our house for Halloween, I realized I needed something spooky to hang above the fireplace.  Hmmm....what could possibly scare the living pants or daylights (or dead nightlights if you will) off of everyone who saw it???  Thinking....Thinking....Thinking.  I KNOW!!!  A portrait of me - well actually a portrait of my family that included me

Haunted Family Portrait

Looking a little less scary than normal
Printing Process:
Here are the steps I took to makeover my family, just in case you'd like to try this with a photograph of your family.   I scanned an old photograph, taken when my children were much younger - fortunately, my husband and I haven't aged at all - then downloaded the photo onto Picnik a free online photo shop. Once on the site these are the "click by click" steps that were used to recreate our image into a somewhat haunted family portrait:  (1) click on "Create", (2) "Effects", (3) "Posterize" - once here, work with photo until the colors are just right then save (4) "featured"  - play with Picnik's Halloween features.  I used "vampire eyes", "masks", and 'Halloween stickers"  Once the recreated image is perfect save it. Then save it into a file or print it.  And you're done.
Although I loved the image, I wanted a larger print to hang.  So I printed a copy of my saved image, took the copy to Kinko's and had them blow it up into a 22 x 36 inch poster size print on paper.

Family Portrait - Painting in Process
 Original photo and larger printed image in the process of being painted.

Since the Kinko's copy came out darker and with less detail than I wanted, and since I really wanted a hand painted portrait above the fireplace - I decided to paint the Kinko's print. For this, I used a gray-scale color scheme and painted with a combination of black and white acrylic paints.  When finished painting, I covered the entire print with Mod Podge Gloss Varnish. 

Portrait Finished and Looking Spooky

I wanted the painting to have more stability when hung so I used a spray adhesive on the back and attached it to foam core board.  I couldn't quite get the painting to lay flat against the board without wrinkles.  Therefore, when doing this again I'll take it to a framing shop and have them adhere for a more professional finish!

My little batty family

Hanging above the fireplace
Along with a black and orange color scheme.  I don't think I'm going to want to take our portrait down after Halloween!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Blissful Weekend

This past weekend our family spent time together in the Outer Banks celebrating the marriage of my sister-in-law, Jeanne, and the 21st birthday of my son. Jeanne thought of every possible detail in creating a stunning and memorable wedding event.  From the location and beautiful weather - there was even a rainbow over the ocean on Friday afternoon - to her and her husbands sparkling send off.

The Wedding Ceremony

Images from Friday night at the rehearsal dinner to Saturday afternoon at the church.  From a couple happily engaged to a pair finally married and ready to begin their blissful life together.

~ The Reception ~

 An outdoor bar and a little soulful guitar music gave the guests and wedding party time to mingle, meet and socialize.

 Jeanne and Joe's reception was held at the Duck Woods Country Club in Duck, N.C.  The architecture of the building and landscape of the golf course provided a luscious setting for an outdoor happy hour.  While the sage green color offered a beautiful backdrop for photographs.


"Girls in the City"



The bride, The groom and snapshots from their parents weddings.

A bit of candy in shades of green and purple.

Best Wishes Jeanne and Joe for a long, and wonderful life together.

12:00 Midnight:


 Cheers to drinking legally and responsibly.

The evening comes to an end with a song!