Color me Spring

purple flowers 2

Guess what?

The flowers in our yard are FINALLY blooming!

The week before last it rained and poured…for days. Well, it seemed like that any way. After about the 3rd day of rain, I started to miss the sun, but I was forgetting something…rain brings GREEN and blooms and lovely little buds all over the trees. Spring has sprung.

It’s here, and I’m loving it!

There’s a beautiful tree in our backyard that I had completely forgotten about, too, until I peaked out our back window and saw this:

flower tree

And I was so happy!

What is wonderfully ironic about this, we are also studying color in the design Module 1 at The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design this week. I was as giddy as a school girl as I grabbed my camera and told my girls we were going to play in the backyard. My 6yr old, still in her school uniform from that day, was thrilled since we hadn’t been out there yet due to the cold and wet. And well, my 11 month old didn’t have much of a choice, but she loved being outside so it was a win win for all of us. Fresh spring air, fresh blooms, fresh green grass, fresh COLOR…it was a little bit of heaven.

Grace and Flower

I couldn’t help but capture her little feet with a bloom. Her little toes get me every time. She’s growing up way too fast.

Anyway.

Back to color.

We’ve had several color exercises in class this week, all of which have been so fun and inspiring. I know I’ve posted in the past about how much I love color and how I’m addicted to my color theory books, but some of the things in the course this week has made it even more of a personal passion. We’ve studied how color can affect how we feel and how we can use it to in our designs to set a mood. How we can use it to meditate…loved that! We’ve played around with color palettes and learned how to create our own palettes with our own pictures.

blossom 1

But my all time favorite project of the week was creating a mood board. And since I’m really into my blooming tree right now (obviously), I thought I’d use that as a starting point and go with those colors. I’ll admit, this took a little bit of time to put together, but the process was so liberating. It was so fun to clip pictures out of magazines and gather little tidbits to add here and there…to touch the textures of objects and envision how I could capture the essence of certain items. Like the glisten of sequins (which I haven’t figure out yet), but wow it was so inspiring! I definitely understand how a mood board can set the entire tone for a design.

Here is mine:

mood board 1

What’s interesting, I’ve seen this done many times before and always wanted to give it a try. I have several books by artists and textile designers who share their own methods of creating mood boards and I’m always fascinated by how they built their boards, what they used, and what design/designs came out of it. And I get it now. I’m so inspired by what I created and I’m looking forward to honing into this mood board and developing my own sketches…I have a vision for multiple coordinating patterns here. Hoping I will be able to focus on this and make it a reality.

Color truly is all around us. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some color today.

Thanks for reading,

Belinda

 

 

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There’s an Angel in my Studio

My Grandma used to have a painting in her house of a Guardian Angel helping two little kids across a bridge. As much as I loved staring at it, I was also slightly terrified at the thought of a huge being watching over everything I did. Sometimes I would sneak in her room just to see it. I loved how the angel face seemed to glow…she had such adoration as she watched over the children. She seemed legitimately concerned. And I used to think that if I was ever in a scary place, there would be an angel there watching over me.

It was a nice thought.

I’ve always been drawn to angels and my oldest daughter (who is now 6) has picked up on this. So when I discovered that Suzi Blu created the workshop, Patchwork Angel Petite Doll, this month, I thought, how great would this be? A Mother, Daughter project! So we did it together and it was great fun. The workshop comes with the angel template so basically you just have to follow the instructions within the class. I thought my 6 year old daughter did very well with it, and I ended up only helping her with a couple things. She particularly loved making the patchwork skirt. Here is her painting:

SA F

It was a lot of fun just watching the vidoes together and going through the different steps. We sat side by side shading our little angel faces together and talking about what colors we wanted the dress to be. I highly recommend this. My daughter is already asking to do another one.

Here is mine:

SA mom

My angel sits in my studio above my little chalkboard that I use for inspirational ideas. She’s a lovely reminder that it’s important to make memories with my daughter. I’d like to think she whispers things to me from time to time.

Things like, “Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”

And, ” Be brave with your life.”

Because all of us need to be reminded from time to time that things we believe in and hope for are attainable.

I think I can

When I was a little girl, my Dad used to read the story of The Little Engine That Could. And although I didn’t fully grasp the potential of the concept when I was small, I grew to love this book and I still remember the animated voices my Dad used when he read it to me. It was mesmerizing to think that a little blue train – not the biggest, strongest or the most qualified train – but a little train with heart, determination, and optimism could make a big impression and complete it’s journey over the mountain.

It thought it could, so it did.

This past week I’ve been thinking a lot of when I first started painting. Ten years ago when I started playing around with the idea of doing art, I picked up a few art instructional books by Walter Foster. I poured myself into them not knowing if I was doing things correctly, but I was enjoying the process. I’ve always been drawn to art, but when I first started doing it “for reals”, I was teaching myself everything from these books. And I was so insecure in myself that I thought everything I was teaching myself was the incorrect way. Nobody even knew I tinkering in art…I kept it all to myself. I felt I needed guidance for someone to tell me how to do specific techniques, or to confirm if I was doing it right. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I took a watercolor class locally. It was an elderly art teacher and she had been doing a variety of different mediums a very long time. She was so laid back and gentle in her approach and for the first time I realized that art wasn’t necessarily about doing things a certain way, it was about expression, where you were at that time, what you were drawn to, and what inspired you. Art had more to do with conveying expression through color and texture than it had to do with literal art “rules.” And this opened my eyes.

I was hooked.

Little did I know the journey I was on.

I just enjoyed it, so I continued. I was eager to learn and challenge myself. I didn’t think I was necessarily headed in any particular direction; it was a therapeutic hobby. I didn’t even know that my art was defining itself over time. It just seemed to happen. Then one day (recently) I looked back at my original sketches that I did when I had first started “formally” sketching and it was all there…my style. It’s always been inside of me. Yes my work has matured, and I have learned many more techniques since then, but the same vibe is there.

I still consider myself a student, and I feel I have so much more to learn. But I think I can do it. I think I can get to where I want to go.

Like the little blue engine that could.

For several years now I’ve had a passion about pattern design, albeit it was a closet dream of mine and I honestly didn’t have a clue how my art would tie into it. Then for some odd reason, everything at once just clicked. And I discovered Rachel Taylor’s “The Art and Business of Pattern Design” school; and I thought, “Wow, this is where I need to be.” I showed it to my hubby and he studied it (as he does everything…I think that’s a military thing), and that evening he came up to me and said, “You need to do this. This is in line with exactly what you’ve been talking about for the last few years.” And I cried…because I love how much he gets me.

So I signed up, and then they had a scholarship competition and I applied. I didn’t know at the time that over 300 people from 39 different countries were also applying for the scholarship. Had I known, I probably would not have submitted anything because I would have thought I didn’t have much of a chance (ya know, with all the talented people out there). Because as much as I try to stay positive, I am my biggest enemy.

But I applied for the scholarship. This was my entry:

Circus Carnival WM

And I ended up being in the top 10. I won the first class of the series, Module 1.

I was shocked.

Lil’ ole me. I’m not the strongest artist, not the most qualified, not well-known…and all that really isn’t important to me.

I still don’t know where this journey will take me, but I’m open to the possibilities. I started class this week and I’m excited to be on a path. I feel like everything has lead up to this point, and I’m ready for it.

I think I can do this.

CC Sketches

original sketches

To the Hope of Spring

Flora Hope

Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow. ~ Albert Einstein

The snow finally melted with the rains that came through this week, and I have one thing on the mind – Spring. It actually warmed up to the 50s in Southern Illinois, and I was eager to get outside and feel this new found warmth. I stepped into our backyard garden and the fresh damp air surrounded me. Earthy. It smelled earthy and lovely. And I was reminded of the flowers that will be blooming soon, hopefully.

Flowers planted not by my own hands, but by the previous owners of our home. They were two elderly women whose hobby was gardening…and they planted a very extensive flower garden in our limited back yard. So extensive in fact, that we had to call in the help of a local nursery to help us know how to maintain it. The nursery guy examined our lot and we were surprised to discover that many of the plants had been special ordered…exotic flowers, cacti, and things I honestly never saw in my life. There were over 50 different varieties of plants. It was an eclectic mix of flowers and foliage, and in the end we had to purge through it since it was too much for us to maintain. It was kind a of sad in a way. I felt bad going through it all and deciding what we were going to keep and what had to go. But it had to be done. We kept the rose bushes, lilies, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossom tree, magnolia tree, and a beautiful violet flower bush that blooms in July. But my favorite in our yard is the tulips.

Flora Survive 1

I remember as a girl waiting for the tulips to bloom. And finally, FINALLY they would poke through the soil…it was a sign that summer would soon be here and school would be out.

This year I feel that same anticipation (except for the school part). I can’t wait to see those little buds poking through. Beautiful tiger stripped lilies and tulips will bloom; and I will be happy as a lark sipping my lemonade, and watching the hummingbirds zip through our yard as I sit on my patio chair.

So here’s to the hope of Spring.

May it come quickly.

Flora Survive 2

 

*Original Art by Belle Ann Art.

With Brave Wings She Flies

WBW 2

There is this moment in that pivotal point of the morning when the chill of the night has not yet been greeted by the warmth of the sun. And as the sun fights it’s way upon the horizon and those first beams of light shoot through my window, I hear the whispers of a new day. In this quiet moment, before the sound of children stirring and before responsibilities are calling, life stands still and I feel as though time is mine to own. I cling to the warmth of my comforter as I contemplate whether or not the cold floor is worthy of my warm toes. So I lie here zoned in thought. The possibilities of what could be achieved in the coming hours are but an illusion. Reality is that my day will be spent chasing after a curious crawler, and answering the questions of an intuitive 6 year old.

I love my girls.

But these still, quiet moments of a potential day are treasured. I need them to regain focus and strength. I need them to reinforce my prospective. I need them to reprieve insight and direction.

There is so much in me right now that is bursting. There is so much I want to do. And although I am somewhat limited as to what is accomplished due to my priorities of family, I am not giving up. Every day new ideas are propelling out and I find myself hunched over my sketch book eagerly trying to convey the concepts. I have filled 2 full sketchbooks within the last month. And as I feel compelled to release these creative burst, I feel a shift in my artistic direction…I want to do more. It’s extremely exciting because I feel as if I am pressing forward toward my dreams. And it’s all incredibly scary at the same time.

I have challenges ahead. I know this. But who I am…this whole creative person who came from the tormented thinking of “I’m not good enough” to the realization that my art is real and yes, it does have potential. This journey…my journey…has been a miracle of Faith and the result of persistence. Everything inside of me is pushing me forward.

It’s time to be brave.

WBW 3

This is a canvas journal I painted this week. It is going to be my new inspirational journal. I’ve been on Pinterest a lot lately and as much as I love it, I wanted something substantial to hold in my hands…something I created. I imagine clippings of magazine pictures, snipits of ribbon, and tidbits of tiny treasures. It’s going to be lovely.

I really enjoyed creating the texture on this cover:

WBW 1

What keeps you motivated and moving toward your dreams? Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Would love to hear it!

Thanks for letting me share,

Bindy

Friends and Love

Web

It’s sad when a friendship doesn’t work out.

Especially when you still love and respect that person.

But some relationships were meant for only a period of time. The universe brings people into our life for a reason…no matter if it’s just a short time or lifelong.  Sometimes friends have to let friends go for whatever reason. But honestly? Sometimes it hurts to be on the other end of that. Especially when you don’t know what happened. But in the end, you’ve got to respect that person’s unknown intentions, wish them the best, and move on. There is more to life than mute pettiness.

I think about all the people that I love and love me. And I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful for those who have been there for me through thick and thin. Who were there for me when I have been ill. Who have cared for me through low times and good times. The people that really know me and still care.

Those people matter.

And today I want to thank them for their love.

Somebody loves you – thank them today.

Bunny Loves You

I’ve been inspired by love this week. My hubby and my’s anniversary is coming up in about a week and it makes me think of the 13 years we’ve spent together. I’m so thankful for him and I’m so blessed that he is my best friend. I can’t imagine life without his love and support. He is the most giving person I know. And awesome cook…which doesn’t hurt.

This is for him. Because life with him is so sweet.

Tweet

Thanks for letting me share,

Belinda

Embrace New Beginnings

Free as a Bird Illustration

I’ve procrastinated.

It’s easy to do.

But today. TODAY. I’m dusting off my blog and sharing with you some of my art from the last year.

Oh Happy Day!

Life has changed since the baby arrived last May. I love my family life…I love my 2 girls. My oldest daughter made a statement a couple months ago about how our family now feels complete. And it does. And although the new change has had it’s share of challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So many ups and downs come and go, but the thing that remains in our family is that we are there for each other. And I can tell our new daughter, Grace, now 9 months, can already sense that.

Here is a painting I made for her nursery:

Embrace New Beginnings

Embrace new beginnings, for it is the gift of hope that enlightens our hearts. – Belinda S (that’s me) 🙂

So when I was making this piece, which is rather large, I couldn’t find a quote that I loved. So I had to come up with one myself. New beginnings. I love the idea of a new beginning. Every day is a new beginning. But there are moments in life when you are forced to analyze your life and make critical decision that will change your course…in those moments new beginnings emerge. It’s not easy to embrace the change, but it’s necessary to grow.

Close up of the words:

Embrace New Beginnings close up

I finally feel that my art has defined itself over time. This is huge progress for me. Sketches flow much easier then I started, and I see trends in my art. One trend that keeps popping up (unintentionally) is birds. I love to incorporate them and I find myself playing around with different styles. Here are some quirky birds I made when taking Life Book last year:

quirky birds

Did you notice my watermark? 🙂 I officially have a name for my art. (Whoohoo!) I’m playing around with this. Not for sure if this is my final design, but I like it for now.

I’ve started converting my art into vector, as well. Teaching myself (with the help of online tutorials) how to color my images in Illustrator and convert them into patterns. I’ve played around with patterns for years drawing within Illustrator, but incorporating my pencil sketches has given me a new sense of passion and direction.

I’m sure you noticed the initial graphic on this post, but here is the pencil sketch I did last year:

Free as a Bird sketch

From that to this:

Free as a Bird Illustration

It’s so fun coming up with different ways of modifying my art. I love sketching, I love mixed media, and I love graphic design, and I’m enjoying the process of those things merging together these days. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Doing what you love. 🙂

Do what you love, love what you do, and enjoy the journey it takes you.

Thanks for letting me share. xo

Bindy

Taking Life as it Comes

“Sometimes we just have to take life as it comes, without resistance, without planning, without judgment. Because when we constantly try to control the outcome, we leave very little room for serendipity and growth.” ~Jeanine Caron

This holiday season my daughter was given Merry Christmas beans, which are these little beans you plant in accordance with a kit, and when they grow the beans have the words Merry and  Christmas on them. And yes, it’s a little late for them to sprout before Christmas, but my daughter was eager to plant her precious little seeds. So the first project we did this new year was plant seeds. Following the instructions, we took out the little, compacted disc of dirt and put in into the mini pot, and we watched in amazement as the soil expand when we added water. Then we carefully placed the 2 little seeds in the soil and put the pot in the cute little terrarium that came with the kit. And so it sits on our window sill in our kitchen while we anxiously await it’s growth. It has yet to sprout, but every day my daughter checks it with anticipation.

It didn’t resonate with me until a couple days later how symbolic this was of this new year. Our first project of 2013: Planting a seed.

See, I’m not very good with New Years resolutions as so many resolutions require an immediate change or action. I’m better with gradual development. In this instant generation where we want to see immediate results, I think sometimes we need to be reminded to just be patient with ourselves. Give ourselves time to grow. Plant the seed, nurture it, but don’t expect an immediate result. That’s what I’m working toward. I know there are things in my life that I need to work on, and my goal is to keep working toward them little by little. Like the little seed sitting on our sill…just give myself some time to sprout and grow.

Take life as it comes.

I suppose everyone has those times when life gives you an unanticipated series of events. I look back on 2012 and all the challenges our family went through, and although I have no regrets as most of these challenges were pretty consistent with just being a military family and relocating, I sometimes think about how 2012 changed the direction of our lives. From not knowing where we would move, to uprooting our lives and unexpectedly renovating a house (which is still a work in progress), to finding out I’m expecting our 2nd girl and dealing with severe morning sickness…yes, you could say 2012 has been an interesting year. And now I’m ready for 2013.

New things await in this upcoming year and I’m so excited. The new baby buzz is in full swing at our house and we get to welcome our new bundle of joy this spring. My daughter keeps asking if winter is over yet because she knows that spring comes next…and with spring comes her new baby sister. 🙂

But also with this new year comes a new year of creating. And this is very exciting as well. I have ideas swelling up in my head again (for awhile there I was so sick I could hardly think), and I’m ready to get moving. I’ve signed up for Life Book 2013  ( http://www.willowing.org/life-book-2013/) and I’m eager to see what new techniques I will learn in this new year.

Here are a few things I’ve managed to create in the last few months:

I made this for my Grandma’s 90th birthday. She is very special to me and one of those people that made such a huge impression on my heart. I spent my summers as a girl at her house planting flowers, watching birds, baking cookies and bread for the county fair, and just experiencing all the joys of being a little country girl. Love you, Grams.

DSC_0448

The picture quality is not the best with this one, but I painted this piece for my sister as a gift for Christmas. The words on the bottom say: Know in your heart that you are loved.

2012-12-31_09-29-13_122

And these are some Christmas trees I made a few weeks ago. I was inspired by a 2009 Somerset Life mag.

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Hopefully I won’t have to wait so long until the next post. Happy New Year!

Just Be Who You Are

Original mixed-media art. Self-guided by Suzi Blu’s Petite Dolls workshop.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Dr. Suess

I’ve been a huge fan of Dr. Suess since I was a kid…and it has continued all through my life. One time when I was in college working on a term paper, I secretly snuck into the children’s books and snatched a copy of Green Eggs and Ham…I hid it in my research book so while others thought I was reading the ploy behind WW2, I was actually getting my kicks out of Sam I Am trying to convince a stranger to eat green eggs and ham. Yes, I did that. So you can imagine my delight when my husband bought this same book for my daughter this week. She comes bounding in the house bouncing the bright orange book up and down pleading for me to read it to her. I was in the middle of packing my stash of fabric when she asked. Do I continue to finish what I was doing or have a timeout with Dr. Suess? It was an obvious choice: Green Eggs and Ham. Honestly, I don’t know who was more excited. And as I read through the story, the simple charm of it all brought back a wave of comfort, and I finished it with a smile on my face.

I love Dr. Suess. I’m fascinated by the way his mind works and his imaginative perception of reality. How anybody could think up the quirkiness he has is beyond me. To me, Dr. Suess is the king of doing his own thing, an original, and in the process he changed an entire generation’s ideology of children’s literature. *Over 200 million copies of his books found their way into homes and hearts around the world. But his journey wasn’t an easy one and required persistence. Did you know that one of the first children’s books he tried to publish, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it became published by Vanguard Press? He probably was told in the beginning that his stories were too quirky, too farfetched, unrealistic. Exactly. This is why they carry such an appeal. No more Dick and Jane does this, Dick and Jane did that (and I have no problem with this cute series). But he created these outlandish stories of made up characters intertwined with the philosophy to THINK on your own. Do you own thing. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Pursue your dreams. Oh the places you’ll go! Just BE WHO YOU ARE. Cause being who you are is exactly who you were meant to be.

 

*Resource: http://www.catinthehat.org/history.htm

Ladybug, ladybug…fly away home

This morning when I woke up, I discovered a ladybug perched on a foam flower magnet on my fridge. I have no idea how it got there, but I was certain that it was looking for something yummy to eat. I held out a strawberry for it to climb onto so I could put it outside, but it was terrified of the perspective of leaving its foam flower. So, I flicked it into a plastic cup (along with the strawberry) and took it outside where it could fly off on its own. I’d like to imagine that the ladybug flew off to some quaint little house where it is the pet to some mystical fairy…telling the fairy all about its mighty adventures in the house of fake flowers and forever grateful to the human that saved it.

Picture borrowed from Greenspirit Arts

Maybe it’s a folk fairy that lives there. Like the one I recently painted.

Folk Fairy I painted from Suzi Blu’s FAIRIES workshop

I decided to use pink…and yes, I know that’s a lot of pink. So before you think someone puked pepto bismol all over a canvas, keep in mind it’s for my daughter and she loves pink. And since this is for her new room in our new house, I figured I’d go for what she would like. And I’ll admit it…I love it, too! Yes, I’m a fan of pink…the color…and I’m not ashamed to admit it! I know some ladies who have little girls who refuse to be a pink fan because of the whole cliché of girls and pink. To each their own. My opinion? THEY ARE GIRLS. If they like pink, then they like pink…sobeit. Pink is a happy color, and I’m all for happiness!!

After all, some of the BEST quotes come from “pink” movies/shows:

“Sherlock” A Study in Pink:

“Try not to start a war before I get home – you know what it does to traffic.”

“Anderson, don’t talk…you lower the IQ of the entire street.”

 

Pink Panther (Inspector Clouseau):

[having stepped on and broken the violin] “Oh well, if you’ve seen one Stradivarius, you’ve seen them all.”

 

Pretty in Pink quote from Duckie:

“It’s called a sense of humor – you should get one – they’re nice.”