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The Mountains Are Calling

mountains are calling 4

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.'”

– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

It’s good to finally feel that spark of fresh artistic inspiration like I finally felt when I started painting mountains. The most frustrating times for me is when the desire is there to create, but nothing feels inspired.It’s those heart thumping, urgent, fully focused artistic moments that are what I live for. When I’m  completely absorbed in a project and it stops being about perfecting a final product (something that insures I am bound to be disappointed and zaps me of desire) and more about personal expression.

Process: Pencil drawing, watercolor pens, gauche paint.

 

 

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Art As Style Inspiration: My Collab with the Amazing Mom Edit

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If you’re a mom and into fashion, you’ve probably heard of The Mom Edit by now and if you haven’t yet, well, you’re missing out.  I’ve mentioned my love for Shana, the site’s creator, before and shared some of the art collaborations we have done together for The Mom Edit. Last month, we were talking about what direction we should head in this year for our monthly art/style collaborations when Shana suggested doing a mini shoot featuring both my style and my art. We were already at the beach, and a few glasses deep into our bottle of white wine so we figured why the heck not?! And then last night I got a text from my best friend who said she just spotted my feature on The Mom Edit, so I thought I would share some of the photos here too!

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fashion-illustration

shoe-illustrations

I’m Wearing:

Top:

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Marylin and Main’s Batwing Oversized Tunic Top, $29.30 on Amazon.

Shorts:

striped shorts

Mango’s Striped Cotton Shorts, $24.99, Amazon.

sandals:

282-Birkenstock-Women-s-Yara-Oiled-Leather-Sandals-1

Birkenstocks’ Yara Leather Thong Sandal from Amazon, $105.99 to $149.99. 

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My First Official Spring OOTD:Look Ma No Pants!

blue dress denim jacket leather backpack

Today when I stepped outside, I smelt spring and was about as happy as this baby and her camel:happpiness

I was outside in a dress, with bare legs and I was starting to believe this day would never come.  I swear if I see a single snowflake before Christmas next year, I will walk all the way back to California.


 

Anyways, after a few hours doing this:

happy kittyI was excited to bust out all the spring/summer clothes I’ve been daydreaming about and this is what I came up with:

 

ootd-blue-dress-knee-high-socks-leather-bag-favorite

This blue dress is MINKPINK Women’s Tiger Trail Dress, might be my new favorite dress for spring. Surprisingly, I found it on Amazon for $57.00.

Also another of my favorites for mild April Weather is my Life in Progress Denim Jacket from Forever 21 ($32.50).

forever21-denim-grey-jersey-jacket

And saving the best for last is my 18″ Genuine Leather Retro Rucksack Backpack College Bag,school Picnic Bag Travel also found on Amazon and bought specifically for all the outdoor activities I told myself I would be doing this summer:

leather retro backpack

What are your spring time essentials?

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More of my sketchbook pages.

 

 

floral sketchbook page quote

 

The start of a new year means a new sketchbook. I get really excited about starting a new journal- especially at the beginning of a new year. It literally allows me to turn a fresh page in my life and re-organize, reflect and motivate. I’ve been slowly compiling pictures of some of my sketchbook pages from this past year or so and funny, I never realized before just how often my pages center around a quote or lyric that is inspiring me at that time. I think because a big part of the reason I keep a journal is to motivate me and to help me stay positive. Oh, I also apparently am big on bright colors and florals.

 

 

 

 

 

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also, I’m really interested to know (for any fellow art journalists who stumbles across this page)…what your favorite sketchbook/journal is(Mixed media paper, watercolor paper, bound, spiral, small, large….)? I have over 30 journals and have tried all different types and sizes and I am starting to narrow it down to my favorites but I still feel like my perfect sketchbook is out there somewhere undiscovered and waiting. just really want a large sized sketchbook with pages that don’t bleed through…I like the watercolor moleskine sketchbook but it didn’t have very many pages and was quite expensive.
Here are my go tos:

The Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album

(12″ X 8.5″) Professional Folio Series, Hardcover $27.37

click on the picture to view in Amazon

pros: thick, heavyweight, high quality watercolor paper, super absorbent and doesn’t bleed through.

cons: expensive & only has 60 pages while most sketchbooks have at least 100 pages.

 

The Canson 180-Degree Art Book ($13.79)

(8.3′ x 11.7″) 80 sheets 

canson art sketchbook, click picture to view in amazon

Pros:  Lays flat, nice design

Cons: Paper is not high quality, and poor quality paper, rips easily

Strathmore Hardbound 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal

(11.5″ x 8.5″, 64 Pages)

Strathmore Sketchbook, Click picture to view in Amazon

Pros: Great size and Price

Cons:

 

stormsrootsstitched together quote rjournalpagemixed media sketchbook page lyricsWhat inspires you? Do you have a favorite medium when journaling? What is your go-to when you are sketching or journaling… I always wish I wrote more….  but I never do….abstract ocean blue sketchbook page
journal illustration page

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20 Original Winter/Holiday Themed Art Journal Ideas

20 artist journal page ideas

I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.

I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.

I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…

 

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

One of my favorite things to do is write down  inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.

ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with inspiring quote
ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with quote
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
succulent and cacti planters
succulent and cacti planters
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page

mixed media artist sketchbook page

abstract watercolor journal page

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An Easy and Fun DIY Abstract Art Project Tutorial for All Ages!

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I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper,  mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and  most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…

Abstract Geometric Watercolor Artwork by Yao Cheng

I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase  her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.

Here is everything you will need to make it:

1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)

I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:

Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)

click on picture to view in Amazon

or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.

Dr Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (click pic to view in Amazon)

2) Watercolor Paper Pad

For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon

Click photo to purchase in Amazon

 

3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.

4) Scissors and a gluestick!

The How To:

The steps to making this DIY project are super simple.  But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.

1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors  (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America).   because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.

* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the  subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.

2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.

3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.

I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…

DIY abstract art project

4) admire, frame and hang!

Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!

DIY Abstract Shape Art Project

abstract diy shape project

 

And that is it my friends!

 

 

 

 

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Fabulous Fall: 6 Autumn Fashion Fundamentals

I spent longer than I should have trying to fit as many words starting with the letter “F” in the title.. (Ill save you the counting: it’s four). I’ve been waiting alll summer to write this post. Because Autumn is my favorite. I’ve seen this Someecards Ecard floating around online the past few weeks:

pumpkinspice

And as a white girl who likes her yoga pants (they  are comfy and stretchy!) I have several objections. First off,  I don’t think an individual’s avid appreciation for the Fall Season has anything to do with the fact I am a white girl who likes her yoga pants on occasion (so comfy and stretchy!). Secondly, I don’t even like Pumpkin Spice Lattes (pumpkin candles, loaf breads, muffins and pancakes are another story). But, I will tell you my favorite things about Fall without you having to go through the trouble of saying “Pumpkin Spice Latte” 3 times. (Who’s the weirdo now? At least Im not the one talking to my mirror…amiright?)

I was thinking about what it was that made me love Autumn so much and I found this “Autumn Blessing” Affirmation on pinterest that resonated with me:

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I never realized before that all the changes in nature that Autumn brings; (the crisp weather, bright colored leaves, the smell of firewood burning that permeates the air) really does represent a time of transformation and reflection. As a very sensory and visually orientated person, I appreciate the transformations to my physical environment that Fall brings. It forces me to acknowledge the passing of time, every time I walk outdoors.  I appreciate the Autumn season even more after being in Southern California for four years while at school. Looking back at that wonderful life experience, it feels like one really long summer and its difficult for me to remember exactly when my favorite and most precious memories occurred.  While the winter season is a whole other beast here in the Midwest, I’ve come to relish the Fall season even more.

Besides the beautiful weather (and the dozens of colorful leaves I find and put in my coat pockets and forget about and then spend the rest of the year pulling crumbled up bits of dried leaves out of various pockets) the other reason I love Autumn is for the fashion!

Maybe its because I remember all those end of summer clothes shopping excursions with my mom trying to pick out the perfect outfit for the first day of school, or maybe it’s because I spend my entire summers sweating through everything I wear the second I step outdoors and I’ve never felt comfortable in my skin in a summer wardrobe: shorts (the chafing!), bikinis (the shaving!) and tank tops (the arm jiggles!). I am much more comfortable covering up “all that” in scarves and over sized sweaters.

As usual,  I  got sidetracked on what was supposed to be a short intro into the main subject of this post: my 6 Fall Wardrobe Essentials.

 

I decided to make an inspiration board using my illustrations so here we go:

My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
My Fall Wardrobe Essentials

1. Leather (or Leatherette) Moto Jacket:

fallessential

Not so heavy or bulky as a winter coat and as the outermost layer of clothing, it’s the important in making a  “style statement.”  With oversized cardigans and slouchy, drapey sweaters and not to mention scarves, a simple, classic and fitted moto leather jacket keeps me from looking like a chunky pumpkin.

My dream jacket is this Veda Max Classic Tan Leather jacket Scuba Vintage Leather Jacket in Tan, available at Nordstroms

veda carmel

for (wait for it, wait for it) $890. I love everything about this jacket (the dramatic, asymmetrical collar or oversized lapels) and the color.  And if I  was in a position to buy it, I would and probably never take it off.

Another similar and more reasonable and equally lovely jacket is the BB Dakota Lillian Vegan Leather Jacket 

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available at Urban Outfitters for $98.00. And it’s VEGAN, so you can feel good about not harming animals while wearing it!

 

2) A Bold (Tribal Inspired) Statement Jewelry Piece:

When I’m browsing for clothing or jewelry online, I always, 100% of the time, go with the more outrageous, the more colorful and bold option. Should a  30 year old be purchasing leopard print jeans? I learned the answer (it’s a big NO for me) when I showed up to the elementary school I was teaching at, only to run into  7th grader wearing the same exact pair as me (she was embarrassed, I was like “twinsies!!)  At these moments, I question my sanity and resentfully acknowledge my actual age. (I am 30, I am 30, I am 30). I am learning the beauty of simplicity but this is not one of those times. I give you the aptly named Falkor necklace from DylanLex.com…

dylanex

and my reaction to seeing this necklace for the first time can be summed up in the following picture:

Neverending-Story-Falcor-flying-with-Bastian-300x250

and the Falcor necklace can be yours for only $980.00!

the-neverending-story-the-neverending-story-690117_720_545

aaaand that’s the face I made when I saw the price.

Sorry, getting carried away again.

Urban Outfitters has some similar pieces like their Lalla Rhinestone Statement Bib Necklace for a fraction of the price ($68.00)

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Or you can do what I do, to wile away the hours and find some original and tribal inspired statement necklaces over on my favorite site on the web, etsy.

3. Boho Leather Handbag

Just recently I have re-fallen in love with bucket bags and leather backpacks as well as vintage tooled leather bags as well. I have been debating on fringed leather bags for years now and I still like them, although, they are becoming part of that festival season uniform- but my eye is always drawn to them.

Madewell makes a classic and simple style leather backpack- I don’t know why, but almost every leather bag I have ever owned is this carmel color. It’s definitely my favorite and saves me from having to decide wether to go with black or brown.

madewell

 

Madewell’s leather Rucksack can be yours for $298.00 at Madewell.com and also ShopBop! 

Urban Outfitters has the perfect combination of the fringe that I hate to love and is also a rucksack/bucket bag,  the Cruz Studded Fringe Bucket Bag, and is much cheaper find at $54.00 and is also available in red and blue!

cruzurban

I also love the vintage fabric woven tote/bucket bags/leather backpacks but have yet to find a patterned bag that is also a designer brand Etsy and Ebay are my stomping grounds for those unique and beautiful finds and the best part is they are usually one of a kind!

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this woven, Ikat, bucket bag on etsy: 

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I am sorry to say I had to purchase it but this Handmade Genuine Leather and Kilim Bucket Bag is still available from the Etsy shop: Puro Leather for $85.00

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whew, sorry this post is getting long! thanks for sticking with me.

Fourth on the list of Fall Wardrobe Essentials is….

4. Oversized, Slouchy, Sweater or Cardigan:

My two personal favorite sweaters of this season (as well as the color contrast jeans) are both from H&M. Although not everything is carried in their online store…

fallessentials3

hmprod6

The Oversized Sweater is available online in both gray and navy blue for an absolute steal of $14.95. I love this sweater and am so glad it caught my eye, although I have to admit , I would have passed it by if the mustard color version hadn’t caught my eye in the store. I love the length and the lightweight texture. I also am a big fan of contrast colors (as you might have guessed) but the black sleeves are definitely pleather and not very breathable.

hmprod5

And here is the dark blue version also on sale for $14.95. I love the leather pants and really would like some of my own (imitation leather of course) but let’s hope this beautiful model’s leather pants are not made of the same pleather material as the sweater, or she is definitely sweating it out. What do you guys think about leather pants? Do you own any?

My second favorite oversized sweater is also from H&M, the Ribbed-Knit Sweater, which I got in Orange and is also nicely priced at $24.95. For the low prices, I am impressed with the quality of the garments I have purchased from H&M.

hmprod7

 

and just cause a girl’s gotta dream about overpriced clothing items I will never be able to afford way out of my reach… my ultimate dream sweaters are both from Acne Studios (one of my new favorite “Dream” brands).

The Galactic Turtleneck Sweater is available at Barney’s New York and Also Acne Studio’s website for $620.00.

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Gaja Oversized Sweater ($500.00)  available online at Shopbop. 

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#5 in the Fall Wardrobe Essentials is….

Heeled Leather Booties

oh boots, bootie, boot, boots. I love boots….I can never have enough. What is it about women and their love for shoes and handbags? I don’t know, and don’t really care. In the past, I have always gone for tall, knee high length boots, but in recent years I am drawn more and more to ankle boots.

Basically every boot that Anthropologie has on their website is amazing. Their whole selection of boots, booties, ect, are kick ass, and usually always are.

I love the triple buckles and the price of the Vendaveles Boots (available exclusively online at Anthropologie) for $150.00.

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Since I am loving anything and everything color blocked this season I love both of these booties from Anthropologie: 

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above, The Metallic Colorblock Booties by Nina Payne, $290.00 (Also available only online).

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and the Coromell Booties, $130.00, also available exclusively online at Anthropologie as well.

FINALLY!

#6: Patterned Fitted Pencil Skirt

Goes well with an oversized sweater, tights and booties. And again, anthropologie stuns with their patterned pencil skirts:

4120336410577_079_b 2129634a695e35ba771e81300a090621Perhaps my favorite skirt at the moment (which I am currently trying unsuccessfully to persuade my boyfriend to buy for me for our 2 year anniversary)  is this beautiful Tapestry Pencil Skirt, $98.00 from Anthropologie, available online and in stores.

 A5299_KP2389_m

I love the longer length of the new pencil skirts, like this Collection Stripe Skirt, from J.Crew for $128.00, but on sale right now for 25% off using the code: SHOPFORFALL.

Thank you for sticking with me through this incredibly long and incredibly materialistic post. I hope you all take the time to enjoy the first official day of Fall tomorrow.

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Artist Spotlight: Jonathan Draugelis

Jonathan Draugelis is an artist out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who has a talent for creating stunning pencil portraits. Using only pencil and white wax pastels, Jonathan creates portraits so true to his subject, they could be photographs. I love his work and am trying to convince him to share his work with the world. 🙂