Art Cards – Dog Days of Summer

Sometimes, Michelle and I have a hard time finding inspiration for our art cards, especially if we both had a routine week with nothing too terribly exciting to illustrate.

So last week, we agreed to take turns coming up with a word or phrase we could both use as a prompt, and then see the difference in our inspiration. I picked the phrase Dog Days of Summer, which are the hottest, most sultry days of summer between July and September.

We had a super duper hot streak of weather and no rain, so I illustrated side 1 with a hot sun and a blue sky. Side 2 has a gingham pattern in the background to represent a picnic tablecloth, with lots of little silhouettes of summer highlights.

I made a couple extra cards to reflect on my adventures over the weekend, including the shopping trip my niece and I made to the Mall of America.

Side 2 represents the fun we had visiting the farm where my brother works. Such a cool operation to see first-hand!

Part of my weekend adventures included a visit to see my cousin Linda who owns Blue Sky Alpacas, you know, the awesome yarn company. She used to have a herd of alpacas on her farmette, but now she just has three for pets. I have gotten so used to illustrating with my watercolor crayons, so I had fun using my colored pencils for this set.

She has the coolest wall of yarn in her offices, which looks just like this side. It was heavenly to see!

Be sure to check out what Michelle did to illustrate her dog days of summer. She is so clever!

I’m curious to see what prompt Michelle will choose for our next set.

Garden Update – Lilies

The lilies are here, the lilies are here! And they are everywhere!

My mom gave us an entire row of day lilies, which are blooming in several colors.

Plum colored lilies

I love these red ones with a radiating yellow center.

I also love these burgundy and cream lilies together. How stunning (and lucky) to have these contrasting colors planted next to each other.

Peach lilies

More peach lilies too

If I had to pick one favorite in the garden, I would choose this cream and purple lily as my favorite.

I love lilies, so I’m lucky my mom’s yard got too shady as the trees matured, and she had to transplant her lilies to a sunnier spot: my yard!Lilies needs sunshine, and our entire backyard faces south, so I guess our gardens were meant to have lilies. Thanks Mom!

Summer Curriculum – Assignments 2 and 3

I got behind in my summer curriculum assignments because I lost some of my motivation and inspiration. To get back on track, I put some heavy metal music on my iPod and cranked through these projects. Works like a charm for me!

Our second assignment was to illustrate a quote using traditional media, no digital rendering allowed. I tend to fill up many pages in my sketchbooks with quotes, things famous people have said or things I hear on the radio, so I was excited to try this challenge.

I have an entire sheet of favorites quotes I love by Ralph Waldo Emerson, so that’s what I started with. Instead of illustrating the actual lettering, I wanted to connect my illustrations with the quote in subtle ways, and just use my own handwriting.

I have always wanted to do a self portrait, which is actually quite hard – hard to draw yourself and then to include those little details you might not like but still make you You. I chose to include a self portrait form of illustration with this next quote because it can be hard to change yourself, change the way you do things, and to stop measuring yourself.

I’ve had this next quote written in my sketchbook for awhile, but I didn’t make a note of who said it or where it came from. I illustrated it like a trail or the loop of life.

Our third assignment was to create a traditional collage, using newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored paper, artwork, photographs and found objects, glued to a piece of paper. I’ve never done any collaging, so I wasn’t sure how to approach this one. I looked for a central idea in a stack of magazines and catalogs I have been saving. I originally intended to look for images of body parts to go along with a theme “your perfect body.” But then I came up with an inspiration I liked better, “Express yourself.”

I am happy with how this turned out, but I learned that I’m not crazy about doing collage as an art form or a form of expression. It can be very putzy with all the cutting and gluing of tiny pieces. With that said, I was inspired by this post, so I felt like I should try another collage piece.

I like my second piece much better because it just feels more me. That’s why I like to try multiple versions of these assignments – it gives me a chance to try again if I’m not completely satisfied with the first attempt, especially when learning a new technique.

(Addition: I should add that your final image or message also really depends on the materials you have on hand to cut apart and glue back together. For this exercise, I had access to Lucky magazines, Martha Stewart Living magazines, Victoria’s Secret catalogs, Title 9 catalogs, and Patagonia catalogs –  quite the hodge podge of imagery!)

I’m not sure what our fourth assignment will be for our summer curriculum, but I’m looking forward to it even more now that I’m caught up again! UPDATE: our next project is to create a poster for an every day event by taking a trivial daily activity and promote it with a poster.

Summer Opener

We are predicted to have a pretty nice weekend, weather-wise, which is rare for us. The year we got married, EIGHT years ago this weekend, the temperatures were in the 50s and it was very foggy.  Good thing we didn’t count on having the wedding outdoors.

On top of celebrating our anniversary, spending time with family from New York City, we will be busy planting more flowers in our containers.

annuals to plantAnd we will be digging holes for these new additions to our backyard:

one new treeThese were delivered this morning!

two new treeThey will block the neighbor’s house that stares at us over the fence, giving our yard a little more privacy. They are flowering crab apples, which will make our yard look even more like a giant blossom in spring.

I also wanted to show you these amazing columbines we have growing on the side of our house. We used to live in Colorado (and miss it), so we have a fond affection for these flowers.

amazing columbinesA couple years ago, my mom gave us a bunch of Siberian Irises, which have grown like crazy in our yard.

Siberian Irises getting biggerOne last section in the yard I have to show you before they fade until next year – these alliums were already planted when we bought the house. Aren’t they cool? I think they look like they are floating in the air.

Allium forestI’m off to enjoy the holiday weekend! I will be back in a few days with updates on my free motion quilting practice. (hint – I finished FOUR mini projects on my extra day off!) Enjoy your weekend summer opener!