Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can we just skip Christmas, just this one year?

Christmas is just in two days and yet there is STILL so much that I have to do. . . among trying to keep it together, when everything about the holiday season makes me think of my Mom. After all, she was my main shopping buddy, person to call about recipes, what gift to get this person and that, you name it. My heart is just not in it, as much as I'm trying for it to be.
My beautiful Mom

It's really true about what is said about all the things grief does to you around the holidays when missing a loved one. And both of my parents have passed recently. I don't like to blog about this stuff, but I just feel the need to, it's such a part of my life in this particular moment. I guess this post is meant mostly for the people who know me personally, because they sometimes don't know how to handle me or what to say, or know how I am feeling. I don't even know sometimes myself, but I would like to think that I am maintaining a healthy attitude, as much as I can.

So here come the holidays rushing in. Upon pulling out all of my decorations, I start finding special little things she gave me. A good deal of my Christmas stuff my Mom bought me or made herself. Some things I forgot about, and more than likely I would have a good cry upon discovering them. I even saved Christmas cards she sent with loving little notes written before she was sick. I am such a sap when it comes to those things, and I save all of it. Most of the time it gives me comfort, but sometimes it evokes a sadness that is so overwhelming. Today was one of those days. So. . . I decided to pack it up. Yep, two days before Christmas. I don't want to do it this year.
Some of my Mom's handmade ornaments

I have cried and cried so much in dealing with the various stages of sickness and loss, twice. And it just hurts so much to cry more. I really don't want to, and most of my close friends and family expect me to. They will even come over my house bearing big bottles of wine I like, so we can drink and have a good healthy cry. When I do have those kinds of cries, I am almost always alone and they don't get to see that. So maybe with this blog post and getting all of my emotions out for the world to see (eeek!) everyone who may be concerned will know where I am coming from. Because people do ask all the time, and especially now.

In dealing with cancer these past two years with my Parents, all I want to do is heal. I've carried such pain with me since then, and I can't imagine holding onto it for the rest of my life. Although it will certainly always be there. I know that kind of pain can really consume a person. At the same time, I don't ever want to forget them. I want to honor their legacy, remembering what they have taught me and displaying their little special things in prominent places in my home, always. I want to remember them with love, and not the pain of loosing them. But wow, right now it's really hard.

My Mom and her beautiful hair.
That's how I will always remember her.

I don't expect anybody to leave any comments on this post. Finding the words for something like this is just too heavy. And I truly want you all to be happy and thoroughly enjoy your Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A choir of stained glass angels and decorated snowflake cookies

Shewww. . . I've been busy! Today is my family's 9th annual ornament/dessert exchange and I thought I'd share what I have made. Below is a close-up of my ornament, a stained glass angel. I was going to do ornaments of my Mom as an angel, but I changed my mind at the 11th hour because it was too heartbreaking. Once the painting of her started to come together, it was just too difficult for me to handle.
The stained glass angels were more time consuming than I thought. I may make some more for Christmas presents since after all, I cut and grinded extra glass with this in mind. Luckily I had everything I needed in stock in my studio. And plenty of Neosporin for all the tiny little cuts on my hands after the fact!

10 more angels to go. I have exhausted my supplies! Here's a picture of them in their early stages.

And the cookies. These guys took a while to make and decorate! It was my first time using royal icing, and the recipe I went by didn't call for cream of tartar, which later I found out gives the glaze an even, smooth consistency. They didn't turn out half bad though, I'm just a freak about details.
Can't wait for our ornament exchange, it's sure to be a blast!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo Friday: Weathered

This photo was taken in Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

IF: Similar

These Chanel handbags may look similar, but one retails at $1,150.00 and the other was found in Chinatown, New York and was haggled at $30.00. Can you tell the difference? I chose this specific Chanel bag, because I know I've seen the knockoff dozens of times.

Check out this article from the NY Times to read more about the epidemic of knockoff designer handbags. Crazy stuff!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Inspire me Thursday: Handmade gift (second post)

Tomorrow is my best friend's birthday, and I made her a trio of stretchy bracelets, chandelier earrings and necklace. The earrings are hammered wire, that I bent myself. She absolutely loves the color orange, it makes her feel inspired. Lately she's been combining it with turquoise, so I made her a whole set of stuff to make her feel more inspired! The pieces are made with real turquoise, orange jade, Austrian crystal and seed beads. Butterflies are also her favorite, so I worked it into the design of the necklace. Can't wait to give them to her tomorrow!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Inspire me Thursday: Handmade gift

A handmade gift for my Allison! Black and white striped scarf with pockets on the ends! She likes to pretend they are her puppets. She already knows about it, so I had her pose with it. Gotta do some last minute finishing touches and it's all hers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Photo Friday: Dusk

Staring at such a vast infinite space across the Ocean and watching the sun disappear on the horizon always mesmerizes me and makes me realize how small I really am. I wonder if this lone beach walker is thinking the same thing.

Lucky winner of Deborah Mori's Thanksgiving give away!

I just wanted to show off my print that recently arrived at my house from Deborah Mori aka "Life without Novocaine". Thank you Deborah, I will treasure it always! And just in time for decorating for the holiday season.

If you haven't seen her work, be sure to stop by her blog and her Etsy shop. I love her gratitude prints, they are absolute gems and are vibrantly colorful and beautiful. She is also a phenomenal illustrator.

Thank you Deborah!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

IF: Balloon - one luftballon

I don't have time to do new illos lately. . . got lots of work to do, gifts to make and a holiday party to plan. So, here is my lonely single red balloon I just whipped up. Maybe I should start doing the least complicated ideas I have so I can churn out more blog prompts! I wanted to do a cool steampunk hot air balloon with lots of detail, but that would take way too long.

Inspire me Thursday: Table

Here's an oil painting of still life I did a few years ago that is perfect for the theme! I haven't posted much of my paintings, as I've been doing more digital illustration lately.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tagged! Twice. So that means I gotta do this, right?

I’ve been tagged by Candace Trew Camling and Marg aka Cock yer doodle and they want to know 6/7 random things about me. So here you go!

The rules, you ask?:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention these rules.
3. Tell six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
5. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Tag! You’re it!:
Five Little Green Beans
Diana Evans
Alicia Padrón
Life without novacaine
Allison Smith
Curious Art

About me...
1. I have had a sketchbook since before I could write. My first was a school composition book that I made into a sketchbook.
2. My husband and I got married in Vegas, back in 2000. No, not by Elvis!
3. I have a distant Uncle named "Clancy Carlile" (my maiden name is Carlile) who wrote the novel "The Honkey Tonk Man", which later was made into a movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood. It bombed! For some reason whenever I bring this up, people think this is funny. Poor Clancy!
4. I was on a plane the morning of September 11th, 2001. The idea of that still rattles me.
5. I WILL NOT eat maraschino cherries, junior mints or velveta cheese because I heard they are made with really gross things. True or not, I won't touch any of it!!!
6. I got my first job as an illustrator for an ad agency while I was still in high school.
7. If you ask me to draw something on the spot, I can't do it! I just can't!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photo Friday: Black

Black carousel horse, taken in Central Park NYC.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quality time in the studio with my lil' protégé.

So this weekend I picked up my Allison for no other reason than to spend some quality time with her. Ahhh, to be 16 again. . . she makes me laugh with the silly things she says and does! It's really refreshing having her around. And she just loves coming over to my house. Usually we get into some kind of art project, or she has an art project for school that I help her with. This time we were thinking up some things that she could make for the family's ornament exchange party. While she was digging around in my studio for ideas and supplies, she came across a knitting project that I had neglected and tossed into a bin of yarn. She said, "ooooh, this looks so soft and comfy!" I have no idea what my intentions were with it, but it was too big to be a scarf. So what was I to do? Make her a pillow out of it! Embellished with a pretty pink sparkly heart of course with the most difficult yarn I could find!
That's a pic of Allie squeezing her new pillow above. And a rare shot at that, she usually has black nail polish on, my little emo girl. Below is a picture she took of herself, playing with the lights in my studio. I was off cooking dinner while she was doing a myspace photo shoot. . .
So there you go, another crafty project by me. My first knitted post too! Eeeek, I need to get started on MY ornaments!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Friday: Food

I could have chosen a more artistic shot of a pretty sushi spread or decadent desserts I have in my photo archive, but I like this one. My wonderful friend cooked me breakfast for my birthday to start my day off and it was the best! My birthday was way back in April, but I won't forget it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Showing my crafty side: Snow Momma and child

For the past 9 years, my family has a tradition of having an ornament exchange/ dessert contest. Of course, I love this because what artist doesn't love a good challenge? I also love to cook, especially elaborate confections that are esthetically pleasing. And since last year, I have been taking on the tradition of having the ornament exchange at my house.

Above is one of the (20 something) ornaments I had made for a previous year. When I get out my Christmas decorations, I'll have to show you what I made in the past years. And of course I will post this year's ornament. Stay tuned to see what it will be!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well HELLO Mr. Murphy!

Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way."

I know this is an art blog, but I just have to vent.

Great. Thanksgiving is just a few days away and yours truly decides to host her very first Thanksgiving dinner for both my family and my Husband's. I have cooked my share of turkey dinners with all the trimmings, but this is on a MUCH larger scale. I decide I want to do this because my Mom was always the one to host dinner on Thanksgiving. She loved to entertain and was the best cook ever. I wanted to do this in her memory.

So today, I'm sitting at the dining room table with my laptop and I notice our pretty new laminate floor is buckling. Hmmmm. I decide to prepare dinner, and inform my husband as soon as he gets home. Five seconds of me getting into the story of the floor, he immediately discovers the problem, strips out of his work clothes and tears out everything from under the sink. It is a sopping mess!!!! Upon tinkering with the pipes under the sink, water starts spraying wildly under there and I run downstairs to shut off the water. Takes me a good minute to find it and time is of the essence! So when I do find it and start to go back upstairs, I hear water dripping from the downstairs bathroom ceiling. My Hubby, being the silly guy that he is, installed a speaker in his bathroom ceiling so he won't miss a single moment in his hockey games while watching TV downstairs. Water is dripping like crazy from the speaker!!! Oh and later we discovered that it made it's way to the laundry room ceiling too!

So right now, my kitchen is being torn apart and the floor is being pulled up. I'm absolutely beside myself. He already went to Home Depot, got new valves and pipes and fixed the leak, what a great man. I hope I have a kitchen floor for Thanksgiving!!!

Curious kitties: What's going on here?

Laughing about it, calming me down and taking care of business.

Thanksgiving update!

So given the circumstances, I thought I was going to have to cancel the Thanksgiving feast. My Stepfather brought up the idea of having it at his & my Mom's house. He said of course YOU will be the cook! So how perfect could this be, I will be the cook in my Mother's home, cooking dinner for the family in her honor at her house, the place that we always have had it! We all need to heal from her being sick and her loss. And now we can create more happy memories in her home, feeling her love surrounding us with all of her favorite things, pulling out her pretty china collection she took so much pride in, and I know that would make her so happy. Everyone else seems to really like this idea too. Did this happen for a reason or what?

After Thanksgiving Update!

Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success! It felt great to be in my Mom's kitchen and having one more gathering at her house. Everyone really loved being there, and dinner turned out perfect.

I had a potato mishap the night before, (I was prepping the casserole dishes and spilled half of the cooked potatoes in the sink straining them!) and my Aunt Barb (lady in black shirt) came to my rescue with another bag. I call her Aunt Scrubbie because she compulsively cleans! There's no scooping potatoes out of the sink and serving them in my family!!! All the women are super neat freaks. She stayed and helped me and we had so much fun. Maybe she stayed to make sure I washed that turkey good enough, LOL!

See that other lady in the green looking at the camera? She's my godmother, Aunt Di. . . I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. I probably wouldn't have even pursued art. I could go on and on about all of them in this pic, especially my Stepdad, who made this possible.
I'm so Thankful for my family, now more than ever.

Oh, and my kitchen floor is repaired and good as new!

Daily Art Stop - Challenge Wednesday - Theme "Friendship"

A blog prompt from Diana Evans' Daily Art stop!

This saying cracks me up! I used this previous illustration I did, making a few tweaks of me and my very best friend for this prompt. Although this saying can be said for some of my friends, I think this redhead has great moral fiber. But in this illo, she definitely looks like a bad girl smoking tattooed redhead. . . and I the prim and proper gal. I guess that is somewhat true. . . sometimes! :P

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daily Art Stop - Decor Tuesday - "Vignettes Everywhere!"

A new blog prompt from Diana Evans' Daily Art stop!

"If you look at the definition of a vignette...it is simply a pleasing small view. So think of it as a little scene on a bookshelf, a corner table, coffee table, or anywhere in your home.....the key to having a special vignette is to keep it you. Vignettes should embody a theme of your special loves, colours or happy finds from your travels."

A glimpse of vignettes in my art room.

Should I even show you? This is the only room in my house that does not make sense for any home decor enthusiast! I randomly hang everything on the walls, from t-squares to palettes, baskets with stuff in them, random pictures, weird objects. . . you name it! It's also pretty much the only room in the house that is white. ONLY because color walls can reflect color on a canvas or other surface I may be working on. So. . . here's a little glimpse!

The top of one of my bookshelves. No, that's not a REAL taxidermied raven, he's made out of styrofoam and feathers that I purchased at Michaels. I thought he would be happy hanging out with my Edgar Allan Poe book. Poe is a Baltimore native, did you know?

The candle on top of this supply organizer is an "Our lady of artistic inspiration candle" I found in an art museum gift shop. I got it years ago, and she is still hanging around. Notice the Diana Evans cupcake artwork on the wall! I want to get that matted and hang it in my kitchen. And that fish thingie hanging on the wall, an old friend made it and gave it to me. It's great for holding little things like paper clips.

Here is a view of all the mix matched things hanging on the wall above, including that drawing I tried to throw away twice! Most of this stuff gets rearranged all over the room now and then. You should see the rest of the room! Maybe someday I'll show ya. I have some great lighting in there in the daytime.

Hmmm, I forgot about this one!

After the successful completion of the sea of ads I did for M Magazine (Check it out, it's really cool!), I remembered that I have a holiday website header I need to do for Lite FM! Above is the first concept I did, and the second was chosen. I kinda like the first, but I can see why they chose the second. I have to say that I am really enjoying the projects I get to work on at CBS Radio. I just wish there was more money to be made in the Radio business. Can I have my cake and eat it too?

Detail of skater.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sketchbook Saturday: Old self portrait with lotus

This is an old sketch, but I like the story. I did this sketch probably 13 years ago when I lived with my Mom and before I met my husband. I was always so critical of my work, and I actually threw this away. The next day my Mom fishes it out of the trash, hands it to me and says, "Why in the world would you throw this away?" So I kept it, and stuffed it in a book.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm living with my fiancee' soon to be husband in our first apartment. I find this very sketch in the book I stuffed it in and tried to throw it out yet again! What happens next you say?
He finds it in the trash and hangs it up! So now I have this sketch matted and framed in my studio. I won't throw it away again, I promise!

I'll post a brand new sketch next Saturday, ok?

Photo Friday: Sharp

I can't decide between the two photos, so I am posting them both. They were taken in Siesta Key, Florida.

Yeowch!!! What is this? Some kind of strange tree trunk I think.

Little lizard shedding his skin on a sharp tropical plant.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ads ads and more ads. Hey CBS ya got any more ads for me???

Ok so I really should not rant, because my job just did some major firing and I'm still working. And I'm fortunate that I have had this job while taking care of my Mom, because they allowed me to do lots of work from home. But good gawd I am bombed with ads and it's only going to get worse come Monday morning! And usually I leave a little early, to beat rush hour traffic. Which is horrendous if I get caught in it. Needless to say I'm having a cocktail right now to chill out. But I was just trying my best to churn those bad boys out today so I can enjoy the weekend!

I'm really liking these new blog prompts for Inspire me Thursday and Illus. Friday. I was hoping to work on them this weekend, but I've got like 5 more ads to do before Monday!!! It never ends!!! Well, at least I can say that they are fun to work on, and I'm getting some creative exercise. It's much better than doing flow charts and diagrams any day.

Below are a choice few that I have done.

Ummm, yeah. Can I have this for myself please?
I bet it's absolutely dee-lightful.

Top 10 gifts I WOULDN'T get him! No, seriously my Husband would NOT like getting a bracelet. The other 9 items weren't so bad.

Searching for photos for this ad made me REALLY hungry!

This place looks really cool. Stumbling blocks from Federal Hill is a big plus.
I'll take that 4 million dollar condo please!

Hmmmm, I wonder what this would taste like with some Vodka and Triple Sec! :P

My co-worker Charlie and I think corn is funny.
So I put it on the gift card!

The only thing I would really want from this list is the spa gift certificate and tickets to a Broadway show. I usually make my own jewelry. And I'm over the ridiculous handbag hooplah, too expensive and too boot-legged.

Now that I'm lit from these cocktails and it's 8:00, I'm asking myself that very question.
Glad my husband isin't complaining!

After dinner, I would LOVE to have this for dessert!
I included page 2 in case any of you would like to try to make it,
because I know I will someday.

And these too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Monday Artday: Speed

The theme for Monday Artday this week is speed. I used this art I created a few months back of my husband and I, with some modifications in Photoshop to give the motion effect of speed. My husband made sure to tell me as I re-vamped the license plate that you cannot fit 8 letters on a Maryland plate. But I can if I created it, right?

Oh, and one more slight modification. . . I made me the driver for once!

My Angel Parents

Diana Evans posted about this great site where you can upload your artwork and post it as if it were in a museum. Here is the link. The first thing I thought of were my Parents. I lost them both recently due to lung cancer. My Mom, just last month and my Dad in April of 07. They were in their 50's.

I painted these portraits way way back, in 1996. They both displayed them proudly on their wall for everyone to see for all of these years. I let my step-parents keep them, and I hope it brings them some comfort.

I think it's really strange that they both had developed lung cancer at the same time. My Mom beat it the first time around, but it came back. During the whole two years of it all, she was my life. Especially at the end stages. My Dad however, passed away 3 months after being diagnosed. I miss them so very much.

Last night, I had an incredible dream of them both. I always dream about them, especially my Mom. I dream of her literally every night. Last night was different. It's as if they were visiting me and I was aware of it and we hugged and squeezed each other and said lots of I love you's and I miss you. I told them both to make sure they visit me in my dreams, and they have kept that promise. I thought it would only be fitting to display these portraits so prominently on my blog.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

IF: Vacant

I really like what Christine said. . . "When the time is right, one must fly." That is exactly what I was trying to convey.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bloggity goodness. <3

Oooh look at what I got! An "I heart your blog" award!!! I have to say that this is my very first award of the likes, and it warms my heart that it was from my old buddy Daris! Muaaaah! I love ya Dar!

And it's so adorable what she wrote, that silly girl. . .

for not only being a fantabulously amazing artist, and my dear friend since we were teen's, but for the good times in the cherry bomb, headin' downtown to funks for some coffee sippin' goodness, and for the scary bats in the dark room in photography class....lol acccck) Hi...I'm cindi....wif an EYE.

Dar and I go way way back. I think every bad thing that I could get into as a teenager, she instigated! Dar, we had the best times, didn't we?!!! Below is a picture of her gettin' her nose pierced (for the 10th time) that I dug out of the archives. Look at beautiful miss girly girl twirling her hair in a nervous frenzy.

So along with this blog award, there are rules and they are listed below. Dar and I NEVER followed the rules, so we will see how this goes!

ONE must display award
TWO must link back to the person who gave it
THREE choose 7 other bloggers to pass the bloggity love onto
FOUR let them know they've been chosen

So. . . Here are my choices.

1 - Daris
Ok, yeah the rules don't say anything about choosing that person again! Dar has two blogs. One arts and crafts blog and one family blog. So there!!! Daris has some adorable crafts, and I love seeing what she comes up with next. I can't wait for you to sell some of your things my dear!

2 - Diana Evans
Miss Diana Evans is such a little ray of sunshine. She is a faithful visitor of my blog and leaves such sweet encouraging comments. She's sent me goodies in the mail, which I adore! Her blog is so inspiring and uplifting, and I just love poping by to visit. She always has some kind of yummy treat she is cooking up, especially cupcakes! Who doesn't love cupcakes?!!! Diana, you are the blogging queen!

3 - Charlie Dowd
I have known Charlie just about as long as Daris, and he was one of my very best friends in high school. He is an exceptionally talented artist, and a fierce web designer. He is the "fire under my ass" when I need to step it up. He tells me when my work is crap. He also got me a job at CBS Radio, and we currently work together. I'm sure he will think this blog award is silly "and gay", but so what. . . if it wasn't for Charlie I wouldn't be blogging right now. Thanks Charlie!

4 - Allison Smith
Allison Smith is my 16 year old cousin that I have taken under my artistic wing for a few years now. She has progressed in leaps and bounds and has a very promising future in art! She is currently attending an art magnet school called Carver Center for the Arts. Her blog has not quite taken off yet, but wait until she gets hooked! I am so proud of my girl!

Alicia has the cutest little fuzzy children's book illustrations. She still pops by my blog and leaves comments even though I've been MIA for a while. Thank you Alicia!

A long time ago (few months back) I posted a painting that I had done for a blog prompt (Monday Artday). Candice chose me to be the winner and I won't forget it! I like to follow up with her blog and see how she's doing.

I just love her beautiful illustrations and inspiring words. Thank you for those beauiful gems.

So there you go, my seven. Thank you all for your inspiration and encouragement! Now go and spread more bloggidy love!