Why I Love Art

the best art quote
In a few simple words, this is why I love art. Somehow, getting lost in your own work allows you time to think and become things you never imagined. Join us in the #onething project on Google+ and create something (anything) new every day. Use the hashtag! There are so many opportunities to create and to find yourself… or lose yourself. Whichever you prefer.

Week at the Beach

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I promise that I haven’t abandoned you. I’ve spent a week at the beach where I decided to disconnect as much as possible. I don’t get to do that very often. Half way through the week something went wrong with the wifi at the beach house too, so that made it twice as easy to put my phone and computer away. I don’t have any great pix to show you for that reason, but I did take a few.

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Do you recognize this tote bag? You should! I made this as a DIY project a while ago. It makes a great beach bag!

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This is my boyfriend’s little sister. Yes, he’s my age and she is 4. She’s adorable too!

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A little bit of beach yoga 🙂

Incredible Wave Photographer: Clark Little

Wave photography by Clark Little

I originally saw this post on David Kanigan’s blog and was in awe for the whole 3 minutes and 36 seconds of this video.

Clark Little is an incredible wave photographer. Clark started out as a surfer, but quickly found his passion in photographing the waves. He bought a $150 waterproof camera and got to work. Before he knew it, he was a worldwide sensation.

You can see his amazing photography on his website and watch his story in the video.

Clark’s work has been exhibited at

  • the Smithsonian Museum
  • Alden B. Dow Museum
  • Science Museum of Virginia
  • Parco Logos Gallery (Tokyo, Japan)
  • The Four Seasons
  • The Ritz-Carlton Resorts

He’s also been published in 

  • National Geographic
  • New York Times
  • LIFE
  • Nikon World
  • Paris Match
  • Outdoor Japan
  • Sierra
  • Geo
  • Nature’s Best Photography
  • Rangefinder
  • Surfer’s Journal 

 

Photography By Cynthia Mackowick

fog in the field

Part of what Cynthia likes to capture in her photography is what she and her father started doing when she was a wee little one.  They would travel around the countryside in southwest MN looking for abandoned houses and farmsteads.  To this day, the excitement of seeing these abandoned or neglected properties is beyond any words that could be written.  He would remind Cynthia that there are stories behind these places and sometimes, they would even make up their own.

In her words

I am fortunate to have found someone who can share the excitement of back-roading and photography with me; we tied the knot last November.  Dan always has a way to make me smile.  We share our home with two adorable, stubborn, and mischievous Dachshunds – Tindra and Audrey.  They become very excited, and somehow know, when they get to go on a photography outing with us.  We are proud to be owned by a Dachshund or two 🙂

Photography allows me to view the world differently as there is beauty all around us.  With creativity, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes this allows us to turn any ordinary item into a piece of art.  I encourage you to open your eyes and see the beauty around you in everything and everyone.  

To read the stories behind the photographs and photographer visit Cynthia’s blog or website. run-down bedroom fog on the path old truck by the barn door North Dakota ghosts old TV barn in the field Young amish boys winter landscape peacock old closet a state of decay window

Trip to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh

Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh

Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh

My mom’s birthday was last week so my family and I decided to take a trip to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. My mom LOVES plants (that is no understatement). They are all over my parents’ house, so I knew she would thoroughly enjoy the 17 botanical gardens at Phipps. I had never been there, but I have seen picture that friends taken. It looked beautiful, but was nothing compared to the real thing.

There was an artist exhibition while we were there as well, and you know I wasn’t going to miss taking pictures of that. All of the pieces were glass sculpture variations created by artist Dale Chihuly. Check out his work, it is fantastic. You can check out more of his art in the botanical gardens as well.

Below are some cool shots I got while we were walking through, but if you ever make it into the area, you have to check it out for yourself. Pictures don’t do it justice. I apologize for the lack of descriptions in some of the captions. I’m really not a flower person and don’t know the name of some of the plants, so “pink flower” had to suffice.

spiral glass sculpture

Spiral glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

red tulips

Red tulips

orange tulips

Orange tulips

instrument fountain in gardens

Instrument fountain in gardens

daffodil

Daffodil

hand painted instrument

Hand painted instrument. I think it’s a cello. It was larger than a violin but smaller than a bass.

flower garden

Flower garden close up

bigger flower garden

Flower garden

close-up of instrument fountain

Close up of instrument fountain. It actually lit up and sprayed water out of each instrument. Pretty neat!

glass sun sculpture

Glass sun sculpture by Dale Chihuly

tequila cactus

A tequila plant. Yes, this is the actual plant we get tequila from.

sausage spurge cactus

Sausage spurge cactus

cactus arm

I don’t remember what kind of cactus this is, but the arms looked pretty cool.

golden barrel cactus

Golden barrel cactus. Supposedly, you can cut this open and get water from them.

americana cactus

Americana cactus. This is probably the coolest looking plant I’ve ever seen. It looks prehistoric or something.

desert cactus

More of the americana cactus.

cactus

Some type of cactus

rock fountain

Rock fountain with fish

outdoor garden

Outdoor garden. It looks like something out of the movie the Secret Garden.

glass sculpture

Another phenomenal sculpture by Dale Chihuly

banana tree

Banana tree

ruined basketball game

In the train room, there were set ups like this where dinosaurs were taking over. Made me laugh.

trains in the garden

Train Room

garden railroad room

Train room, again

glass reed sculptures

Glass reed sculpture by Dale Chihuly

orange flower

I have no idea what this is. So I’m just going to call it an orange and pink flower.

yellow flower

Yellow flower

butterfly in the garden

A butterfly in the gardens

warn fern

Wart fern

dedrobium anosmum plant

Dedrobium anosmum plant

pink flowers

Pink flower

speckled pink flower

Speckled pink flower

white flowers

White flower

Phipps Conservatory right side

Phipps Conservatory right side

Phipps Conservatory Pittsburgh

Phipps Conservatory right side

Weekend Vacation in Cook Forest

If you live in or around PA, you should spend a weekend in Cook Forest. It is one of the most relaxing, non-commercialized areas I’ve ever visited. It is a national park with plenty of camping areas, bed and breakfasts, and a few hotels. I guess I should preface this with, if you don’t like being outdoors, maybe don’t try vacationing here.

What is Cook Forest
Cook Forest is a great place just to get away, even if it’s just for the weekend. There’s no cell phone reception so, even if you want to reconnect with the world, you can’t (unless you need it so badly that you’re willing to drive about 15 miles to get it).

My Experience
My boyfriend and I spent the weekend up there at a lodge called Clarion River Woodland Lodge and it was awesome. The lodge is a combination bed and breakfast with a restaurant and bar. The chef there made the some of the best food I’ve ever tasted (including pork belly mac and cheese, Dr, Pepper braised beef short ribs, Carmel Apple pork chops, bacon or duck fat fries, etc. not to mention the fantastic Easter buffet). Breakfast was included in our stay, and it was within a few miles from some great hiking trails.

The best part? We were in great company. We met some very nice people (some of which stayed at the Clarion River Woodland Lodge, all who worked there, and some nice people on the trails) while we were up there that really made the whole trip for us.

I really wish I could share pictures of the lodge, but I didn’t take any. I know, shame on me 🙁 but we will be going again so I’ll be sure to take some then. Here’s some shots from a 7 mile hike we took yesterday.

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Creative Ways to Play With Your Food

Food photographer

For one month, Red (better known as Hong Yi) played with her food. She made creative designs with every-day foods like radishes, eggs, and cherry tomatoes. She met her goal of creating a little bit of everything such as landscapes, animals, and pieces reflecting pop culture. This projects seems to be pretty popular so, if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out on Facebook and read an interview on designboom. Yi also has an Instagram account @redhongyi that you can follow her on.

What do you think? Would you have the patience to do this?

tomato balloons chicken eggs cucumber farm onion owl

Thank You For a Great 2013

Welcome to 2014.

I promise I’m not going to go on about how I can’t believe it is 2014 already (because I can) and what a crazy year its been (because it hasn’t). But I am going to thank you very much for a fulfilling year. When I started this blog 2 years ago, it was an experiment. I thought for sure that I would run out of topics to discuss, crafts to make, and artwork to share. Silly me. That definitely hasn’t happened yet and I’m pretty sure it won’t be happening any time soon.

So thank you…

Thank you for keeping me on my toes.

Thank you for giving me motivation to post.

Thank you for giving me inspiration and information.

Thank you for having something to say about my work, crafts, and other artist.

Thank you for following me.

Most importantly, thank you for building a great relationship with me. I am thankful for each and every one of your blogs, personalities, artwork, skills, and relationships. I’ve made some great friends through my blog that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.

Because of you…

These were my most popular posts in 2013.

Top 3 Artists Posts

Leonid Afremov- oil Painter

Everyone REALLY seems to love this guy. I’m surely not questioning it either, because I think he is amazing! No matter how much other artists try, they just can’t duplicate it.

afremov_leonid_04

 

 

3 Year Old Artist Controversy

This one sparked a big discussion on and off of my blog this year, not only for a day or so, but for months.  Most people seem to think it was edited or something of that nature.

 

25 Incredibly Detailed Black And White Portraits of the Homeless

This post was so popular because the photographer is sooooooo talented. You won’t be able to stop looking at these…

black and white portraits of the homeless

 Top 3 DIYs

Surprisingly, 2 of the 3 DIYs were from 2012, but got the most attention in 2013.

DIY Hula Hoop

I assume that this DIY is so popular because of the weight loss method assocciated with hula hooping. Seriously, if your resolution is to lose weight, but you can’t run or do anything super intense, this is your solution. You can use it while watching TV or talking on the phone and it isn’t too strenuous. It is easy to make also.

I’ve always been fairly health conscious and I go to the gym on a regular basis, but there are days where I really want something less tiring. I used this thing 3 times a week for a month and my abs were more than visible. Give it a shot.

DIY Hula Hoop

 

DIY Painted Mason Jars

This is one of my favorite decorative crafts. The jars were easy to make and didn’t cost more than $2-3 per jar. It adds a nice flare of summer to your house. I’ve really enjoyed these this winter when everything else looked dreary.

DIY Painted Mason Jar decor via Make Something Mondays

 

 

DIY Heating Pad

Seriously, this is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. It is very easy to make and costs next to nothing. Because of my active lifestyle, my muscles tend to ache ocassionally. So, I just put this in the microwave for about 2 mins and it loosens up my muscles. Feel great!

DIY heating pad

 

 

Is there anything you want to see on my blog this year? A particular artist or a craft? Let me know in the comments! I’m starting my list for this year.

 

Creative Halloween Art and Costume Submissions

Its that time of year! Halloween 🙂 Which means that I am posting my followers’ artwork, photographs, and DIYs. Well, the ones that submit it to me anyway. Please make sure you check out the available blogs and social media accounts for the artists because they are awesome!

Thank you to everyone who submitted artwork for this post. I am excited to share ALL of these! It has been fun.

Topic Spill

I have been following Topic Spill since I started my blog about 2 years ago. This blog covers everything from football to beauty supplies. Check it out!

DIY Crown

Her first submission was a DIY crown for a Halloween costume. The final product is pretty sweet. Want to make it? She has a tutorial for it!

Prego DIY Shirt

Her second submission is another DIY for Halloween. If you are pregnant or know someone who is, you will like it. The stenciled DIY skeleton prego shirt. It is really cute and there is a tutorial for this one on her blog as well.

 

Penny

This one was sent to me by a grandmother in Wisconsin.

halloween-themed fabric trading cardPenny made this (one of several) Halloween-themed fabric trading cards. These cards are 2.5×3 .5″. What a cute idea for the holiday!

 

Aarika

Yes, I spelled that right. Pronounced like Erica. Not ArEEka.

This girl has been one of my closest friends since freshman year of college. She works a corporate job (but she should definitely be a photographer).  “Corporate drone. 25. Fangirl of epic proportions.” says her twitter bio. The fangirl part is very true 😉 Follow her for fun updates.

pumpkin photography

 

Mickey Halloween pumpkin

 

Some great pumpkin photography. I am loving Mickey Mouse!

 

Marcus and Daughter

This one came to me from one of my coworkers, Marcus. He works the print angle of the marketing industry.

Kennywood sign costume

 

For those of you aren’t familiar with Kennywood, it is an amusement park in Pittsburgh, PA. This sign is everywhere in Pittsburgh.

It was so creative of his daughter to think of making the sign and, of course, the execution was awesome! They used cardboard, tape, and vinyl to make her Halloween costume. I am so glad to see that she isn’t following the herd.

 

Fozzie.m

I have recently started following Fozzie.m and I really enjoy the posts. On her about section she says the blog is about “Nature, humour, beauty, the weird and the wonderful. Animals, flowers, landscapes, Australian wildlife.”

scary tree

 

This tree is neat! I’ve never seen one like this. Apparently this tree is one of many trees with personality on their property. She calls it the “Fright Tree”. Good stuff, very eerie!

 

Thanks again to everyone who submitted! I hope you will submit next year as well!

Is anyone else surprised that no one submitted anything vampire/witch/zombie related? I am shocked!