Monday, April 29, 2013

Daydream Motivation

Image: Night and Her Daughter Sleep, By Mary L. Macomber, 1902. American Art Smithsonian Renwick Gallery
The start of a new week has arrived, and the end of April is near. 
Watching as the overcast sky give way to April showers that fall gently on the new greens of spring, 
it is easy to get lost in a daydream like state. 
The quote above illuminates the benefit of dream thoughts. In dreamy thought anything is possible, it is a reality we can control. These thoughts can give way to ideas that have the capability of changing our view on what we want out of reality. By taking a closer look at what our dream thoughts are telling us we can gain insight on what we would like to achieve. If we have a clear vision of our goals it becomes much easier to design a road map to achieve success and turn our dreams into reality.

I hope this idea inspires you take some time to listen to your what your dreams are inspiring this week.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Springtime Woodland Wildflowers

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The delicate blossoms of a springtime wildflower in the woodland are joy inducing sights. 
Here are a few of the wildflowers currently in bloom around the eastern woodlands.

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Star Bunny Studio 2013
While not technically a wildflower the Redbud trees have also begun to bloom, 
and they are far too beautiful not to photograph and mention.

I hope these photos inspire you to go outside and see what blossoms you can identify in a woodland near you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Flower Press

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Spring flowers are an instant pick-me-up. 
With an easy to make flower press you are able to preserve spring flowers to enjoy all year. 
here is an easy way to make a flower press of your own.

You Will Need:
Two boards of the same size, Four Hex Bolts, Four Washers, and Four Wing Nuts

You will Also Need:
Cardboard, and Wax Paper

Procure The Proper Tools:
Sand Paper, Sanding Block, Power Drill, and a Saw

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First you will need to cut two boards of the same size. The size of the boards is up to you. The wood used on this project is reclaimed wood. Minor imperfections in the wood are not a big deal on a project like this. It is better to repurpose or reuse wood boards when ever possible. 

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Next, using a power drill fitted with a drill bit slightly larger than the hex bolt you plan to use, drill a hole through each of the four corners of the two boards. 

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Reclaimed wood often requires a bit of sanding.
 Starting with a  80- to 120-grit sandpaper begin to smooth the boards surfaces and remove any small imperfections. For a super smooth finish, use a super fine sandpaper with 360- to 600-grit.

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Now it is time to add the hardware. 
Add the four hex bolts to the holes you have drilled into one of the two boards. 
On the other board add the four washers on top of the holes you have drilled.

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You may wish to counter sink the bolts, and washers for a more secure fit. 

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Cut two sheets of cardboard to fit onto the flower press boards.

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Using the fitted cardboard as a guide, cut sheets of wax paper slightly smaller than the fitted cardboard sheet.

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Now you are ready to fill you flower press with the abundant flowers of spring.

A Note About Flower Collection. There are many wildflowers that are endanger of becoming extinct. 
It is important to let wildflowers go to seed in order to insure the next generation of blossoms. 
It is critical to correctly identify the flowers and plants you are collecting. 
If you are at all in doubt of what you are about to pick, STOP.
Do Not Pick Any Plant Or Flower You Can Not Correctly Identify. 

Below are links to online sources that list threatened and endangered plants in the USA

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

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Happy Earth Day! 

Today is a day to think about our connection to the planet we call home. Everything is connected in the web of life.
 It is important for us all to realize our impact on earth. As citizens of the planet Earth we must all work together as a global community to care for our home. Do your part, and give back to the world we all take so much from. 

If we take care of the Earth, it will continue to take if us.

Plant a tree. Pick up some trash. Ride a bike instead of driving. 
There are so many little things we can do that make a positive impact on our world. 

Think Global, Act Local!
Celebrate Earth Day Everyday <3

Friday, April 19, 2013

Creative Thinking

There is a lot that goes into creating a piece of art work. As an artist you invest so much of yourself into an art piece, it can become intensely personal. You want your ideas to be interpreted by the viewer in an intended manner. 
Many artist write up lengthy statements about art pieces so there is little question about how the art should be viewed and the meaning behind it.
However, sometimes an artistic statement gets in the way of the viewer. It can force the viewer to to become more subjective and stifles the viewers engagement with an art piece. Taking visual imagery out of context can help to stimulate the viewer to look for personal understanding that can help them connect to an art piece at a more individual level. 

Humans want to understand. We have a need to connect the dots and form a full picture. It is a primal process that cannot be denied. If all information is presented upfront, there is little need for the mind to question what is going on. If there is no challenge to the mind, the viewer will not become engaged, and will become uninterested or even bored.  

When the collective details are brought into focus and the intended meaning is left in the background, suddenly new themes emerge. The viewer is free to actively think about what they see, instead of being told what to see. This opens a creative dialogue between the viewer and a piece of art. This dialogue will in turn create interest. 

Art is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes a viewer may find an art piece objectionable. Forming an independent conclusion is a freedom that the viewer should have. We all see the world and interpret it in unique ways,
why should art be any different? 
Next time you are being told how to look at art, try not to listen. Step back, look at the visual information in your own way, and form your own opinion. You might be surprised by what you find.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DIY Spring Garden Project

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Green life has finally returned to the deciduous trees in the eastern woodland. 
This signifies the time to start getting the garden area set up, and ready for the new growing season.

The harsh winter weather this year has left behind a lot of broken tree limbs. Why not put those broken limbs to good use? With a little twine, and some imagination you can bring some rustic whimsey to your garden space. 

You Will Need:
Twine, Garden Shears, and Five Good Looking Sticks Of Similar Size 

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Layout the design of your choice. Choose a basic shape. 
Stars are my favorite - however you could go with a heart, or even more basic shapes like a square, triangle, or rectangle would do just fine.

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Next, secure the connecting points with a bit of twine. I find that a basic square knot does the job. 
Then, trim the ends of the twine. Repeat this process at all connecting points.

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With all connection points secured with twine, you should have a stable frame.

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You may notice a few long ends. 
You can easily snip the longer ends to size with a good pair of garden shears. 
Thicker wood pieces may require a saw. Don't worry about the two ends matching up exactly. 
I find it adds a bit of natural charm to leave the ends slightly uneven.  

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You can stop here and use this shape as a rustic decoration in your garden or home. 
I chose to use the star as a support in a garden trellis. This was accomplished by adding two lager branches to the left and right sides of the star shape.

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This is the final result. 
I made a few of these trellises easily in an afternoon. 
They will be used to support vining plants in my garden this year.

I hope this project inspires you to start thinking about getting your garden ready for spring.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Removing Obstacles

"The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself"
 This quote made famous by the 32nd president of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his first presidential inauguration in 1933 still seems to hold true today. 

Seeing these words chiseled into a wall of granite made me think - fear is a lot like a thick stone wall. It forms a barrier that can keep one from accomplishing goals. At times these thick stone walls of fear can seem impenetrable. 
However with the right tools walls, and fear alike, can be removed.
I hope this image inspires you to go out and conquer your own stone wall of fear this week.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Flower Power

Spring has awaken in an explosion of blossoms. Without a doubt, one of the best places to take in the first sights of spring in DC is the tidal basin. There is something magical about walking around a few thousand cherry trees all in bloom. Soft pink clouds of petals blanket the canopy filtering the warm sunlight while gently filling the warm breeze with a soft floral fragrance.    

The soft pink flowers give everything surrounding them a new appeal. 

Cherry blossoms provide a delicately beautiful background as the old east meets the new west. 
The stone lantern seen here is over 350 years old.

The new flower petals shake in the breeze, in contrast to the stillness of the granite stone sculpture dating back into the 1600's.

The primary verity of flowering tree offers these lovely soft pink flowers.

A few other verities of flowers can also be seen, such as these more structured bolder pink flowers.

A  hidden spot off the walking path offers a tranquil reprieve from the crowds. It is in these restful moments you can best take in the beauty of natures showcase.

I hope these photos inspire you to get out and enjoy the springtime show nature has delivered.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Let's Fly Away

 My thoughts have been drifting away with ideas of travel. 
There is nothing like the excitement that comes with a new adventure. 

Travel offers an escape from the normally scheduled program of life. By submitting yourself to change your senses awaken. The more you see, hear, taste, and physically do the more you learn.
 Inspiration is gained through new experiences.

I hope you take an adventure of your own this week. No matter how far you travel, give yourself the opportunity to change your surroundings and see what is inspired. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Signs Of Spring

 Spring has been elusive in the eastern woodlands this year. A late snow and chilly temperatures has kept the spring flowers at bay. However the first signs of new life have started to appear.  

If you look closely at the woodland floor you will see the first tiny blooms of spring.

Green life is starting to reclaim the barren rocks.

Out of the decay of winter, ferns and mosses begin to rejuvenate the woodland forrest floor. 
You might have to look for it, but spring has begun to bring new life to the gloomy eastern winter forests. 
It is exciting to see that change is happening, no mater how slowly. 

I hope this inspires you to get outdoors and look for signs of spring in a woodland near you. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

String Together Some Joy

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Inspiration is something that everyone needs.
 It is the little joyful things in life that give us big ideas. 

While in college I spent a TON of time and money in the printmaking studio.
As a result I have more art than I have frames or space on my walls. 
Sadly, most of the art prints rarely see the light of day because of this fact. 
       In an attempt to change this, and bring some inspiration into spring, I have put into practice this idea. 

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It is time to get crafty, you need: Twine, Wooden Spring Hinged Clothespins, & Acrylic Paint

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You can customize your wooden clothespins in an assortment of ways.
 I chose to indulge my current copper interest. The clothespins seen here are hand panted with a metallic copper acrylic paint. 

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You could use spray paint to quickly cover the surface of the clothespins. 
 I like to mix metallics and I wanted to utilize the shine of the chrome spring hinge on the clothespins. 
Rather than mask off all those little parts I decide to paint these by hand.

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 Tie the twine to a small copper nail

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You are ready to hang!

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One of the benefit of using wooden clothespins is that you can easily hang unframed original art, and natural objects without damaging the pieces like you would if using tacks or tape. 
Best of all, it is so much easier to switch out art pieces clothespined to a string than framed and hung on the wall.

 I hope this simple project inspires you to string together some joy for your home or office.