From Winter to Spring in 3 Weeks

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It is the time of year in Central Texas where we look to come out of burrows into the garden.  The days are noticeable longer and the last of the leaves have dropped from the trees.  In my yard, the harbinger of spring is the Bradford Pear tree.  It seems to be budding out before it loses all of its leaves, but I know spring is here when the blossoms start to open.  Next are my bulbs.  Winter may still take a swipe or two at us, but the plants and birds know.  Spring has arrived.

My tree on February 1st, looking west.

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My tree on February 7th, same view.

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My tree on February 14th, same view.

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I have spent my creative free time working on several things, many of which involved printing with my #GelliPlate.  I’ve made a lot of cool backgrounds that I’ve scanned and am using in other pieces of art.  These were all made with TCW Stencils using Golden acrylics and Master’s Touch acrylics.

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One of the things I’ve used them for is my paper doll that I designed for the All Dolls Are Art Winter Swap.  My paper doll is a circus performer – I can only post a sneak peek now though as I don’t want to unveil her before the swap deadline at the end of the month.  If you would like to play – you can check out the guidelines on the ADAA blog or Facebook page.

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A second thing I used my prints for is my Valentine’s card for my mom.  I don’t generally celebrate Valentines, but I did send out a few cards this year and wanted to make my mom a card as she always makes me the nicest of cards.  This card has a gelli printed background, gelli printed scrapbook paper adhered to grungeboard for the heart (a Tim Holtz die) and Gelli printed deli paper for the intermediate layer.  The stamp is my hand-carved “Love” stamp.

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Last – I made a gift for my friend Annie – which I will show later in the week, after she’s received it!

And of course, I have my #StudioCats er kittens keeping me company.  They are so big that they really don’t qualify as kittens anymore, but they still have all the energy and wonder of kittens.

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Cookie – curled up in a basket below my printing table

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Calla giving Cookie a bath in my studio chair.

January Gray and Red

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Yesterday and today we had blue, blue skies, but that has so not been true of the rest of the month.  It is likely to end tomorrow evening, with a return to gray and gloomy.  I could not live in the Pacific Northwest, as I’ve found my energy levels are very much affected by the lack of sun.  But even in the gray days there has been some spots of color, the last of the leaves on my oak tree, the winter cardinal visiting my feeder. 

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I’ve been busy getting All Dolls Are Art faculty profiles written and scheduled on the ADAA blog.  It’s fun to see what people who teach and create for a living have to say about their process and inspiration, but it’s very tiring putting together all of the posts.  I’ve got three done so far and four more to go if I’m counting correctly.

I took a break from that this evening to play with the kittens.  They have a new favorite toy:  small, very bouncy, rubber balls.  I can get one started in the hall and they both take off after it, sliding across the wood floor to avoid running into the walls or door.  When they wear themselves out, Calla drops in and takes up a post in between the laptop and the printer where she entertains herself playing with the cursor on the screen.

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I didn’t do much creatively this weekend as I spent Saturday looking at venues with the Etsy Local ATX Artisans team leaders and then Sunday was spent cleaning the house.  But now that my floors are clean, and a blog post is done, I started a new spread in my art journal.

First I scribbled on the ungessoed pages with Caran D’ache Neocolor II crayons. 

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Then I applied gesso over the crayon.  While that dried, I was actually working on my blog posts. 

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The next step was digging through some of my collection of papers and I found several in the teal/turquoise/navy range that seemed to work with my right hand page color.  So, I tore, arranged, tore, rearranged and have pasted this arrangement down.  I’m letting the matt medium dry overnight before trying anything else!

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Art-Xscape 2015 Call for Proposal

I’ve spent the majority of my week, outside of my day job, working on getting Art-Xscape 2015 launched.  Hotel contract signed: check.  Website update: check!  Call for Proposal sent: check!!  Art-Xscape 2015 will be held October 8-11, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown.  That just happens to be the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, so there will be a LOT of people in town.  Anyhow, if you’d like to submit a proposal, leave me a comment and I’ll be in touch.  The deadline is March 6, 2015.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s was spent with my baby brother, Andrew.  One of the things I did with him was visit the Hope Outdoor Art Gallery, aka the Graffiti park!  I had planned to go by once a month last year, but that fell by the way side.  Hopefully, I will make it back more often this year.  Andrew and I had fun clambering around the levels.  While we were there, I listened in on 4 gentlemen in work clothes talking about structural changes.  My fear was that they were going to tear the park down.  I checked in with the guys in the check-in booth and they reassured me that that was absolutely not the case.  The guys were from the city and they are working on improvements.  Hopefully, the work that is done will not close the park down for any length of time!  Here are some of my favorite photo’s from this visit.

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The shading on Batman is pretty incredible.

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My favorite work in the park was by ER.  This Einstein (Think Harder) was amazing!

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The turtle was also done by ER.

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The light was perfect this day (Tuesday before New Year’s).  The day before and the day after were cold and gray and rainy, but we had this one gorgeous day!

Enjoying My Flowers

My life tends to be full of tasks and I don’t often slow down enough to notice small stuff.  This spring however, I’ve been taking the time to inspect the new flowers I planted this spring; a variety of rudebekia, daisies and coneflowers; and the birds and bugs that have visited me.  I have hopes that my observations will help me in artistic endeavors in future!  But I am certainly enjoying the opportunity to slow down and see the daily changes.

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This Rudebekia has been opening slowly and the petals have been lengthening.  Here is a photo of it from this weekend, approximately 1 week later:

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You can see the center becoming fuzzier the longer it is open.

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This is another Rudebekia of a different variety.  This plant is covered in blooms right now.

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This is the last of the Rudebekia varieties to bloom.  This plant has only put up one flower stalk and has been progressing very slowly.

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My orange coneflower keeps adding on new blooms.  It’s really striking!

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I had a parsley plant that not only survived the winter, but thrived – growing into a 4’ tall bush.  These guys have been munching on it and making a dent in the seed heads by a small bit.  More of them show up each day and I guess the mature ones are dropping off to form their cocoons.

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I’ve never seen a green fly before, but this guy has been hanging around my rudebekia and I managed to catch him on the rock lily bloom with a Micro lens.

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I noticed this spider hanging in thin air.  It took me quite a while to find its web and even longer to get it in the frame in focus.

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This nice lady, a black crested nuthatch, has babies in one of the birdhouses on my back patio.  I noticed her eralier in the year scoping it out, but enver heard babies in it so didn’t realize she’d laid eggs in the nest I discovered there.  The wren family is in another birdhouse on the patio so it makes for interesting listening when both mom’s are delivering meals.

Photo Friday January 3, 2014

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Welcome to a new regular series of posts on AnLiNa Designs:  Photo Friday.  Twice a month, I will post unedited photos I’ve taken in that month and discuss what I like/don’t like about them.  I hope that you will take the opportunity to join me and add links to your Photo Friday posts in the comments.

 

January is bereft of growth and blooms in most of the northern hemisphere, but I’m far enough south that I am blessed with some plants that continue to put on beautiful displays.

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This photo was taken on my back patio with a Nikon D80, ISO 800, 1/1000s exposure, f/5.6, with a 300mm lens.  It’s culinary sage in a pot on my back patio with a southern exposure around 3pm on New Year’s day.  The light is afternoon sun coming in from the right.

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This photo, also taken on New Year’s Day, is from my flower beds, which I wacked back on December 28th.  The only plant left blooming is this purple sage.  Technical details:  Nikon D80, ISO 800, 1/1250s, f/5.6 with a 300mm lens.  The light is afternoon sun, shining direction on the flower from the upper left.

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I nursed my holly back to health this year after it was attacked by a fungus.  With the help of my local nursery, I located a fertilizer that I used semi-regularly and I was rewarded by plants covered with berries this winter!  Technical details: Nikon D80, ISO 800, 1/400s, f/5.6,  with a 300mm lens.  The light is afternoon sun, partially filtered by clouds, coming directly into the frame.

I hadn’t checked the ISO setting on my camera prior to taking these shots.  If I could, I would take these again with a lower setting, more in the range of 100-200.  I like the contrasting colors in these photos and the play of light and shadow.