Create ART using water; Buy a Buddha Board

86F99B28-B5D9-4164-9D01-13AC68056F8DA friend of mine sent me a picture of this Buddha Board. She knows I have been practicing drawing, but also focused on a zen lifestyle.

Founder and CEO, Eric Thrall, created the Buddha Board to give children and adults a fun, relaxing and quick way to “be creative” and “in the moment.” With the Buddha Board, you draw with water, within 10 minutes your drawing fades away. So, you don’t have to be perfect, instead you are FREE to be as creative as you like.

This would make a great gift. Also, be wonderful at the office. We have a candy jar and employees come by for a treat. I bet if we had a Buddha Board by the candy jar, people would enjoy being creative.

When I was young, we all had an “Etch A Sketch.” We LOVED drawing, even though it was a bit cumbersome to use, we enjoyed it. The Buddha Board is modern and allows for more freedom in drawing and a lot easier to use. I’m excited about this, I want to try it out!

Chicago – Visit “21c Museum Hotel – MGallery,” newly opened

The talk of the town in Chicago this week is the newly opened “21c Museum Hotel.” It’s an elegant boutique hotel, which has a small contemporary art museum. The art gallery features some thought provoking pieces.

I found this art piece interesting called, ‘The Police State,” by Sebastian Errazuriz, his take on the three world leaders. There were other interesting pieces, but since the museum is so small, I’ll let you visit to see the rest.

The Reception desk said that 21c Museum Hotels have quite a few other locations, you can visit their website to see where. Condé Nast Traveler has written about this hotel chain, so worth a visit. Now, I am inspired by art, need to go to the Art Institute.

Happy Lunar New Year 2020 – Year of the Rat

I was at the Post Office this week mailing a package. I was almost done with my transaction when I asked for some stamps. GUESS WHAT — the Post Mistress brought out these stamps for Lunar New Year! She asked, “Would you like these?” Why, of course!

I believe the Year of the Rat starts off the 12 zodiac signs. If that is true, looking at the sheet of stamps, it appears the Post Office has their next 11 stamps set up for the next 11 years. We will see.

This illustration of the Rat is really beautiful. Personally, I think it looks more like a jaguar than a rat. However, as I keep looking at it, this rat clearly has a magical look.

I realize I am a little late, but better late than never!

Wishing you ALL a Happy Lunar New Year!

Chicago – Art display on Michigan Ave

Owls in Chicago 1I was walking down Michigan Ave rushing in the cold weather to an appointment. Suddenly, I came across these adorable owls. I had to stop, smile and take a photo. I’m not sure who the artist is, there was no sign, but certainly this is a winning art display.

I share this with you, hoping it makes YOU SMILE TOO!

If you are writing for NaNoWriMo, keep at it! We have the weekend to catch up on our word count!

Have a great day!

Designing Dragon stamps & pop-up book… What could be more fun?

854649F9-213F-4961-B2E3-0D8142F26F93I went to buy some stamps at the Post Office. When I got to the counter, the clerk asked me what type of stamp I would like. I asked what she had. She opened her binder display and said, “Flowers, American flag, DRAGONS…”

Dragon stamps, at the post office?

Apparently, at the APS National Summer Convention Stamp Show last year, USPS unveiled these special mythological stamps. There were four designs for the FOREVER stamp.

Greg Breeding, Art Director for the U.S. Post Office designed the stamps. He worked with artist, Don Clark of Invisible Creature studio, who created the digital illustrations.

At first glance, some of the dragons appear hidden; however, as you look more closely, you can see the dragons. Here is a description for each stamp:

  • A purple dragon, orange wings, black armor on its back snaking around a white castle.
  • A green fire-breathing dragon towering over a medieval-inspired castle.
  • A wingless orange dragon weaving its way around a pagoda.
  • A black dragon, green wings/armor on its back swooping past a ship on the sea.

In addition to the stamps, Breeding and Clark also created a pop-up book to be sold at the U.S. Post Office. It’s interesting to read “how” they created the pop-up book.

Thanks to the Dragon stamps, I learned something about our U.S. Post Office. I didn’t realize we had an Art Director on staff. Most people are paying bills online now, so we don’t need many stamps or think about stamp designs anymore.

Glad I had to mail a package,

Dragon Stamps – what a surprise!

Brought me back to “Dungeons & Dragons” days…

Art, drawing class – tapping into our inner artist

FEAF1040-3ADC-4C9C-AA23-31734AD893B6When I was young, drawing and painting were not encouraged. My parents didn’t go to College, they wanted “better” for their children. Anything to do with art was frivolous, would get us “no where.” Focus on studying to get a “real job,” they said. We had to support ourselves. It’s a tough world out there. Sound familiar?

Fast forward, zillions of years later…

I decided — it’s time to have fun! Treat myself to an illustration class, see what it is all about. Is it true that I have no artistic abilities? I needed to find out.

I was AFRAID, none of us want to embarrass ourselves with the worst drawing ever.

What have I learned? First, drawing can be done anywhere and it is fun! Artists practice, a lot. The more you practice, the better you become. I had no idea. This sounds silly, I know, but I thought being an artist was EASY. It’s actually hard work! Second, being an artist takes determination and dedication. To be good at anything, we need to be passionate and put the time in to practice.

I’m sharing some of my sketches with you.

Last year, I was on the train in Italy. I noticed a woman writing in her journal the entire hour. I thought how dedicated she was. When I got up to leave, I walked by her. Guess what, she wasn’t writing, she was sketching a portrait of a man on the train — unknown to him. It looked beautiful.

Yes, practice makes perfect. My instructor said, “Everyday, you must sketch. As you sketch, you become faster at sketching anything (draw the perfect circle, the perfectly straight line, arms, hands, cars, houses, etc.). Through practice and mistakes, a head that seems too large, might turn out to be your nutty professor.

That is the beauty of art, what seems like a mistake, might be your next masterpiece!

Next, painting with watercolors.

Art, any form of it, does make us HAPPY!

This is the just the beginning…

Textiles: Indigo, Japan to Indiana

3c665b69-ddc6-4b1c-9250-889d338d5fb2When I was in grade school, my parents would travel around the world for three months at a time. They left my twin brother and I at home. When they came back there was big excitement. Their luggage smelled like world travels and my mother had gifts for us. From Japan, she had chopsticks (of course), a pin cushion for sewing, a pearl ring and the big surprise was a kimono. Keep in mind, in the 70s, unless you traveled around the world, you would not find these special items.

I fell in love with the color indigo when my mother gave me this special kimono from Japan. My mother loved kimonos. The kimono was a lovely white / indigo pattern with a bright pink sash. For those of you who might not know, indigo is a color between primary blue and violet. It’s a very majestic color.

A few years ago, I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for the “Mood Indigo” exhibit and learned that a man, Rowland Ricketts, had an Indigo farm in Indiana. He had a beautiful exhibit at the museum. It was in one room, he had textiles hanging in a tall circular direction (see here), so we would have to walk in a circle viewing the shades of indigo. Brilliant idea to add the plants around the room that produce the indigo color. He wanted us to connect the fact that the blue dye comes from plants.

This was such a surprise, because I am from Indiana, not a lot goes on in Indiana. We do have farm lands with sweet corn, cabbage, sunflowers, etc., but I would never have thought a farm for indigo. This was interesting! Oh, HOLD ON, Mike Pence our Vice President is from Indiana. Forgot about politics. Otherwise, just corn.

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Indigo plant

Ricketts’s story is that in 1996, he apprenticed in Japan for 2 years to learn the art and process producing the indigo dye color. He was looking for a job that would bring meaning to his life, creating indigo dye was it. The process is a long and laborous one, because the dye comes from a plant, which needs to be grown, dried and fermented. He met his wife, Chimani, while they apprenticed together. They make a good team, he does the farming side of the business and Chimani weaves the yarn into fabrics.

Ricketts is an Associate Professor in the School of Art, Architecture & Design at Indiana University.

Clearly, I am excited that with so many art forms dying out that Ricketts has brought the Japanese textile art of indigo to our home state of Indiana!