Category Archives: Art

Dahlia Papercut and Vector Illustration

A few years ago my Mom and I went to NYC, to see an exhibit of Henri Mattisse’s papercuts at MOMA. I loved it! Many of the pieces were huge, some taking up an entire gallery wall, and they wer so full of joy. I can’t post any photos without violating copyright, but you can check it out here.

A few months later I needed some artwork for the spare bedroom, something quick and cheap that would have an impact. So I decided to make a collage with paper cuts myself. This is loosely based on a Dahlia flower. It took longer than I expected, but I’m really happy with it. Since I usually work digitally the layers and texture are very exciting.

This is actually part of a pair, the second one is still floating around my office not quite finished. Maybe I’ll get it done in time for my parents visit in a few weeks…

Recently, I used adobe illustrator to make a vector design, using a photo of my paper cut as a guide. While it lacks the tactile qualities of the original, I still really love this design, and I’m thinking of trying it in a few different colorways. Maybe a bold red?

Adult Coloring Book

At first, I wasn’t sold on the idea of adult coloring books. I thought they wouldn’t be enough of a creative outlet for me. But I always looked at them anyways. Then I found one that I loved, “Color Odyssey” by Chris Garver, so I decided to give it a try. And now I love my adult coloring book. Its pretty nice to just do some mindless coloring, without focusing on an end state.

Above is a page I tore out and carried around in my sketchbook for months, working on it a little here and there. I love how the warm colors of the flowers really pop against the blue background. Below is a page that I’m using to experiment with different color combinations.

Have you tried adult coloring books? What was your opinion of them?

Liverpool and Glasgow

In between Yorkshire and Edinburgh, I had some time in Liverpool and Glasgow, while Jon had business meetings. I can’t say I would have chosen to go to Liverpool, but I did enjoy my afternoon there. The area around the river has been refurbished and is an interesting place to walk, and the warehouses surrounding the docks have been updated to include many restaurants, bars, shops, and museums.

I really liked Glasgow, although it was definitely more industrial than Edinburgh. Like Liverpool, I only had a short time here. From our hotel I took a walk through Kelvingrove park to see the Charles Rennie Mackintosh house, which is part of the Huntarian Museum at Glasgow University. Obviously, I wasn’t allowed to take photos in there, but it was amazing to see such an  immersive experience of the artists’ vision. And these was also some artwork created by his wife, that I was previously unaware of, that I really loved.

Top Row:
A beautiful, brightly colored chandelier, by Cerith Wyn Evans,  in the Tate Modern, Liverpool
Along the Mersey River, Liverpool.

Ferry, painted by Sir Peter Blake, also part to the Tate Modern. Although I was short on time, I was able to enjoy a few hours at the Tate Modern in Liverpool. Also, I love it when art is free to the public. I am quite sure the love of art I and all my cousins share comes from visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with our grandparents. But the price of some museum admissions is pretty high these days, and I think its great when I see art being made accessible to everyone (the Huntarian was also free). And of couse watching the fun colorful boat float across the river made me smile.

A rainbow along the highway as we were driving North to Scotland.

Bottom Row:

Kelvingrove Park

The River Clyde

Squiggly Bridge, part of the river walk along the River Clyde

York

This is pretty amazing for me, but I actually managed to get all of my vacation photos edited in less than a week, usually I’m way behind on my photo editing. I guess I just had such a great trip I was excited to see how all my pictures came out.

First, I landed in Yorkshire, in the North, to visit with some friends of ours. Even after almost a full day of travel, just the view of this pretty patchwork of farmland was definitely worth it. We spent the weekend in York, “the walled city.” I’d like to tell you all that I was immersing myself in the history and amazing architecture. But, truthfully, we went on a pub crawl. Speaking of which, I have never in my life seen so many people, so drunk, so early in the day. And I don’t mean a little buzzed, I mean completely shitfaced, at three in the afternoon. It was hilarious, and a great, fun atmosphere. I just love all these little narrow, winding streets which are now an outdoor mall. Of course we did walk past the Minster, which is beautiful, on our way from the oldest pub in the city, to have another drink at the birthplace of Guy Fawkes (see got some more history in). And then I was very excited to go out for some good Indian food, because we definitely don’t get much of that in Eastern North Carolina.

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Jon and I woke up hours before our friends the next morning, miraculously not hung over, and took a walk around the city. We started along the River Ouse, walking through a pretty park and walking trail along the river bank, as we watched boats going by.
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Next, we came to Cliffords Tower, a thirteenth century castle sitting atop a mound which would have given views of the nearby rivers.

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Finally, we made our way back to York Minster, built in the fourteenth century. This is probably one of the most amazing churches I’ve seen, even compared to the churches in Italy. Not only is it huge, but the gothic decoration is incredibly detailed and dramatic. Even today, it dwarfs any nearby buildings.

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WONDER at the Renwick Gallery

Last week I got to take a quick overnight up in DC, and went to see a few art exhibits. The first, and my reason for going was “Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty” at the Smithsonian American Arts Musuem. It was amazing, and totally worth the trip. The exhibit consisted of some of his well known work with Vogue, as well as portraits, still lifes, and travel photography. There were two things that really struck me about his work. The first is the amazing texture visible in many of his photos. The second was how his portraits really seemed to show the essence of a person. My favorite was a series of Miles Davis, which showed his hands playing a series of notes. It made me think about how with a relatively limited number of notes, Davis was able to create such couple music. Another favorite was actually a lighting test shot, that made me remember how time consuming photography was before digital. Hopefully that thought will stay with me the next time I’m too lazy to download and edit my photos.

The next exhibit, WONDER, was a collection of site specific installations at the Renwick Gallery. I have to admit in the past I’ve considered the Renwick somewhat boring, but while I was researching the Penn exhibit I came across this one and thought it was worth checking out. It was amazing! The best part is that it was very interactive, and photography is encouraged. By giving each of the nine arts their own space, it allowed for complete immersion in the work. It was not too crowded, but definitely more people than I’ve ever seen in an art museum on a weekday afternoon, and a younger crowd as well. My favorite was Patrick Dougherty; I’ve seen an installation of his before, but didn’t have the chance to get close up like here, where visitors were encouraged to walk though his stick work structures. I don’t think I saw anyone walk though it without a giant smile on their face.

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Top Row: Patrick Dougherty

Middle Row: Janet Echelman, Jennifer Angus

Bottom Row: John Grade, Tara Donavan