Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Embracing Social Media

I am not one to jump off a bridge just because my friends do. However, after seeing so many talking about and joining sites like pinterest and stumbledupon I decided to give them a try. After all, I did eventually join Facebook and although I don't play the games I have found it a great way to interact with my friends and my local community.

At first setting up the Pinterest boards was a bit frustrating as it kept giving me errors. But after I did finally get some boards set up and took a bit of time to explore some of my fellow bloggers' boards I decided it might just be worth all the work. I can definitely see the appeal and the potential, however I can also see how one could spend virtually hours just browsing.

Finding or maybe I should say making the time to just browse the net is going to be the challenging part for me. I have to admit though that after just a few minutes on stumbledupon I did find a number of very inspiring sites. I watched this awesome video of a spray paint artist creating a fantastic space painting. I think I could watch it over and over it is so amazing.

I also came across a great blog post on Marc and Angel Hack Life about 75 reminders for tough times that inspired me to create this new motivational art print using one of my recent abstract photographs.

I did find some neat stuff on the Pinterest boards although I have to admit it was not as easy as stumbledupon. Who knows though once I explore it more and get the hang of it maybe it will be just as fun. All in all, I do think I will enjoy both sites as long as I don't get lost in them.

Are you a member of either site, if so what do you think of them? What social media sites do you enjoy?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless (Wordy) Wednesday: Surprise It's Gary Eyes

Wordless Wednesday: The Gary Eye Spy!
While in the midst of a video conference with my daughter and VP of our family owned business I was caught off guard by this sight. It appears we had a spy!

Thankfully the spy turned out to be my granddaughter not some mole sent by our competition. Her and her brother were wanting to video chat with grandma. So when we concluded our business conference I spent a bit of time visiting with my grandchildren.

With them so far away not only do I miss spending time with them but also miss taking pictures of them. So I decided to take the opportunity to get a few shots of the kids even if it was just photos of them on the computer screen.
Being separated by so many miles has been rather difficult, but video chatting and photographs have made it a bit easier.

How do you keep in touch with family that lives far away?

If you enjoy wordless and not so wordless Wednesday post check out these blogs:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Birthday Photo Session For Lovely Jill

Here is a quick sneak peek from today's Birthday session with the very beautiful Jill.

Working with Jill was a blast, so fun and energetic.
Happy Birthday Jill, May you have many, many more!
Just promise you will have me do your photo's when you are old and grey. :D

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amazing Sales

Okay, so everyone knows that you can find good sales after Christmas but I never realized there were fantastic sales still going on in mid January. I think I have found a new favorite winter activity.

My son asked me to tag along yesterday while he did clothes shopping. When we got to the mall there were sales galore! I am talking 60 to 70% off sales. Almost ever store had some kind of great sale going. I wasn't going to get anything but couldn't pass up a beautiful cardigan sweater regularly priced at $40.00 for a mere $6.00.  I didn't really need the sweater, but how could I resits, especially when he was buying. I do however need a pair of nice warm boots. So of course today I had to go back out and look a bit more.

 I am still trying to decide which pair of boots to buy. There were some really pretty ones with three and four inch heels that I would just die for. But, I need to be practical. I would break my neck trying to get to some of the places I plan on taking photos, wearing a pair of boots with high heels. So, I am thinking the third pair is my favorite of the ones that will meet my needs. Although the last pair look so darn comfy, if they only had one layer of fringe I might get them.

Of course what self respecting woman can go into a shoe store and not try on a pair of great looking heels. Generally I am not fond of platforms but I do have to say I really liked both of these shoes. They were both classy and comfy. And yes, this old lady can still walk in stilettos.

 Maybe I will just skip the boots and go for the heels.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Writer's Inspirational Overload

The other day while visiting blogs, I came across The Sunday Whirl and realized it has been quite some time since I did any creative writing. So taking the challenge, I decided to join in. I haven't done much writing over the last six months, so this seemed like a perfect way to get a little inspiration. Believe me inspired I did become, almost too inspired.

After reading the words I decided to grab a few photos from Morguefile that fit the prompt words. Then I studied the words and the photos and soon a story was forming in my mind. Not far into the story a bit of a poem popped up and just had to be jotted down.

Then back to the main prose. A few more sentences and wouldn't you know it another poem flowed to the paper [computer screen]. Of course each time a poem filled my head, I was not able to go any further with the main story till the poem was complete then my brain just carried on with the story as if there had been no interruptions. So here they are folks, a short story and two poems all for this weeks word prompts.

One Stormy Night

The mild winter day was rapidly taking a turn for the worse as sun dipped below the horizon. In a violent outburst of fury the winds had suddenly picked up and were now slamming the shutters against  the house. Soon the raging wind would turn the outside into a frigid tempest of swirling snow.  As the lights began to flicker Anna rebuilt the fire knowing soon the electricity would go out and she would need the fire for both warmth and light. No need for her to go groping around the hearth in the dark to start the fire when she could do it now and be ready when the time came.

For many, a night alone without electricity might be a terrifying thought but for Anna it is a welcome reprieve. Slipping off to the kitchen Anna soon returns with a kettle full of bubbling hot water for her camomile tea. Snuggling into her favorite chair with her soft comforter and tea Anna settles in to watch the fluttering of the fire. With a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning the lights go out as the storm intensifies. It is times like these when Anna is most thankful for her positive imagination. Breathing deeply Anna is soothed by the woodsy aroma from the fire and the camomile tea. Focusing on the flickering flames she imagines a thousand butterflies darting about a field of red and orange poppy's. Soon the raging storm is forgotten as her mind begins to wander down a cobble stone path. In the distance she can see an old wooden gate leading to a cozy cottage with a thatched roof. She considers visiting, but decides it will be much more relaxing in the meadow with the warmth of the sunshine and the beauty of the butterflies.


Horns blast, lights flash
caught in a bubbling tempest       
'tis the electronic age

Commotion, havoc
groping for calm
'tis life as we know it

Gone the thatched cottage
with a hearth of stone.
Forgotten the trellis gate
with a thousand fluttering butterflies.

'Tis time to breath deeply
to restore your calm
rebuild a tranquil life.


Grope not my friends for times long forgotten,
follow instead the  wise man on his path of stone.
Past the bubbling waters and through the gate
to a heather thatched cottage with a hearth well laid.
Breath deeply as you rest and rebuild your strength
for in a flash a thousand demands will be at your door.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Digitally Enhancing Pencil Sketches

sketch by my Mellissa Davis
Growing up I had a large binder just jam packed full of pencil sketches. Some I didn't really like but I still held on to them, while others I absolutely loved. It never occurred to me to frame them let alone that one day I would have the ability to turn them into more than just sketches.

At some point in the last thirty plus years that folder disappeared. Now it is my children that have folders upon folders of pencil sketches and I am bound and determined that theirs' will survive into future generations. I often nag them to be sure to scan all their drawings and then back up the digital files. From time to time I even convince them to let me digitally color or enhance their pencil sketches. Of course there is a great deal of collaboration when they agree.

Take for example this drawing done by my son-in-law some years back.
scan of original pencil sketch by J Paul Gregory

Last year I asked if I could enhance and colorize the sketch and was thrilled when he agreed. First we discussed how he envisioned a colorized version of the artwork. Then I went to work. After about five preliminary proofs the piece was finally complete and ready to send to print. Working with Paul to turn his drawing from an 8x10 pencil sketch into a colorized 16x20 art print was very exciting.
Here is the finished artwork, which I am thrilled to say will be offered to the public in as limited edition print through Artistix Network LLC.
Nature's Eye by J Paul Gregory

Thanks to modern technology we both personally and as parents now have an easy way to save artwork or turn that artwork into larger art pieces. If you would like to turn a pencil sketch into a larger colorized work of art but lack the time or know how you can contact me at Artistix Network to find out more about our art services.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Inspirational Photo: Key to Survival

Whether it is the beginning of the New Year, the End of the Year or somewhere in between this saying always helps me when the changes to be made are difficult ones.

I came across this saying on one of those ceramic plaques that you can buy and paint when I was pregnant with my oldest son. It resonated so strongly within me that I just had to paint it for his nursery. That was 30 years ago and although that plaque did not survive all the ups and downs and moves our family has made the message it imparted has survived.

Even more importantly this message has helped me survive and cope with so many difficulties. God must have known this message would guide me through so many things, poverty, homelessness, marital upsets, major medical problems with two of our children, my husband and myself. It continues to inspire me to not give up hope when all seems bleak, but to instead find what I can adjust to move forward in life.

After the plaque broke beyond repair I created this inspirational art print to hang in a highly visible place to help me remember to adjust my sails when needed. I pass this message on to all, for none of us are exempt. Should the time come when things seem impossible remember adjust your sails and soon the storm will pass. You are more than welcome to copy, save and share this digital image, if you should like a print version they are available here.

May the new year bring you calm seas, and if it should bring a storm remember to adjust your sails.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

The new year has begun and thus ends the whir and blur of the holiday season. Don't get me wrong, I love the time spent with family and friends; I love the beauty of the season and all the glitter and lights. With the end of one year and the coming of a new year my mind begins to focus on the future and plan what changes need to be made in the upcoming year. I have never considered myself one to make New Year's resolutions, and yet it occurs to me that in many ways the plans I make for the upcoming year are just that.

After feeling overwhelmed by the whir and blur of November and December, I have come to realize just how much I as an individual am in need of quite time.  Time to rejuvenate my spirit, time to foster inner peace, time to inspire creativity. Always the over achiever I realize that, as I have often done, last years plan left me with little time for quietude. While I did accomplish a lot last year, I often found myself feeling a bit overstretched and in a state of mental chaos.

Most likely because I enjoy spontaneity, down time rarely remains down time. Thus my plan for the new year is to schedule regular quiet time. To help myself remember to do just that I have created this inspirational print and will be hanging it above my desk.

What kinds of New Year's resolutions have you made? What methods or reminders do you use if any to help you follow your New Year's resolutions?