fifties voguette painting

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This is my latest portrait taken from a 1950's Vogue editorial. I am so drawn to that decade. And I have always swooned over those photographs from that particular Vogue issue that I decided I'd challenge myself and paint one, a large one if you will. This bad boy is 36" x 48" and I couldn't be more proud. I am happy to say that I will be getting all of my paintings done in time for finals! I only have one more portrait to go! And this last one I am really excited for - it's another vintage fashion magazine piece from Harper's Bazaar.

I can't believe how fast time is flying by with this last semester of school. I for sure thought it was going to drag, but I was proven wrong. It's bittersweet to be done, but it's a wild feeling to know I'll be free at last - to paint whatever my precious heart desires, and for that... I am really thrilled!

With the holidays coming up be sure to check out my artwork shop, as PRICES HAVE BEEN LOWERED!

"Tropicana Lush" On the Market, Pre-Order Now!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My oh my, this has been a looooooong time-a-comin'. It's true, one of my favorite works of arts and a huge accomplishment of mine is now available in poster form as well as two sizes of Giclees! You can pre-order the poster or giclee painting of "Tropicana Lush" NOW at

So, what are you a'waiting for? Get moving and purchase some artwork to spruce up your home!

as of late...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Is it next Friday yet? Days while the zoo is out of town are dragggggggggggggged out. I mean draagggged out. Luckily, I have been keeping myself quite busy with the move to California coming right around the corner. I've also had some great opportunities pop up which I am really excited about and I'm very flattered and feeling very unqualified. I am happy to say I am a new contributor for Caitlin Wilson Designs as the 'Art Advisor' for her design blog! I will post every third Tuesday of every month talking about anything art related and I am beyond thrilled!

With that said, I had to snatch myself my favorite Caitlin Wilson pillows for the home : The Greige Deco Pillow & the Berry Signature Pillow! I absolutely love them as they bring such life to our home! On the subject of all things really cute and adorable, let's talk of the Rifle Paper Co. cards - I really wanna start getting more 'old fashioned' which is so sad that it's getting to those terms now, of handwriting letters in the mail. No, not sending a text and no not sending an email, it just doesn't cut it quite like it did when it was delivered in person, where you could smell the ink, get a paper cut and wipe a smile on your face when you've received a surprise in the mail! With this past week being quite emotional but ending up very uplifting, I have some letter writing to do. These two above were my favorites, especially the cat one.

So there's that update. And how I spend the rest of my time? Oh just watching countless of t.v. shows, reading books, taking baths, and making my christmas wish list at the mall, all by myself. My life is really awesome when the Zoo is away. Again, is it Friday yet? Geeze Louise!!!!!!!!!! Looks like I'm hitting the sac on a Saturday night earlier than most! With that said, sweet dreams!

perfect timing to give thanks.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Holy cow. What a whirlwind of a week. I am literally exhausted from a much emotional and sleepless week... but I got through and ended it with more than a good note and an overload of blessings.

Wednesday was the most overwhelming day of blessings! I didn't know I could feel so overwhelmed with such amazing and spiritual experiences, but I think with all of the excess of crying I was thinking, "Okay, okay, I get it, Heavenly Father loves me more than I can imagine, but he knows how emotional I am so let's tone it down a bit, eh?" I'm kidding but really, I couldn't believe how near the Lord was by my side this whole week that I could hardly handle it. I've never felt so comforted as such a time when I needed it most.

As you already know of my awful day on Monday with my car being broken into and all of my art supplies of over $3,000 being taken. I know to some, you won't understand why it was such a downer time for me, but those out there who may be artists or know of something that they are so passionate about, and have it all be taken from you - nothing is lousier. All week I have been praying so hard for my paints to show up. For them to magical be sitting on my doorstep because whoever stole them was too embarrassed to face me and apologize. Or, magically, I'd find my whole entire bag of paints and brushes in church dumpsters - just something. And no, none of that ever happened.

Zeke has been out of town this whole week, which made it even harder. So being alone, and alone in the dumps was kicking me pretty hard, and I was trying to have a good attitude about it, but whenever I'd think of what happened or retell the story to someone I'd just cry and cry. I needed family. Then Wednesday rolled around.

I woke up to a surprise at the door, and my dear friend Kristi had mailed me fresh flowers and a cafe rio card with a letter written all the way from Seattle. It was refreshing to wake up to it. My friends get me, and they know how much painting and art mean to me and they get how I'm feeling and for that, I am so grateful. Once again, when I read her letter, I cried and cried. My face is now so swollen, I don't know if it will ever deflate back to it's normal state - or maybe its just all of the cafe rio I've been eating to tame my emotions. From then on, I was feeling better about my situation. A couple of days had gone by and forgiveness was in my heart as well as a sense of hope. That night was my painting class and so I knew I had to stop at the art store to purchase and restart with just the essentials to get me through my last two paintings of the semester. I was determined to go at it with a really good and uplifting attitude.

Despite the negativity that goes on in the world, and despite my hard week, Wednesday was a day filled with good good people. I stepped into the family owned art store to begin my new collection of oil paints and brushes after having it all being taken from me. Being overwhelmed, the lady asked me if I was looking for anything in particular and I began to tell her my situation of my car being broken into and all of my supplies being taken. I could see the sincere pain in her eyes which then led me to crying hysterically (for about the 20th time) and she embraced me quickly and gave me the longest hug as I continued to sob. After pulling myself together she helped me gather what I needed to get me through my last final paintings of the semester. While checking out, her husband, who owns the store, overheard my story and showed his concern as well. Before leaving, I thanked her for the hug and comfort. As I was walking to my car I continued to cry again because the sweet comfort of a stranger was what I needed. Once I got into my car I noticed the woman was running to me with her arms filled with tubes of oil paint and she said,"My husband and I really want to give these to you during this hard time. Just pay it forward, okay?" as she touched my cheek and gave me a final hug. It was the touch and hug that any mother would give and again I began bawling in my car over the generosity this couple was filled with. I've been praying for my paints to show up, but despite it all, this was a tender mercy from the Lord and I've gained more and learned more from that selfless act of kindness then I ever would if I found my bag of paints and brushes. I have so much to be thankful for and I will forever remember this couple whom I am so grateful for. 

I sat in my car after that experience for maybe ten minutes just sobbing and thanking my Heavenly Father. It wasn't about the fact that I now had a good starter collection of paints. The fact is, though I lost over $3,000 worth of supplies that will take me years to get back, I can still afford to begin the collection again. Obviously not all at once, but little by little. It was the gesture and the selflessness of this couple. It was the love that was filled in their hearts when they saw the pain in my face. It was them understanding and feeling deeply sorry for me. They were angels sent to show me love and give me hope and to give me comfort when my family was away. It's hard for me to explain how I truly felt at that moment. It was an experience that is indescribable. I've never been so touched in all my life. I've never experienced first hand the good that comes from strangers - and it was nothing short of unbelievable.

Once I pulled myself together, I managed to get to school tear free, until I called Zeke to tell him what had just happened and I couldn't even spit the words out I was crying so hard because I was so touched.  I walked into class with bloodshot and swollen eyes and a puffy face. Clearly, everyone knew I was a headcase. I guess my teacher Sue had informed the class what had happened and if anyone could fully understand the devastation of it all, it'd be Sue and my classmates. Sue gave me a warm hug and said some uplifting advice and then an older man in my class slipped me a twenty and said, "I know how it is and this is the least I could do to help." I politely refused his offer and then he politely refused my decline of his offer and gave me the same look that the woman at the store gave me and he just begged me to take it and once again.... I was bawling. I have never in my life had that many people within such a short amount of time show their service, their love, anything... and I knew it was blessings from my Heavenly Father looking out for me. And to top it all off, about five minutes after... I get a phone call from my sister informing me that her and my Mom, who were flying to California the next day, had a four hour layover in Salt Lake City and wanted to grab dinner! Heavenly Father has done it again, what a personal touch to all of the tender mercies I have been given- Family. I just needed my family. And if I couldn't have Zeke, of course I would need my sister and my Mom. Honestly, what are the odds? There are no odds, my testimony has grown so deeply this week over the love and understanding my Heavenly Father has for me. The morning flowers and note from a friend, the hug and service of a stranger, and the charity of a fellow artist and the surprise dinner with family from across the country all in a matter of 24-hours. It was incredible.   

I don't even need my bag of paints and brushes anymore. Those tools have been replaced with so much more. More than I could ever imagine. My heart is full. My spirits are lifted, and though I was physically alone during the hard week, I had loving phone calls to get me through the nights from Zeke, I had friends and family reaching out, and I had giving strangers and it was all done through the hands of my Heavenly Father. He knew I didn't need the bag of paints and brushes, he knew I needed something deeper, found in the hearts of us all. I needed a lesson, I need an experience to show charity, love and selflessness and I needed to understand that He knows me, and He blesses me and He understands me more than I understand myself, and I am never alone, as He is always holding my hand. And now, I 
need to pay it forward, and I've never been happier to do so. 

Though we are a few weeks shy of Thanksgiving, I won't forget this particular one as these personal occurrences were during the perfect month to step back and just give thanks. I am so excited to jump on that plane with the Zoo to Georgia to be with my whole family for a week. But before I do that, I need to send some personal thank you cards to a certain couple who really made November so special. 

Happy early Thanksgiving. Are you just as ready for all that turkey and pie like I am? Let's go.  

my worlds been rocked.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Uh well, I woke up this morning only to realize that my car was broken into right outside of my house. This is the first time that this has ever happened to me. I had all of my car paperwork, registration, insurance all of that thrown everywhere on the front seats with the glove compartment open as well as the middle console. Luckily, nothing was missing. The CD player and iphone charger were all still intact which I figured would be the first things one breaking into a car would get their hands on. I took a peek in my backseat and my freshly wrapped canvas' were still there along with my rulers, yardsticks and paint palettes, though one thing was missing that made me want to initially vomit right then and there. My entire large, over-flowing bag of every single tube of oil paint I own as well as all of my paint brushes. I instantly began bawling. 

Let me do some quick math for you. Over time, I have proudly created a large selection of oil paints since HIGH SCHOOL that has lasted for great lengths of time. I have over 150 tubes of oil. One tube of oil paint averages between $7.00 - $20.00. Because I am quite picky with my selection of quality with paints and I use quite unique pigments of oil, the tubes I own are more on the expensive end of the spectrum where we hit in the twenty dollar range. So, what is 150 (tubes of oil) x 20 (price of one tube)? $3,000. $3,000!!!! Not to mention I had about 12-15 oil paint brushes which range from $7.00 to $20.00 as well... I've been more than robbed. My personal life has been invaded. The one thing I am most passionate about has been taken from me, just like that. Why of all things, did they take my paints? I had a phone charger and a blasted CD player in the car, and they took the one thing that my life was so fully invested in, at the most crucial time in my education as an artist and what could be the beginning of my career as an artist come graduation this December. 

I'm still in awe over it. I've contacted the police, filed a report and it turns out many reports have come in within my area with the same exact reports except no one had items stolen from them, but me. The police think it was a group of kids, which really makes me even more disappointed. I'm not angry, I am just deeply sad and crushed. I have nothing as an artist. Nothing. I didn't go to classes today because I had no oils to use and no brushes to paint with. I have to completely start from scratch and I'll never be able to afford $3,000 worth of oil paints right off the bat that I had relied on so heavily. The collection of oil paints and brushes I owned has taken me over 8 years to gain. I cry just thinking about it. I'm crying right now. I bawled all morning and afternoon.  I even ran errands not knowing I had black mascara tear marks down my face while at the grocery store. I cried on the phone to my family and friends. I cried in the dressing room of Victoria Secret while no bra I tried on worked and then my mind raced back to my paints and how terrible this day has been. 

I know there are worse things in the world, but when it's something that is your main tool to create things that give you such joy, appreciation in your life and something that makes you so proud of your accomplishments is taken from you, it hurts deeply. And I know not many can relate but I feel more than robbed. I feel as though I am now incapable of accomplishing works of art because I no longer have my tools that I have taken with me all over since I was 16 to get me through a really hard painting that took more then blood, sweat and tears. 

I just wish whoever the kids were would knock on my front door and return my personal items. I wouldn't even yell, I wouldn't even say anything. I'd honestly just cry with relief and thankfulness. If only they knew how badly they've hurt me. I know these paints can be replaced, but only with time. I am just thankful they weren't my paintings. 

I am trying my best to keep my chin up and find the good in this situation. I think back on all of my favorite old masters and the trials they experienced during their journey as an artist and I'd like to think this is something that could be added into my bio on my Wikipedia page... at least I didn't cut my ear off like my man Van Gogh - things could be worse. 

I've been through all of the stages of emotions today. This morning I was grieving and crying nonstop, then it turned into anger and I may have said only a few profanities, just a few. Then it turned into a buck-up attitude and now I am just back to being extremely sad but I'm not angry. 

Such is life. We all must move on. I know this is not as big of a deal to some, but it's just personal. And it's okay. It's okay. It's all going to be okay. Once graduation hits, I really will be that poor artist trying to get by like everyone talks about. Here goes nothing... 

it was a monster mash : halloween

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Can you tell that this years Halloween was a straight up blast? I made sure to keep it more simple and not pull a fast one with a whoppin' murder mystery dinner like I did last year where I about keeled over and died. I also made sure to not play the role of a saint and make all of the food for every single soul who came - instead, we did potluck this year and it was genius- saved more money and more time and a lot of headaches.

Unfortunately, the Zoo was away in California for business, but I made sure a monster mash was still in hand. We had lions, Mary Poppins, cone-heads and skeletons in the haunted house. Monster music was blasting and at one point in time, we found ourselves monster mashing in a congo line doing out best Frankenstein moves. We were cracking ourselves up. Candles were lit amongst us, the mood was spooky and ghost stories were told. This is seriously one of my favorite pastimes.

Once midnight hit, we decided to jump in the car and chase some ghosts. We went to a gravity hill near the canyon and did the whole, "pour the flour on the hood of your car thing" and we didn't even move up the hill. I was disappointed to say the least especially since I grew up going to Booger Hill. You know, it's the whole gravity hill thing and whatever science tells you, I still believe in the supernatural part of it - it's part of the fun.

Booger Hill is out in the middle of nowhere where the road is surrounded by cotton fields and the sky is filled with stars. You ride to the top of the hill where two live oak trees stand still and where two slaves were hung from. The townspeople don't want anyone to know what they had done, so when you put your car in neutral, with all of the lights off and the windows rolled down and you slowly creep down that road, slowly but surely, the car starts moving backwards (some nights faster than others) but it's the townspeople pushing you up keeping you from knowing that they've hung the slaves. If you let your car be pushed back to the oak trees, legend has it, you'll die on your way home. Obviously, we've been too scared to let that happen. Heaven forbid would we ever let that happen!

It's those kinds of things I live for and I'm happy that we've got a whole entire month out of the year to purposely do those kinds of things (even though this is like my number one idea of something to do every weekend outside the month of October.) I'd say Halloween was a blast and it was a great way to end the month!

November 1st was spent taking down the decorations and though nothing pleases me more than a month full of Halloween decor throughout the whole house, it does feel really refreshing to take them down and have a clean home again. On to the next holiday, and by the next holiday, I mean Thanksgiving, NOT Christmas. For me, Christmas starts on December 1st and that's FINAL!

night of the living dead

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween has come and gone - it was the night of the living dead and I am literally whooped. My favorite day out of the year is over with and I think the highlights were waiting in line for an hour at Krispy Kreme for doughnuts. Sounds strange, I know, but everyone was in the Halloween spirit. And of course making a midnight trip to the graveyard. More to report when I wake up from my doughnut coma. Happy Halloween you ghouls.

this might tickle your fancy

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