Friday, May 30

A tiny visitor

We had a tiny visitor to our lilac bush the past evening. A cute little ruby throated hummingbird was buzzing around all the small blossoms. He came quite late in the evening, so the lighting is not the best. Catching him on the camera was even harder than the bumble bee - it was zooming all over the place. 

On another note, our garden is almost ready for planting! One more bag of nutrient rich soil to each compartment (so far there is top soil and compost), and we are ready for planting! I'm hoping to get in there this weekend, and at least get my potted plants in - they are most definitely out growing their pots! I cannot wait!! :) 

Wednesday, May 28

Buzzing Among The Flowers

Later in the evening the other day, while I had my camera out looking for something to photograph, I heard the tell-tale sound of a bumble bee buzz. Now, I'm not sure if it's just me - or if something is up with nature this year, but the bumble bee's I've seen so far have been massive! Anyways, this little (big) guy was buzzing around a cluster of my purple flowers of some Lamium plants that popped up. How perfect! This bumble choose flowers complimentary to it's own cannot get more perfect than this!

So I sat myself down, used my telephoto zoom lens to give me distance from him as to not disturb him, and then shot away as he buzzed along from blossom to blossom. These are some of my better ones, some I'm holding back for potential reference photos for paintings, and many were not great at all - Yea for digital!

He was not slow moving by any means and was completely unpredictable, so capturing him from here to there and in action meant just trying to focus quick and then shoot a bunch of pictures knowing that maybe one will turn out right. Some picture he even flew out of before the exposure was done.

I'm quite happy now that it's warm out, and I'm bringing my camera out a lot more. It definitely helps that there is more to photography than just ice and snow now! :)

Monday, May 26

My First Attempt At Stars

Last night was a super clear night, so I thought I would try photographing the night sky. I live in a small town, so I have some 'light pollution' - but not nearly as much as a large city. Still, next time, I think I will to get away from some of that so that I can really see the stars, and really get the milky way.

The top picture was my best out of them all. It really just looks like white dots on black - but I know what it is. For my first 'night shoot', I'm very happy with it. It was shot with F/5.6, 5 seconds exposure at 3200 ISO. Below is one with a longer exposure time - see how it looks like the stars are falling? That's just from 30 seconds of exposure - those stars travel pretty fast! 

Thursday, May 22

Tulip Love

Spring is at full force, and with it came a full bounty of tulips! I planted some, and some came up from the previous house owners - so we have quite the random assortment popping up all over. It's all just so bright, colourful and happy :)

Product Review: Impressed with imPRESS manicures

I recently receive a 'trial' product from Broadway Nails for their imPRESS manicure product. I'm a chronic nail bitter - and so I thought if this goes well, it would be perfect for special events to make my fingers look so very pretty!

I received the product in the "Holla!" style - a super cute lace design. It took not even five minutes to peel off the sticky back of the nails and put them on my fingers. That's right! No annoying glue or anything. And they have stuck pretty well...none are budging. The packing says that it will last up to a week - I won't be able to see if that is true. In a day or so, I'm back to work - and these are just way to long for work at a hospital. But they are fun for now, and given their reasonable price - I've seen them at Walmart for under $10 - I can see myself getting them for weddings this year. 

My only nitty-gritty critique about them would be to provide more nail sizes. They had more than enough for all my fingers. But I had none that properly fit my thumb. Now, maybe I just have an abnormally wide thumb. But the nails I picked, if you look closely do not fit perfect as the rest. Other than that, there are lots of little nail sizes, and I think I might even have enough for James nieces to do a manicure when they come down since their hands are tinier, and there's lots of little nails left.

Monday, May 19

Garden Boxes

I'm thrilled to say that we are so close to having a full-fledged garden!! :) Eeeeee!!! I'm super excited about this. One of the reasons we choose this house, when buying, was for the large yard - and garden potential! We soon realized that there used to be a larger structure in this particular area that I wanted the garden in, and that the cement pad is still somewhat under the ground in some areas. So, plan B - garden boxes. And honestly, I think these might end up being a better all-round idea anyways.
We did three long boxes - 12 x 4 feet, and I'm going to use the square-foot gardening method to jam these guys full of vegetable goodness! All we need is dirt now! 

Meanwhile indoors, my seedlings have been doing wonderfully. They go outside most afternoons now - unless it's storming and super windy (in an effort to prevent all my containers from blowing around and spilling out my precious plants).

I am so happy, and sort of shocked at how well the tomato plants are doing as well. I really thought I would have a challenge on my hand with them, but they are growing wonderfully - as are the brocoli and cucumbers. Some of my peppers came back (from the cat-eating incident); but I'm not sure if they'll make it through the season. I think I may just purchase one or two greenhouse plants just so I don't have total garden disappointment in the pepper department.

I cannot wait to get these guys outside full time!! :) I also have beans, carrots, kale, lettece and various herbs that I will be planting directly into the ground.

Friday, May 9

Succlent Pastel Painting Progress

...just a quick check-in with the latest progress on my pastel painting. I have one entire plant complete on it, and pretty much 1/4 the way done! Yippie! Feels good to be 'getting it done'. I just got home from night shift, so now off to bed for me to sleep all day on this rainy day (the perfect sort of sleeping-day)...

Wednesday, May 7

Refreshing The Work Space

I think I finally have my art studio how I want it (for now, hehe). For a long while, I was having a hard time creating in it. It just felt so cluttered and it shouldn't have - there is a lot of space in this room, especially compared to where I've created before (think back a couple years - one bedroom apartment, creating in my living room!). 

Anyways, I wasn't really going into the room to create - I actually for a while didn't even want to do anything in this room. It meant something had to change. Step one: I got James to hang up a curtain rod. It took awhile for the curtains to actually be hung on it - they needed hemming, and it was something that sort of didn't get done for awhile. But I finally hemmed them, and then put them up - already a drastic change. I felt like the room finally was complete!

But, it still wasn't enough. It was quite functional the way I wanted it to be. I knew that I would probably be moving things around as time passed from my original set up, and the time was now. First I went through the closet and did a little purging - probably not as much as I should have (as an artist, you get attached to random art supplies you use once in a blue moon, hehe). But I did recycle a huge box full of paper items and I had a packed garbage bag to go out. It cleared up enough space, that I could put the shelf that I had in the corner of the room into the closet.

I always found that no matter how much I organized on this shelf, it still always looked a little messy - loose stuff here and there. So putting it in the closet was a perfect way to hide this inevitable mess that was just always there, no matter what. This on it's own made a huge, huge difference. I change my organization - putting art books on the self with the printer, and all the watercolour and pastel papers on the shelf in the closet - books always look neater than random, loose papers. There's still a little mess on that tiny shelf, with the printing paper and shipping supplies - but I use them so much, I didn't want to tuck them away in the closet.

This freed up a huge corner - it just looks so much cleaner. And I was able to move my canvas' that were starting to impede on my creating space (around the art easel and desk) to the area where the shelf used to be. I hung up some paintings, and I have a lot more to hang up - I'm still just pondering what I want to go up. Since mostly all of then are for sale (with the exception of maybe one - the flower painting above the printer), I want to hang them in such a way that if one sells, it won't leave such a 'hole' on the wall.

I also want to put up a long shelf to just set some pieces on it, giving them a 'layered' effect. As well, I would be able to set works in progress while I'm thinking up what to do next.

I already feel more creative in this changed space. It's definitely more functional now, especially since I have that teal cart to roll here and there as I need it. I feel better in it, and thoughts are coming out better. I can't say that it won't change again, but putting that shelf in the closet I'll say was a super decision.

You can see how my art studio was before here, and before I even painted it when we first moved in - here. It has come a long way :)

Saturday, May 3

Pastel Work In Progress (WIP)

More progress on my succulent pastel painting. I got a lot done the other night, and I am almost done one succulent! The reason I have started on the plant below before finishing the top one is a 'pastel-based' reason: pastels smudge. In order not to smudge work I've already completed, I'm working in a diagonal sort of direction: I do a bit of the top parts, and then a bit of the parts below that. Some people may have the skill to work with the pastels on all sections at the same time - but I rest my hand on the page to support it, so that method wouldn't quite work out for me.

And a juicy shot of all the beautiful pastels. The ones I'm using for this piece are in the box on the bottom right. The other two boxes are where I'm 'pulling' my colours from. The ones I'm using don't look super vivid, but that's because they're coated in the dust from me handling other colours. It's a combination of Mount Vision pastels (majority) and Rembrandt pastels They are quite bright :)

Friday, May 2

Gardening Massacre

I promised I would show my more "mature" plants last week, and today I am - along with a tough gardening lesson I had to learn as well. Above are my lovely, lovely peppers that took so horribly long to grow - a mix of miniature bell, regular bell and chili peppers. They were coming along so nicely until the great plant massacre occurred.....

Now, above is what is left :( Only six few remain with their leaves in tack. The rest, without their leaves are as good as gone. The beast responsible: Oreo. He decided to 'nibble' on on the leaves on all the plants within his reach. I should have known better, but he had left them alone for so long....well, lesson learnt. Always keep out of cats reach. I the few remaining plants - but I think this year for peppers I will have to buy some of my plants. It will be interesting to see how the bought produce vs. my seedlings. He also took out my pansies - but I honestly did not think they would be ready any time soon. I think I have to start those way early next year.

My cucumbers only suffered a nibble here and there - nothing that this hardy plant can't recover from. 

My regular tomatoes and (four) broccoli plants were out of reach, and so they are safe and growing quite well.

I'm pretty proud of my tomatoes so far! Look how big they are! I know they have a ways to go, but still pretty proud. Oreo ate the few of my cherry tomato plants, so I will have to pick up a couple of those I think too when I get the much for starting everything from seed.

These guys will be going outside shortly, and into the garden we have yet to make. We're going to do raised beds, for those who did not know already, and follow the "square-foot" gardening method. I got all my other seed in the mail today - carrots, herbs, lettuce, beans and kale. I think it will be a good "first garden" selection of goodies. :)

Thursday, May 1

Newborn Baby Wall Art

Custom "Seedling" Wall Art

I'm super excited to be sharing some new products in my online shop today! I have available super cute, and super affordable custom newborn baby art prints! Customize with the name and date of birth, a long with birth weight and whatever else you'd like! The listings are set up to be super easy to purchase. After purchase, I send a proof for approval before printing and mailing. Super easy! And so pretty!
Custom "Natural Roots" Newborn Baby Wall Art

I currently have two different "tree" options, but any tree can be used and I'm always glad to work with someone to create a unique art piece for them. These are perfect for baby showers, baptisms and keepsakes. 

You can find them, here.