Sophia’s 2nd Birthday, The Starfish

5 08 2012

My niece turned two last week. She is the most adorable little thing, with the funniest expressions. I decided that I wanted to do something special for her, and I just happened to be hiking to the top of Mt. Washington the week before her birthday party. I had knitted this starfish, and it was lying around, something that happens a lot when I make things. They just sit there…. But then I thought about bringing it to the top of the highest point in New England. Then it would be special, then it would be different. Then it would have opened it’s eyes……

So that’s just what I did.

Mt. Washington Starfish

It was a very foggy day, and visibility was practically zero. But we made it. It was an amazing hike, and I can’t wait until next year, to do it again.

So aside from the starfish (and me) making it to the top of the mountain, it needed a story.

Here is the story I wrote to go along with it. I was fully intending for it to be just two verses, short and sweet, but it ended up a little longer than anticipated and will probably grow even more over time….

Auntie Sarah took this starfish,
Up the mountain to make a wish.
He was so plain, at the mountain’s base,
He had no eyes, no mouth, no face.

She hiked and hiked, til she reached the top,
She could go no higher and had to stop.
Sarah held the starfish up so high,
It may have even touched the sky.

She wished so hard with all her might
He started to glow and shine so bright,
They were high as any human could go
And something made this starfish know.

He knew of all the things before,
the things that were forevermore.
He knew all things that are hereafter
He knew silence and he knew laughter.

He had come to life at the top of that mountain
knowledge flowed to him, like a fountain.
At that moment he opened his eyes,
he couldn’t speak, but he had become wise.



First Birthday Present

6 08 2011

My niece has turned one year old. She’s the cutest little thing ever, and getting cuter. I decided awhile ago that I needed to make her a growth chart. Originally I was going to make it pink and Sophia-like, but then I thought… what if they have another? and another? I think it would be nice to have all their heights recorded on the same growth chart. So I made one that is gender-neutral, just in case there is another and it’s a boy. You never know! 🙂
So I made it more graphic, as opposed to using imagery. I designed it on the computer and used a classic Helvetica Bold font. Then transferred the image to the board and painted away! It starts at two feet, and goes to 6. I think it’s safe to say she won’t exceed six feet since both parents are under 5’7″… So this will last for ever.
Each number is a foot tall, and the inches are listed and it’s marked down to a quarter inch. Here is a photo I have from when I just finished the painting of it. I don’t have one of the finished piece because, well, it’s already wrapped, and I don’t have enough wrapping paper to re-wrap… So this will have to do for now. I will add an official pic of Sophia next to it when she opens it.

I also decided to make a card/poem for Sophia. Here’s a pic of the card. It’s made from one sheet of paper, cut once and folded to make a booklet.

Here’s a pic that gives a clue as to how it’s created. I just cut a slit into the middle of the paper and folded it in half.

Happy First Birthday to my little Sophia!

Day 30 – 30 Days of Creativity

26 07 2011

I was sitting on the floor with my dog, and forbidden to draw him [again], but I was intrigued by my view out the door. I liked the perspective and the layers of chairs. Here’s a quick sketch. If my butt didn’t hurt from sitting on the ground, I would have done a longer drawing…

This piece has a lot going on, and I wish I could have done more with it, but it’s just a sketch and I’m not unhappy with it. So I guess that’s good. It was in my Moleskine sketchbook, that’s why there is a crease in the middle of the page. Maxwell is usually lying in the doorway, and I was kind of hoping he would go there while I was sketching, so I would HAVE to put him in there… but he didn’t. He stayed just off the paper, directly in front of me.

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Day 29 – 30 Days of Creativity

25 07 2011

Today, I decided to do a painting, without drawing it first, in acrylic. I remember now, why I hate acrylic… It doesn’t have the same depth as oils. Maybe it’s because I know what oils can do, and I haven’t experimented as much with acrylics. But I don’t like them. They feel like switching from Prismacolor pencils to crayons.  It’s probably just lack of experience. I know plenty of people who have done beautiful paintings in acrylic. This is not one of them.

I don’t want to show you the piece up close, because it’s not done yet, and I don’t like it yet. So here is a pic of  my drawing table with the photo on the left and the painting on the right and the palette and all the junk on my drawing table too.

Once it’s done, I’ll post an update. Maybe tomorrow I’ll paint over it in oils…

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Day 28 – 30 Days of Creativity

22 07 2011

I’m a very lucky person. It was hot today, too hot. And yesterday too. So I decided that it would be better to be hot by a lake than in my studio. My studio is a pretty cool place. It’s in the basement, and I have air conditioning, but I don’t like to use it. I’d much rather just be in a cooler place. …or go jump in a lake. So that’s what I did today. I brought my computer and a few art supplies and drove up to the lake. I knew what work had to be done and I did it. Here at the lake. Then I jumped in and cooled off, went back to the computer and worked some more. In my bathing suit. On the deck. I repeat: I’m a very lucky person.

So my 28th day of creativity, I took my portable watercolor set and sat by the lake and painted the neighbors beach. (using lake water)


It’s not the best quality image, because I don’t have my scanner. So I took a picture with my iphone and color corrected the best I could in photoshop. It’s pretty close to the original.

Part of what makes a good artist is knowing when to stop. I still struggle with this. The background of this piece could have been very simple, but I didn’t like it, so I just kept going. I made it darker and darker. It is dark back there, but this might be darker than it’s supposed to be… Oh well. It looked better when I stepped back. See? 🙂



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Day 27 – 30 Days of Creativity

21 07 2011

On Day 1 I created a pig. I sculpted him out of sculpy clay, and baked him. Today I decided to paint him. He’s a normal pink pig. But he now has a name: Albie. He’s a happy pig, but he worries a lot.


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Day 26 – 30 Days of Creativity

21 07 2011

I’ve been teaching my little cousin art lessons. She is learning how to paint with acrylics right now. She made me miss painting. I haven’t painted in a very long time. I draw often, and I love pastels and colored pencils, but painting is different. It’s more of a challenge. The paintbrush is less predictable than a sharp pencil tip. But I love it. I love painting, and have to do it more often. I usually use hot press watercolor paper. Hot press watercolor paper is smooth, cold press has a texture to it. It comes down to control. Watercolor is a fickle medium and I want to control it. Which, with practice, is doable, but time consuming and hard. I’ve found that most people use cold press watercolor paper. Most people are also less controlling of the medium than I am and let it flow freely. I have a hard time letting go, though I have to realize that it’s okay to let the medium go where it wants to. It’s part of the beauty of watercolor.

So my creative thing for today was to paint an apple in watercolor on textured paper. It was a challenge, and I have to learn when to stop painting and just let it be….

watercolor apple

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