Messages in Petals

Since we bought our current home and finally had our own garden, we been getting into gardening and growing things.  Well if I ‘m honest, it’s mostly been a lot of my enthusiasm and ideas and hell of a lot of V’s physical input and gardening.   Anything from roses to tomatoes and squash we have been trying to grow it.  With perhaps more emphasis on the edibles rather than ornamental plants. Having great fun growing, picking and eating the fruits of our labors….OK mostly V’s labors and my direction.

With all the new flowers and plants growing in our gardens and in the neighbors gardens I didn’t have to look far to find sights that inspired me.   I had previously bought some mini red roses and planted them in a planter on my patio and they were in full bloom.

My mini red roses.

My mini red roses.

I wanted to do something inspired by the beautiful red roses. I had also been recently reminded of the subject of Victorian Floriography, which I wanted to learn more about.  The basic premise of Floriography is that every flower or plant has a meaning attached to them.  And by understanding those meanings you can convey secret messages or sentiments to others through flower arrangements or even individual flowers.  I bought the book “The Language and Sentiment of Flowers” by James McCabe. Which is essentially a flower meaning dictionary, where you can look up either a specific flower for their meaning or a sentiment to find a flower suggestion.  I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. And have found it very helpful when researching this project. Though I have come across one or two plants  not included so far. I do recommend this book if you are looking of a Floriography dictionary.

Now I knew what my inspiration was going to be I had to decide what felt right as a medium.

A few years ago I went through an artist’s ink phase, and subsequently got into inkblots. Where I developed my own style/method of drawing with inkblots, which created some beautiful prints.  Mostly these prints revolved around flora inspirations and abstract shapes as those subjects seemed to suit the style this method resulted in. This felt light a natural fit for my new project.

I used this method to create part of my new logo which you saw in my last blog post.  My mediums of choice for this project will mostly be artist ink, pencil and pen (in this posts case oil based Sharpie), on paper.

You can never have too much ink...that is artist ink.

You can never have too much ink…that is artist ink.

And because I like to be a bit different I like to paint and draw with pipettes instead of brushes.

Not the usual artist tools

Not the usual artist tools

So I spent a little while making a mess with ink and having fun.

The beginnings of an inkblot drawing.

The beginnings of an inkblot drawing.

After it's pressed.  Not as pretty. A true inkblot now.

After it’s pressed. Not as pretty. A true inkblot now.

After that I let it dry before I went on to add the details and finish it.

So for this post I went with a specific flower and then looked up its meaning/sentiment for my inspiration rather than the sentiment being my starting point.

As I already stated, I decided to start with the red roses in my garden. So all that was left was to look up roses and their meanings whilst the ink dried.

A single red rose. Love and Simplicity.

A single red rose. Love and Simplicity.

According to some of my research roses especially red ones, generally stand for love in floriogrpahy.  But variations in colour, or even type of rose or number of blooms and if open can dictate a change in meaning. Therefore if a red rose stands for love and a single rose stands for simplicity one could interpret a single red rose for a simplistic love.

Once all was dry and I was able to pencil down some details taking a lead from the natural flow of the inkblots I ended up with two different red rose prints.

Both I gave gold pen details. Each one construes a different sentiment based on my research of floriography.

The first print features a bunch of roses on their stems with leaves.

Bunch of red roses stand for love.

Bunch of red roses stand for love.

The second piece was a single rose with some leaves visible.

A single rose stands for simplicity.

A single rose stands for simplicity.

Whilst red roses are said to hold a floriogrpahy meaning of love a single rose can sometimes mean simplicity. Therefore you could construe a single red rose as a declaration of simple love.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed making these pieces and learning more about floriography.  And I can’t wait to make more, so watch this space as it may become a regular subject on the Inspired Me Studio blog.

There’s a Hummingbird in my Garden

Since I moved to California (from England) to be with my husband, I’ve become more appreciative of birds. Not that I didn’t like them before. I loved them. I have had for many years a pet Cockatiel which sadly had to stay in the UK with my parents. But when I came to live here, it was the first time I had ever seen a hummingbird. They are tiny, cute and beautiful and I was in awe. And when I found out you could get a hummingbird feeder! So we strung one upon our balcony and that was my solution to not having a pet for the first time in my life. Over the past 5 years I have watched the hummingbirds come and go from our feeder, bought a house with a garden, bought an extra feeder, watched even more hummingbirds come and go, even stay and fight off others.

I’m truly hooked and inspired.

Some of them are iridescent, with bright emerald greens and ruby reds. Others different hues of browns.

I was inspired enough to ask V to get me some photos….

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Ruby Throated Hummingbird perched on a wire.

Then I was inspired to sketch….
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Hummingbird sketches in pen

That inspiration moved on to create.

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Hummingbird in black pen and pencil.

And create some more

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Doodles of concept ideas

I did studies of the different aspects of hummingbirds that intrigue me….

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Studies of cypress vines. Hummingbirds feed from what seem to be the most beautiful flowers.

And finally create something more detailed.

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Unfinished perched hummingbird framed with cypress vine. Pencil and black pen.

I haven’t finished with my hummingbird inspiration….and I haven’t finished all that I have created so far. In fact I still am uncertain what exactly I will do with the different studies featured in this post. I know I will certainly revisit them as well as the inspiration of this post..

Not least because there is always a hummingbird in my garden. They really do enjoy the red sugary drink we put out for them.

Trick or Treat!

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Full Moon.

It’s that time of year again.  Halloween madness is right around the corner!  Or already in full swing if you’re inclined to “celebrate” the whole month.  Not that I mind that, as it’s one of my favorite holidays since S was born.  Most probably because it was the first holiday that came up after her birth.

After my last painting and the lengthy blog post, I needed to try something quicker, easier, and requiring less of an essay to explain.  So I decided to try out another app, called iOrnament on my IPad.  And get into the Halloween spirit by making some simple Halloween patterns and scribbles to share, along with some apropos photos. I’ve quite enjoyed learning about patterns or as Jürgen Richter-Gebert, (mathematics professor at the Technical University of Munich, and creator of the program used for the app) refers to them, wallpapers.  Although the mathematics aspect does go over my head some what (I’ve never been that gifted in that subject).  Either way it’s interesting to read and fun and easy to use my daughter has even made some patterns).  It also also reminded me that at some point I would love to design fabric prints.  I think that would be fun, if not just because its bringing me back to fashion design which I loved.

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Daddy Pumpkin, Mummy pumpkin, and Baby Pumpkin.  Our first Jack O’Lanterns after S was born.

So here are some Halloween themed patterns or wallpapers, which ever you would like to call them.

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Beetles, Beetles everywhere.  Beetle inspired pattern in black and white.

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Dancing Spiders.  Probably my biggest foe on planet earth.  I am not embarrassed to say I suffer from pretty bad arachnophobia.

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Cobwebs.  Because when you think of Halloween, there has to be spiders and cobwebs.

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Zoomed out image of the above cobweb pattern.

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Bat print.

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A less symmetrical cobweb print, complete with spiders.

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Jack O’Lantern faces.

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A close-up of one of the Jack O’Lantern faces.

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Bats, second attempt.  More details in the silhouette of these bats and the spacing is different.

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A zoomed out capture of the second bat print above.

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Swirls in darkness.  I was trying to create an abstract interpretation in print, of a night sky.  My intention was to use it in another image.

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Cats eyes circle print.  Inspired by cats eyes.  Overlapped in a circular fashion.

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Zoom out of the same, cat eyes circle print.

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Spider meeting.  Eight spiders of red and green.

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Spiders meeting as a print.

It was really enjoyable and relaxing just doing whimsical and nonsensical prints and doodles, after all the energy the Newfoundland beach painting took.  I also really enjoyed playing at patterns.
I think in the near future I would have fun playing with fabric print patterns.

But for now I’ll just wish you all a happy Halloween.

Old Memories and New tricks

This blog post is a long time coming! 9 months to be exact….and thats just the length of time I have been working on and off on the painting for this post. I had intended to do something like this for a post before Christmas last year. but had to wait until I had some important tools, without which I was having trouble making it work. When I started this blog, I had visions of paints, inks and paper, canvases and a lot of mess. I love using those mediums. But there’s one problem with those lovely messy mediums, when you have your very intelligent, also highly inquisitive toddler with you at all times. And it’s the messy part. Whatever I have, hold, want, eat. she must know what it is/have what it is. All of this is the atypical life with a toddler. Can you imagine sitting down with an easel and oil pants with a small mini you who wants to take the paint brushes, feel the paints, copy mummy and paint/draw something herself? (Yes she loves to engage her creative side, usually with crayons or pens on the travertine floor!) as you can imagine its hard to actually draw/paint yourself when your little one wants to try their hand at it too, specifically with your tools. It’s chaos and hard to be productive. And then there is the set up. I snatch a few minutes here or there. But rarely find a huge chunk of time in one sitting to do anything. By the time I would have set up and started getting through the initial creative block it would be time to take off my artist cap and just be mummy again. And I would have to put it away again or else risk a room redecoration. I really love these messy, traditional mediums. But they are not the most convenient for this Mummartist (yup that’s right I just made up a new word for myself). So I got a little bit excited when I got an iPad for my birthday last year and found out you could get painting apps that simulate many of the traditional/real art mediums. Even better I don’t have to scan it in to share with you all, I don’t have to tidy a mass of mess away after five minutes or a length set up. Just click save and then later start where I left off later. The Sensu brand (as well as other brands) even have a paintbrush stylus! Holly Molly this secret gadget geek went giddy. So I downloaded a few apps to play with. And armed with my new pad and apps I had a little play. Initially I played with the free sketchbook app and one called brushes (free versions) and as I didn’t have a stylus used my fingers. I found it clumsy and hard to get with….finger painting on the iPad just wasn’t coming close to my beloved oils, artist inks and paint brushes. Everything I did looked klutzy and immature. But the examples on the apps showed such exquisite and detailed artwork…..I figured it was me and a lack of talent for digital art. In particular my fingers were too chunky and inaccurate to achieve what I was wanting.

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the above images of hummingbirds and flowers, were drawn on sketchbook for Ipad app ***free version. Using fingers instead of a stylus.

I decided I wanted a stylus that would simulate a pencil or a paintbrush better than my fingers. And after a little searching around on the net I came across stylus’s that actually had brush ends to do just that. On more contemplation I decided I wanted the stylus brush by Sensu as it seemed thinner than the others and I was hoping therefore easier to draw more detailed and less clumsy (remember I was trying to avoid the problems I was having with my sausage fingers…..well I don’t really have sausage fingers. It’s just that when you are trying to draw a fine line or detail a finger or stubby/chunky stylus blocks your view). I must have been good that year because guess what I found in my stocking? Yup my own Sensu paintbrush stylus!! (insert images of happy dances here). The Sensu stylus box had app suggestions, which I guess the brand felt they are compatible with. I was not really bonding with the free version of brushes and decided to delete it. I was semi bonded with the Sketchbook apps free version but not enough to pay to go pro….and I missed being able to paint with oils. So I decided to give one of the suggested apps a go. I already had the free version of sketchbook so I opted to try Art Rage for IPad. It didn’t have a free version to try which made me nervous to spend $4.99 but its screenshots showed options that looked like it had what I wanted. The simulated oils, pencils etc. even better was they have a computer version that’s not too bad a price. After downloading Art rage for Ipad and using my new brush stylus. I experimented and made the artwork I shared in both my valentines day and valentines chaser posts. After this Art rage became my favorite app and Sketchbook my second. I decided to try and challenge myself and see what I could really do if I tried. I started looking through my old digital pictures for inspiration and came across some from my first holiday with my husband after we were married. It was a road trip. I saw a great deal of The American landscape. And a fair bit of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada. Lots of breath taking sights and good photo opportunities.

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View roadside from the Indian Canyon Scenic Byway(191), in the Ashley National Forest, UT.

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Another scenic roadside view in Ashley National Forest, UT.

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Ashley National Forest, UT.

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Obviously I took quite a few in Ashley National Forest, UT.

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But in my defence the sights were quite breath taking.

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And all of them taken from the roadside.

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A beach in Gros Morne National Park, NF.

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The lighting was very inspiring and moody.

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Each angle gave a different sight and lighting.

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As you can tell I went a little snap happy here too.

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I loved the moody clouds and how the light lit up the water.

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Just one more moody beach picture I promise, all of the beach pictures are the same beach.

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On the way back through Colorado, we found these old rusty tanker cars being stored on a track in Alamosa.  The end of the cars were miles away and out of sight.  Curving to the right and out of shot.

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We also went through the Petrified Forest National Park really quick.

As you can see I took so many pictures…the above were my favourites. I particularly loved the beach in New Foundland and the tanker car train that was being stored on a track in Colorado. That train was endless you couldn’t even see its end. It was a rather spectacular sight. The Grand Canyon and petrified forest also provided for some spectacular sights. I’m glad to have got the opportunity to see these sights. I really wanted to paint. I hadn’t had the opportunity to use oils on canvas for a long time and wanted to see how rusty I was at painting landscapes. I decided to choose two to flit between as and when I needed a change or got painters block. Being that Art rage was my newest app acquisition and it promised a simulation of oil paints using a brush. I decided to use that app. And I settled in to start painting….. I started with the Colorado tanker car train photo. 20131019-222552.jpg

Screenshot of in progress Colorado Tanker Cars painting, in open Art Rage App.

I realized quite quickly this wasn’t going to be by any means a quick project. I got a little bored with the slow progress and being….well me, and needing a change of pace. I messed around on both Art Rage and Sketchbook to make some valentines themed images for my valentines day and valentines chaser posts (see I didn’t forget, I promised I would explain how I made them in my next post). After a while the painters block never cleared with the tanker cars painting. And I never got past the above screenshot. I intend to go back to it though. Hopefully. When the mood takes and perhaps I’ll make progress rather than going around and around in circles doing and undoing things. That’s one of the beauties of the apps. You can undo like in photoshop your last action. You could never do that for a real oil painting mistake. Before I gave up, all be it temporarily on the tanker cars, I did start another digital oil on canvas landscape. This time choosing one of the Newfoundland beach photos as my subject matter.

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Close up screenshot of Newfoundland beach painting in open Art Rage app.

This painting I was able to continue with, all be it with a few other “distractions” in the form of other illustrations, sketches and paintings here and there to give me a break and perspective when I felt it wasn’t working out right. Sometimes you have to take a break and step back so you can see it with a fresh pair of eyes. That said distractions aside, this was a slow project. In snatched minutes here and there, I worked on the beach painting. And worked on it……

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Another screenshot of a zoomed in part of the Newfoundland beach painting in progress.  Open app Art Rage.

And worked on it……

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Screenshot of the Art Rage APP gallery with Newfoundland beach painting, front and center. 

For 8 long months on and off, until eventually I felt like I could do any more. Until eventually I felt it was done. And here you have it. The finished Newfoundland beach painting. Created entirely on an IPad.

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All finished.  Gros Morne National Park Beach Painting, by Inspired Me Studio.

Not too bad for these rusty hands, especially considering I’ve never digitally painted before. What do you think? Does it look like realistic oil paint on canvas?

Inspired Me Studio blog has gone Deviant

Just an announcement between posts that I have set up a Deviant Art profile for Inspired Me Studio blog!

I’ve actually had this account since I set up the Inspired Me Studio blog, but did nothing with it till now.

You can find Inspired Me Studio at Deviant Art here

I’ll try to post most if not all, hell maybe even more my my artwork and photos on there and it can be used as more of a gallery page.

I’m currently working on artwork for my next post. In that post I will tell you how I made all the Valentines artwork.

For this posts imagery I’ll share an old photo of mine that shall feature in my next post. It was taken in Colorado on my old phone. We came across the longest line of tanker cars I have ever seen stored on some side tracks. They actually curve around in front of us far off in the distance. I lost sight of where they ended.

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Tanker car train, Colorado.