In Which I Step Out of My Little Box

I love encouraging people to step out of their normal little boxes and try something new; expand horizons and discover skills they never knew they had. I myself haven’t tried something new for a little while in art.

So in the last several days, I tried out two things. Not new to me in particular, but things that I was always terrible at when I was younger. I can’t say they turned out stellar, but I was pleased with the outcome and definitely plan to work at them more in the future as time allows.

Continue reading “In Which I Step Out of My Little Box”

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Christmas Traditions

I enjoy fun Christmas traditions. They’re not only sweet, but can be a great help with interacting with family and friends. So maybe you generally spend Christmas by yourself? That’s fine too! There’s plenty of things you can do as a single.

Don’t have too many traditions, though!

The holidays can quickly become overwhelming if we aren’t careful. So… rather than having a gazillion traditions, select the ones that you feel would be the most meaningful and draw you closer to Christ and the reason of his birth. Also, some traditions may take a lot of time while others only take five minutes.

Here’s a few Ideas:

  1. Host a simple (or elaborate if you wish) Christmas Party.
  2. Find simple ways to share some kindness into someone else’s life which could include:
    1. Caroling with family, friends, or your church
    2. Taking cookie plates to the neighbors
    3. Something simple as saying a cheerful “Merry Christmas” in the store rather than the normal and mundane “happy holidays”.
    4. Simply sharing an extra dose of kindness in everything (see more on this here).
  3. Make Christmas cookies, candy, or some other special Christmas food.
  4. Use candy canes in decorations, food, and beverages as a quiet reminder of who Jesus is (see the post about, The symbolism of the Candy Cane).
  5. Make handmade cards to send to elderly/lonely acquaintances.
  6. Don’t end the Christmas celebration on December 26! Leave your decorations up ’til the new year arrives.

So there are a few ideas. Got your brain going? It’s okay not to feel inspired at first. The most important thing is the silent worship and adoration of the King that takes place within your heart. It is from this place of complete adoration that we can truly celebrate Christmas in a way that Jesus enjoys. Imagine him being right there with you; joining in the festivities (or the lack thereof). Do you think that he feels your heart in it, or are you a couch potato friend to him that would rather watch a movie and drink your coffee alone? However you choose to commemorate Christmas, remember to have a very merry Christmas.

A Cheery Christmas Thought

I love this quote… so true, and I hope it for each one of you!

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
~Ada V. Hendricks

And I almost laughed at this quote when I found it.

Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. ~Author Unknown

Hmm, a little too painfully true, though! I think we should reference back to the quote above; none of those things should be solely because of money, but because of Jesus coming to earth on that Christmas so long ago and living in our hearts today!

The Symbolism of the Candy Cane

Hey Folks! I’m so sorry that I didn’t get yesterday’s post out! I was helping with a cousin’s wedding and thought that I had it set to publish at a certain time. Obviously, not. So here it finally is. A day late is better than never, right?

Ever look at a candy cane and wonder why they are so… “Christmas-y”? Maybe this poem will help shed some light on why I think that candy canes should be the Christmas candy. It is so super sweet! I know that I will never look at a ordinary candy cane in the same way.

Here’s an idea. Find places to stick candy canes to remind you of the beauty of Christmas. This could include table centerpieces,  on the Christmas tree, in various decorations, or even a miniature candy cane hung on the side of your mug of hot cocoa as you curl up and read a book by the fire (yes, peppermint hot chocolate is sooo good!). And… after Christmas is over, you can eat the left-over ones and remember that Jesus is even sweeter!!

If you wish for more awesome and creative ways to use candy canes, click here. And recipes that use candy canes  can be found here!

Little James and the Model Doll

My sister and I were doing some much needed fall cleaning in our bedroom, when my sister found my favorite doll. She is life sized, and just about as realistic looking as you’ll get with a doll. When I was young, she was my baby! As I contemplated sending her up to the attic, a sudden thought hit me; Why not draw a picture of her?

In the end, I used her as a model and drew a little black boy. While I was drawing, the name James, appeared in my head out of nowhere and stuck. Funny, ’cause I don’t normally like the name James (no offense meant to anybody with that name!).

If you know me, you might know that I love drawing little kiddos! Out of all the pictures of family, friends, and other “random” people that I’ve drawn in the past year, four of them were little boys (with another next in line to draw!)! 🙂 Hmm, maybe it’s time I find some girls?!

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“James” 9″x12″ Bristol Board

Philadelphia Digitals

Traveling… one of my favorite things. If I were able to fly at least three times a year, it would be perfect. But I can only dream of that. In the mean time of waiting for that elusive, dreamy future, I enjoy doing some on the ground travel to closer destinations.

My most recent adventure was a nice fall vacation to Philadelphia, Longwood Gardens, and the Eastern Shore with my amazing parents and sister in tow (Okay, I gotta give most of the planning credits to my sis… 😉 )

I don’t get much opportunity to photograph cityscapes, so I jumped on the chance. Unfortunately, most of the time I was shooting through the dirty van window which resulted in a lot of blurred or specked photos. 😦 Oh well! I was still able to capture some that I was pleased with.

(A note: I will be posting a lot more photos from Longwood gardens and the Eastern Shore, so stay tuned!)

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Building a sky scraper!
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Independence Hall

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The scope used to create the Mason-Dixon line
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The Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background

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Jonathan

I adore little kiddos and their adorable little grins. Having drawn several already, I wanted another one to draw. So after much looking on several picture websites, I found this little cutie sitting in a large pot. 🙂 The look of innocence and cheer written all across his face, captured my heart.

Since he, in actuality, is just some random kiddo out there and his name is anybody’s guess, I wanted to make him a little more personal and special and give him a name my self. Jonathan, is what I quickly decided on since that is my favorite boy’s name.

After 10 1/2 hours, I proclaimed the picture complete. And no, I did not draw for ten and half hours straight! I’m not sure that anyone could do that and still claim to be sane. Generally, my drawing segments are about 1 to 1 1/2 hours long. Then it is time for me to get up and stretch and think about something else for a little while!

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“Jonathan” 9″ x 12″ Bristol Board

How to Draw a Face Correctly (Even if You’re not an Artist)

Often times, how-to art books explain everything but the very basics. Most of them make you feel like you would have to be somewhat of an artist already to even try to do what they tell you will work.

For me, it was so extremely helpful to find out what composes a person’s face, and  where to put things. The eyes, nose, etc. So I have made a very straight forward list for you, that I hope will be helpful in figuring things out. Please, it is not actually a hard thing to learn if you have the right foundations to start from (a good attitude about drawing is great too.). So relax, it’s not scary. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

Proportions

  1. The eyes. If the person in the picture is looking straight at you, you will have five eye widths at the level of the eyes. In other words, the width of one of the eyes will be the width between the side of the head and the eye, and between the eyes. The eyes are also placed exactly in the middle of the head from top to bottom.
  2. The nose. This is a facial feature that is almost always gotten wrong. The length of the nose is basically the same as the width of the eye. The wings of the nose should be at least as far over as the inner corner of the eyes.
  3. The mouth. The mouth is placed a third of the way between the nose and the bottom of the chin; that is, being the closest third to the nose. If the person is smiling, the edge of the mouth will be directly below the pupil of the eye (if the person is looking straight at you.).
  4. The ears. The ear tops generally are in line with the eye brows. The bottoms are generally in line with the bottom of the nose.

As far as the rest of the face, play around with it! It’s no science.

Other important tips

  1. Go off a picture. Truthfully, the best place to start drawing realistic faces, is to grab a nice black and white photo and copy it, and preferably a friend or family member. Doing it this way, you will be able to get a far better picture and learn how the shape of the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and everything in between, is composed. After several of these portraits, you can step out and try a simple sketch using the tools you have learned. But in general (and this goes for experienced artists too), you will always have to have a picture or model to go off of to get the picture to look like a specific person. Help hint: Using a grid is the easiest way. You can purchase drawing grids, or make your own by drawing a quarter inch grid on a clear sheet to place over your original picture. You then lightly draw another grid of the same size on you drawing paper which you will erase after the sketch is complete and before the shading is started. 
  2. If all else fails, go stand in front of a mirror, and just stare at yourself for a good long while; noticing where different things are placed, how far apart, and how they are shaded in a rather general way. But it is NOT my suggestion to try to start here. It can all be too confusing if you don’t have too much of an idea what to look for. Where I like to use this is when I am sketching freehand (not off of a picture), and forgot where on earth something is placed or how it is shaded.
  3. Lastly, have fun! It’s truly not a science. People come in all shapes and sizes, so if you flub up… don’t worry. Just try again!

I would also like to point you to another post, Feeling Hopeless? I Was Too! where I share more, as well as some great links!