Friday, August 31, 2012

Breaking Free

PLEASE click on image to see it full

This illustration was created by me today and is inspired by this week's Illustration Friday Theme: "Identical".

I drew two very similar girls, the main difference being is one seems like she could be a standard daughter, and the other looks as if she could be a prostitute. The idea behind the drawing is to bring out our pre-conceived thoughts that we have about girls and women who are trapped in prostitution... they are victims of sexual exploitation, and we need to recognize this. The difference between these two girls pictured here is simple: one had a good upbringing, and the other was sexually abused as a young child, and it only got worse from there.

To learn more about the statistics behind sexually exploited women and sex trafficking right here in OUR country, in OUR towns, happening to people we may very well know, please visit Breaking Free, an organization devoted to helping sexually exploited women and girls "break free" of the oppressive, abusive, and down-right horrible prison that is prostitution. Based in Saint Paul, MN, this fantastic, non-for-profit organization began in 1995 by Vednita Carter.

Suziblu is a wonderful artist that I have personally followed for years. She is stepping up to the plate, donating her time and services as a teacher, mentor, and friend to these women and girls by helping them escape through the healing and empowering force that is art. She is looking for any help as far as art journals, supplies, etc. which will enable these females to stop looking at themselves as things to be bought and used, and begin to know themselves as artists, as beautiful women, as FREE. Learn more about what she's doing to help here.

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A True Friend

There is a woman who will give you the shirt off her back, if she thought it could help you. She is the epitome of kindness and love, all wrapped into someone I consider my best friend, and literally, a second mother.

She takes photographs of subjects with a keen, original artistic eye that, in my humble opinion, is unsurpassed in today's clip-art saturated society. She is unique, and her photography stands far out from the rest.

She loves and makes awesome collages, and can digitally enhance a photograph with a stunning aesthetic that is truly her own. I am honored to say that I own several of her art cards, and they truly are a treasured possession of mine.

Whether she's in a friend's garden in Bloomfield, NJ, or studying the pavement in a bustling NYC, she listens to her inward artistic voice, and answers the call when a subject is begging to be photographed.

She is a proud and caring Mother and Grandmother, and is a loving and devout follower of Jesus, a fact which she is happy to share :) She is one of the kindest people I have ever known, and I can't even express how much she means to me in a mere blog post... the words fall short of what I'm truly trying to say.

Each of her pieces mean something special to her. Often times, there is a touching story behind her photos, and if you visit her Etsy Shop, you will be able to read about the meaning behind the photo in each picture's descriptions.

Sue is a beautiful woman who takes beautiful photographs...

If I could say just one thing to you, Sue, it would be thank you from the bottom of my heart for being you. There is no one like you in the world, and everyone who knows you is truly, truly blessed.

I love you, Mom.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wreck This Journal! (No, seriously...)

So, my friend Jennifer from the wonderful CAST Team on Etsy alerted me to the existence of these "Wreck This Journal" books... and as soon as I began looking into them, I was hooked. I literally called Target to ask if they had any (it was published in 2007) and the man on the phone was all like "Seriously? I've got one in front of me right now!" so I told him to put it aside for me, and I loaded the kids in my car, and went to Target to spend my laundry money on my own Wreck This Journal.

So, I began looking through it excitedly, and the artist in me couldn't wait to create. I admit, the idea of the journal is to "wreck" it, but the instructions inside clearly say it's open to interpretation, so I am happy to say that I haven't "wrecked" it as much as I've "created" in it thus far...

The first one I decided to do was this page, that says you can drip coffee (or tea) on the page... not only drip, but spit, splat, whatever you may want to do. So I made extra sure that I didn't add milk to the coffee (because that wouldn't have made a dark enough stain) and I proceeded to spill some on the journal. I like how it turned out, but what I didn't like is that the pages are so thin that it bled right through to the other pages, and those are separate things to do on the other pages. But I have white gesso, so I'll be able to fix the bleed :)

Anyway, here is the coffee I spilled... I've a lot of ideas on how to decorate this spread further (doodle a design, add a Starbucks sticker... whatever) but I like how it turned out so far.

Another spread to do is to cover it with office supplies... so I added a decorative border with staples :)

See? I still have to add more supplies when I find them, but I'm still trying to keep an aesthetic rather than destroying the book... I know, I'm missing the point. But I love my journal!

Another spread I did was when you are instructed to step on the book, jump up and down, wipe your feet back and forth, etc... I painted my feet (one wearing a sneaker, and one barefoot) with red acrylic paint, and stood on the gessoed pages (there was also a big square of white sticker paper stuck on there to avoid the coffee stain coming through from the other side lol)...

So that's what I've done so far... and I've been having so much fun. I have ideas on how to further decorate the stepped-on pages, too, but we'll have to wait to see those :) Stay tuned in for the creative chaos to ensue! Oh, and if I can make a recommendation? Go out and get one. They're only like $10-$15, depending on where you get them, and they are very addictive... seriously, you should really get one :) Let me know if you do!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fun With Photos

Hello :)

I was thinking the other day of interesting photographs, and how many opportunities we all have to grab some, if we have a keen eye. I am glad to say that I think I've gotten a few here... some are better than others, but I had a good time. And I took them all with my cell, and none are doctored or cropped in any way. They are shown to you exactly as I took them. My favorite is the last, and I grabbed that one just this evening outside of my house :)


Friday, August 3, 2012

The Carnival!!!

This weekend, the carnival my brother works for is just the next town over from where we live (only 5 minutes up the road!) Of course, we just had to take Kyle and Jubilee!

Here they are, getting ready to go. They can see the rides, and both are excited, but neither really knows what a "carnival" is. They've been, but don't remember.

The first ride they go on is the super-cool dragon roller coaster!!! Kyle, for his first time on a roller coaster, loved it. LOVED it. Jubilee... not so much. She cried. We took her off... Kyle, of course, stayed on :)

You can see him here, just in the corner of the picture, enjoying the ride!

Here he is, on a horse on the Merry-Go-Round... he was happily saying "Yee-hah!!!" LOL. I rode next to him, while Nana held Jubilee on her horse behind us.

Here they both are, on the fire engine. Jubilee is having a blast, too! They would run from one ride to the next, eager to jump on and see what it was!

Here they are on the flying elephant... you can kind of see their heads. Hey, it was the best picture I could get :)

Here they are on a spinning monster/dragon/I-don't-know-what kind of ride... we all went on, the three of us. I went on so it "wouldn't" spin so fast... but Jubilee ended up having fun spinning us as fast as she could! Sheeesh... she's not even 2 yet! LOL :)

Here they are, coming (climbing?) out of the bouncing castle... rough and tumble, the both of them!

Then, Kyle and I went up on the Ferris Wheel! I haven't been up on one in many, many years... but it was a great time. Kyle was sitting there happily eating his pretzel as if he were on the ground. He wasn't scared at all! He was super-excited to see the sun at a closer level with him, lol, and he pretended he was "Super Kyle", flying high above the carnival!

We all had a very good time, and I believe the kids have a great memory that will last them their whole lives... and, if not, I've got this blog post to show them! :)

They went on a few rides multiple times, and they even went into a climbing castle. Kyle went up a few times and through, but Jubilee got stuck in the ball pit... I had to climb in and get her! I could barely get through myself!!!

I even tried an interesting item... a Fried Twinkie! I haven't even had a regular Twinkie in a few years, let alone a fried one. But they put confectioners sugar on it, as if it were a funnel cake, and it's pretty good. I guess you could fry any snack with confectioner's sugar and it would be yummy, lol.

Kyle and Jubilee happily split a pretzel, and it was cool for me because it was right next to my High School. I saw a lot of people I knew, and I am very glad we went. The carnival is super-fun, no matter what your age!