Feeling Better After a Restful Week

Hawaiian Punch at Jack Astor's

Hawaiian Punch at Jack Astor’s

We had some family visit us this week (my dad and my bro-in-law), and having the company was wonderful! It allowed me to break the monotony of my regular routine which has been, for the past few weeks: get up, read blogs, coffee, read blogs, stream hgtv, take nap, and maybe some chores in between. Being able to talk to people (besides my husband of course) and go out for some fun really helped me feel better about myself and get distracted from the creative block I’ve been having. A few nice meals and some shopping later, I jumped back into painting with great results!

But first, I helped my husband Tim out with a photo-shoot for his brother & girlfriend. They make a lovely couple and were tons of fun to hang around with. I missed them the minute they left. ūüė¶

photography by Tim Lingley

photography by Tim Lingley

The shoot ended up being a lot of fun, and Tim got some amazing shots out of it. It’s days like these where I can really appreciate that he’s into photography; with both of us being creative, we can inspire each other when we’re feeling low.

Last night I started a project that was sort of the opposite of the models painting: something simple that I could throw together without a lot of detail or planning ahead, with bright blocks of color and thick black lines. As a bonus it became a project for the small triptych canvases I bought a year or so back. The designs are penciled on the canvas and I’ve started in on the color on one, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it before starting school next week: that’s okay. It’ll be something I can turn to when I’m tired of studying.

sneak peak of triptych project

sneak peak of triptych project

And now to show that I’ve officially gotten through my creative block! My models painting is turned away no more!

peak at the models painting

peak at the models painting

I’m not posting the whole thing because it’s really close to being done. I got up this morning and had a really good solid few hours of painting on it. There wasn’t any swearing and on the whole it was a positive experience! The week of rest and company gave me a bit of perspective and reminded me why I began this whole mess of moving my life out of province in the first place (art is my passion!). I really enjoyed my painting time today and look forward to more of it over the next few days. With any luck, I’ll be showing off the finished painting sometime on Monday.

Which leads me to the posting schedule. I’ve been doing Mon-Wed-Fri for awhile now, but because I start at NSCAD soon (Tuesday is orientation!) I can’t promise that I’ll be able to keep it up. Between school and an editing-gig on the side, I’ll be very busy for awhile. As much as I love posting about interior design, fashion, and artists I admire, the nature of this blog may change over the next little while.

Fear not! I at least intend to keep it updated with photos of whatever I’m working on, whether it’s sketches, paintings, or even sculpture work. There’s a lot of change on the horizon for me, good change, for a change! I am so ready to start at NSCAD, meet other artists and push the boundaries! Cheers!

palette and new art-school-pants

palette and new art-school-pants

Surreal Dreaming & a Glimpse of the Future

Whether it’s through the mashing up of texture or through beautiful photo composition, fashion continues to inspire me on a level far beyond what I can wear. Now when I look at clothing, I’m not only thinking of how it would look on me, but how it would feel to draw and paint. Who would wear this outfit? What would he/she be doing in it?

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

The oranges and blues give this composition a surreal feeling. The model’s dreamy expression and silvery outfit reflect this as well, coupled with the strange netting covering everything, and the bubbles. It’s like she’s in that state of sleep where she’s still slightly awake, but just fading off into dream land. The netting actually helps draw all these different elements together, where otherwise they might just look cluttered.

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Rather than her outfit, this model’s pose caught my eye first. It’s a pose of strength and defiance, like she’s standing up to something. With a black and white photo, the viewer’s eyes will be drawn to tiny details, without color to distract them, which is perfect for this stringy dress. The dress itself is pretty, but the accessories and hairstyle of this model really make it edgy.

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

The element that makes a piece of art, design, outfit or dress stand out to me the most is contrasting and lining different textures next to each other. It’s hard to explain why this appeals to me so much; perhaps it’s because to do it successfully, you have to be very careful to include one similar element or color in each piece for them to work in harmony. In the gorgeous dress above, we have flowers and sheer ruffles divided by a lace-like ribbon. This works for me because the colors on either side are nice together, and having the black between them really gives the combination a clean-cut look.

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

So futuristic! Seeing each generation’s version of what futuristic should look like is hilarious and inspiring. Lately it seems to be about mirror-like or reflective surfaces, like the girls’ glasses above. The background is really blown out to draw attention to them, and the pure white has a very clean and modern feel to it as well. Their simple bowl-type haircuts against their layers of clothes and accessories provide an interesting comparison of styles. I like how even though the background looks kind of dated, their fashion screams bleeding-edge.

As the weeks continue before school starts, I find myself settling into the blogger lifestyle pretty happily. ūüôā I’ll have to keep this in mind when I start to make serious decisions about my career down the road.

Until Friday!

Friday Night Painting

My last day of work at my day job was yesterday! I feel so utterly content and relaxed this morning, knowing that I’ve taken a really big step towards accomplishing my dreams. Though I’ve learned a lot in the past six years doing technical support, it’s time for me to give art a bigger place in my life. A lot less of my time will be spent in front of a computer, and much more of it will be spent in front of books or an easel. Whether it’s learning art history, or sketching, or sculpting or whatever else NSCAD has to offer, I’ll be learning about art for the next four years of my life starting in September. I wish I could start Monday!

Finished Commission by Jess Lingley

Finished Commission by Jess Lingley

Last night I was able to finish off a¬†commission¬†I’d been working on for the past week and a half and Tim took some photos of me working. It felt really good to paint and know that it’s more than a hobby now, it’s a way of life. I am so happy and so excited to get into school and do this all day!

217/365 - Portrait of an Artist by Tim Lingley (timlingley) on 500px.com

217/365 – Portrait of an Artist by Tim Lingley (timlingley) on 500px.com

217/365 – Portrait of an Artist by Tim Lingley

Painting isn’t always pretty work, especially in the summer. When working with acrylics I really can’t have a fan on because the paint already dries so quickly. It’s sweaty, messy, and I usually end up with paint on me without knowing how it got there. It doesn’t really matter though. I’m not paying attention to all that stuff because I’m too busy enjoying the process.

Over the next week w’ll have to pack our apartment away, but since I’m home I should be able to squirrel out some time to do proper entries. Thanks for your patience, everyone! Have a great weekend!

Flowers, Sneakers and Candy

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of really nice, soft colors in fashion that are very attractive without being flat and boring.

Annabella Barber by Jaclyn Adams for Plaza Kvinna (via Haute Design)

Annabella Barber by Jaclyn Adams for Plaza Kvinna (via Haute Design)

Annabella Barber by Jaclyn Adams for Plaza Kvinna (via Haute Design)

Annabella Barber by Jaclyn Adams for Plaza Kvinna (via Haute Design)

The colors in this¬†photo-shoot¬†are very soft and warm, like a summer morning. The deep rich colors of the plants and tree trunks in the background keep the bright floral colors of these outfits grounded. I really like the subject matter here, especially the pink blossoms. The models seem to give off a natural sort of beauty, with minimal makeup and subtle accessories. This trend is something I’ve been trying to incorporate in my own makeup routine by leaving out the eyeliner and taking it easy on the bold looks. I feel much better in the warm weather with less makeup on, and besides, I’d rather be outside in the sun than inside, slaving over eyeliner that will likely smear off in the heat.

"schlachthofbronx" (via Print & Pattern)

“schlachthofbronx” (via Print & Pattern)

"schlachthofbronx" (via Print & Pattern)

“schlachthofbronx” (via Print & Pattern)

Here we have a cotton candy-colored palette accented with bold hair styles and sullen models. I’m not sure if I dig that contrast or not, to be honest. It lessens the carefree nature of the look, which otherwise, I like. The platform sneakers are very appreciated, since I can use all the extra height I can find (5″1), and heels aren’t always the most comfortable alternative. The leather jacket with the frilly dress is a really fun mix of edgy and cute. The cut of the dress in the second image is very flattering as well, following the peplum trend of this season. I’m not sure if the puffy shoulders and gold sneakers really go together, but I could totally see myself wearing them separately.

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012 campaign (via Elle Decoration)

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012 campaign (via Elle Decoration)

I’m loving these candy bubblegum colors! They really show that colors found on younger clothes can work in more mature, sexy outfits. I may be drawn to these colors since they go nicely on a variety of skin-tones, even someone with really fair skin (which is my situation). Looking more closely at the white floral fabric on the dresses in the second half of the image above, I could swear it was almost the exact same fabric from another shoot¬†in Tokyo which I covered in an earlier post. Looks like this may be a trend!

It seems that pattern has a huge role to play in keeping soft colors interesting. I would gravitate towards something with an¬†intricate¬†pattern on it (embroidery, layering, etc), even if it’s in a softer pale color, instead of a bold colored plain article of clothing. Softer colors also have the benefit of working together much more easily than brighter, bolder colors, so choosing outfits can happen more quickly and effortlessly.

Local Graffiti

Saturday provided some beautiful weather to finish out the rainy week, and thanks to Tim having a photo shoot outside, I was able to enjoy it with some people I haven’t seen since high school! Originally I hadn’t planned on going with him, but he asked if I’d be able to provide an extra set of hands and since I was having such a good time catching up, I went for it. Being such a nice day I could hardly say no.

I’ve been to the water towers by Odell park before. We’d even taken photos of ourselves with an older camera a few years ago. However, the graffiti on the towers has changed a lot, for the better! It looks like they haven’t cleaned any of it off and simply added to it instead.

Graffiti on Water Tower 01

Graffiti on Water Tower

Graffiti on Water Tower 02

More Graffiti on Water Tower

I find the lettering/font of graffiti fascinating. Meaning, the works that have obviously taken time, not just swear words scribbled on the inside of tunnels. It’s like another language the way the letters twist and flow into each other. I’ve wondered how one learns to create something like this. It takes a great deal of thought and planning to figure out what to write, how to write it and then how to shade it or make it pop! To be able to get such clear outlines and clean shapes takes a lot of skill with a spray can. I haven’t really had a lot of experience with it, but look forward to experimenting with the copic air can set I bought on vacation (on marker paper of course).

Graffiti on Water Tower 03

Not sure what this one says, but I love the colors!

Graffiti on Water Tower 04

Rant

I’m so glad that the city hasn’t wiped this stuff away; it’s very beautiful and doesn’t take away from the trail at all. I like that these two atmospheres coexist. It makes me a little proud of our town. During the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival last year, they provided a wall in the heart of downtown and encouraged artists to use it, even providing lighting for it at night. It’s so nice to see them embracing this kind of art!

Graffiti on Water Tower 05

Wide shot of one tower.

Graffiti on Water Tower 06

Another wide shot, lots of characters in this one!

Surprisingly, we didn’t see a lot of art during our travels, even in bigger cities (with Montreal being the exception). I was a bit disappointed as seeing graffiti in the city is always exciting. Seeing those bold colors against the stark grey makes the city more alive and brings a more organic element to it. I enjoyed coming home and finding this. Perhaps this art style is intriguing to me because it can be so similar to tattoo art, with bright colors and thick bold lines. The texture of the stone only adds to them.

Graffiti on Water Tower 07

Curious Octopus

My current oil painting is taking longer to dry between layers than I anticipated so I’d like to get another project on the go… though I’m not really sure what to do. I’ve been considering another watercolor piece since I haven’t done one in awhile. Tim has lots of pretty flower photos for me to choose from, so I should get started on it pretty soon. Happy Victoria day, everyone!

Road-trip 2012: Part II, Canada

I’ll be the first to admit that after the tornado of craziness that was Boston & NYC, I was relieved to get back into Canada via Niagara Falls. Like, ridiculously relieved. It’s not that I was having a bad time in the States, I just took for granted how much I love where I live. Getting back into the country had an air of romance to it. The air was so refreshing, full of moisture from the falls. Everywhere we walked was so clean and the overall atmosphere was a lot calmer. There were tons of freshly planted flowers coming into bloom… there were even horse-drawn¬†carriages! The breeze was a bit chilly but it was nice and warm out, so we wandered around a bit before calling it a night. With everything lit up, it was like a strange wonderland.¬†I expected the falls to be beautiful, but didn’t expect all the glitz & glamour of the city to go with it.

The next day was spent taking our time exploring the area, as well as chilling inside for a bit in the afternoon. I really enjoyed our time here, but we noticed something pretty quickly; everything was at least x3 times as expensive as it was in the States! This applied to food, drinks, even ice cream. Seven dollars for a Peanut Buster Parfait? C’mon! I did, however, find a really cute Betty Boop lunch box that was a perfect size for my makeup collection.

Lights at Niagara Falls, via Tim Lingley

Lights at Niagara Falls, via Tim Lingley

Niagara Falls, via Tim Lingley

Niagara Falls, via Tim Lingley

Betty Boop makeup box, via Instagram

Betty Boop makeup box, via Instagram

We spent an evening in Ottawa, just as a stop-off on the way to Montreal. As it turned out, I would’ve preferred to have spent more time in Ottawa than in Niagara Falls. Niagara was certainly beautiful, but we saw most of what we wanted to see the evening we went out for a stroll (Tim got most of his photos then, as well). We got to Ottawa around supper time and immediately saw at least five places we wanted to stop and see downtown! I found an art supply store (Wallack’s) at 4:45pm, fifteen minutes before they closed. Tim encouraged me to go in anyway and I made a mad dash to grab things; the selection there was so much better than what I’d found in NYC! Thankfully we decided to spend the next morning, beautiful and sunny, downtown so that I could examine everything more carefully (Tim found some camera stores as well). I was able to get a lot of items from my art list there including marker bleed-proof paper, illustration boards, water brushes, a beginner copic spray gun, film-protect-ant¬†for spray paint, wooden panels to paint on and a multitude of other goodies. We indulged in some souvlaki for lunch which was so delicious and a great summer food.

Tim & I in front of Parliment in Ottawa

Tim & I in front of Parliament in Ottawa, taken after we took another couples’ photo for them. ūüôā

Montreal was nice the afternoon we arrived, but was rainy the entire next day. Rather than wander the streets in the rain like we did in Boston, and since we were starting to feel the exhaustion of the trip, we spent the day underground in the maze of malls and subways that connect everything downtown. I didn’t get to see much art but I did notice that fashion there is a much bigger deal. Almost everyone looked like they put a lot of effort into their clothes/accessories, much more so than anywhere else we’d been. Tim & I were a bit swept up in it; he got a haircut and I got a manicure (still going strong after a week AND having just cut my nails!).

Graffiti in Montreal, via Tim Lingley

Graffiti in Montreal, via Tim Lingley

One of the many malls in underground Montreal, via Tim Lingley

One of the many malls in underground Montreal, via Tim Lingley

Hot Chocolate! via Tim Lingley

Hot Chocolate! via Tim Lingley

Old Quebec was the final stop of our trip and proved to be quite a gem! I got to use some of my bilingual skills and didn’t do half badly! I understand most of what people said as long as they didn’t talk too fast, but answering them was a bit harder. Vieux Quebec was the highlight of the visit, with a ton of galleries to enjoy amongst all the wonderful architecture and food it features. Even though it was cold and rainy (again!) there were lots of places to pop into to escape the weather. The first day in Quebec we stumbled upon a midevil-themed store where I had a great french conversation with the sales girl, and I picked up a ring, one of the other items I’d wanted to buy on this trip.

Montreal Manicure & Medieval Ring from Vieux Quebec, via Instagram

Montreal Manicure & Medieval Ring from Vieux Quebec, via Instagram

158/365 - Old City Quebec by Tim Lingley (timlingley) on 500px.com

158/365 – Old City Quebec by Tim Lingley (timlingley) on 500px.com

158/365 – Old City Quebec by Tim Lingley

Vieux Quebec, dans le plui, via Tim Lingley

Vieux Quebec, dans le plui, via Tim Lingley

Bons bons! via Tim Lingley

Bons bons! via Tim Lingley

Even though we were only in each spot for two days or less, I got enough of a taste of everything to feel satisfied, and to know which cities I’d want to go back to. I think the next trip we take should be a relaxed sandy one, but if I had to choose one city to revisit out of what I’ve seen, I’d like to go back to Ottawa or Boston. We really enjoyed the downtown area of Ottawa and despite the fact that I’ve been there twice on my own, most of what we explored, I hadn’t seen before. Based on the size and quality of the art store, I feel like the art scene there is booming and would like to explore it more. If we went to the US again, I’d like to go back to Boston; the food was amazing everywhere we went and Newbury Street was inspiring! Honestly, Boston felt more trendy and upbeat than New York. I’d love to explore it more when it’s not cold and rainy.

It also ended up being a learning experience for both Tim & I in several ways. As we got farther into the trip, it became a taste-test of various places we may end up in the next five years. As much as I love the Maritimes and desperately want to stay here, work has not been as plentiful as we need it to be. For reasons I’m going to elaborate on, probably in the next week or two, Halifax is where I want to end up by the end of the summer. So far though, Tim hasn’t been offered any work there. We’re keeping our fingers crossed; it’s a great city just a big bigger than where we are now, not as harsh of a move as, say, Toronto would be. It might be in the cards for us to go a bit further west, though hopefully only as far as Toronto. It seems there are tons of options for both of us there.

The other thing I noticed were the differences between bigger galleries and smaller,¬†independent¬†ones. I loved seeing the work of the masters up close and personal, but I also really loved seeing all the new talent in the smaller galleries! Not to mention they were less crowded and most of the paintings were easier to look at. It’s very encouraging to see so many new artists with so much great work!

I thought I would feel overwhelmed looking at paintings from Dali and Van Gough, but I didn’t. Instead, I felt… not alone? It may be¬†pretentious¬†of me to say this, but I feel like I share something with these artists. They felt so passionately about what they did and put so much time into it, even in many cases where they saw no recognition or money from it. They were sometimes labeled as crazy or were simply dismissed. But they did it anyway, because when you feel passionate enough about something to the point where you can feel it in your core, there just isn’t anything else. It’s comforting to know that the feeling I get when I paint or draw, when I’m really in the thick of it and I’m not listening to the background music or thinking about the clock or anything else, others share this. The feelings I get when I look at paintings, whether I’m overwhelmed, overjoyed, euphoric or saddened… it’s like I can connect with the artist on some level.

Special thanks to hubby Tim Lingley for taking all the amazing photos during our trip! He purchased a new lens before we left and has certainly put it to good use.

All Tuckered Out

All Tuckered Out (and glad to see our kitties!)

Whew! I’m very glad to be back home though and finally able to use this inspiration I’ve been gathering over the past two weeks! Back to normal blog posts on Friday, starting with a progress post on what I’ve been doing since I got back.

Fashion Shoots for Spring 2012

For fashion magazines and other fashion adverts to be effective, they need to properly showcase their outfits (well lit clothing, attractive models) and provide a fitting atmosphere to display them in. Having clothing against a simple backdrop is okay, but showcasing it on a model that can really wear it, or having it in a space that suits it can really bring it out further and make it shine.

The spring campaign for Swedish Hasbeens has a vintage vibe, both in style of accessories and color palettes. The photography below uses beautiful washed out colors. I’m especially found of the soft purples, blues and pinks. It makes the photos look aged and gives them a happy nostalgic feeling. I’m a big fan of wedges and vintage accessories. I dig 60’s inspired clothing, as I feel it flatters more body shapes than some modern fashion. Everything about this shoot flows together harmoniously from the makeup, to the hairstyles, to the outfits.

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

Swedish Hasbeens Spring 2012 Collection (via MoreDesignPlease)

The photos below from W Korea’s March 2012 magazine pop with candy colors: soft and bright and sweet. The dreamlike atmosphere draws me in, from the bubblegum wigs to the flowing fabrics. The colors are bright without clashing and pleasant to look at. I’d like to paint something like this, where the subjects are fun and the small details (peeling wallpaper, mattress fabric) would provide enough challenge to keep things interesting.

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

W Korea March 2012 (via Chicquero)

Prada’s Spring 2012 combines two of my favorite styles: vintage and graphic. The over-sized sunglasses and thin soft blouses look perfect for the warmer spring days, and those shoes… they have flames on them. FLAMES. I’m in love with them. The sky is so bright in these photos that it looks like the blue of a pool and gives a refreshing balance to the harsh light of a hot sun. In contrast to the first set of vintage images above, these are bright and in-your-face, clothing you’d definitely want to show off on the town.

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

Prada Spring 2012 (via Print and Pattern)

I really love how they’ve used¬†graffiti¬†as a backdrop in this Vogue US March 2012 shoot. The bold colors and sharp cuts in the clothing stand out against it the spray-painted letters on the wreckage in the background. There are a lot of different textures going on here as well: the block of green against the pink car, the rustic pleats in the skirt against the horizon. Both photos really put a spotlight on these modern upscale outfits in a¬†psychedelic¬†grungy wasteland. Putting these outfits against a plain, brick wall would give them a totally different feeling and might even downplay them.

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue US March 2012 (via Trendland)