Hosting with Character

I hosted a “Christmas in July” Party the other night, and went all-in with the food. There were traditional Christmas deserts but I took a spin on some things since we were in the heat of summer. I often see place cards at buffets and such, so I decided to take my own spin on place cards.

My goal: Fun and Witty Characters that portrayed each food item in style. Some characters are a play on words, and some are all about their expression!

These were super fun to make and experiment with Character design! So much can be conveyed by a raised eyebrow, arm position and ever posture of a character. And the place cards were a hit at the party!


Carry Me Safe to Shore

I love the song “Lighthouse,” by Rend Collective. It’s beat, lyrics and incredible message. Lighthouses may be one of my favorite elements of architecture, for their unique architecture and purpose. I often talk about how much I love to draw. And if I don’t say it enough, I love to draw!! I love art in any way shape or form. It’s so compelling, moving our hearts and spirits through stories exhibited in each piece of art. But I have to gives thanks to The Maker, for giving me my love for and ability to draw and create art. Through His hands all things are beautiful, and I want to ring Him praise withheld abilities He gave me. This image has been impressed in my imagination for a while, because I’ve been wanting to start painting and drawing lighthouses. I decided to try something very difficult with this one. I wanted to work on my knowledge of perspectives, nature, movement and forms but have no reference other than my imagination. I didn’t use an existing lighthouse or visual of the sea, just let my hand draw. Here’s my first lighthouse! 

When it Rains, it Pours

To me, water is one of the hardest subjects to draw. It’s movement and grace is like nothing I’ve witnessed. Rain has been on my mind a lot lately. This seem came to mind, “the rain rain rain came down down down,” from Winnie the Pooh. Hopefully this will be a start of some future water studies because I’d love to learn to draw water for all its beauty! 

Look at the Stars

More experimenting with watercolors. My own interpretation of The Lion King, of Simba talking to Mufasa. This time I tried to be less hesitant and just go for it, dive in and put the brush to the paper. This too roughly 20 minutes from sketching through watercoloring. 

I am enjoying how watercolors can show texture and shadows in a different manner than sketching. 


Do you want to build a snowman? 

I decided to use a different media for this piece, watercolors. I started with a detailed sketch, then used a black pen to outline a few defining lines and the took a stab at watercoloring.

Much respect for those who watercolor, very tricky and time sensitive. And watercoloring can evoke expressions in a powerful manner differently than hand sketches. I’d like to continue experimenting!


I’m Late, I’m Late, I’m Late

The White Rabbit is know for his race against the clock. Thus, I combined this sketch with an image overlay of my hand sketching the drawing at various moments. I wanted to try a new means of representation; sketching is beautiful in its purest form but it can also be enhanced by combining it with other art forms. I wanted to explore this and try something new. The white rabbit is representative of time, and so is the composition of this final piece.


Time White Rabbit

A Castle Built for a Princess

I chose the sketch three Disney Castles; Prince Eric’s Castle from The Little Mermaid, the Sultan’s Palace from Aladdin, and Prince Ferdinand’s Castle in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Sketching not only tells a story but reveals one…

The beauty in each of these castles is far greater than their architecture alone. Each castle speaks to the princess it represents, via character ornamentation and grandeur. Beautiful! So the style is indicative of the princess and also the time in which the movie was filmed. And that is why I love viewing these three sketches together as a whole. From an animation standpoint, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature produced by Disney. It is evident how the evolution in animation has enhanced the level of detail found in these castles. Aladdin and The Little Mermaid were released in the 90s, and it is apparent that, along with the movies as a whole, the Castles have become more detailed in their design. 

I love sketching these three castles, to represent their respective princesses and the time of animation. 


McGuffy Art Center – Art Installation

I had the pleasure and great fortune to have been asked to collaborate on an art piece that was to be on display in the Charlottesville McGuffy Art Center. The purpose of this piece was to encourage collaboration among artists/community members and illustrate what beauty can come of such collaboration.
I was the fourth out of the five artists to receive the piece. Each artist was given one simple instruction; add a “layer” to the piece…thus the possibilities were endless. I was extremely excited to start!
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The essence of layering is known as “a single thickness of material covering a surface or forming an overlaying part.” When the piece fell into my hands, it had already undergone many iterations of layering ON the piece. It was a beautiful piece. I was wondering how I could contribute another “layer” that could capture the essence of the overall theme, collaboration, and also be unique to my hand. I inquired and discovered that the final layer was to be the overlaying of a poem, and the theme of that poem was water. Thus, I knew my layer was to connect the current pictorial state of the piece to the final theme of the poem in one fluid motion. Instead of adding another layer ON the piece, I wanted to manipulate the piece itself; do something TO the piece. Thus, redefining the definition of layer and connecting the visual image of the painted water to the theme of Most’s poem, water. I molded the piece to reflect the fluidity of a wave rolling and settling upon the water.
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I used a copper metal sheet as my mold, it was easily manipulated but strong enough to hold its form. Then I made a glue-water mixture to, in essence, “paper-mache” the piece into a new form. I started by testing mini models to make sure my glue-water mixture was the proper consistency, and to verify that it would not stick to the copper after it dried. The process took roughly 15 minutes to apply the glue-mixture and mold to the copper, and I let it dry for 36 hours. The piece was thick paper/canvas, thus I needed to heavily apply the mixture in order for it to mold smoothly and not bend. After drying, the piece easily slipped off the mold, leaving another art form as the “waste.”
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Layering is a progressive action that builds off the former, making it so no layer can stand alone in isolation and hold the same thematic expression. Each layer is stronger together as a whole. Through the collaboration of the layers (performed through the hands of the artists), the piece becomes stronger and stronger and develops its own language. The theme of this piece has evolved in alignment with the piece’s visual and physical evolution. It began with the purpose of showing collaboration, then it evolved to a piece representing artistic layers, then upon completion, water reads as the theme.
What amazing possibilities can result from collaboration!
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Thank you to Clint Lees and Matt Gordon for all the work they have done in their architectural exhibit in the McGuffy Art Center. And special thanks to them for asking all the artists, Scott Smith, Mac Morecock, Laura Lee, John Most and myself, to participate in this incredible collaborative art piece.

Disneyland in a Day

Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, is filled with magic, fireworks, parades, story-filled rides and much more. With a hotel room pen and scrap paper, I embarked on an adventure of my own in Disneyland, sketching various Disneyland Park icons. Main Street U.S.A, Fantasyland, Toontown, Frontierland, Adventureland, Critter County and Tomorrowland all have their own sketches. The sketches lasted no more than 10 minutes: the purpose was to create quick observations that I believe capture the essence of the attraction but also the land in which it resides. Some sketches are of buildings, structures, signs and even a lamp post. There isn’t a single piece of Disneyland that wasn’t considered and the collection of sketches illustrate how Disneyland is a world of its own. Walt said “I don’t want to public to see the work they live in while there in the Park. I want to feel they’re in another world.” He has done just that.

Disneyland is a magical place where dreams come true. Walt Disney was persistent and determined to make his dreams come to life; a dream that was meant to inspire others to follow their own dreams and to never lose their imagination. I am inspired by Walt’s imagination and believe in making it come to life. We must never stop dreaming. As a part of Disney’s Diamond Celebration, the fireworks show gave tribute to Walt Disney and commemorated both the old and new Disney favorites. Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be complete. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” We must never stop dreaming.

Sketches were completed September 7, 2015

Adventureland Sketch Critter Country Sketch Disneyland Railroad Sketch Fantasyland Sketch Frontierland Sketch Main Street USA Sketch Small World Sketch Tomorrowland Sketch Toontown Sketch

Constructed Beauty

Constructed Beauty is the Final Artwork (Second Phase) for the Disney D23 EXPO Design Challenge. It follows the blue print of Constructing Beauty, to bring Sleeping Beauty’s Castle out of the Storybook and into reality. After all, nothing is more powerful than the imagination. As a story is read, the pages come to life!

The Final Artwork served as one of the 23 Final Artwork submissions, which were displayed at the D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim California August 14th-16th, 2015.

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Disney D23 EXPO Design Challenge - Final Artwork
Disney D23 EXPO Design Challenge – Final Artwork