Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Edge of the Universe

In September, the Northern Lights were low enough that it was reported we might be able to see them  in Utah.  Seeing the Northern Lights is on my life bucket list, so I was excited to maybe get the chance to see them!  Beth and Reece invited to me to go out to the Spiral Jetty with them to try and see if we could catch a glimpse of the lights, since we would be far away from any city lights.

Seeing the Sprial Jetty has been a long standing item on my life bucket list so I was excited to finally place a big check mark next to it.  I can't believe I have lived in Utah my whole life and had never seen the Spiral Jetty until this year!

We got to the Jetty right as the sun was setting, so we only had just a few minutes of seeing it in daylight.  After snapping a few pictures we gathered up our gear and started heading closer to the waters edge of the Great Salt Lake.  Walking on the salt flats is such a unique experience, it really is something everyone should do in their lifetime, especially if you live in utah.

We set up camp and then started experimenting with long exposures.  We played around with different times, locations, camera angles, everything!  It was so much fun to capture such a breathtaking sight.

We were enveloped in complete darkness and silence with the most perfect view of the Milky Way It was like nothing I have ever experienced.  I truly felt like I was on another planet.  These pictures come no where close to giving our view justice.

We stayed until the moon began to rise.  Since the moon casts so much light, our star pictures wouldn't turn out nearly as well as they had been so we decided to pack up and head home.  We never did see the Northern Lights, but we obviously didn't mind.  This is one of my most favorite life experiences.  It was one of the most magical things I have ever done.  Many thanks to the ever creative and adventurous Madisons for making it happen!

A Year ...

Isn't it crazy how fast the years go by as you get older?  I started taking these pictures a year ago, when I made the decision to quit my full time office job in pursuit of a better, more fulfilling path.  It's been quite a year, and while I have found a lot of the things I left that job looking for, I'm still in hot pursuit of quite a few pieces of my puzzle.  I'm grateful for the people and events that have been a part of my life this past year, I have learned so much about life, healing, relationships and myself.  I am a completely different person, then I was a year ago today.  Here's to another year, that will hopefully lead to fitting a few more pieces into the big picture.

P.S. Aren't Utah's seasons gorgeous?

Mesa Art Studio

Last fall my mom wanted to start taking art classes, she invited me to take them with her and I took her up on the offer!  I had never really given art a fair chance, I had always thought I was bad at it but had never really taken art classes as an adult.

We took our classes from Mesa Art Studio in Murray.  I absolutely loved my experience with them, they are amazing at teaching art and they helped me create things I never thought I would be able to do on my own.  I would highly recommend them to anyone that is wanting to start taking art classes.
I know I am no amazing artist, but before this class I struggled drawing stick figures, so while these may not be the most amazing works of art, I am pretty proud of them!

Our first project was this peacock.  At our first lesson ever, we are handed a white sheet of paper and a pen.  A PEN!  That means no erasing!  Our teacher explained that she likes to start students with a pen so that we learn to really concentrate on what we put on the page and not just guess knowing we can erase it later if we don't like it.  It also builds trust and confidence as you draw.  I found the whole theory fascinating and very effective.
By the end of day one we had drawn the basic figure, our next class was dedicated to color blocking and learning how to use chalk pastels (pictured above), then we finished by adding some shading and smoothing out the chalk.

My mom's is on the left and mine is on the right.

Project two was desert quails.  We learned how to use oil pastels and how they differ from chalk pastels, and how to place a figure in a landscape.

Mom's is the top one and mine is on the bottom

Art class was on monday afternoons from 1-3.  I would meet up with my mom at the adorable cafe right next to the art studio and we would grab lunch before class.  When the weather was nice, we would eat out on their patio and enjoy the sunshine.  I loved sharing this time with my mom every week, we created some happy memories together.

As we moved into fall we had a lesson on how to draw pumpkins.  This was a fascinating lesson and one of the most useful!  We kept recalling the concepts we learned during this project.  This is the project that I am the most proud of, I think it turned out the best out of everything I did.

Next we learned how to draw roses.  This was by far the hardest lesson of them all.  Roses, as pretty as they are, are crazy hard to draw.  It took me forever to finish this drawing, I never got a picture of the finished product.

Next, we moved into a chapter about landscapes.  We spent a lesson learning how to create clouds and mountains.  When you really look close and dissect these natural creations in order to draw them, you really begin to notice things you have never seen before.  Drawing them is a lot harder then it sounds. 

That is one things I really took away from these art classes, when you attempt to draw something, you look at it so differently then you ever had before.  It really makes you notice more about the world, and that is fascinating.

After learning about clouds and mountains, we incorporated them into a desert scene using chalk pastels again.  This one was fun and frustrating all at the same time.

By the time we were moving into the Christmas season, and people in our class had voted on learning how to draw cardinal birds in a holly berry bush!  So, we started at the beginning, we learned how to draw branches, and trunks.  Again, this is another thing that takes so much observation to get all the shading correct!

Then we sketched out our birds.  Mine turned out rather large and chubby.

Then we learned about our fourth medium, colored pencils, and added some color to our holiday scene.

With the beginning of the new year we began our chapter on water color.  I love the look of water colors and I couldn't wait to learn more about this medium.  Since it is such a unique painting technique,  we spent a couple of classes playing around with different water color techniques to try and get a feel of how it works.

Then we did a little experimental drawing of tulips to further practice the different techniques and try to learn to gain control, well as much as is possible with water colors.

After we felt a little more confident, we were given this raspberry project.  It encompasses all we had learned about controlling the color, shading and everything else you need to know when using water colors.  It was a very educational project.

After spending quite a few weeks on water colors, we started moving towards portraits.  We had lessons on specific areas of the face.  I only made it to the lesson on eyes before I had to stop taking lessons because of time constraints.  We were each given mirrors and learned how to draw our own eyes.

Like I mentioned before I loved this experience of taking art lessons through Mesa Art Studio.  Miss Kris and Big Al are amazing art teachers and really teach you how to observe the world and draw what you see.  Thank you so much for inviting me on this adventure with you mom! I loved every class!