Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bok Tower Gardens

We stopped by Bok Tower Gardens on our trip to Florida last winter. I finally decided to share the beauty and brighten a cold Minnesota day. This is the famous Singing Tower (60 bell) carillon. Bok Gardens was founded by the successful publisher and author Edward W. Bok.  His grandmother told him to, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it” 

And indeed he did.

The morning light in the gardens was so pretty.  They were first resurrected on this sandy soil in 1921.  And it opened to the public in 1929.

Let's sit awhile...

And wander around...

It's also a bird sanctuary. There are 126 bird species here.

I think this species looks goofy!  It must be his eye ball.

A lovely painted bunting.

The majestic golden door of the tower.

Bok Gardens is on one of the highest points in Florida at 298 feet.  It's worth a visit for the beauty, birds and the chocolate muffins at the cafe! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jagged Little Toes

I thought my Yeti tracks might be a fun choice for jagged.  The theme this week.  Do you ever wonder who creates the unique patterns on the bottom of tennis shoes? How much does a shoe designer get paid for this? Are the patterns as unique as fingerprints?  Actually, that might be kind of cool.  Designer shoes with our own finger print soles. It could bring new meaning to leaving a paper trail.  Burglars beware!

That's why my Yeti has shoes on.  So his familiar foot prints don't give him away.  I hope this idea isn't too big a pill to swallow. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Passion Fruit

I feel a certain amount of passion for a good mango.  Not a Minnesota mango.  But an ugly black spotted but perfectly ripe one picked right from the tree and purchased for peanuts.  I ate a mango just like that in Costa Rica this month.  Thank you Uvita farmer's market.  I paired it with a fried egg sandwich. The bread for that was purchased from a snooty french bakery in Ojochal.  The eggs were bought in a store.  But when you taste them you know they are snatched from chickens that live the pura vida lifestyle.  Well, obviously I enjoy a good breakfast.  And when you eat it on a warm morning by the ocean in Costa Rica it's all the better.

Passion is the theme this week.  I painted this years ago.  In fact, the passionate fruit admirer is part of an advertisement.  I don't use images like that anymore.  The melding of woman and ocean is all me.  My favorite part is the mango that is a sea urchin.  Hmmm, come to think of it that is one culinary delight that I have yet to savour.  Someday...maybe.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cloud 9

I can't imagine a more imperfect day for ziplining.  Cold, windy, rainy and cloudy.  I guess that is why they call Montverde the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica.  I nicknamed it Cold Forest.  But when you are inside a cloud I guess it is to be expected.  On the other hand, it was the perfect lighting for some surreal photos. I've always thought this photo series from my Costa Rica archives looked photoshopped.  The bird looks placed on the branch.  But it is real.  It was right outside the Selvetura ziplining station.

The drive up....

Moths clung to the side of the building.  They didn't want to get wet either. The variety there was stunning.

The drive down...

 I'm ending this post with another wet jungle bird photo.  This was not a good day for adventure.  But these bird shots are some of my all time favorites.

P.S. I had 9 photos in this series that I named cloud 1-9 in my saved photos file.  When I got to number 9 I thought what a perfect name for this post!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Home is where the cat is...

Bedroom Buddies

 Home is the theme for this Holiday week.  And there's no place like it.  I painted this funny cat illustration exactly like my bedroom looked a few years ago.  That headboard has been in the family since the civil war. The old oval mirrored dresser belonged to my in-laws.  Life with my cat Baby (shown on the bed) only seemed like an eternity!  

Is home really a home without pets? And if they weren't around wouldn't it be boring?  My husband always reminds me of that when I'm furious about Hana's latest rampage.  They add so much love, destruction, cat germs, random cat litter bits, shredded paper trails, food thievery, general annoyance, falling hazards and joy to life.  I purposefully left out the most important one of all.  Humor!  Here's a huge selection of home life photos.  Home life with cats...

Hugs.  So sweet.  Our new Ikea sink before it was installed in the bathroom.  A perfect fit.

Tongue tied.  This is real and NOT photoshopped.

Can you come out and play?

So much for getting some work done...

Catie Couric.

Got water?

Cat Carrier.

Please go around me...I'M NOT MOVING!

Minnesota Cat.

Akua has never met a box, bin or basket he doesn't love.

Can you find Waldo Cat?

There she is.

Do you need a napkin?  Yup.  That's where I keep my (clean) napkins.  Gross.

Happiness is a warm pizza box.  Excuse me.  I'd like another slice.

Have a Meow, Meow Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sea Change

I call this illustration Hungry Sharks.  I illustrated it after the gulf oil spill.  A hungry shark is not the kind of shark I want around.  It's just like the motto for my cat Hana.  "I like to keep her fat and happy"  I say that all the time.  There's less shenanigans that way!  

Sea is the theme for

Do you see change in the air?  Are the seas cleaner?  Are the beaches spic and span? Well, they cleaned up most of the oil from that particular disaster.  But if you missed this former post about beaches in Belize....

I don't want the Belize tourism board to come after me. So before I tell you that some of the beaches in Belize are filled with garbage, I have to point out that this is where we stayed.  An enchanting private cabana on a beautiful beach.  Just a few feet from the waters edge.  Heaven right?  Well, sort of.  Don't get me wrong.  This cabana was one of the highlights of over 12 weeks in Central America.  Amazing.   

Sunrise outside our front door.  But...

The beaches are filled with plastic garbage!  At least on parts of the main land.  We stayed on the beach in Hopkins during our first trip to Belize.  I loved it.  But I vowed to start picking up plastic on my next trip.  And to turn lemons into lemonade I decided to do a little art project.  So when we arrived in Placencia, I started collecting on our very first beach stroll.  And as you can see I stuck to a specific color scheme.   It actually became kind of fun to discover so many different shapes,  mysterious containers and the not so mysterious.  

The first thing I did when I got home was select a canvas that fit all of my art (excuse me) garbage. I laid it all out in what I hoped was an interesting manner and took a photo.

Then I painted the canvas in a kind of rustic, textured and sandy tone.

click to enlarge

Then for the fun part.  I started gluing all the garbage onto the canvas.  And so far everything has stuck!  Please take a moment to look over all the different pieces of plastic.  My favorites are the curlers and the little rocket.  The phone and mirror are also pretty fun. 

Still sticking!

And for God's sake recycle!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Help a Heron Out Hand Out

I got up close and personal with this great blue heron.  He didn't care a lick about me snapping his photo.  He was too busy staring intently at a fisherman at Lover's Key State Park in Florida.  And the fisherman's pail of fish.  I'm unsure if the heron got his helping. 

And speaking of licks.  My illustrated Kookaburra has his tongue wrapped around a gum drop. Yum. It's an illustration of the classic nursery rhyme Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree. 

And you'll find it in volume 2 of these books I'm handing out!  Each book is filled with fun illustrated nursery rhymes by the members of CBIG  The children's book illustrators guild of Minnesota.  They would make a great Christmas gift for the little ones in your life. You can find them on Amazon.

I'm also adding a copy of my book Maya Monkey. It's also available on Amazon.  I illustrated Maya for Teacher Created Materials last year.  But I didn't do a giveaway for her.  Until now.

 To enter the giveaway just be sure you're following me in my side bar and mention the giveaway in your comment.  Then I'll pick two winners.  One will receive a free copy of CBIG volume 1 and a copy of Maya Monkey and the other will receive CBIG volume 2 and Maya Monkey. I'll be sure to get them in the mail for Christmas!

P.S.  As of December 16th I've decided to discontinue the giveaway.  Because after 22 comments and 5 days I've only had 1 person enter the contest.  That makes me feel like a scrooge.  And at this point I wouldn't be able to alert the winners, acquire their address and get those books in their stocking by Christmas morning.  Plus, next week I just want to wish everyone Merry Christmas instead of Bah Humbug.  Bummer.