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Things that Inspire

The Sky

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I’m working on a few kind-of-large landscape paintings for a new project, and it has been really challenging, but so fun. It’s stretching me for sure, which is a good thing! Last night I painted this sky with big white clouds. I definitely have a thing for the sky. Big, huge, sweeping, cloud filled skies. The more dramatic, the better. I’m guessing this comes from growing up on the prairie where there are wide open spaces with unobstructed views in all directions.

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If you scroll through the photos on my iphone you’d see my obsession. Here’s just a few from the past several months…

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:: Carrie ::

A Man, A Boat, and A River

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Last Wednesday afternoon, after we finished up at the gift show, I hopped in a cab and made a beeline to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the east side of Central Park.

I love the Met. LOVE it. It’s huge.  There is so much to see. SO many AMAZING things to see. You can’t take the whole thing in during one visit. There’s no way. I’ve been trying to make short visits there every time I go to the city, and pin-pointing just a few things that I want to look at.

This time I literally had one painting on my list. One big, huge, gigantic masterpiece. Washington Crossing the Deleware. Painted by a German-American artist, Emanuel Leutze, in 1851. It’s a depiction of General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War.

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Did I say that it’s huge? It’s really big. 21 feet wide, and 12 feet tall, in a FANCY gold frame with a big eagle, and banners, and arrows, and other regal looking things on top. It makes a statement, for sure.  And those folks that run the museum know how to show it off. It’s the only piece of artwork hung on one wall that sits at the end of a series of gallery rooms. You can see it coming for a long time before you get to it. Sort of builds some suspense until you actually get there and can stand right in front of it.

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It’s a great painting, of course. I mean, it’s hanging in the Met! It is beautiful and dramatic, and painted with GREAT skill. All things that I appreciate. But, what sets it apart from all of the other great paintings at the Met is it’s size. You can’t ignore it. It makes a statement.

In this case, I think bigger is better.

I’ve been itching to do some larger pieces of artwork lately, and I think seeing this painting has sealed the deal. Probably not 12 feet by 21 feet, and I’m sure it will never end up in the Met, but it may be time to break out the big brushes.

:: Carrie ::

Wildflower Season

Do yourself a favor. Go and find a country road. Somewhere far away from city streets, and traffic lights, and strip malls. Somewhere with wide open spaces, and gentle breezes, and a clear view of the sky. If you can find a gravel road, that’s perfect. If it cuts through pasture land lined with fences that’s even better.

It’s wildflower season! I can’t get enough.

I LOVE seeing all the different types of flowers pop up along the roadside this time of year. It’s that early summer treat – before the intense heat sets in and burns everything up and dries it to a crisp.

Coneflowers, and Queen Anne’s lace, and Black-Eyed-Susans, and lots of others that I don’t know the names of.

If you find yourself following me down a country road, please pay attention. I’m highly likely to stop my car unannounced, and hop out to pick a bunch of flowers.

I suggest you do the same, because there’s nothing more cheerful!

A handful of wildflowers, in a vase, on the kitchen table is one of my favorite things.

:: Carrie ::

Things that Inspire :: David A. Smith

A friend shared this today, and I was awestruck. I always love to watch artists and craftsmen at work, and get a little peek behind the scenes. This is a short movie about David A. Smith, who is a traditional sign-painter/designer. He creates high-quality ornamental hand-crafted reverse glass signs and gilded mirrors. Smith recently worked with John Mayer in creating the cover for his most recent album. Pretty amazing.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

If I were to make a list of my favorite movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox would come in somewhere near the top. If you haven’t seen it I suggest you find a copy and watch it, soon.

Here is why I love it:

Its a great story. It’s based on the book, Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl.  You know, he’s the guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach. This is one of his shorter stories, but still really good.

The movie was directed by Wes Anderson. He makes great movies. Period.

But, the biggest reason that I love it is because it’s a stop animation movie, which completely mesmerizes me. That means that each character is basically a  little puppet that is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames. When the series of frames is played in a continuous sequence it creates the illusion of movement. So, there are no human actors, no crazy special effects, just all these little handmade characters in little miniature movies sets.

The other day I picked up this book, and it completely blew me away. Completely. If you have ever been curious about how a movie like this happens, how many people it takes, what type of work goes into it, go find this book. It’s all here. Storyboards, notes, sketches, construction of the puppets and the sets. It’s basically an explanation of Anderson’s whole creative process, and how his vision was executed. It’s kind of unbelievable, really, and inspiring.

:: Carrie ::