SIA: “Melody Musica”

It’s SIA time once again, and it was Salazar’s turn to curate the challenge.  She chose a nice looking painting by English painter, Kate Bunce called Melody Musica. Salazar was planning to save this one for next spring, but felt that was too long to wait to use it for SIA, so she decided to “spring” it on us a little early, which I think was an excellent choice. You can see the painting for yourself, as well as today’s round-up, by going to her blog at 14 Shades of Grey.

And for my not so exciting pic, I chose to wear my dark green Polo shirt, which matches the green of the woman’s front green dress. (minus the flowers).

Melody Musica SIA 2Melody Musica SIA 1

I will admit that I am not happy with my photos at all. Simply put, they’re boring, as many of my SIA photos have been unfortunately. But I do the best that I can and work with what I have, so I give myself an “A” for that. The hallway in my building, in which I took these photos in, was well matched anyway.

So that’s it for me. Be sure to check out everyone’s respective blogs, via Salazar’s blog, to see more in detail of how they went about in interpreting this beautiful painting. Everyone did a superb job!

P.S. If my post sounds a little grumpy and less than “cheerful” than usual, I apologize. I’m having a rough month… 😦



SIA: Cleopatra

It’s time for another SIA presentation, this time presented by Jen, over on Librarian For Life And Style. It’s a movie poster for the 1917 silent film Cleopatra, which you can see on her blog in the link above. Jen chose this piece based on the colors, which match the season quite nicely (lots of golds and yellows, which is perfect for fall), and also for it’s depiction of a strong woman, after the last few difficult weeks it has been for women all around (if you’ve been keeping up with US news, you know what I’m talking about).

While I am wanting to keep any kind of political/news talk out of my blog, I will say that I felt very strongly about this particular SIA challenge. As I stated on Salazar’s blog last Monday, I stand with my blogging friends here and support them during this rather shameful time in our country. What’s going on doesn’t just affect women. It affects men too; our mothers, our sisters, our co-workers, our friends, everyone. We all need to take a stand against what our country is facing. We will be better people, better neighbors, better co-workers, and better friends when we do.

That’s all I have to say regarding this matter. Now, let’s move on to the SIA portion of the post.

So this is what I came up with for this challenge:

Cleopatra SIA 1

Cleopatra SIA 2

I went with both color matching as well as pose matching, emulating the serious look on Cleopatra (which is why I’m not smiling in these photos), and matching the colors that I saw dominating the poster (burgundy and blue). In order to pull this off, I had to don two shirts, one being a long sleeved shirt. But don’t be fooled. The weather was far too hot to be wearing two shirt, especially one being a long sleeved shirt. It may be autumn according to the calendar, but the weather here didn’t get the memo apparently. I was sweating within minutes of my mini photo shoot! But like I told Jen when I submitted my photo to her, I’m willing to give up a few minutes of comfort for SIA. It was worth it!

So there you have it. Again I say that I felt very strongly about this SIA challenge and felt very honored to be a part of it. I’d like to give a special shout out to Jen, Salazar, Daenel and even Erin, one of our former SIA co-hosts, for allowing me to be a constant participant in their blog SIA challenges. It means a lot to me and I appreciate all of you so much! Stay strong!

That’s all for me. Be sure to check in on Jen’s blog this coming Wednesday to see how everyone else went about in interpreting this piece. And if you feel so inclined and as strongly as I felt about it, feel free to join in! There’s still time!


Music Therapy: Going To Your Happy Place

Yesterday, I attended a music therapy class at my job, my second one. My first one was two weeks ago. It was quite interesting. The class basically focuses on using the power of music to soothe the strenuous stress in our lives everyday (and believe me, I have tons of it to spare!).

Last class, we talked about building a playlist of music that we can listen to and use for when we are feeling either a little stress, a fair amount of stress and tremendous amounts of stress. I’ve been building music playlists for years, especially after discovering and receiving my first mp3 player. I’ve made numerous changes over the years but have kept it roughly the same. And let me tell you, it has helped me so much over the years, especially during the dreaded summer months of the past 7 years.

Anyway, yesterday’s class took a different route and our teacher, our certified music therapist (yes, it is a qualified profession!), talked about using music in such a way that it can take us to another place in our minds; a quiet, happy place. And we did such a thing last night, as she played some soft, easy listening type of music for about 20 minutes. We were asked to close our eyes and envision that particular place in our minds. It could be an actual place that we see or a place made up from our imagination. And then, she took it a step further and had us draw our place! She gave us a sheet of paper with a circle on it and had crayons for us to draw and color what we envisioned. Sounds a little like preschool or kindergarten, doesn’t it? But trust me, it was really helpful. And here’s what I came up with.

Music Therapy Drawing - Oct. 2018


A rather crude drawing from memory, done in crayon. A far cry from my more refined postcards, but nonetheless, quite effective.

I drew the view that I see from my patio outside of our apartment. It is one of my favorite places that I go to (both physically and mentally sometimes). My main focus are the three antenna (probably distant cell phone towers) that I see, way off in the distance. It’s cool because during the day, I can just see the top of the one on the far right side and it flashes a bright beacon light that can be seen in broad daylight. But once it starts getting dark, the bright light is replaced with a more slowly flashing red light that is often seen on tall towers to help low flying aircraft see and dodge them.

I really love this view and have ever since we moved into our apartment. It is my “go to” place when I need to think and work things out. And of course, being one who loves music, I often “play”  a song in my head while I’m staring out into deep space. And believe it or not, the song I think of when I see this place is not classical. I know, a miracle, right?! Yes, I admit that I do have a few songs in my playlist that are not classical pieces at all, though would still be considered “old” by today’s standards. And this is one of them: Dreamin’ by Vanessa Williams. I was probably in kindergarten when this song first came out back in 1988, but it’s been one of my favorites and I always listened to it when it played on the radio. If you click on the link and watch the video, notice how it begins. I love the camera shot out of the window and how it transitions from day to night as it zooms in, which is probably why I think of this song when I go to my “favorite place”. I love high rise distant views!

So it was a pretty sweet deal; drawing our favorite go to places in our class. 🙂 I look forward to the next one because our teacher said that she’s going to have us write out basic songs! I’m so there! Who knew that school could be this much fun?

Postcard Post: “Outcrop”

This postcard turned out to be better than the one from yesterday.

Outcrop Postcard

It doesn’t depict autumn or any particular season. It’s basically a scene that I tried to paint from one of my computer’s screen saver. Again, okay. Not one of my better works, but I think that it conveys pretty well to the viewer. The “outcrop” reminds me of molten rock after it cools. I’ve been reading up quite a bit about lava, magma and volcanoes the last few days so maybe this is the result of all that reading.

Postcard Post: “Autumn Colors”

With autumn just beginning a little over a week ago, and the trees here are beginning to change, I thought it would be nice to paint an autumn scene. This isn’t my first time featuring a “fall-like” postcard on the blog, and I daresay, it’s not my best work either, as far as these kinds of sceneries go.

Autumn Colors Postcard

This one just missed the recycle bin, barely.  And I would have trashed it, as it turned out to be a big muddled mess. But then I reconsidered once I started looking at all the colors that I used. Very “autumn” and “fall-like”.  I actually do like the colors I used here, just not the way I used them. It sort of falls into the realm of abstraction, if that’s one way you wish to look at it.  You’re not quite sure what’s happening but you definitely know that that quintessential element for fall is there. Or something. Who knows.

So in the end, I decided to hang on to it and maybe keep it as a sort of “motivational tool” when doing future autumn scenes.

SIA: Old Courthouse Dome

I’m breaking the rules again; posting my SIA photo a day late. Yeah, my track record for this hasn’t been that great lately, but I’m lucky to be able to participate in this challenge as I didn’t have any time to snap any photos over the weekend. Late Monday afternoon/evening was the best that I could hope for. But better late than never I always say.

Anyway, here’s my interpretation for Daenel’s chosen SIA, the dome of the Old Courthouse located in St. Louis.

Old Courthouse Dome SIA

Old Courthouse Dome Photo
Used With Permission From Daenel On Living Outside The Stacks

Daenel snapped the photo of the dome while on a family trip to St. Louis, Missouri. You can find out more about it on her blog, here.

Concerning my outfit, I wasn’t too sure that I got it right this time, in terms of color. So I decided to go another way and use the linear look that it has instead, hence, my stripy sweater. I’ve worn this sweater a few times for past SIA challenges and it has always been a reliable piece in my closet to fall back on in a pinch. This is one of those times. And now that I look at it, I do have the neutral colors down pretty well, such as the khakis and the gray stripes, which match along well with the neutral colors of the dome.

So overall, not too bad.

Be sure to check out the round-up on Daenel’s blog, Living Outside The Stacks this coming Wednesday, as well as how her fellow co-hosts, Salazar and Jen went about in interpreting this piece on their respective blogs.

P.S. This is my first SIA post featuring my new glasses! I’ve had them for a week now and they look and feel great!

Postcard Post: “Forest Island”

Forest Island Postcard

So here’s my latest postcard that I did this past weekend, which I call Forest Island. This is actually one of my best postcards that I’ve done in a while. I’m particularly pleased with how the mountain came out as I usually struggle with painting mountains (I’m no Bob Ross!). It creates a nice depth of field with it being seen from a distance, while the trees create both the middle and foreground. Of all of my “forest-type” postcards that I’ve done in the past, this I think is the best one of all. It started off not looking too good (particularly the trees on the left, looking like black blobs). But with a little creative thinking and coloring, using oil pastels on parts of it, I was able to save it from looking a hideous mess and it turns out to be one of my best postcards of all. Not too bad I say!

Be sure to check out my friend, Salazar’s blog on 14 Shades of Grey to see her latest masterpieces and wonderful works that she’s been doing!

Maze Mania

Lately, I’ve really been intrigued by maze puzzles. I used to love doing them when I was a kid. I would get those puzzle magazines and go through and solve all of the maze puzzles first before doing the others. Most of them were pretty easy to solve.

And while these kinds of puzzles can still be found in most variety puzzle magazines today, I’ve recently discovered a more modern (and cheaper) way to fulfill my maze mania needs (see title above). Check these out!

Maze 1  Maze 2  Maze 3

I downloaded a free app onto my iPod called Mazes & More. It’s pretty awesome. The game starts off real easy at first, with simple mazes that take like 5 seconds to solve. But as you get further along, they get more complicated. Getting that little green dot into its corresponding open circle is not as easy as it seems in the later levels.

And what’s really cool about this particular game is that there are different modes of play that you can do to challenge yourself; extra gimmicks and that sort of thing. I’m just doing the classic mode for now. I’m sure that these other game modes will be interesting when I get to them!

As I’ve stated many times before on here, I am not a gamer by any right. Anything that goes beyond simple button pushing or joystick moving is beyond my capabilities. But slow paced games like this and Fortune Street, which I reviewed here, are right up my alley. They’re fun, they’re quirky and just downright addicting! I highly recommend trying this one and see how you like it.

SIA: “Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)”

My post is a day late as I was super busy this weekend, I didn’t have time to write it in time. But hopefully I’m not “breaking” any SIA traditions doing it this way. 😉

Anyway, it was Salazar’s turn to curate this next challenge and she chose Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), one of his well known abstract paintings, which helped him earn the infamous nickname, “Jack the Dripper”. In fact, that’s pretty much how he created this piece, using dripping paint, pouring and “puddling” in order to get the various size lines that he was looking for. How did he do this exactly? Just what I said; he actually poured the paint onto the canvas. He often laid his canvases on the floor and he walked around them while pouring paint on top of it. I once saw a video documentary on Pollock in one of my art history classes, seeing him do this, so trust me when I say that he literally dripped and poured paint onto his canvases. According to Pollock, by working on the floor, he feels “nearer” and more “in part” of his paintings, which makes sense I guess. And I can assume that Autumn Rhythm here got the same treatment, as you can see the amount of detail that he puts into this maniacal maze of pigment on the canvas. His style is not really my taste but I can appreciate it for what it is.

Anyway, moving on, Salazar chose this piece after getting inspired by a book that she read that mentions these “drip paintings”. She also picked it because fall is right around the corner (sooner than later for some of us) and the color scheme matches well with its fall, neutral colors. I agree. Looking at it makes me think of autumn leaves after they have fallen off the trees and have lost their color, turning dull brown. A very “fall-like” appearance indeed.

And as always, I turn to the main color schemes of a piece to best interpret my outfit.

Autumn Rhythm SIA 1Autumn Rhythm SIA 2

I took several photos before finally settling on the two that you see above. I’m not 100% satisfied with either one, as the first photo, my pants seem too big and baggy (I hate that look by the way), while the second photo, my shirt seems too big, like it’s too wide for me or something. This sort of thing isn’t really noticeable when I wear black pants, which kind of hides this. But after taking about 10 photos in all, I settled on these two, hoping to best capture the inspired look of Pollock’s painting. Black and beige seems to rule Autumn Rhythm, so that’s what I went for. Which of the two photos do you like best? Leave your comments below!

Again, I apologize for my late posting. Be sure to check out Salazar’s blog over on 14 Shades of Grey tomorrow to see how everyone else interpreted Pollock’s crazed canvas of colors. And also be sure to check out co-hosts, Daenel, over on Living Outside The Stacks, and Jen on Librarian For Life And Style to see how they went about in interpreting this painting. They both did awesome!

Botched Postcard #1

One of the things that I have noticed since I’ve started blogging, and looking at what some of my fellow bloggers are doing on their respective blogs, are outtake photos; photos that didn’t come out right and are cut from publication on the blogs (except for when they decide to use them for an outtakes post!).

Well, I decided to do something similar involving my postcards. If you have been reading the blog for a while, or even have experienced this yourself while working on a project, then you know that not everything that you do will come out perfectly, and that includes my postcard making. And while I usually end up getting rather frustrated when this happens and have to start over from square one, I thought I’d take this opportunity to turn my frustration into a blog post about these “botched cards” that just don’t quite make it to “signature status”. I don’t sign or date the postcards that I screw up, feeling that they will be heading to the recycle bin anyway. Take a look at the card below that started off great, but quickly turned into a mess.

Botched Postcard 1

This one was going pretty well when I first started it but quickly turned ugly when I messed up the center tree, which turned out to be a big glob of green, and the placement of the other trees was totally wrong.  I tried to correct it by adding some background trees (which actually turned out to be fairly decent looking) but to no avail…

And as you can see, I didn’t even bother to finish filling in the bottom corner as I had no idea as to what I even wanted to put there. In short, the postcard is a failure and not really blog worthy (certainly not mail worthy to go to any of my friends).

But there you have it. Like I’ve probably mentioned on here before, not every postcard that I start comes out looking great. Sometimes, I will go through 3 or 4 blank postcards before I manage to get it the way I want it to look, while other times, they come out great the first time. It just depends on how I’m feeling and whether or not I’m feeling the inspiration. And apparently for this postcard, I just wasn’t feeling it. No one ever said that it was easy. Sometimes, it’s just downright challenging in coming up with subjects for these postcards!

But not to fret too much on this. I will just pick up the paints another day when I feel less clumsy with the brush. 😉