Month: August 2013

Visual Journal Page 49: The Lion King

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Las Vegas is known for it’s nightlife, gambling, city full of neon lights, and of course, the shows. As someone who doesn’t enjoy losing money to a slot machine I was most looking forward to seeing our selected show: The Lion King.

The Lion King is one of those movies that really defined my childhood, at least from 2nd-3rd grade. My best friend at the time, Megan, and I endlessly played with our Simba and Nala dolls, with their magnetic noses that would pull them into a kiss. Every now and then I still catch myself humming along to “Hakuna Matata” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, the premier middle school slow dance song of that year.

With all of my fond Lion King memories, combined with the rave reviews of the theater version, I couldn’t wait to get to my seat and see the show. Because we purchased our tickets a little late our seats were towards the back, but still provided a great view of the stage. As the usher guided us back to our seats my very outgoing Aunt struck up a conversation with him, talking about how excited she was about the show, how much fun we were having on our family girls trip, and how much we loved our seats but wish we were just a little bit closer to the front. As we sat down he quietly whispered to my Aunt “I’ll see what I can do…”

The lights dimmed, the nostalgic “The Circle of Life” music struck it’s first chord, and I was practically jumping out of my skin with anticipation. Out of nowhere huge puppet animals appeared with elaborately decorated puppeteers controlling their very animalistic movements. Actors/acrobats stalked out on all fours, with their hands and feet attached to long stilts, and a long, elegant  giraffe neck and head attached to their foreheads. The legs of the rhinoceros and elephants were created by the puppeteers legs, with the massive bodies resting on their shoulders, placing their heads just out of view. Dancers twirling across the stage with gazelles attached to their arms and head, human bodies transformed into animals in the most unbelievable and creative ways.

I was mesmerized by the artistic way the movie had been interpreted and the complexity of the puppets. I didn’t even realize we had already made our way to intermission until the lights suddenly flashed on. As we began our mid-performance stretch and wiggle, to get the blood flowing back to our feet, we saw our sweet usher hustling over, gesturing for us to follow him.

Aunt Lydia immediately hopped up, walked over, and began her sweet talking as he took us to our upgraded seats, on the right side of the stage, just a few rows back. I couldn’t believe our good luck and our now even more amazing view. We ooohed and awwwed the rest of show from our up close and personal view. It just goes to show you what a few kind words to a stranger can do and why this is one of my favorite moments from our Las Vegas trip.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor
  • Paintbrush
  • India ink
  • Magazine cut outs
  • White paper

HOW TO

This was a very complicated, time consuming page to make, but I loved the outcome so it was worth it! I decided to combine different techniques together to create a patchwork look to the page. I also wanted to have a very bright background with the my favorite puppet characters in silhouette. Once I had my main concept together, I got to work.

The sun was a huge part of the background, and I decided it would be a good place to start. I found a magazine page made primarily of yellow, cut out a large circle, and sliced it into strips. I then used rubber cement to glue the strips down, slightly spaced, to recreate the circular sun. While on the hunt for yellow I also kept my eyes peeled for anything brown, textured, and Earthy looking. I ripped pages out that I liked and set them aside. Once I completed that I got to work on the watercolor elements.

I painted quick strokes of green on a separate piece of paper to create grass. I stayed very loose and didn’t worry about overlapped areas or uneven sections. I set it aside to dry. Next, I painted a heavily watered strip of orange watercolor on a separate sheet of paper, and at an angle blew it hard. This caused it to get long spindly splatters. I repeated this, and set them aside to dry. Once everything was 100% dry I began cutting them out. For the grass I turned any rounded edges into pointy grass shapes. I then began cutting out the splatters, which wasn’t a quick task. I cut around the main shape with scissors, then when in with an Xacto knife and cut between all of the splatters.

After everything was cut out I moved onto creating the stage. I took the brown, textured magazine pages I ripped out and began cutting them into rectangular shapes. I then glued the rectangles at the bottom of the page, right next to each other to create the stage. Next, I added my orange splatters to the background, carefully gluing down every splatter, followed by the grass on top of my magazine stage base.

Once the background was complete I started on the characters. I dipped a paintbrush in India ink and as loosely as possible painted the shapes. Because India ink is so thin you have to consider your brush strokes as you paint. Any areas that overlap will be much darker than the single stroke sections. I made very intentional strokes, and tried not to go back over anything twice. Once dry I cut out my characters and glued them on top of the stage.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page for your absolute, favorite performance. It can be a theater production, musical, concert, or movie. Try to combine at least more than one method into your page!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read my post! Help me spread the word by sharing with others, I can’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!
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Visual Journal Page 48: The Real Caesar’s Palace

Visual-Journal-Page-48-The-Real-Caesar's-Palace

There is nothing in this world like Vegas hotels.

I had no idea that part of the fun of Sin City is spending daytime hours touring the hotels. Each hotel has its own theme, outrageous decor, over the top architecture, and interesting design. In four short days I think we saw it all, I felt like my legs were going to fall off simply from walking through hotel lobby after hotel lobby.

There was NY, NY, the Venetian, the Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas. I was continuously amazed by the amount of detail that went into designing each hotel. Our first hotel stay was spent at Mandalay Bay, which gave us an amazing view of the strip and great show options, but I couldn’t wait to go to our second stop, Caesar’s Palace.

After all Caesar’s Palace is legendary, referenced in Vegas movie after Vegas movie, and perhaps most famously in The Hangover. Zach Galifianakis’ perfect line “You probably get this a lot… This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace is it?” is the first thing I thought of as I entered through the sliding glass doors and into the ornate white statue lined lobby.

There is nothing that better reflects my view of Vegas than cheesy, over the top, and the blend of modern and white greek statues truly fit into my mental image. As we approached the front desk I was in complete awe of the magnitude of the lobby, and I began to wander as my Aunt checked us in. As we waited for our plastic room keys I began imaging our room, what on earth could it look like if this is just the lobby?

As Aunt Lydia returned ready to take us to her room she looked very pleased. It turned out we were upgraded from our two standard rooms to two suites. I knew it a “suite” sounded better, but I had no idea what I was in for.

We entered our room and I was confused when I was greeted by a dining room table rather than a bed. I quickly realized we would have to turn a corner to see the rest, but hotel room isn’t in the shape of a rectangular box? We made way around the corner and found ourselves in the living room. A hotel with a living room? We went into the next room and found our massive king size bed, lush chairs, enormous walk in closet, and a bathroom 10 people could use at once without rubbing elbows. I was actually staying in a hotel room with two separate rooms, two bathrooms, and there were only two of us sharing it! To top it off shortly after arriving we discovered a TV built into the bathroom mirror, just in case the giant flat screen TV in the living room and bedroom weren’t enough. It was an easy choice to make this my second highlight of our Las Vegas Mom-Aunt-Daughter-Sister trip.

If Caesar were alive today I think he would approve of the lavish setting that is Caesar’s Palace.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Pencil
  • Prisma colored pencils
  • Extra fine sharpie

HOW TO

When it came time to create this page I knew I had to find a way to recapture the size of the suite my sister and I shared. After brainstorming different options, from doing a blueprint style plan to collaging different views of the room together, I opted to keep it simple and redraw the view from the bed.

To start it off I used a pencil to rough out the layout. Once I had a good idea about what would go where I began cleaning up my lines and drawing the objects in more clearly. Next I began filling in the color with Prisma colored pencils.

I you have been following my blog by now you must know my Prisma spiel about how expensive they are but how worth it it is. Just as a reminder they are very expensive, about $1.00 a pencil, but they really are worth it! They are more expensive because there is a higher concentration of pigment in them. This means that you can build up layers of colors and as the pigment builds up the layers start to blend which creates a very smooth creamy finish.

Whenever I add color I never use just one shade of a color. If available I always mix different shades of greens, browns, or whatever color I am working with. By mixing colors you will create a more interesting look with a greater sense of depth. For example, in the dresser I used four different shades of brown, light colors for the highlights blended together, and darker colors for the shadows blended together.

After I added my details and colored everything in I wrote my words using pencils first, then went back over with an extra fine sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Visit your local arts and crafts stores and either pick up a pack of Prismas or the highest quality colored pencil you can afford. Take them how and try out the layering technique. A great source for how to videos is youtube! Simply search: how to draw with prisma colored pencils.

Thanks for checking out my blog! I hope you help me spread the word by sharing with others, liking, tweeting, commenting, and subscribing! I can’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!

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Bacon and Sushi Magnet Giveaway Part 2 (closed)

Paperhouse Productions Magnets

It’s time to select another 6 winners for my bacon and sushi magnet giveaway!! An online paper supply company, Paperhouse Productions, has generously sent me a giant box full of goodies to share with my readers, and for the rest of the summer I will be selecting multiple winners every time!

Paperhouse Productions is exactly what it sounds like, a paper supply company who offers a range of paper products, from themed stationery to scrapbook paper to stickers. In addition to their range of paper products they also offer an interesting collection of magnets.

You can browse their magnets by “type”, such as 3D, car magnets, or sets, or you can browse by “theme”, such as Elvis, animals, or food and drink. As a food enthusiast I immediately went for the food section and began browsing their selection. As soon as my eyes fell upon the bacon magnet I knew this was it.  Everyone knows bacon is one of the greatest foods in life and what better way to express my love for it than by proudly displaying it on my refrigerator?

The sushi magnet came to my attention shortly after I drooled over the bacon magnet, and I decided they would be nice compliments on my fridge. Nothing would look better than two greasy strips of bacon next to a nice clean, fresh looking sushi roll. I let Paperhouse Productions know which magnets I wanted, and eagerly awaited the shipment.

When it finally came I was surprised by the size of the box. I assumed when I put in my sample requests that I would get a few stickers, magnets, and packs of paper. What I actually got was very large quantities of them all! I am so excited for the opportunity to offer multiple prizes to multiple winners. In fact, they sent me so many magnets that I will be doing a second 7 winners 2 prize giveaway next month!

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As soon as the box was opened I immediately went on the hunt for the magnets. As soon as I found them they were placed among our many save-the-date, batman, and 90’s cartoon magnets. I stepped back to admire our new additions, and was impressed to see they were a good size, fairly strong, and just as vivid and realistic as they looked online.

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I loved the cut out style the magnets had, which gave them a more realistic quality. I was half expecting to get a rectangular magnet, with the picture printed on the center, but was pleasantly surprised when they came out looking exactly as they were advertised.

Paperhouse Productions is a very clean, easy to navigate online shop that I would definitely use again. I love the variety of ways you can shop their store, and the variety of products they offer. You can find more traditional themed items or something more eccentric, for those Elvis loving friends and family.

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Although their more traditional magnets are nice, I personally think there is no better magnet to hold up all of our wedding invitations than a nice, classy strip of bacon…

Check out more magnets, stickers, journals, and other products from Paperhouse Productions here. If you would love a sushi and bacon magnet for yourself all you have to do is tweet about the giveaway or like Paperhouse Production’s facebook page. Comment below and include your tweet link or the name you liked their facebook page with. I will randomly select 7 winners to receive one bacon and one sushi magnet next Monday (8/26) using the plugin And the Winner Is…. Good luck!

Thanks for visiting my blog and participating in my giveaway! Help me spread the word about my blog by tweeting, liking, subscribing, and sharing with others  I couldn’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Visual Journal Page 47: The Las Vegas Skyline

Visual-Journal-Page-47-The-Last-Vegas-Skyline

Las Vegas. A simple name that has grown into an icon, instant imagery, thoughts of gambling, over the top shows, and other adult activities. Smack dab in the middle of the desert this iconic light, metal, poker chip and slot filled city seems out of place. As you fly over endless sand, the Grand Canyon, and beautiful mountain ranges, the last thing you expect to see is a cluster of skyscrapers.

My first trip to Las Vegas was incredible. It was so much fun, like nothing I have ever done before, and I got to experience it with the most important women in my family, my mom, sister, and aunt. Together we boarded our Delta flight, flew from one coast to another, until we found ourselves in sin city.

The first thing that struck me as we prepared to land was the Las Vegas skyline. It was as if the city suddenly sprouted out of nowhere. The desert that had been stretching for hundreds of miles, took a break for just a few miles, before continuing onto California.

Once we arrived, we checked into our first hotel of the stay, Mandalay Bay, and hopped into the elevator that went up more stories than I could count. We entered the room and immediately I saw the full window wall and another view of the desert city. I couldn’t wait for the sun to set that night. From the moment we planned the trip I couldn’t wait to see the neons ablaze, the millions of flashing lights that would make it seem as though nighttime doesn’t exist inside the Las Vegas city lines.

As I eagerly sat on our giant hotel bed I watched the sun slowly set and the lights come on. It was everything I thought it would be but bigger, brighter, and more colorful. Every day that passed as we sat at dinner and list the highlights. At the end of the trip we each shared our top three favorite moments, and this was one of mine. The skyline, the visual impact of the city itself is something I will never forget.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Book pages
  • Rubber cement
  • Paint brushes
  • Watercolor
  • India ink
  • Gesso

HOW TO

For this visual journal page I decided to focus on the silhouette of the city, with a light color pop in the background, and a bright white color pop to emphasize the light coming from the Luxor and the Bellagio fountains. I opted to use water color and india ink, which easily bleeds through thin paper like book pages. I planned ahead, glued together book pages outside of my book to paint on, and once dry, glued it into my book.

Once I had my book pages set up and glued together I loosely sketched out the skyline as a guide when I started painting. I reference a skyline picture on the internet, while making sure I focused on the buildings I liked the best. Once my outline was complete I began painting the sky, always work from the back forward. I used yellow and gray watercolor to create the eerie nighttime glow. To get the two colors to blend together in the center I moved the brush in circles using yellow, overlapping into the gray at the top, and while the yellow was still wet, added gray and swirled it in, overlapping into the yellow at the bottom.

As I painted in the sky I made sure I didn’t paint in the area where the Luxor light would be shooting up. I wanted this to be bright white, and it’s hard to achieve that if there is a base color. Next, I went in with India ink and filled in my Las Vegas skyline. India ink is a very thin, very dark black ink. It works well if you want a rich black color, but because it’s thin it can look streaky. I tried to plan for this and carefully painted vertical strips, which helped it look cohesive. Some areas still look a little messy, a second coat would have helped a lot.

Last but not least I filled in the fountain and spotlight with gesso to create a strong contrast to the skyline and focal point. Once everything dried I glued my mini painting into my book using rubber cement.

CHALLENGE
Create a visual journal page that focuses on contrast. Incorporate a dark black and bright white to create a graphic, bold image with a strong focal point. Good luck!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I hope you found tips and ideas that help inspire your next project or visual journal page. Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

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Review and Giveaway: “Studio City a Mile of Style” by Joann R. Deutch

Recently I was contacted to take a look at a new book, Studio City a Mile of Style-What’s History What’s Gossip” by Joann R. Deutch. As I read through the mountain of information sent over by her publicist, my interest began to grow. I have had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles twice in recent years, and I was looking forward to learning more about this star studded city. I readily agreed to take a look and they also agreed to provide a hardcopy to giveaway to one of my readers! See instructions below on how you can enter to win this fact filled book.

Studio City Book Cover

Their Summary

Author Joann Deutch – a Studio City based lawyer who served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for over 15 years as the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary – tracked down the many untold stories which have left their mark not only on her community, but as well on Hollywood. A riveting and fascinating book that reveals the untold story of a more than often under-exposed, under-valued city and its rich and influential contribution to the film industry.

Deutch throws a bright light into a corner of our film heritage that has been habitually, even sinfully, ignored. In “Studio City A Mile of Style – What’s History What’s Gossip” the whimsical and the unexpected accompany the serious history – like seeing John Wayne riding along Ventura Boulevard in an English saddle, or hitch hiking up Laurel Canyon and getting a lift from John Lennon.

Finally Studio City’s real history and true identity is assembled in one book!  Dozens of never-before seen lithographs, broadsides, archival materials and remembrances throw into relief the astonishing development of the Mile of Style as founded by Mack Sennett (a famous film director/producer in the early 1900s) on old-fashioned Progressive Era ideas –  “If you reach for a goal, you can achieve it.”

When we talk about the film industry we all immediately, mistakenly,  think “Hollywood”, but Studio Cityplays a huge and crucial role in the overall history of said “film industry”; not to mention the making of the film & TV studios. That Hollywood is more an idea and a dream rather than a place these days.
It was and still is Studio City with its backlots and open space that truly constitutes the heart of the film industry. Yet we keep defining that city by the one fact that has become common knowledge: the presence of the CBS/Radford lot, but Studio City is the real “Hollywood”.
 
This is where Joann Deutch comes in. 
Wanting to understand what drove Studio City residents to be so civically committed to the community and what made her city such a special place in a sea of satellite communities in Los Angeles, she took on the challenge of investigating and uncovering the real story, and breaking some of the word-of-mouth stereotypes attached to its history.   
 
No one thinks of Studio City as a suburb.  Why? Who would have expected that the phrase in America the Beautiful “ from sea to shining sea” would refer to the Battles fought in the Cahuenga Pass, which bought California into the United States? Who thinks about Cahuenga Pass’ role as a Free State as a part of the balancing act to avoid the Civil War? Who knew that Studio City was a petri dish experiment about the Progressive Movement?
Want to know where Jay Leno started his career? Want to see where the Beatles and Rolling Stones hung out in between gigs?  Want to know where Joni Mitchell and Errol Flynn lived?
This is your invitation to dive into the living dream!
My Summary
I was excited when the hardcopy give away came in the mail and my PDF copy was delivered via e-mail. I quickly loaded the PDF onto my nook and packed my bags to head to the most relaxing place to read, Hilton Head Island.
As I began reading I was surprised to find that Chapter One began with the early Native American settlers, and the closest village to modern day Studio City, the Cahuenga village. Before this point I didn’t realize Joann R. Deutch started her research at the very beginning, I expected her to pick up with the growth of the entertainment industry in the west. It was nice to see she started with the real roots of the town, and it was interesting to read about the Native American’s beliefs and traditions, but I quickly realized this was more like a textbook than a novel.
Perhaps I had the preconceived notion this would read more like a story or a novel because that is the style I typically read. However, I was still surprised when I found a book full of bullet points and short stories rather than a continuous storyline. In addition to the formatting I was also a little put off by the way Deutch chose to organize the information in the book.
Although the book does somewhat follow chronological order, Deutch tends to bounce around from year to year depending on what topic she is covering in her chapter. Each chapter reflects a different aspect of Studio City, for example Chapter 5 covers the early history of the city, Chapter 9 covers the music scene, and Chapter 11 covers areas that are named after people. Within the chapters are short stories or bulleted facts about “Studio City’s Architecture”, “Bits and Pieces of Local History”, or whatever other topic the chapter is focusing on.
As I hit Chapter 13-“Gossip, People, and Colorful History” I read interesting facts, funny stories, and learned information about stars I never knew. As much as I enjoyed all of the information provided, I again was put off by the way it was organized. While the overall book does carry a loose chronological order, it still maintains a somewhat chronological order. However, chapter 13 is instead organized alphabetically by celebrity last name. Each new section within the chapter starts off with the name of the celebrity, followed by bulleted information and paragraph style stories. It took me a minute to figure out why I was reading about a modern day star, then suddenly was transported back to silent film actors.
As I read through the first couple of chapters I enjoyed the information I was learning, but came to the conclusion that this is a better coffee table book than a read-through-novel. I would enjoy digesting this better by flipping through the pages, looking at the amazing pictures, and learning facts from time to time rather than sitting down and committing to reading it cover to cover.
I must give props to Joann Deutch for the amount of time, research, and information that was poured into this book. It is chock-full of interesting images, old lithographs, vintage posters, and snapshots of the amazing architecture, studio lots, and celebrities. I learned so much about this small section of Los Angeles and laughed out loud at stories. One of my favorite sections was a story about early filmmakers being attracted to the area for the close proximity to Mexico as an easy hideout to avoid Thomas Edison Patent Agents.
This book is obviously a labor of love, written by someone who appreciates Studio City for everything it is and has become due to its rich history. This book is perfect for any history, film, or Los Angeles enthusiast. It is a great guide for anyone planning a trip to Los Angeles and a visit to Studio City. The last chapter even hits on interesting places to visit nearby! I hope you pick this book up and add it to your coffee table collection!
To enter this giveaway and get your own hardcopy of Studio City a Mile of Style all you have to do is comment below and either link to the giveaway through your Facebook page or Twitter! Please include a link to your tweet or Facebook share in your comment. One week from now the winner will be randomly selected using the plugin And the winner is…
Thanks for reading today’s post and participating in the giveaway! Please help me spread the word by liking, subscribing, sharing, and commenting! Thanks for stopping by!
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