Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I was lucky enough to go to Oceanography Camp right before I went to high school. I love science; especially biology. Living in a state surrounded by water you realize just how much life exists all around you. The things I learned at Oceanography camp have stuck with me over the years and it turns every day spent at the beach into an adventure.

On a trip home to St. Petersburg I found myself at the beach again. Periodically seaweed washes in from the Gulf of Mexico. Most tourist and beach goers try to avoid the unusual objects in the water but I see them differently. They float like exotic clouds in the gentle currents. I often pick them up to examine them. Some have shells stuck in their many fingers or small fish - still alive - seeking a little shelter in the vast ocean. I held this piece up to the sun to get a better look. I love the translucency and the beautiful range from soft rose to deep crimson. All the little beads of salt water sliding to the edges and falling back into the ocean. Something as simple as seaweed can serve as a visual haiku to remind us of all the amazing things hiding just beneath the surface. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


My new place is surrounded by Lubber Grasshoppers. Although they can seen exotic and intimidating I take comfort in their presence. Grasshoppers are a Chinese symbol of luck and abundance, suggesting that you will move forward by taking leaps of faith.

This one was climbing over my window just after it had finished raining. 

My roommate has a large paper lantern on our patio. One night we were outside playing with the dogs and I noticed this one. He was almost four inches long and his solid mass was carefully balance on the thin wood frame. His back legs were tucked in place under this body which meant that he was in for the night.  

The following day this slightly smaller grasshopper was climbing his way up to the paper lantern. With such stunning color and endless texture they are an interesting combination of elaborately decorated and highly armored. 

I caught this one peeking up at me from his sun bathing spot on one of the backyard plants. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fond Memories of Newport Colony

I have lived with my best friend Amber for a total of five years. The first two years we rented a house with two other girls, the remaining three years we rented an apartment together. This is a reflection back on our time spent at Newport Colony.

My cat lounging by the window on a rainy afternoon.

The smooth silhouette of a red-shouldered hawk in contrast to the ruffled foliage of the tree. 

Newport Colony was a very dog friendly community and when we moved in two of our immediate neighbors had a combined total of three black labs. Amber and I would often go downstairs to play with the dogs. Over time an old bird feeder had been repurposed to hold play things such as tennis balls and stuffed chew toys.

I brought my camera outside and began experimenting with whatever caught my attention. I was sorting leaves when I found this tiny black and orange bug. It is an Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle and it is the only one I have ever seen the entire three years I lived at that apartment. 

My cat basking in the early morning sun. 

This picture was pure luck. I was trying to get a good shot of these wild mushrooms but at the time I had accidentally messed with one of the photo settings on my camera. It was taking pictures, however, the viewfinder was completely blacked out so I couldn't actually see what I was photographing. After taking several blind shots of the mushrooms from above I finally decided to try and reset the camera. In my frustration I dropped it and decided to go back inside before I did any further damage. Amber helped me fix the settings and when I upload the photos I only had one clear, focused shot, which happened to have a great perspective. It was the shot that went off when I dropped the camera.

Amber training her new puppy as my cat intently observes from the second story window.

One of my favorite photos of Amber and Lexi. 

This lovely bouquet was a "just because" gift from Amber. 

This photo was taken after a stormy day as I was returning home to my apartment. 

The view of our apartment just after dusk. 

On this particular day I was washing my sheets. It didn't stop my cat from curling up as close to me as he could while I was working on my computer. 

A nice, clear day at the pond near the entrance of our apartment. 

I took this photo of one of the flood lights while I was taking a evening walk. 

A beautiful view of the sky shortly after sunset. I love the way the warm apartment lights are complemented by the soft purple of the sky. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rise Above

Years ago I was making a collage for an assignment. Instead of using as many images as I could find I decided to only limit myself to two sources. I only wanted to use material that had meaning to me. I chose a high fashion magazine and a National Geographic.

I tried to flip through the pages rapidly. When I came to an image that made me pause I cut it out immediately. I picked images and objects solely on impulse. After I had arranged the collage I was surprised buy the simplicity and the fact that it had become somewhat of an unintended Rorschach test. I saw my own life condensed on the paper in front of me.

At the time I made this piece my ex boyfriend and I were fighting. We had been broken up for quite some time but were trying to remain friends. Among other emotional problems he was facing depression as well. I had tried many different ways to communicate and reach out to him. However, it became clear over time that he was not willing to accept any help. 

My mother would often scold me for my impatient nature but one day she remarked about how patient I had been with him over the years. I thought about it for a minute and told her that the reason I had remained so loyal was because I had known him for so long and had such a clear impression of who he was as a person. I fought for him because I could still see how a good he was. I paused for a moment and played with the edge of the table cloth at my finger tips. I added that fighting for someone for so long was hard. Watching him decline was like watching a beautiful tree rot from the inside out. 

When I was flipping through the National Geographic I found a image of polar bear with blood from a fresh kill all over its mouth. I also had an old photo of my ex boyfriend making a silly face. His head fit right into the mouth of the polar bear, making it look as though he was being devoured. 

Metaphysically, polar bears represent endurance and transformation through introspection and solitude; to tap into emotions with clarity. These were all things that I wished for my ex but he refused to believe that he had those problems. I felt that the polar bear was the embodiment of his karma; all of the things he would not face coming back to swallow him whole. 

The woman in the black dress represents a roommate I had at the time I created this piece. She had the ability to be very smart and very strong but she often made the choice to be weak and superficial instead. She had a lot of things to take care of in her life but she focused on fashion and partying as much as she could. 

The image of stone hinge at her feet represented all the knowledge and history that has come through the world before her, but she has her blinders on. She was a pillar among her friends, the one they all looked up to. She was decorated and she was beautiful but at the end of the day she was nothing more than the image she projected. 

The man at the top was a reflection of myself. I thought of myself as an old-fashioned hard worker. I never pretended that I didn't have problems or try to party them away. I wanted to face my life openly and honestly and those were things that I didn't see my old roommate or my ex accomplishing. I was becoming bored and I wanted to leave them behind. I wanted to take my wings and this power and move on. 

After looking at this piece for a long time and seeing all of the meaning contained in its simple images I decided to title it "Rise Above". 

It is amazing how a simple collage can tell you so much about your own psyche. A visual time capsule of my life from years ago.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lost Sketches

Moving recently has once again forced me into cleaning. I found a box that I had almost left behind in the hall closet. I had it in my car for over a week before I decided to go through it. It was full of notebooks from one of my early semesters at the University of Central Florida. As much as I like to throw things away to de-clutter my life I am always forced to pour over old notebooks. You see, it is not the information that I read, I am scouring for lost sketches. Bits of inspiration lost between notes that no longer serve me. Over time, the random images that feed my creativity become the most valuable part.

So I sit in the drive way of my new abode and flip through aging paper slowly. I usually find something interesting. This time I got very lucky.

I actually remember drawing this one during a long break between classes. I was flipping through a magazine and used an ad for hair products as inspiration. I had also fallen in love with Pre-Raphaelite art around the same time and she reminds me of the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, particularly when painting one of his muses Jane Morris. Most paintings of her emphasize her romantic regal bearing and her stunning, wavy hair. 

This sketch was done in the same sitting as the one above but from a different source of inspiration. As I continued to flip through the magazine I found a striking image from one of the high fashion ads. I remember that the model had vibrant red hair with strong, black smokey eyes. The original image was very dramatic and arresting. I wanted to recreate that with my own hands. 

This image is actually on a scrap piece of paper and much smaller than the other two. I almost missed it between the pages of my old notebook. With such powerful expression of form and movement I must have been looking at one of my art history books and focused on a piece of sculpture. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Maitland Art Center

The Maitland Art Center was built in 1937 by J. Andre Smith. Smith was born in Hong Kong, majored in architecture at Cornell University, became one of the most prolific artists of World War I, then settled in Maitland to build his research studio. The building is one of the greatest examples of "Mayan Revival" artwork and during his life the studios were homes to a flourishing art community. Today it is a hidden treasure just outside of Orlando and is home to many of his works.

A crucifix on one of the outside garden walls waits patiently to catch the sun.

This design was lining the roof above the courtyard. The sun was just about to appear behind the center circle. The initials A.R. represent a loved one. 

The elaborate carvings of the chapel entrance leading out into the courtyard.

This carving of St. Frances was on the side of the chapel. The beaming sunlight perfectly accentuated the loving nature that was depicted by the statue. 

I almost didn't notice this little guy because he blended in so well. He stayed still long enough for me to capture this shot.

At the time I visited the Maitland Art Center they were undergoing some renovations. It appeared that someone from the construction crew removed this brick, tied a bow around it, and put it back in its place.

This carving was located high up on one of the walls. It reminded me of a Mayan temple with a priest performing a ceremony at the top, elevated in attempts to reach the gods. 

A lamp post and the view into the garden are framed within the entry way and its shadow. 

Standing in the garden looking back at the main courtyard. 

Another carving on the outside wall. The palm tree growing in the background seemed to complete the plumage of his crown.

To learn more about J. Andre Smith please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Andre_Smith

Curious about the Maitland Art Center? Please visit their website: http://artandhistory.org/

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Last Light

I caught this moment while I was waiting to meet my sister outside of the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. Sunlight getting choked out by the approaching storm while an ominous crow glides up to the power line.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July With A View

Myra invited me to her friends house to watch the fireworks this year. Little did I know that her friend happened to live on the 30th floor of the Aspire, one of the high rise apartments in downtown Orlando. His balcony had a perfect view of the lake.

Lake Eola right before dusk. The Orlando Orchestra was warming up to perform in the amphitheater. 

The view from his back patio overlooked the highest rooftop pool in the city and the gorgeous view that comes with it.

A sparkling explosion over the glittering cityscape. 

This one reminded me of a Palm Tree.

Crackling as it fell back down toward the lake.

Another firework over the city. That pale orange orb in the sky to the right is the full moon slowly climbing up to meet the night. 

I love this one. I caught a firework in full bloom, its reflection over the lake, and the moon all in one shot.

Overlooking the city facing the South. If you look closely you can see the crowd filing the streets on the way back to their cars. 

A clear view of the city with the fountain lit up in red, white and blue. 

I love the way the moon lit up the surrounding clouds. 

One last look at the pool with the city shimmering behind it.