Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lamar Pedestrian Bridge

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An experiment in watercolor.  I first roughly blocked in colors in watercolor until I filled the entire page.  I then began filling in details with my micron.  I really like the resulting image and I look forward to experimenting more with this technique.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Texas Capital

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Throughout this sketching experience so far, nothing has challenged me as much as the Capital did last Monday.  It was the first time that I had to face perspective head on and I realized that it wasn't what I liked to do.

This was my first sketch of the warm up.  I gave myself a short amount of time and was actually very pleased with the results.  What ensued after was a careful study of perspective that didn't get completed because of lack of time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

McKinney Roughs

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The weekend of Halloween I had the pleasure to study under a brilliant calligrapher, Ewan Clayton.  He was the same instructor that I studied with at Conference in Boston this past summer.  The first 2 days were held at the LCRA McKinney Roughs where I sketched this view during lunch.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Black Swan

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During the film festival a couple of weeks ago, I had the privileged to go to the premiere of Black Swan.  It was a fantastic movie and I highly recommend it.

It played at the Paramount theater down on Congress and right before the movie started I quickly sketched the amazing chandelier that hung right in front of me.

What a wonderful place to see a movie...I felt just as if I had stepped back in time.  Into old Austin.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


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Blind contour sketch of feathers done in Sharon's studio.  A wonderful exercise that yields terrific results.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Red Moccasins

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watercolor, ink and gouache

My favorite in my sketchbook so far...
my momma's red moccasins.
The beaded detailed were done with my calligraphy pointed pen. Nikko G nib.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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Like I have previously cat is an endless source of entertainment.  I am sure there will be more of him to come.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the Zen Garden

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This was my main study at the botanical gardens.  They have the most amazing Japanese Zen garden.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zilker Botanical Garden

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Done with a pointed calligraphy brush pen and a micron.

Last Monday, the Austin sketchers visited the botanical gardens for a few hours of delightful drawing.  This image was done within the last minute I was there, right before we left for lunch. I have never had such a strong desire to draw is as if this palm tree was beckoning me.  I was trying very hard to listen to Sharon's closing statements for the class with this in the front of my mind.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

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 Orchid my cat.

I have an inkling that cats will be a prevalent theme throughout my sketching studies.  We have three and they are always moving about the house.  So far I think I have at least three cat pages and I have barely even started this book!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Promise...

At the Calligraphy guild meeting this past week, I had a lovely chat with my friend Karen about my sketchbook.  I began reading her my intro to the book and I got such a strong reaction from her and others around that I thought I would post it.  I had written this for my very first journal that I started because of being in lessons (calligraphy) with Sharon this past spring.  So far, I have written this at the beginning of each journal/sketchbook (really what is the difference?) that I have started and I think I forever will...

I promise to mot make you precious.
To hold you dear and keep you safe.
To fill you up with life, from the monumental to the mundane.
Probably mundane.
Be my confidant. Be my translator.
Facilitate my inner most thoughts, visions and dreams.
Help me develop my skills and grow.
Most of all, be my friend.

As promised...the sketch of the day.

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This is a little drawing of a plant right outside Sharon's studio.  It is actually one of my favorites so far.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sketch Austin

Two weeks ago, I started a brilliant sketching class with the talented Sharon Zeugin.

A while back I gave you guys a little of my background when it comes to art and drawing, if you missed it you can find it here.

Sharon is the most inspiring and encouraging teacher, making this experience of sketching "in the field" more relaxing than it would normally be by yourself.  I've been busy, really busy, but I have found time to do a few sketches in between classes.  To be truthful, the more I do it, the more I want to do it and the less I want to do what I actually need to do.

I have been finding it difficult to keep up with my blog amidst all of the other things going on in my life.  It seems like I have been blowing through time and I want that to stop.  This might just be the answer to both things.  I have decided that at least for the time being and the time I am in the class, I will be posting a sketch a day (or every two) so that you all can join me on this adventure. Plus it will be fun to have a digital record of my out-and-around-town adventures and daily life.

To start...

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My first sketch in the class...a Vespa sitting in Sharon's driveway.
I actually really like how incomplete it is and I love the geometric shapes.  I am thinking of adding blocks of color.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Photo by Kelly James

While I have been away from the blog...
Time has seemed to fly by.  Not only am I still working on calligraphy envelopes, commissions, etc, I am launching a new venture with the talented Emma James.  Many of you would recognize our collaboration on her wedding invite last spring, that was featured on Oh So Beautiful Paper.

Our new baby (business) Antiquaria, is shaping up quickly and beautifully.  I am not sure if you could put together two more visually perfectionistic people...but it is working.  We have a temporary site up here and our blog has a couple of posts and we are working on many more.  Of course I will keep you guys updated with developments as soon as I have news.  I encourage any of you that are interested in vintage dishes, linens and home decor to subscribe to the Antiquaria blog to stay up to date.  We will be previewing our favorites in our Catch of the Day section, which will give our readers first dibs on the new merchandise.

Our first photo shoot with Kelly James proved to be successful and rewarding so I am very much looking forward to another one tomorrow where we will be shooting a couple of table scapes and bar ware (my favorite)!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Know...

I know, I have been seriously MIA.  I am trying to think of the reason for this absence and I just can't seem to pinpoint it.  I think I can attribute it to an onslaught of work and deadlines combined with a lack of inspiration.

Glimpses into what my life has looked since I saw you last...

A quilt top finally got its backing fabric (the Roman Capital ivory) and binding (the black batik).  It now awaits assembly.  I just hope to have it before it starts getting chilly here (which it seems it never will).

D and I went putt putt golfing at Peter Pan...

It was pretty humid and sticky, but we had a awesome time anyway!

Some inspiration shots taken while house sitting...
Possibly for future paintings?

I've got some big things in the works....along with plenty of gorgeous wedding envelopes to address.  I will keep you posted!  Hope you have a splendid Monday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Boston Part One

So I had mentioned Boston.  This was the view from the front door of the dorm that I stayed in at Stonehill College.  It was just gorgeous.  Brisk and green.  Such a stark contrast to Austin.

And this is my new friend Adam Heller.  He is one of the artists behind Samaritan Carvers located in Rhode Island.  He is so talented and passionate.  Because of him I came home with a new goal (one of many), to learn to carve stone.  

He was traditionally trained and apprenticed but is now stepping out and creating modern carved pieces. Just beautiful stuff.

This is my absolute favorite picture from my Boston trip.  One that I would like to watercolor or draw or paint...just so that I can experience it further.  

It depicts Ewan Clayton's (my amazing teacher) hat along with some reed pens and a smattering of other goodies that were on the table.  It is a wonderful memory for me and one that will not soon lose.

And this is where the moon piece that I previously posted started.  Staring at this gorgeous and haunting moon.

Hope that you have all had a great week.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In This Night

In this night
I look at the moon
so bright, so clear
so uncomplicated

In this night
I look at myself
so new, unclear
so complicated

Will I ever let peacefulness reside
within me
so bright, so clear
so uncomplicated

There is darkness
and sometimes
no moon at all
but he will come out
when I least expect

In this night
the moon looked down
upon my weary head
so bright, so clear
so uncomplicated

Wishing me

This is a piece that I began conceptualizing when I went to the Odyssey calligraphy conference in Boston at the end of July.  I had won a scholarship to attend and I had the most amazing experience.  The people I met and the beautiful setting at Stonehill College was the perfect platform to be truly inspired.  This piece is the most precious and personal thing that I have ever done, because it is for myself.  It explores anxiety, insecurity and self awareness.  It was lettered with Sumi ink on handmade paper using a hand cut quill.  I have to say, it was an extremely difficult piece to letter (because of the texture of the paper) so I needed to rub the surface with pumice.  I think it ended up adding a dreamy quality to the piece.

It was difficult to come back home.  Back to work, to envelopes, to the heat.  August has been a terribly hot and draining month so far.  I will try to post more calligraphy work soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010


So somewhere in my crazy mind, I got the idea that D's grandmother made flan.  Turns out...not so much!  It was just a topic that had come up recently quite often between me and numerous people so I decided it was time to try it for myself.

D had always mentioned Cajeta (Mexican goats milk caramel) when talking about flan, so I knew that this would definitely need to be a component.  Luckily, I came across this recipe for Cajeta.

It was easy but was a pretty involved time commitment, taking over an hour to make.
Definitely worth it.

So I made the Cajeta in advance (knowing that flan wasn't the quickest desert) and placed in in the refrigerator over night.

The next day was flan day!  I had made steak fajitas for dinner and tried my best to save room.  The flan came together more easily then I would have ever imagined.  I suppose I can credit some of this to all my practice in custard making that I have gotten this year.  I used this amazing Cajeta Flan recipe.  It worked perfectly.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Enjoying Summer

Hello again.

I am just coming up for air trying to balance work and all that summer has to offer.  Truth be told, work is winning at the moment...but I try not to let it stifle all of my fun!

This past week the heat in Austin has really set in (we have been fortunate so far with all the rain we have had) and temperatures have been sweltering.  All that I crave when the heat is on are nice vegetables and salads.  So this arranged salad (above) I made to satisfy my craving.  The wonderful part about it is that it is so dang easy. 

Really all you have to do is roast whichever vegetables you find, either at the local market or the grocery store in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes (or charred to your liking-I like them pretty charred).  While they are roasting, you make a dressing:

1 part sherry vinegar
3 parts olive oil (extra virgin is probably best)
a tablespoon of Dijon mustard (or homemade if you are a food dork like me)
the juice from 1/2 of a lemon (whole if its not very juicy)
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste ( do a pinch each)

It really couldn't be easier....and it is so much cheaper than buying it from the grocery store...and it tastes better.  Believe me.

The only other thing that I added, the cherry on top (a very crucial cherry I might add) is Pure Luck goat cheese.  Holy Wow this stuff is good.  And it really brought the dish together.

Now for my favorite part of the know, being a dessert addict:

Homemade peach ice cream that I made and froze after getting all those peaches (remember?).  This was an amazing way to use up a lot of them and is one of my favorite things ever (you all know that ice cream is my favorite food, right?).  Besides the ice cream, I ended up making peach cobbler, peach bread pudding (kinda tasted like french toast, yum), lots of peach salsa, and the ice cream.  We also had our share of fresh peaches and even froze a few.

I would definitely recommend peach picking but make sure that you first have a game plan for how to use them.  Those suckers really ripened up fast...way faster than I thought that they would!

Well adios for today, I hope you have a blissful Thursday!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Birthday Part Two

Let me just say...I have saved the best for last.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to get on the road headed for Marburger Farms to pick peaches.

I have to say that I have many favorite things...but peaches are something that I cherish and look forward to their summer arrival every year.  This, however, is the first time I had ever ventured out and picked them myself.  It was worth it in every way.

I was giddy, bouncing up and down in the seat of our car as we approached the farm.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.

When we arrived we all gathered under a large shed to get instructions and information about picking the peaches.  At this time, we also had to select the variety of peach we were going to pick.

It was actually more daunting than one can imagine.  Without being able to taste the variety, you were committed to an entire box.

We finally settled on Harvester, one that has a nice amount of acidity and with a very peachy flavour.

Then the picking ensued.  I was running from tree to tree looking and feeling for the most perfect, large, sun-blushed peaches that I could find while D and my family looked on laughing.

My mom dubbed this a very cheap thrill and she was right.  For $30, it was just about the perfect thing to do on a warm summer Saturday afternoon.

Finally, everyone got in on the action and in no time our box was filling up.  We did find a few tree-ripe peaches and couldn't help ourselves from being "peach bandits" and eating them right there on the spot.

The peach trees were actually much lower to the ground than I had imagined, so nearly all of the peaches were within reach.  Only a few times did I have to call D to get a peach near the top of the tree that I was too short for.

About an hour after we arrived, we had filled up our box to the brim with peaches.  I was sad to go but excited to bring so many perfect peaches home with me.

We went into Fredericksburg for lunch (Rather's Bakery) and walked around a bit, enjoying the nice day.

Talk focused mainly on how to use up all of the peaches we had just picked.  I'm not a psychic but I see many a peach cobbler, ice cream, salsa and fruit salad in my near future!

All I kept saying all day is how perfect it was.  It really is the simple and natural things that make me happy and the older I get, the more I realize and appreciate them.

We came home and counted our loot.  107 peaches.  Wow!  Better get cooking.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Birthday Part One

Ever since I can remember, my birthday has been quite a celebration.  Usually it drags on for about a week, starting at fathers day (where we go to San Antonio to celebrate fathers day/ my birthday) and ending when the last bit of cake has been eaten after my actual birthday (June 25).  

For the previous two birthdays, I was in Dallas.  It threw traditions for a loop.

Let me just say, I am glad to be back to normal.  It's not that I relish attention (I really don't like it at all) but it is that I can really spend quality time with friends and family that is the best gift of all.

Friday (my actual birthday) started off early.  This year is the year.... I get to have my drivers license renewed.  What a way to start the day!  Computer malfunctions turned a brief trip into an hour long wait (I was #002 in line)!  Good news is, that I don't have to go to the DPS to renew for another 12 years (I will be 36...yikes!)

A trip to Upper Crust Bakery for breakfast made me happy as I dove into a cheese brioche and cappuccino.  Definitely a great way to start the day.

Then it was back home to recoup and relax.  Shortly after I arrived the doorbell rang.  To my surprise, I was greeted with a gorgeous arrangement of hydrangeas from miss L!

So lovely!

My grandmother and uncle then came over to visit for a while.  It had been surprisingly long since I had seen them so I nice chat was overdue!

About the time that they left, my tummy started grumbling, hankering for a yummy lunch.  Fortunately, my lovely boyfriend took me to The Steeping Room for tea sandwiches and my favorite cookie in town, their salty toffee chocolate chip cookie.

Yes, please, I would love this recipe...on second thought it may be dangerous!

Some more relaxing, lounging and catching up on missed TV ensued while we waited for our dinner reservation at Fonda San Miguel.

Finally 8:30 had arrived and we were seated at FSM.  I had really eaten quite more than usual, so I was craving something fresh and light.  My tomato (little yellow ones), cucumber (picked fresh from their garden) and pine nut salad did the trick.

Then, the desert arrived.  

And I made a wish.

And filled up my tummy a little more with this fabulous peach tres leches cake.  Less soggy than the other tres leches I have had, this one really hit the spot.

10:04pm...exactly 24 years old.  Now I was off to cap off the night with a glass of wine with D and get some rest for the big Saturday we had planned.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Real Wedding, Spring 2010

Today, I had a wonderful surprise in my mailbox, one of my clients had sent over pictures from her wedding this past spring.   I always wonder what my clients weddings look like after spending so much time talking with them at length about the details that go into their event.  Alas, only a few actually have photographs of the calligraphy to share.

I remember as I was lettering this menu how incredibly hungry it made me.  The menu was designed my brides brother who is an acclaimed chef in New York City.  You know how much of a foodie I am...I was absolutely drooling!

The place cards and escort cards were done in walnut of my absolute favorite inks to use.  The slight variation of color that the natural ink has is so unlike anything else available.  It matched the brown shades that adorned her tables beautifully.  

If only I could peek into every one of my brides weddings.  It brings such a happy and rewarding feeling and is good to know that all of the hand lettering is still appreciated in these modern times.

Her wonderful photography was done by Lume Photography.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Succulents and Poetry

The yucca's in bloom.  Summer is here.

So far I have not been able to enjoy much that summer has to offer.  I have been to Barton, however, and spent time with friends.  Generally you can find me in my studio addressing envelopes.

More recently I did Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare.  It is a beautiful piece of poetry and I thought I would share.