Mixed Media Layouts

My kids have been busy with summer activities so I haven’t had much time to do anything really.  Both the girls have left the world of dance.  One moved on to Poms and the other to swim – although swim is only for the summer.  I haven’t decided if I’ll be putting her in anything in the fall and winter.  She isn’t too enthusiastic about physical activities, except for maybe running, but even that I don’t think she takes very seriously.  I’m still looking for a voice coach for her because she’s very passionate about singing but I just can’t seem to find anyone in the area.

With the “no time” I have, I’ve somehow managed to finish four layouts I’ve tried to finish since March.  These layouts are from a year-long course I’ve been taking online by Wilna Furstenberg who is an amazing artist.  I’m actually taking two of her online classes: Art to Heart and Artventure.  Art to Heart focuses on the self following scriptures from the bible and Artventure focuses on family.  I’ve learned so much from these courses.  I’ve learned not to be afraid to mix different types of media and it’s been very fun and stress relieving, except for the journaling part.  I always have a hard time journaling.  I find that strange because I love to write.  The mind is so mysterious.

Here are the latest layouts. As mentioned, they were started in March and I completed them earlier this week.

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Here are close ups.

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On a side note, I purchased a couple of different coloring media: Derwent Watersoluble Pencils and Caran D’ache Neocolor II Watersoluble Pastels.  I’ve been watching YouTube videos on these two products and comparing them to Prima Marketing and a few other brands with similar items.  I chose to go with these two because they’ve been in the market longer and  I wanted to get a feel for them before trying the newer brands.

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A Few Song Favorites and Sketches

The kids are on spring break so I get a break from driving everywhere.  With this little down time, I’m able to do a ton of stuff: write, draw, write, spend time on FB writing groups, etc.  It’s nice.  I’m also reading a book that I’m almost done with and getting ready to review.

A few song favorites that I have on rotation:

“Wayfarer” by Clau M

“About Me and You” by Clau M

“Where Is My Place In This World” by Soundmopi

“A Boy and His Cat” by Kari Sigurosson

Practicing on some quick portrait sketches.  Wish I had more than just 5 Copic markers.  I’m really loving them but I just can’t fathom shelling out the money for them as a hobbyist.  As you can see, I can only really color one girl with the Copics.  I want to give the elf queen in the top left grayish white hair, the girl in the bottom left red hair, and the girl on the bottom right jet black hair.

Book Review: The Song Rising

The Song Rising
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Post-apocalyptic

“We like to think we’re brave, but in the end, we’re only human.”

The Song Rising is the third book in The Bone Season series. It begins right after The Mime Order ends. If you haven’t read the first two books, the third book would be a bit confusing. This series is dependent on each other.

In this story, the MC (main character), Paige, learns of a weapon that could detect clairvoyants and destroy them. Her goal was to locate the source of this weapon but she finds that it’s harder than it sounds. She’d have to make a decision that could lead to her death.

“The only way to survive is to believe you always will.”

I found this book to be more interesting than the second book. The second book was mainly about creating the Mime order, a collaboration between a clairvoyant group and some Ranthens, in order to defeat the Rephaite sovereign. It also felt a bit slow moving. This book was pretty fast paced. A lot happened and we blow through quite a bit of flashback/history. I’m glad for that because it adds to the world building and characters development, setting the story for what’s to come. It was done nicely. There was a lot going on in this book. The characters were more defined and Warden played a bigger role. I happen to really enjoy his character and every part he’s in. I’m fascinated by his kind, pretty much. We learn of a hidden world underground. We also learn a little more about Paige’s old boss, the mime-lord, Jaxon Hall and his role with the Rephaite sovereign.

The only downside for me was that there wasn’t much said about the Emite (aka buzzers). At first I got the feeling that these creatures were going to destroy the world if not controlled. It appeared as though the Rephaim had kept them under control but somehow, through a portal of sort, some escaped. I thought Warden was spending all his time tracking the escaped. In the end of the story when Warden was to leave Britain, it didn’t make sense. Who was going to do the work of keeping the Emite away? I hope to learn more about this part of the story in the next few books only because in the first book, when Warden was training Paige, the Emite seemed to have been the focus. I thought she was going to have some part in their demise or at least in keeping them from escaping.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It was one of those books where I had to almost read straight through because it’s that good.

“The wonderful thing about living in a morally bankrupt world is that every human being can be bought in one way or another. Everyone accepts a currency. Money, mercy, the illusion of power – there are always ways to purchase loyalty.”

Book Review: Blood Song

Blood Song
Author: Anthony Ryan
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

This story is basically about a boy whose father puts him in fighting school where he becomes a master at fighting.

There is more to that though and this is where the story gets interesting. The story follows the boy into adulthood where he learns more than just fighting. He forms a tight knight friendship with his “brothers” and learns who his mother was. He becomes a Lord for the king, he wins battles, and he falls in love. Through it all, he learns that there is an internal battle within himself. There is something or someone whispering to him, wanting to help him, or destroy him.

I enjoyed the writing and the flow of the story. I found it slightly on the fast side. A lot of information was provided in a telling kind of way to move the story to the main points. I found that I could easily skim over certain parts and I wouldn’t be missing much but skim too much and you’ll find yourself having to backtrack. Having said that, it was a fun read with great character development and world building.

January 2017 Book Reviews

A goal this year is to only read about 12 books.  One book per month or around there.  I’ve really reduced it because I want to focus more on writing than reading.  I know I’ll probably end up reading more than 12 books but if I do, that’s okay.  I don’t want to stress out over trying to hit my numbers.  So far, I’ve read two books this month.  It wasn’t expected but once I learned Veronica Roth’s book, “Carve the Mark,” was out, I had to buy and read it.  Below are the reviews for the books I’ve read this month.

Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller

behindcloseddoors_350This story is about a couple whom everyone thinks has the perfect relationship but deep down there are secrets.

Although the pacing is fast, the story starts out a bit slow.  There is a tenseness in the beginning especially when one of the supporting characters, Esther, questions their “perfect” marriage.

The characters were well developed and stayed true to themselves. The back stories to the main characters really helped in shaping them. The setting was clear and done well. The story line was interesting and kept me in suspense and intrigue, which was what kept me reading.

What bothered me most about the story was the protagonist and the main antagonist. Grace didn’t seem very smart or wise and Jack wasn’t as evil as he could be. I felt that Grace could have easily gotten away from Jack and even reported him but she let it go on for too long, doubting herself all the time, and not trusting her own intuition. She was so strong and determined at taking care of her little sister, I didn’t get why she suddenly gave in to Jack and put her sister on the sideline. As for Jack, I wanted him to be even more evil than he was but he seemed to also give in. There was no explanation why he gave in to Grace so much since his back story made him to be this person who enjoyed torture/pain, etc. If it was because he was afraid he’d get caught, then that fear should have somehow made it into the story or the back story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The suspense stretched out further than I had anticipated which almost led me to stop reading because it got to the point where I almost just didn’t care what happened (because as mentioned, Grace wasn’t very smart) but Esther got me hooked. She was the person who made the story interesting. I was annoyed by her at first but I was also curious as to why she was always prying. I was surprised by her at the end, and have to admit, I cried. She was amazing.

Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Young Adult

carvethemark_350This story is about…I’m not even sure exactly what it’s about, to be honest, but I’ll do my best to describe it.  I believe it’s about two families who are enemies, where the evil family gains rulership and tortures the other family in hopes to continue ruling.

The story was interesting and the powers the characters had were unique. I liked the idea that it took place in outer space and other planets.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I had expected. It was pretty fast paced. Too many characters were introduced so I couldn’t feel for the main characters. Some characters were introduced and then only had small, almost irrelevant, parts. I tried to visualized the world they lived in and found it difficult because I felt as though there were pieces of Dune by Frank Herbert and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Every time I came across the word “Benesit, ” (the name/title of one of the families) I kept wanting to say “Bene Gesserit” from Dune.

As for the relationship between the two main characters, I felt very little for them. As mentioned, because it was so fast paced and so much information was being thrown in, I really couldn’t relate to the relationship or to their situation.

What was very obvious was the pain the protagonist felt and how she learned to deal with it. I think if the focus was solely on this as the story, how she was chosen to have this type of power that would cause herself pain, and how she learned to control or manage it, would have been a great story on its own.

I really wanted to like this story. I love sci-fi and fantasy combined and I love Veronica Roth’s style. The scenes merge seamlessly and the transition from first to third person was well done.  I’m just a bit bummed that there was so much thrown into it and it felt rushed.

Hillsong United Empires Concert

Yesterday, husband and I went to see Hillsong United in concert.  It was unbelievably spectacular!  I had been wanting to see them live for so long so when the opportunity came I made sure to get tickets early.  We sat far up but it was because I wanted to just see the whole thing from above.  This was an amazing experience because this group of singers were more geared toward rock yet it had that underlying Hillsong-ness to it.  All the singers had beautiful and powerful voices that touched deep within my soul.  And, the music…perfection.

The opening singer was the very talented Lauren Daigle.  The funny thing is, within the last couple of weeks, I had been listening to Lauren’s music on YT.  I had no idea who she was or that she was even opening for Hillsong.  So, when she came out on stage and started singing, instantly I knew who she was.  Her voice is so unique that you can’t miss it.  You know it’s her.  I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears that I was actually seeing her sing live.  I was wiping tears just out of pure joy of this little surprise.

In the photo is Lauren singing one of her songs.

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Here’s a song that she sang called, “Trust in You.”  Words cannot describe how beautiful it was to hear this song live.

Mother’s Day Wonderfulness

If you celebrate Mother’s Day, I hope you had a great one.  I always enjoy going over my mom’s house to see my parents and siblings and to catch up on life.  A lot of times, the siblings and I like to talk and debate about politics and entertainment, and at times things can get a little heated, but we’re siblings so we always forgive each other, and accept each other for what we believe.  What I find funny is that each of us still call our parents, “my mom,” or “my dad,” even when we are together as if we each had our own parents.

Mother’s Day at home with my husband and kids was really sweet.  My youngest made a special gift for me at school and was so good about keeping it a secret that even when I tried to pry it out of her, she wouldn’t admit it.  Husband got me a very special gift: a Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth Headset.  I had wanted one for a very long time, just a simple one, but he went the extra mile and got a bluetooth!

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This headpset is really amazing.  The sound quality is clean and crisp and the bass is really nice.  I’ve been listening to Danny Rayel with the headset and the music sounds even more beautiful.  Here’s a few of my favorites from Danny:

Cold Memores

Blossoming Heart

Travel With Me

I tend to listen to epic and trailer music when I’m painting in Photoshop or when I’m writing.  Goals is to have a writing blog but I’m still waiting for courage to put my writing up.  It will happen soon, I hope.  Anyway, for about two weeks now I’ve been working on a concept environment painting I’m calling, “Turtle Land”.  I’m hoping to share more of my progress on my Fairytale and Fantasy Art blog, but here’s an image of where I’m at currently.

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