New Mexico: Art, Science, & Wine, Oh My!

Exploring New Mexico is great! Wednesday morning, my fiance, his family, and I went to the local art market to look around…needless to say there were a ton of great art and goods to buy! I’m pretty sure I would have gone broke if I would have walked out of there with everything I wanted to buy. Thankfully I was able to pick up a few beautiful items, and if I have the time, I’ll have to stop by again to see if anything new comes up. ♥

Visiting the Art Fair

Melinda Isaacs Studio | Art Fairs

After we visited the art fair on Wednesday, we stopped in at the Museum of Nature and Science as well as the Museum of Art. Unfortunately I was unable to take pictures of the current exhibit at the Museum of Art, but I was able to take pictures at the Museum of Nature and Science! :)

Melinda Isaacs Studio | Science Museum

Museum of Nature and Science: Location and Hours

  • Location: 411 North Main Street
  • Days: Tuesday – Saturday (Sunday and Monday – Closed)
  • Time: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Admission: Free
  • Tour Information: contact museums_education@las-cruces.org

We also had the pleasure of attending a local wine tasting event at the winery located up the road. The winery that we visited was Amaro Winery, a small winery with delicious wines! I’m pretty sure that my favorite wine is the Chenin Blanc, a very subtle wine that has flavor of apple, pear, and melon with a hint of honey.

Melinda Isaacs Studio | Amaro Winery

This part of the trip I think was my favorite. I purchased a bone hair accessory from one of local artists who carved into the bone and strung beads to it. The charm on the end of the beads is a sleeping kitty, which I couldn’t resist! My fiance and I also picked up cellphone charms: his has a Pikachu and mine has a Fuu-dog Hello Kitty. Love! I also had the chance to speak with a local artists and exchange business cards – his work was amazing and I hope to see it again someday.

I hope to become more involved in the art scene in Cincinnati. Hopefully by the end of summer I will have something to enter into art shows. ♥

New Mexico: Dripping Springs & White Sands

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Yesterday’s adventure was absolutely exhilarating! I can’t say I went unscathed though – even after putting on sunscreen twice, I ended up burnt and sore from the amount of hiking and walking done. My fiance, his family, and I visited the Dripping Springs Trail in Las Cruces, New Mexico as well as the White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I was in awe!

Melinda Isaacs Studio | Vacation to New Mexico: Dripping Springs Trail & White Sands National Monument

We arrived at the Dripping Springs Trail by 12:30pm, ready to hike up the trail and into the mountains. We passed a few people that were on their way down from the mountain, but it was otherwise clear and quiet for the majority of the hike up. I will admit, I was a little disappointed when we reached the Dripping Springs – I figured that there would have been more water, but I guess the lack of water was due to the drought. It was still a beautiful hike nonetheless!

After we finished our hike at the Dripping Springs Trail, we stopped off for lunch at Sonic and made our way to the White Sands National Monument. It took about an hour and a half to get there, but it was so worth it!

Melinda Isaacs Studio | Vacation to New Mexico: Dripping Springs Trail & White Sands National Monument

The sand was surprisingly cool to the touch. Unfortunately a storm was brewing when we arrived and we were able to play in the sand for about two and a half hours. It didn’t begin storming until we got back to the van, but the sight of the lightning coming down on the sand was beautiful!

Needless to say, I had a ton of fun yesterday! Today is a rest day because of how exhausted we all are (we hiked over 20 miles in the past four days!) and we needed to allow our sunburns to heal. My fiance and I burned the worst out of the group, so tons of Solarcaine, lotion, and water to take away the painful burn. At least we’ll have nice tans by the time we go home!

Visit the Dripping Springs Trail website here!

Don’t forget to take a look at the White Sands National Monument website!

Vacation to New Mexico: State Parks

Yesterday’s adventure was amazing! We planned to visit three state parks: Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, Rockhound State Park, and City of Rocks – to explore and see what we could find. I think the most exhilarating part of the adventure was visiting the City of Rocks and going rock climbing. There were a couple of people rock climbing as well but the majority of the people that were in the City of Rocks were camping.

Melinda Isaacs Studio | State Parks

Even though I am only a novice at rock climbing, I was getting to some difficult nooks and spaces. I had the scare of a lifetime though! One of the rocks that I climbed on shifted (the base was unstable) and almost toppled to the ground about 20 feet below. Thankfully I backpedaled and got off of there before it completely fell over, but I’m a ton more careful about what rocks I climb on now.

So far, this part of the trip was the most exciting and has really brought me out of my shell. I was so used to staying inside and focusing on work that I had forgotten how to have fun – something that I intend on fixing once we get back to Ohio. Like New Mexico, there are a ton of things to do, places to see. I even think that Chris and I plan on taking a canoe down the Great Miami River once we get back home, something that neither of us have done before. :)

Image gallery from the State Parks:

I’m excited to see what other adventures await us! Have you ever been to another state or country? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Vacation Exploration: Local Neighborhood

Warning: Very image-heavy post!

So, my fiance, his family, and I took a quick drive around the neighborhood before we found a decent place to park so that we could go exploring in the Historic District of Los Cruces, New Mexico. Needless to say, I was in heaven because of the architecture and the artistic gems found in the oddest of places!

I took a ton of pictures and want to share a few of the gems I found with you, so feel free to read ahead! I will provide captions for some of the photos.

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This is one of my favorite photos. We came across this beautiful painting on the side of a building and the quote to accompany the image is just amazing!

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Purple cactus! ♥

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I’m definitely planning on visiting this art gallery when it opens on Wednesday, just to see what types of art is available!

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This is the type of graffiti that is commonly found in Los Cruces, New Mexico! While the artist created words in graffiti (possibly their tag?), they make it an effort to create artwork for everyone who passes by to see it. In this case, the artist created a portrait with smaller images for the details. This is one of the few that I found while walking in the neighborhood!

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Close-up of the graffiti portrait.

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Flowers from a tree! So pretty. ♥

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A flower blooming on purple cactus. I was so excited that I was able to capture such a beautiful photo!

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This is an image of a church that was found on the corner…can’t exactly remember where it was located, but I think it was just up the street from the library. Beautiful architecture!

So, this is only one of the few escapades that will happen this week. My fiance, his family, and I are planning on escaping to the outskirts of the Rio Grande mountainside to do some rock-climbing and some general exploration, after we grill dinner of course. On the menu tonight? Hamburgers, hotdogs, and my own recipe for grilled chile-lime corn on the cob. ♥

 

Vacation: New Mexico Style

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Hi all!

I’m currently sitting in my fiance and I’s bedroom in New Mexico where we are staying until the 25th. We’ll be back in Ohio by noon on Monday, so we’re soaking up the sun, beautiful weather, and gorgeous sights for next week. I’ve already begun taking a ton of pictures, some of which you can see on my Instagram, and will create a few posts by the end of the week to showcase what I’ve seen and experienced!

The plane rides were exhilarating – I have never been on a plane before. To be quite honest, it felt like an extended rollercoaster ride from King’s Island. I wasn’t too fond of the constant popping in my ears from the change in pressure, but it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if I wasn’t sick with bronchitis. I have been sick since Wednesday and am just now getting over it – thanks to an awesome nurse mother-in-law and her essential oil set, I’m almost back to myself again. Just need to stick with my meds, continue drinking tea and honey, and get rest where I can. ♥

Aside from being sick the first day after arriving in New Mexico, it hasn’t been too bad! There is a festival going on today to celebrate the Organ Mountain becoming a national park last year around this time. We might have to head out there and take a look; maybe even get some rock-climbing action in!

Have you ever flown on a plane or taken a special trip for a vacation? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Artist Comparison: Lois van Baarle

I have been a HUGE fan of Lois van Baarle since I was a young teen. I first discovered her work in 2006 before the huge change-over at DeviantArt and have been following her ever since. I love her bold use of color, the anatomical correctness of her pieces, and I just generally love the way that the women she draws and paints look. I definitely recommend taking a look at her work on her portfolio site, loish.net.

In most of my work, you can see the influence that Lois has on it.

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My style of digital painting is more realistic than hers, and in my piece titled Clarity, you can see that I finally got the hang of values and tonal qualities in my grayscale work. I haven’t yet dabbled in color, but I am getting the hang of my style and my limitations with the human form. Lois’ piece on the right is a study that she had posted on her blog from stock photos on DeviantART.com and shows her mastery of the human form in her own style; most of her pieces are very stylized but they’re always recognizable. I eventually want my work to do the same – I want my work to be recognizable eventually.

I absolutely love her work, and I eventually want to buy a print or two one day so that I can hang it up in my little art corner. :)

If you have any artists who are your inspirations, please feel free to leave the names (and websites!) in the comments below! I would love to check them out. Cheers!

Modern Calligraphy: Beginner’s Guide

Calligraphy is easy to learn once you get the hang of how to hold your pen, knowing how much pressure is needed to transfer the ink from the pen to the paper, and figuring out how to move from one letter to the next in a fluid manner.

Modern calligraphy is becoming an increasingly popular subject to learn, and in all honesty, I can see why! My recent obsession was spurred from a few posts on Instagram and sparked a need to learn a new skill; my handwriting, especially cursive, is horrible and I figured that I would begin working on my penmanship with a crow quill dip pen and Speedball acrylic ink that I bought from Michael’s Arts and Crafts. I found a few resources from other calligraphers online (my favorite resource is here from The Postman’s Knock!), printed the worksheets out, bought a pad of tracing paper, and got to work!

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I would recommend buying a few things to make your first step into calligraphy a smooth one (excuse the pun, haha!). You will need a crow quill fine line pen that is excellent for drawing, sketching and writing, highly pigmented ink (I use Speedball acrylic ink because it’s archival, non-toxic, and waterproof), low-absorbency paper (such as 100lb cardstock), and water. Once you have items that are similar to that, you can finally begin creating beautiful calligraphy!

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To create modern calligraphy, you can hold your dip pen like you would normally hold a pen or pencil. I found that it’s easier to use your wrist to control the flow of your pen, and holding it like you naturally do helps.

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In order to write, dip your pen past the well (the circular hole in the middle of the pen) to fill the reservoir with ink.

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One thing to note with calligraphy pens is that when you are writing, be sure to move the holder rather than the nib. You should also keep the nib at a 45 degree angle in comparison the paper, and the nib’s direction should be consistent so that you don’t bend the twines on the tip of the nib. When writing with a calligraphy pen, make sure not to allow the nib to drag across the paper – it should glide without catching on the paper, meaning that you don’t push it like a regular pen.

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Calligraphy is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do when I’m not designing or working on class work. I hope to incorporate calligraphy into my work once I improve at it, and I might even move into stationary work! Keep a look out for a new shop link once I can incorporate a shop into my site. Cheers! ♥

XOXO,