Summer Sketching

This summer I feel a little more productive than usual. I was able to spend a fair amount of time sketching. What helped is that not only did I go on a cross-country trip, driving to Pennsylvania to visit family which gave me more free time to focus and draw, but I also have been reading a lot of books for fun (more than normal, anyway), and watching a lot of movies. All these things help me replenish my creativity!

So here are some of the products of my endeavors so far this summer!

Quick sketches of characters for a comic series

Two of my characters

One of my characters from a novel I’m writing

One of my characters from a novel I’m writing

Character sketches for a friend’s novel

More character sketches for a friend’s novel

Birthday Wishes

Earlier this month, it was my friend, Lilly’s birthday. I decided to do something handmade for her this year as a gift. I’ve always wanted to draw a picture of one of her characters who’s a cowgirl, so for a birthday present I finally sketched out some fanart for her. I was on a trip to see family in Pennsylvania so that gave me an opportunity away from my busy work schedule at home and just sit and draw while we were driving.

The sketch

Once I arrived home from my trip, I was able to start working on coloring the sketch. I had to decide how I wanted to complete it – at first I thought I might use my tablet and digitally color and ink it, but I have been having problems with my computer and my tablet doesn’t always work on it, so I decided to go with a more traditional method: watercolor. So this is one of the few pieces of art I’ve done in the last few years. It felt good to finally do some artwork again! I had so much fun drawing it! <3

Finished watercolor

 

Happy birthday, Lilly! Enjoy!

Good Friends and a Cup of Tea

I was having some trouble and then my best friend Lilly made this card of Sailor Venus for me for Christmas! My day got instantly better! Need something to cheer you up? Get a cute drawing from a friend! ^_^

Lilly’s a fantastic artist. You can check out more of her work here:

http://lillylui.com/

and here:

http://sugarfairy7.deviantart.com/

and here:

http://lillylui.tumblr.com/

Enjoy!

First Day of Autumn

It’s officially the first day of fall today and 20 days past my birthday (and the birth of my blog)! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I started this blog! I’m excited it’s fall…I love the fall and spring, but especially fall. I love the trees turning colors, the late blooming flowers, the smells, the crisp air… Last week felt very much like fall, with much cooler temperatures and some rain. It was nice. It warmed back up again today, but hopefully we’re in the process of more long-term cooling. It was sure hot this summer! Speaking of summer: summer went way too fast. I got to go to one of my friend’s bridal showers, went on some awesome hikes and saw some beaver dams and marmots, and went to Hills Alive in between working and taking some summer classes.  My friend has since been married and is now back from her honeymoon, and I have another friend getting married next summer! Fall classes have started again, and I’m quite busy, as usual, with those and work. I’m considering taking up Yoga again, hesitant only because it will cut into my extremely limited amount of time to do homework and other important things I barely have time to do to begin with…but I do miss Yoga so much…
 

I also got to go to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons a few weeks ago, which was fun. What a wonderful place. I haven’t been there since I was about 11 or 12 years old, so it was nice to see it all again. Sure is different than I remember though. Alot of the trees are all dead (from a fire and from beetles). I remembered there being so many more trees when I was younger. Also, sadly, the Morning Glory hotspring is not as pretty as it was when I was there last. I remember it being a bright blue, with some green, yellow, and brown along the very edges. It’s now almost completely green where it used to be blue, and a larger area is yellow and brown. There was a plaque saying it was from people throwing objects (coins, trash, toys) into the spring, clogging it, which caused the pool’s temperature to change and the cyanobacteria that used to be in it (causing it to be mostly blue) can’t survive in it anymore, so now the green, yellow, and brown bacteria are thriving, causing it to be those colors instead. How sad. We ruin everything we touch. We can’t even keep a single  hotspring healthy and clean. That aside, we didn’t get to see as many animals as I was hoping to. We saw a few elk cows, some buffalo, a trumpeter swan, some ravens, and some geese and ducks. I really would have liked to have seen some wolves, bears, and moose…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t get the greatest pictures of the ones I did see, either….

 

At my parents’ house there was a huge dragonfly swarm the night before we left for Yellowstone, and while they had already moved on by the time I got my camera, there were a few remaining ones as the sun set, and one even landed on me (in fact, I couldn’t get him off, he kept moving to my hand or other spots on my arm when I tried to put him on a tree) and hung around all night. I’d never seen dragonflies that large or those colors in the area before. It was pretty interesting! I found a site online here http://scienceforcitizens.net/blog/2011/07/studying-dragonfly-swarms-with-citizen-science/ where they were tracking dragonfly swarms, so that was something I didn’t realize they did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Also, that same night, we saw my cat Sophie apparently was bitten by a rattlesnake (we think). She had two puncture wounds on her forehead (that looked like fang marks) and her face was very swollen. We gave her some antihistamine since it was so late at night no vets would be open, and by morning the swelling was completely gone. So that was good. I bet she won’t go bothering a rattlesnake again…
 

Bitten

Bitten

Next day

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

And as a last note, my plant family has grown quite a bit. At my work, they were getting rid of their seasonal plants, since the growing season is pretty much over, so I was able to take home some very nice plants. One I particularly like, I found out, is a sweet potato vine. It has beautiful foliage, and had the prettiest little purple-pink flowers too.

 

Rest In Peace, Diana Wynne Jones

Sadly, Diana Wynne Jones, my favorite author (who very much reminded me of my grandma) passed away on March 26,2011 after over a year long battle with lung cancer. 

Partly what makes it even worse, is that I just found out about it tonight, almost 3 months later. I feel like I haven’t been able to pay her her proper respects, and certainly not in a timely manner. Neil Gaiman, however, wrote beautiful things about her and his words more than make up for anything I could have said to express my gratitude for her works and even her friendship through her books.

I don’t care much for meeting “famous” people, but she was the only one I ever thought I would love to meet, and just be able to express to her how much her books have impacted me and my work. What a wonderful woman, the world will be a much dimmer place without her. Good bye, Diana. You didn’t know me, but I will miss you dearly.

“I thought about Dogsbody, which I have to write an introduction to, and wondered what star Diana would be, if she was a star.”  – Neil Gaiman

Rest in Peace, Diana Wynne Jones. You shone like a star. The funniest, wisest writer & the finest friend. I miss you. – Neil Gaiman

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2011/03/being-alive.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/27/diana-wynne-jones-obituary

As soon as I get some free time, I’m going to post some Diana Wynne Jones book reviews in memory of her.

Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones

Briefly: the plot involves a little girl in an orphanage who gets everything she wants. She is picked out to be fostered by a strange couple, the woman turning out to be a mean old witch and the man is actually some kind of supernatural being, and no longer does the little girl get everything she wants. She teams up with the witch’s talking cat and the two devise ways to make their lives better.

This is possibly Diana Wynne Jones’s last book (I’ve heard there may be one more coming out in the next year –although they are rereleasing Dogsbody with a Neil Gaiman introduction, so that may be the book they’re referring to).  Sadly, this is one of her shortest books, feeling as if it belongs in a collection of shorts such as her Stopping for a Spell or Warlock at the Wheel.

It’s a wonderful, Diana-esque book, obviously aimed at a younger audience. Lines are generously spaced, the text is large, and there are plenty of illustrations (quirky, fitting illustrations by Marion Lindsay in the UK version. The U.S. version to come out Jan. 31, 2012 will be illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky), so the 144 page book really amounts to very little to read. I read it in 45 minutes, which is definitely why it feels like it should be in a collection of short stories. As a children’s book it’s fine, but those of us used to Diana’s lengthy, thorough story-telling it is way too short. I wanted more!

It’s all Diana though, and she created a quaint, interesting world and characters, as usual. My only wish was that the ending (basically the last chapter) was more elaborated on and the book was longer (while I was reading it with the fact it’s geared toward younger children in mind, I couldn’t help but think that part of the reason it is not as in-depth as many of her other books is because she was ill while writing it – but that doesn’t affect the quality – it just makes you want to learn more about the characters and the world, but it is never given to you. Usually Diana does give you all the answers by the end of her books – she wraps everything up in a nice little package). But it was cute.

It is a must-have for those who love Diana, especially being her last (known) original book before her passing March 26, 2011. She was an inspired and creative genius and the world will be at a loss without her bright new stories. I always looked forward to the newest release of hers every year or two. Thankfully she was a prolific author, and has over 42 titles published. She left the world with a part of her and I am truly grateful to her. Diana, you will be missed greatly.

No Bees, No Honey, No Work, No Money

In 2006 it was announced that honeybees were disappearing…but I noticed even before that the honeybees seemed scarce. I had seen them often and abundantly while growing up – I remember seeing them on flowers outside of stores and restaurants when I was little. I remember them buzzing all around my Grandma’s many flower gardens. I remember running through our backyard and stepping on (and getting stung a couple times- before learning to be careful where I stepped) the honeybees as they pollinated dandelions. But the older I got, the less honeybees I saw. No longer did I see them on flowers in my Grandma’s flower gardens, or on flowers anywhere, really, except on rare occassion (and certainly not on dandelions) and then it was only one or two little lonely bees.

I thought it was strange but that maybe it was just because I was older and less observant…until 2006 when it was announced that it wasn’t just me who noticed fewer – scientists did too. And here we are, June 2011, almost 6 years later and still hardly a honeybee in sight. In fact, on TV yesterday it was brought up again, that scientists still haven’t been able to figure out what has (been) happening to all the bees. They stated that 1/3 of all honeybees in both North America and Europe have been lost, and scientists still don’t know why (they have theories of course including bee-mites, disease/viruses, lack of food, and pesticides, but no pinpointed causes).

But today I do have some good news: for the first time in YEARS I saw not one, not two, but 8 honeybees pollinating flowers (lavenders and gerbera daisies) around the outside of the building at work. Go little bees, go! I’m rootin’ for you!

It made me happy to see some, since literally I have not seen a single honeybee in at least 3 or 4 years, and before that they were few and far between. Maybe there’s some hope yet…

New Avatar Series: The Legend of Korra!

I can’t wait till this comes out! It’s supposed to be mid 2012, so we’ll see. I loved, loved, LOVED the first series. Aang was such a wonderful character – this show was what every American cartoon should be. It had character development, AWESOME animation – no corners cut here – a great story, humor, drama, romance – you name it, it had it. I <3 Avatar!

In an interview with the original creators (who also created and wrote this new series as well – YAY!) they stated that this will be a more mature series, with older characters and a more “mature” storyline.

Their description of the main character, Korra (the namesake of the new series), seems to be quite different from what we’re used to with the previous characters, particularly laid-back, peaceful Aang. They described her as  “a fiery waterbender.” It sounds like it’s going to be fun! Whooo!

See you soon for more adventures!