don't look back

i just got off the phone after a really good conversation with a friend of mine. we talked about change, growth, work, faith and repentance. pretty much the full spectrum.

after our conversation, i went to check something on the internet. nothing would work, however, and it was a bit frustrating. miraculously, one of the church websites worked. the first thing i saw on the page was the following video:

that, coupled with the conversation, gave me a completely renewed sense of hope, comfort, love, peace and excitement for the future!

i think many of us [*slow hand raise*] are afraid of change. we like getting into our comfort zones; we like being where we are at. because even if where we're at isn't the best place, we are comfortable with it. however, like one of the guys in that video said, sometimes "[we] didn't even give it any consideration that the future could be better than the past."


His birthday celebration

this year, i especially loved Christmas. i still am.

guitar jams, stories by candlelight, talking, indoor snowball fights (just one), laughing, bonding, pencil fights, little kids, homemade gifts, gifts of time, reminiscing, sharing, lots of food...good. so good.

i'm really trying to focus on enjoying my family, and it works! sometimes i realize even when i'm with people, i'm not really with them. i'm with them + my phone, them + my computer, or them + my wandering mind. this year, i pushed myself away from that and it's been wonderful.

in our family, Christmas is full of traditions. while that's another post of another day, it's one of my favorite things about the holiday. most of our traditions focus on the real reason why we celebrate.

preliminary sketch i did for a competition i ended up not entering...

let us all remember at every point of the year! merry CHRIST-mas!


advent conspiracy II

so. remember this?

you should watch it if you haven't yet.

and then?

you should watch this. but really. watch the first one first or this one won't make sense.

change is awesome.

merry Christmasweek!


don't know what you've got til it's gone

[i wrote this yesterday : saturday december 18]

i am a sentimental person and i can easily attach myself to things and people. i know this.

but i had no idea how much i loved the provo tabernacle until this morning when i saw how much of it isn't there anymore; my heart just broke a little. 

my mom called me, completely choked up, at 6:30am to let me know that it had caught fire and was rapidly burning down. i was shocked and didn't really know how to feel. i got online and saw the news stories, such as this one. while i watched the videos, my eyes flooded with unexpected tears. 

i had work at 8 am, but as i was driving to work i felt myself impulsively veer the car to turn south instead of heading straight to campus. i didn't stop myself; i had a sneaking suspicion i'd do that when when i'd seen the videos.
i pulled in to a parking slot on center street in time to see the smoke still billowing steadily from the building. i sat there in my car, while fresh tears ran down my face. vaguely aware and slightly peeved that i didn't have my camera, i grabbed my sketchbook and a couple of pens and headed out into the cold.
i know to some, to many-- it was just a building. i know. to others, it was a church-owned building, a historic wonder of utah, a part of our heritage. it was this, indeed...but to me, it was also a place of security, and a place full of memories. i don't remember the last time i felt this way about a "thing" being destroyed since we lost our tree last year. i realize it's because it's not just a "thing"...it's the home of a billion memoirs.

as i watched the firemen work to put out the fire (apparently there are still flames in the back of the building), a lot of things went through my head.
i remembered all those times growing up when we'd go to stake conference there. to me, it was a privilege to sojourn once a year to that building for church. i remembered, during those times, feeling privileged to sit in the balcony, and at some times trying to see that cute boy that i liked or wave to some of my girl friends. i remembered looking around, seeing so many familiar faces and feeling happiness, unity and peace. i remembered standing and singing hymns and feeling the spirit as i sat, listening to the speakers. i remembered drawing the architecture on the program while listening to a choir (i wonder if i still have that...). i remembered the time that i was asked by elder moon, of the quorum of the 70, to recite with another girl, 'the living Christ' to my entire stake from memory. i remembered the hesitant feelings i had that day, and the many small miracles that accompanied to bring me peace and success. that's in fact, one of the first things i think about when i think of the tabernacle.

i also remembered my high school choir performances there, and that beautiful organ. lots of rehearsals. i remembered different feelings -- of excitement, of anticipation and of wonder i felt at the onset of singing  -- solely because of the humble grandeur of the place. i remember last year i sang in a byu choir (the first time i'd choir-ed in college) and the sense of familiarity and welcome i felt as i walked in to that rehearsal and following performance. it had just felt...right. 

i stood there this morning, in the cold, drawing the building amidst the firefighters and spectators. i met a random byu student around my age and talking with her about it, then an older gentleman who was a photographer who'd shot many an event in the building. 

turned out that drawing the place was cathartic for me. it was, in a way, my way of paying tribute to the old friend. as i drew, i said goodbye. my emotions, the hurried pace and honestly the freezing cold made it hard for my hands to not shake so it wasn't a really great drawing, but i didn't really care: what i cared about was that i documented that experience, not so much the actual look, in my own way. and for that i was grateful. 

after the girl and man left, i saw two good friends* taking photos. we reminisced for a bit, and it was nice to see familiar faces. after about 45 total minutes of freezing, i left for work. 

i know i'm not alone in feeling this way, which is comforting. i like sharing feelings with each other. not just sharing = me telling, but sharing = us feeling mutually. i texted some friends and family about it this morning, and posted a link to the article on facebook. i saw that many other friends had posted similar feelings. it was cool how each expressed the same thing, but in their own way.

"Mourning the loss of the heart of downtown Provo today." -dalene

"I can't believe that we are losing the Provo Tabernacle." -kate

"A little piece of my heart broke when I heard about the Provo Tabernacle fire. :( Praying they can salvage the shell so they can rebuild." -karen

"I'm gonna cry. So many memories in that tabernacle. The best of provo's historic buildings. Ugh....this really sucks!" -sara

"So sad by the loss of the Provo Tabernacle this morning. So many memories I treasure there....choir concerts, stake conference and Christmas festivities. Over 100 years of history lost in a matter of hours." -stephanie
"One of the most historical buildings from my hometown went up in flames this morning." - joe
"Devastated over the loss of the Provo Tabernacle. We used to walk by it daily, and now it's in ruins." -anthony
and, simply,

"Tabernacle. :(" -hannah
my brother kevin just texted me that he and his wife were going to the performance that was scheduled tonight. the original artwork and production set for the performance has all been destroyed, and many of the instruments. later, he simply texted me, "I had my seminary graduation there." again: so simple, yet so special. [sidenote: check this out. what an awesome testimony. also, this is a beautiful tribute]

trange how much one little building can be based around so many powerful memories and affect so many lives.

it will be forever remembered in the hearts of those who have grown up here and those who have since connected with it. if you have any affiliation or memory of the tabernacle you'd like to share, i would love to read it in the comments. and if not, i hope that maybe through my memories and the others' sentiments above, you can at least vicariously get to know the old building a little bit.  it is worth getting to know. 

*kody threlfall was one of those friends, who took the beautiful photographs that accompany this post. 


view from the back yard

this morning, my friend texted me to check out the sunrise.

so. glad. i did. it looked something like this:

i was using another friend's camera, so i wasn't quite used to it but didn't want to miss the sunrise to mess with the settings* (silly nikons!). i was so grateful she had lent it to me last night for a project, so i could at least capture something of this wonder.

yeah. the sky was completely on fire.  i couldn't believe how breathtaking it was.

it was a nice reminder that every day is new. and because literally ten minutes later the sky was completely bland and gray with no trace of what i'd witnessed, it was also a reminder to savor the beautiful moments in life. sometimes, they're what keep us going.

in other news, i'm in the middle of finals week. pretty sure my friend hannah captured my feelings perfectly.

*the iso was something like 1600 and i couldn't find out where to change it fast enough. and the color balance is off, but i have no time to mess with it now....finalssssweeeeeeekk.......


december 1: snow!

it was beautiful today! we weren't able to paint for our 8am plien air painting class, but we did walk around campus and dave instructed and directed us on how to paint snow, as well as pointed out some way cool observations about snow and atmosphere. this is the stuff i love learning, because it incorporates the use of the left side of my brain (which i dearly miss at times!).

it was too--meh--to paint well today, but excellent for photography. i brought my camera to take reference photos, but ended up taking pictures of my classmates as well because the lighting was so pretty! so...enjoy these chilly morning pictures (unedited - no time!) while i finish my gratitude list and try not to fret about my overload of final projects. :)

it's fun to take pictures of pretty classmates/friends. :) my classmates and professors have been one of my favorite things about this year. i'll sure be sad to see some of them leave.

i may or may not post surprisingly soon.


while a happy man takes a walk

this morning, i read this talk. it was wonderful, and said many things that have been on my heart and mind lately, better than i could. so, here is some of it:
Those who live in thanksgiving daily, however, are usually among the world’s happiest people. And they make others happy as well.

Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration.

Pray with all your heart. Consider the love your Heavenly Father has for all His children. Open your heart to His cleansing word. Feast on the words of holy writ. Cherish the messages of modern-day prophets and apostles. Forgive others who have offended you. Don’t waste another moment feeling self-pity. Every day drain from your heart the feelings of resentment, rage, and defeat that do nothing but discourage and destroy. Fill your heart with those things that ennoble, encourage, and inspire.
i completely agree with everything that is discussed in this talk. there are so many things to be grateful for in life, and i realize that i don't recognize those things often enough.

i heard a speaker in church the other day tell of a unique challenge that was presented to him, a goal of sorts. two dear friends took that same challenge upon themselves this week, and even knowing what they've done with it has blessed and inspired me.
this is my little book that will hold my list!
today, i will take that challenge as well: i will start a list of 1,000 things i am thankful for. i will do this by december 1, which will help me reflect upon these things daily until Christmas season (what else could be a better precursor?) if you (you, reading this! regardless of location, religion, or any other factor) feel even a tiny bit inclined to do the same, i encourage you to follow that feeling and do it. what a blessing it is to recognize our blessings!
after all,
Not everyone can be a star quarterback; not everyone can be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; not everyone can win a gold medal at the Olympics; but everyone—everyone—can live in thanksgiving daily.
 {via the aforementioned talk}
...My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven. {from president monson in this talk, which is equally amazing}


little letters

dear wind: you make me feel so awesome.

dear 6-month old 27-inch imac at work: why did you crash? i treated you like GOLD but apparently you're a hater. on me. and all my data has been lost. thanks a lot, trusty computer. :(

dear choir: i miss you. oh-so-very much. especially at this time in the year. ...and especially as i'm sitting listening to the sectional happening in the room next to me. guess that doesn't help.

dear motivation: where did you go? i'm still blogging....

dear sickness: i feel you hiding there in the depths of my system. you think you can mess with me? i will freaking take. you. down. so don't you dare.

dear headache: i know you're teaming up with sickness. but i wouldn't go there if i were you.

dear jamba: thanks for double-teaming to combat headache and sickness. this is a good strategy; let's implement it more often.


dear blonde girl that just walked past with a side ponytail and a harry potter scar on your forehead: bravo.


something good

to quote my facebook status from yesterday: well. i had forgotten what only 2 hours of sleep per night felt like. BUT -- it wasn't til last night that i found out again! usually my sleep deprivation level is much higher at this point in the semester...i'm proud of myself. :)

okay...random picture time! i took these "self-portraits" while waiting to help my brother with a photoshoot a couple weeks ago. i love fall.

and now, i just felt like posting.  i don't have any art or new york posts completely ready, ssssoo, i'll just open up my brain and write whatever i find.

every week/day/hour, i'm slammed with one of the following, or similar:
awesome inspiration ---> intense frustration.
potential breakthrough ---> sudden discouragement. 
wonderful tender mercies ---> confusing loneliness.
such a roller coaster. 

but the cool thing about all of this, is that i'm not alone. the more i talk to others and hear about their circumstances, the more i realize how human it is to feel those things. and, the more i realize how much we can help each other through them. i remember a couple weeks ago in church, my stake president saying something like this:

"[regarding serving and reaching out to others--] ...being busy, focusing on our problems, observing our weaknesses, listening to our fears, etc are NOT a valid excuse to try to 'fit it in'. NO! [fist to pulpit!] the way OUT of our fears and sickness and busy-ness is to get outside ourselves, hearken to the call [to help others around us] and get to work!"

...and then the next week, another gal in church said something like this:

"the only way to get out of our darkness is to go to work and serve others. when there is too much drama going on in my life, i realize there is too much of ME in my life."

what a simple solution, right?  ...but really-- it is.



one blog post from october. one. pathetic. this post was written oct 6, if that helps anything.

i feel like my next several posts are going to be very scattered in both content and time-frame for these reasons:

1. i have a lot to catch up on my blog. including my last year's art classes and new york. both very broad subjects. oh, and i just realized soon i'll have this semester's art classes to talk about, too....

2. i am very busy right now (averaging less than 8 hours of total "free time" during the week days, in which i have to eat, run errands, go to meetings and do all my homework. my saturdays are filling up, as well, with story meetings, BYUIA meetings, and painting. and that homework stuff i hear about all the time.)

3. ...this is a third bullet point because lists usually look better with at least three things. so, refer to #1 and #2. they are more than adequate. promise.


i will post what i can, when i can. today, i just wanted to say that i really love painting and drawing outside. i have a plein air class with dave mcclellen and a sketchbook class with bethanne andersen. so, plein air: painting outside. sketchbook: drawing at different locations every class period.

during plein air yesterday, we painted clouds. i'll post those later. during the cloud painting, i saw an adorable little caterpillar crossing the road. yeah. caterpillar. i'm not usually a bug person, but it was just so. stinking. cute. loooook!

thanks to keri for the great pictures!

we named him bear. bear the caterpillar.

and it was my favorite plein air class so far, since we chose a central location where we were all there together. good conversation, lots of laughter, and sweet paintings were had by all. the morning had a super moody temperament, so the clouds were extra epic.

also, yesterday at sketchbook we went to the bean museum to draw insects. yeah. gross, right? however, i was surprised how much i really enjoyed myself. for about two hours, i listened to my music and drew insects. i was in my own little world and i thought it was rad. here you go.

ps. bear ran off, and i want a fuzzy pet caterpillar. jus' sayin.

pps. check him out, one more time.

wouldn't you want one, too?


great expectations

it's been many weeks since i've posted. i guess you can tell that school has started.

i was going to do a highlights list, but i lack the time. this has been a wonderful, crazy week with lots of tender mercies associated.

and as the culminating factor, lds general conference is today! i'm looking forward to finding peace, renewal, and determination to get through all my trials (as well as the good, but very stressful stuff). i can't wait to hear our church leaders who have been guided to direct us.

if anyone feels like they need some hope, encouragement, or direction...this is the place you'll find it! conference is today (saturday) and tomorrow (sunday) from 10 am-noon and 2-4pm MDT, live from salt lake city, but also online and on t.v.

oh, man, it'll be good.


BFAwesome :: editorial

{remember how i used to write about my classes after the end of each semester? well, a new one is about to start, so i figure i'd better catch up....}

fall '09 marked my first semester in the illustration BFA program. the BFA (bachelor of fine arts) program is different from the BA (bachelor of arts), because it has a separate application process after you spend a year in the BA program. once in the BFA, it takes about an extra year (or in my case, 2...or 3) to graduate because you are then required to take more specialized courses.

i take lots of different types of illustration classes. so. for you non-art people out there, when you think of illustration, what do you think of? (no, really. i'm curious--what DO you think of? leave it in the comments section!)

go ahead, i'll wait....


ok. well, one way that illustration can be used is in editorial work. these pieces would go into a magazine, newspaper (or as the industry goes nowadays--) news website, etc.

one of the courses i took was editorial illustration, with richard hull and chris thornock. editorial is different from narrative illustration (such as children's books) because it takes an abstract idea or concept and by way of visual symbols, communicate their meaning (via a finished piece of artwork). cool, eh?

it takes lots of creativity and patience. and time. lots of that. we learned how to use acrylic paint in this class, and i really enjoyed it since i hadn't painted in acrylic seriously since i worked for guy francis back in high school.

the first few paintings we did were just studies, to learn how to use the medium in different ways. for these, we had to use the style of a particular artist we admired from either the communication arts or society of illustrators annual magazines.

the first is in the style of josh cochran and we had to design a 1950's pick up truck, vespa scooter, or small sailboat. and the second...well, i don't really remember. but we had to use transparent washes.

'cupcake', used acrylic washes
'city scoot', used palate knife
the next two pieces were just to help us to take abstract concepts and get us thinking outside of the box.
 'the new world' -- use an abstract word (i used 'flat') to create something with meaning
we had to use a toned palette (one base color to create color harmony)
'cloud 9' -- reinvent a cliché to give it new meaning. as you can see, 9 is storming,
and not quite as chipper as the other clouds....
we had to use a specific typical cliché symbol (i chose 'cloud')
the next three pieces were interesting. look first, then read the explanation.

had to use cross-hatching and split complementary palette
the above piece was based off of this news article, regarding locational privacy. kind of a scary thought...knowing that we can be stalked in a number of ways these days.
'thou shalt be clean'
same specs as 'tracks' piece
the above piece was based off this article, regarding a study about the correlation between literal cleanliness and morality. it's really quite an interesting concept when you think about it.

now, last but not least:
'a thing with feathers'

the last was one of my favorites to do. the prompt was, 'secret garden: what are we really and secretly nurturing in our hearts?' this one actually has a lot of meaning behind it...but i'll leave that up to you. ;)

(by the way...illustration is, by nature, narrative. it tells a story of some sort. thus, there's not supposed to be as much guesswork for the viewer, like a gallery or studio arts piece, but it's nice to not spell everything out all the time. just to clarify:)


i carried this

{from my new york journal, regarding the society of illustrators internship in june}

for all you illustrators out there::

i got to carry this piece down a couple levels from the permanent collections room into the society of illustrators' hall of fame gallery (in the dining room). i was completely art-twitterpated.

this was illustrated by n.c. wyeth, who was trained by howard pyle, who is known as the father of American illustration.

i'm so glad i took both of bethanne's 'history of American illustration' classes before my society internship. i feel really grateful that i was able to more fully appreciate all the amazing art by which i found myself surrounded.

hopefully i'll be able to expound on that later. unfortunately, you'll never know til you see it. ;)


pencil crime

{this is from my NY journal: 6/14/2010}

today i came in and one of the paintings we did last time had four pencil-stab wounds and rips in it. brett told me "by no fault of yours, we're going to re-do this one. it was a bad drawing to start out with." i looked at the ruined paper with half-disbelief. he explained, "this is how i commit to re-doing it." he said something about how if he doesn't destroy it, he has the chance to try to noodle around to make it better, but in the end, you can't make a bad drawing into a good painting (that last part was my interpretation). i love it. what a great thing. i often get too attached to my art, and i need to remember, it's just art. like brett says, it's just paper and pencil.

i remember that when cary henrie came to byu as a guest artist, he was talking about the risks of art. i remember him saying something like, 'it's just a painting! if i mess it up, i can re-do it! it's not like i'm doing brain surgery. now that's scary.'

compare the differences in the top right drawing and the one on bottom.

ten points to brett for not settling! by the way, this shows some of brett's process: the above is an example of what 'underpaintings' are. {according to wikipedia, "in art, an underpainting is an initial layer of paint applied to a ground, which serves as a base for subsequent layers of paint. underpaintings are often monochromatic and help to define colour values for later painting. "} brett does his underpaintings in acryllic first; this was my job during my time there. then he comes back in and oil paints on top of them. in this particular case, the final paintings are all monochromatic, because the book that i was helping him to illustrate will be printed in black and white.

it was pretty rad. : )


the fun theory

isn't. this. awesome. (?!)

why don't we do this with everything? i love this whole concept. let's do it.

ps, anyone have any ideas on how to make eating veggies fun? i know i'm like five years old or something, but i still have trouble making myself eat 'em....


oh, twicia.

since i've been back from new york, i've been doing a lot with one of my very best friends, tricia. the reason?

she got married on saturday. i took their engagement picutures and designed their wedding invitations. it was lots of work, and lots of fun!

here's what she and her boy logan look like when they're together.

...and i couldn't be happier for them. {by the way, their engagements were such a blast to shoot! probably because tricia and i are pretty much the same person, so we ride the same wavelength. in so many ways.}

her reception was friday, july 31, and the next morning she and her man got married in the salt lake l.d.s. temple at approximately ten a.m. i was her maid of honor, photographer, and best friend. so, i felt honored and happy to be a part of it! both their families helped out with everything at the reception: her mom did all the flowers, his sister did the cake, her dad and a brother did the food (and it was a meal!), his mom was there to help direct, her brothers helped set up, his groomsmen helped set up...regardless of the chaos that always occurs during wedding times, it was a wonderful two days.

i haven't edited all their pictures yet, but the reception had lotsa dancing, so....

if you won't tell her i showed you, i won't. jus' sayin.


first words back (stolen)

dear blog,

hi there. it's me again. i've missed you (it's been exactly a month since i've posted!) but don't worry...i haven't forgotten about you. it's just hard to both live in AND document life simultaneously. i've been extremely busy and going through both very rough --and super awesome-- times.

new york was amazing, blog, and i'm back home now. as expected, i didn't post nearly as often as i'd like to. on the other hand, it's good, because i was enjoying all the time i could while i was there. i decided i'll still post a ton of entries about new york (i have about a dozen new york drafts that are half- or all-written, just lacking pictures).

but in the meantime i'll probably post things that i just feel like posting, too, so i don't feel trapped in constantly being behind.

like this:

the words aren't even mine, and neither is the image. but i'm glad ms. roosevelt said it and someone created something about it.


so...you never know what'll happen and we'll just go with it. hope that's okay. but i hope you know i'm not forgetting about you. i'll catch up soon. new york adventures (and then some back-home stuff) to come!

...you know. the one who creates you.


miss liberty

when i wrote about my internship with brett, i neglected to say that i can see the statue of liberty on the way to and from brooklyn. the first time i saw it out his window was a real shocker--i remember just glancing out the window one day, and it was just...there!
view out the window (to the left of the pirate picture in the previous blog post)

for some reason, it resonated with me as some sort of piece (and peace) of home. or something. it was sort of shocking and comforting, somehow, to see that well-known monument i've known about since kindergarten, just chillin' there outside the window. [in real life you can see it much more clearly than in this photo! promise.] it has become my little ritual to look for it on the train to brooklyn, and my eyes automatically notice it while at brett's studio. i don't mind.

today [sat. june 26] i went with my roommates natasha and jodi, along with our friend jonathan, to visit miss liberty herself, along with ellis island. we didn't get tickets in time to actually go inside the statue, but it was okay; i felt it was worth my time--i spent really good quality time on both islands.

the four of us headed to battery park to catch the ferry. i loved being on a boat. all i could think about the whole time i was on the boat today (i believe that was 3 times) was this. natasha and i quoted thoroughly through much of our boat time. :]
fabulous roommate natasha on the boat headed to the island

the excitement grew as we neared the statue, and i realized she looked a lot smaller than i thought. it's interesting because usually things that look so small from a distance look bigger up close and personal, but it wasn't the case here. which i thought was kinda cool, because she can be a beacon to those far away but still small enough to be personable. at least, that's what my mind [which incidentally tends to characterize many inanimate objects, including shoes and chocolate milk] tells me and i'd like to believe it, thank you very much.

when we got to the island, here's what we saw:

roommate love!
and pretty skylines (with pretty roommates)!
i just kept looking at the statue. from the side, she has some very pleasant rhythms to her stance:

and i really started to just love her aesthetics, something i hadn't paid as much attention to when i'd see her in photos or from a distance. little things like her body type, how well drapery was designed, the actual design of the drapery, the weight of the stance, etc.

so, i decided to figure-draw the Lady. i started with a sketch, then inked part in. i looked kinda funny...but i wanted to get the angle right. so, here's what i looked like, and here's what the sketch looked like:
oh, that's jonathan on the right. and the statue on the far right...if you couldn't tell....
 and then got brave and tried some color. i'll post that later. too lazy to fish for the camera card now.

we walked around and found some statues. they were all sorts of wonderful. they depicted various historical figures (Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye, Emma Lazarus and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, to be exact. More about these in a later post. Hopefully.) along with plaques explaining their significance.

i don't even know how anyone could tell me and mr. hearst apart.

all in all, glad i got the opportunity. i still look at the statue when i travel to brooklyn, but now my thoughts are directed differently.

stay tuned for part II: ellis island.