Lightner Museum, A Collection of Underrated Busts

In St. Augustine at the Lightner Museum, the art collections are breathtaking. From the oil paintings, a part of the Daywood Collection, to the complex, beautifully cut glass vases, bowls, and bottles. Every floor of the museum is a world of its own. As tourists and visitors strolled around the rooms, they admired everything except the statues and busts. People walked past them as if they were invisible. Whereas for me, these sculpted pieces of brilliance swallowed the majority of my phone’s photo storage space. How could one not stop and admire the imaginative detail of these busts and statues?

I suppose the popularity of art theft and every Tom, Dick, and Harry owning a statuary business. Each one is stocked with replicas of the infamous European statues. I purchased a replica bust of Michelangelo’s David, two Venus de Milo statues, and two Greek Goddess busts from multiple statuaries right here in my city. To make matters worst, you can order a replica from anywhere in the world by simply opening your Amazon Prime account. Now you can have all the greats right in your home, why bother to visit the museum.

I understand that nowadays, that busts are made out of plastic, concrete, and alabaster. Like most productions today, objects are made by the hundreds per hour as they run through machines. Wouldn’t this fact alone make the ones seen in museums that much more valuable? Could you imagine how difficult it was for sculptors like Donatello, Michelangelo, and Gian Lorenzo to sculpt entire bodies and details using only simple hand-held tools? They were the machines! I try to keep this in mind whenever I visit a museum and I run across a bust or statue in the collection. It doesn’t matter how many statues I have at my home, standing before an original will alway leave me in a state of awe.

In my opinion, I believe the Museum should find a way to make the statues and busts more appealing. It’s not fair that they’re overlooked like another home decor item at a store. Perhaps a small room dedicated to them just like the Porcelain and Glass floor. All art should be admired regardless of the medium, subject matter, and purpose of creation.

I finally got my favorite statue of all time. It’s a replica of course, but it’s mine.

Travel Break: Quarantined Water Art

In the past decade, the word “Travel” ignited the imagery of beautiful beaches, exotic forests, and the City of Lights, Paris. With the world at a standstill due to COVID-19, the new norm is “boredom.” Any form of travel for me is freedom. From a hike on Cumberland island to a four day trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina was what I lived for in my free time. Now, for the sake of preventing the spread of the deadly virus, I have had to dive deep into my favorite past time hobby, watercolor painting. With so much time on my hands, I could do more than just paint for a hobby. I can find a way to let it benefit me financially.

I recently went to the Riverside Arts Market in my home city, Jacksonville. I bought two pieces of watercolor art from a painter and fashion designer named Teresa Cook. Her work was original and fun to me. I envied her technique and the confidence she has in her work. It didn’t hit me until I got home that I might have the talent to make a little money on it myself. I only use to paint when I became too stressed out or my bad days with depression would take hold of me. I never wanted my hobby to become work, and it would take away the therapy I received from it.

Until I can get myself together with how I will come to make watercolor art financially beneficial for me, I will enjoy my thoughtless doodles and splashes of imaginary wonders on paper. I can’t wait for the moment when we could all get back to traveling and appreciating this gorgeous Earth.

Check out Teresa Cook’s instagram page, @teresacookartanddesigns.

Ink Art Gallery

O how I miss art studios, art galleries, art museums, and monthly art walks. COVID-19 drove everyone indoors and our social society had to find other ways to enjoy the arts. With America slowly opening back up again, we can finally (and safely) return to the places we love, like, art galleries.

My insanity jumped out of the window after days of being indoors. My iPhone recorded me spending more time on Pinterest than any other social media app. I couldn’t help myself. All I wanted to do every single day was make something from scratch. I developed an interest in building Fairy Gardens, creating vintage postcards from scratch,  pastel coloring, and even making soap. Now I’m trying to take on mixed media art journaling. I’m BORED, sue me!

I snuck out of the house to Fernandina for a taste of outdoors and window shopping. It felt good to be a couple miles in one direction from Fernandina Beach and a couple of miles in the other direction from the Fernandina Marina. A lot of the stores (and restaurants) were closed, but the art studios were open. Thank God! I usually go to Art on Centre, they display some of the best local art. Expensive, but well worth the price. I make sure to bring my Nikon on days when I visit.

This time though ,I fell upon Ink Art Gallery. It is a small studio with a few local artists who create and sell their works right on the main street. Along with selling watercolor and oil paintings, the gallery also takes part in selling items created by other locals. For example, they sell soaps, clay jewelry, bracelets, stones, sage, photography prints, candles, and other things all made by other creatives in the area.

IMG_8383IMG_8380IMG_8381

My favorite part is the boho-themed atmosphere. The colorful carpets, wooden chairs, the hanging greenhouse plants, bean-bag chairs, and the magnificent floral-garland wall. Of course, it’s something you would definitely see on Pinterest. I don’t know how I missed that.

IMG_8374

IMG_8377

I didn’t spend much time in the studio because I was running out of time to get a jump on beating traffic to get home. I can’t wait to revisit the gallery to take more photos of their beautiful workspace. Hopefully, COVID-19 will move on to another planet so that I can get back to immerse myself in the world of art once again.

Travel Break: Small Car, Big World Pinterest Project

The day I discovered Pinterest was the day I truly lived. In fact, on one of my Instagram accounts, I labeled myself as a “Pinterest junkie” in my bio section. Since COVID-19 has everyone self-quarantined, Pinterest has been my primary source of entertainment. Every day I’m discovering new projects to take part in. So far, I’ve done everything from spray painted mason jars, to designing watercolor bookmarks.

paintIMG_8268

 

In my search for something new to do, I came across a photo of a tiny vintage car sitting on a beach shore. It was clearly a photoshop project, but the photography was stunning. The artist manipulated the image to make it seem like somehow the car fits perfectly into the big world. I just had to try this. I ran to Walmart and luckily found a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. The next day I headed to Sister’s Creek and took some really great shots. The objective is to use the right camera angles to show the car somehow being a part of the bigger atmosphere. Yes, the scale will be evident, but that’s part of the fun! I spent an hour walking around and taking shots of the car on different surfaces doing different things. The results are fantastic!

DSCN0027DSCN0026DSCN0143DSCN0038DSCN0047

My friend, Maddy, also made great use of her time indoors. She’s taken an interest in building things from scratch using whatever wood boards she could find. Her recent project includes a bookshelf, a new dog bowl holder, and shelves for her succulent plants.

Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 1.08.45 AM

My other friend Jheanel, has taken up with painting and colored pencil drawings during her quarantine life!

Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 1.27.41 AM

It is the amazing things that come from boredom. Commercials of people all over the world, creating ways to stay connected, show our infinite creative abilities. Hopefully, when this virus finally goes away, we can continue to be just as innovative. I know I will. Pinterest is in my blood and isn’t going anywhere!

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.03.09 AM

 

Search “small car photography” on Pinterest to see more cool small car photography.

Murals of Murray Hill

Growing up near Murray Hill, I never paid much attention to the historic neighborhood. Well, at least until the murals began popping up. Like a child, I am drawn to colors and works of art, no matter the medium. More importantly, I am drawn to the messages that hide in art. Perhaps it is as simple as, “grow” which could mean multiple things depending on how you see it. Regardless, Murray hill looks a lot brighter with it’s decorated murals and their messages.

IMG_3923IMG_3924IMG_3926IMG_3927IMG_3654IMG_3650IMG_3648IMG_3656

Original Beauty of the Twin Bridges

I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida, my entire life, and I’ve always known the bridges there to be pretty because of the different colors they’re painted. Every couple of years, the bridge undergoes a makeover for a new fresh coat. I didn’t mind it until I started truck driving. I drove through other cities besides my own, and I see bridges in their original form, and they seem fascinating than the painted dolls back in my city.

Recently I drove across the Twin Bridges (aka The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges) in Kentucky. From a distance, I could see how vintage-like they appeared, and it blew me away. In my imagination, they looked like time portals that would take me back to a different time when I drove across them. The closer I got to the bridges, the more excited I became. It felt like the same feeling I got every year when my mother would drive me across the Dames Pointe Bridge for my birthday.

 

0D9F25F9-D3B8-4E17-B0E1-6AA96F7F60C2
The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

 

35CFE19C-3376-442D-9FCF-41EE6C80AF9C
The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

I couldn’t pull my phone out of my pocket long enough to snap photos of the rustic sister bridges. I love bodies of water too, and I’m sure the scenery of the river running beneath it was just as exciting, but I could care less about that river as long as I got the bridges. I took as many photos as I could as I drove through the bridge. The beauty of original metal and the rust taking over the exterior brought to life a greater love for bridges.

 

0A084393-76B1-49DD-A640-26BCE31087B1
The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

 

2FA662F5-3DD0-49DC-AD98-5687E8C09F85
The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges

 

The average lifespan of a bridge is about seventy years, with proper upkeep, most bridges can live well past 100 years. I know that rust is the enemy of metal and that eventually, the city will have to treat the rust if they plan on using this bridge for many years to come. I can’t help but feel sad to know that sometime in the future, these beloved beauties will be coated in bright colors or twinkling lights stripping away their originality. Oh, what a world that will be.

Awareness of Poverty through Art

Every month, the Downtown Jacksonville Public Library changes up their exhibitions on local art. This month brought awareness of poverty. Local artists of Jacksonville have the opportunity to display their vision of homelessness and people living in poverty through their artwork. The best part about this particular display is that one it gives attention and recognition to artists who are trying to make a name for themselves. Two, it educates visitors on the issues over poverty that is heavy in our city.

DSCN0524DSCN0529DSCN0527DSCN0530

The cardboard info art was a nice touch to the collection because it gave facts to homelessness that is evident not only in our city but in other cities just as significant as Jacksonville. The facts touch upon LGBT teens, Veterans, and ordinary citizens who are driven into homelessness.

DSCN0526DSCN0523DSCN0522DSCN0525

DSCN0519

Keith Doles’ paintings were my favorite because of the realism. I don’t know much about artwork and I couldn’t write a art piece critique even if I tried, but his work is astounding. He paintings reflect the livelihood of living in Jacksonville whether good or bad. He is one artist we should definitely look into. Check out his portfolio on his personal website.

The Morris Ansbacher Map Room

The downtown Jacksonville Public Library is one of the gems of the River City. Every floor of the library has its little world. Anything you wish to research, discover, read, or find, you can find it at this library. Through the main entrance of the building, you will find a themed art display that changes every month. There is an entire room dedicated to teens. Teens can sit on cool bean bags and read teen fiction. If they wish to get on the computer, they can do that too. If you have little ones, there is an entire floor for them to find every child book you can think of plus games and other hands-on entertainment. If you’re a college student, you can rent out private rooms for studying. It is truly the bees knees.

DSCN0535

My favorite room is on the fourth and final floor. The Morris Ansbacher Map Room. Yes, it is precisely that a room of maps. Maps taken from different books and other sources, framed and displayed for all to see. Some of the maps are so large they take nearly a quarter of the wall. Some of the maps presented are basic and may have come from some sort of magazine, while others you could tell may have come from some private collection.

DSCN0533

I once had a small collection of maps I hung on every wall of my bedroom, but this takes it to another level. As of now, I’ve been collecting maps I find in books stores, magazines (National Geographic specifically), shift stores, and craft stores. Since stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joann are always running 50% off deals on their frames, it won’t be long before I have my own collection.

 

DSCN0532

Travel Art: Turn Your Travel Photos into Photoshop Art

The beauty of digital photography today is the endless possibilities of creation you can make with a photo taken with a digital camera. Ever since I was little, I always loved the way photos could be manipulated to be something other than what they originally are. Unlike photos on film or polaroids, digital photos can become anything the imagination wants it to be. Want your photo to be black and white? CLICK! One click on a filter and it is done. God bless the Digital Age, right?

I use Google Photos to back up my travel photos because of the unlimited storage and the ease to share, edit, and create photo projects all in one place while still being connected to my other Google Apps. Also, it’s convenient to be able to log into any device or computer and have access to my photos. Anyway, I was browsing through my albums of all the places I’ve been and thought I could change up a couple of these photos to make them a little more fun, while preserving the originals of course. Besides, I have an Associates Degree in Digital Media and photoshop has always been my addiction so why not!

Colorful Heights
COLORFUL HEIGHTS – Tybee Island Lighthouse | Tybee Island, GA, 2017

Golden Skies
GOLDEN SKIES – Dames Pointe Bridge | Jacksonville, FL, 2017

Ruins Against the Sky
RUINS AGAINST THE SKY – Cumberland Island | St. Marys, GA 2017

Through the Brush
THROUGH THE BRUSH – Alexander Springs Recreation Area | Altoona, FL 2018

Winged Messenger
WINGED MESSENGER – Riverside Memorial Park | Jacksonville, FL, 2018

Costal Grave
COSTAL GRAVE – Big Talbot Island State Park | Jacksonville, FL 2017

Because my Macbook Pro doesn’t have a CD drive, I haven’t been able to install my photoshop software onto my mac, but I do use the amazing PIXLR website, a free photo editing software. I’ve used it to design birthday cards, film posters, business cards, and other advertisements and projects. The mobile app is slightly better because it has more artistic filters you can use. For example, the photo below was done through the mobile app. Only the mobile app has the “painter’s” filter such as brushstrokes, watercolor, acrylic painting filters. (NOTE: Pixlr works best through Google Chrome, Safari causes it to crash and freeze up.)

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 10
Pixlr mobile app, watercolor filter

If you’re looking to have a little fun to share on your social media pages, try out Pixlr. It’s easy to use and fun. On the website, you can use two different versions, the EXPRESS for easy filters, borders, text, and stickers. Or you can use EDITOR where you can design your photos by layer (usually for those who knows in depth about photoshop).

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 10.52.07 PM

Let the creation begin!

 

Squares of Imagination

 

I recall a project that was starting at Jacksonville’s downtown library project with little squares given to children to decorate and design. At first, I thought it was just another little fun thing the library does to involve children more into the world of art. It wasn’t until I walked into the entrance door and looked up at this masterpiece.

The Squares of Imagination project had evolved into something more than a summer camp project. It was now the centerpiece of the four-story building. Each square tells its own story with its own unique design. The artist could use any medium necessary to make their message clear. Because the boxes scaled several feet up the wall, I was unable to capture some excellent ones that were also high up. Being 5’4″ will do that to you. Ha. Ha.

DSCN1977

DSCN1976

DSCN1975

DSCN1974

DSCN1973

DSCN1972

DSCN1971

The squares are decorative and beautiful. It’s amazing what lives in the mind, isn’t it?