Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Collaboration with Rebecca Tripp – part 4

Having been keeping an eye on the various new musical pieces my dear Rebecca had been posting as of late, I was surprised when she sent me a note this evening letting me know that she had used another of my paintings for another music video.

Lilacs? When did I ever do lilacs? I couldn't for the life of me even remember ever doing a piece that involved lilacs so of course I HAD to go check out her wonderful work mostly to see how this piece sounded compared to the previous works she's posted but also to figure out which piece she had used of mine. 

Beautifully done as always, this made me think of a mesh of Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto No. 5 in F Minor – Largo and Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Serenade for Strings. An interesting combination of things that came to mind while listening to Rebecca's piece considering their styles are drastically different from each other and hers. Of course that's just how my brain works and in case someone out there reads this and starts freaking out, worry not because it's meant as a compliment. You can find more from the wonderful Rebecca Tripp here:

"Fleeting Moments" by Dawn Star Wood

The painting itself was actually one of my newer pieces 'Fleeting Moments'. Perhaps it was due to the weather or the fact that I was a little tired and had other things on my mind but when I realized which piece it was, I couldn't help but chuckle at myself for not remembering that I had some lilac flowers in the piece. It is actually an 8x10 inch watercolor on watercolor paper that I had done for the Blue Moon Gallery about 2 months ago. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From the ashes, Art is born

As our friends and family try to gather up their lives after the onslaught of water from hurricane Sandy that has slammed the east coast of the United States, I find it interesting that even in the middle of such a disaster there is always a bit of art that can be found. The thought actually came to me originally when I mentioned on Facebook that I wasn't sure what to do for an upcoming show and a friend of mine made the suggestion of perhaps doing pieces about natural disasters and have some of the amount of the sales to go to an organization that helps with people rebuilding their lives after such things. It really never clicked in my head until within a few minutes, a page that I'm subscribed to called My Modern Metropolis (which shares photos of contemporary and modern art pieces/ installations located in cities around the world) posted a link to their current blog post http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/unbelievable-photos-hurricane-sandy showing a handful of photos of the storm's aftermath. Looking through the photos, there was a part of me that felt sorry for the people who have dealt with the flood but at the same time was marveling at the eerie beauty of the images displaying on my screen.

After studying the photos, I found myself looking up other images on deviantART and came across some amazingly images that were born from capturing events that pulls on nearly every emotion but at the same time mesmerizes the viewer. I found myself wanting to share just a couple of these strangely stunning pieces of photojournalism with my readers.

Stamatis has such a piece that he captured back in 2009 of a fire in Athens, Greece that started at a dairy industry building. As he states in the description of the photo:
"Fire in Athens" by StamatisGR

An industry that produces dairy products in the center of Athens is on fire since this morning.
No casualties have been announced yet. 
19 fire engines and 60 fire men are trying to put it out.
The 200 workers of the industry are all safe.
All traffic in the surrounding area has been blocked.
Publishedin "Daily Telegraph" Britain's best selling quality newspaper on their 15th of September issue with 900.000 circulation per day!
"St. John's Church Earthquake" by Niv24

Niv24.deviantart.com (New Zealand)
Photographer Ben Niven has his own piece which shows the Church of St. John located in Christchurch, New Zealand and how the building looked after an earthquake that New Zealand suffered in 2010. The fact that he went and has it as a black and white piece just adds to the dramatic impact.

You can actually check out the church's website http://www.stjohnschch.org/ and check out their photos on the amount of damage that the building sustained and the progress of their reconstruction efforts to rebuild the church. 

"Station Fire, Tujunga, California" by Szenz
Szenz.deviantart.com (California)
Hobby photographer Zenz was one of many who were keeping an eye on the Station Fire that went through Tujunga, California back in 2009 and was able to capture a deadly beautiful shot . Looking at the fire rolling over the hills of Southern California as it inches closer to the city below make the view hold their breath but at the same time the balance of darkness and spots of oranges and reds really captures attention.

Now that I'm looking at these photos in another light, does it make me a bad person? I don't think so. The anticipation and uneasiness that I feel while looking at them wondering how the people in the area are doing is there but at the same time I appreciate the skill and the insight the photographers put into each shot they captured. I think that I'll leave any further thoughts up to my readers to share. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just some changes with the blog

I've had to change a few things around on my blog so to my readers, before you get all nervous, let me go ahead and explain the situation. I had just woken up and checked my email like I always do first thing in the morning and what occurred was the following (which I posted up on my Facebook page):

I'm used to getting the occasional anonymous comment on my blog about one of the posts I've done so it didn't come to any surprise to me when I checked my in-box this morning to find one for my newest blog entry 'Inspiration in surprising p
laces'. Then I read it and just facepalmed.

" Grеat рost. I was chеcking сonstantly this blog and I am impгessed! Εxtremely helpful infoгmatіοn ρarticularly thе last paгt :) I care for such іnformаtion a lot.

I waѕ seeκing this certain info foг a very long time.
Thank you аnd good luck.
My webpage ... zulutrade broker"

The man then proceeded to have Zulutrade Broker as a link to his page . I'm sorry but seriously? You've been looking for the man behind another website which I easily found the link to thanks to another blog? Are you serious? And more then likely you could have easily found his website anyways thanks to search engines. ~Sigh~ Think it's going to be one of those days so coffee here I come.

I then proceeded to talk to a friend of mine about the situation since honestly by this time I've only been awake for the past 20 minutes (if that) and still in need to make a pot of coffee. He let me know that the post was actually spam and for me not to worry about it. He then suggested to me that I change the settings on the blog dealing with comments so that people have to verify that they are indeed people. So I went in and changed it from including Anonymous comments to Registered User -includes OpenID. I apologize to my readers about this but I hope you understand that it's mainly to help ease any headaches and such I would normally get if I continued to allow spam posts to pop up. I do encourage you to post comments on the articles that I do put up however since I enjoy hearing feedback and want to know how I'm doing.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Inspiration in surprising places

"Kimono" by Dawn Star Wood
Acrylic, Gold Leaf, White Gel Pen

For those who aren't familiar with Blue Moon Gallery during the holiday season, those of the Blue Moon Collective artists try to do small pieces that people could purchase for either gifts or holiday decorations. The last couple of years I've always been at a loss of what to do to bring in but this year I have been able to come up with something: Small paintings based off of fabric patterns. Of the different patterns that I have been looking at and tried working with, I've discovered that the patterns for bolts of fabric meant to be for kimonos has come out the best.

"Cherry and Plum Blossom Kimono" by Dawn Star Wood
Acrylic, Gold Gel Pen 
As many people know about my work, I'm for the most part a watercolorist but there are times I feel like experimenting with other mediums and often does a mix of them together to see how they come out. With this little project I've been using mostly acrylics. I started off using gold leaf but quickly discovered that for me it wasn't the best to use on canvas because I did end up having a small cloud of tiny gold flakes EVERYWHERE and if not painted over with a clear sealer of sorts, the gold leaf will rub off. While cleaning the excess gold leaf off of a piece, it was very tricky as to not inhale the flakes or keep them from going all over my desk. The next time I use it, I really am considering wearing a dust mask to try to keep down on any potential health hazards or mess.

"End of Summer" by Dawn Star Wood
Acrylic, Gold Gel Pen
Digging through the supplies I have on hand, I realized that my gold metallic gel pen works perfectly with the fine patters in the kimono patterns I was working with. Of course I have to make sure that I don't touch the ink until it dries or I would end up having smears all over the place. Another positive of using the gold metallic gel pen is that it's easier to handle and won't flake off like the gold leaf does. The night before, I had been talking to a few friends on Facebook about my project and a couple of them asked about the patterns I was using. In a moment of thought, decided to pair the paintings up with the jpegs I was working from and ended up with some really positive feedback.

Today, while going on another search for various patterns that I could try to translate into a painting, something caught my attention. It was actually an entry on a blog called Kimono Mania that spoke of a website that they had come across titled WAFRICA which brings African and Japanese design together. My attention perked, I clicked the link and was quickly transported to the website where I was greeted by images of lovely African and Japanese women wearing stunning kimonos which were made with traditional African patterned fabric. I knew right then and there that I needed to share this amazing website with others. Not only do visitors get to see the beautiful creations but get to learn a little bit about the brilliant mind behind these pieces, Serge Mouangue. I was fascinated while reading his bio over the fact a native of Yaounde, Cameroon found his way Japan by way of his work in all things, the automotive industry. I don't want to spoil the entire biography of this talented man so I will leave it up to my readers to look at the website themselves. The website also allows visitors to order Kimono and Obi sets. A delightful surprise, it really gives me ideas for future pieces. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Coffee Review: International Delight Vanilla Iced Coffee

It started off with just a quick run to the grocery store to grab a couple of things when my boyfriend decided to grab a half gallon (1.89L) container of International Delight Vanilla Iced Coffee. For those who may not recognize the brand, International Delight is normally known for their coffee creamers so the fact that they've moved to iced coffee is relatively new. I figured that I would go ahead and give it a try to see if it's as good as their creamers.

Pouring myself a cup of the thick creamy liquid, I have to admit that for a moment as I looked at it I thought it looked more like chocolate milk. Its scent and flavor is very reminiscent of a creamy mocha blended coffee. The vanilla flavor is very subtle to the point that there is a hint of it dancing on your tastebuds causing you to wonder what you're tasting.  It is indeed as sweet and creamy as the package says so would be perfect in desserts involving French vanilla ice cream or just an after dinner drink with some coffee liquor. Perhaps it would have been better if there was more coffee flavor to it but for those who aren't a fan of strong flavored coffee drinks, this is a good choice to try out. 

For a coffee creamer company, the experiment in also providing a coffee drink was a brave step and in my opinion was perhaps a good gamble. I believe that they actually have 4 flavors currently available:
Original, Vanilla, Mocha and Caramel.
As far as the website goes, International Delight shows all of the various creamer flavors they have available and a separate Facebook page to advertise their coffee. They do have the function of finding a store close to you that may carry their product but there is no function as to ordering what you want online but since their products have to be refrigerated, this is understandable. 

Coffee Review: Dunkin' Donuts – French Vanilla

Lately I've been trying to find people for some up coming 'A common influence...maybe' segments which really means twiddling my thumbs while waiting for responses from those I've already messaged and keeping busy on my various projects. While working on one of them, I received a phone call from my dad and hear the following come from his lips:

Hey have you tried Dunkin' Donuts coffee yet?”

Honestly I keep hearing my friends talking about it but I hadn't had a chance to try it out yet. So he brings over a 12oz (340.2g) bag of French Vanilla and one of Dunkin' Turbo. This morning I could tell that it was going to be a coffee day so pulled out the bright orange bag of French Vanilla from my drawer of coffee to try out. For those who are worried about packaging, the first good point is that this is a resealable bag though it was a little bit difficult to get a grip on it to open but that was mostly my own fault with my thumbs being smooth at the moment. Once I was able to get the bag open, however, I was greeted with the sweet aroma of vanilla and a tiny hint of nuttiness from perhaps hazelnut. When being brewed, I have to admit that my area of the bedroom which houses my little office/studio space started to smell like a classic European cafe. It also made me with I had a scone or almond biscotti.

Carefully taking a sip, I could still taste the sweetness of the vanilla but it was more subtle then it's aroma. There does seem to be a little bit of floral notes but that is probably due to the coffee itself and the vanilla flavoring. The coffee itself seems to be a medium roast, though on the side of the bag there is no indication other then 'ground coffee 100% Premium Arabica Coffee'. Since I'm using my glass mug, I can say that the color is a lovely medium warm amber color which leads me to believe that it is a medium roast. If anyone disagrees, feel free to leave a comment.

Though the coffee is a Dunkin' Donuts product, don't try going to their main page to find out about other coffees that they have available. Instead, they have a separate website www.dunkinathome.com. At the moment they're promoting their seasonal coffee flavors of Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread Cookie and Mocha Mint. A feature on the website that I've noticed becoming relatively popular with companies to make it easier for customers to find their coffee products is that there is an option as to finding stores near your location that carries Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an option to order online and have their products shipped to you which is probably a small downside for those overseas who would want to try out their various coffees. There is however a spot on the website that if you sign up, gives you coupons so that you can purchase their coffee products at a lower cost. Speaking of cost, if memory serves me right, I believe that Dunkin' Donuts coffee normally runs in the $6-$10 range which is typical for a bag this size and fits well for those on budgets.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Coffee Review: Eight O'clock ground coffee

I apologize to my readers who have become used to my frequent coffee review posts for the lack of updates for this little series. It has been a while since I've found a new coffee to try but as you can see, one captured my attention. Wandering my local Grocery Outlet (which is a chain of discount grocery stores here on the west coast which can be found in California, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and Washington) here in Elk Grove just picking up some basic food items when I noticed their coffee section. One that caught my eye was called Eight O'Clock 100% Colombian Ground Coffee. This 11oz (311g) package of coffee was only for $2.99! How could I resist? So tossing it into my cart along with the other things I was picking up and went off to pay for them.

Like so many past posts I've done about the packaging, I'm sure my regular readers knows about my pet peeve of packaging that is difficult to get into or is unable to be resealed so has to be shoved into a resealable bag. Well don't worry, fellow coffee drinkers because this one is able to be resealed! Another nice feature is that this one wasn't a complete struggle to open up so no coffee grounds went flying through the air. Taking in the aroma, I couldn't help but notice that there was an oakyness to it with almost tiny chocolate hints. I found myself thinking that this would turn out to taste more like a dark roast then the medium roast label it has on the side of the packaging. Of course I knew not to let myself focused on what I thought a coffee would taste like for the simple fact that there was always a chance that I could be wrong. As I waited for my pot of coffee to brew up, I couldn't help but enjoy the faint flora notes that came into the air. The brew itself was mellow and not overly pungent in taste which was a wonderful surprise since the aroma straight out of the package. There was also no bitter after taste which is much different then many other medium ground coffees that I've had before. Due to the mild flavor, I can see this being pared up with a nice whole wheat bread or even a nutty biscotti. 

Looking at the company's website, Eight O'Clock Coffee actually has 11 different flavors/types of coffee available in 12, 36, or 42 oz size bags in either whole bean or ground. For those who like a bit of variety, it is a nice set of choices. Another interesting little bit of information which is slightly different then most coffee company websites is that not only does it give you the option of where you could possibly buy their product depending on what state you live in but there is a Buy Online option as well. The ground 100% Colombian 11oz package I have actually sells for $6.99 which for the quality is still a wonderfully reasonable price for those on a budget. So for those who are interested in trying something a bit different and keep in your budget, this could be something you may want to try. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Event and Venue line up for October

With the holidays just around the corner, I've been scrambling to make sure that I know where my pieces will be at any given time and make sure that I know how long they will be there. Since not everyone is able to follow me on Facebook, here is a recap of some of the shows and locations where you'll be finding my work available for purchase. I have a feeling that other shows may be added later after I've posted this so I'll keep everyone updated. So let us begin!

This month at Blue Moon Gallery, We are happy to announce that for this month, we present to you a Tribute to Kenneth Potter show! Join the gallery for a tribute to Kenneth Potter's 1950s through 2010 watercolors, oils, acrylics, sculptures, and more! We also have the book Ken Potter also available commemorating his life. We welcome you to attend our Second Saturday Artist Reception on October 13th from 6-9pm with the show running until November 2nd.

2353 Albatross Way      Sacramento, CA 95815     (916) 920-2444
Follow us on Facebook or visit our website bluemoongallerysacto.com

My art that will be at the gallery this month:
"Antique Ribbon for Sale", "Fleeting Moments", & "Heritage" by Dawn Star Wood

As a reminder, I do have a few pieces at Sunlight of the Spirit Books and Gifts  located in Sacramento including a set of custom bookmarks which I made specifically for the shop. Don't forget to stop by this wonderful little location. The shop focuses on spirituality and assisting those who are recovering from addiction to help improve their lives.

2314 J Street    Sacramento, CA 95816   (916) 440-1533
You can follow them on Facebook or visit their website sunlightofthespiritbooks.com for more information on the various products they offer including classes on meditation and healing energy.

My work currently available here:
"Blue and Yellow" by Dawn Star Wood 

"Enlightenment" by Dawn Star Wood

"Nature verses Nurture" by Dawn Star Wood

SotS exclusive bookmarks by Dawn Star Wood

I am participating in the Art2Hang program provided by the Elk Grove Artists Group (EGA) which finds various businesses in the Elk Grove, CA area that would allow the work of artists to be displayed on their walls. Right now a collection of my classic car paintings are available to look at over at the Franklin Community Library and will there until about December.

If you're in the Elk Grove area and looking for an art group to be a part of, go ahead and check out the EGA's website elkgroveartistsca.org for more information. 

Franklin Community Library
10055 Franklin High Rd.
Elk Grove, CA 95757
(916) 264-2700

Library Hours:
Sunday/Monday – closed
Tuesday – 10am-8pm
Wednesday – 10am-6pm
Thursday – 10am-8pm
Friday – 1pm-6pm
Saturday - 10am-5pm