Vacationing IN Art

An inspirational journey spanning Key West¬†ūüáļūüáł, Aruba¬†ūüá¶ūüáľ, Bonaire¬†ūüáßūüá∂, Cura√ßao¬†ūüá®ūüáľ, Cayman Islandsūüáįūüáĺ, and Jamaica¬†ūüáĮūüá≤…..finding art each stop of the way.
I even managed to find my favorite artist, Michael Cheval, at Wyland’s Gallery in Key West. I was completely starstruck. In my fangirl stupor, I left forgetting to purchase some of his amazing work on display!
From the art on board our ship, to the wonderful artist street market at Bonaire, I found amazing art. Every where I looked, there were magical creations. There were intricate pieces of the creators souls on display.
I am in awe of the magic each talented artist gives!

vacay art Seeing these beautiful works was very inspiring.

I had not, however, packed any of my art supplies.¬† My phone to the rescue!¬†Without Wi-Fi or other forms of¬†internet available at sea, unless you want to pay a ridiculous amount of money, I was limited to what apps I already had.¬† Luckily, I still had an expired trial of Infinite Painter on my phone. I only had it on there for my daughter to use, which she never did. Infinite Painter was the first digital drawing app I ever used on my first tablet, many years ago.¬† I absolutely loved the app.¬† I lost all the art¬†I did with it when my old tablet stopped working completely. I remember feeling so crushed at the hours I spent.¬† Specifically, on a drawing of a Pandarian and Tinkerbell.¬† I digress, back to the present day….. Now, I have not doodled digitally with my fingers on a small surface in many moons. Years ago, I remember struggling with my bulky, sausage-like fingers on a tiny iPod screen for the drawing app Draw Something. I also remember how horrible my art looked because of it…which was extremely frustrating as I knew I was better than the art I was producing at the time.¬† Nonetheless, remembering all of this, I still opened up the app and began to doodle.¬† It was soothing and relaxing in the down times.¬†¬† Down times usually were just prior to the Broadway style shows and entertainment.¬† In order to have a decent seat, near¬†anywhere remotely close to actually seeing what was on stage, we had to arrive extremely early. As sitting in a theatre with passengers who are older than your grandparents, is well, at best, boring, I found this helped the time pass quickly. I also found just before¬†retiring for the evenings to be¬†a good time.¬† I usually do my personal artwork at home in the evenings as well.

The inherent challenge was the expired trial version of Infinite Painter.¬† There were no tools,¬†virtually no brushes, and only one layer!¬†Over the years, I have become extremely¬†spoiled with digital art.¬† Between Photoshop’s tools and the incredible capabilities of artist apps I use on my iPad Pro, my phone felt archaic. It provided a beautiful challenge.¬† I embraced it and I actually enjoyed it.

The end results are not great works of art, but they are work I do not mind sharing.

 

vacation1

vacation2

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The seahorse I ended up finishing at home and adding the background to using Procreate.

For more of my art, please visit my website.  http://www.alysathena.com/

All my art is for sale, I take commissions and everything is always fully customizable! From canvas to clothing, there is something for everyone.

stationery

 

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Returning From Holiday

There is nothing that can compare to a beautiful vacation aboard a cruise ship.¬† Sailing has always been my preferred method of travel.¬† In fact, I have not even been on a plane in over 30 years. If I had my druthers, I would live on a yacht as opposed to being on land. There is something so tranquil and calming¬†that the ebb and flow the ocean provides. It can rock me to sleep like a mother gently rocking a cradle.¬† The beautiful salt air from the sea soothes my soul. It would seem for me, the roughest days I have experienced at sea were still more relaxing than the calmest of days on land.¬† Let me not forget to mention the glorious sunrises and sunsets at sea.¬† The horizon unfiltered by the congestion of buildings and clutter of man….simply stunning.

sunset at sea

Granted, planning a vacation at sea can be a bit nerve wrecking at times. Especially when hurricanes are involved. Last year’s hurricanes devastated many of the ports which cruise lines frequent.¬† Several of our cruise ports were shifted.¬† For me, this is honestly not a matter; I feel worse for those who have suffered living at the regions affected, and find it incredibly selfish when those who are vacationing complain about not being able to travel to these destinations.¬† A vacation is a vacation, regardless of where you go. This was the second time I had a plan to visit San Juan, Puerto Rico that was altered due to a hurricane.¬† The last time was in ’98. Eventually, ¬†I will visit Puerto Rico.¬† In the interim, however, I am praying for those who live there and the horror they have experienced after the devastating effects of the 2017 hurricane season.¬† And to the passengers who insist on complaining, ¬†I offer you this; imagine, for a moment,¬†¬†that you were on the ship during the hurricane.¬† Redirection of ports is not that horrible, it is inevitable.¬† Nature happens.

wreckage

In all of my years of cruising, and there are¬†many, I must say NCL is by far the best cruise line I have ever been blessed to sail on.¬† They have, what I believe to be, the friendliest and most talented of staff. NCL’s crew always make us feel like family.¬† Being an OCD neat freak, I must add that NCL is also the cleanest line.¬† A spec of dust cannot be found! NCL has become our preferred choice for sailing for 14 years now. I cannot recommend them enough to anyone who is considering a vacation at sea.¬† I realize have had been a little bit annoyed at times with the experience as a Latitudes member, (example is our cruise this past¬†Thanksgiving, article click ¬†here)¬†¬†however, overall no other line comes even close to the wonderful vacationing experience NCL provides.

ncl

Now, some may say my daughter is pampered.¬† I mean, how many 14 year olds can tout that they have taken fourteen 7-14 day cruises in their life time? We have incorporated these cruises into Kira’s home school lessons, however! Each port has a rich history.¬† Even the ship provides education.¬† We loved Kira’s questioning the knots to miles conversion! There is a¬†learning opportunity everywhere you look.

 

horses aruba

aruba horses2From¬†the¬†significance¬†of¬†Horses¬†in¬†Aruba………

 

truman key west

the impact Truman had on Key West, Florida….

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to the relations of the United States of America and The Cayman Islands!

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Not to say that we did not manage to have a little bit of fun amidst Kira’s cultural/historical and artistic educational experience.¬† After all, the entire point behind this specific holiday was the celebration of our little girl turning 14!!!

bday decor

kira bday cake

And NCL helped us by having our cabin fully decorated with cake ready when we first arrived!!

We had a glorious 11 days at sea in celebration of Kira’s turning 14.¬† The only down side was we are all sick now.¬† Evidently, someone on board (actually several someones) were ill.¬† Upon our arrival to land, we all fell ill.¬† Kira’s fever finally broke at 102.4 the other late evening/early morning.¬† I, myself, have been in bed non-stop. We feel a bit miserable, but it is quite worth our epic adventure.¬† After all, without the bad, how can you truly appreciate the good?? I finally felt able to move to my computer and try to post. I have managed to fall quite behind on things in my illness stupor!

There is a big artistic significance behind this vacation as well.  I will for now, however, leave that for a separate post.

 

Joys Of The Season

As this year is coming to a close, I wanted to wish you all a very safe and happy new year.  I pray that 2018 brings you all health and happiness!

Ferie TraditionerChristmas

Peace On Earth

Peace On Earth

Wishing everyone a very blessed holiday season.

We have our tree and have for about a week or so now…it is still not decorated.¬† It seems things are so busy we forget to take care of ourselves first!

Remember to stop, sit and enjoy the holidays amidst the hustle and bustle!!!

I have managed to eek out this quick drawing.  It is not as detailed as I envisioned it, however, time seems to escape me lately.

I am hoping to finish our decorating today and take our Christmas family photographs.¬† I also have a few cards and packages to mail….and yes, a few more gifts to buy.¬† It would seem each year I get things done later.

I hope you all have a beautiful holiday no matter what or how you celebrate!

Ooooooh, It’s Halloween Officially Available

halloween now avail

I have received and approved the proof copies from the printer and Ooooooh, It’s Halloween is now officially available!!!!

I have truly enjoyed working on this, my third, endeavor with the delightful Barbara Poor!

From illustrating the interior of this full color 40 page children’s book, creating the cover, editing and formatting, creating all advertisements to creating the book trailer, this has been an absolute adventure.¬† It is always a delight to work with Barbara Poor.

On the heels of our two other collaborations,¬† The Girl With The Curly Red Hair¬†, and My Trip To The Library , Ooooooh, It’s Halloween¬†follows the ginger headed, freckled cutie on a colorful journey through a parade of the delights and frights of costume choices available on Halloween.

It is always an epic delight for me to illustrate for the imaginative and creative Barbara Poor. Her words instantly conger colorful images in my mind and inspire me to draw. I look forward to many more collaborations in our future!

To see more of my work, please visit my website at: http://www.alysathena.com/

When Nature Strikes

I already had an impossible deadline for the release of Ooooooh, It’s Halloween, written by Barbara Poor.¬† I mean, come on, giving me less than 5 weeks to have an entire book from scratch done?!?! INSANITY!

Then…..only a week and two days into the project, mother nature decides that Florida has simply gone too long without ample tragedy.¬† On the heels of hurricane Harvey’s devastation of Texas, my fears were great, to say the least.

As a life long Floridian, I am certainly no stranger to hurricanes.¬† I was smack dab in Andrew back in the 90s.¬† This time however, this one, felt….different. Whether it was due to the fresh images of waters rushing homes in Texas or the fear I held for friends living in Texas, I was terrified.¬† I have never been so scared. The minute I heard about Irma and a possible projection toward our coast, I told my husband to prepare.¬† We set up an evacuation to a hotel 5 days in advance.¬† I began bottling water and packing. My husband began boarding windows and purchasing enough¬† food to sustain us throughout any power loss.¬† With one hurricane a few years back, we had a full 31 days without power.¬† So, this time around, we decided to be better prepared.¬† A good portion of my mind fully believed we would have no home to return to sadly. I was praying for the best, but preparing for the worst my mind could imagine. I am not negative, but I am a realist.

We took our dogs to the local boarder as one has severe storm anxiety.  I knew the vet could give him something to calm him if the need be.  I simply could not imagine how stressful it would have been on the dogs to be shoved into a tiny motel room for days on end with possibly no power or water source, other than our bottled water.

We left at the last possible minute Saturday afternoon. There was a strict order to be off of the roads by 8 PM.  We sat waiting for our room to be ready, for what seemed like hours. It was not the Ritz, but it certainly felt safer than home.  We still have roof damage from hurricane Matthew last year.

This beast called Irma was larger than our state. The early news reports showed Brickell Miami, where I grew up.¬† The streets looked like a raging river.¬† My fear grew.¬† I suddenly felt trapped.¬† I had wanted to leave the state but traffic was at a virtual standstill from days earlier and gas was almost gone.¬† I kept eye on the clock.¬† Flash forward to Sunday. We knew it would be here by about 2 AM.¬† By 8 PM the power was gone as had the water. Our cell phones became our life line. Of course Sprint did not care about that and was quick to slow speeds down to 2g the millisecond our data hit the cap.¬† Have got to love that!¬† Nonetheless, we were blessed to have a connection to the outside world amidst the next hours that were to become, for me personally, hellacious. I suddenly began to realize every tree outside, every chair and the hallway full of furniture and florescent bulbs that the hotel staff did not deem worthy of locking up….I mean literally, just laying on the floor, were projectiles.¬† As the winds picked up and the light of the sky turned to black, my heart began to pound.¬† Alerts on my phone were non stop. Posts on Facebook of friends who live in towns to our south describing what they were hearing , it was scary.¬† A bit much for me evidently.¬† I found myself to be the only one fully awake just sitting on the bed staring at the door and curtains which covered the window.¬† And I sat. I sat and I waited. I am not sure what I thought I was doing to be honest.¬† I know the sounds were terrible.¬† I cannot imagine how my family slept through it.¬† The gusts, I literally felt them.¬† We were on the 2nd floor. Each gust felt like a slight nudge. Perhaps this was all my imagination, I thought.¬† That is until the curtains began to move with the gusts. The wind was quite literally punching the windows and doors. This went on for hours.¬† When the sun came up and we knew the storm was well over, I fell asleep.¬† I managed an hour or so before my husband felt the need to go home. Once the county gave the go ahead for citizens to drive safely on the road (noon) we made the short trek back. The hotel had no power or water so it seemed essentially useless to stay there, even though we had paid through to Tuesday. When we arrived home, everything was as we had left it.¬† We had minor yard debris and the mini fridge which held my insulin had died. Our power was out.¬† As we have a well, this also meant no water.¬† We thankfully had filled plenty of bottles and totes before we left, just in case. My husband set up the generator.¬† Oddly enough, everything in our freezer was still frozen.¬† I suddenly felt foolish for throwing all of the perishable refrigerator food out that before we evacuated.

We unpacked and I began to finish the book.  I worked non stop. I not only made the deadline, but I exceeded it. Working by phone and generator was not easy but it helped keep my mind off of the disaster around me.  We were spared, by the grace of God, not everyone was as lucky.

I will evacuate a million times, and if each time it is for nothing, I will be fine.  It is better than staying once and being wrong.

Work, Work, & More Work

Where has this month gone? I can tell you where, into the book I am illustrating! This drawing, *Discovering Piggies* is the only digital drawing I have done all month except for book illustrations! It was done 22 days ago.  When I looked at the calendar and realized today was the last day of August, well, I freaked out! Granted, this month has been filled with insurmountable distractions. I have people I love and care about in Texas, so my mind and heart have also been extremely occupied. Add to that the pending deadline to have a picture book fully completed for a Halloween release date, and well, yes, I tend to lose weeks, not days!  Add to this, I am ill post my thyroid ablation.

As I am averaging 8 hour days of illustrating digitally, my free time (okay, so there is no such thing as free time when you are home schooling a teenager) is spent fulfilling my other obligations. I also had two title logos to create. When I was not doing these, cooking, cleaning, or sleeping, I was drawing traditionally.  Yes, it seems that art is my addiction.  My schedule does not seem to be slowing down, either. It is a good thing I love what I do!

Here are a few of my late night doodles.

This is a mixed media piece.  I sketched it out and outlined with micron pens, then colored some with Chameleon Pens and Prismacolor pencils.  Finally, I used watercolor paint to fill the background.

I am not sure why this image is so large. I imagine I could have fixed it, as it looks blurry, but as I have said, I am pressed for time lately. I doodled this fella in graphite while the VMAs were on.

I hope you all are safe! Here is to hoping that September brings happier events this year!