Friday, March 27, 2015

The Orchids and Such at the US Botanical Garden

In Milwaukee, there were the domes. Inside the domes were displays of flowers and seasonal updates. We visited a few times in our thirty years there. Here in DC is the US Botanical Garden. It is located only a couple blocks from our house and we visit it frequently. The special exhibit showing now is about the secret life of roots. But there are also the ongoing arrangements that we also like to explore and re explore every time we get a change to wander in. There is a lovely orchid room filled with the most unusual varieties. Next to that is the succulent area filled with cacti of every kind sitting nicely under the glass enclosure. A papaya tree sticks out apart from the prickly neighbors. A Cacao tree is in the front "lobby" where the long ponds on either side are surrounded by citrus trees - a familiar scene to me having grown up in Florida. At Christmas time the exhibit space is transformed in to trains and fun. But now it is filled with roots of all kinds. The place always has a constant stream of guests scurrying about and admiring the beauty of it all. The interior is a huge jungle with a platform to view the scene from above. My orchids never look this good - but then again my house is not a botanical garden. All the more reason to keep coming back. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Digital Art Trending on Tumblr - check out #litdigitalart

A few weeks ago I started using Instagram and Tumblr - two MORE social media sites to update every day. Tumblr keeps in contact with you by providing positive feedback via email about a lot of things. They also let you know what happens to be trending. Yesterday digital art was on the list so I naturally had to take a look since I have been religiously updating my LITDigitalArt presence. Every day I add the link to this blog, add ten photos of whatever is going on around the DC area, post a pet portrait, and add a five second "movie" of a digital artwork in process from sketch to finished product. Then I always add a food item, flowers, a real pooch, and something pleasant from somebody else's blog. I'm starting to get followers and likes. So I was happy to see my "movie" on the thread from yesterday, even if it was just getting captured because I just put it there. Tumblr is very visually appealing and great for this hobby of mine. Who knows what might happen next? Just check #litdigitalart and see what pops up. Who would have ever thought a # would have so much meaning. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Heartfelt Sentiment

I just saw that requests for dog licenses has skyrocketed in DC. I'm not surprised because we see so many of them in our neighborhood and it has been said if you want a friend in Washington - get a dog. This town is also a lot tougher to live in than many others. It's very different from Milwaukee in so many ways! Last week I received an unexpected email from someone I did a custom pet portrait for last year. "I wanted to thank u again for doing our dog, Kota's picture....the yellow lab....he passed away this glad i had u do it - u captured him perfectly...i was just looking at the picture....i really do love does my husband....we really appreciate it..." Two dogs have graced our family - a golden retriever and a Borzoi. And it's so tough to see them go. I suppose that's why I really enjoy creating pet portraits. Since we no longer have one of our own it sort of fulfills the need. And when I get an unexpected note like this it makes me feel even better. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Artwork Sold on Fine Art America -

I have been sketching on my iPad since I got the first device about four years ago. I wouldn't leave the house until it arrived. Since that time I opened an Etsy shop and Fine Art America website to name just two to showcase my digital art. I do a lot of custom pet portraits, but also scenes from holidays and places we travel - Iran, England, France, Copenhagen. And of course Washington DC has inspired quite a few images as well as three children's books. But it is always so exciting to get a notice when someone purchases one of these scenes - this time it was a Nowruz haft-sin - from someone in Los Angeles. The notice comes via email and it can be shared on social network sites. It's really pleasing to know someone appreciates what you produce and share or display it in some way. It is the highest form of flattery for any artist. Additionally, sometimes fellow artists comment on the purchased artwork and I always thank them for noticing. That makes it even better! Thanks for looking at my Fine Art America/ website. I really appreciate it!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Exposed - the Secret Life of Roots at the US Botanical Garden

It's always a good time to stop at the US Botanical Garden on a Monday morning. And so we did - to see the new exhibit "Exposed - the secret life of roots." Before we reached the roots area, we quickly ran through the orchids and succulents sections. Passing by the pools of water surrounded by citrus trees, the Christmas trains exhibit area has been replaced with two huge walls of roots. It is a sight to behold. Most of the roots were taller than us - a lot taller. It reminded me - in height anyway - of the red ant tunnels that my FSU biology professor has written, photographed, and casted so much about. On the exit glass door facing the Capitol Building are decals of vegetables that represent what soon will be growing in the gardens outside all around the building itself. Or maybe they serve as reminders about what to think about growing in your own garden. This is one of my favorite places to visit as the seasons change because there is always something different to see. It's so bright and pleasant, but a little warm when you're still wearing winter coats. After our stop here we headed out to the Mall and back to our favorite breakfast spot. It's a nice way to start the week and sure beats going to work. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring on DC - Dinner Boats, Tourists, Rowing, Road Repairs, and Cherry Blossoms

We had to wait until Memorial Day to plant flowers in the garden in Milwaukee. I'm hoping that is not the case here because the past couple of winters have felt more like Milwaukee than a place a little more south. But the signs of the season suggest otherwise. The rowers are out in full swing along the Potomac. The garden and mulch trucks are all over. And of course, road repairs begin as soon as possible especially because of all the pot holes. The huge dinner tourist boat was sailing under Memorial Bridge right near the cherry blossom field that within weeks will be magnificent. Just a hint of green is showing in the trees and the geese are still hanging around. The rugby teams are out by the monuments, and the tourists are scurrying about near the tidal basin seeking a tiny blossom or two. The air and space museum is always crowded, and traffic is getting more congested with tour and sightseeing buses as the days pass. I would say that this time of the year seems to be busier than any other. It is particularly pretty. We have worn our winter coats to see the cherry blossoms on more than one occasion. In spite of what's going on around us, I have a feeling I better not put it away quite yet. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Rainy Day at Costco Beats the Total Wine Store and Macy's

We were thinking about getting our wine restocked and look for some pants to wear around the house when our friend called to say she was making a run to Costco. We became members in November and haven't been back since because we have such a tiny space and the stuff lasts for quite some time. We have toothpaste and razors to last for two years! But since it was a lousy day and we wanted to get a few things anyway, we decided to go. The Christmas decor has all been replaced with spring goods - Easter chocolate bunnies and eggs replaced the Christmas trees and ornaments. I was running out of ink for my printer and decided to get some cartridges, and the wine was selected without difficulty. I could spend a lot of time checking out all the other stuff there, but we needed to be back home for a house appointment. Probably the best part of this outing (aside from the wonderful company) was finding our favorite cheese - P'tit basque. On the way to the check out we noticed a slew of pants just waiting to be taken. So we sorted through them and found two pair. At that price you simply can't go wrong. The parking lot seemed a lot busier than the amount of activity in the place and by the time we got out it was relatively quiet compared to Christmas time. So we are once again well stocked with napkins and Kleenex - and pants! - but need to remember to bring our own bags the next time. One of these days we will get the hang of it.