Sunday, June 26, 2011

tennessee williams

I read a long time ago that summer is the time to be 13 again and have never forgotten it.  I read less serious books and feel brave enough to do things I wouldn't normally do. 
Isn't it funny how one line can really change the way you think about something for the rest of your life?
Hector is a good book to be reading right now, as I deeply attach my reading material to the space of time in which I read it. I write in the margins and date the pages. I know that when I pick Hector up years from now, it's going to fit perfectly with this summer.
Wuthering Heights was one of my Nana's favorite books and I've been meaning to read it for ages.
xo, Amanda

Friday, June 24, 2011

Be generous, be delicate, and always pursue the prize.

-Henry James
Photos from Boston exploration. Transitioning back to Boston from Europe was easier than I thought it would be. I love it just as much as I did before I set off to see other pieces of the world. I think it's my soul mate city; how lucky I am to live in it.
More art soon, I promise! And exciting things for the shop!
xo, Amanda

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

all in green went my love riding

In order to get to Europe, I first had to take a train from Boston to New York City. I took these pictures from the train window.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

regards to spain (& buy one get one sale)

"Regards to Spain"
acrylic on masonite, 9x12"
available as a print here
This painting is very special to me. It's the first painting I've completed since my return from Europe. It was inspired by the film I mentioned in the sketchbook post below: "Canciones para Despues de una Guerra (songs for after a war)" by Bastilio Martin Patino, which I saw at the Reina Sofia in Madrid.
While watching the film, I was particularly struck by an image of a couple dancing, the woman wearing a party hat. While I've seen adults wear party hats dozens of times in many places, it was this woman, in her vintage dress (at the time not vintage at all) with the traditional cone-shaped symbol of festivity placed on top of her perfectly styled hair, who made it seem so fun and child-like and charming. It just seemed so Spain. Even though all the clips were black and white, it was such a colorful image and I knew immediately that I had to paint a girl in a party hat. 
Also special because it's the first painting I did using some of the acrylic Vert de Nice paint I bought in Paris at a lovely art supply store in Saint Germain des Pres. It's the prettiest shade of mint I've ever found in paint form!
I figured what with all the new prints in the shop, I should have a buy one get one sale. So you know the drill, buy one print or paper doll and tell me in a convo or the message to seller box which one you'd like free! :)
xoxo, Amanda

Monday, June 13, 2011

europe sketchbook

corner of rue de l'epron and rue saint-andre des arts
Feeling inspired by "Canciones para Despues de una Guerra (songs for after a war)," a film by Basilio Martin Patino (a beautiful compilation of footage from 1940s Spain). More came from this which I'll share tomorrow. :)
 The view out my bedroom window in Paris (unfinished)
 on rue de seine, the street of my hotel
 view from bedroom window, looking left
So here are some of my sketchbook pages from Europe!
Most of my drawing was done in Paris since that was my first real alone time. I actually ended up writing much, much more than drawing. I'm happy about that, though I wish I had found more time to draw the Paris rooftops. So beautiful..
xoxo, Amanda

clever girl.

My talented and funny friend Marco Jiminez created this Velociraptor (ala Jurassic Park) in the style of my ladies. I love it. Thanks, Marco! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

songs of summer

Do you have an album you only listen to at a certain time of year? For me, it's the soundtrack to My Best Friend's Wedding. It's the first CD I ever bought. It was August and I was 11. Ever since then, it's been my late summer CD, and I avoid listening to the songs as much as possible in fall, winter, and spring. It seems silly to have rules like that for myself, but it makes the songs feel so much more special for some reason.
It has all these great 60s love songs on it, and this is one of them. The video is fun!
xo, Amanda

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

on beekeeping

I am currently reading "Plan Bee" by Susan Brackney. A few summers ago, I developed a deep fascination with bees. This summer, I decided it was time to learn more about them.
Susan Brackney, a beekeeper, wrote this great book that combines the science/nature of bees and the history of beekeeping with her own personal experience. 
I find bees to be one of the most amazing species on the planet. Their ability to plan ahead and communicate with each other is incredible. They are born to fill a certain role (worker bee, nurse bee, queen, or drone) and know exactly what to do from the get-go. I love eating honey because it's almost touching to know that a little insect put so much work into something we can eat; it becomes an honor of sorts.
Here are some of the things that have amazed me the most:
1) When a hive decides to split in half, the bees will collectively plan a "swarm." This process is incredible. In preparation for a colony split, they will create a new queen who will stay behind and produce offspring for the soon-to-be smaller colony, who will remain in the old hive (the original queen will leave with the swarm). 
Bee larvae is incubated in a small honeycomb cell, which a nurse bee seals off with wax in order for the baby bee to grow. To produce a queen, these cells are made larger and sealed off differently. Several queens are bred and whichever one emerges first will kill off the other potential queens. If two hatch at the same time, they fight till the death. So in preparation for a swarm, nurse bees will begin incubating new queens weeks in advance. Beekeepers look for this as a sign that their hive is planning a swarm.
(The very fact that a hive of thousands of bees can, together, plan a leave of the hive just blows my mind. But it gets better!)
Worker bees do their part by venturing out into the world to find a new home for the swarming bees. They return and communicate the distance and type of location to each other with dances. The most enthusiastic dance usually garners the most attention, and the movements of the dance provide directions on how to get to this new location to all the other worker bees, who will then go out and see it for themselves.
(How amazing is that?!)
Once everything is ready, the bees will swarm off. On their journey, they'll sometimes hang out in strange places (mailboxes, street poles). I would very much like to see a mass of 30,000 bees hanging out on my mailbox.
2) This is my favorite thing I've read so far about bees, because it showcases their gentility and instinct to nurture. This is how I always pictured bees, though this book has showed me how cut-throat they can be. This little piece of information re-confirmed everything I love about bees:
There are pests that can invade a hive and reek a lot of havoc in it. This, of course, is bad, but I can't help but love what I learned in the mite/pest chapter. Nurse bees are so inclined to give care that all a mite has to do for food is touch the nurse bees "feeding part" (her mouth) and the nurse, following her natural instinct to nurture, feeds the mite as though it were a bee larvae.
Maybe that's weird, but I just love that.
3) If I ever do keep bees, I will get golden Italian bees, the most gentle and docile of the bee world.
I hope you all enjoyed my bee rant! I just find them so amazing that I had to share. Do any of you know a beekeeper or keep bees yourself? 
xoxo, Amanda

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Prints in the shop!!

All my pieces from "Depending Upon the Nature of the Beast" are now available as prints in my etsy shop!
Don't forget to use your blog follower coupon code. :)
xo, Amanda

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Madrid, day one

Spain has a special place in my heart now that I have been there. Out of the three countries we went to, it's the only one I took on with no expectations. There were no landmarks I felt obligated to see. I went into it openly without any pressure to do or see anything specific, and that freedom made room for the most beautiful discoveries.
On our first night, the batteries in my camera died and I had to rely on my phone camera. I kind of liked the limitation - it changed the way I took pictures. So here are some of the images from our first day and night in Madrid!
Our time in Madrid consisted of a lot of walking (it's the best walking city, much like Boston) and a lot of eating (we'd pretty much stop once every couple of hours and eat/drink somewhere..the food in Spain is cheap and SO good), a few museums, a botanical garden, a hostel, an apartment, a few insanely beautiful churches, one rainy afternoon, a soccer tournament, lots of colors, and just perfect, small moments.
I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!
xo, Amanda