Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 ... it was a very good year

Tonight is New Year's Eve... the end of 2009 (in fact the end of a decade) and I'm filled with thoughts about 2009. 

At the end of 2008 I was reading about the approaching new year on Christine Kane's blog, Live Creative, and I was inspired to choose a word for 2009. The word I chose was Bloom, and now looking back I think that it was the perfect word for my year. Having the word helped me focus and grow/bloom in my art and in making new friendships during 2009. I'm still thinking about what word to adopt for 2010... 

As part of my "blooming" this year .... I began posting my paintings to this blog starting back in January, and I've appreciated all of the feedback and encouragement that I've received. In addition, I've thoroughly enjoyed visiting other art blogs throughout the year. I treasure the interactions here on my blog and on my visits to your blogs. Thanks for stopping by for a visit and I hope you drop by again in 2010!!

Looking back over my art for the year, some of the pieces most dear to me are the beer labels that I did for my oldest son. I blogged about them in two entries earlier this year (first batch and second batch) and he says he'll keep me busy with orders for more labels in the future. For Christmas he gave me the following framed piece in thanks for our collaboration on the beer labels for his 2009 home brew releases: 
I was thrilled to open the package and see all of the labels framed together. This was such a special surprise and it is now hanging in my kitchen. Thanks Ryan!!

I want to wish all of my blog friends Happy New Year!! and in the spirit of New Years.... Cheers!!!

P.S. I just remembered that I had a picture of us doing a tasting at home over the holidays: 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Follow-up for Paris Trip and Christmas

I had so much fun with my Paris class this fall and after some of my family members expressed an interest in some of the paintings .... I got the idea that I could make a few Christmas gifts to share the images with them.  I ordered a hardback book for my Mom with all of the images and narrative that I had posted (much of it was fictional), and some coffee mugs. Here is a shot of some of the gifts.  

P.S. These were made on the Shutterfly site and I was delighted with the results.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trip to Paris - cover for my book

This is the end of my Imaginary Trip to Paris -- the cover for the book that I made in the class. The image that popped up most in my journal is the Eiffel Tower so it is fitting that it also appear on the cover of my journal.  I enjoyed painting this cover -- and was pleased to even capture the cyclist (reminding me of my oldest son!) from the reference photo. 

P.S. I borrowed the lace/eyelet idea from elviestudio

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Trip to Paris - Final Impressions (Collage)

Not sure what there is left to say ... it was a wonderful adventure and a fantastic learning experience with Laure Ferlita!! A suprise bonus is the new treasured friendships with my traveling companions!!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>> 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays 2009

Happy Holidays
With love and warmth
  from Claire

This image is from a Christmas card I did a few years ago.... and I had totally forgotten about it until my mother mentioned that she was sending out some of the leftover cards this year.  It brought back memories and made me smile when my mom showed the card to me last weekend, and I took the opportunity to scan the image before the last card went in the mail. Thank goodness for moms who keep some of our treasures for us!!  Thanks Mom!!  

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Visit to Sacred Heart

Today was a different venture for us. We went to La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, or what we know of as Sacred Heart.  Laure described it to us as looking as a wedding cake and she was right.  To get to it we had quite a journey traversing steep hills and staircase streets all the way up to Montmartre. Along the way we came upon many spots that offered sweeping views of the city below. We were sidetracked at first with some of the souvenir shops along the way but we eventually reached the top. Sacred Heart was quite an impressive sight and I started to worry about how I could do justice to paint it in my journal. It was certainly going to be a challenge. But, I was so glad that we got up to see it up close in all its splendor. The architecture is definitely impressive and the stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful! I only wish we could have stayed longer to soak in all of the beauty. This really is a trip to remember!!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going to the Flower Market

One thing I missed from home while I've been traveling is going to the Farmer's Market. So I was thrilled when Laure said we would be visiting the Flower Market today.  I was amazed when we got there -- there were flowers going every direction in every color imaginable. I certainly felt like a child in a candy store and I was not quite sure what the 'best' thing was to pick to remember the visit. In addition to all the colors the market had a wonderful scent from all of the flowers.

After looking all over the market I settled for a single sunflower. After all sunflowers remind me of photos of the Tour de France when the cyclists ride through a field of sunflowers. Also, my brother Jim was nice enough to give me a bouquet of sunflowers for my birthday and to wish me Bon Voyage just before I embarked on this adventure. I hope I'll remember all the scents as well as the colors of the flower market when I look back at my journal when I return home! 

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I’m so excited! We’re taking a day trip outside of Paris to go visit the famous palace of Versailles. The palace and the grounds are unbelievable – they say it took 40,000 workers 50 years to convert Louis XIII’x hunting lodge into the palace. 

There is so much to see and explore at Versailles that it was overwhelming for me to pick a single image to remember the day by. I chatted with my mom about my dilemma and she came to my rescue with some of her own travel information. Mom loaned me her travel information from a trip that she and Dad took to Europe in the Fall of 1988. Mom even celebrated her 60th birthday during their trip - that was quite a celebration! The photo that I used for this image was taken by my Dad on that trip. I can just picture Mom and Dad strolling around the gardens – in sheer amazement!! And now, it is extra special for me to be able to share in their experience by painting this simple scene. I can’t wait to share it with Mom!! 

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Late afternoon ...

Another day in Paris ... by 3:00 I was sure ready to take a break and get a cup of coffee. We had spent several hours shopping in a busy part of Paris. I can't believe how much these girls love to shop! There are so many shops that we wanted to go in .... and so many things that I was wishing I could take home!! But, after a few hours I was totally exhausted. Kristen suggested that we take a break at this cute cafe and I was sure glad to hear her suggestion!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our late morning brunch in Paris

After that late night I was so afraid I wouldn't wake up in time for breakfast. Fortunately we had agreed to meet for a late brunch at the nearby cafe. Kelly was an early riser and got to the cafe before the rest of us, just in time to snag this outside table with a view of the river in the distance. Thanks Kelly! It is such a treat to sit outside on this beautiful morning along the river. I wonder what they are serving for brunch today... something sure smells good! Maybe we can even go for a little stroll along the river after brunch.  

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Moulin Rouge

We were in a lively section of town when we came across quite a site - a building with a windmill on its top!!  It is the Moulin Rouge which is the most famous Parisian cabaret and it has been dazzling audiences since 1889!! The Moulin Rouge is known as the birthplace of the saucy French Can-Can. We  enjoyed some wine during the evening as we watched the Can-Can dancers. They were truly amazing!!

Thoughts.... well... I tried something different for me (no pencil or pen sketch -- just brush). Sort of strange... but I guess you get the feeling of a Can-Can dancer. 
<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Celebrating the Tour de France

There it is - The Arc de Triomphe. I feel like I'm in a dream - this is where the famed Tour de France race ends. I can imagine crowds are everywhere! Everyone wants to be here to see the exciting finish of the annual bicycle race that covers approximately 2,200 miles over a period of about 3 weeks. Cyclists flock from around the world to compete in this famous race. The race is broken into individual 'stages' each of which represents a day on the tour. Although the course changes every year, the finish is always in Paris along the Champs-Elysees.

The scene is so clear in my mind -- Its a hot day in July, and I can hear all the yelling and excitement in the air. Its been 3 weeks of excitement as the racers have traveled all over. I can see the colorful display of cycling 'kits' (outfits) in my mind as they approach the finish. What a thrill it is to be in this famous place where the cyclists approach the Arc de Triomphe and celebrate the end of an amazing race- the Tour de France !!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>