art · life curation

My Art Highlights for 2018

After a fantastic year of enjoying art, I thought it would be good for me to post some of my highlights from the last 12 months.

There really are too many highlights to cram into one post but I’m going to do my best!

I started this year off with viewing the terracotta army statues from China. As you all know, I visited China a few years ago and fell in love, so seeing the statues was like getting a taste of authentic China. I loved it and had a great time viewing the exhibition.

Next, nothing could top seeing Kenyan art while in Kenya! I wrote a post about Tom Mboya as well as some other Kenyan artists that I enjoyed. Getting to see art overseas is always a treat, since there is no guarantee that I will see these artists’ works stateside.

Paintings by Tom Mboya

I viewed Portuguese contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and was reminded of my goal to visit Portugal within the next 2 years. Just so you all know, I’ll be resuming my Portuguese language lessons in the upcoming year. I mean it: I’m going to speak Portuguese so that I can enjoy my trip and get around a little better than the average tourist.

At the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Archives of American Art, I viewed the exquisite and timeless work of Edmonia Lewis. I’m still impressed by her masterful handling of marble and her amazing ability when it comes to depicting her subjects with dignity and full of emotion. I was so impressed with her work that I recently did a comparison of her work with a similarly themed piece, because I simply can’t get tired of discussing Lewis’s work!

IMG_3570

The Death of Cleopatra by Edmonia Lewis

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Amy Sherald’s work at the National Portrait Gallery. Her portrait of Michelle Obama is a beautiful and unique interpretation of the former First Lady’s beauty, quiet resilience and charm. Seeing the painting in person impressed me far more than I expected, especially since Sherald’s signature technique forgoes capturing the rich tones of the subjects’ natural complexion and paints skin tone in greyscale, forcing art appreciators to focus on the expressions, posing, and attire depicted. I’m going to view some more of her work and maybe I’ll do an analysis of her style.

I also took a trip to Philadelphia and enjoyed the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There was so much art that I had to make a Part 1 and Part 2 to capture all of what I saw with my visit. I was delighted to see a Jean Leon Gerome painting that I’d never seen before.

img_5715

Night Flight by Howardena Pindell

I ended my year with the Howardena Pindell exhibition, that I loved so much that I had to visit it multiple times. Pindell is a living treasure, and I am thrilled that I got to see such a comprehensive retrospective of her work.

Those are my art highlights for 2018. I’m looking forward to bringing you all more art and more adventures in 2019!

 

 

 

fitness · life curation

2019 Planning – Health and Wellness

Welcome, Monday! You’ve been gone for a few days but we’re all somewhat glad to see your return!

As I plan for the upcoming year, I’m reviewing the planner I bought a few weeks ago and starting to think seriously about what goals I’m pursuing in the upcoming year. My challenge is to balance my ambition with a little bit of realism. I don’t want to set my goals too high and then end up missing the mark.

1

So, I’m taking my time to consider some major areas of my life and set realistic goals that are attainable but still require me to “stretch” a bit. Since I’ve been talking about improving my health since the summer, I figured I’d start with this area.

For 2019, my health and wellness goals are as follows:

  • Learn to swim
  • Take at least 3 dancing/fitness courses that I’ve never taken before
  • Achieve my goal weight
  • Start working with a naturopathic doctor

2

My overall goal is improved health and more energy. I know that I can achieve it if I do the work and stay committed. I won’t write a tonabout my health journey – the blog will be taking a more focused turn in the new year – but I will post periodic updates so that you all can keep me accountable.

I’ll have more posts over the next two weeks about my 2019 planning. Look out for those, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

art

Leaving Soon – Smithsonian Exhibitions Leaving in January 2019

Happy Sunday! It’s a dreary, rainy Sunday in central Virginia but here’s hoping the weather is more pleasant wherever you are.

If you are planning any trips to the Northern Virginia/District of Columbia/Maryland area during January 2019, then you’ll want to carve out a little time to visit the Smithsonian Institute, one of the most extensive museum collectives in the world. And, if you’re an art lover (like me), you’ll probably want to know which exhibitions are leaving so you won’t miss them during your visit.

npg-1968opening

Visitors at the National Collection of Fine Arts touring a gallery of contemporary art by Unidentified Artist, Photo Blow-up, 1968, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (as seen in the Celebrating Fifty Years exhibition)

So, for your visiting convenience, here is a list of Smithsonian exhibitions slated to leave the Institute in January 2019. They are organized from early in January to the end of January, so you know which ones to check out first. Enjoy!

January 1 – In Memoriam: George Herbert Walker Bush (National Portrait Gallery)

January 4 – Pushing the Envelope: Mail Art from the Archives of American Art (Archives of American Art Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery)

January 6 – Celebrating Fifty Years (National Portrait Gallery)

January 6 – UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light, Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar (National Portrait Gallery)

January 6 – Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

January 6 – Let’s Get It Right: Work Incentive Posters of the 1920s (National Museum of American History)

nmah-work-poster

One of the work posters in the Let’s Get It Right exhibition

January 21 – No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man (Renwick Gallery)

January 21 – Diane Arbus: A box of ten photographs (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

dianearbus

One of the prints shown at the Diane Arbus exhibition (Diane Arbus, A woman with her baby monkey, N.J. 1971)

January 24 – Japan Modern: Photography from the Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery [Sackler Gallery])

Daikon Embankment Woodblock print

Kawase Hasui, Daikon Embankment (from the series Twelve Scenes of Tokyo), 1920 (as featured in the Japan Modern exhibition at the Sackler Gallery)

January 24 – Japan Modern: Prints in the Age of Photography (Sackler Gallery)

January 27 – Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)

 

I hope this list helps you plan a fun and art-filled trip to the Washington, DC area! Take care, and enjoy your Sunday!

life curation

Making Space Challenge: End of the Year Updates

Happy, happy Saturday! I figured I’d make this last post about the Making Space challenge before the end of the year, because it’ll be 2019 before you know it.

I’m still doing my thing with the challenge. It’s a little easier to “make space” in December because I have more time at home (due to the holidays). When I’m enjoying “down” time, I always start clearing out things and tidying up. That may defeat the purpose of taking time off, but I enjoy it, so that’s that.

However, I also tend to clear out a lot of clutter (in the form of magazines) during this time. Since I create a vision board every New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, I need images to paste on it. So, a few weeks before NYE, I start ripping up my magazines, putting the images I plan to use in a folder and throwing out the magazine when I’m done. I also will rip out any articles that I’ve been meaning to read: I challenge myself to read them all before the end of December.

Sometimes I read the articles, sometimes I miss my December deadline. It’s the intention that matters though, right? I always intend to do it, and eventually, the articles get read because ripped out pages don’t age well and I get tired of them holding valuable space in my file cabinet.

screen

So for the challenge, I’ve been working through no less than 3 magazines a day. At the rate that I’m going, I will have gotten rid of at least 50 magazines by the end of the year. That’s going to create massive space in my magazine bins, and I can start using those containers for something else (yay!)

Are you all making space before the end of the year? Please let me know in the comments below, and if you’re so inclined, take a pic of how you’re making space and use the hashtag #makingspacechallenge or #makingspace so I can see what you’re up to.

Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

food

Food Review: Tsubi Soup

Hi everyone! It’s Friday, so let’s have a little fun and do a food review.

I recently ordered some vegan miso soup from Amazon because so many of the instant miso options available in stores contain bonito (a type of fish that is a traditional miso ingredient). Previously, I tried Miyasaka miso soup, which was tasty but lacked the flavorful “punch” I craved.

While searching through the miso mixes, I came across Tsubi Soup, a soup company that prides itself on using simple, fresh, authentic ingredients to create superbly flavored soups. I was really impressed by the fact that the company has such high standards for its ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the spicy red miso soup with mushrooms (the company offers several other flavors). The soup mix arrived in two days because I have Amazon Prime.

I made the soup by adding hot water and allowing the ingredients to re-hydrate. After about two minutes, it was ready to eat.

OMG, this was delicious! I didn’t miss the bonito flavor at all. This has to be one of the most delicious vegan miso soups I’ve ever tasted. I ended up each the entire box within 3 days LOL! The spice is abundant but not too hot. The mushrooms plumped up perfectly and give the soup great variety in texture.

Now, one major difference with this and the previously reviewed miso soup mix is the price. Tsubi Soups has 4 packets for $12.99, while Miyasaka Soups has 12 packets for nearly the same price ($14.28). But, you get what you pay for. Tsubi Soups are far tastier than Miyasaka Soups and, in my humble opinion, worth every penny.

I haven’t tried the other Tsubi Soup flavors but I intend to. If the spicy red miso with mushrooms is any indication, the other flavors are probably excellent, as well.

That’s my review for today. If you love Japanese foods or curious about them, let me know in the comments below. Thanks, and have a great Friday!

 

art

Online Courses for Creating Art

Happy Thursday, beloveds! I am getting excited for the upcoming weekend – how about you? I hope your day is going well and I also hope that you have a lot to look forward to in the days ahead.

I know that I write a lot about the arts, because art is one of my passions. However, I tend to write from the perspective of the art appreciator/collector. As a result, I think that I may have neglected some of the aspiring artists that might be reading this blog and wanting more information about honing their craft.

art2

Well, that comes to an end today! This post is all about free online courses for aspiring artists. Yes, the art instruction that you may need to close the knowledge gap for certain techniques and skills can be found online, for free. This is especially useful if you are trying to keep educational costs low while you practice your art.

The first link I’m sharing is Artyfactory, where aspiring artists can learn techniques for working with different media (pencil, charcoal, acrylic and more) as well as how to create different types of art (portraits, still drawing, animals, etc.,). The website looks very minimal, but since the courses are free, I’m sure the owners of the site would appreciate visitors clicking on the ads and supporting in any way that you can.

art1

The next site, Art Prof, was first highlighted in this article on Artsy (one of my favorite sites!). I really like the format of Art Prof, and the courses are especially useful for artists that are trying to master more advanced techniques (like oil painting, working with balsa wood, stop motion animation, and more). Art Prof has a Patreon page so it’s easy to donate and keep this website free for all users.

I hope you all find these resources useful! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Book Publishing: Latest Updates

Hi friends! Happy Wednesday to you all. I wanted to quickly stop in and give you all updates on the publishing of my first book.

As you all know, I finished writing and editing my first book earlier this year. So after moving past my own internal resistance, I forged ahead with publishing. I’m still learning about Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and tinkering with the format of the book so it renders the way that I want. Right now, the pages don’t look like how I want them to look; that is unacceptable. I’ve done too much work on this project to drop the ball and get sloppy at this stage. Once I get the formatting right, I’ll be well on my way.

img_5950

Between the blog and my book, I’ve been busy

There’s a lot involved with taking a book from idea to published, but it’s been an educational process. I’m proud to make it this far, but I have to see this through to the end before I’m truly satisfied. If you’re inclined, please send me good publishing vibes! I’ll keep plugging along, and I’ll keep you all posted on what’s happening as I go through the process.

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!