A Wider View

Today’s Photo Challenge is capturing a wider view of a scene with the emphasis on looking at the basic elements in the scene – what will be in the foreground and in the background of the picture.

I think this photo taken at the Bass Museum of Art hits the spot.

Some interesting artwork in the grounds of the Bass Museum of Art
Some interesting artwork in the grounds of the Bass Museum of Art

Sketching in the Wolfsonian

Each month The Wolfsonian Museum open their doors to budding artists wishing to practice their drawing skills.

My husband and I attended our first session at the end of February. I haven’t used a pencil and paper in a while but they provided the tools and we were ready to pick a subject to draw. I didn’t want to draw just anything so I wandered around for a while looking for something that looked interesting.

My first sketch attempt going back to using pencil and paper.
My first sketch attempt going back to using pencil and paper.

The drawing is from a painting depicting the Battle of La Marne Verdun in the current exhibition ‘Myth and Machine: The First World War in Visual Culture’. The painting was large but I focused on one small section which had amazing light flooding the scene.

It was a completely different experience. I’ve been so used to drawing on tablet devices that it felt strange to use a real pencil. Not only that, as the museum was open to the public I felt a little self conscious drawing as people wandered around. Occasionally they would look over my shoulder and I wanted to say, “I’m not a real artist. Focus on that painting on the wall by someone who knew what they were doing”. I decided not to be distracted by what I thought people were thinking and just concentrated on what I was doing.

It’s an unfinished drawing but it was a good test piece. The proportions are not quite right – his hand is too big, his jacket is too short, but for a first attempt (and my first foray into public drawing) I was happy that it actually looked like a person if not a completely true representation of the original. I’m looking forward to exploring using pencil and paper again and hopefully improving my technique.

A painting depecting the Battle of La Marne
The original – a painting depicting the Battle of La Marne

The session inspired us so much that we ended up visiting our local art shop for supplies. I’m looking forward to seeing improvements in my drawings and Sketching in the Wolfsonian again at the end of March.

Windpower Drawing Sketchbook
Strathmore Windpower Drawing Sketchbook

The sketchbook I selected was a Strathmore Wind power Drawing Pad. This line of artist papers has been made with 100% wind power – a pollution free renewable energy resource. Strathmore is the first (and only) manufacturer in the United States to make paper entirely from wind generated electricity. This heavyweight drawing paper is perfect for finished works of art. The bright white paper is ideal for working with pencil pen charcoal or pastel.

Generals Sketching Pencil 4B
Generals Sketching Pencil 4B

We selected a few charcoal pencils, some interesting erasers and a flat 4B Sketching pencil.

The erasers were very interesting. They each have a specific use depending on what type of pencil you are using and the effect you are trying to achieve. My favorite so far is the Kneaded Eraser.

Artgum by Prismcolor
Artgum by Prismacolor

Artgum block shaped, dual purpose eraser and dry cleaner. Containing fine dry powder it cleans the drawing surface by absorbing the graphite and dirt.

Kneaded rubber
Kneaded rubber

Kneaded Eraser – this one is excellent for highlighting and cleaning chalks, charcoal, pastels and colored pencils.

Plastic Eraser – easily removes pencil marks from a range of surfaces.

My Purple Electra Townie Bicycle

It's so much fun exploring by bicycle especially when it's purple!
It’s so much fun exploring by bicycle especially when it’s purple!

My main form of transport these days is no longer horse-power but foot power. Last year we purchased a couple of Electra Townie bicycles – one in purple and one in green. They incorporate Electra’s patented flat-foot technology and an upright seated position which redefines how you cycle. It’s more comfortable to ride and the leg and pedal placing seems to be in a natural position for your leg to rest as you cycle.

On a normal bike your feet are angled backwards but on my Electra Purple Townie 7D Bicycle I don’t feel like my knees or hips are strained or forced into the incorrect position and it helps keep my back straight. The seat position allows me to keep my feet flat on the floor when stationary.

Electra Townie 7D Specifications

LIGHTWEIGHT 6061-T6 ALUMINUM FRAME / SHIMANO TX-35 7-SPEED W/MEGA RANGE GEARING / SHIMANO REVO TWIST SHIFTER / FORGED ALLOY CRANKSET W/44T CHAIN RING & DUAL GUARDS / ALLOY LINEAR-PULL BRAKES / DOUBLE-WALL ALLOY RIMS / 26”X 2.0” SEMI-SLICK STREET TIRES

Miami is a fabulous place to cycle and has it’s own CitiBike/DecoBike program where you can hire bikes from stations dotted around the county. I won’t go into detail here but you can find out about that scheme and other interesting things you can do in Miami in my article Miami Beach on a Budget. It’s a wonderful program for both locals and visitors alike. If you don’t own a bike or are short on storage space you can still participate in a healthier way to travel. All you have to do is find a docking station so you don’t need to worry about carrying locks or finding somewhere to leave your bike.

Stay Active Sightseeing
Stay Active Sightseeing

However, there are some limitations. Sometimes, at peak or busy times of the year, you may struggle to find a station with enough bikes. The second problem is they may not be working and then finding a docking station that is conveniently located to where you wish to go can become frustrating. Even with some of these problems, it is a great initiative and a step in the right direction which is more than can be said for other parts of the U.S. I don’t mean that in a detrimental way – but we all know the U.S is a big car loving country and walking and cycling is not high up on the list of cool ways to get around. Maybe I can bring you over to the wild side so you can start to think of this as an alternative to get around. It’s cheaper, it’s fun, you can stop anywhere you want without having to pay expensive parking fees, you get fresh air and may even lose some weight along the way.

Read moreMy Purple Electra Townie Bicycle

Miami Beach on a Budget

Add Miami Beach to your dream vacation destination list as I uncover how to save money and keep within your budget. What are you waiting for, grab the sunscreen and order a Mojito the beach awaits.

You CAN visit Miami on a Budget

Save Money in the Sun
Save Money in the Sun

When you think about Miami as a destination, do you also add the words, expensive, too rich for my pocket, unaffordable, way out of my league…love to visit, but lets go somewhere else?

Are you torn between re-mortgaging the house and breaking into the kids college fund because those white sandy beaches, clear blue sea and cloudless sun drenched sky are just reaching out to you?

Well, it’s no longer a dream, you can take a trip to Miami. So, grab the sunscreen, your bathing costume and get packing as I’m going to reveal how you can you do Miami on a Budget and still have change left over to treat yourself to your favorite cocktail.

Read moreMiami Beach on a Budget

The Best Places to Eat in Miami Beach

Have you ever visited somewhere and really wanted to know where the locals hang out? Where are all the great places hiding when you’re only visiting for a day or two? Let me uncover the Miami secrets.

Eat Like A Local

Have you ever visited somewhere and really wanted to know where the locals hang out?Miami Beach Welcome Sign

Where are all the great places hiding when you’re only visiting for a day or two for a Conference or Meeting?

It can become pretty boring very quickly eating in the hotel restaurant every day so you need some insider tips in discovering the best places to eat and explore the area.

You may be lucky enough to be there longer, on a vacation for two weeks or three weeks but the guidebooks only go so far – you need a friend on the inside.

Look no further – the culinary delights and best spots to dine are within your reach – this is just between you and me so don’t tell everyone!

Bon Appetit and Welcome to Miami

Read moreThe Best Places to Eat in Miami Beach

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