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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Rome...the catacombs at Priscilla



Our guide at the Priscilla Catacombs was quick to inform us that they were a burial ground, not a place that the Christians met to avoid persecution. This was the only place that we took a guided tour (besides the glass factory on Murano), because the lighting is dim and the tunnels are twisty. Every year, more sections are opened, and more treasures are revealed.

No pictures can be taken, but they had an excellent selection of postcards and books. There were none that showed the tunnels with all the niches dug out of the rock for burial platforms, so I found the image above on a tourist site, but there are many good postcards of the frescoes which have been uncovered in some of the larger chambers.




This one is the three young Hebrew men that were thrown into the furnace in the book of Daniel. They emerged unscathed, and the King saw the figure of God walking around with them.





This fresco has the oldest known image of the Virgin with her child. She is sideways on the righthand side, a bit difficult to make out.



And this is the fresco from the burial chamber of a very important woman in the community, who had lived a holy life of service. The peacock stands for immortality, or eternal life:


Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Rome...Palatine Hill, the Forum, and the Colosseum



I’ll share with you a tourist secret that I learned from my daughter: when you want to visit the Colosseum, go and visit Palatine Hill first. The line there is shorter, and the pass you buy will get you into the whole area. When you do make your way down to the Colosseum, you’ll be able to get in the shorter line since you've already paid :-)

And Palatine Hill is well-worth the visit anyway! It’s gorgeous. You can see the ruins of all the Caesar’s houses, and there are some rooms that have just opened up for public viewing recently with frescoes on the walls. Amazing! You can’t take pictures of the rooms, but the outside area is all fair game, and very picturesque. Mike and Dani pose so you can see the scale:









From one of the walls of the hill, you can look down into the Forum. We didn’t go down that day because Rome was having a heatwave, and the temperature had soared over 100F by 10am. Here’s the Forum with all the “modern” buildings in the background:



In one of the corners as we went to leave Palatine Hill, we came across this many-breasted sphinx:



The Arch of Titus is one of the large show-off pieces that were built by different rulers. I thought this one was moving, because it shows the sacking of Jerusalem and the Romans making off with the Temple items. However, they didn’t seem to know how many arms the candlestick should have…




Finally we made it to the Colosseum. I was so annoyed with myself, because I took a sweeping panoramic video of the entire structure inside, but I did it in vertical format, so it didn't load to YouTube properly until I had messed with it for hours!!



Video:



Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Hedgehogs...cutest critters ev-ah!

Thistle

Some of you may remember that my hedgehog obsession began when daughter Dani got one as a pet.  Thistle is just the cutest thing in the world, and because of her existence, I began to notice hedgehogs and to enjoy their general cuteness. So, no surprise that when I found a terrific pattern to make crocheted hedgehogs by Nickie Engle, I went a little bit overboard, as you'll see below.  Overboard in the sense that every little girl I know is getting one or more of these.  And some big girls I know are getting them too ;-) 



Other hedgehog projects:
Chocolate hedgehogs
Hedgehog pincushions

Simon's Cat:




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Saturday, May 26, 2012

More artsy links!


 

Wooden Birdhouse and a Secret Message
Cherie adds a secret note to her wooden birdhouses.

Beading Arts
A tutorial for simple but elegant earrings is featured this week!  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Pearl stretch bracelets make the perfect accessory. Eileen made 3 in 30 minutes for less than $2 each. Here's the how-to. No beading tools required!  


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Friday, May 25, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!

 

Carmi's Art/Life World
The Go Baby! has made sewing fun again! 

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to make polymer clay cabochons and transfer muslin markings to a sewing pattern, a billboard doodling exercise, a cool oversized stitching detail and recipes for flavored water and banana breakfast bars.

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess continues to relearn cross stitch; this time she redisovers outlining.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Do you know how to repair cracked ceramics? Eileen shares two methods.  

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi's family finished up their wonderful trip to Italy in Rome!  




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Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Rome...St Peter's Basilica



One of the most moving sites we visited in Vatican City was St Peter’s Basilica. Again, as a church, picture taking is limited, although it’s allowed in most areas without flash. Being extremely phobic about heights (and averse to two-hour long lines), I declined to go up into the dome.

In the picture above, which I took from the floor, I’ve marked two little orange dots that you might be able to just barely make out. They are near the bottom of the shot, above the “O” in the lettering. Those dots are on top of the heads of two people who are looking out over the railing…that’s how high the thing is! There are people all the way around the dome, but you can’t see them in my photo. Dani tells me that the “O” is wider and taller than a person!




I was heartbroken that my very favorite statue in the entire world now has to be kept behind bullet-proof glass, quite far from where you stand to see it. La Pieta, by Michelangelo. Some idiot took a hammer to it a number of years ago, so now it is kept protected. Even from a distance it is very moving.



Also very moving is the statue of St Veronica. She was supposed to have taken a cloth and wiped the blood from Jesus’s face as he made his way to be crucified. She is holding the cloth in this statue, with a blurred image of Christ’s face, which you really can’t see in this photo.


By far the most moving sight I saw, though, was the tomb of Pope John Paul II. You’re going down long hallways filled with the tombs of popes past. Most are ornate, and beautiful, to the point of being overwhelming. Then you turn the corner, and there is a plain white marble slab with his name. That’s it. No other decoration. I cried, and I’m not even Catholic! His tombstone said it all…what a man of the people.


Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book review: The Complete Decorated Journal



Have you read or do you own either of Gwen Diehn's journal books, The Decorated Journal or The Decorated Page?  If not, you might want to seriously consider adding this newest version to your personal art library: The Complete Decorated Journal.  This new book by Lark Publishing combines the two previous books (with a newly edited flow so they truly become one book, and adds new techniques, a new project, and 13 artist profiles with a gallery of their work.


This book is an incredibly inspiring reference work.  Besides the usual materials and tools guide, you'll find page layout ideas, tips for a building layered pages, information on specific genres of journals, and many many creative techniques for personalizing your journal.

Do you want to use a pre-made journal or build one from scratch?  Both are covered in this fabulous book.  As for me, I can't wait to try a little more paint and a little less structure!


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More Rome...well, the Vatican



I’m sure most people are aware that Vatican City is a little sovereign nation right in the middle of Rome! I don’t even know where to begin with telling you about our visit to the Vatican Museum…I saw pieces of art that I never in my life ever thought I’d have the chance to see in person. I was a Greek major in college, and many of the mythological heroes of antiquity are to be found in the museum, like Perseus up above.



Or Laocoon and his sons after they ran afoul of Poseidon.



And this one, the god of the Nile, which is enormous!



There are mosaics and inlaid work that defy description



And there is the huge sphere within a sphere which dominates the courtyard. It moves, by the way!



I believe this last lady is a muse of some sort. Even though her thread has long since disappeared, she is binding a book! How cool is that?


One of the best parts of the Vatican has to be the Sistine Chapel. It is just breathtaking. No photos are allowed, but you can click on the link to see some of the familiar works on the ceiling. Michelangelo painted the entire thing in only 4 years, while the Pope complained that it was taking too long! What an experience it is to see it in person :-)


Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Being a mixed media artist


Hi!
I wanted to ask you a few questions, if I may, about being a mixed media artist. I'm 43 and looking for an artistic career that can actually bring in some money. I'm in love with all kinds of creating, but I'm just getting started with mixed media. I read on your profile that you are a full-time artist. How do you sell your work?  I'd like to eventually have my own store, do you know other mixed media artists who have their own stores, or is it a smarter idea to start with something on Etsy? Also, what are some good resources where I could network with other artists?

I appreciate your help and am looking forward to combing your website. Thanks!

Cara


Hi Cara,
Congratulations on your decision to embark on a new career!  I've actually got dozens and dozens of posts about having an art business, but they are on my other blog, Beading Arts.  Even though many of the posts are geared towards jewelry artists, the information there is sound for anyone thinking about a creative endeavor.  The newest posts are at the bottom: Business Tips

Personally, I have been through the gamut of approaches to earning money from art: I've sold on consignment, through wholesaling, online through my own website and through eBay, but at this point my primary focus is on education rather than sales.  Well, I guess it's sales of a different sort.  Creating and selling projects through different books and magazines, and earning revenue through ad sales has largely replaced selling loose beads or finished jewelry for me.  Same with the mixed media work.  I do sell some prints, but I don't make my pieces for sale anymore...simply as examples that I can use in articles that I write.

There are lots of posts in the Business Tips section about selling through your own website vs a site like etsy, and also lots of posts about networking and building a good support community.  I wish you well in your next steps, and the thing is, as long as you don't sink a lot of money into something that you can't back out of, nothing that you choose will be a mistake.  The art life is about evolving and refining it as you go, and everything you try will teach you something for the next step!

Best ~
Cyndi 


Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

More artsy links!

 

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Do you know how to repair cracked ceramics? Eileen shares two methods. 

New Paints: Sometimes I'm an Old Woman
Cherie uses poetry to create two new pictures. 


Beading Arts
We're celebrating everything to do with wire this month! Come and visit with some fabulous wire artists and try your hand at working with wire yourself!

 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!



Aileen's Musings
Aileen has 2 free father's day banners you can download and print!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi's Ghastlie Zipper Pouch!  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Summer time means bug time, and the Crafty Princess has gotten bitten by the cross stitch bug.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Pearl stretch bracelets make the perfect accessory. Eileen made 3 in 30 minutes for less than $2 each. Here's the how-to. No beading tools required!  

Mixed Media Artist
In Photoshop, there are multiple ways to make line drawings...but which way is the best?  




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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rome



We traveled by train from Venice back to Orvieto to retrieve all of Dani’s stuff from the monastery. From there we took a train into Rome’s central station (Termani). That pretty well shot the day, as you can probably imagine. Bright but not too early the next morning we began our Roman adventure!

Our first stop was the Borghese Museum. Since you have to make reservations (or take your chances, which I don’t recommend), we had a set time to show up, and only two hours to enjoy it. NO PHOTOGRAPHS, thank you very much! Suffice it to say that it is well worth the visit. Click on the link above, and you can see the official photos of some of the works we saw! Here are the only shots I took, of the outside:

Yes, that is a pigeon!

After lunch, we headed to the National Museum of Rome, housing an amazing collection of mosaics, inlaid stonework, and other treasures.


You might think we’d be museumed out after that, but not when every corner you turn takes your breath away, no.



I got the biggest kick out of this scene! People don’t worry too much about the car traffic in some areas :-) This street is not closed to cars, despite what it looks like.



After dinner one of the evenings (I can’t remember which one!), we took a bus ride over to the Trastevere district on the east side of the river. It’s where many large residences, nice apartments, and fine dining can be found. It has a different look and feel from the busy Termini district where we were staying.



Another evening (or maybe it was even the same evening…it stays light so long!), we went to see Trevi Fountain. You couldn’t get anywhere near it because of the throngs of people doing exactly what we were doing! It’s pretty impressive though.



As long as I’m sharing some miscellaneous stuff with you, I’ll throw in this striking image from the church known as St Peter in Chains. It’s an amazing church, full of wonderful artwork, but we couldn’t see most of it because there was a wedding going on at the time! Sometimes we forget that many of these wonderful places we visited are operating churches!


Dani and Mike with Jimi Hendrix’s
patchwork outfit in the back

Typical tourists that we are, we always visit any Hard Rock Cafe in the cities that we vacation in :-) Rome’s Hard Rock is great!



Well, there you have some initial first impressions of Rome. I’m going to cover our trip to the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica, the Catacombs, and the Colosseum in separate posts. So much to see, so little time!


Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book review: Making Mini Books



Have you noticed how popular all things little and cute are recently?  Lark Books is right on target with Kathleen McCafferty's newest book, Making Mini Books: Big Ideas for 30+ Little Projects.

You'll learn great techniques for binding all different types of materials together, and even though these are pint-sized projects, you'll be able to apply the techniques to other projects of your own choosing too.  I love that this book promotes the use of recycled or upcycled materials more than store-bought supplies.  I also love the emphasis on learning many stitched binding methods.  If you don't love the needle the way I do, you'll find plenty of stapled and folded alternatives here too.



This book has plenty of the beautiful photos that Lark Books is famous for, and there are so many innovative materials used, it will set your mind spinning!  One of my favorite techniques is Japanese stab binding, and there are a number of inspirational projects using this method, including one that also uses recycled papers for the pages!  

Here is a special pdf project that Lark has made available so you can try it out before you buy:
Perfect Seeds Book



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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Venice...the food

Gorgonzolla especk (smoked prosciutto)

The food in Venice was phenomenal…the pizza, the handmade pasta, the wine!






Mushrooms and ham





Handmade vermicelli carbonara




Verdure alla griglia (grilled vegetables)




Insalata mozzarella




The feast!



Spritz

Additional information about the spritz, including a recipe!



Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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