Category Archives: Art

Swellyroo on Etsy

Swellyroo is now available in limited quantities on Etsy! Know someone with an Etsy gift card this season? Direct them on over and help promote handmade creations!

Etsy

Swellyroo Clothing Goes Live

Finally after months and months of sewing, then taking and editing over a 1000 photos, and basically learning CSS to get online, Swellyroo Clothing finally went live August 25th, 2013.

Swellyroo.com Goes Live!

After moving to Texas last November 2012, The Texan and I decided that I would officially start to look for work right after the holidays. Since we were financially stable, we could afford this. Between getting all of my stuff here, unpacked, and getting emotionally settled in to a whole new life, looking for a new job was a little daunting. Okay, really though, looking for a new job is probably always daunting. For the next few months, I started sewing anytime I wasn’t applying for mental health jobs.

[I will discuss the state that Texas “mental health” is in at a later time…please view this video in the meantime that talks about how Texas is LAST in Mental Health Funding.]

To make a long story shorter, I received so much positive feedback about the items I had sewn for my niece Esmé, I decided that I would try my hand at sewing a line of creative and unique baby clothes. Designed to be colorful, unique, and different-than-what-comes-in-a-three-pack at the store, Swellyroo clothing provides the basics in a beautiful way. If all you pair the items with is a white tee, or some moccasins, your baby will still be fashion forward in a fun way.

Swellyroo Zebra Pinafore and matching Bloomer

Swellyroo Zebra Pinafore and matching Bloomer

Swellyroo Custom Clothing: Unique Baby Clothes

When learning that my brother and his wife would be welcoming a little “tidbit” into the world this April, I began to scour the stores for unique clothes for the baby girl. 408 “Princess” shirts later, I decided I was not going to find the types of clothing that I had in mind. So what does any resourceful artist do when we can’t find what we want? We make it of course!

Introducing SWELLYROO Custom Clothing!

Here are the first editions that were gifted to my niece Tidbit this past weekned at the shower in DC. A preview of my vision for Swellyroo clothing.

I have begun sewing the Swellyroo line already to include:

Diaper Covers, Bloomers, Pants, Dresses, Pinafores, Cardigans, Shirts, Headbands, & Shoes!

Check Back Soon for Updates!

Sand Island: Swept Away By Summer Love

This past week I took my summer vacation. It was absolutely wonderful. It started off by spending some quality time down on the Willamette River by myself on the boat, and with a friend out on the river. There is no way I have time to detail all of the adventures that ensued that weekend, but basically it consisted of sleeping on the family boat–a Tolman Skiff, cruising the Willamette with a good friend, being boarded by the Coast Guard (yes I’m aware of how that sounds), seeing some horses running and swimming on Sauvie Island, enjoying Jimmy Johns on the deck of the boat, swimming off Kelly Point, and alas spending hours talking to a boy. A southern boy–a Texan more specifically. More on that small (read huge) detail later.

My brother and his wife flew in from NYC eventually and we crammed in some Portland musts including dinner with grandpa, a trip to Powell’s Books, and of course, our family breakfast at Bertie Lou’s Cafe in Sellwood. Breakfast filled with eggs, home fries, bacon, and of course biscuits and gravy marked the beginning of our annual voyage to Sand Island. I’ll probably be harassed if not killed by my family and our extended non-related relatives for divulging the existence of said island, but the fact is, there is no place quite like it, and it must be celebrated.

Looking south on Sand Island State Marine Park

Sand Island is located on the Columbia River right across from the small town of St. Helens, Oregon. One of the state’s beautiful marine parks, it was created to serve as a sand bar to protect the riverfront town from the wake of passing freighters. Over the years, tall cottonwood trees and an unknown number of wild animals such as racoons and deer have made this small oasis home. The Columbia River surrounding the island (as we refer to it) gives the much needed sanctuary from the hot summer sun, and has provided years of memories filled with swimming, sailing, and amazing river sunsets. My family has gone camping on the island every year of my life. We spend 51 weeks waiting to be reunited with its beauty–with daydreams of the sand between our to toes, and the cool evening breeze rocking the hammock as we gaze at the stars. Surely there could be no better place in the great northwest to spend one’s summer.

Looking north on Sand Island State Marine Park

Growing up, our family would camp anywhere from a weekend to several weeks on the island. No electricity, no running water, and no plumbing. Our non-relative relatives also camped with us. They had 5 kids. One couldn’t possibly fathom the amount of stuff they would cart across the river, then again, there were 5 kids. The oldest sibling was a boy my brother’s age, to this day they are still best friends. The second of the five was a girl–my best friend and kindred spirit–Babette.

1993

The final three siblings were all boys, so I really lucked out with Babette. The 7 of us were wild on the island. Swimsuits were the only clothing item worn from dawn to dusk. It was common to not even bring shoes to the island. Most days, the 7 of us could be found down at the beach creating the most elaborate mud pit you’ve ever seen. After all, it needed to fit all of us.

From left to right: Michael, Babette, Stephen, Sammy, Jeremiah, Me, Christopher

Luckily our parents documented these events. It would take hours of swimming and pretending to be mermaids (for Babette and I at least) to wash the evidence of earlier mud fights away. Our parents would force us to bathe in the river, which as we became older, was quite the tradition. My mother always said that there was “nothing sexier than a woman keeping up her appearance while camping.” So Babette and I would (and still do) suds up in our suits and wash our hair as the sun set over the hills.

Several summers, we made treasure maps and wrote notes claiming the island as our own, and sealed them in empty bottles. After adding several layers of duct tape, we would fasten a rope to the bottle and then swim it out to the old wooden pilings off the north end of the island.

The north end of Sand Island, standing on top of the dunes

Once used in the logging industry, lthe decaying logs now jet out of the water like totem poles. Hoisting each other up onto the wooden crossbeam, we would tie the rope off and hide the bottle inside of the metal cables binding the logs. The bottle never did make it until the following summer as we had hoped, but we all liked to imagine that some other kids found it and followed our treasure map to nothing–our punishment to them for thinking it was acceptable for them to spend time on our island. Who did they think they were anyway?!

When night fell more adventures ensued. Capture the flag would span across the entire island, with our little shadows darting around trees and the sand dunes, scaring each other and then shrieking with shear terror/joy. Our dad’s would tell ghost stories around the campfire about graveyard rats, and about “Herman,” the scary man who lived below the glorified outhouse. Strange as it sounds (because how on earth did he live under the outhouse?) we believed that one for years.

When Babette and I had enough with the boys, and were tired of waiting for our turn with the BB guns, we would spend hours painting rocks and driftwood, trying our best to capture the beauty of the island.

Nighttime on the river, circa 1998

This past week we sat together at the picnic table once again, listening to music, drinking iced coffee from the cooler, arguing and laughing over whose depiction was better. We laughed about how we used to argue about who’s tent was cozier, and whether or not straight hair was better than curly. These are the moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I look forward to many more summers to come on Sand Island. Laughing, swimming, and being with the closest of friends and family.

;

Below are some more photos of the journey to the island.

Docked at the Willamette Sailing Club

Behind Ross Island, stopping for a dip and some relaxing in the sun

It really is a must to by smutty celebrity magazines while on vacation…

Lusting after the floating homes near Sellwood

On our way to the island, under all the Portland bridges, including the St. John’s Bridge

Close to the island at last!!!!
Warrior Rock Light, Sauvie Island, Oregon

Sand Island. In all of its glory

Sunrise on the island

Sleeping on the hammock might be the best part

It’s an island, so we obviously have to be well prepared…

And by being prepared I obviously mean being well-stocked with coffee options

Painting driftwood

Sailing at sunset

Hopeless Romantic: Both Sides Now

I’ve been using Pandora for all of my musical needs as of late due to all my music disappearing from my comp. Surprisingly, it’s not that big of a deal, and actually I prefer Pandora. I have different stations for different days, times, and activities,  etc. My nighttime station is usually Edith Piaf or Iron and Wine. Miss Joni Mitchell makes her appearance on the latter, and it occurs to me that she–especially with Both Sides Now and A Case of You–is the ultimate artist to listen to if you are a true hopeless romantic. This thought process was probably sparked a couple days ago when my dad showed me this video. If you are a true romantic, you will at least tear up.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJWlavnM6b0]

Humble Artist Beginnings

We all start somewhere.

Judging by the graphic development, I would say that this was around age 6/7. I’d also like to point out the attention to fashion with the stirrup leggings I’m wearing.

Acrylic painting I made for my dad several years ago.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.  ~Pablo Picasso

The Proverbial Life Check List

So back in March–within a post entitled Adventure is in My Blood–I wrote about the direction (or lack there of) that my life story is taking. The mental check list that people use in order to achieve life goals that they have identified as important to them. At the time of that post, I indicated that my check list no longer included the “spouse, pet, nice house, 2.5 children, job that is bearable, etc. = Nice happy love story with a happy ending” goal.

Funny thing happened this weekend. I have been helping my parents clean out the basement of their 104 year old home over the past few weekends. It’s not terribly messy per se, the basement has just housed several decades of school work, camping gear, toys, art, and other miscellaneous memorabilia that was deemed important.

Among the items stashed in the “Kelly’s Art” cupboard was a time capsule that I had created in the fall of my 8th grade year of middle school. In this time capsule, which had already been opened (I’m sure by me not too long after it was created), I found the proverbial life check list I had referred to! And it even had the little sail boat.

First, I think that it’s funny I remembered drawing this little picture of me sailing in a Topper, since it was drawn over 15 years ago. Second, it’s interesting that I made two different life paths that included a) going to USC to become a professional photographer/camera operator, having a “serious relationship,” house, kids, and the rest of that whole life etc. OR b) going to Standford medical school, not dating at all, and then moving to California to get an apartment.

Kinda of makes me feel like a person’s life is one big game of never ending MASH.  You know, MASH (Mansion-Apartment-Shack-House), the amazing game you played at sleepovers to predict what your life would be like when you grow up?

Time for another round!!!

Out With The Old, In With The Nouveau

Today I’m sitting in the sun, drinking my home brewed iced americano, listening to some tunes, and having a yard sale. Yep, I decided to move! I’m selling my stuff. This includes art I’ve created, vintage furniture, clothes, and more art.

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I will say that I find this process to be very therapeutic. As I’m organizing, sorting, and evaluating my possessions, several things go through my mind. I remember how these things came to be mine, the purpose they’ve served, and how they are now superfluous to me. I create art for me. Art for Art’s Sake. I don’t care if other people like it, love it, or hate it. I don’t make art for others, I make it because I need to create.

“Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.” -The Moon and Sixpence by William Somerset Maugham

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Based on the life of artist Paul Gauguin, Maugham writes about an man who escapes his life to live and create art in Tahiti. He abandons all that is familiar to him–wife, home, friends–because his need to create is greater than his known life. An artist must create or his soul will whither. Creation will define itself for the artist. Writing, painting, composing. Any urge to create or construct beauty from chaos. To bring light into the darkness of the soul.

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And so it is time for me to create new beauty in my life. I’m working towards becoming debt free by 31. I may end up living on a boat or moving to New York, but I’ll decide that for sure in a few months. One year ago today, we filed for divorce. As I look back over the year, and then look ahead, I am more and more excited about what the future holds. I never knew broken glass could shine so brightly.

Falling in Love in a New York Minute

There were so many beautiful photos to choose from, so I had to narrow it down to the top 12. More dialogue on my love affair with NYC later…

We started off the first morning with breakfast at Tiffany’s, perused the diamonds, strolled through Central Park, and simply enjoyed the city.

The beautiful architecture and signage found all around the city left me amazed. Welcome to the literary bar of the century.

Just gotta appreciate the NYC Metro. People falling asleep on each other, dudes selling incense and “black soap(?),” and the opportunity to have a conversation with someone that will inevitably include the 30 people standing around and on top of you.

Had to have my fortune read by Zoltar on the Coney Island boardwalk. Love the movie Big with Tom Hanks. AND Splash with Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, & John Candy which ALSO takes place in NYC.

“Lecrecious the Walrus,” painted by Rob Fricke, my outlaw once removed. Referenced from a novel by my brother The Literary Man.

The Cyclone. World famous roller coaster on the board walk. I will say that the construction looks quite shotty, but at least your friends could say that you died on The Cyclone?

The New York Aquarium mural at Coney Island.

I love Ferris Wheels

“If Paris is France, Coney Island, between June and September, is the world.”

Meet me at the Empire State. We sat below on a roof top bar, and the Empire State building disappeared into the night fog. The scene was just perfect for drinking a Manhattan.

“Crab Kalash aka Khlav Kalash” -Part of a photo project my sister in law has been working on for the past several years. That’s an Alabama flag if you were curious. Also, the title is derived from the Simpsons episode “New York City Vs. Homer Simpson.”

Aquarium mural at Coney Island. I plan to paint this in very large scale.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49sj6x2OmC4]

Hawaiian Photography

-New photos up on the art and photography page-

a little taste of heaven