Image of the Month: Water Reflection

Reflection by Stephanie Hopkins

Reflection of the soul is like looking at a pond. You can only see what is when there is calm. – Andy Fox

This picture was taken in the beginning of April when a few of the trees were still waiting for its leaves to bloom-if you will. I’ve taken pictures of this particular scene during all four seasons throughout the years, and it never gets old. I’m always discovering something new, such as reflection, color, shades of nature or volume of water. Whenever I stroll down the path that takes me to the landscape, I am filled with peace and gratitude. -Stephanie Hopkins

March Image of the Month: Spring

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

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April: Book Round-Up

This month’s reading was an adventure to say the least. I wasn’t sure how much time I would have for ready considering the amount of time I have been putting in to creating art and other pursuits. I found myself reading at odd times. I’m quite pleased that I read a book a week. After reading The Four Winds, I was going to start on Heart of the Frontier by Brittany Larsen, Jen Geigle Johnson, Jennie Hansen and Carolyn Twede Frankmm but I felt like reading a modern-day story and read Home by Harlan Coben instead. I enjoyed every single book I read this month and excited about May’s reading forecast. -Stephanie Hopkins

Number of pages read in April: 1,570

Here are the titles I’ve read for March and the review post dates:

Home (Myron Bolitar #11) by Harlan Coben

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown

Love Story (The Baxter Family #1) by Karen Kingsbury

Art in Motion: Spring Abundance

Abstract Painting by Stephanie Hopkins

“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.” – Victor Hugo

Be sure to check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

Weekend Musings

Floral Painting (ATC) by Stephanie Hopkins

This morning I woke up feeling the coolness of the morning air and sounds of rain and wind. My first thought was to stay snuggled under the covers for a bit longer. As my thoughts wondered to holding a hot cup of coffee while looking out the window, and my morning painting, I got out of bed with anticipation of starting my day.

Lately, I haven’t thought much about the weekend during the week. The days seem to blur together while time continues to pass. I have to admit, I don’t mind it so much. But today is different. Last night, I looked forward to Saturday. Why, I asked myself. I couldn’t explain it really. It was just a feeling. Then this morning it came to me. I haven’t spent a lot of time reading as I had been and I wanted to finish my current book and read at least one more book before the month is up. The weekend allows for such opportunities.

Saturday Morning Abstract Painting by Stephanie Hopkins

I’m currently reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and want to start Heart of the Frontier by Brittany Larsen, Jen Geigle Johnson, Jennie Hansen and Carolyn Twede Frank. The Four Winds is absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it. I will share more of my thoughts about the story in the near future.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend and God bless. -Stephanie

Be sure to check out my Mixed Media Art Gallery and Instagram to see more of my art journey!

Original Artwork by Stephanie Hopkins

(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Cover Crush: You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon

About the cover: I love when a layout shows the persons face! The rain and colors of grey and to lighter colors on the bottom of the layout, really makes it stand out. That said, it is a simple cover but nonetheless, the cover made me want to find out more about the story.

About the book: I discovered this book from Margaret with Just One More Chapter. She had posted about it on social media and discussed a little about how it went with a theme for her latest Kindle read. You Will Remember Me is mystery thriller and with the cover and premise combined, it looks like a great book to curl up with on a stormy night! -Stephanie Hopkins

Book Description:

Forget the truth.

Remember the lies.

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything–his identity, his life, his loved ones–has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

Shared fates intertwine in a twisty, explosive novel of suspense, where unearthing the past might just mean being buried beneath it.

May Your Garden Grow

May Your Garden Grow Abstract Painting by Stephanie Hopkins

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities in the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a panting I’m currently working on that I can’t wait to share with you all! So far, it has become one of my favorites! Spring and Summer really inspires my creativity and I find that my best work comes from these seasons. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this little abstract on a 4”x 6” index card. They are so much fun to doodle and craft with and a great way to explore new ideas for other art projects. Happy Wednesday and God bless! – Stephanie Hopkins

Be sure to check out my Mixed Media Art Gallery and Instagram to see more of my art journey!

Art in Motion: Depth of Nature

Abstract Painting by Stephanie Hopkins

“The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.” – Paul Klee

Be sure to check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

Cover Crush: The Well by Stephanie Landsem

About the cover: I’ve examined this cover so much that I’m second guessing myself on if I have shared this one already or not. If so, refreshers are good.

If I were to rate the book cover, I’d give it five stars, maybe more. You can see the woman’s face! Well, her profile but that is a lot better than seeing her back. The landscape is stunning and the colors vibrant and evoking. I love everything about this cover design. Including the title, oh, and the author has a beautiful name. Hint, hint.

About the book: I have mixed feelings about Biblical re-telling’s and Christian fiction in general. Often times they are unrealistic water-downed (no pun intended) and one must always remember that these re-telling’s are fictional that draw from details and facts from the Bible. Or the reader hopes so… If you’re not certain, it’s best to go straight to the source. As I said above, I have mixed feelings about this medium of story- telling, however, as a story enthusiast, person of faith and my love for history, I’m highly interested in this one.

If you are a reader of the Bible, you will know the story of Jacob’s well in the New Testament. If I recall, the passage is in the book of John. The well and where it is situated is a notable and historic site today. The story of Jacob goes all the way back to the Old Testament.

As The Well goes, Landsem takes us to the Samaritan Village and introduces us to a woman and her family who is shunned for their mother’s sins. Then one day, two men arrive to their village, one of them is Jesus. His teachings of faith and belief in God sending His son to save us, service, love, forgiveness, kindness and hope are about Christian life.

Not everything turns out the way we want them to and bad things happen but I firmly believe in redemption and a higher purpose to our strife in life. I look forward to reading this story. – Stephanie Hopkins

Grungy abstract inspired by the landscape in the background of the book cover. -by Stephanie Hopkins

More about the story:

Paperback, 304 pages

Published June 4th 2013 by Howard Books

In the rich tradition of Francine Rivers’s Lineage of Grace series, comes a beautiful retelling of the biblical story of the woman at the well—bringing to life this poignant young woman struggling to survive love and heartbreak.

For the women of the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is a place of blessing—the place where they gather to draw their water and share their lives—but not for Mara and her family. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Mara struggles against the constant threats of starvation or exile.

But Mara and her mother, Nava’s lives are forever changed with the arrival of two men: Shem, a mysterious and wealthy young man from Caesarea, and Jesus, a Jewish teacher. Nava is transformed by Jesus, with his talk of forgiveness, but his teachings come too late and she is stoned by the villagers for her past sins. Desperate to save her mother, Mara and Shem embark on a journey to seek Jesus’ help—a journey that brings unexpected love and hope, despite great difficulties.

In The Well, debut novelist Stephanie Landsem brings to life the culture and people of Jesus’ day, skillfully demonstrating how redemption can bring about the life-changing effects of forgiveness and love. 

Be sure to check out my Mixed Media Art Gallery and Instagram to see more of my art journey!

Book Review: Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg

Published April 6th 2021 by She Writes Press

Margaret Rodenberg brings us a story of Emperor Napoleon’s defeat and his exile on the Island of Helena in what is still, consider to this day, one of the most remote Island on earth. Finding Napoleon is about his final years and his plot to escape the Island and rescue his son. While on the Island, trust in the people surrounding him is quite the skill to say the least.

In the beginning, I felt as if the characters were moving parts in a play. Told where to stand, what to say and when to say it. I’m not sure that makes much sense but, in better words, I felt very little for them and that very well may be the point. Napoleon was using them and they were using him. We aren’t meant to have warm and fuzzy feelings for these people. They weren’t exactly pillars of society in terms of being moral and honest people. In my opinion, they were opportunist. As for the people of the Island, Tobyson, Hercules and Betsy were good people and despite Napoleon’s faults, they held him in high regard.

While Napoloen’s love affair with Albine wasn’t particularly “romantic”, I felt the author’s portrayal of their relationship realistic. That said, I still haven’t completely decided how I feel about Albine or her relations with Napoleon for that matter. Afterall, she was a married woman and I don’t say this with naivety. I’m well aware of the culture during that time. Maybe she felt she had to do what she did for survival.

Albine is a complex woman and people considered her a liar and a loose woman. Though many of the very people who said those things about her, were no better. In the end, she made good on a promise to Napoleon and I had to admire her for that. I would like to believe that leaving that Island and her changed circumstances in life, made her a better person in the end.

I feel Rosenberg depicted Napoleon’s ego as how I have always imagined it to be. Napoleon is intelligent and he very well knows it. He is always scheming and, in my opinion, using people for his own purpose and pleasures. He is a master manipulator. Despite his thirst for his own glory or survival-if you will-I found his interest in the world and how things worked intriguing to read about. He is a good listener and you do see a softer side to him in this story but I remain-rightfully so- suspicious of his motives.

I’ve read many novels about Napoleon but very little of his time on St. Helena or the end of his life in-depth such as this one. Nor was I familiar with the fact he began to write a story that was unfinished. That was exciting to learn and it intrigued me enough to read this book and wanting to know the author’s take on the history. I can’t help but wonder what his life would have been life if he had chosen a different path. He could have possibly done so much good with his intellect and charismatic personality.

You are reading two different stories with Finding Napoleon and how Rosenberg beautifully weaves Napoleon’s writing efforts into the time line and expanding on the story, is close to brilliant.

I appreciate the author’s obvious fascination with Napoleon. He is definitely a hot topic for discussion and this fact certainly shows in this book.

I recommend Finding Napoleon to readers who are already familiar with Napoleon’s life before his stay on the Island.

Stephanie Hopkins

I obtained a copy from the Publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

More about the book:

With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte’s real attempt to write a novel, Finding Napoleon offers a fresh take on Europe’s most powerful man after he’s lost everything. A forgotten woman of history–Napoleon’s last love, the audacious Albine de Montholon–narrates their tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal.

After the defeated Emperor Napoleon goes into exile on tiny St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic, he and his lover, Albine de Montholon, plot to escape and rescue his young son. Banding together African slaves, British sympathizers, a Jewish merchant, a Corsican rogue, and French followers, they confront British opposition–as well as treachery within their own ranks–with sometimes subtle, sometimes bold, but always desperate action.
When Napoleon and Albine break faith with one another, ambition and Albine’s husband threaten their reconciliation. To succeed, Napoleon must learn whom to trust. To survive, Albine must decide whom to betray.

Two hundred years after Napoleon’s death, this elegant, richly researched novel reveals a relationship history conceals.

Weird Wednesday: An Exploration of Our Quirky World

Sketch: A Study of Abstract Wildlife

We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a joint series, partnered with our friends at before the second sleep, that explores the often times quirky side of our world. Today, I’m exploring abstraction and this post will be my last in the exploration series. I enjoyed this adventure and I’m looking forward to exploring new upcoming series coming soon to Layered Pages.

Abstract art is seen as peculiar by many but I can assure you, it makes more sense than you realize. Abstract art is not meant to represent-if you will-an accurate image of the subject. But instead, exploring shapes, colors, form, and marks to create depth, to achieve the implied. I have observed through this medium, that abstraction helps one’s critical thinking and will heighten your sense of appreciation for simplicity and wonders in the world around you.

Sketch: Water’s Edge

The sketch to the left is not finished. I’m constancy referring to my sketches and looking for new details-like movement, lines and shapes. They help give me a new start for my actual art pieces. They are my doodles for inspiration-if you will. This particular sketch is from different landscape paintings that I collage into one piece. My mixed media art gallery shows more of my work inspired from these sketches.

When creating abstract, I am among those who do not do it for the sake of creating art, but to explore the many avenues of expression and where it leads me. Art should tell a story and moreover, the artist’s emotions often show through their creations. What we see, hear, think, feel and touch is channeled through our craft.

Acrylic Painting on Paper: Reflection in the Water

More times than not, I tend to use influences of Impressionism in my art. There are those who look at abstract in a Geometrical form, like in the tradition of Cubists artists such as Picasso and Braque. They depend more on order and calculations. They are creating rhythmic shapes- like music. While I find all that rather intriguing, I’ve noticed my art doesn’t often sway that way. Though ti might one day. Never say never.

Lately, I have been exploring the movement of water, and how objects and nature glide or reflect on the surface. The pictures in my sketch book above and the photos below, show my interest in abstract and gives me inspiration to expand on those ideas.

There is an extraordinary amount of meaning to abstraction, to explore and discuss. If you are not familiar with this style of art or do not have in mind the purpose of the medium, I highly recommend studying for yourself. You will be surprised how this form of expression will open new doors for you. I hope you enjoyed this series and I want to encourage you to explore mixed media art and the value it will bring to your life. -Stephanie

Be sure to check out my Mixed Media Art Gallery and Instagram to see more of my art journey!

Original Artwork by Stephanie Hopkins

(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)