Book Review: The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

About the book:

Expected publication: April 13th 2021 by Lake Union Publishing

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins. 

My thoughts:

When we hear of Venice, we think of, art, music, festivals, food, religion, beautiful architecture and the Grand Canal. In the late 1930’s there was a war looming but many of the people of Venice thought surely with their rich culture, and Mussolini’s pact with Germany, they wouldn’t be affected

Juliet “Lettie” Browning, an English woman, is a woman of strength and courage. The life she experienced and saw during her stay in Venice were during uncertain times. Her will to behave uprightly puts her in many dangers but her resilience is an example to us all. I will say at times I felt that she might be too perfect to be true but those thoughts didn’t take away my admiration of kindness towards others.

I enjoyed reading about the people Juliet met and formed relationships with in Venice. They are such extraordinary people in their own unique ways, you begin to feel kinship to them. The author’s character development is superb.

As an artist I appreciate the author’s focus on much of the arts in Venice. Reading about the people’s love and their understanding and importance of art brought richness to the story. There was a scene where Juliet was taking an art class and her professor, in so many words, talked about forgetting everything she learned and turn the objects, she was drawing, into one design. Bravo!

With dual time-lines, Caroline’s story intertwines perfectly with Juliet’s and find yourself fully immersed in their lives. I know this may sound like a cliché but I truly did not want the story to end. In fact, there are several character’s in the book that I would love to read more about their back story.

There were previous comments from me stating that I was burned out on Word War II stories but when I saw this one, I knew that I had to read it. Bowen does a marvelous undertaking in portraying the Venice culture and spirit of the people. I was not disappointed one bit and I highly recommend this story.

I’ve rated this book five stars and obtained a galley copy from the publishers through NetGalley. My opinions and thoughts of the story are my own.

Stephanie Hopkins

Art Captured Through the Lens of a Camera

Photo taken by WSM Photography

As I mentioned in a previous post, a photographer captures a moment in an instant and holds it without change. The photo captures an existence of different mediums such as landscape, portraits, buildings, and any other form you can think of. We see these images through a photographer’s eye. Such as an artist who captures images on canvas or a writer who captures them with words, a photographer’s photo is the same concept.

Today I am showcasing Photographer Scott Moore’s new print shop where you can purchase his notable photos. I do know some of the current photos in his shop are limited editions. If you are interested in them, you should make your purchase soon. I highly recommend his work. I have a print of his Milk Way Balance photo and it is outstanding quality. In fact, so much so when looking at the image, I can picture the movement of the night sky and imagine what the ancient rocks (Balance Rock) must have seen throughout history. If those towers could talk… I’m looking forward to having the photo framed to add to my night art collection. -Stephanie Hopkins

About the Photographer

Scott Moore brings 20+ years of architecture and design experience. This Experience has covering every aspect of architecture, from conceptual design through completed built projects. This experience and his knowledge of architecture is what make his approach to photography unique. While shooting architecture professionally for 9+ years, the shots taken are with an understanding of an architect’s vision of our built environment.

If you are interested in purchasing one of his prints, visit his Print Shop  

Instagram

WSM Photography Blog  

My 2017 Q&A With Photographer Scott Moore

WSM Photography Photo images are subjected to copyright. In order to use WSM’s photo images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins or Scott Moore

Has Mixed Media Art Really Evolved that Much?

I’ve pondered about how I wanted to talk about mixed media art’s origins for quite sometime now. Which is difficult because I know I will ruffle some feathers with a few of my comments about the industry today.  

Allow me to first begin by giving a little lesson of what the craft represents. Or mediums, I should say, because mixed media art is taking different types of materials and combining them to make art. Whether it is paper, paint, wood, metal, clay, leaves, tree bark, thread, textile, plastic, and collage. Really this form of art can be made from anything. It’s combining two or more elements of materials that makes it mixed media art.

For the most part, the Art industry tells us that mixed media art began around 1912 with artists such as Picasso and Georges Braque. While I understand the art shift during that period-I’ve studied art history- these artists brought it to the forefront, the medium itself is much older than the turn of the 20th Century.

Today’s mixed media art is widely known for collage, 3-D arrangements of objects, multi-media, altered books, art tags, ATCs-which have been created much longer than one might think-and other mediums not listed.

Who are some of these leading mixed media artists today that sell supplies and their brand to create many of these wonderful art projects?

Not too long ago, scrap-booking was all the rage and many of the mixed media artists we see today, evolved their scrapbook supply business to mixed media art. Meaning, the industry changed somewhat and people started channeling their memory recording to different methods, such as altering books, making junk journals and so on… Now don’t get me wrong; people have been doing this for generations. Decades really. Actually, since ancient times. People back in the day didn’t have the volume of materials we do today and they would use what materials they had around their home and the land around them.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing and we all put our spin on the craft or add our own style to make it our own. We find solace and comfort in crafting.

It is wonderful we have so many creative people sharing their techniques they’ve learned but please don’t be fooled that they are always originals. Even the designs or supplies they use to sell are not all originals. I’ve seen many of the designs, stencils and ephemera used for sale long before they came out with them online and from other sources. I do understand and know about copyright, out of print and buying rights…but please don’t pass them off as your creations or never correct people when they say how brilliant your designs are.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire many artists in this field but I keep my eyes open and I’m aware that the true founders of the craft are originated from many civilizations long ago. I look forward to discussing further about the question of has mixed media art really evolved that much? Or the mind-set that goes into the craft-if you will.

Keep learning. Keep creating. Be you. You got this!

Stephanie Hopkins

Why I Chose to Combine Literature, Art and Photography at Layered Pages

Writers breathe life into characters with words and their book is their canvas. A writer’s art is to gather elements of life, places, time and situations and weave them to form stories. To design a story that draws a reader in and leaves an impression that has the reader emotionally invested is an art.

An Artist creates art through a canvas or sculpture to express mood, emotion and self-expression. Often times there is chaos in those mediums that expresses what many relate to in life or they trigger memories. When artists do this, they bring the essence of the human condition and their surroundings to life expressed through the different styles of their work and bring a powerful reality through their creations.

A Photographer captures a moment in an instant and holds it without change. The photo captures an existence of different mediums such as landscape, portraits, buildings, and any other form you can think of. We see these images through a photographer’s eye. Like an artist who captures images on canvas or a writer who captures them with words, a photographer’s photo is the same concept.

Each medium l have presented here is an expression and in its simplest form, each medium tells a story.  My passion at Layered Pages is to capture their essence and to give understanding to the craft so people will have a deeper understanding of these mediums and their importance to our society.

Stephanie Hopkins

Greetings From Layered Pages

Hello Fellow Readers and Artists,

I hope this letter finds you well and you’ve had a lovely and productive week. My hours have been filled with writing, reading, studying, new art projects and reflection. I have many exciting posts to share with you all in the coming weeks and months.

I did complete my index card art challenge a few days ago. However, I am not featuring them this week after all. Next week I will be sharing the remaining cards I created with a picture(s) of the entire collection (100 cards) as well.

If you haven’t already, please, take the time to read at my posts from earlier on this week. I want to wish you all a lovely and blessed weekend.

I leave you with a quote from Charles Dickens.

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”    

Regards,

Stephanie Hopkins

Index Card Challenge: Part 14

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020 is going by so fast! Today, I’m sharing part 14 of this challenge which entails days 88-95. This challenge is just about completed!

Most of the materials I am using for these cards are my painted collage papers I make on a regular basis. I’m also using magazine clippings and images from old books for collage. As well as Tim Holtz and other artists ephemera you can purchase online or at craft stores.  Many of these cards will be used for my 2021 Journals. Others I want to either frame for make another art piece out of them using the collage method.

The images with three cards (Day 92) was a special series I painted inspired on a morning stroll from the previous day. I had taken lots of photos of landscapes, beautiful shrubbery and wanted to use colors I saw depicting our walk. The colors are so vibrant! Really pleased how they turned out and they have given me inspiration for other art pieces. They would look fantastic in frames!

There are several challenge days you can choose for this challenge and I chose 100 days. Check out Part 13 post in this challenge HERE, where I include more details of this art adventure.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

Art in Motion

This post is the first in a series that will explore confidence in your art, expectations, encouragement and finding your style in creating your own master piece.  Today I’m discussing about when you get stuck on a piece and you’re not sure how break down that barrier.

Don’t force the process. If you’re not feeling it, take a step back and examine what you’ve created thus far. Or come back to your piece at a later time. You’ll be amazed when stepping back builds your self confidence in what you are creating. People tend to give up too easily and throw out their art piece and give up. Don’t fall into that trap.

When you come back to it, put aside expectations and enjoy the journey of each layer you add to your art. Be in the present of mind and never doubt the outcome. You’ll learn and grow with each piece of art you create. -Stephanie Hopkins

Other Related Post Link:

What Are Warn and Cool Colors?

Abstract Impressionism

My latest pieces will feature some of the influences of Abstract Impressionism. My fascination for layers, texture and the depth come from this form of art from many artists I have studied over the years. No only that, but from patterns and colors I observe in nature and how they coincide with each other. Later on, I will be discussing further about my interest in the medium, the artists that inspire me and when I first discovered my passion for Abstract Impressionism.

This past Thursday, Georgia had a wicked storm come through and over a million people were out of power. Of course, that was the day I had planned on starting new art pieces. The lighting was poor in my art area so I eventually moved my panels to the kitchen island. I am working with Birch and MDF Boards and I have begun the first layers of three and prepping the others with Gesso. The third piece is not shown in these pictures. Have a blessed weekend! -Stephanie Hopkins

The definition of Abstract Impressionism according to Wikipedia: “Is an art movement that originated in New York City, in the 1940’s.  It involves the painting of a subject such as real-life scenes, objects, or people (portraits) in an Impressionist-style, but with an emphasis on varying measures of abstraction. The paintings are often painted en plein air, an artistic style involving painting outside with the landscape directly in front of the artist. The movement works delicately between the lines of pure abstraction (the extent of which varies greatly) and the allowance of an impression of reality in the painting.”

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

Index Card Challenge: Part 13

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020 is going by so fast! Today, I’m sharing part 13 of this challenge which entails days 81-87.

Most of the materials I am using for these cards are my painted collage papers I make on a regular basis. I’m also using magazine clippings and images from old books for collage. As well as Tim Holtz and other artists ephemera you can purchase online or at craft stores.  Many of these cards will be used for my 2021 Journals. Others I want to either frame for make another art piece out of them using the collage method.

There are several challenge days you can choose for this challenge and I chose 100 days. Check out Part 12 post in this challenge HERE, where I include more details of this art adventure.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

Dream Builder

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

You want to create art with paints and all sorts of mediums but you don’t know where to begin or you’re afraid that you’ll mess up? Guess what? You can’t mess up. Create what you love. Below are some tips on how to leave that self-doubt in the dust.

Tips to create:

Don’t think too much about it.
Learn by experimenting.
Don’t pay attention to what others think.
Validation comes from within.
Get messy.
Tear into your paper.
Lose all self-doubt.
Free your mind.
Have fun.
You got this!

Next week I will be talking a little about colors.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins