E-commerce -vs- Local Shopping

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Today I did something I have never wanted to do. I like to buy all my art supplies at local businesses…like Dick Blick or Utrecht to support these business who also serve art students. I do this because I remember needing something right away right away in school to work on a piece and I was always so grateful to be able to run to Utrect or Dick Blick or even Michael’s to pick it up. The stores would be gloriously stocked with anything you could ever want and most often you’d buy something cool while gathering a necessity. If Utrect or Blick stores were too far and it was an ART EMERGENCY (they exist!!), I would go to Michaels. Today I needed a tube of Windsor & Newton Quinacridone paint for a commissioned painting.  When I perused online, Utrect/Blick was going to cost me $30 for a small tube! Crazy high cost! So…I check Michaels and learned that they had it cheaper, however they don’t carry professional grade supplies in all their stores any longer.  If I purchased it online I would have to pay $10 to get it relatively quickly…like within 10 days. So…while I fidgeted in my seat (because of my desire to support local) I checked out Amazon…ding! Not only did I get it cheaper, but they will ship it free to receive it by tomorrow. I feel like I may have just sold a piece of my soul to the online devil and I feel really bad to do this…but businesses and e-commerce, I hope, will figure out a better solution. Some places, like Home Depot, will let you snag something online from their store and pick it up down the street relatively quickly and I wish more stores would do that. Perhaps someday I will be able to seek out smaller art supply stores that may be of assistance. Sigh….I am just happy to be able to get my paint by tomorrow.

Just beyond the horizon….life blooms…..

6/9/15…I cannot believe the amazing support I have received from my followers, collectors, and friends. Thank you all for being on this journey with me. No matter what new things the days bring, knowing you are there with me makes everything crazier, better, happier, and more worthwhile.  – Catie

 

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Journey…n. c.1200, “a defined course of traveling; one’s path in life,” from Old French journee “day’s work or travel”.

 

This blog has always been about my creative journey…the idea came from my commencement speaker, Renzo Piano, at graduation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Renzo advised us graduates to not measure our career by the day or even the month or year…but instead by the decade. We should look back at each decade to see how far we have come in our artistic journey and make sure we continue moving forward at our own pace.  Looking back at the past decade I see that in the beginning of it I was a frustrated bookkeeper who knew there was something much greater for me just beyond the horizon and wishing myself the courage to pursue it.

 

Although I haven’t written a post since December (wow….first of all I cannot believe I have been so remiss) it doesn’t mean that nothing has been going on!  I have been busy working as a contracted Social Media Liaison for the St Charles Arts Council and have loved further honing my social media and marketing skills doing so. It has given me the opportunity to meet the most amazing artists and art supporters, work side by side with passionate people providing creative opportunities for artists, and helping to make the dream of having a cultural/arts education center in my city of St Charles, Illinois get closer to fruition!  I have also been busy creating a new body of work in a different direction that involves adding new biologic elements to my flowers (stay tuned for that).

 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.   –Mark Twain

 

Over the past few years I have been feeling an increasing pull to the wild adventure of the West…to witness the never ending sun filled blue skies…to explore the grand mountains standing sentry…to dream of new landscapes…and to follow the footsteps of my parents and sister.  Being born in Chicago and raised from age 2 in the suburbs here has been a great thing! This is my home and has been my entire life. Over the years, since my parents moved to Arizona, I have made an amazing family here…personally and professionally. I am both nervous and anxious to announce that it is time to leave my safe harbor…move along on my journey…and head West. I am grateful to say that I will be able to spend time and enjoy my parents for the rest of their journey!  I am excited to share all the new inspiration I will receive as I explore the Southwest and continue to allow my interpretations be expressed in paint…or even perhaps photography!

 

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.  -Christopher Columbus

 

Again I find myself wishing for the courage to pursue what lies just beyond that horizon. I am not sure when this new journey will begin. Our home in downtown St Charles just went on the market.  I am going to enjoy each moment of it IN each moment of it.  I hope you continue to come along for the ride!

 

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My 2015 wish for you…

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Happy 2015!

I have a wish for you….

I wish you to see the beauty in all things – large things and small things.
I wish you to embrace the idea of silly and strive to be it often!
I wish you to start a conversation with an artist (it may seem scary but we love it!).
I wish you to buy an original piece of artwork that you love (and the story with it).
I wish you to see the world with the wonderment of a child’s eye.
I wish you more laughter and love than you can handle!
I wish you whimsy!

These are all things I try myself to strive for each and every year; some years it’s easier than others. Thank you for being on this journey with me this past year and I’m looking forward to better embracing my artistic whimsy this coming year!

Jump Start YOUR Holidays!

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I have heard from family, friends, art collectors, and many others how fabulous it feels to give someone they love artwork for gifts. Not only do you make the person you love happy by giving the amazing artwork, but you make it possible for the artists and artisans to continue pursuing their dreams.  This year, in the Cedar Avenue Studio building, we have expanded our annual Holiday Open Studio event to include guest artists, other small local businesses, children’s activities, as well as charity raffle opportunities. We hope you will join us between 10am-5pm over the weekend of November 8th and 9th!

Items available will be original artwork, jewelry, notecards, bookmarks, calendars, matted prints, framed prints, photography, and so much more. If you have any questions, you can email me at catie@catarzina.com.

We are so proud to also include Christine Welch of The Coffeecake Connection (website) who will be offering up her gluten free treats as well as taking orders for holiday delivery! She has agreed to offer discounts to those who come this weekend to place their orders and assures me she will offer Thanksgiving delivery as well.

1020 Cedar Avenue is located 1/4 mile east of Route 25 and one block north of Route 64 (Main Street). Our building is located behind Reber and Foley and we have plenty of parking available!  Hope to see you there!

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The Cedar Avenue Studio artists hosted a September Soiree in the Skylight Gallery space during the Charlie’s Center for the Arts weekend in St. Charles. Thank you to everyone who came!  A lot of artwork was sold off the walls as well as prints and cards.  It was a great time and something we hope to do again next year! Thank you to Anne Ressman Zabinski, Amy Furio, Laura Stoecker, John Granata, and Al DaValle for participating!

Photos from sea…

My last Alaska post makes me melancholy. It was so great to share and relive this trip through this blog!

I found, after all the destination images and text, there was a large cache of images that were just taken “at sea” while our ship cut through the multicolored waters – in and out of mist and fog and sunshine.  We traveled often during the crazy long daylight hours and the sunsets every evening were forever imprinted in our hearts.  Below are some of the amazing images we captured, although it should be noted that photos can never really capture the magic of the visions we were treated to.

First are photos of the incredible mountainous islands. There is much deforestation taking place, however all trees that are removed are replaced with new seedings giving the two very different shades of green. The trees that are being cut down look as though they are over 100′ tall with only about 20′ of branches on the top. The forests are so thick that nothing grows under the canopy. Logs are piled up and then shipped on the water by tugboats.

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There were many inlets along the way and I wish I had a small boat to check them all out! Although it was clear and sunny, I could not get over the atmosphere magic that created some of the most amazing images.

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I captured some of the most interesting images that were just located in the water…the color of the sky reflecting in it and the movement from our ship making such amazing patterns.

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And then there are the sunsets…..and we actually saw the majestic purple mountains sung about in America the Beautiful!

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Each evening, during what seemed like a magic hour, the sunlight would be strong enough to push through the clouds. These rays of light reminded me of what I imagine the reactions were when Nikola Tesla first lit up the Chicago sky during the World’s Columbia Exposition in 1893. You’ll see what I mean…

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We were also treated to the occasional visit from water friends! We saw whales and dolphins!

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But I think my favorite night, sitting watching the captivating sunsets, was our last evening at sea. The outdoor movie theater on the ship (which we never made it to because nighttime was quite chilly and breezy) was showing a Pavarotti concert. We could not see the screen from our balcony, but we could hear that amazing voice! Pavarotti playing in the background, the ocean breezes on our face, the sun just hovering over the horizon with boats heading home for the night, and lastly a full moon coming up in the other direction made for the most sublime evening. Yep…Alaska was my Eden.

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Thank you for coming along on my spiritual journey. It was the trip of a lifetime and I was so grateful to spend the time with my parents and husband. I appreciate their willingness to stop and wait as I snapped photos. They were so patient with me. I learned so much about photography and I have a much better understanding for their passion to capture what their eyes see. I also understand their ambitious yearning to share their intimate secret moments with the world. There is an intimacy between the camera and the photographer and I hope that you all share in that solitude moment when you have viewed these images. If you ever get the chance to go to Alaska…I hope that you will do so. It is truly magical and I hope to get back there again!

 

Ketchikan – the Alaskan playground!

We excitedly welcomed back the sunshine and warm temperatures as we headed into Ketchikan! Our ship’s balcony faced out into the waters rather than the port side and it was the way more entertaining option.  The first thing I heard when I woke up was the humming and roaring of airplane engines. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my camera, and ran onto the balcony. To my left were ten float planes lined up to land right at my feet in the water with various fishing boats headed towards the planes in the water.

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How fun these were to watch! Growing up near the insane O’Hare Airport in Chicago has made me highly aware of how busy the skies can be; however O’Hare has nothing on the airplane activity in Ketchikan! Since I didn’t see a control tower anywhere, I concluded that these pilots have a great communication system and respect for each other to orchestrate their takeoffs and landings. I sat there and just watched the water traffic for hours before it was time to check out the town!

One of the main attractions in Ketchikan is Creek Street. It’s not only the shopping district, but it used to be the red light district featuring Dolly’s where good times were guaranteed.

“I realized I could make a lot more money from the attentions of men than I could waiting tables.” – Dolly Arthur

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Ketchikan also has amazing art studios and galleries! The streets are lined with Alaskan heritage attractions and a bustling port!

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I even got Dad to sit with a couple of friends he made while walking around the shops near the pier.

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I think when I come back to Alaska it will be a longer trip because I would like to spend more time here enjoying the blue waters and sunshine!

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Ketchikan was our last port to visit. The remainder of our trip would be wandering through islands and bays as we make our way to Vancouver!

Juneau

When we arrived in Juneau, we were continuing on our misty cloudy days. It was damp and cool but really not uncomfortable at all. Juneau…you can only get into and out of Juneau by boat or plane. Who knew?? When we first pulled in I could not believe how many boats there were. After learning about the only way in and out, it makes perfect sense!

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We were originally planning to take a helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier on this day, but the fog was way too low for the ‘copters to fly so we wound up taking a bus to the glacier but we would no longer be able to stand on it. Sigh. First, we trammed out way up to Mt. Roberts!

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We measured our wing spans, saw eagles, watched a totem be carved, and learned about the signs that are carved in the trees around the area. The particular native sign on the tree below asks viewers to stop and find the reason why this place is so special.

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After Mt. Roberts we boarded a bus to head to Mendenhall! This was a must-see stop! Juneau is the governmental capital of Alaska although there is rumors amongst the locals that they may transfer this back to Anchorage. There is fear by the people of Juneau because it may then ruin the city of Juneau if most of their population leaves town.

Mendenhall Glacier is currently retreating and it was about 60 degrees when we were there. It was such a beautiful place!

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Onto our last port….Ketchikan!

 

 

Glacier Bay National Park….my own personal mecca!

This post may require grabbing a cup of coffee.  There will be a lot of images and each one is worthy of a significant amount of your time. This place is beyond words and each word I type shows me how insignificant language is for this hallowed place. If I had seen this place as a child, I would be working there as a Ranger protecting it with a ferocious passion. Here we go…

Towards the end of this year I will turn 50. Therefore it’s of no surprise that I have been longing for a spiritual adventure. With family in the southwest, I had always imagined it would come somewhere on a mountain hike there or perhaps New Mexico via my artwork. Never in my life had I imagined it would take place in Alaska! Alaska….really….Alaska!  I cannot recall the last time I was so “in” the moment before Glacier Bay National Park. This time I was filled with electricity. I had a narrative playing on the television in our cabin and I was hopping in and out of the balcony door like a small child jumping on the stairway gate on Christmas morning. I could not sit still! At breakfast I was anxious and eager to get back to the balcony and when looking outside it looked the mists of Avalon and the water was eerily still as it swished along our bow.

Here is the imagery that made me run back to my balcony! Something really great was coming into our view….

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As we entered the park, we were treated by otters!

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As we moved into the park we were treated to the vision of a sea of ice….and waterfalls….and interesting inlets.  Even what looked like a very small sailboat. Imagine what an adventure THAT would be!

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Something interesting I learned during this adventure was the way the Rangers take care of the park. In order for our ship to enter into Glacier Bay National Park, we had to allow park security personnel to board our ship to assure them we were ready. In order to be “ready” the ship had to stow away all disposable products. All paper napkins, straws, coffee stirrers, tissues…anything that could possibly be blown into the water area had to be put out of sight. The personnel also stayed aboard our ship until we were leaving the park and then they would transfer back on to their own boats in the water. Our ship was also guided by security boats creating invisible ropes in which we had to stay. As the ship turned into the bay, my eyes and my heart synced together in the most magical of moments. Enjoy the images….

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Just when I thought it could not get any better….it did!  We were idling alongside this huge glacier and everything was so very quiet. There were no voices…no motor sounds…no birds or bugs…just peace. Then out of the blue we heard a loud thunderous CRACK and I was scanning the glacier with my camera lens…it was calving!!!

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As the ship continued on its journey through the park…and I was speechless and not wanting time to move forward for one moment…I just wanted to stay in this moment)…we came around to this amazing glacial cave.

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Then I realized how difficult it was to show the scale of this cave…good thing there was a boat nearby!

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As we left Glacier Bay National Park, we were treated to more ice in the water. I was so taken aback by these images and felt compelled to capture their shapes along with the various shades the water kept turning in the Park. The water in Alaska is so interesting. The water was constantly changing from deep blues to Caribbean aqua to minty greens to almost brown.

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But all there was to see was not necessarily water.  As excited as I was to see glaciers, I was also very aware of their fragility and the sadness I feel when I think they are something that may eventually leave. I believe nothing depicts the violence of the creation and extinction of this area as some of the rocks that were jutting out of the water. These images show the scarring that occurred in the development of this place.

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On our way out of the park, we were again greeted by the wildlife that are so lucky to call this home!

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I really did not want to leave this place! Although I know we have wonderful things planned for our stops in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan…I could have stayed here for a lifetime.

Glacier! Another glacier! No wait…it may be the same glacier.

Who hasn’t seen the photo of a glacier or a National Geographic show featuring glaciers or wondered about glaciers?  They are cold and blue, but for some reason I didn’t really realize how big, cold, and blue they were!  Silly, I know. While at sea we drifted (because you don’t really speedboat your way past these magnificent landmarks) by Hubbard Glacier! It’s currently an advancing glacier that is over 600′ tall!

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Along with amazing colors, the most fascinating part for me was to see all the various layers within the glacial ice itself.

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I have never felt so one with nature before. It was so easy to breathe and it was comforting to see these. It wasn’t exciting and I wasn’t anxious or jumping up and down. I was humbled, in awe, afraid to speak, respectful and knowing immediately that I would miss these sights as soon as I had passed them. The water around us was littered with ice chunks as well. You would have thought it was cold outside…it was chilly…but tolerable with a light jacket and sweater. The colors are simply breathtaking and the sizes of these are remarkable.

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I cannot wait until we get into Glacier Bay National Park!

Gold!

Skagway, Alaska is the gateway to the Klondike!  There are less than 1000 people who live in Skagway and it’s an extremely popular port for cruise ships.  When we awoke in the morning and I looked out the window this is what I saw….

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The narrow port is all rocks on one side and I loved that they have all been decorated with various cruise ship lines and organizations and individuals. Although I have no idea how they got up so high to do this!  Collectively it was cool!

In town is this amazing building created for the Arctic Brotherhood. The AB was created in 1899 as a membership organization for those who were looking for gold in the Klondike along the Chilkoot pass. It was created following the arrival of the “City of Seattle” ocean steamer.  The facade of the building is made completely out of pieces of driftwood.  So cool!

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Our adventure in Skagway was to take a bus up to Frasier, British Columbia and then take the White Pass and Yukon Rail back down to Skagway. This railway was built against all odds due to the narrow ledges upon which it is built as well as the equipment challenges when it was built in 1901. It climbs almost 3000 feet in 20 miles and is flanked with cliffs on one side almost continuously.

On our way to Frasier, BC we passed along this amazing waterfall, Bridal Veil and other wonderful images!

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Upon arrival into Frasier we transferred onto the train!  During our tour, our guide inquired if it was Tuesday. We answered that it was indeed Tuesday and she became slightly panicked because groceries were only delivered to the ONE town grocery store on Tuesdays only and if you don’t get there right away you risk not having any groceries for the week.  Can you imagine???  Our train ride through the valley along the cliffs was incredibly beautiful.  During the gold rush days, each adventurer had to carry 2000 pounds of gear over the mountain in order to reach the gold. Imagine….

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Along the route, the tour guide snagged me and took me out between the rail cars.  She told me that there was something special coming up.  It is an old storage area from the late 1800’s where the rail construction crews used to store the explosives. It’s hard to see after July 1st because the plants get too tall. So thrilled that I caught this old relic!

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Such an amazing day of adventure!  We didn’t get a chance to get any gold though. Sigh….  Next stop..Juneau!