Monday, December 23, 2013

Tom & Jerry's Christmas House

We're on our way to the airport, but made one quick stop along the way to see Tom & Jerry's house all decorated for Christmas. These guys are dedicated! :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Oil Paintings: "Chester" and "Collete"

oil on canvas
12 x 12 inches

oil on canvas
12 x 12 inches

Last year, after I finished my "Volland Raggedy Ann" painting, my sister asked me if I could paint a painting of her favorite childhood stuffed animal, Collete, and her boyfriend, Graham's, favorite childhood bear, Chester.

They brought them over to my house way back in the Spring. I had many larger paintings to work on at the time, and I never quite made time to work on these two smaller paintings. Finally, last month, I realized that I needed to get them done in time for Christmas! I spent one painting session with Dean on each of them: I worked on Collete first, then worked on Chester's painting the next week.

The whole time I was painting these two, I know I had a smile on my face. It's no surprise that I find that I love painting these special friends that mean so much and have such a history with my sister and Graham. You can just see the "life" coming through them. There's something very special to me about painting special friends like Collete, Chester and Raggedy Ann. After completing them, I realize I may have found a special niche of a type of subject that I really enjoy.

I completed these last month in early November (in-between working on the "Taxi" painting, but I only gave them as gifts to my Sister and Graham today, so couldn't share them earlier. I really love how these two paintings turned out, and I was so happy to give them to my Sis and Graham today. :)

The two models posing with the finished paintings. They were excellent models - they were able to sit still for a full three hours, with no complaints!

I wrapped each canvas in tissue paper, placed each stuffed animal on top of the canvas, then put the whole package inside a gift bag. When my Sis and Graham first opened them, they found their stuffed friends smiling up at them.

Graham, Chester, Tiffie and Collete - reunited at last!

...and here they are, posing with their new portraits

Early Christmas at the Chow House

Dick and I are heading back to North Carolina tomorrow to spend the Holidays with his family this week. Since we'll be missing Christmas here, I went to Milpitas today for an early Christmas with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and my Grandma. Unfortunately, Dick has been fighting a cold all week, so couldn't join us.

I love my parents house during the holidays. Well, I love it all the time, but it's even extra special during the holidays. They spend many days putting up the tree, lights, ornaments, and decorations, both inside and outside the house. It's just beautiful, and so festive.

One of my favorite decorations that my Mom does every year is the Opus Santa in his sled, with the Opus reindeer. They are displayed by the front entrance every year, and are so cute.

Opus Santa, with her Opus Reindeer

The pretty tree

Front of the house

Mom, posing with a few of her penguin pals

Mom, Graham and Sis! (sorry - no good photos with Dad or Grandma

Merry Christmas! Thanks, Mom, Dad, Sis, Graham and Grandma for celebrating early!!! xo

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Completed "Taxi" Painting

oil on canvas
24 x 24 inches

I completed my latest painting, "Taxi" yesterday afternoon. I'm very pleased with how this one turned out. The process was quite interesting, and different from the other paintings that I've done so far. This painting was completed in five sessions, which is a bit surprising, as I assumed it would take longer when I first started. This painting relied a lot on perspective, and I'm pleased that I was able to manage to keep the correct perspective throughout. It was certainly a challenge! I really love the colors and composition of this piece.

During the last session, the work was spread throughout the entire painting. I made a lot of corrections to the taxi - most notably, I darkened the bumper, and added a bit more detail throughout. I adjusted some of the colors and lines throughout the overhead structure. I think it reads more clearly now. I did a lot of work on the light highlights on the street, as well as on the cab, and up above. I brightened up the areas around the on/off ramp in the distance. Finally, I added the final touches of the street signs and the taxi sign and license plate.

I need to do one last thing once the paint dries: I need to darken the U-turn sign a bit, since it's in the shadow, and is a little too bright right now. (Done) Other than that, it's done, so I signed it. I'll need to varnish it once it's dry as well.

Here's the process:

The original photo was taken by my friend, Miguel (and used with his permission).

The original photo

Miguel posted it in Instagram, where he cropped the original photo, and added a filter.

Miguel's Instagram

I was so struck by Miguel's Instagram image - that's when I asked his permission to paint it. I cropped it again, and added an additional filter.

Trina's Instagram

The composition took a while to lay out on the blank canvas. I wanted to make sure that the perspective was correct before painting.

pencil sketch on the canvas

By Dean's suggestion, I did my first two sessions in only monochromatic colors so that I could concentrate on the perspective, lights and darks, and shapes of the compositions, rather than worry about color.

Session One

Session Two

Session Three - adding color

Session Four - added the truck on the left side, as it was seen in the original photo

Session Five - Completed painting with the photo reference next to it

Session Five - the completed painting

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Doughnuts and Dim Sum

Today was another fun adventure in our new town of Bellevue. I brought my parents to Top Pot Doughnuts this morning for breakfast. This is a great place that Paula and Reeves introduced me to a few years ago. It's just a few blocks away from our new place - I'm not sure if that's good or bad, given how delicious the doughnuts are. :)

My Dad and I each had Apple Fritters, and my Mom had a Chocolate glazed, Bavarian cream filled doughnut. SOOO yummy!

Top Pot!


Dad and Mom about to enjoy their Pot Top Doughnuts

For lunch, we met Lauren at a fantastic Dim Sum restaurant in Bellevue called Din Tai Fung. Lauren is a daughter of one of my Mom's best friend from childhood, who lives in the Seattle area. I had already heard about this restaurant from a few friends, but had never been. Oh, my - it was amazing!! Different in many ways from most other dim sum places i've been, but different in a good way.

Again, this place is just a few blocks away from our new home. I imagine we'll be going quite often. (as long as we're up to fighting the crowds - this place was packed with a line outside at 11:30 this morning!)

the front of Din Tai Fung had a wall of windows looking into the dim sum chefs. There were dozens of people making dough, rolling out, filling, and folding the dim sum. So amazing! I'd never seen anything like this at any other dim sum restaurant.

Lauren and Mom, showing off the pretty dim sum

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First visit to the Original Costco!!!

We're back up in Bellevue for a few days this week. My parents are also here, visiting for a few days to help me get settled in.

Today, the three of us did a pilgrimage of sorts: we drove to the ORIGINAL Costco in Kirkland, WA! Yes, we were all a little geeky about the whole thing. It's an easy drive, and a mere 10 minutes from our new place.

We did all the Costco must-do's: we ate lunch (Dad had the hot dog, Mom had the Beef Brisket Sandwich, and I had a hot turkey sandwich). We did some shopping, and got (almost) everything on my list. Nice to stock up on all the Costco basics here. We even got Costco Gasoline! :)

Mom and Dad at the Original Costco!

The biggest shocker of the day was the additional taxes on alcohol here in the state of Washington:

What the WHAT?!

Yikes!! Alcohol costs a LOT more here in WA than it does in CA!
That's an extra $11+ for state taxes.

We ran a few other errands after Costco to pick up a few new things for the new place.

It was SO nice to have my parents here to help me and keep me company while we explored the new area.
Thanks, Mom and Dad!!! xo

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Santa Skivvies Run!!

...just another reason why my heart will always live in San Francisco.

Dick and I just happened to be walking by the starting line just as the Annual Santa Skivvies Run was starting. Always fun to see, and what a beautiful day for it.

Run, Boys, Run!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

"Taxi" Painting: Session 4

We flew home from Seattle early this morning, and were back in SF by late morning. Last week, I had scheduled a painting class with Dean for this afternoon, and I'm so glad I was able to make it. I knew I would need something to ground me from the moving craziness of the week, and this was just what I needed.

Lots of interesting developments in the Taxi painting today! I knew that I needed to work on the middle section of the canvas, which had the other cars. I brought my surface with me today so I could zoom in on the original photos and have more information.

When I first started this painting, I asked Miguel (who took this photo and posted it on Instagram) if he would mind sending me his original photo. He sent both the original photo as well as the original instagram that he took. (I had taken his instagram photo, and recropped it for the composition of this painting.)

So, here's the series of photos/instagrams:

Miguel's original Instagram

My cropped instagram of Miguel's instagram (are you following this?)

Now, here's where it gets interesting:

When I opened Miguel's original photo (pre-Instagram, so not cropped or filtered), here's what I saw:

Miguel's original photo

I hadn't seen that blue truck on the left before, since it had been cropped out of Miguel's instagram shot. Both Dean and I agreed that the truck would make a really nice addition to the composition of the painting. I had originally planned to show three cars on the left side, but this truck was so much more interesting: it was coming at a different angle, parallel to the taxi, so it balanced out the composition. It was also a nice color, and this painting could use some extra colors.

So, here's where we ended up:

"Taxi" painting, Session Four

I really like the addition of the blue truck. It's one of my favorite parts now.

I also worked on several other areas today. Most notably, I repainted the "FWY" painted on the street, and added the light reflections on it as well. The letters were tough, as I had to make sure that they were all at the correct angle. Speaking of, Dean and I also checked the angles on the rest of the painting by recreating the vanishing point, and taking a straight edge to all the angled lines. Always good to double check, because they tend to shift around a bit.

Let's see, I also darkened the street color, and worked on the median in the middle of the street. The color is better but still a little off.

Finally, I added a little bit of loose detail in the background: the off ramp, signs and buildings in the distance, etc., It helps with the depth, I think.

Dean thinks I'll be done with this painting after the next session. We'll see.... My next painting session is in a week.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Last Box!!!

I just finished unpacking the last box!!! Now granted, I haven't yet properly put away our toiletries, or our clothes, but nonetheless: the last box!! I'm calling it a success!!! :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seattle Move: Day Two

Here was today's crazy schedule. The timing of all of the appointments weren't scheduled to be this close together, but most of them came earlier than planned:

Comcast (internet & cable): 8:45-9:45

Furniture Delivery #1: 9:30-10:30

Furniture Delivery #2: 11:00-12:15

Movers (delivery of the 25 or so boxes/items that weren't delivered yesterday): 12:30-12:50

Special Movers (who unloaded the art crates, unpacked our TV, and set up our adjustable bed): 1:00-1:25

It was a very busy, non-stop morning. Each of these deliveries (not including Comcast) needed to use the loading dock of the building. I had the loading dock reserved all day, but it still took some finagling to make sure everyone was able to get in/out on time.

By 2:00, I realized that I was very hungry. Luckily, we had leftovers from dinner last night. Only problem: I hadn't had a chance to unpack the kitchen yet, and needed a microwaveable dish. I figured out which box would most likely contain our plates, but it took me a while to unpack everything that was on top of them in the box.

Here's everything I had unpacked out of one box before I came to one of our microwavable plates. Good thing I had brought a plastic fork with me yesterday!

I spent the rest of the day unpacking. I made it through many, many boxes, which of course were filled with lots and lots of packing paper. Lucky for me, our apartment building has garbage/recycling rooms on each floor. I was told that I could bring my packing paper and broken-down packing boxes to this room throughout the day. Here's what the room looked like by the end of the day today. I hope they don't hate me.

Lots and lots of packing paper and boxes!

Seattle Sunset

Well, technically, it's a Bellevue Sunset, but that's Seattle out on the distance. :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Seattle Move: Day One

Greetings from Seattle - well, Bellevue, to be exact.

Today was the first day of our big move! It was a looooong day, but very productive.

I woke up at 4:00 (actually, the alarm was set for 4:00, but I woke up at 3:30), had a 6:15am flight from SFO to SEA, landed around 8:15, and made it to our new apartment building by 9:15. I had a good and thorough walk-through of our new apartment with our leasing agent, which finished just in time at 11:00am, when the movers arrived! The movers came right on time (they were scheduled to arrive between 11:00 and Noon), and were finished by 1:00. Well, mostly finished. Unfortunately, they hadn't loaded ALL of our things into their truck. (our stuff was only part of a very large truck, for several different clients. They didn't quite get about 25 items/boxes from the large truck into our smaller, individual truck. No worries. They will be back tomorrow early afternoon, and I had plenty to unpack today. I spent the rest of the afternoon starting to unpack the boxes, as well as getting the orientation tour of our new building. Dick picked me up after he was done with work, and we just returned from a nice Italian Dinner. It was a long day, and I'm quite exhausted.

Tomorrow is another busy day. Comcast will come to set up Internet and Cable between 8:00-9:00am. I have a furniture delivery between 9:00-11:00, and another between 10:30 and 12:30. The movers are scheduled to return at 1:00 with the rest of our things, then sometime in the afternoon, I'm hoping that the company who built our crates for our art will come to uncrate my art, and take the crates away.

We're spending the week at a hotel nearby. Originally, the movers were scheduled to come between Tuesday and Thursday of this week. It was only Friday that I learned that they would be coming on the early side of our original plans. I'm thrilled that they were able to deliver most of our stuff today and the rest tomorrow - it'll give me more time to unpack and organize.

Oh, one more tidbit:
Our apartment complex surprised us with a nice "welcome gift": a bottle of wine, and a welcome bag. The bag was awesome - it contained a roll of toilet paper, a box of tissue, two small bottles each of shampoo and conditioner, a single use box of laundry detergent and fabric softener, and two small bars of soap. Everything you might need when you first move in, and haven't had a chance to unpack or shop! How nice and thoughtful!

Our "Welcome" gift from our apartment building

My check-box of boxes/items for the movers. Um, there's still quite a few missing!

Just for fun - the Gingerbread land at the hotel lobby in which we are staying. Cute!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

glassybaby fundraiser for the 2014 Immediate Impact Walk

This afternoon, I hosted my first fundraiser of the season for the 2014 Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk!

glassybaby has opened their new store in San Francisco, and had graciously offered to host a fundraising event at their new location for the Immediate Impact Walk! Our even was this afternoon from 1:00-5:00. For the first time, we had the entire store stock available to us, in ALL of their colors!! 10% of the sales from each glassybaby will be donated to my fundraising for the 2014 Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk.

We raised over $780 from glassybaby sales today, meaning, more than $7,800 of glassybaby merchandise was sold (not sure if that includes tax or not). It was a busy afternoon, and we were thrilled with the turnout.

Thanks to ALL who were able to come out today!!

If you were unable to make this event in person, or still have more shopping to do, you can still shop at the San Francisco store (3665 Sacramento Street), OR shop online at and 10% of your total order will go towards our fundraising. Simply enter the promo code "IMPACT" at checkout. The code is good through December 22, 2013. Free shipping - both online AND from the SF store!!

Unfortunately, I was too busy today to remember to take any photos during the event! Wow - that's a first! :)

Thursday, December 05, 2013

This card is "Blogworthy" :)

My friend, Linda, gave me this card yesterday as a "goodbye card". I cracked up. So apropos, and hilarious! I often use the phrase "Blogworthy". :)

My Mom and "Dad" :)

My Mom is spending a few days in Disneyland this week with our neighbors, Bonnie and Stephanie!! I'm so happy for her, as she loves The Mouse House, and hasn't been in a few years.

She just sent this photo from Breakfast.

The funny thing about this photo:
My Mom's nickname for my Dad is "Chip" (and yes, his nickname *is* based on that famed animated chipmunk.)

So, it cracks me up to see my Mom posing with Chip! I told her that she should use this as her next Christmas Card photo to represent my Mom and Dad. :)