A little drawing, some flowers and a story of life and death

September 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I go through phases of wanting to blog. I gave up on this blog mainly because it had no real focus. I’m only coming back to it today, over a year after my last post, because I think it’s a better space than a facebook status to write a somewhat long post about whats been going on recently.

I honestly didn’t think I’d post about this. Steve and I have experienced pain and loss on a very personal level and sharing that publicly feels awkward. I don’t write to seek attention or pity. I write this because within some very hard moments I’ve experienced, there has also been beauty.

Tonight I spent time with my husband (which is rare these days) and with some close friends of ours who’ve been living in Egypt. We shared a recap of the recent hard days with them and after revisiting what happened after a few weeks now, I realized I was seeing those days with a little more clarity than when I was experiencing them. I wanted to write my thoughts out, so here I go, typing to whoever wants to listen, because I know I’m not alone and someone else might get some clarity from them as well.

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On Sunday morning, July 28, Steve and I found out we were pregnant. There is so much I could write here. We were so excited about this gift of life. But at 9 weeks, things didn’t seem right. I called my doctor and she got me in that day for an ultrasound. What she found was that our little tiny gift had stopped developing at 5 weeks. It was painful to hear that our baby that we’d been imagining as the size of a raspberry had actually never developed beyond the size of a sesame seed. There are miscarriages that would be harder to experience than what I did. And I’m as thankful as I can be that it was as early on as it was. But we not only felt the loss of this tiny life, but the loss of expectations and excitement for our growing family. That tiny life was here, if only for a brief moment, and I will never forget.

The next morning, I woke up and went to Starbucks. Starbucks is a great place to get some comfort in a cup. Especially when you haven’t caffeine in 2 and a half months. But it was Saturday morning in Clintonville, which in the summer means that there are lots of people out because of the Farmer’s Market. And that means there were bustling pregnant women and baby strollers everywhere. I’ve realized pregnant women and new moms are probably the healthiest people out there and that day, I confess, I hated every one of them. There were so many, I couldn’t have counted. At the time, it just felt so unfair. But tonight we drove through that same strip in Clintonville and I shared that horrible hatred I had to Steve and realized that I haven’t felt that way toward any new moms or moms-to-be in a couple weeks. In fact, I am even happier for them now than I remember being before all of this.

The photo above is from Church last weekend. After the sermon, we had to get into groups of 2 or 3 and share a time in our life that was related to the message. This story was new but it made sense to share it. After we each shared our stories, we had to draw someone else’s story. The picture above is what someone drew for mine. I hadn’t said anything about Jesus or whether or not I think our baby is a soul in heaven now. Maybe. That would be amazing. But seeing this picture gave me comfort. The experience of losing the pregnancy had brought me to a place where I felt I needed God, more than I had in a long time.

Soon after I had that terrible ultrasound, I received flowers from dear family members and my sweet husband. One of the bouquets lasted longer than the others and tonight when we got home I noticed that all the flowers in it had finally died. I looked at them for a while and thought about how these flowers were blooming bright and smelling strong when I needed them. Now, I had forgotten to look at them to find a glimpse of beauty in this life because it has become a bit easier to see it around me again. There they were with lifeless petals falling to the ground and me, thankful that they were here when they were alive.

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Grain Salad with Chili Lime Dressing, might be better than Chipotle?

June 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

I am obsessed with grain salads this summer. And they are such a great thing to eat right after a run (my other new obsession). I just have to show you the trail.

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Something in Columbus I might actually miss one day: The Olentangy Trail. It’s beautiful.

My last grain salad tasted like a Chipotle Burrito Bowl. I was looking for something to make with cucumber, but more exciting than traditional tabouleh. And this recipe called for so many things I just happened to have, with just a few modifications. I took it as a sign and threw it together. The dressing is AMAZING and I will definitely use it again even for just regular salads.

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For the dressing:

  • 1 small can of green chilis
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

To finish the salad:

  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or water)*
  • 1 cup harvest grains blend (or you could use your favorite grain, even rice!)*
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Cucumbers (optional)

*Cook grains according to package, but substitute the veggie broth for the water.

While the grains cook, make the dressing. In a mixing bowl, combine the green chilis with the juice of the lime. Add the chili powder, cumin, and honey.  Whisk together while gradually adding the olive oil to the consistency you like. (You don’t have to use it all.) Season to taste with the salt.

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Then add the the black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and chives.

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Add the grains, then stir to combine everything! I ate it right away but it’s the best once it’s been refrigerated for about 30 minutes.

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The cucumber is used for serving. You can cut them in half the long way, scoop the seeds out and then place the grains in the cucumber “bowl”. It’s very cute and fun, but Steve and I both thought he huge amount of cucumber took away from the other flavors.

*adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

You should try it!

Pixelation

June 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

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With new digital technologies, there is a progression of almost everything physical becoming digitized. Books are now, by the thousands, being transposed digitally and, by the thousands, going out of print. I have decided to engage with this transition into the digital revolution through art. I am making a montage of books that are cut into cubes, which represent pixels. My process included research in montage, gathering books from the community, cutting the books and glueing the pages together in a perfect binding.  The work is 24×18 in size.

In gathering the books, I was surprised at how many unwanted books there are and how I was able to acquire so many, about 500 books. Initially, I planned to map out a pixilated-looking image with ink and bleach, but as the cuts are made into the books, the words from the inner parts of the pages bleed over the edge and leave a tiny, abstracted image of ink on the outside of the layered pages. With this discovery, a conversation is revealed. Print media has more to say in the midst of digital media becoming ubiquitous.

This is, more or less, the abstract I submitted for an exhibition at the Columbus Metropolitan Library‘s Carnegie Gallery titled “Art Information” through ROY G BIV. I recently found out that I was chosen to exhibit my project!

This is my very first show outside of the University. This project was initially proposed for a scholarship I was awarded though Arts Honors Research.

I actually hate writing about this because I feel like I’m bragging, but I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. All of these things still shock me. So many other areas of college and even art classes can be so difficult for me, but every once in a while I get an idea that almost seems like I was destined to do it and I can ride that wave for a pretty good distance. I’m still trying to figure out what makes an idea like this happen and I’m always trying to apply those same steps to my next idea but that doesn’t really work. It is a rarity when an idea really takes off.

But when it happens, it’s so exciting! It’s like discovering an uninhabited tropical island after you’ve sailed every other area of the ocean. You may think that’s an extreme analogy, but it makes so much sense to me. Once I discovered how much I love engaging with art in this way (process based rather than planned out), One of my favorite art teachers, Sean Foley, recommended I look at what Francis Bacon said about accidents.

“I want a very ordered image, but I want it to come about by chance.” (Francis Bacon)

So many other areas of life are like this. I’ve learned that I can’t wait around for things to just come to me, but I also know that if I plan everything out perfectly it never works out that way and I end up stressed and disappointed. But when theres a balance of having a plan to start with, but keeping an open mind as new things pop up and being willing to embrace the accidents, things flow much easier.

When I started college, my plan was to be a Graphic Designer. Mostly because I LOVED book design. I wanted to make hand drawn art that visualized the text that I would layout in books. My first disappointment after being a Graphic Designer was that print is dying and to be a successful designer, I would need to know web design. I decided to switch majors and study Drawing and Painting. I didn’t realize how different it would be, but it’s so unrelated to Graphic Design. Fine Art is a whole world of Philosophy and History represented visually. But with this book project, I am pulling from both sides. I’m opening up a conversation about our culture with digital vs. print, design vs. art, and all kinds of other interpretations are being made too. What interpretations do you have?

Come see this work (titled “Pixelation”) at the Main Library in Downtown Columbus, July 12 – August 24!

chickpeas and a chickflick

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Imagine a cookie made without refined sugar, eggs, oil, butter, or flour. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, just look!

So, they may not be the prettiest cookies you’ve ever seen, but they may be the healthiest. And they taste great! I even tested them on Steve and my friend Allison and they liked them too.

These are grain free, gluten free and vegan! (If you count honey as vegan, I do). They are super easy to make too because all you do is throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, form into balls and bake for 10 minuttes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined. Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. With wet hands, form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper, or a lightly oiled pan if you must. They don’t rise. Bake for about 10 minutes. Yields about fourteen 1 1/2″ cookies.

Recipe adapted from Texanerin Baking.

After I made these I went to an outdoor film at the Wexner Center with some friends. We saw The Royal Tenenbaums, which isn’t really a chick flick but I did go with girlfriends and it made for a clever blog title. These were the perfect guiltless movie snack to bring along.


Happy Friday! Tonight Steve and I are having DATE NIGHT! What are your friday night plans?

hello again.

June 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

There are so many new things happening in our life and I’m finally making time to blog again. Mostly because I’m so excited about life these days and I just want to share!

A few blog topics to look forward to…

Our new food and health obsession: We are vegetarians on the verge of vegan and gluten free. We’ve been educating ourselves about processed foods, factory farms and plant-based diets. Daily exercise is becoming normal. AND I’m having so much fun learning new recipes!

Artist Adventures: I have one more year left of Art School and I’m getting into shows, getting scholarships, doing internships and falling more in love with art all the time! AND Steve is writing amazing things.

Living Simply: We are doing some major summer de-owning. We have way to much stuff and only want the bare minimum! It’s about more than just commodities, it’s a core part of our beliefs. AND we want to live simply so that others may simply live.

Preparing for the Future: Things like home ownership, paying off debts, traveling, and children. We are preparing physically, financially and psychologically. AND we are looking  forward to our little McCloskey family life one day.

 

The Office

February 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m catching up on Office episodes. I just watched The Search (ep 15).

The ending made me cry. Like real tears.

I’m getting a Trophy!

February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Well, Kind of. For our last project in Ceramics, we are supposed to make a Trophy for something we’ve accomplished. I couldn’t think of many things worthy of a trophy.

After much thought, I decided to go with the idea of philosophy. Like most people, as I grow up, my perspective on life changes. I would like to think my views have become more clear over time. I also know they will always be changing. So I decided on a trophy that has 3 different sections but the last as a continuing section. The sections represent different philosophies I have had (and will have) on life. There will also be small cameos placed around representing people who have played a part in forming these philosophies. One of them you’ll see pictured below is my mother. Last, but not least, I will install a light… I’ll leave that meaning up to the viewer.

Sketches:

Inspiration:

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