The Divergent Views Exhibit is still up through this week, so if you have the chance, check it out!
This is a great event that I look forward to every year, so if you have the opportunity, you should check it out. Come by and see all my talented friends and me at the Arts Center of Cannon County!
September 8th & 9th, 2018
The work of over 75 craft artisans will be available for purchase as The White Oak Crafts Fair returns for its 29th year, offering something of interest for everybody who delights in items and products that are individually designed and hand crafted. Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th, 2018, the Arts Center of Cannon County will host the top craft artisans from throughout the region who will offer for sale their original textiles, jewelry, woodcarving, metalwork, pottery, photography, chairs, baskets, ironwork, stained glass and much more. The White Oak Craft Fair takes place along the banks of the East Fork Stones River just down from the Arts Center.
My work will be on display at the Arts Center of Cannon County's Berger Gallery from January 10th to February 28th. The official Opening will be on Saturday, January 13th at 6pm. I'm really excited about this show, and I'd love to see all of my friends on opening night! The show will feature my original work from this past year and some brand new pieces.
I would like to thank everyone who voted for me to win Murfreesboro's favorite artists! I am so thankful for everyones support of my artwork. Art is my passion, and I know my best work is yet to come. Thanks you all so much!! :)
Mobile, Alabama, where the skies are so blue, except for when we visit. We had a little rainy weather, but it didn't put a damper on our exploration of historic Mobile. Highlights of our trip included a private tour through Mobile's Mardi Gras history, exploring the USS Alabama, and being transformed into shellfishermen by Captain Skip on his Sailaway nature tour. All of these adventures, along with some delicious seafood, made our trip one to remember.
We took to the road in the wee morning hours, approximately 2:00 AM. From Murfreesboro, our trip took about 6 hours, not bad when you're splitting the distance between two drivers. We pulled into Mobile around 9:30, which was perfect because we had planned a 10:00 visit to Visitation Monastery. The Visitation Nuns are known for their delicious heavenly hash chocolate, and I'm not one to pass on any chocolate, especially the heavenly kind. Visitation Monastery was a great first stop for our Mobile journey. The Monastery was founded in 1833, and visitors are allowed to explore the chapel and grounds. We were the first visitors of the day, so when we entered the chapel, lights were still off. We entered by the light of the sun beaming through panes of multicolored glass. The whole cathedral was illuminated in red, yellow, green, and blue, and it was beautifully serene. At one point Gina looked at me and said, "This is so calming". I said, "I know, it's so peaceful". Immediately after the words left our lips, a nun fired up a vacuum cleaner. We had a good laugh at that. One thing I would never laugh at is the Visitation Nun's chocolate, unless it was laughter of pure joy. The nun's candy kitchen has been running since 1957, and their chocolates are superbly delicious.
Our first day in Mobile was eventful. After leaving the Mission Monastery, we headed to a small town called Fairhope to do some exploring and get a bite to eat on the pier. We had read some great reviews on a restaurant called Shux and couldn't wait to get our first taste of fresh seafood. The weather was putting on a show for us as we arrived. The wind was powerfully stirring up the waves, which is always a sight for those of us who live landlocked lives. Due to the weather, we had the restaurant mostly to ourselves, so we took a seat by the window to watch the water dance. The food at Shux was great! We started off with some of the most delicious fried pickles I've ever had, and then we opted to share a fried seafood platter. It was enough food for an army, and by the end we were so stuffed that you could've rolled us down the pier. The storm was still raging when we finished eating, so we decided to make a move to the bar. We got a few beers, and then Gina made an interesting discovery. She found a bloody mary oyster shot on the menu. The shot was basically a bloody mary, but the bottom of the glass held a prize, a huge oyster. I was intrigued by her discovery, so we both decided that I should try one. We apparently weren't talking clearly when we ordered, because we ended up with two of the bloody devils instead of one. Judging from Gina's disgusted expression, I assumed I would get them both, but when all the waiting staff gathered around us to watch, Gina felt obligated to man up. Gina has a problem with slimy food textures, so I was proud of her for attempting the shot. I actually enjoyed the shot quite a bit. It is pretty salty, but if you like bloody marys and oysters, then it's not so bad. Gina, on the other hand, was having some major difficulty getting the shot down. The face she was making was priceless, and I honestly thought she might throw up. To her credit, she did get most of it down. Feeling stuffed, we ventured down to the end of the pier. It was still stormy, but the seagulls were out in abundance, and we entertained ourselves by tossing them our leftover shrimp. Seagulls have impressive beak to eye coordination. Those birds catch everything! I truly enjoyed our lunch at Shux, so if you are ever in the area, give them a try.
After our meal at Shux, we made our way to Meaher State Park to set up camp. The weather had calmed down significantly, so pitching the tent wasn't difficult. Since we were still a bit worn down from the drive, we decided to take a nap before heading back into Fairhope for some perusing and dinner. Fairhope is a nice little scenic town with lots of colorful shops and restaurants. It was Thursday, so most of the shops were closing early, but we did some window shopping and started our search for a place to eat. There was no shortage of places to choose from. We opted for a place with live music called Old Bay Steamers. We drank some Fairhope Amber beer and shared a deliciously spicy chicken quesadilla. We also made a few friends at the bar watching the NFL draft. One was even a Titans fan! The bartender was a big Star Wars fan, and he was actually building a stormtrooper suit behind the bar. He and his buddies were planning on going out to bars dressed in cosplay. I wish we could've seen that! We could call it BAR WARS, or THE EMPIRE DRINKS JACK, or something like that. All in all, our first day on the coast of Alabama was a blast!
For more info to the places we visited check out these links:
I am excited to share a project I’ve been working on for several months. Insight Counseling Centers is doing a very cool Mental Health Awareness campaign this month and they contracted me to do the artwork. It was a blast and I’m am very satisfied with how it turned out. I was responsible for the graphic design work. Check out this link to Insight’s site for more information and pictures, and if you get the chance check it out in person. http://insightcounselingcenters.org/nashvillemoodwall/
Tennessee is full of amazing waterfalls, and I'm making it a mission to see as many as I can. Last weekend Gina and I checked out Ozone Falls. Ozone Falls is a 43-acre natural area located in Crossville, Tennessee, very close to Interstate 40. The waterfall is not difficult to find and can actually be seen from the road. A short walk will get you to the summit of the falls. If you have the courage you can step right up to the ledge and take a peek over. Ozone Falls descends an impressive 110 feet into a beautiful pool of blue-green water. There are no barriers surrounding the river which makes for some great photo opps, but be very careful. Wet rocks are slippery and this can be a dangerous area, so please use caution!! Gina is always more fearless around heights than I am, so quite literally, she kept me on edge.
The hike down to the base of the falls is short, but some parts are steep and strenuous. The first part is not too difficult, and there is a good viewpoint about halfway down if you don't want to attempt the steeper bottom trek. Along the way there are some cool shallow caves and overhangs. One of the caves was once used for gambling, so don't forget your cards. One of the great things about this park is it's many vantage points for photography. I read that Ozone Falls was used for filming scenes in the movie "Jungle Book" and I'm not surprised. When it comes to picturesque views, Ozone Falls doesn't just have the "bear necessity"! You will definitely want to bring your camera!
If you hike a little further down the river you will see some wonderful small falls and rolling water. This area is truly beautiful and there are plenty of places to sit and take in the sites. There are also some large rocks down river that are very cool to explore. One of my favorite ventures was through a split in a large rock. The split was just wide enough to squeeze through, and at the end there was a small stream of water flowing under the rock. There are so many amazing areas to explore that it feels like you are discovering a new world. I highly recommend checking out Ozone Falls, and keep an eye open for other Tennessee treasures. Tennessee has a lot to offer.
For more info on Ozone Falls visit https://www.tn.gov/environment/article/na-na-ozone-falls
This post is a shout out to a little coffee shop in Smyrna, Tennessee called Carpe Cafe. I recently delivered a portrait to a client in Smyrna, and since it was lunch time, I decided to search for some local restaurants. I have a hard time resisting the charms of quaint little coffee shops, so when Carpe Cafe popped up on the list, I had to check it out. I'm not qualified, nor am I interested in being a restaurant reviewer, but I will say this, It was good!
The cafe makes a large variety of drinks that will accommodate most any tastes. We were recommended to try a butterbeer flavoring in our lattes, and it was magical! The food at coffee shops can sometimes be very simple, but Carpe Cafe has a large variety of sandwiches and side items. I thoroughly enjoyed their corn chowder soup of the day! When you're done with lunch, you should try one of their fresh baked sweets. It was all delicious, and to be honest, writing about it is making me pretty hungry.
The atmosphere is charming with crafty furnishings and colorful wall art. They actually converted a small piano into a side station for water and utensils! Now tell me that isn't a cool idea?! They also have a mailbox set up specifically for people to write letters to active military troops. You place your letter in the box and Carpe Cafe does the rest. This gesture alone makes me a fan.
Carpe Cafe is connected with Carpe Artista, a non-profit organization that supports the local art community. Being an artist myself, I believe groups like Carpe Artista are an important asset to the community as a whole. Art is more than just pretty pictures, it's a method of communication that makes us think about important issues, and see the world from different perspectives. I applaud organizations that strive to make our art communities better. Bravo! So, If you are ever in Smyrna looking for a quick bite and a coffee jolt, seize the opportunity to visit Carpe Cafe.
For more information on Carpe Cafe and Carpe Artista visit http://carpeartista.net/.
You can also follow Carpe Cafe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Gina and I were looking for an outdoor excursion a few weekends ago and we stumbled across Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens. It's located just a stones throw away from us in Murfreesboro, and well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens, which obviously has a long and descriptive name, encompasses everything it's title entails. The 846-acre area supports several forest types and barrens, and is one of Tennessee's most ecologically significant natural sites - See more at: http://www.tennessee.gov/environment/article/na-na-flat-rock-cedar-glades-and-barrens#sthash.fvDYMG6P.dpuf
The area contains two hiking trails, a one mile loop and a 3.5 mile loop. The one mile loop would be great for the hiker who's short on time, but we opted for the 3.5. We took our time and still managed to complete the hike in about two hours. The hike is basically just a nature walk and manageable for hikers at any level. We picked a muddy day to hike, which made walking a little more difficult, but the terrain is flat and easy to maneuver. The trail does cross several small streams, and stream rocks are always slippery, so be careful! The trail was well marked until the last quarter mile. Towards the end of the hike multiple trails seemed to converge and we got a little turned around for a few minutes, but we were able to retrace our steps and get back on track.
This wasn't a super flashy hike with views of gushing waterfalls and sculptural rock formations, but the scenic landscape was nice and relaxing. We enjoyed the serenity of the forest and grass barrens. The glistening rocks and sounds of the rolling stream had me in a pretty zenful state of mind. Gina kept finding rocks with fossil impressions, and fossils are always cool! This area finds it very easy to be green, with it's impressive supply of flora and moss. The moss is so soft you'll be tempted to take a nap on it. I also enjoyed watching the tall grass blowing in the wind as we passed through the barrens. There were a few small junk piles abandoned from the past, but they didn't really detract from the scenic views. The old metal scraps actually made me more curious about the area's history. All in all, I definitely recommend visiting this area for a nice short hike, especially if you live in the middle Tennessee area.