- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- BlueMountain.com Artists
- BlueMountain.com Oil Spill Response
- Famous Birthdays
- Favorite Recipes
- Meet the Artist
- Mood Board
- National Awareness
- New from BlueMountain.com
- What to Write
Although Easter Sunday is just one day in the year, the 40-day Lenten period before it combined with Eastertide following it, create the entire religious season of Easter, which coincides with spring and the earth’s renewal. It’s a time of great rejoicing among Christians worldwide and is considered the holiest day of the year.
As with Christmas, there are many other secular traditions that have grown up around this religious holiday in terms of food, festivities and celebrations. Of course those include Easter parades, Easter bonnets, Easter hams and breads, decorated eggs, baskets full of chocolates and jelly beans, and, of course, the Easter Bunny!
Here are somme Easter Fun Facts from PopSugar (http://www.yumsugar.com/Easter-Fun-Facts-200482). You can visit their website to learn even more!
- When taking a bite into a chocolate bunny, 76% of Americans prefer to bite off the ears first. 5% eat the feet first and 4% eat the tail first.
- During the Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Peeps – making Peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
- Adults prefer milk chocolate (65%) over dark chocolate (27%).
- 86% would prefer having chocolate bunnies instead of a live rabbit.
- Each day throughout the year, 5 million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter.
- 16 billion jelly beans are made specifically for Easter which is enough to fill a plastic egg the size of a 9-story building.
- Eighty percent of parents carry on the tradition of the Easter bunny by preparing a surprise Easter basket filled with goodies for their children and 90% of adults hope for their own Easter treat.
Of course what they don’t list is how many thousands of pounds of egg salad will be made with all those leftover Easter eggs! Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
In the mood board: “Happy Easter” from bluemountain.com
Dave, when did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
One day, as a small child, my medium of choice became permanent markers as I freely expressed myself on the bathroom walls and cabinets! Our unlucky cat happened to walk by and his fur and paws became my canvas as well. Honestly, I really don’t know exactly when I realized that I wanted to be an artist…I have loved drawing and painting as far back as I can remember.
What is your current position at bluemountain.com and can you tell us a little about your background as an artist?
My title is Senior Creative Developer which is an appropriate title given my frequent senior moments. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art. I love the ease and immediacy of digital art but I also enjoy digging into traditional art by drawing, painting and sculpting with real world tools.
Could you tell us a little more about your work?
Breathing life into an imaginary world you have created by animating its environment and characters is fun and rewarding. I get to do this with 2D and 3D software. The art is only a piece of the puzzle though, as creating a greeting ecard is a collaborative effort. Our editors do an amazing job of creating sentiment that is just right for the occasion and we are all part of the process of brainstorming and developing ideas for the cards. It’s wonderful to see it all come to life when our talented audio team creates the music and sound effects.
What’s your favorite ecard you’ve created and what makes it special to you?
Often my favorite cards are the ones I have most recently completed because the struggle to create it is followed by the great feelings of relief and reward when it’s finally completed. It’s also great to work collaboratively with other artists because the piece as a whole seems to turn out better than the sum of its parts
Dave, are there any particular artists who have influenced your career?
Several years ago I was shocked to find the name of the famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe in my family tree. The chart had been tucked away for years in a box and I never knew I was related to her! Admittedly, she is a distant cousin, but I became an instant fan. My grandmother was also a really good artist but I didn’t even know it until her paintings and drawings were discovered soon after she had died. I admire a beautiful original painting of hers that hangs in my home today. The works of God in nature inspire and influence me. Plus, there is always so much that I learn about great design from nature and people everywhere.
How do you stay motivated?
For me motivation comes from envisioning the finished work as it benefits, and is appreciated, by others. I get to work with a group of extremely talented and creative people and their great work motivates and inspires me to become even better.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hmmm, I think I’ll be basking on a tropical beach…talking proudly with my wife about our successful and wealthy children. Then (record scratch sound), my boss will tell me to stop daydreaming and get back to work. Truthfully I really love my job so I’ll be happy to still be creating art and animation!
What advice would you give to an aspiring young artist?
In art school I knew a student who wanted to be a really good artist, but he had one major problem, he couldn’t draw very well. Most of us wondered what he was doing there. He got a lot of negative criticism from teachers and students about his drawings but he didn’t let discouragement keep him down. His deep passion to become great drove him to work even harder. For 5 long years he persisted even though his progress, at times, was painfully slow. Finally, just before graduation, his final works were presented before a large audience of teachers and peers. His art was far better than any of us dreamed he was capable of creating–it was fantastic! He received a standing ovation and people were actually wiping away tears! He was an inspiration for all of us to follow our passion and never give up. So I guess that is my advice…follow your passions and inspiration and you’ll have the motivation you need to succeed. Hard work and persistence are key elements for any successful endeavor.
On a final note, what are some things you like to do for fun?
My family is really cool. I enjoy hanging out with my wife and kids and playing games, going on vacations, watching movies and going to church activities with them. I love a good hike in nature and being in awe of God’s creations. Oh yes…I like ping pong too!
We hope you know that your talent and all that passion you pour into your work brings a lot of joy to people worldwide!
The Seder Dinner
Got matzah? That’s a good start in preparing for Passover, which begins at sundown Monday, March 25, and continues through Tuesday, April 2, this year. But many other additional foods and items are needed to perform a Seder (meaning “order” in Hebrew), the annual ceremonial dinner held on the first two nights of the holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt.
The Seder Plate
The focus of the Seder table is the Seder plate, which can range from a laminated preschooler’s Passover art project to elegant glass, silver, ceramic, or metal interpretations. http://www.moderntribe.com/judaica/passover_store/seder_plates_store
All Seder plates must feature areas for particular, required religious symbols that include:
- a green vegetable (to be dipped in saltwater reminiscent of the tears
shed in slavery)
- roasted shank bone or poultry neck (representing the sacrificial lamb)
- hard-boiled egg (a sign of mourning)
- charoset (a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine resembling the mortar
used by slaves to build Egyptian structures)
- bitter herbs (often horseradish, as a reminder of how harsh life in
- a bitter vegetable (often romaine lettuce, which has bitter roots –
another sign of how difficult living in captivity was)
These icons remain on the Seder plate while portions of certain symbols are set out on the table for all to eat at times specified as the Seder progresses.
Throughout the Seder, each participant reads from a Haggadah (Hebrew for “telling”), a booklet of the Seder blessings, Exodus story, and Passover songs in a specific order. The basic content is the same, but all kinds of Haggadahs are available to present it. http://passoverhaggadah.com/
The Four Cups and Matzah
Along with consuming the ritualistic foods and then a full dinner, each person drinks four glasses of wine, celebrating freedom and four aspects of God redeeming the Jewish people. The Seder ceremony ends with the eating of the afikoman, a portion of matzah that has been hidden and found during the evening in a fun effort to involve the children. This matzah is eaten last, after dessert, so that the ‘taste’ of the Seder ceremony remains with participants.
Although age-old traditions provide the framework of the Seder, contemporary variations can bring personal relevance to the event. Some people include an orange among the Seder foods, honoring the fruitful role women and homosexuals play in Jewish life. Others place an olive on the Seder plate to signal hope for world peace. Vegetarians replace the shank bone with a roasted beet. No matter how the ritualistic symbols are displayed or interpreted at the Seder, they are indeed food for thought on this very special holiday.
For delicious charoset recipes, go to http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/passover/charosetrecipes
Christians around the world receive palm fronds today in many churches to symbolize the palms that were waved at Jesus and were laid in his path as he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before his death and resurrection.
Referred to in many churches as Passion Sunday, Palm Sunday falls the week prior to Easter and marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
The warmest thoughts come with Springtime…of sunshine, blue skies, warm breezes, and dancing butterflies. It’s a time for long walks, meandering bike rides, and opening up the house to let in the freshness of the cool spring air, which is filled with the sounds of children finding their way outdoors again and lawnmowers humming along on Saturday mornings.
It’s a time for putting away the heavy sweaters and bringing out the tees, trading snow shovels for garden hoses, woolen hats for umbrellas, boots for tennis shoes, and roasts from the oven for hamburgers on the grill.
There’s fishing to do, baseball to play, wooded paths to hike, books to read, hammocks to hang, naps to take, and swings that have sat quietly for far too long.
It’s Springtime…what makes yours special?
In the mood board: “Day Brightener Postcard” from bluemountain.com
Ah, springtime! Something in its name gives us hope. We can literally see the barren earth come back to life. The faded grasses turn green again and daffodils, those ambassadors of sunshine, dot the landscape.
March 20 brings new life to our spirits as we are awakened by the Vernal Equinox and the sun begins to shine more brilliantly on our upturned faces. As it begins to melt our cares and woes, we’re touched by its magical warmth. It gently persuades us to release the bonds of winter and to usher in the newness of spring.
How can you bring that feeling into your life right now? Well here are a few ways to add a little bit of springtime to your heart and home today…
- Take a good walk and breathe in the fresh air. Remind yourself of those things that make you feel strong and energized and make a plan to pursue more of those things in the weeks ahead.
- While you’re out there, wander around the outside of the house and see if there’s a good spot for a flowering potted plant or a new bush that will brighten the landscape.
- Get out those plant magazines, or visit a local greenhouse and start making plans for a little herb garden or a potted plant bearing fruit or simple flowers. (You’ll really be glad you did.)
- If it looks like winter will not be leaving your neighborhood for a few more weeks, then inspire yourself with the home magazines that abound with ideas to refresh and renew your home and spirit.
- Of course, the proverbial spring cleaning is one that always makes you feel refreshed and renewed as you give good stuff away to Good Will or other organizations and make room for the things that are really important to you. Get the whole family to help you “lighten up.”
- Bring some springtime color inside. Change out the pillows on the sofa or your bed and add a splash of color with flowers or birds and butterflies.
- Put away the darker shades of winter in your candle and accessories collection and find a few vibrant shades in yellows, pinks, and blues to lighten up your home in a fresh way.
- Send a happy little note for Easter or Spring to your friends and family, via bluemountain.com. Share a smiling face, a chirping bird, or some other budding bit of joy and let them know you’re thinking of them at this happy time of year.
The best part of spring is that it offers the opportunity to take advantage of all the things that make us feel alive and well. Little touches of color, thoughtful cards and notes to friends, planting seeds of hope…these are the things that bring more sunshine into our lives. The sun of the Vernal Equinox is not just on the equator–it also fills our hearts. Happy Spring!