The Amazing Blue Moon

I’m very sad to inform you, that contrary to my belief, at a closer look, the moon is NOT¬†made out of cheese ūüôā

Even if not blue and not cheese, I think it looks absolutely amazing!!

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Special thanks to my dear reliable Nikon, for making it happen.


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Sea Storm

After experiencing my first tornado, a few days ago, at the Northern Sea, I couldn’t remove from my head the picture of the storm. Being at a safe distance, I could actually appreciate the force and beauty of the natural phenomena.

The force with which it shifted from the road, into the sea, and moved the sea water, creating amazingly beautiful waves, gently moving the passing by ships, determined me to give it a try, and recreate the storm at sea.

The sea was never easy for me to paint and all my previous attempts at it, came out very wrong. Now, after doing a bit of research on how to mix the colors, and which shades go where, I think it came out a bit closer to reality ūüôā

Time lapse video, of making the painting, step by step:

sea storm


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Learning How to Paint Fur in Acrylics – 10 Days Challenge

A while back I made the decision to improve my painting skills.¬†Something I always wanted to learn how to paint better are animals, but fur isn’t easy to replicate with a brush.

Doing a bit of research online, I realized what I was doing wrong. When you look at an animal’s coat, you¬†don’t see a¬†single color only. A mix of various shades¬†go in, before the final paint, even if at a first glance, we only see a one color¬†animal.

So, I want to share my technique, step by step, while I’m also learning how to paint it right:

1. I started with the sketch of the animal, in crayon, drawing the outline and basic shape.

2. Then I moved on to adding the base color, lighter or darker, depending on the light and also the fur color, by areas. This created depth and made the fur look much more real. Depending on the final color of the animal, I choose as base color, either grey, brown or blue.

3. Moving on to getting the cat closer to its final coat, I started adding hairs, with small movements, using a smaller brush. Later, I gave it a ‘fluffy’ touch with a larger brush.

4. Final steps, highlights. Using a mix of white, black and blue, I added the finishing touches, bringing some shine into the fur, keeping in mind the light on the animal’s coat, especially in the dark background paintings.¬†

In order to master the technique,¬†I took¬†a 10¬†days challenge and painted a different fluffy cat per day.¬†Before you call me a crazy cat lady, in my defense, I only picked cats as subjects, because of the fluffiness of the fur ūüôā

Here are my teachers, time lapse pictures/videos included:

Day 1 РFluffy Grey Kitty

Started with a brown base color, and a grey background. Gradually added grey, black, white and brown hairs, and finished with white and black accents.

Day 2 РMoon Cat

Started with a black¬†and dark blue background, and a dark grey+blue base for the cat. Gradually added lighter grey¬†and¬†white hairs, taking into consideration¬†the shine of the moon, on the cat’s coat. The background clouds are a mix of white and grey, softened with a fluffy brush/sponge.

Day 3 – Gold Fish in Trouble

Started with the dark grey background for the wall, and a light grey for the table. Added a brown (both lighter and darker) base color for the cat, finishing off with black, grey and white hairs. Whiskers were done last, together with the white accents on the wall background, and the fish bowl.

Can you hear the Jaws theme song on the background? ūüôā

Day 4 – Lion King

Big kitties are also kitties, so why not a lion?

To show better the painting technique, I’ve decided to start a video time lapse, for my¬†paintings. I think it turned out pretty good, as I can review all my moves and the entire painting process is easier to follow.

day4-lion

Day 5 – Kitten Playing with Yarn

Time lapse video of making the painting, step by step:

day5-kitty with yarn

Day 6 – Sleeping Kittens

Time lapse video of making the painting, step by step:

day6-sleeping kittens

Day 7 – Leopard

Taking painting to the next level, with another big kitty, a gorgeous leopard.

Time lapse video of making the painting, step by step:

day6-leopard

Day 8¬†–¬†Tiger

And why not an ever bigger cat, a tiger?

Time lapse video of making the painting, step by step:

tiger

Day 9 – Fluffy Grey Cat

A test kitty, to see if my painting technique improved since the first grey cat painting, from day 1. Definitely mastering much better, the fluffiness in the coat!

Time lapse video of making the painting, step by step:

day9-kitty

Day 10 – Sleepy Best Friends

Painting dogs isn’t that much different from painting cats, so I just had to give it a try. What can be cuter than a basset puppy and a kitten sleeping?

Time lapse video of making the painting, step by step:

day10-puppyandkitten

10 big and small cats later (and one puppy), I’m very happy with my progress. My technique improved from one painting to the other. It was all a matter of mastering the right moves and the order of adding the color paint.¬†Looking forward to my next challenge!

I’d love to hear your opinion on my progress. Which painting¬†is your favorite?


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Snowy Mountains Painting

Let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee

–¬†William Wordsworth

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The Curse of Everything

Human mind is a beautiful place. Complex, busy, influenced by the environment and experiences.

We constantly evolve, ever since the moment we’re born. With every new sound, color, word, picture in our mind, something changes inside us. We begin learning to like and dislike things around us, at a very young age. The more exposure, the more we alter our path in life, our likes and dislikes, and dreams and aspirations. Most of the time, we don’t know what we¬†want, but our experiences taught us what we don’t want.

As children, ever since we can remember, we’re asked by many people the same question: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘. That question sets our minds free. The answer has no limitations, the only limitation is human mind. So we think about it, and we come up with ambitious dreams. We want to be astronauts, firefighters, superheros, princesses, scientists, doctors, police officers, and many others. Our innocent souls, dictate our path in life, and ration doesn’t have much to say in it. Influenced by animations, love, and goodwill, we seek to be happy, regardless of the form it takes.

“Passion is the difference between having a job or having a career.”

With age, we’re slowly guided towards the slot in society we should occupy. Exposure makes us¬†forget or ignore what our previous goal was: to be happy. Once school¬†becomes a major part of¬†our lives, things complicate, we become more job¬†focused, getting lost in the illusion that¬†what builds a career aren’t actually dreams and passion, but solid knowledge.

The more people we meet, the meanness of the persons around us, the cruel society, the situations we’re confronted with, alter the way we see the world around us, our dreams and desires. And our worldview changes. Our ambitious dreams are replaced by heavy thinking and struggling to occupy that position dictated by society. We go back and forward between choosing the right career path. And most of us find it. Influenced by the school subjects, material gain, people around us, we feel like we finally fit in that¬†slot, and we work towards making our dream come true.

Hard work pays off and we become good at something. Our entire lives are shaped around us becoming something when we grow up. And for most of us, it works.

It’s really easy to choose to ‘become something’, if you know you’re good at one thing, and you feel like you can only do that, at a level which makes you happy and turns you into a skilled professional. It’s easy when you know you will get a job.

But what if you still don’t know the answer to ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘. What if you are passionate by many things? What if you just can’t choose? What if you’re that ‘annoying’ type of person which can do pretty much anything the mind is set to do, and can’t settle for a job? What if you change your mind every few months, and your heart defines ‘career’ in a totally different way? What if you just have no plan to ‘become something’ once you’re done with your education, in comparison with all your other colleagues?

Being multi-talented, training your mind easily to switch from one field to the other, might seem like a blessing. However, you realize soon enough that you are not like others around you, you don’t know how to do just one thing, but you can be anything you set your mind to. Even if we are trained to believe we need to find that ‘job’, and fill in that empty slot in society, for a person like you, it’s almost impossible.

Doing almost anything, can become a curse. It’s never easy to mix different skills from art, writing, technology, love for animals and environment, people,¬†to¬†a personal life, into ONE career path. You can’t be everything but you can’t be without everything. And then you face the curse of everything, with makes it almost impossible to choose.

So, what do you do? How do you find out the right path for you? Is there such a thing? Can you focus on one thing only? Can we be happy with being less than we want to be?

In the crazy race for a career, money and a future, we must not leave our heart behind. Once we try to remove a part of us, from our future, we soon realize we lose our happiness. For people with so many passions and interests, the only way to live a happy life is to not leave any passion un-nurtured. Our artistic side is always waiting to come to surface, our compassionate side is present in all our actions, and all our skills¬†combine and become a lifestyle. We can’t just NOT do what makes us happy, unless we amputate a part of our soul.

“Doing what you like is freedom.

Liking what you do is happiness.”

When it comes to a career path, we tend to choose from our passions and skills, the ones which have the potential to bring the most income. However, long term, income is not enough. Think about removing all monetary benefits, setting all career options right in front of you, and picture what would you do, if you could choose from anything, and all would pay the same. Would it still be the career you had in mind before? Making a career from your¬†passion, feels like you never go to work, not even for one day. Wouldn’t that be beautiful, to be so free? That’s true happiness!

When life gets busy and complicated, we immediately remove the time allocated for what really feeds our soul. However, the crazier life becomes and the less time we have, the more time we should invest in our true passions. We should never forget that nurturing our heart is as important as feeding our body. Losing ourselves in the process of building a future, takes us to an empty space, where sunshine can’t reach. Can¬†fortunes feed an empty soul?

“In Order to Succeed, Your Desire for Success Should Be Greater than Your Fear of Failure.”

‚Äď Bill Cosby

Passions … there is no right and wrong. The right choice is the one which makes us happy, and we shouldn’t settle for anything less. Our hearts and minds need peace, and once we take the time to¬†listen, we’ll choose our true path in life. We’ll just know it, as we’ll give 110% in anything we do, and it won’t ever feel like a job, but it will feel like freedom. It will feel like happiness.

Remember we’re not meant to fit in that slot society created for us. Taking the time to find out¬†what really makes us happy, nurturing our passions even in the busiest times, our desire to succeed, and a positive attitude, will put us on the right track to a career and fulfillment, and keep us away from getting stuck with an unsatisfying and time consuming¬†job.


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Mountain Landscape

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.‚ÄĚ ~¬†Sir Edmund Hillary

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‚ÄúOnly if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.‚ÄĚ ~Richard M. Nixon


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Happy Dutch Pancake Goes Romanian!

Making new friends is always fun, and is nothing better than joining a group of people from all over the world, to exchange opinions, ideas and bring incredible experiences into the same room.

Only a few weeks ago I heard about the tradition of Dutch Pancake Party, which started in Hong Kong, a while back, as a thank you dinner, for the hosts of a group of Dutch students.

Starting with a nice gesture, the party became more of a tradition for Robin Vogelaar, who travels every week to a new city around the world, and organizes a new party. Meeting people through CouchSurfing and social networks, Robin finds a place to stay, someone willing to provide a location for the Pancake Night, invites as many people as possible, and gets busy cooking and making new friends.

Photo Credit – Aida Ivan

With over 90 such parties already taking place all over the world, from Europe to Asia, between 30 and 150 people present at every party, the Dutch Pancake Night became a phenomena.

When I met Robin, he told me about his idea to organize such a party in Bucharest, so I just had to join in. It was quite impressive to see so many people of all nationalities (Netherlands, Mauritius, Greece, Belgium, Albania, UK, Brazil, China, Romania), going into the kitchen, helping with the snacks, ingredients and cooking the pancakes.

Even if we had great plans in mind (making a lot of pancakes, for everyone present), with only a few pancakes going out of the kitchen door, we had to¬†put an end to it sooner, as the neighbors got irritated with the noise. From what I¬†understand, this happens all the time, in every location, so we really fast came up with a backup plan, and moved to a nearby pub, to continue the celebration. No one puts a stop to a determined group! ūüôā

Photo Credit – Aida Ivan

The best part about such events is the cultural exchange. I always love to meet people with similar passions, skills and interests, and find out more about other cultures and traditions. Even better is to meet fascinating adventurous world travelers and start new friendships.

With the next location already in mind, so many amazing people and a few new wonderful friendships, I’m pretty sure the end of the party is only a see you later, not a goodbye. Looking forward to the next meeting!


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Special thanks to Aida Ivan for the event pictures