Getting Creative with Waterlogue

Did you know that watercolor is considered the most difficult of painting techniques? There is simply no way to disguise your mistakes in this translucent medium. The best watercolorists spend years perfecting their skills, while novices trash a lot of thick textured paper before finally creating something frame-worthy.

watercolor gift © The Gracious Possea treasured thank you watercolor from an old friend

Taking my Monday morning advice to heart, I pulled out my Cotman Watercolor Compact Set and spent several hours Monday afternoon immersed in pigment and paintbrushes. My subjects were one of my favorite artistic endevours to photograph: flower arrangements.

watercolor palette © The Gracious Posse

While the exercise proved soul-satisfying, my inner critic prevents me from sharing the full results.

Fortunately, Waterlogue, the app, steps in where individual ability ends. Just last week, I wanted to spruce up a Flower Guild meeting reminder. Waterlogue quickly turned this stunning arrangement by one of our Guild members

October altar arrangement featuring bittersweet and proteus © The Gracious Posse

into this authentic-looking watercolor.

altar arrangement painted in Waterlogue

With a few clicks on the computer, I was able to email this .pdf notice,

Waterlogue graphic on meeting reminder © The Gracious Posse

much to the delight of everyone who received it.

After we featured Waterlogue here, a Kindergarten assistant who reads The Gracious Posse taught her students how to take their pictures of flowers and turn them into watercolors that were then printed onto cardstock. The notecard sets proved a favorite gift for Mother’s Day!

Waterlogued watercolor notecards © The Gracious Posse

Don’t have confidence in your watercolor abilities? You can still get creative with the medium thanks to Waterlogue and its many applications. I’ll bet you can devise some clever uses for Waterlogue.

salutationa&eOctober 22, 2014

Thought for the Week ~ Maya Angelou on Creativity

paraphrase of one of the most popular quotes on our Gracious Inspiration Pinterest Board,

Creativity . . . the  more you use, the more you have. ~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s sage observation about increasing creativity makes for appropriate Monday morning inspiration. Much like the giving of love, instead of exhausting our creative juices, we’ll generate more as we dig deep within and exercise our artistic souls. What’s on your creative agenda this week?


October 20, 2014

Sneak a Peak at the VMFA’s New Blockbuster Exhibit ~ Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ latest blockbuster, Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing, opens to the general public this Saturday, October 18th. On Wednesday night, hundreds of the museum most ardent supporters gathered for a preview celebration. 

giant Chinese foo dog © The Gracious Posse

Despite the Chinese grandeur all around, the museum provided a local spin at the reception with local brewer Hardywood’s

Forbidden Hardywood brew © The Gracious PosseForbidden brew.

It proved the perfect welcoming beverage for this here-and-only-here exhibition that represents a coup for the VMFA. According to Sunday’s Richmond Times Dispatch article, the Palace Museum and the VMFA collaborated for seven years to create this exclusive exhibit and bring it here. In exchange, the famed Faberge eggs, part of the museum’s permanent collection, will travel to the Palace Museum to be displayed in 2016.

Let this sneak peak of Forbidden City whet your appetite and get you planning your own visit. 

Forbidden City marquee © The Gracious Posse

Forbidden City Exhibit Summary

ceremonial armor worn by Palace Guards © The Gracious Posseceremonial armor worn by Palace Guards

Forbidden City jade chimes © The Gracious Possejade chimes hanging on 11-foot-tall frames

Forbidden City throne room furniture © The Gracious Possethrone-room furniture

cushion seat at Emperor's desk © The Gracious Posseyellow cushion for emperor’s writing desk

Forbidden City wine cup and saucer © The Gracious Possewine cup and saucer made of enamel, gold and pearl

Forbidden City English gold clock © The Gracious PosseEnglish gold clock

Woman's semi-formal headdress in Forbidden City exhibit © The Gracious PosseWoman’s Headdress for less formal occasions

Forbidden City exhibit's man's Jacket © The Gracious PosseMan’s fur-lined quilted jacket

Lotus Sutra in forbidden City exhibit © The Gracious PosseLotus Sutra

Intrigued by all of these items and many more now on display, I vow to learn more about the period in which the Forbidden City reigned supreme. The VMFA produced a bibliography of books related to this exhibition, and

Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China has really piqued my interest.

Empress Dowager Cixi quote

This blockbuster, which runs until January 11, 2015, may be as close as I come to seeing the Forbidden City, and I am ready to immerse myself in its uniqueness. Just touring the exhibition halls provides a humbling experience for which I am most grateful. My feelings upon leaving are best summed up as only Confucius can,

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

salutatione&aOctober 17, 2014