@SkyBlue_ArtStudio – Art and Illustration lovers, please join me on Instagram! 

Dear Friends 💛

I hope you are having a great year! I have been  offline for the past year, just trying to spend more of me free time drawing and painting. I miss writing here, but The online world overwhelms me a bit, and sometimes I need to log off and turn inward… not great for promoting art, but healthy nonetheless.

One online place I can’t seem to break free from is Instagram. The photos, art, beautiful videos, so little drama (at least where I go)… since I rarely have the opportunity to travel and see art, Instagram images help fill that void.

I have hesitantly shared my art over the past few years, here on WordPress and on Instagram, trying not to concern myself too much with harsh judgement.   I am now feeling ready to send more of my art and handmade creations, out into the world.

I hope you will join me on Instagram to enjoy a little whimsy and maybe even bring home some original art! I promise Mermaids, Fairies, whimsical beings, and lots of Daisies!

Find me on Instagram – @skyblue_artstudio if interested in artworks for purchase directly through Instagram and PayPal.

You may also follow my more personal account which also includes artsy moments, works in process, etc. – @skybluewithdaisies

Thank you for your support and best wishes!

XO SkyBlue ~ Erica 🌼

Folk Art – Zen Girl under Rainbow Sky

Painting allows me to visit places and moments I have experienced in the past, and/or hope I can visit someday in the future.  Either way, it allows me to visit right now, in the present moment.  I’m visiting while I sketch it out, while I lay the paint down, every time I look at it afterwards.   I create my paintings in hopes that maybe someone else will look at it, and feel that way too.

While the subjects of my paintings are mostly women and girls – I refer to them all as “girls”… in my whimsical world, we are always youthful inside.  Here is a girl (woman) I just finished for an auction fundraiser.  She is a girl who is feeling off balance… she is a little bit frazzled but devoted to her family, work and/or passions – so she tries to do it all, and do it well.  She sees so much beauty in the world around her, but the chaos out there scares her. She needs to escape from all of that periodically, and find her center.

Her three buns are a representation of the little stacks of rocks you sometimes see balanced in advertisements for massage therapy and yoga.   I have casually practiced rock balancing for years now, in a therapeutic, meditative capacity. I could go on for hours with this metaphor, but in simple terms I see the process as an intimate conversation with nature, and a dance with gravity… which can help us redefine what is possible. Her stack of buns is her power to stand strong despite any chaos in her life.

Here she is, under a rainbow sky.

Zen Girl Print Copy 1 Maybe you’d like her in your home or yoga studio? Prints, pillows and other items will be available and 100% proceeds during October 2014 will be donated to breast health initiatives in Bristol, CT.  Check back or visit the Skyblue Facebook page for information as it becomes available.

xo skyblue

Holy Land USA and theTimeExpo Museum – Some Easter fun in Waterbury, CT

If you do a Google search of Waterbury, CT you will probably get a pretty generic list of fact sheets and local services.  Why would someone Google Waterbury? People around here do not say the nicest things about it.  I have been guilty myself of the trash talking. Living in a suburb of the “brass city”, i have to pass through it quite often, and i do most of my grocery shopping there.  Sometimes it annoys me…Waterbury… but i have decided it deserves a little love.  Especially on Easter.

This Easter morning we woke up to another news story of a vacant factory in Waterbury burning to the ground.  There seems to have been a rash of fires there – all empty, run down houses and businesses which while standing, have been inviting plenty of seedy behavior.

One area that is particularly run down is that of the religious tourist attraction – Holy Land USA.  Although I don’t think there have been any fires there, it’s current state of neglect and disrepair attracts less than wholesome activities.  It is no longer the tourist attraction it was intended to be, and it is surrounded by an air of darkness.

In the mid 1950’s, a lawyer named John Greco built a miniature replica of Jerusalem and Bethlehem on a 17-acre hill in Waterbury.  It became one of Connecticut’s most popular tourist attractions in the 1960’s and 70’s, drawing in thousands of Bible readers every year.  I have not read the Bible, so I have no knowledge of most of the stories and passages, but I think this place on the hill must have been very special to a great many people…especially to Mr. Greco and the many volunteers and believers who built it.  It closed in the 80’s, shortly before its creator passed away, and since then it has been neglected and vandalized, with not much hope for restoration.  And only last year a young girl was tragically raped and murdered just beneath the cross.  The place has been mostly off limits, but I had read that people go up there to witness remnants of the tiny biblical scenes.

The other day I decided to go up there with my husband on a whim.  Now that I think about it though… I had probably asked him about thirty times if we could go up there, so it was more likely a result of my relentless nagging.  Anyway, I felt extra drawn to try to find it that particular day for some reason.  Maybe it was the gloomy, slate gray sky.

We found the winding dead end street, and hesitantly drove up to the rickety gates.  I couldn’t believe I was right there, at Holy Land… the place behind the landmark cross I remember seeing as a child when we drove up to see my second cousin’s in Ansonia once a year… The cross that stands majestically, but sadly atop a small mountain alongside I-84.  I was absolutely fascinated.  I was positively terrified.

I yanked my camera out of my purse, and started snapping from the passenger seat.  Of course now I just had to walk up to it.  Eventually, I ended up inside the gates and off i went with my camera, sneaking along the overgrown path.  My husband was begrudgingly escorting me, but I was definitely freaking out.  I photographed every inch of the place… or as much of it as i could, knowing we probably weren’t supposed to be in there, and knowing how utterly stupid we were, wandering around such a secluded, now sinister place.  We made it partially up the hill, just within site of the cross, when we heard voices behind the tangled bushes. (Hellll, no… we weren’t crashing that party.)  I managed to capture a few shaky images of the cross before we hi-tailed it out of there.  As we power walked down the bend, we came face to face with another group of “could be totally innoncent, could be gangstas” twenty-somethings. W immediately got that look on his face, which said… “I’ll be grabbing that rock Erica, and when I start taking people out with it, you run like f*ck!”  We safely made it to the car and I immediately inspected each photo to see the details I missed in our haste.  Cool.

As millions of people around the world spend their Easter traveling to the Holy Lands, take a peak at my snap shots… remnants of a dreamer’s once realized dream.  I do hope they will respectfully contribute to the memory and sad beauty of this abandoned place, doomed to be further destroyed or forgotten.  But I also encourage you to check out these great images from the years before its hopeless decline.

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… Later that same day, we ventured up to my favorite thing in Waterbury, the life-size replica of a Moai statue from Easter Island.  The statue, which can also be seen from I-84, guards the Time Expo Museum – its authentic versions thought to have historically functioned together with the sun as a primitive time piece. Easter Island, I have learned was named as such, by the Dutch explorer who encountered it on Easter Sunday, 1722.  I’ve never been to the museum, but i do adore its giant loveable protector.

If you happen to be driving through Waterbury, make sure you look up to your left and off to your right for these creative, Connecticut treasures.  Maybe you will decide to hop off the freeway, and venture up close.  Anyway, Happy Easter all, however you celebrated it.