Friday, February 5, 2010
This is what I love to do while I'm at the studio, paint. I started painting pet portraits a couple of months ago and it's going very well. I did my dog Chester the black and white shaggy dog and thought he turned out well. Then I did various other dogs which can be found on my website http://www.hipchickdesignsca.com/. The most recent is "Brady", probably the cutest dog ever. He is smiling and happy and radiates joy. I wanted to let you all know I do this for a very reasonable price. $100-$200 depending on size. The portraits are wonderful gifts and I can produce them in less than a week generally. All I need is a photograph. So far I've just painted dogs but I can paint any animal. Let me know if I can do one for you!!
Posted by Carrie Clayden at 8:48 AM
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
This is my favorite place in the world. St. Croix Virgin Islands. This picture is actually Buck Island a small National Park that is a few miles off of St. Croix. My favorite thing in the world to do, is sail to Buck Island on Big Beard's boat and snorkel the underwater trail. JFK loved Buck Island so much he designated it a National Park and it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. I was lucky to live in St. Croix twice in my life. The first time was in 1977-79 and I was 14 and hated it. That was until I fell in love with it and then ironically we moved back to California. My dad was transferred through Bank of America at the time and I had never even been out of California and we moved all the way to the Caribbean. It was a cultural shock to be sure. Things at home were tense but my social life was in full bloom. I had my first crush, my first date, my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first drink, and the list goes on.....I look back on that time as my absolute favorite because everything was so new and exciting. This was the school I went to in 8th and 9th grade it's Good Hope School and it was excellent. I have found many of my old classmates from then on facebook and it's wonderful to see where they are now in their lives. One friend Alice Henry teaches at Good Hope and lives in St. Croix and I hope to visit her there someday. My family has never been there with me. I want to go with everyone next year for our 20th wedding anniversary and have Big Beard sail us to Buck Island. That's the plan. I went back to St. Croix when I was older about 20 and lived there for 2 years and had way too much fun once again. This time on my own and in full on party mode. You can image how great living in paradise is for a young partier. It was sailing and playing in the day, waitressing and going out all night every night. (Photo of my friend Big Beard on St. Patrick's Day in the parade)I thought I'd live there forever but fate intervened. My best friend convinced me to go back to California to 'check in' and visit our families (hers was getting divorced sadly) and I humored her. While I was home two significant things happened, one was a friend telling me I wasn't even giving it a chance (being back in Ca.) and the other was dating my husband Ben. Suddenly I had a decision to make, Ben or St. Croix and obviously I chose Ben (as I am married to him now). I had never really tried at the relationship thing, I had perfected playing and having fun and I guess I was ready to see if I could settle down. I was only 23 so it's nothing short of miraculous that I didn't go back to the island life. I stayed and got married, started our family and never returned except for one brief day when I was in St. Maarten about 12 years ago. I took an island hopper over for a 24 hour St. Croix fix. It's always in my heart, and I often reminisce of all the good times I had there. I might go back sooner then next year it turns out. Ben is on a trip to St. Thomas in April and I'm going to try my hardest to see if I can join him. I have to cover my daughter in school and it won't be easy but I'm pretty determined. I need to go back to the mother ship. It's calling me. "Carrie, come swim in my ocean, come play in my sand and return to your homeland from whence you came." OK maybe I threw that in for effect but I do feel like I have to get back there. I've always been a beach bum when it comes right down to it......
Posted by Carrie Clayden at 6:45 PM
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sometimes a road trip is just the thing to get inspired. Today I took a road trip with my friend Linda to the Napa valley which we are so lucky to have so close. It started out cloudy and just as we got to the Benicia bridge the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day. The scenery is so beautiful just driving the road to Napa was inspiration itself. Passing through vineyards filled with mustard plants, hills covered in green grass, the clear blue sky and white puffy clouds were visually stimulating this artist. We stopped at Dean and Deluca, a fabulous chic grocery and got a few unnecessary items and continued on to the charming town of St. Helena. We went to a shop called Lolo's a clothing and accessories consignment shop and I purchased two must have items. 1. a turquoise garden gate straight out of the Mamma Mia set and 2. a brown velvet corset with lace for $10 bucks. A spectacular score! We looked at numerous charming shops as everything in this town is charming with a capital C and had lunch at Cindy's backstreet kitchen. We ate a duck burger and I would NEVER order such a thing ordinarily but it was amazing. I was inspired by all the beautiful imagery in all the stores and I had my camera with me to capture the images I might eventually paint.
I got filled with good tidings, my companion was superb, the weather excellent. The charming town and shops filled my artist head with many ideas.....stay tuned for more to come!!
Posted by Carrie Clayden at 10:33 PM