December 10, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It has been relatively warm for the past few weeks, and I was beginning to think we would end up with a warm winter. But I woke up this morning to find everything outside covered in a thick, white blanket of snow. We went outside and made snow angels and snapped a few pictures. I love how monochromatic everything looks, it makes me feel like I'm in Narnia!

November 21, 2012

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I love getting together with friends and family and eating good food. And if you can't tell from the image above, pumpkin pie is probably my favorite thing to indulge in. But I also love the fact that this day is dedicated to giving thanks for the things we have -the big things and the little things. Here is an abbreviated list of things I am thankful for:

Momma's home cooked meals
Daddy for driving me to school everyday
Silly conversations with Rachael
Sweet drawings and surprises from little Josiah
Being able to go to school
Comfy room and bed to come home to everyday
And most importantly, the hope I have in God and the everlasting love he has for me!

Have a happy Thanksgiving! Tell someone you're thankful for them!

November 20, 2012

Recent Work

Here are a few pieces I've completed from drawing class lately. It's nice to go back to basics again and just work in pencil and charcoal. Even though we're just learning the fundamentals of drawing, I'm learning so much! Right now, I am working on a bigger piece. Follow me here to see some pictures of the process. I'll post it here on the blog when it is completed.

Hope you're having a great week!

October 29, 2012

Last of Fall

I've been working on this painting over the past week. I love how vibrant the leaves are during the fall, so it's sad whenever they're gone. But that also means that winter is just around the corner! It already snowed (or flurried) last week in Minneapolis, can you believe that?! I can't remember the last time I took out my acrylic paints and I forgot how much fun it is to work in this medium. I especially love how messy my palette gets after I'm done painting.

Did you do anything fun over the weekend?

Thanks, Enthel for the pictures!
Painting based on this image.

October 23, 2012

Extreme Fall + what I've been up to

Can you believe October is almost coming to an end? The days are getting shorter, temperatures are lower, and just about all the leaves have fallen off the trees. My 4-year-old brother calls this time of year 'extreme fall'. Isn't that cute? Even though I'm not a huge fan of the cold (which is actually considered warm in Minnesota!), I love that this weather calls for things like riding boots, cozy scarves, and, most importantly, pumpkin pie!! you were probably also wondering, "Corynn, where have you been for the past 2 months?! Whatever happened to the bird series?" It will completed, I promise! I've just been really occupied with schoolwork lately. But it will come soon, promise! In the meantime, if you'd like to see some art projects I'm working on for school, you can follow me here.

I hope you are enjoying the weather where you live!

August 15, 2012

Day 3: Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Today's bird is a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I just love the pop of red on this little guy! When it takes flight, you'll see that the red is under its wings too, which is quite an unexpected surprise. Not only does this birdie look pretty, it sounds beautiful too! They say that the rose-breasted grosbeak's song is like a Robin who has taken singing lessons. Haha! I would love to wake up everyday to the sound of them singing.

Oil Pastel on Paper
I'm not sure if you have noticed a pattern yet, but I am choosing birds for this series by color. The last two birds (Red-winged Blackbird and Northern Cardinal) both have a little bit of red and black, as does this grosbeak. Tomorrow's bird is a woodpecker -it has a little less red, but more black and white. What do you think it is? Leave a comment below or tell me here.

August 14, 2012

Day 2: Northern Cardinal

I hinted yesterday that today's bird would be red and have a crest. If you guessed Northern Cardinal, you are correct! This bird is pretty easy to spot, not just because of its vibrant red feathers, but also because it is a common city bird. I've seen and heard so many of them just in my backyard!

Oil Pastel on Paper

Most male birds (not just the cardinal) have brightly-colored feathers to attract females. Female birds, on the other hand, do not have as much pigment in their feathers. The female cardinal looks like this. The lack of pigmentation helps them camouflage into the trees and protect themselves from predators. Smart, huh?

Follow me here, here, or here to see some work in progress pictures.

August 13, 2012

17 BIRDS // Day 1: Red-winged Blackbird

I'm excited to announce a fun new series I will be starting called '17 Birds'. Basically, I will be posting a painting of a bird everyday for the next 17 days. Early this summer, I took a biology course where I had to learn to identify more than a hundred species of trees, plants, and animals. The great thing about this class is that most of it took place outdoors, which is much easier than learning from a powerpoint presentation. We would either walk around campus or take a bus to a regional park. 

Now, I am not particularly fond of nature (I like my bug-free world), but this ended up being one of the most interesting classes I have ever taken. I especially loved learning about birds! Our instructor taught us how to identify them and their calls. We even got to use our own pair of binoculars! It was really easy to hear these birds, but spotting one was like finding a gem. That's what this series is going to be about -the 17 'gems' that I have spotted and/or heard thus far.

The first bird I chose is the Red-winged Blackbird. We saw this bird on the first day of our field trip. The red and yellow patch on its wing really stands out against its jet-black feathers. This is one feisty little bird. We saw one of them chase after a red-tailed hawk, and another one chase after a crow. It does this to protect its babies from predators. The audacity of the red-winged blackbird quickly made it a class-favorite.

Can you guess what the next bird will be? Hint: It is red and has a crest.

August 7, 2012

Summer Road Trip [in instagram photos]

My family goes on road trips almost every summer. This year, we decided to drive all the way from Minnesota to New York, which is probably the longest drive we've ever made. We passed through seven states and spent about five days on the road. Just call us crazy! ;D It was totally worth it, though. We met up with friends, explored new places, and most importantly -ate great food! Here's a look at our trip.

The great thing about being the road is seeing these cool sunrises...
...and warm sunsets.
We made a stop in Chicago to see the shiny bean! And Philadelphia to try Philly cheese steaks.
We did all the touristy things we could think of in New York -Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Top of the Rock gave us a great view of the city and Central Park. I was amazed by the amount of buildings there were. I definitely underestimated how big the city is. My sister and I at Grand Central Station.
Charging Bull and Times Square.
I was humming the 30 Rock theme song in my head when we were at Rockefeller Center. Lady Liberty made out of legos at FAO Schwarz; I think I was more excited about the toy store than my little brother was!
Had the chance to go to the Met as well. I love how these frames add to the grandeur of the paintings. Saw many famous paintings, but this portrait by Chuck Close was by far my favorite! Can you believe it's a painting?!
Took the subway for the first time and guess what? It's not that bad! We also had to do a lot of walking when we weren't taking the subway. So how do you get a tired and whiny 4-year-old to keep going? Bribe him with a rainbow popsicle is what you do! :)
Fun sighting -saw a model in action while walking around. I'm also pretty sure I saw Kelly Cutrone in Soho. I think that pretty much completes my New York experience ;)
Chinatown was also one of my family's favorite spots. We were there almost every night for dinner! #typicalasian
Had to try some New York pizza since people say it's the best. Shake Shack burgers were pretty good too. My favorite thing, though, was a gyro from a food truck on the street (not pictured). That was the best!!
Okay, maybe I have more than one favorite... My picks: Mocha cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes; Lime and Basil macaron from Laudurée.

I hope you are all having a great summer too!

June 27, 2012

Sweet Art

Lately, I've been teaching my 4-year old brother, Josiah, how to draw. Since he's still little, I try to keep his projects simple and fun. I let him choose whatever he wants to draw, and then we work on it together. Recently, he picked out a cookbook and told me he wanted to draw some of the desserts in it. I find it interesting that he gravitates towards sweets. It might have something to do with my sister's and my love for baking. ;) Like any other kid, he was most attracted to anything with lots of colors and sprinkles. He took out his little notebook and started sketching out these confections, with a little bit of help and instruction, of course. :)

I love how all of them turned out. The imperfect shapes and out-of-the-line colorings give these drawings charm that only a child can create. After drawing these desserts, he said to me, "We should probably draw something healthy too!" Haha..he's such a funny kid! I love you, Josiah!

June 15, 2012

Brush Embroidery Sugar Cookies {Step-by-Step + Video Tutorial}

I finally finished the 2nd part of my cookie tutorial! I have been busy with classes for the past few weeks, but it's done now that I have officially graduated from high school! Yippee!

Decorating cookies is one of my favorite things to do. It's kind of like art, except your medium is sugar. Not only are they pretty, but you also get to eat them! These cookies were inspired by SweetAmbs - she makes the prettiest cookies! It was so much fun to make these, albeit a little time consuming. I definitely have a newfound respect for food bloggers. I learned how much time actually goes into a blog post - from the baking, to the photography, editing, writing, etc. Maybe I should just stick with traditional art, huh? ;)

I didn't have my camera with me when I decorated these cookies, so most of the process pictures are Instagram-ed. There are two parts to this tutorial. 1st - making royal icing; 2nd - decorating. Alright, let's jump right into it!

To make Royal Icing, you will need:
  • Meringue Powder
  • Warm Water
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Orange Juice (or flavorings of your choice)

(1) Add 2 tablespoons of meringue powder into a mixing bowl.
(2) Then, add 4 tablespoons of warm water. (Or just go by 1 part meringue powder, 2 parts warm water)
(3) Mix until the meringue powder has dissolved completely. You will know it has dissolved when bubbles start to form.
(4) Add sifted confectioners sugar to the mixture. Start by adding 1 cup. The amount of sugar you add is dependent upon the consistency you want. For a thicker consistency, add more confectioners sugar. For thinner/runnier icing, add more warm water.
(5) Mix on medium speed until it is fully incorporated.(6) Next, add some freshly squeezed orange juice for some tang! You can omit this altogether and add other flavorings of your choice.(7) Mix again! Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Pop any air bubbles that have risen to the top. (Notice how the orange juice gave the icing a beige/cream tint.)
(8) Transfer your icing into a squeeze bottle or piping bag. I set some of the icing aside for different colors and consistencies.

Now, you are ready to decorate! You will need:
  • Cookies (Of course!)
  • Slightly runny icing
  • Thick icing (Green and Pink)
  • Toothpick or Chopstick
  • Food-safe Brush

(1) Place your cookie on a flat surface. (See my previous post on how to make these Chocolate Roll-out Cookies)
(2) Make an outline around the cookie with the icing that is slightly runny.
(3) Fill in the cookie with more icing. Be careful not to over flood it. 

(4) Drag a toothpick or chopstick around the icing to fill in the spaces.Once the cookie is dry to the touch, pipe a border around the cookie and add 3 dots in the middle. (See steps 5-8 in video below)
(5) Pipe out the shape of a leaf with the thick, green icing.
(6) Use a slightly damp, food-safe brush to pull the icing inwards.

(7) Pipe a line down the center of the leaf.
(8) Add a few more leaves. Get creative with your design!
(9) Using the thick, pink icing, pipe the shape of a flower.

(10) Again, pull the icing inwards with a slightly damp brush.
(11) Pipe the inner petals and repeat.
(12) Add a few more flowers, and you're done!
Here's a video to give you a closer look at how I piped the borders and leaves. This was my first time trying out both techniques. That's why my hands are a little shaky.

You don't even need a fancy piping bag - a ziploc bag will do! It definitely gets easier the more you practice. I hope you liked this tutorial and found it helpful :)

May 20, 2012

Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies

This post is going to be slightly different from what I've been doing so far. Baking is one of my favorite things to do, next to art. So I thought I would show you something I really love making - cookies! I love decorating cookies, to be specific. I'll have another post for cookie-decorating next week. But first, here's a step-by-step on making chocolate roll-out cookies!

Prepare your dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl

Whisk them all together and set aside

You will also need these ingredients

Now that you've prepared all the ingredients, let's begin!

  1. Place the softened butter, sugar, and orange zest (optional) in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar on medium to high speed until it is light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the mixture.
  4. Mix it in on low speed.
  5. Gradually add in the dry ingredients that you prepared in the beginning. Adding the dry mixture a little at a time allows the mixture to be fully incorporated.
  6. Mix on low speed, then slowly increase it to medium and fast.
  7. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients. Again, start from low speed and gradually increase it to fast.
  8. Mix until the dough comes together like this. Be careful not to over-mix it.
  9. Form the dough into a disk (or square, in this case) and wrap it up. Place it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour. When you are ready to roll the dough, take it out and let it thaw for about 15 minutes.
  10. Place the dough onto parchment paper. You can also use wax paper, foil, etc.
  11. Put another piece of parchment paper over it. This step will save you the trouble of flouring your kitchen counter and cleaning up the mess later.
  12. Roll out the dough between the two pieces of parchment paper with a rolling pin. I rolled it out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  13. Remove the parchment paper on top. Cut out some shapes with your cookie cutter and peel off the excess dough. Repeat steps 10-13 with the excess dough.
  14. Place the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 12-16 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. Please note that thinner cookies bake faster, and thicker cookies bake slower. Also, shorter time = softer cookie; longer time = crispier/crunchier cookie.

I hope you enjoyed this baking post! I'll show you how I decorate them in the next post..stay tuned! :D

April 25, 2012

Whooping Crane

Hey everyone! It's been a month since my last post. I haven't been drawing as much recently as school has been occupying most of my time, BUT I finally have something to blog about! I happened to have a few hours to kill last Friday, so I decided to submit something for an endangered species art contest. The animal I chose is a whooping crane. These birds were given their name because of the loud whooping sound they make. They are also really tall, standing up to 5 feet. Whooping cranes are known for their red crowns and black wing tips when flying. Right now, there are less than 400 of them in North America.

This took about 3 hours to complete. I did it in the computer lab at school and was able to take a few shots of the process with photobooth. I used my new oil pastels and I love how it turned out!

On another note, I found out a few weeks ago that I have been accepted to the college that I really wanted to go to. Super exciting! Can't wait for the fall semester!

UPDATE: I won 1st place in the Grade 10-12 category! My little brother entered too and came in 3rd in the K-3 category. See his piping plover here! I feel so thankful for this!! :D

March 24, 2012

From my sketchbook: Washington Ave

Here's a sketch I did a few weeks ago while at school. That's the
Weisman Art Museum and the Washington Avenue bridge. I only have half a semester left before graduating from high school..exciting!

February 19, 2012


My sister turned 20 this week and I wanted to do something special for her. I made a card and got a bunch of her friends to sign it. To make it fun, I painted patterns on some plain card stock and cut the edges with scallop scissors. The patterns didn't turn out perfect and I even smudged the paint a few times, but I think that's what makes it even more special.

I also made a little envelope to put the cards in. Everything was painted with acrylic. I had one of my sister's friends give this to her in class - it was one of the gifts in the surprise scavenger hunt I planned for her (which, by the way, included surprise videos and phone calls, paintings from our little brother, Starbucks, and mini maple cheesecakes!). My sister was really surprised and loved it!

January 28, 2012

From my sketchbook: Yum!

I bought an aqua brush a few days ago. I started painting with it the moment I got it in the mail. It's so much fun to use! You can bring it anywhere with you to sketch, all you need is a watercolor palette. I painted my new favorite fruit -grapefruit! Yum, indeed :D