Marguerite Daisy Watercolor

randie-marguerite-daisy

Recently I finished painting this special watercolor of a Marguerite Daisy. The Marguerite is the official flower of P.E.O. International (Philanthropic Education Organization). The official P.E.O. slogan is, “Women helping women reach for the stars.”

Three years ago, a Maryland chapter of P.E.O. awarded me a grant so I could pay for books during graduate school. Even though my employer was covering tuition, money was too tight for me to cover the remaining fees and overpriced college textbooks.

Although I felt embarrassed applying for a grant when I already had a full-tuition rebate, it was no time to be shy. I was still swimming in undergraduate debt plus the crippling general expenses of being a live human in her 20s. Because I worked in the education field at the time, a master’s degree appeared to be a life raft to higher income status. With dreams of someday being able to afford adulthood, I quit waffling and applied.

The P.E.O. members that I met were very kind and understanding. They saw a young woman making ends meet, but who still needed a boost. I was very clear to mention that I just needed some help with books and fees. The grant they gave me was enough to cover books and fees for the remainder of my schooling.

After I graduated with my M.S. in Marketing Management, I was invited to become a member of the local chapter that funded my grant. We meet regularly and work together to find ways that we can support other women. When we award a new grant or scholarship to a deserving woman, I feel like we are helping her reach the stratosphere!

At a luncheon later this month, we will raffle off my painting and the proceeds will fund our grants and scholarships for women. It feels good to give back in some kind of way, since P.E.O. generously offered me a hand when I was struggling financially. When you’re facing hard times with money and someone lifts that burden for you, the feeling is indescribable.

My dream is that someday, community colleges and public universities will be tuition-free to attend… or at least accurately price-adjusted based on merit and/or financial need (we all know the FAFSA is complete B.S.). I think there are a lot of hardworking people out there who are experiencing pushback when what they should be receiving is the support to complete their degree.

I hope we sell enough raffle tickets to give a generous scholarship to a fellow hardworking woman. I will feel so proud!

randie-marguerite-daisy
Yes… I know Marguerite Daisies are white, but I took some artistic liberties.

 

 

Terrapin Tea

Nicolas T., a Horticulture student at my work, came up with the idea for an herbal tea product during an entrepreneurship class. Over the past 12 months our department has watched his idea rapidly develop, culminating in a product launch at the campus food co-op last week.

Taking off on his initial product idea, Nicolas grew Tulsi, Skullcap, and other ingredients for his tea blend in the UMD Community Learning Garden. He then navigated the bureaucracy of both the University AND state food safety laws to create a market-ready product: Terrapin Tea. If you have ever worked for a state-run organization, then you understand what a significant feat of tenacity and perseverance this is.

In addition to his pursuit of product viability, Nicolas harvested tea seven days a week, worked full-time at an off-site internship, dehydrated and packaged tea leaves at the Maryland Food Co-op, and still made the Dean’s List.

In exchange for some of said product, Nicolas asked me to design his Terrapin Tea logo. When his product launched at the Maryland Food Co-op on campus last week, I jumped at the opportunity to take some photos.

My co-worker, Heather, wrote a very engaging article about the entire process. I highly encourage a read! The rest of the photos I took are available on Flickr.

 

 

Healing Through Art

Yesterday I finished this watercolor painting in memory of my pet Uromastyx, Liz Lemon. Liz passed away on January 20, 2018. She was one cool reptile and an excellent roommate; I miss her dearly. My apartment is not the same without Big Liz in her desert habitat, lounging under a heat lamp and gazing through the window at other, less spectacular animals. Painting this portrait helped me get through the doldrums of the past week or so without her.

Liz-Lemon-Uromastyx-watercolor-Jan2018

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”
– Leo Tolstoy

Paint Your Own Mixed Media Mandala

mandala-in-progress

At Numi Yoga on November 3, I am leading a mixed-media mandala workshop. To prepare for this workshop, I have painted several mandalas and observed the history of these hypnotic images. Altogether this has been a new experience for me, and now I can’t stop drawing these! No two are alike.

yellow-mandala-randie

The Sanskrit word “mandala” is loosely translated to mean “circle.” Hindus were one of the first people to use the mandala spiritually, but the mandalas that most individuals find familiar are ones made by Buddhists. In many cultures, the circle represents infinity, but a mandala represents more than simple geometry. Mandalas represent the infinite universe, and wholeness within one’s self.

The owner of Numi Yoga, Kelsey, and I brainstormed together for a painting party image that would reflect the restorative qualities of yoga. Not only is the mandala tranquil, but relatively easy as an art project. I want people to relax during this art experience!

The creation of a mandala can have significant meaning for any individual, especially those who enjoy meditation. For me, any type of painting or drawing activity is meditative. The purpose of our mandala-making at Numi Yoga will be relaxation paired with the fulfillment of learning a new skill. It will be an experience not to miss.

I hope to see you at Numi Yoga on November 3!

Click here to purchase tickets through the Numi Yoga Workshops page.

numi-mandala-party

Oriehls Magic

What happens when the two biggest Baltimore Orioles baseball fans in the nation meet? They fall in love and get married. ❤

On September 9, the Riehls said “I do” at the Baltimore Hilton overlooking Camden Yards. Their wedding was Orioles baseball-themed — everything from the cupcake tower, to the surprise guest on the dance floor (THE Oriole Bird), to Chris’s heartfelt musical ode to Baltimore – reflected a love of Maryland’s favorite big city.

Jen’s idea was to create an “XO” wedding logo using the Baltimore Orioles’ iconic orange “O.” I enjoyed working with her to create a one-of-a-kind wedding invitation, photo booth image, and other designs. Scroll down for photos and to see the invitation.

oriehls-cake
Oriehls Magic in the form of a cupcake tower.
Chris-and-Jen-Riehl
The first dance. Can I say right now how much I freakin’ love weddings?
usg-reunion
Dining in style at the reception with some of my USG friends.
marc-randie-oriole
Special guest at the dance party: the Oriole Bird! If you know me, then you know I love all manner of birds. #Birdland

Jen and I became friends while working together at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). Through Jen, I got to know Chris by participating in his Baltimore Rent-A-Tour outings that showcase historic sites in the city. Going to their wedding was also a reunion of sorts because some of my favorite USG people were there as well!

Thank you, Jen and Chris, for the opportunity to design your wedding invitation and logo. Congratulations and I wish you many years of happiness. Go birds!

 

Designing the Choptank River Lighthouse in Stained Glass

randie-hovatter-cambridge-lighthouse-stained-glass-web

The Choptank River Lighthouse is a historic site on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Situated on the waterfront in Cambridge, Maryland, the lighthouse is a symbol of the town as well as Dorchester County. In the early 1900s, lighthouses like this one guided ships that sailed along the Choptank River.

A family friend who lives in the town of Cambridge commissioned this stained glass project from me in 2016. After many visits to my mom’s house on the Eastern Shore, where I could access my stained glass workbench and materials, I was able to complete this one-of-a-kind project.

Designing an original stained glass pattern is equal parts challenging and rewarding. I made several sketches by hand before scanning and finalizing my pattern in Adobe Illustrator.

lighthouse-final-colored-in-numbered
My pattern, vectorized in Adobe Illustrator. By creating a vector graphic, I can enlarge my design to any size without losing image quality. Please email me at randie.hov@gmail.com if you would like permission to use this stained glass pattern.

 

15195949_10157798964385402_1887723564748155582_o
A photo of me cutting the glass as my mom grinds the edges of each piece. This allows for the pieces to fit together like a puzzle. The next step is to wrap the edges of each piece in copper foil.

 

15167446_10157800310900402_8203798024130542697_o
After each piece is cut and ground, it’s time to start fitting them together. A perfect fit is important; it allows the solder to strongly hold the pieces together.

 

18423820_10158649348005402_8401874985559434517_n
This project was so large, that I could only fit half of it at a time on the flat wooden frame that I use for squaring (my wooden squaring frame is from Glass by Grammy of Salisbury, Maryland). This is the bottom half of the panel. The final stained glass panel measured approx. 22″ wide x 32″ tall.

 

18423857_10158653309870402_6511116352423358998_n
Here I go with the soldering of the top half! Each piece has its edges wrapped in copper foil. The solder is then applied to the copper foil. This chemical reaction results in a super-strong joint between the foil-wrapped glass pieces. Eventually, the entire project was placed in a sturdy wooden frame for hanging. In my opinion, a glass project is not finished until it is beautifully framed.

 

18422328_10158654814440402_1169678175320768284_o
Whoa! I was so proud when I could finally lift up the finished panel and see the sunlight streaming through.

 

randie-hovatter-cambridge-lighthouse-stained-glass-web
All set and ready for framing! A big thank-you goes out to Jeff Evans for commissioning this unique project. This certainly is a showpiece in my portfolio! I also owe many thanks to my mom, Sharon Hazel, and Carolyn Adkins of Glass by Grammy for helping me see this project through.

 

 

 

Grow Your Best Basil

Basil is not only delicious, but easy to grow and manage with the correct approach. Over the weekend, I produced this short video of my Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) co-worker Meredith Epstein giving expert advice on proper plant care. She is the Sustainable Agriculture lecturer and advisor at the IAA, and also manages the University of Maryland’s Community Learning Garden. Meredith is also the one who chose basil as the topic for our first how-to video; I think she made a great decision!

Making a how-to video was a great way for me to get back into using iMovie. I had a lot of fun producing this using only my iPhone and the iMovie app. I found that the app doesn’t have all of the features from the desktop version, but still enough.

I have mentioned in previous posts that the Community Learning Garden is one of my favorite spots on campus. I hope that after watching this video, you will see why I love to spend time there.

Please do enjoy le film. Get ready to grow some expert-level basil!

Collaboration with Foster’s Flags

I will attempt anything for a friend, even if it means managing to draw straight lines with acrylic paint!

My friend Aaron Foster of Foster’s Flags and Wildfire Creations creates custom wooden flags in addition to working full-time as a Washington, DC firefighter and teaching fitness boot camps on the side. Let’s call him King of the Side-hustle.

Aaron has created many styles of flags, but this particular order came with a unique request in honor of a Vietnam veteran. The giver of the flag asked if Aaron could incorporate the recipient’s military stripes into the design. Aaron asked me to paint the stripes, and I was happy to oblige.

This flag was completed and given to the veteran at his surprise 70th birthday party. I am excited to have played a part in such a special and unique gift. If you are interested in ordering a flag of your own, check out Wildfire Creations on Facebook.