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8 Awesome Reasons to Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park this Spring

8 Awesome Reasons to Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park by Adria Black

Vander Veer Botanical Park is a place you simply must visit when in the Quad Cities area.  Currently, Vander Veer is hosting the annual Spring show, Spring in the Conservatory, until June.  We’ve checked out the Spring show for the last three years, and it is always a delight to visit.  Atizle loves to see the different flowers and play throughout the Botanical Park.

8 Awesome Reasons to Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park this Spring

There a ton of fantastic reasons to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park.  First, it’s a beautiful area and very well-maintained.  Also, Vander Veer Botanical Park is amazing for both children and adults.  You can take in the beauty of nature, get in some fitness activities, feed the ducks, have your kids play at the park, check out the various gardens, or relax by one of the fountains on the grounds.  There is a ton to do at Vander Veer Botanical Park!

The Vander Veer Conservatory is an amazing reason to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park. The Conservatory is absolutely gorgeous and a great place to take in nature! - Photograph by Adria Black
The Vander Veer Conservatory is an amazing reason to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park. The Conservatory is absolutely gorgeous and a great place to take in nature! – Photograph by Adria Black

#1.  Admission to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park is Free!

The only area that charges admission in the Vander Veer Botanical Park is the Conservatory.  However, the cost for adults (17 and older) is only $1.00 and children are free.  The Conservatory is simply beautiful with a mix of local Midwestern plants in the current season, as well as tropical plants.  The Conservatory is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm, and admission is completely free on Tuesdays.  Also, the Vander Veer Botanical Park is open daily from sunrise to a half hour after sunset.  Consequently, this makes the Vander Veer Botanical Park one of the cheapest attractions in the Quad Cities area for both children and adults to visit!

This Powder Puff plant reminded me of a Truffula Tree from Dr. Seuss. Such a cool plant to find at the Vander Veer Conservatory - Photograph by Adria Black
This Powder Puff plant reminded me of a Truffula Tree from Dr. Seuss. Such a cool plant to find at the Vander Veer Conservatory – Photograph by Adria Black

#2.  Don’t Miss the Midwest Spring Blooms and Tropical Plants in the Vander Veer Conservatory

The Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory is currently hosting the annual Spring show, Spring in the Conservatory.  These displays are a part of Vander Veer’s history for over 100 years.  These annual floral shows continue the tradition of exhibitions from the 1860s, when Vander Veer Botanical Park first started featuring tropical flowers and rare plants in the Grand Exhibition Hall.  Currently blooming in the Conservatory for March are Azaleas, Powder Puff Plants, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Genistas, Camellias, Cymbidium Orchids, and Primrose.  The annual Spring show will continue through June when the Summer Tropical Plants begin to bloom.  These gorgeous flowers make a visit to the Vander Veer Botanical Park entirely worth it!

The Vander Veer Conservatory offers a small playhouse for the kids to play in, as well as several cool topiaries (a monkey that hangs from the ceiling and a giraffe near the playhouse) that both children and adults will love! - Photograph by Adria Black
The Vander Veer Conservatory offers a small playhouse for the kids to play in, as well as several cool topiaries (a monkey that hangs from the ceiling and a giraffe near the playhouse) that both children and adults will love! – Photograph by Adria Black

#3.  Vander Veer Botanical Park is a Place for Both Kids and Adults

The Vander Veer Conservatory has several features that will draw the attention of your children.  For example, there are several really interesting topiaries that Atizle loves to check out every time we visit.  Plus, there is a small playhouse inside the tropical garden area for children to enjoy while the adults are checking out the beautiful flowers.  Also, the Vander Veer Conservatory has a small koi pond that both children and adults will love!

Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park and walk the meditation pathway to recenter yourself after a long day! - Photograph by Adria Black
Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park and walk the meditation pathway to recenter yourself after a long day! – Photograph by Adria Black

Another feature that children will love is the playground near the Vander Veer Lagoon.  Close by (and within shouting and visual range) is a meditation pathway where adults can take some me-time while the kids play.  These bright, colorful stones are the perfect place to recenter yourself as you walk the circle after a long day!

The Lagoon at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
The Lagoon at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black

#4. Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Lagoon and Feed the Ducks

Another awesome feature about Vander Veer Botanical Park is the Lagoon.  The Lagoon is nearby the children’s playground. It is the home to the a variety of water fowl.  There are vending machines that you can buy corn to feed the ducks.  And the ducks are very, very friendly.  Especially during this time of the year when the park is not getting the number of the visitors that it typically brings in during the summer months.

When we visited the Vander Veer Botanical Park the ducks were actually chasing my car!  I actually got a little nervous that they would climb into the car with me if I didn’t hurry up and give them a treat!

These ducks at Vander Veer Botanical Park were super friendly! I actually thought they might climb into my car with me just to get a treat! Photograph by Adria Black
These ducks at Vander Veer Botanical Park were super friendly! I actually thought they might climb into my car with me just to get a treat! Photograph by Adria Black

The Lagoon is also stocked by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for catch-and-release fishing.  Consequently, the Lagoon is another awesome feature that both children and adults will enjoy while visiting the Vander Veer Botanical Park!

#5.  Vander Veer Botanical Park is Perfect for Fitness Enthusiasts

Another reason to visit Vander Veer Botanical Park is the trails and pathways to walk or jog.  The outer perimeter of the Vander Veer Botanical Park has a 0.9 mile lap for those seeking a beautiful place to walk, jog, or even walk the dog.  It’s a great place to take in the beauty of nature while getting in some fitness activity.

#6. Vander Veer is the Quad Cities Area’s Version of Central Park

Originally, in 1885, when the City of Davenport purchased the land to be used as a park it was named Central Park.  Thus, the design of Vander Veer Botanical Park was modeled after Central Park in New York City.  Also, the park featured one of the first conservatories west of the Mississippi with the building of a Lord and Burnham palm house in 1897.

The Grand Allee at Vander Veer Botanical Park offers a great place to walk from the Rose Garden to the Old World Gardens and Stone Fountain - Photograph by Adria Black
The Grand Allee at Vander Veer Botanical Park offers a great place to walk from the Rose Garden to the Old World Gardens and Stone Fountain – Photograph by Adria Black

The park was later renamed in 1912 in honor of A. W. Vander Veer, who was the first secretary of the Davenport Park Board of Commissioners.  Additional features and expansions have kept the Vander Veer Botanical Park current and interesting for visitors.  In 1910, the Vander Veer Botanical Park added heated greenhouses to house flowers and plants throughout the year.  The Grand Allee was also built, creating a pathway to the Main Street entrance fountain from the Conservatory and Garden areas.  The current Conservatory at Vander Veer Botanical Park was built in 1954.

The Rose Garden at Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa is one of many gardens to visit at Vander Veer Botanical Park. Photograph by Adria Black
The Rose Garden at Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa is one of many gardens to visit at Vander Veer Botanical Park. Photograph by Adria Black

#7. Numerous Gorgeous Gardens to Experience

The park itself has numerous garden areas like the Rose Garden (established in 1948), the Hosta Glade (established in 1998), and the Children’s Sculpture Garden (established in 1999).  The Rose Garden features a fountain area, a cool walkway, and over 60 varieties of roses.  The Hosta Glade hosts a collection of over 600 varieties.  The Hosta Glade has been designated as one of the first National display Gardens of the American Hosta Society.  The Children’s Sculpture Garden is home to Amber, Adam, and Cole: Grammy’s Flower Children by Ted McElhiney, a set of bronze sculptures along with some of Vander Veer’s dwarf conifers.  There is also a giant Praying Mantis sculpture that was donated by Dick Southwick, which Atizle loved (even though she hates anything that might be a bug..).

This set of bronze sculptures in the Children's Sculpture Garden at Vander Veer Botanical Park is by called Amber, Adam, and Cole: Grammy's Flower Children by Ted McElhiney - Photograph by Adria Black
This set of bronze sculptures in the Children’s Sculpture Garden at Vander Veer Botanical Park is by called Amber, Adam, and Cole: Grammy’s Flower Children by Ted McElhiney – Photograph by Adria Black

#8. Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park and You Will Always Find Something Fresh and New

Finally, there is always something new at Vander Veer Botanical Park.  This 33.8 acre park has so many features that it is incredibly difficult to take it all in on one visit!  From the Grand Allee to the Lagoon and various Gardens, Vander Veer Botanical Park will take several visits to fully appreciate this beautiful spot in the Davenport, Iowa.  Plus with the Conservatory’s rotating seasonal flower shows, there is always something new blooming at the Vander Veer Botanical Park!

Additional Photographs from Vander Veer Botanical Park

Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park and don't miss the gorgeous Conservatory. Photograph by Adria Black
Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park and don’t miss the gorgeous Conservatory. Photograph by Adria Black
The Vander Veer Conservatory hosts tropical plants, as well as current Spring blooms from around the Midwestern region. Photograph by Adria Black
The Vander Veer Conservatory hosts tropical plants, as well as current Spring blooms from around the Midwestern region. Photograph by Adria Black
Also, the Vander Veer Conservatory has a really cool windmill and koi pond inside. Photograph by Adria Black
Also, the Vander Veer Conservatory has a really cool windmill and koi pond inside. Photograph by Adria Black
An arch made from climbing plants and greenery at the Vander Veer Botanical Garden in Davenport, Iowa.  Photograph by Adria Black
An arch made from climbing plants and greenery at the Vander Veer Botanical Garden in Davenport, Iowa. Photograph by Adria Black
A close look at a palm frond found at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa. Photograph by Adria Black
A close look at a palm frond found at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa. Photograph by Adria Black
The Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017).  Photograph by Adria Black
The Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017). Photograph by Adria Black

The heart in the center of this tree grabbed my attention! And I thought it was the perfect touch for this view of the Lagoon at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa.  Photograph by Adria Black
The heart in the center of this tree grabbed my attention! And I thought it was the perfect touch for this view of the Lagoon at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa. Photograph by Adria Black
The Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) has wonderful greenery and plants surrounding it that are a mix of ferns and tropical plants.  Photograph by Adria Black
The Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) has wonderful greenery and plants surrounding it that are a mix of ferns and tropical plants. Photograph by Adria Black
The Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017).  Photograph by Adria Black.
The Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017). Photograph by Adria Black.

I’d love to hear what your favorite spots to visit in Vander Veer Botanical Park are.  Let me know in the comments below!  All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!

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Mixed Media Monday – Kaleidoscope Spring Photography

Kaleidoscope Spring Photography and Artwork by Adria Black

I am constantly trying to expand my skills in photography, and recently I’ve been working on learning my way around Adobe Photoshop to create digital artwork.  For the March Mixed Media collection, I wanted to really emphasize Spring.  Once I started playing around with my spring photographs, I discovered a very interesting way to create a compilation of photographs that look almost like they came from a child’s Kaleidoscope.  I really love how these Kaleidoscope photographs turned out, and now I just can’t stop making them!  The geometric designs are just so cool!

Creating Spring Kaleidoscope Photographs

All of these photographs were taken at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory during their free Spring Show preview.  The Conservatory is an amazing place to visit in the Quad Cities Area.  Atizle and I try to make at least a couple of visits every year to watch the flowers and blooms change through the seasons.

Spring Flowers at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory by Adria Black (Spring 2017).
Spring Flowers at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory by Adria Black (Spring 2017).

Next, I arranged 16 – 20 of the original image onto a canvas in Adobe Photoshop.  I continued to work with the images through the rotation features until I had a composition that I loved.  For these pieces, I focused on creating geometric patterns that felt balanced.

Spring Flowers Kaleidoscope Photograph by Adria Black
Spring Flowers Kaleidoscope Photograph by Adria Black

Geometric Patterns on Society 6 Products

These images turned out so beautiful and unless you look very closely you cannot see the original Spring floral images, but they still have that bright, Spring feel! These new Kaleidoscope photographs look so cool on their own.  But I think they look amazing when applied to the Society 6 products (which you can do with the majority of my photographs and artwork).  Check out this Kaleidoscope photograph on some of the Society 6 products.

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Spring Photographs from The Vander Veer Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa

Therefore, I created several of these kaleidoscope photographs using photographs from the Vander Veer Spring Show.  I loved all the brightly colored flowers at the Conservatory, as well as the pattern of the skylights.  Below you can see some of the other spring photographs that I captured at the Vander Veer Botanical Park Conservatory’s Spring Show in Davenport, Iowa.

Tropical leaves in Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
Tropical leaves in Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black
This windmill sits near the Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
This windmill sits near the Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black
Part of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
Part of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black

A Tropical bush in the Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
A Tropical bush in the Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black
Orange Spring Flowers and Yellow Daffodils at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
Orange Spring Flowers and Yellow Daffodils at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black
Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa has a really cool monkey topiary hanging from the Conservatory's ceiling (Spring 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa has a really cool monkey topiary hanging from the Conservatory’s ceiling (Spring 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black

The Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) had some really cool reflections happening on the water - Photograph by Adria Black
The Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) had some really cool reflections happening on the water – Photograph by Adria Black

Spring Kaleidoscope Photographs

Finally, I also created kaleidoscope photographs from these images, which you can check out below.  All of these prints are Giclee prints and therefore keep those vivid, bright colors that make Spring so special after the long Winter.  You can also get these Spring kaleidoscope photographs on all the other products that Society 6 offers, such as bedding, beach towels, pillows, tote bags, and cell phone cases.

Tropical leaves in Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Tropical leaves in Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
This windmill sits near the Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
This windmill sits near the Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Part of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Part of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)

A Tropical bush in the Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
A Tropical bush in the Tropical Garden area of the Spring Show at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Orange Spring Flowers and Yellow Daffodils at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Orange Spring Flowers and Yellow Daffodils at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa has a really cool monkey topiary hanging from the Conservatory's ceiling and I decided to digital manipulate the photo with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa has a really cool monkey topiary hanging from the Conservatory’s ceiling and I decided to digital manipulate the photo with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)

The Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) had some really cool reflections happening on the water that I digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
The Koi Pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) had some really cool reflections happening on the water that I digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
A row of spring flowers at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
A row of spring flowers at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017)
that have been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
The gorgeous koi pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park's Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017) that has been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)
The gorgeous koi pond at Vander Veer Botanical Park’s Conservatory in Davenport, Iowa (Spring, 2017)
that has been digitally manipulated with a kaleidoscope effect. (Artwork by Adria Black)

I would love to hear what you think of these new Kaleidoscope photographs.  Do you love them and want to see more photographs in this style?  Let me know in the comments below!  Also, don’t forget to check out the abstract tie dye patterns from last week, which are also part of the March Mixed Media Collection! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!

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5 Facts About Iowa’s Farming History

I am always amazed by the calm and the sense of potential that looking at our local hills of fields can stir in me. (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black

 

Farming is a huge deal, not only within the Quad Cities, but for Iowa and Illinois at large.  Farming has a huge impact on the local economy of the Quad Cities with local jobs coming from actual working farms or other farm related areas and companies, such as John Deere.  If you’ve ever driven through any of Iowa, I’m sure you’ve noticed a ton of corn fields and soybean fields.

Sometimes when you are driving in the country, you just have to stop and appreciate the long open road! (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
Sometimes when you are driving in the country, you just have to stop and appreciate the long open road! (Bettendorf, Iowa) – Photograph by Adria Black
Atizle was napping in the car for this photography session, however, the day was gorgeous and bright with a ton of cool clouds so I just couldn’t resist going for a drive through Bettendorf, Iowa’s country roads to check out some of the local farming fields, buildings, and equipment.

5 Facts About Iowa Farming

A fabulous source of information on the farming history of Iowa is the Living History Farms of Urbandale, Iowa, which is an interactive outdoor history museum devoted to educating and connecting people to the Midwestern rural life experiences.  Farming has been a part of this area’s history since the Ioway tribe began tending small gardens of corn, beans, and squash in the 1700s.  
I loved all the buildings on this Midwestern horse ranch (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
I loved all of the buildings on this Midwestern horse ranch (Bettendorf, Iowa). – Photograph by Adria Black

1. Iowa is #1 in corn, soybeans, pigs and eggs than any other state in the United States.

According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa grows more corn and soybeans than any other state in the country.  In addition, Iowa raises more pigs and produces more eggs than anywhere else in the country, as well.  Iowa also ranks #4 for cattle, #9 for turkeys, #10 for sheep and lambs, and #13 in milk production.

2. Iowa has approximately 88,000 farms

The Iowa Farm Bureau states that Iowa has approximately 88,000 farms and 129,000 farm operators, and more than 97% of Iowa farms are owned by Iowa families.

I am always amazed by the calm and the sense of potential that looking at our local hills of fields can stir in me. (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
I am always amazed by the calm and the sense of potential that looking at our local hills of fields can stir in me. (Bettendorf, Iowa) – Photograph by Adria Black

3.  1 in 5 Iowans Work in Agriculture

Not only is farming itself a huge source of Iowa work, but Iowans also work in a ton of agricultural related fields.  This is also evident in the Quad Cities area, where John Deere is one of the largest employers in the area.  According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa agriculture and related industries contributed to 418,777 jobs in 2012, accounting for about 21% of total jobs in Iowa.

4. Iowa is the 5th Windiest State

The Washington Post published an article in 2014 that lists the top 5 windiest states in the United States.  The windiest state is Nebraska, followed by Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.  Since Iowa’s wind is so strong, Iowa has been able to capitalize on this through wind energy.  Now Iowa farmers help generate more than 35% of its electricity through wind power, which is the best in the nation, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau.

A glimpse at all the machinery, equipment, and structures that make a working cattle farm. (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
A glimpse at all the machinery, equipment, and structures that make a working cattle farm. (Bettendorf, Iowa) – Photograph by Adria Black

5. Iowa has farmed corn throughout it’s history

According to The Living History Farms of Urbandale, Iowa, the people of Iowa have been farming corn since the 1700s.  The Ioway tribe farmers began this tradition by farming corn, beans, and squash and would raise just enough to feed their families throughout the year.  Once the pioneer farmers arrived in the 1840s and 1850s, they began to farm corn, wheat, and potatoes.  The corn was used to feed the animals on the farm, while the wheat was sold to mills to make flour for bread.  Potatoes were a large part of the pioneers’ diet.  By the 1900s, farmers in Iowa were raising mainly corn, hay, and oats to feed the animals on the farms.  Soybeans also became a major crop for Iowa farmers around 1930.

A tractor and a row of haybales on a working farm in the Midwest (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
A tractor and a row of haybales on a working farm in the Midwest (Bettendorf, Iowa) – Photograph by Adria Black

Farming has always been important to Iowa

So as you can see, farming is an important part of Iowa today, and has been vital throughout its long history.  I simply couldn’t continue with my project of Documenting the Quad Cities, without including this part of our area’s history and culture.

Here’s a few more photographs of local Bettendorf, Iowa farms:
The rolling fields of the Midwest (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
The rolling fields of the Midwest (Bettendorf, Iowa) – Photograph by Adria Black
A cattle feed barn in Bettendorf, Iowa - Photograph by Adria Black
A cattle feed barn in Bettendorf, Iowa – Photograph by Adria Black
A grain silo in the Midwest (Bettendorf, Iowa) - Photograph by Adria Black
A grain silo in the Midwest (Bettendorf, Iowa) – Photograph by Adria Black

These evergreen trees act as a wind break on a Bettendorf, Iowa farm - Photograph by Adria Black
These evergreen trees act as a windbreak on a Bettendorf, Iowa farm – Photograph by Adria Black
A grain silo in Bettendorf, Iowa - Photograph by Adria Black
A grain silo in Bettendorf, Iowa – Photograph by Adria Black
Hay bales along the side the country road in Bettendorf, Iowa - Photograph by Adria Black
Hay bales along the side the country road in Bettendorf, Iowa – Photograph by Adria Black

Did you learn any new facts about farming in Iowa?  Tell me in the comments below!  All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
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Mixed Media Monday – Printmaking with Paper Towels

Printmaking with Paper Towels from Adria Black Art

I love playing with paint, stencils, and stamps and all kinds of other goodies.  Despite being March, in the midwest that doesn’t mean it won’t snow.  So during a recent snowstorm, I decided to have a printmaking session.  I recently watched a Creative Live class on printmaking, How to Create Collage Paper and Andrea Chebeleu had used paper towels soaked in liquid acrylics for her printmaking.  Which I thought was an awesome idea and I’ve wanted to see how it would work.

The supplies I used for my printmaking session - Golden Fluid Acrylics and Daler Rowney Liquid Acrylics that have been mixed with equal parts of water.
The supplies I used for my printmaking session – Golden Fluid Acrylics and Daler Rowney Liquid Acrylics that have been mixed with equal parts of water.
I decided to use Golden fluid acrylics (Green Gold, Teal, and Quinacridone Magenta) and some Daler Rowney liquid acrylics that have mica (they are the pearlescent kind).  I loved these colors together!  I wanted bright, vivid colors that also felt like spring – which I just can’t wait for its arrival!

The paper towels acted as a giant ink pad, which created wonderful prints when placed onto the paper.
The paper towels acted as a giant ink pad, which created wonderful prints when placed onto the paper.
I used two droppers of the colors and two droppers of water into some old lids.  After I had the colors mixed up, I folded the paper towels into a triangle shape, kind of like doing a tie dye shirt.  I dipped each end of the triangle into a different color until the paper towel had soaked up the color fully.  I carefully unfolded the paper towel and placed it onto a piece of white cardstock.  I then used stencils, stamps, and other textured items to create prints using the ink soaked paper towel.  The prints turned out really cool and I got a ton of different really cool pieces from this process.  I tried recording the printmaking session, unfortunately, my daughter wanted to help me so I wasn’t able to record.  Maybe next time!

This project is definitely messy! I always feel wonderful when my hands are covered in paint!
This project is definitely messy! I always feel wonderful when my hands are covered in paint!
We also a clothesline that we have hung up in the hallway that acts as our dryer rack.  It was so exciting to see the clothesline full of these gorgeous prints!

Our clothesline in our hallway is our universal drying rack for both my artwork and my daughter's.
Our clothesline in our hallway is our universal drying rack for both my artwork and my daughter’s.
I also took snapshots using my phone of some of the really cool bits from each print. I loved all the texture that the prints have from the bubble wrap and the star stencil, and even the lines that I drew onto the paper towels while I was printing.

Abstract Printmaking 1 by Adria Black
Abstract Printmaking 1 by Adria Black
Abstract Printmaking 2 by Adria Black
Abstract Printmaking 2 by Adria Black
Abstract Printmaking 3 by Adria Black
Abstract Printmaking 3 by Adria Black

I scanned the prints and then played with the colors through Photoshop.  I also scanned the actual paper towels that I tie-dyed and used kinda like a giant ink pad.  So I ended up with a ton of different variations from this one printmaking session.

Abstract Tiedye #1 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tiedye #1 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #2 Print - Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #2 Print – Adria Black
Abstract Tiedye #3 Print - Adria Black
Abstract Tiedye #3 Print – Adria Black

Abstract Tie Dye #4 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #4 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #5 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #5 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #6 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #6 Print by Adria Black

Abstract Tie Dye #7 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #7 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #8 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #8 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #9 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #9 Print by Adria Black

Abstract Tie Dye #10 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #10 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #11 Print by Adria Black
Abstract Tie Dye #11 Print by Adria Black

I learned all kinds of new things during this printmaking session. I’d love to hear what you think of the abstracts! More goodies from this printmaking session will be coming soon in the March Mixed Media Collection, so stay tuned! All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!
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Centennial Garden in Bettendorf, Iowa Photography Session (Winter 2017)

Decagon of Honor in the Centennial Garden - Middle Park, Bettendorf, Iowa (Winter 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black

 

Atizle and I often go on road trips when nap time is approaching.  Driving along in the car is one of the only sure-fire ways for her to get a nap anymore.  We discovered the Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa during one of these driving-around-hoping-for-a-nap days.  Despite being in the middle of winter, this garden was still beautiful to walk through and was quite awesome in the design and landscaping.

 

Arch to the Decade Gardens in Centennial Garden - Middle Park, Bettendorf, Iowa (Winter 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
Arch to the Decade Gardens in Centennial Garden – Middle Park, Bettendorf, Iowa (Winter 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black

History of the Centennial Garden

The Centennial Garden was developed to celebrate Bettendorf’s Centennial in 2003.  According to a Quad Cities Times’ article, Sue Laimans came up with the idea for the Centennial Garden at Middle Park, while she was serving as the Beautification Committee Chairman, because Mayor Ann Hutchinson wanted to create something permanent to mark the city’s milestone.  The idea was to fill the garden with plants that were popular during each of the decades of the city’s first century.

Winding Path to Decade Gardens - - Centennial Garden, Middle Park, Bettendorf, IA - Photograph by Adria Black
Winding Path to Decade Gardens –  Centennial Garden, Middle Park, Bettendorf, IA – Photograph by Adria Black

The Landscape Architect, Todd Wiebenga of Aunt Rhodies Design Studio, created the garden in a flower shape so that each petal of the flower would represent a decade in Bettendorf’s history.  Each petal has been planted with perennials that were introduced or available during that specific decade.  There are 228 different species in the Centennial Garden, so the flowers in the garden are constantly changing throughout the seasons as the different perennials bloom.

Choose A Path - Centennial Garden, Middle Park - Bettendorf, Iowa - Photograph by Adria Black
Choose A Path – Centennial Garden, Middle Park – Bettendorf, Iowa – Photograph by Adria Black

The center portion of the garden is dedicated to the 2000’s and hosts the memory stones, which individuals or businesses could purchase to commemorate a special event or person .  A gorgeous metal structure called the Decagon of Honor encloses the 2000’s garden and shelters the memory stones.  Another unique feature of the Centennial Garden is the Steps of Progress that have all of Bettendorf’s Mayors names and term dates engraved on them.

Memory Stones - Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa - Photograph by Adria Black
Memory Stones – Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa – Photograph by Adria Black

Highlights from the Centennial Garden

The Decagon of Honor is a really cool, unique feature to this garden.  It adds such an interesting design element to the garden that I tried to capture it in a variety of ways while we were there.  It also contrasted with the brown of the plants in winter in a really interesting way.  Atizle loved the memory stones, as well as the Steps of Progress.  It was another grey, wet, rainy day that we were out photographing, and it gave the stones throughout the Centennial Garden a really cool look in the photographs.

Decagon of Honor in the Centennial Garden - Middle Park, Bettendorf, Iowa (Winter 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black
Decagon of Honor in the Centennial Garden – Middle Park, Bettendorf, Iowa (Winter 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black

We will definitely be returning to the Centennial Garden again once the flowers start to bloom!  Have you been to the Centennial Garden at Middle Park in Bettendorf, Iowa?  Let me know in the comments below what your favorite parts of it were!

All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.

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10 Facts About the I-74 Bridge You Probably Didn’t Know

Interstate 74 Bridge on Mississippi River - Photograph by Adria Black Art

 

There are many iconic landmarks in the Quad Cities.  But the I-74 bridge is the one that defines the Quad Cities area to me.  It showcases this area’s relationship and connection with the Mississippi River and how it has greatly affected the area through economic, cultural, and technological advances.  Whenever I am shooting photographs along the riverfront, I try to find a way to capture the I-74 bridge within some of the shots, as well.

 

Boat Marina - View of I-74 Bridge - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Boat Marina – View of I-74 Bridge – Photograph by Adria Black Art
Atizle almost always joins me in my photography sessions and she was super excited about this one, because we got up close and personal with the Mississippi River.  Check out the quick vlog that we did during this shoot below!

 

 

10 Facts You May Not Know About the I-74 Bridge

During my research on the history of the I-74 Bridge, I found a fabulous article from the Iowa Department of Transportation that details the entire history of the I-74 Bridge.  This bridge has an 82-year-old history and will not be around much longer, as the bridge is not up to the latest Interstate standards and cannot keep up with the current daily crossing capacity of the vehicles that use it on a regular basis.

 

Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge (Winter 2017) - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge (Winter 2017) – Photograph by Adria Black Art

#1. The I-74 Bridge is actually the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge

The I-74 bridge is officially known as the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge, although it is often called the Twin Bridges or the I-74 Bridge.  It was originally dedicated in November, 1935, in the memory of Iowa’s and Illinois’ World War 1 Veterans.  When the second span of the bridge was built (1959), the bridge was rededicated to local veterans of both World Wars.   The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was finally dedicated to include local area veterans from the World Wars and those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars when it was opened to Interstate 74 traffic (1970s).

#2. The I-74 Bridge is a Pair of Suspension Bridges

The Twin Bridges are actually a pair of suspension style bridges that carry Interstate 74 across the Mississippi River and connect Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois.  These bridges display classic details that are shared with many of the suspension bridges associated with their designer and engineer, Ralph Modjeski, who also designed the Delaware River Bridge (later renamed to the Ben Franklin Bridge).

Interstate 74 Bridge by Adria Black Art
Crossing the Interstate 74 bridge headed towards Illinois in the Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa to Moline, Illinois). Photograph by Adria Black Art

#3. Ralph Modjeski designed the I-74 Bridge

The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was designed by the engineer, Ralph Modjeski, who was born in Poland in 1861.  His first commission was in 1893 when he designed a bridge that would combine a railroad and highway bridge.  This bridge is also in the Quad Cities area (The Government Bridge) in Rock Island, Illinois.  His last project was the design of the second span of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge.  So Modjeski started and ended his career in the Quad Cities area.

#4. The I-74 Bridge Began as a Toll Bridge

The first span of the I-74 Bridge opened as a toll bridge in 1935.  Traffic studies indicated that creating a toll bridge between Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa would effectively pay for itself.  The tolls remained in place until the bridge came into the Interstate System in the 1970’s.  The last toll was taken on December 31, 1969.  The toll rates were 15 cents for cars, 5 cents for pedestrians, and trucks varied based on size and weight.

Interstate 74 Bridge on Mississippi River - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Interstate 74 Bridge on Mississippi River – Photograph by Adria Black Art

#5. The I-74 Bridge has a Capacity of 48,000 Vehicles

The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was built for a daily crossing of 48,000 vehicles.  While the daily average is 80,000 vehicles according to a letter sent to the Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, in December of 2015 by Cheri Bustos, a Congress Member for the 17th District of Illinois.

#6.  The I-74 Bridge was one of the Public Works Administration’s Projects in the Quad Cities during the Great Depression

The I-74 Bridge was original funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA).  The PWA was created and directed by Harold L. Ickes under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.  The goal of this project was to focus on major infrastructure and other large-scale projects, such as building dams, bridges, irrigation systems, in order to stimulate the economy and provide permanent improvements for the United States’ Citizens.  The first span of the I-74 Bridge cost $1.45 million, which was paid back to the US government through the tolls that were collected.

Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge - Close Up - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge – Close Up – Photograph by Adria Black Art

#7.  The Twin Bridges are Almost Identical

Despite the two spans of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge being built at different times (1935 and 1959), the two spans are virtually identical.  Modjeski’s original design plans for the first span were used, with slight modifications, when the second span needed built to accommodate the increased traffic.

#8.  The I-74 Bridge had to Undergo Significant Changes to Join with the Interstate

When the Twin Bridges were brought into the Interstate in the 1970’s, a number of changes had to be made to the original designs so that it fit current Interstate standards.  Some of these changes were the removal of sidewalks, replacement of railings that had been along the sidewalks, removable of the tollbooth, construction of new on-and-off ramps on both sides of the river, and no longer allowing pedestrians across the bridge.

Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge - In the Distance - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge – In the Distance – Photograph by Adria Black Art

#9.  The I-74 Bridge was the Third Way Across the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities

Before 1935, when the first span of the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge was built, the only way to travel between Moline, Illinois and Bettendorf, Iowa was by ferry or (after 1896) by crossing the Government Bridge between Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa.

#10.  The I-74 Quickly Became an Iconic Landmark

The Twin Bridges quickly became an icon for the Quad Cities after their construction.  Images of the bridges immediately appeared in local business advertising, as well as on Quad Cities postcards.  The Twin Bridges continues to be an iconic landmark of the Quad Cities area even today!

We also captured a few shots of the Mississippi riverfront and the stairs to the marine.
Mississippi Riverfront - Bettendorf, Iowa - Winter 2017 - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Mississippi Riverfront – Bettendorf, Iowa – Winter 2017 – Photograph by Adria Black Art
Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge - Looking Towards Moline - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge – Looking Towards Moline – Photograph by Adria Black Art
Mississippi Riverfront - Boat Marina - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Mississippi Riverfront – Boat Marina – Photograph by Adria Black Art

Stairway to the Sky - Color - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Stairway to the Sky – Color – Photograph by Adria Black Art
Stairway to the Sky - Black and White - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Stairway to the Sky – Black and White – Photograph by Adria Black Art

 

Did you learn any new facts about the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge?  Tell me in the comments below!  All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
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February Mixed Media Collection

February Mixed Media Collection by Adria Black Art

I love inspiring quotes.  They just make me feel warm and fuzzy, when I read the right words at the right time.  So for this month I decided to focus on creating some inspirational quotes that could help you feel that same way!

February’s Mixed Media Collection is focused on these quotes, soft colors, and some coordinating sketches out of my sketchbooks.  I wanted to create a fun, inspirational collection that brings a spot of sunshine to your day.  The next time you feel down in the dumps, you only have to look at this month’s collection to feel a bit brighter!

February Mixed Media Art Collection

This month, I stuck to playing with watercolors and earlier work from my sketchbooks.  So I don’t have any photography in this collection.  The largest part of the artwork this month is my new Quoteables series, which features hand-lettered quotes that I have layered onto watercolor backgrounds.  I also included several pieces of artwork that are original drawings and paintings from within my sketchbooks that I felt went with this month’s theme.  This series of artwork are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are as fresh and vibrant and they won’t fade or decay over time, so they are sure to bring some colorful happiness to your life!

 

Quoteables #10 - When Life Gets Blurry - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #10 – When Life Gets Blurry – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Handlettered Quotes and Phrases

I began this collection of artwork with hand lettering some quotes and phrases using various materials such as markers, pen and ink, and watercolor.  Below you can see the original pieces before I added in the watercolor and extras.

Quoteables #2 - Feel Beautiful Quote - Original Artwork by Adria Black
Quoteables #2 – Feel Beautiful Quote – Original Artwork by Adria Black
Quoteables #3 - Out of this World - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #3 – Out of this World – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #5 - Be Good to Yourself - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #5 – Be Good to Yourself – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Quoteables #4 - Create Your Own Sunshine - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #4 – Create Your Own Sunshine – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #6 - Win or Learn - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #6 – Win or Learn – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #8 - You Are Braver - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #8 – You Are Braver – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Mixing Original Sketches and Watercolor to Complete Collection

I also wanted to incorporate some other original sketches into the collection from my sketchbooks.  I choose a dreamcatcher and a cityscape that I had originally done in pen and ink, some abstract dancers that were done with watercolor, a mixed media girl with stained glass hair, and a watercolor mushroom.

 

This series of artwork are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are vivid and vibrant as the original paintings, and they won’t fade or decay over time.  These pieces add a bit of whimsy and fun to your home.  They will surely be treasured pieces for years to come!

 

Dreamcatcher Drawing - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Dreamcatcher Drawing – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Hand-drawn Cityscape - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Hand-drawn Cityscape – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Dancers - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Dancers – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Stained Glass Girl - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Stained Glass Girl – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Hippie Peace Mushroom - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Hippie Peace Mushroom – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Mixed Media and Watercolor Abstracts

I also wanted to mix in watercolor and some mixed media abstracts for this collection, and I had a blast creating several backgrounds in the blues, pinks, and purples color scheme with a touch of yellow.  Watercolor has such an interesting way of doing whatever it wants to that each piece is not only an experiment but a surprise!

 

This series of watercolor and mixed media abstracts are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are soft and muted, and they won’t fade over time.  These watercolor abstracts add a touch of color to any room in your home.  Plus, they make wonderful room accents in the form of throw pillows.

 

Mixed Media Abstract #1 - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Mixed Media Abstract #1 – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Watercolor Abstract #1 - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Watercolor Abstract #1 – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Watercolor Abstract #2 - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Watercolor Abstract #2 – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Salted Watercolor Abstract - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Salted Watercolor Abstract – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Watercolor Abstract #3 - Rainbow Streaks - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Watercolor Abstract #3 – Rainbow Streaks – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Mixed Media Abstract #2 - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Mixed Media Abstract #2 – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Learning Digital Art Techniques

This was the second collection that combined digital art techniques, mixed media, and watercolor pieces (backgrounds and elements) from my sketchbook.  This month, I really wanted to enhance my word art and quotes with the watercolor effects.  So I worked on changing up the feeling of the artwork by placing it on different backgrounds from my sketchbook, combining different pieces into a whole new composition, and incorporating watercolor washes and splatters to enhance the final pieces of artwork.  The final results were gorgeous pieces that look fantastic not only as art prints, but also on a variety of home decor products from throw pillows, comforters, shower curtains, notebooks, and tons more!  I sooo love how this collection turned out!

 

Dreamcatcher - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Dreamcatcher – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Combining Elements to Create New Compositions

It was a lot of fun to create whole new compositions using digital art techniques.  This grouping of artwork combined mixed media abstracts, watercolor, and hand lettering in a way that was completely new for me!  And I’m so very much in love with this process for art making.
This series of artwork available as Giclee prints, at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are as fresh and vibrant as the original artwork, and they won’t fade over time.  These unique artworks will be a treasure in your home for your whole life.  These pieces will remind your loved ones how much you care with the perfect piece of fun and sunshiney happiness for their home.

 

Catch Your Dreams - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Catch Your Dreams – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #1 - Feel Beautiful Today - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #1 – Feel Beautiful Today – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #7 - Make Your Own Sunshine - Rainbow - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #7 – Make Your Own Sunshine – Rainbow – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Salted Watercolor Dreamcatcher - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Salted Watercolor Dreamcatcher – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #9 - Win or Learn on Watercolor - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #9 – Win or Learn on Watercolor – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #11 - You are Braver - Watercolor - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #11 – You are Braver – Watercolor – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

Dancers on Pastel - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Dancers on Pastel – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #12 - Adjust Your Focus - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #12 – Adjust Your Focus – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #13 - Create Your Own Sunshine on Abstract - Original Artwork by Adria Black Art
Quoteables #13 – Create Your Own Sunshine on Abstract – Original Artwork by Adria Black Art

I’d love to hear what you think of the  February Mixed Media Collection.  Let me know what your favorites are in the comment below!  To purchase any of these pieces, simply click on the photo, which will take you directly to the Society 6 shop page.
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March 2017 – Bullet Journal Setup

`My March 2017 Bullet Journal Planner Setup by Adria Black Art

 

Hello lovelies!  Today I have a behind-the-scenes look at the planner that helps me to stay focused on what needs done and that helps me to accomplish all of my goals (personal and professional!).  It has been about 6 months since I have actively used my bullet journal and I cannot tell you how much I have missed it!!

 

A look at my Monthly Spread in my bullet journal - from Adria Black Art
A look at my Monthly Spread in my bullet journal. Appointments are on the left page and tasks on the right page.

Back to Basics

For March, I decided to head back to basics in my bullet journal setup.  When I was last using it, I had gotten to the point that it took about 30 pages to just set up for the month and it was rather overwhelming!  So I decided to keep it simple for this month and see what things I actually need to add-on that will get used.  I also switched it up by going back to the monthly view as suggested by Ryder Carroll of Bulletjournal.com who originally came up with this fabulous idea, instead of the monthly calendar view that I was using previously for memory keeping.  This way all of my appointments for the month have their own area, and I can figure out what I have going on with a quick glance.

I also included a February Check-in page so that I can review what I actually accomplished last month and cheer myself on for those achievements.  Some of the things I included on this page were goals that were achieved, social media stats, and blog stats so I can see these things grow in the months to come.

 

Boho Berry Inspired Sections

I was greatly inspired by Boho Berry this month as I tried to do a simplified bullet journal setup.  So I replaced my monthly calendar for memory keeping with the gratitude page so I can doodle highlights from the day that I’m thankful for.

 

My Gratitude page of doodles so far for the month of March (2017) in my bullet journal planner. From Adria Black Art
My Gratitude page of doodles so far for the month of March (2017) in my bullet journal planner.

 

Also, I loved her weekly view on two pages, so I set up my weekly the same way.  I will be tweaking this in the future, but it gave me a great starting point for figuring out exactly what I needed out of my weekly spreads.  In the past, I have struggled with weekly spreads, because I need them to help me break down my monthly goals, but then I forget about them and don’t use them.  However, with Boho Berry’s layout, I am using the weekly spread to help me figure out the things that need done each day and keeping track of some daily tasks in the weekly format (like posting on Facebook and Instagram).  So it’s been working out really great so far.

 

My March 2017 Weekly Spread was inspired by Boho Berry. Bullet journal from Adria Black Art
My March 2017 Weekly Spread was inspired by Boho Berry.

Adding Some Color

Another thing I changed up for this month’s setup was I wanted to have some COLOR.  I get really bored with just the black and white color scheme in the bullet journal.  So I pulled out some colored pencils and have incorporated color into my daily pages!  I also borrowed the time tracker from Boho Berry, because I loved the compact design.  Previously my time tracker for the day went across the page and I hated drawing it out each day for some reason.  But I love this design and I’m always excited to do it each evening.

 

An example of my daily pages in my bullet journal that I use as my planner. Bullet journal from Adria Black Art
An example of my daily pages in my bullet journal that I use as my planner.
I also made a video flip through so you can see all the pages so far for this month.  So that’s my March 2017 Bullet Journal setup.  I will check back in and show you all how it’s working out for me when I do my April setup.

 

 

Let me know in the comments below what you think of this month’s setup and any other bullet journaling concerns or questions you may have!
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Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa Photography Session

Architectural Park Overview Photograph by Adria Black Art.

 

One of my favorite settings for shooting my photography is in crappy weather.  Rain or snow, or even those icky gray days that make you not want to get out of bed.  Those are totally my days.  I simply love the even tones of light and the sense of calm and peace that the weather can have on the mood of a photography session.  I also love to create contrast through my composition choices and the even lighting helps my photographs to still feel cohesive.  It was one of these crappy, gray days that Atizle and I stumbled onto the Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa, near the Village of East Davenport.

 

Interstate 74 Bridge on the Davenport, Iowa Riverfront - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Interstate 74 Bridge in the distance on the Davenport, Iowa Riverfront – Photograph by Adria Black Art

The Architectural Sculpture Park

The Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa may be a little known secret to many visitors and residents.  This park has some really cool sculptures based on local Davenport architecture, history, and proximity to the Mississippi River.  The project was originally facilitated by the Quad City Arts, and it was a community wide partnership with nearly 50 citizens and three local artists with the goal of creating a collaboration that focused on visual interpretations of the industrial, environmental, or human heritage of the Mississippi.

 

Architectural Park Overview Photograph by Adria Black Art.
Architectural Park Overview Photograph by Adria Black Art in Davenport, Iowa.

 

All of these architectural pieces are unique, educational, and allow for children to interact with them.  Atty loved exploring the various buildings and was quite upset that the Queen Anne style tower did not have a door that she could go into.

 

Architectural Park Queen Anne Tower Photograph by Adria Black Art
Architectural Park Queen Anne Tower Photograph by Adria Black Art

Historical Relevance

The two pieces that we really loved were the Queen Anne style turret and the block house scene based on the block house at Fort Armstrong on the tip of Arsenal Island.  While we were at the Architectural Sculpture park we learned that the Queen Anne style can be found in a lot of the architectural designs in the Village of East Davenport, which is merely a couple blocks away from the Architectural Sculpture Park.

 

Architectural Park Blockhouse Photograph by Adria Black Art in Davenport, Iowa.
Architectural Park Blockhouse Photograph by Adria Black Art in Davenport, Iowa.

 

Also, we learned that Fort Armstrong was originally built-in 1816 to establish closer ties with the local Indian tribes (Sauk and Mesquaki), as well as to aid in the fur trade along the Mississippi River.  I loved all the informational signs that were placed throughout the park to add educational value and learning to this exploratory adventure.

 

Boat Launch Marina in Davenport, Iowa - Photograph by Adria Black Art
Boat Launch Marina in Davenport, Iowa – Photograph by Adria Black Art

The Mississippi Riverfront

While Atty was playing and running through the building structures, I turned around and saw a gorgeous view of the Mississippi River.  Despite the coming storm, the Mississippi River was fairly calm, but it was also partially frozen.  This gave the scene a vintagey mood and made me think of times gone by when this area would have been bustling.  I was able to capture a few photos of the distant Interstate 74 bridge, along with the boat marina before it started to rain on us.  Thus, ended our adventure at the Architectural Sculpture Park with us both looking a bit like drowned rats.

 

Have you ever visited the Architectural Sculpture Park in Davenport, Iowa?  I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!  All of these prints are available for purchase at Society 6, simply click on any of the photos that you love and it will take you directly to purchasing options.
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Mixed Media Monday – January Art Collection

January Mixed Media Collection by Adria Black Art

Atizle loves to pick out fresh bouquets when we go to the grocery store.  In an effort to preserve this month’s bouquet, I decided to have a mini photo shoot with them.  In this way, this gorgeous mixed bouquet lasts beyond the few days cut flowers often do that we purchased in the store.  As the colors of the cut flowers fade and the petals fall, these images will remain frozen in the perfect condition that they were captured in.

January’s Mixed Media Collection is focused on love and Valentine’s Day themed.  I wanted to create a fun, whimsical collection that is perfect for gift giving to your loved ones.  Have you ever found yourself in the situation of trying to find the perfect gift for your loved one, only to dawdle until your only remaining options are flowers or chocolate?  Giving unique and personalized art lasts much longer than chocolates or flowers ever will!

January Mixed Media Art Collection

These photographs showcase four flowers – Dahlias, Daisies, Carnations, and Alstromeria.  I created several different still life layouts of these flowers both together and separate and using flower petals from the daisies.  This series of still-life flowers are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are as fresh and vibrant as the flowers were when they were first purchased, and they won’t fade or decay over time.  Making these flowers a piece to treasure in your home for your whole life.  These still-life bouquets will remind your loved ones how much you care with the perfect piece for their home.

 

Daisy and Alstromeria Flowers Photograph by Adria Black Art
Daisy and Alstromeria Flowers Photograph by Adria Black Art
Dahlia Close Up Photograph by Adria Black Art
Dahlia Close Up Photograph by Adria Black Art
Alstromeria Flowers Photograph by Adria Black Art
Alstromeria Flowers Photograph by Adria Black Art

Alstromeria and Dahlia Bouquet Photograph by Adria Black Art
Alstromeria and Dahlia Bouquet Photograph by Adria Black Art
A Flower Bouquet Photograph by Adria Black Art
A Flower Bouquet Photograph by Adria Black Art
Loves Me, Loves Me Not Photograph by Adria Black
Loves Me, Loves Me Not Photograph by Adria Black

Daisy and Petals Photograph by Adria Black Art
Daisy and Petals Photograph by Adria Black Art
Carnation and Petals Photograph by Adria Black Art
Carnation and Petals by Adria Black Art

Mixing Conversational Hearts and Watercolor to Complete Collection

Another thing we picked up at the store were conversational hearts. Even when I was a child, I loved to read all the little messages on these candies and create sentences and dialogues with them.  As I sorted these candies into corresponding messages, I couldn’t help but giggle and laugh at some of the combination that naturally occurred.  I knew in that moment that I would have to capture these messages in the collection for this month.

This series of conversational messages are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are vivid and vibrant and they won’t fade or decay over time (or make your teeth hurt as you eat the candy!).  These conversational messages add a bit of whimsy and humor to your home.  These whimsical expressions of love are the perfect gift for your loved ones!

 

Marry Me Hearts Photograph by Adria Black Art
Marry Me Hearts Photograph by Adria Black Art
Kiss Me Photograph by Adria Black Art
Kiss Me Photograph by Adria Black Art
Forget Me Not Hearts Photograph by Adria Black Art
Forget Me Not Hearts Photograph by Adria Black Art

I also wanted to mix in watercolor for this collection, and I had a blast creating several backgrounds in the red, pink, and purple color scheme.  The abstract watercolor backgrounds led to the words and phrases and the heart icons.  I always love playing with watercolor and seeing what fun things the paint will do.  These turned out to be some of my favorite pieces once they were layered over the watercolor backgrounds.

This series of watercolor abstracts are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are soft and muted, and they won’t fade or decay over time.  These watercolor abstracts add a touch of color to any room in your home.  Plus, they make wonderful room accents in the form of throw pillows.

Purple Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Purple Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Red Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Red Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Red Watercolor Splatters Abstract by Adria Black Art
Red Watercolor Splatters Abstract by Adria Black Art
Purple Watercolor Splatter Abstract by Adria Black Art
Purple Watercolor Splatter Abstract by Adria Black Art
Blue Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Blue Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Pink Watercolor Splatters Abstract by Adria Black Art
Pink Watercolor Splatters Abstract by Adria Black Art
Pink Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art
Pink Watercolor Abstract by Adria Black Art

Learning Digital Art Techniques

This was the first collection that combined digital art techniques, photography, and watercolor pieces (backgrounds and elements) from my sketchbook.  It definitely had a bit of a learning curve to figuring out how to digitize my art for the first time.  I worked on removing the white backgrounds from my sketchbook, combining different pieces into a whole new composition, and only creating little bits and pieces that could later become a full piece of artwork.  The whole process was new and different and a bit challenging, but I love how this collection turned out!

 

Original Drawings from Sketchbook

 These pieces are originally from my sketchbooks and are unaltered using digital techniques.  This series of drawings and watercolor brushwork are Giclee prints, available at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The linework is hand drawn, and these pieces won’t fade or decay over time.  So each piece will be a long-lasting treasure in your home for your whole life.  These hand drawn pieces will remind your loved ones how much you care with the perfect piece for their home.

 

Winter Gloves Doodle by Adria Black Art
Winter Gloves Doodle by Adria Black Art
Triangle Doodle by Adria Black Art
Triangle Doodle by Adria Black Art
Tangled Hearts by Adria Black Art
Tangled Hearts by Adria Black Art
Floral Circle Doodle by Adria Black Art
Floral Circle Doodle by Adria Black Art
Always and Forever by Adria Black Art
Always and Forever by Adria Black Art

Combining Elements to Create New Compositions

It was a lot of fun to create whole new compositions using digital art techniques.  This grouping of artwork combined photography, watercolor, and hand lettering in a way that was completely new for me!  And I’m in love with this process for art making.  This series of artwork available as Giclee prints, at Society 6, and are printed on archival paper using archival inks.  The colors are as fresh and vibrant as the original artwork, and they won’t fade or decay over time.  Making these artworks a treasure in your home for your whole life.  These pieces will remind your loved ones how much you care with the perfect piece of whimsical expression for their home.

 

XoXo Watercolor by Adria Black Art
XoXo Watercolor by Adria Black Art
XoXo Heart by Adria Black Art
XoXo Heart by Adria Black Art
Winter Gloves Doodle on Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Winter Gloves Doodle on Watercolor by Adria Black Art

Triangle Doodle and Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Triangle Doodle and Watercolor by Adria Black Art
To The Moon Watercolor by Adria Black Art
To The Moon Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Small Watercolor Hearts by Adria Black Art
Small Watercolor Hearts by Adria Black Art

Pink Tangled Hearts by Adria Black Art
Pink Tangled Hearts by Adria Black Art
Love You Type Mixed Media Piece by Adria Black Art
Love You Type Mixed Media Piece by Adria Black Art
Floral Circle Doodle on Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Floral Circle Doodle on Watercolor by Adria Black Art

Conversational Hearts on Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Conversational Hearts on Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Candy Heart on Watercolor by Adria Black Art
Candy Heart on Watercolor by Adria Black Art

I’d love to hear what you think of the January Mixed Media Collection.  Let me know what your favorites are in the comment below!  To purchase any of these pieces, simply click on the photo, which will take you directly to the Society 6 shop page.
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Rock River in Colona, Illinois Photography Session

Rock River Photograph by Adria Black Art. Available in the Society 6 Shop.
There is something magical about falling snow.  Especially when there is fog and the snow is still falling.  I love capturing snowy speckles across my photographs.  This winter we haven’t had many snow days.  I think this was the third or fourth snow of the season.  So I knew that I definitely wanted to take advantage of this gorgeous day to go out and shoot some photos.

 

I decided to head down to the Rock River in Colona, Illinois.  The rivers around our area have a huge impact on our community as a whole.  Already this year, we have had massive flooding from the Rock River and the Mississippi River across the Quad City Area.  And since I grew up in Colona for part of my childhood, I have a certain attachment to the Rock River and watching it’s different cycles throughout the year.

 

Winter Panoramic of Rock River Photograph by Adria Black Art
Panoramic view of the Rock River in Illinois during snow flurries by Adria Black Art.  Available in Society 6 Shop.

A Brief History of Colona

Colona is actually a merged, small rural city that combined the City of Green Rock and the Village of Colona in 1997.  Green Rock was named for it’s location between the Green River and the Rock River.  Where the name Colona came from is still rather elusive, but Colona has had settlers in the area since 1835.  Colona is the currently the home of one stop light and 5,000 people.  The Green River, Rock River, and the Railroad have all had a large impact on this community.  And Dairy Queen was apparently started by John McCullough in this area (Green River, Illinois).

 

Rock River - Boat Launch Photograph by Adria Black Art
A freshly fallen snow where the Hennepin Canal meets the Rock River, Illinois (Winter 2017) by Adria Black Art. Available in the Society 6 Shop.

Hennepin Canal Park

Another body of water that connects this area in the Hennepin Canal.  This is an abandoned waterway between the Mississippi River and the Illinois River.  It was originally opened in 1907, but it ended up being abandoned because of railroad competition.  The idea behind the Hennepin Canal was to reduce the travel distance between Chicago and Rock Island, Illinois.  Today, the Hennepin Canal is used strictly for recreational purposes.

 

Snowy Country Road Photograph by Adria Black Art.
Heading down to the Rock River Boat Launch on this gravel road, I just loved the look of the snow on the fallen trees. Photograph by Adria Black Art. Available in the Society 6 shop.

 

I began this photography session with taking photos of the snow-covered road headed to the Hennepin Canal Parkway and the boat launch for the Rock River.  I couldn’t help but stop and snap a picture of some fallen trees, along the gravel road, that had already been covered with snow in the few minutes since it had begun snowing.  Atty was also not very happy with this little detour to the boat launch, because we passed the Hennepin Canal Park, and she really wanted to go play.  She did not understand why we couldn’t go slide just because it was snowing and it was cold.  Ah… to be three years old again!

 

I also found a fabulous group of geese that were swimming along in the Hennepin Canal, completely undaunted by the snow falling around them.  It was a pretty cool experience to see them so closely, without them being in a hurry to fly away from me.

 

Geese in Rock River Photograph by Adria Black Art
Geese swimming in the Rock River, Illinois, during some snow flurries (Winter 2017) by Adria Black Art. Available in Society 6 shop.

The Boat Launch and Rock River View

The Hennepin Canal feeds into the Rock River near the boat launch. It was pretty cold that close to the river and the wind blowing the snow froze my fingers pretty quickly.  The Hennepin Canal was pretty much a block of ice and snow this close to the river, but the Rock River itself was smooth as glass.  The effect of the fog coming off the Rock River gave the entire scene such a soft and dreamy feel to it.  It was absolutely silent at the river.  No birds.  No animals.  Not even the water lapping up on the shore.  The only sound was the wind blowing through the channels.
Rock River - Panoramic Photograph by Adria Black Art
Panoramic view of the Rock River in Illinois during snow flurries by Adria Black Art. Available in the Society 6 Shop.
The entire scene left me feeling calm and serene.  Let me know in the comments how these photographs made you feel!  Do you love the beauty of snow?  Also, if you’re a local Quad Citian, tell me about any experiences you have with the Rock River.  I’d love to hear all about them!