For Christmas, my Brother got me a 6 month subscription to a snack box company called Bokksu. I know subscription boxes have been around for a while, but I have never tried any of them. So I was excited to open this first box.
The first thing that I noticed is that this box has a lot of snacks in it! It's not a skimpy assortment. Also, many of the snacks come as a pair so you can share it with someone else. There's a wide variety with some of the snacks being savory, some sweet and some a combination. I've tried about half of the snacks and each one is very enjoyable and unique. One of the snacks (a white chocolate infused strawberry) is a Bokksu special.
I really like the pamphlet magazine that comes with the box and explains the location and information about each snack. Most of the snack packages are entirely in Japanese so having this info is great since I don't read/speak Japanese. The overall layout is also very beautiful and aesthetic. Dietary and allergy information is also contained here.
I've been fascinated by Japan and Japanese products for a long time so this box was a perfect gift. I'm very impressed with the quality of the box, information material and the snacks themselves. It also helps support independent snack makers from all over Japan. I am not affiliated with this company in any way, but I really recommend this as a gift box for any Japanese snack fans. I can't wait for next month's box!
I just found this website that has some photos of paintings and drawings by my great, great Aunt, Tineke (Ties) Schaap-Stuurman (1918 - 2001). She was Dutch and had an artistic family. I only met her when I was a toddler so I don't remember her, but apparently she thought I was quite a joker even as a 3 year old.
The funny thing is that there's a strong similarity between her style and mine. We have some of her original art, but I never tried to emulate her style or anything. There must be some genetic component to the way we make brushstrokes and use paint. Or maybe it's how we see the world which determines how we paint it. I'm not sure, but it's very interesting to see and contemplate.
I wish I could have spoken with her about painting to see if we shared similar thoughts. It looks like she worked en plein air also. The photos of her on the site were taken by a Dutch photographer, which is also cool.
You can click on the image below to go directly to the site for more information. It's all in Dutch, but there's information about each of the artworks.
What a year 2023 was! I can't believe that I spent 1/4 of it in France, painting in Monet's garden and traveling around France. Those 3 months were magical and it gave me the confidence to travel internationally. To just realize that there's a whole world out there and so many things to see and people to meet.
Speaking of travel, I'm planning some workshops for 2024-2025. I'm excited to be a part of a German-based company called ARTISTRAVEL (See picture below) - We're even talking about possibly doing a Japan workshop at some point. I've been fascinated with Japan since I was a kid so I'd love to go there to experience it. I never thought I'd have the ability to travel around the world so I'm very grateful for all these opportunities
Closer to home, there's a Sargent exhibit up in Boston that I'd like to go see. Last year my long-time friend, Asem Ahmed and I saw the Sargent and Spain exhibit in D.C., which was great. So I may see if he wants to go check out the Boston show.
Last week, I finished up my semester at the Ridgewood Community School. Now, I'm looking at the spring semester which begins in March 2024. I'm planning to teach the same watercolor course and I may also teach a drawing course.
During the summer 2024, I'll be spending 5 weeks in Florence to finish up my graduate degree. The MA program at the Florence Academy of Art has been a perfect fit with my career. My own skills have improved greatly and I highly recommend this program to other artist/educators.
One of my main goals for 2024 is to network to find new opportunities for commissioned work. I've built up a large portfolio of commissions and I'm at a point where I'm really happy with my artistic abilities. I've always loved portraits and now I'm looking to take my professional career to the next level. Anyone interested in my commission information can check out my COMMISSIONS PAGE.
Looking back on 2023, I'm feeling very proud of all that I accomplished. It's been a lot of work to improve as an artist and to find opportunities, but I love what I do and I wouldn't trade it for the world. As always, there were good times and bad times, good people and not-so-good people. There was also a lot of trial and error, but I learned a lot about myself through the process.
Thank you for following a long and I wish you all a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!