Thanks to Turkey Day celebrations, I found my book "Turkey Riddles" on Barnes & Noble bookshelves, just before Thanksgiving. It's always a treat seeing my books on shelves since the real estate in stores is so valuable. The excitement will never wear down!
Nov 24, 2008
Nov 5, 2008
Oct 30, 2008
I could say creativity is running through my bones, which is why I've been too busy to post. It's been quite a while since my last entry, so I thought I'd share my latest doodle from my last brainstorm session...pencil drawings of my pencil. Like I said, running through my bones...
Sep 4, 2008
I had scanned in this marble notebook for another project and thought I could apply it as a quick mixed media piece for the new Illustration Friday topic "Memories." That would be me in my uniform in a Catholic School in Baltimore. I look a bit sad there, but I was just a shy little lady. Ahh...the nostalgia.
Sep 1, 2008
Soon the birds will fly south and we'll be seeing winter again. Fall usually passes with the blink of an eye. I still marvel at the bumble bees gathering to pollinate my new lavender flower shrubs, but all I can think about is the close of summer. Enjoy it while it lasts...
Aug 14, 2008
...always equals fun stuff! I'm grateful for having so many talented friends, many with artistic abilities that allow them to create for a living. I have a friend that loves chickens so much, she named her website after it...Chickengirldesign.com. Well, of course, when I see a chicken I think of her. So I sent her 2 lonely chicken placeholders I got from Italy, that I never used, only for a little inspiration. So I decided they could use a better home, and in doing so, I was rewarded with more fun stuff. To my surprise, I received more poultry inspired art in return! Well actually, a notepad designed and illustrated by the talented chicken girl herself, and an equally fun card. I love random gifts in the mail, especially when handled with care by friends. Thanks, Jannie!
Jul 21, 2008
Silk screening is my newfound love. Just yesterday, I finally had a chance to learn. My friend and I made the trek down to 3rd Ward in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to take an intensive, five-hour long workshop on Screen Printing 101. It was a hot, muggy day in New York. Unfortunately for us the room was A.C. free, but no matter. We were finally going to learn how to screen print.
We each came prepared with a black and white design and materials to print on. For my bird-themed studio, I decided to draw something, well, bird related, and within the design create a subtle monogram. I brought along some scraps of fabric, an old canvas, two shirts and a couple of plain gray pillowcases that desperately needed some love.
The instructor was thorough and informative. He spent most of the class explaining and demonstrating the process using a photosensitive process to create the screen stencil. In an effort to save time, the screens were already prepared with the emulsion. Our black and white designs were printed on acetate, placed on the screens, held down with glass, then exposed to light for twenty minutes. When the light was exposed to the surface, the areas that were not blocked by design, hardened. The "soft" areas covered by the designs were washed out to open the mesh that would eventually allow ink to pass through.
Some of the screens were not properly exposed, and so the process had to be repeated with about six screens, allowing us to see the instructor remove the emulsion, dry the screens, re-coat and re-expose them. While it was frustrating for him, it enabled us to visually understand the technique since we never really got a chance to practice prep the screens on our own.
After four long hours of demonstration and lecture, most of the class had screens ready to print. It was near dinner time, I was hungry and longing for a bottle of water. When finally he showed us how to squeegee the ink onto the print surface, I was raring to go. I didn't bother with a practice sheet. I mixed my mustard yellow color, prepared the first pillowcase and squeegeed my design onto the fabric surface. The design came through beautifully, the color looked sophisticated on the gray surface. So I went squeegee crazy and applied the design onto the second pillowcase, a t-shirt, a white tank top and stretched canvas until I had my fill. I started thinking of ways I could start a business. I wouldn't be surprised if most do when they first learn to screen print.
Ironically, there was a BBQ pig roast going on at the same time just outside where we were washing and drying our screens. Yet, I didn't get a taste of it or a chance to satisfy my thirst. My friend and I were anxious to leave the very crowded, very sweaty scene, to down a cold beverage, have some dinner, and talk about what we would print next.
Jul 10, 2008
I plan on putting up a section in my site to show the line. I think they're worth showcasing. It's the first gift line I ever designed, and I hope it won't be the last. Here is the group of figurines. The line consists of these plus a spinning musical figurine, frames, and plaques. They're available in specialty gift stores across the country.
Jul 8, 2008
Just last weekend, not one week after my lackluster MoMA visit, I ventured out to Queens to see my friend. It was another rainy weekend, so we skipped the outdoor beer garden festival to attend the indoor/outdoor party at P.S. 1 in Long Island City. It was the first of many in the summer season. P.S. 1, MoMA's little sister, is a contemporary art gallery converted from, what used to be, an elementary school, hence its name.
Outside, the agricultural exhibit, complete with livestock, was nice. It was a lovely interactive exhibit with vegetation artfully housed in recyclable cardboard tubing. It was a little wet from the scattered rain showers, which was great for the vegetation, but not so much for the grass seating. However, with the same base, they also created a few water-proof seats using rubber sheathing and tacks. It would eventually be the perfect perch for people watching.
Inside, I could have done without the angry political exhibits (mostly installations), probably in celebration of Independence Day, but still, not what one would expect from a renowned gallery in terms of concept and execution. There was one nice Olafur Eliasson piece, but not enough to keep us inside. So we stuck to people watching outside. The sun made its entrance every so often, keeping us satisfied for quite some time in our drum chairs. So I sketched.
Then the ten-piece band started tuning their instruments. Well, at least we thought they were. We noticed the conductor, yes there was a conductor, swinging his baton, leading the musicians in a unified chaos of sound. The rhythm was non-existent, and what sounded like tuning instruments was actually experimental…something. Well, I never claimed to be a music aficionado. Needless to say, the crowd, save for a small handful of people, was not enthralled. My friend was lucky enough to have been to another summer event here when the Scissor Sisters played and Bono performed, unannounced. This time, a DJ saved our sense of rhythm and beat by spinning between breaks. I was hoping that, eventually, some fabulous surprise performer or band would show up. No such luck.
Soon enough, the rain fell again, so we decided to make our exit, relieved we had good reason to leave the party early.
Jul 7, 2008
Unfortunately, the online recommendation came from someone who was probably turned on by frat houses, so my husband and I, and our eight friends, hauled ourselves 2 blocks to a lovely Greek Tapas restaurant. That's just about the best thing about Manhattan. You need not venture far to find quality dining. We dined on flaming cheese, a variety of seafoods and meats with a Mediterranean flair. My friend feared for her life every time they lit a platter of cheese on fire. It was a popular dish that night.
The popular gift to get for someone like me? Sketchbooks, sweets, Starbucks, and the bonus gift, a cool tote. I know I'm loved when I get a gift card for crack. I even got one in the mail from friends that sent their regrets. The sketchbooks ranged from Moleskine, to your fancy stationery store variety, to a recycled children's book turned sketchbook. Now if you could only see my sketches under the influence of java.
The lesson of the day, don't sit too close to flaming cheese.
Jul 5, 2008
Days before my birthday, I spent some time at the MoMA with two of my friends, the three of us hoping to see some incredible work. And if we didn't, well we'd enjoy the architecture. Thankfully my friend was a member, so she got us in for a fraction of the normally pricey entrance fee. Perhaps it was the summer season, but needless to say, while we did see inspired work, we had to work our way up to it, literally. The exhibits improved upon ascension.
The first two floors, consisted mainly of video installations and what looked like student projects (but weren't) with very few exceptions. Sadly I felt, floors 1 and 2 were a waste of time. Not what one would expect in such prized fine art real estate. The third floor featured installations by Olafur Eliasson. Interesting. I'm not a big fan of installation art in general, but I was able to grasp Mr. Eliasson's work, primarily because the ideas and executions were simple and elegant.
Upon reaching the fourth floor, we discovered what I was most familiar with--painting--and MoMA's permanent collection. Many of them I've seen before, but always comforted by their presence. So at this time, I pulled out my sketchbook, settled down, and drew the scene around me.
Just as we were about to head out, we poked around the gift shop. Strangely enough I was happier browsing the various tchotchkes inspired by good design, rather than muddling through the first few exhibits. I spotted a really cool perpetual calendar, so my friend offered to pick it up for me as a birthday gift!
After paying we were ready to exit, until we noticed that floor five featured a preview show open to members only. Since my friend was one of them, we happily proceeded to explore: Dali: Painting and Film. It was like being on the list and getting into the most popular night club in town...sort of.
While I'm not Dali's biggest fan, I certainly admire his talent and welcomed the exhibit like a breath of fresh air, and relieved that I would leave the MoMA feeling satisfied. It was a very well presented show with Dali's early film work on display, paintings that inspired the films, and his set design for the Hollywood film, Spellbound. All in all, they were some of the finest Dali paintings I have ever seen.
By the time we finally headed out, the rain came, in buckets. My (member) friend treated me to a MoMA umbrella as a birthday gift and we happily ventured out in the rain for coffee and cake.
Jun 6, 2008
The days of finishing schools are once again upon us. I designed a card for a dear friend of mine, whose brilliant idea for a new business couldn't have come at more perfect time. At the risk of sounding like my parents, or better yet, like an old fart goody goody, I've observed a generation of kids and their parents that suffer from attitudes of entitlement, while a simple 'please,' 'thank you' or 'pardon me' is hard to come by. The Silver Spoon offers individual or group classes and seminars on etiquette and social graces for every age. My hats off to Baroness Maria von Alvensleben for launching her new business with a fresh and modern take on good ol' manners.
May 7, 2008
Apr 24, 2008
Apr 23, 2008
All those things that inspire that sort of work from me, is a different animal all together, whether it's a particular designer or ad campaign, or a pretty coat I see in a store, or a fantastic bag I have to have. It's a purely subjective, unadulterated, guiltless pleasure of trendsetting aesthetics. So for that reason, I'm devoting a whole other blog, another side of my creative brain, to that particular subject, hopefully interesting enough for you to want to explore and seek inspiration.
I've touched on a few style-worthy subjects, on this my current blog, but I believe there's a whole other world worth exploring that's different enough to deserve its own forum. I hope you go and explore it. Be patient, there'll be a slew of postings soon enough as it's still in its fledgling stage. I hope you enjoy it and what is to come! Keep coming back here for all other experimental illustration and all that is illustration.
Mar 23, 2008
Voilà! Just like that it's Spring, and we've gained an extra hour of daylight.
Can't say the same for posts lately. I'm way overdue, so I thought I'd share a few creations from my sister's baby shower to celebrate the new season. Originally, the theme of the baby shower was lilies....which then turned into, lilies, birds, butterflies and eggs. Sounds like...Easter. Perfect timing.
So I illustrated her Evite using all of these motifs, and from that I created matching thank you cards. These days, with Evite, you never see a printed invite, so I thought it would be nice to create a custom thank you card instead.
For decoration, I made a few bird mobiles using felt, various fabrics and mitsumata branches. What's that you ask? I came across Nettleton Hollow, a company in Brooklyn that specializes in decorative branches. From there I purchased mitsumata branches, which are branches that have been stripped of their bark and bleached white. If you soak them long enough, they're bendable. Yes, I got a bit craft-happy. When I found those branches, ideas started racing. As a soon-to-be aunt, I needed to put all my energy of anticipation into something constructive.
However, the favors were the biggest attack of craft crazy I've ever encountered. I counted 10, I say, 10 steps to making these little wunderfavors.
Step 1: A tiny galvanized planter (from IKEA)
Step 2: Ribbon
Step 3: A little tag to match the theme of the shower, designed with the date and occasion, hole-punched and cut
Step 4: A little string to put in the holes to hang the tag
Step 5: Paper strips made to look like a birds nest (pre-cut; I'm not that crazy)
Step 6: Cadbury chocolate mini-eggs (I dream about)
Step 7: Netting for the chocolate eggs
Step 8: Wildflower seeds (lilies were too costly)
Step 9: Little baggies for the wildflower seeds
Step 10: A little instruction card scanned from the original seed packaging, re-colored to match them, printed, cut and stapled to the baggies
The end result ... kinda cute. I'm currently in a 10 step program to de-craftify.
Feb 11, 2008
Making wacky stuffed creatures is fun especially when there's an occasion to do so. Here's what I call a lucky elephant that I made for my friend's future baby. What stuffed elephant wouldn't want to be loved by a cute little baby? I can already picture the drool all over it.
Feb 9, 2008
Feb 8, 2008
It's my mom's birthday this Sunday. It's been my tradition to make a piece of art she'll find meaningful, relevant and funny. So let me say first that, last year, I was painting a picture of her beloved cat, Bisou, for her birthday. Needless to say, work deadlines got in the way and I wasn't able to complete it. I think I made a card and bought her some nice clothes instead. Then sadly, just a few months ago poor Bisou passed away. The painting remained incomplete.
So it's my mom's birthday this Sunday and this time I started and completed a new portrait of Bisou. It's meaningful, yes, relevant, sure, funny, no. If it doesn't go over well, maybe the cool clothes she'll also be getting from me will offset the lack of humor.
Jan 31, 2008
Its plastic feathers flip up at every other sound of the cuckoo. It is the trendiest timepiece I've ever purchased, yet it has a timeless quality that I admire. It's cool and weird and beautiful at the same time. Does this now mean that I'm the crazy bird lady? I can live with that.
Jan 26, 2008
My cousin, Cecile, delivered a baby boy at 8am this morning in Baltimore. I was so happy for her I created a little piece to commemorate the occasion. Since his name is Jonah, I used obvious imagery for inspiration. I can't wait to meet him! I don't know what he looks like yet, but I figured perhaps he has a nice head of hair like his mama.
Now that the basement's finished, and my husband's moved his workspace out of the spare bedroom, I've got a whole new room to do with what I want. So in came the wonderfully old and wooden drafting table that was given to me by my dear friends, plus, a consignment shop find that hides an older Singer cast iron for a proper and permanent spot for my sewing machine.
The first order of business in my new, extended studio space was a sewing project. I'm loving all the funky plush out in the market, especially all the odd characters and the use of unpredictable materials, so I just had to make some of my own. As a warm-up, I've started with the first lesson in a book called Softies and then improvised from there. The result is this unusual bunny, complete with fuzzy tale and...cloven feet? Don't ask me what it's all about, but then that's the fun of it. Now that I've got a fabulous new space to enjoy, you can expect that I'll be making many more I-don't-know-whats in the near future, and I would bet, more inspired paintings, too.
Jan 8, 2008
I know, I'm only 8 days late, but you know the saying (insert sarcasm here). One can either interpret this entry as a bad start to the New Year, as in too much egg nog and chocolate over the celebration who wants to start working anyway because freelancing is practically like being retired, or that I'm so gosh darn busy I can't keep my &@$# straight.
Well, it's a little bit of both. I didn't do much of anything during the holidays, in terms of being creative. In fact, I let my brain hibernate for a while (a week). But there were consequences to that... short term memory loss, forgetting clients' names, forgetting how to draw, not blogging in time to greet everyone Happy New Year.
And yet, I was assigned a slew of new work just before the New Year even started, almost miraculously. I consider myself pretty lucky that I can keep up this lifestyle, and that's why when someone wishes me a "...Very Happy and Prosperous New Year," I'm much obliged.
And so I wish the same for you.