31 December 2011

handmade cards

I really wanted to make handmade cards this year, but with one thing and another I just didn't have time. (New Resolution: plan better next time!) However, I was the delighted recipient of a number of handmade cards from artists in Japan and Canada, so I want to share them with you here and also send a huge "thank you!" to my accomplished, artistic friends. <3

from Ikecoo in Japan

Painted on both sides; folded and tied with yarn to keep closed.

Getting to know Ikecoo in the past couple months has been very inspiring. Although I cannot understand all the Japanese on her blog, I love looking at the photos she posts and the brilliant ideas she comes up with using materials that can be found anywhere. Check out these brightly colored lamps she made in a recent workshop (scroll down past the text to see two photos). Neat, hm?

from Kanae Nagashima in Japan

Kanae made her card with washi tape and a print of an elaborate wreath that she drew. You can see a gorgeous picture of the original on her blog.

from Yuuco in Japan
Also from Yuuco ~ beautiful papers that I'll use in my art!

Yuuco is generous, talented and has a gentle style and a big heart. I'm so glad I met her in 2011! You shouldn't miss this delicate wreath of screen-printed cotton leaves that she made "to heal our hearts hurt by the earthquake in March". She calls it, "Beautiful World" ~ and it really is.

from Pen Artist Santacc ~ a traditional kerchief & a printed card

Pen's artwork has a distinct style and I've really enjoyed all the pieces she sent over for our Trans-Pacific collaboration. Pen is also the owner of the Make Merry Box Gallery, where artists rent out little boxes to display and sell their work. You might enjoy a browse through the gallery's blog to see the huge variety of handmade goods there! Lots of fun!

from Shingo Akiyama in Japan

Shingo's art ranges in scale from giant murals to tiny paintings. I would love to know more about his process, materials and inspirations, and I hope to visit Japan one day to see his murals on the city walls. In the meantime, I treasure my original Akiyama card. Thank you, Shingo!

from Jeannine Saylor in Canada

She used her hand-carved pine cone stamps inside and out.

I feel so lucky to know Jeannine, who is not only talented and creative, but one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. I love reading her blog and sharing ideas, gathering inspiration from each other. She's genuinely one of my favorite artists to talk to and follow along with her creations and works-in-progress. Additionally, she is really fun to exchange mail art with, and she is looking for more people to exchange with in the new year, so drop her a line!

*  *  *
Wasn't that a lovely tour? I really want to send something back to everyone. Thank goodness for Lunar New Year, which gives me a second chance to send my best handmade wishes! Thank you again, dear artist friends. ^_^

17 December 2011

preparing for a new show!

This morning Toni Rica and I had our second meeting with Davin, a Fremont artist who is helping us launch our Trans-Pacific art show at the Bay St. Cafe' in Fremont's Irvington District. The opening reception will be on Saturday, January 21st at 6:00 pm and there's much to do to prepare!

Bay St. Cafe' is recently under new management and the owner has been very generous with his assistance. He has many big plans for the arts and creativity at Bay St. ~ ours will be the first show to kick things off. So if you're in the East Bay or South Bay, save the date of January 21st and then make plans to return for all the other exciting music and art shows that Davin and Lotfi will prepare for you!

Davin, Rica and me

It was quite by luck that we chanced upon this venue. Toni Rica came by on occasion to have a coffee and one day she asked if it would be possible to display our Trans-Pacific art here. The idea was met with a lot of enthusiasm (both Lotfi and Davin are big on building community) and we're thrilled to be working with them and showing our art in such an historic building. The coffee is really good, too!

If you come to our opening reception, you can also catch a theater show upstairs in the same building at the Broadway West Theater Company. We're hoping to meet some of the cast members ourselves. :)

The building has such character, sitting on the corner of a five-street intersection and busy each time I've been there. I had fun taking photos of the building and the surrounding environment.

Bay St. Cafe' is located at 4000 Bay Street in Fremont at the corners of Fremont Blvd., Washington Blvd., Union St. and Bay St. Hope to have you join us on January 21st!

The artists participating from Japan are: Yuuco, Pen Artist Santaac, Kanae Nagashima, Akiyama Shingo and Ikecoo. If you'd like you can read a bit more about them in my earlier post here. Wish us luck for a successful show!

13 December 2011

who's on society6?

With the holidays coming up, I wanted to give personalized gifts to some of my family. Several of them could use new phone cases (including me!) so I went onto society6 to learn how I might upload my art. The end result is that I now have the beginnings of a society6 shop and with just a little bit of browsing I'm finding quite a number of talented artists I'd never met before. It looks like it's going to be fun!

I've only uploaded two artworks so far, but little by little there will be more because the gift-giving season is upon us and I've got to figure out what I'm giving to whom! I've quite a bit of art to upload that I think will look quite delightful on a laptop skin, phone case or print. So many possibilities... I'm curious to order some and see how they actually are in person.


If you're on society6 do let me know so I can follow you there. I'd love to find some of my twitter and blogger friends and check out your shops!

03 December 2011

so thankful

My painting is off to its new home with Sharon. ^_^

The past two days have been so rewarding. I am very thankful to Akio, Terry and Yukie for welcoming me to the Claymates show and sale. I met so many interesting people ~ many artists themselves ~ and got some very positive and heartfelt feedback about my work. This event was not only the first time for me to show my work in public, it was also the first time for me to represent and assist other artists as well. From the Bay Area, I invited Toni Rica, Chiori Tasaki and Sewasew to display their work. From Japan, five artists sent me their creations: Yuuco, Ikecoo, Kanae Nagashima, Shingo Akiyama and Ms. Pen Santaac.

On Thursday evening, Toni Rica met me at Akio's to help set up our art. Yukie and her husband Larry had gone out of their way to purchase a set of display grids that very morning and had them all set up for us when we arrived. (Thank you!)

Yukie's pottery in the foreground & our art on the panels.
Yuuco's flower bags, Chiori's oils, my acrylics & Kanae's postcards...

I should mention that it was my first time to meet Toni Rica in person; before then we'd only spoken on twitter, email and phone. It was a joy to meet her and to work together, as she is full of enthusiasm, warmth, positivity and talent! Together we placed all the artwork so that everything was ready for the show.

Sewasew's woven Ethiopian paintings below, Ms. Pen's book covers, postcards by Kanae and more...

On Friday morning, Chiori met me at Akio's studio to help for the day. We added her paintings to the display, added some finishing touches and watched as people began to arrive.  

One of Chiori's en plein air oils, made while her husband and son were fishing.

There was already quite a crowd when the doors opened at 10:00 am and all the artists were busy answering questions or helping to wrap purchases. It was an exceptional moment for me when I turned to find a woman gazing with great emotion at my larger acrylic work. Wow.

She explained that she could not purchase it (though she would have liked to) but we talked for a bit and I can only say that to have my painting create such a positive impact on someone else... well, just that was enough to make my day utterly fulfilling. As a painter, and especially at my very first show, her reaction was tremendously rewarding and more than I hoped for. While she thanked me for making that piece, I thanked her for appreciating it so highly. It was quite amazing to connect with a stranger through an artistic communication. (Of course, I saw her again when she returned the next day to show her husband the painting, and I'm sure I'll see her again since she's beginning ceramics classes ~ so she won't be a stranger in the future! ^_^)

Other artists' work were beginning to sell. Lots of Yukie's and Akio's pottery was chosen, Margie and Bobbi's glass jewelery table had a big crowd, and Terry's homemade chocolate truffles and jams were extremely popular.

Debbie chose Yuuco's flower bag and also bought my smaller acrylic. Thank you!

Not long after my sublime experience in front of my painting, I heard my name being called. Two sisters (Sharon and Debbie) were very interested in my acrylics! We talked about my process and thoughts behind the works. I signed the canvases to each of them and in a whirlwind of a morning, my paintings were sold! I nearly had to catch my breath, it had all happened so fast. I was glad that Chiori was there to celebrate with me and I really liked Sharon and Debbie and felt very comfortable to send my art home with them.

Thank you very much, Sharon and Debbie. 
I hope you enjoy the paintings for years to come 
and that they bring you much happiness in your homes.

After those paintings sold, I brought out the large gold painting I'd just finished. Even though it was already spoken for, I thought it would be nice to get feedback on the work. Indeed, I enjoyed some very nice talks with other artists about the work, its layers and techniques ~ conversations I wouldn't have had without taking my work out of my home and putting it in the public eye. It was very rewarding.

I was also quite happy to get exposure for the artists who sent their work from Japan. I wished they could also be there to talk about their creations.

Ikecoo's sculpture and pastel with Yuuco's cute cards.

Yuuco's bird of happiness cleverly mounted on stained balsa wood.

Kanae's triptych attracted a lot of attention for its detail and emotion. Rica sold several of her prints too!

On Saturday Toni Rica returned and spent the day helping at the sale. Three of her prints sold and it was really fun to hear the stories behind her drawings. She has a definite sense of humor! :D

I brought another work in to display, a large 4' x 6' painting that I completed a couple years ago. I made it when my husband's family came to visit us from Italy so they would feel even more welcome in our home.

Displaying this painting led to many more engaging conversations with visitors and artists. It was really fun to meet so many delightful and passionate people who appreciate handmade goods and arts. I am very grateful to everyone who came to Claymates. It was such a pleasure to meet you!

Special thanks to Chiori and Rica for their help, to the other artists for a wonderful two days ~ Bobbi White, Margie Dickerson, Adriane Dedic, Yukie Nakanishi ~ and to our hosts Akio and Terry Aochi. I learned a lot and am looking forward to the spring show in May at Yukie's garden and studio!

So much inspiration ~ thank you all!

01 December 2011

i triumph at last


Hello friends!

Do you remember, back in the sunny days of August when I shared some dappled light falling on a large blue painting I was working on for a friend? Well, I had pretty much finished the work when she returned to California after months of being away. I went to her home, saw again where the painting would hang, and realized that the painting was just way too blue. And way too white. Somehow, it was just not the right palette.

"No!" you're thinking, "So what did you do?!"

Well, I started painting over it. I realized her house had a lot of gold in it and I would have to make something richer and warmer.

I confess that the canvas went through some horrible stages. Being so large, it loomed in my living room, a silent eyesore. At times I thought it might defeat me but ... I persisted. (And I did not take any photos of its dreadful transition).

But at last! I finally finished it the other weekend. It's the first one I've done just using a palette knife to apply the paint. Here it is, propped temporarily in my dining room until I can deliver it:

Depending on the light, or where one stands, the elements and colors reflect and combine quite differently. I've never had that experience with a painting before, but I believe it's because I used several iridescent paints and because there's so much texture.

I may have this one at our show tomorrow. Hope you Bay Area folk can come by to see it!

2011 Claymates
Date: December 2 - 3, 2011 (Friday and Saturday)
Time: 10 am - 6 pm
Location: Akio's Studio at 1901 Mandan Court, Fremont, CA 94039

23 November 2011

moustache for movember

When I saw that Creaturemag was putting out a call for moustachioed creatures, I couldn't resist giving it a try. I submitted my moustache tree a few days ago and was happy to see him appear in  Part 6 of the Moustache Illustration Awards along with numerous other entertaining moustache-folk.

It's all to promote Movember, a face-grown and hand-brushed charity event that makes November moustache-growing season to raise awareness of men's health issues (cancer in particular).

They've just extended the deadline to Monday, November 28th, so why not sketch a moustache critter and send it their way? All entries will be judged by: Matt Witt of Creaturemag, Lee Rubenstein of Eat Sleep Draw, Siobhan Leddy of Flamingo Magazine and Jon Cockley of Handsome Frank.

Details are here. Give it a try! It's for a good cause and it's a great excuse to let your imagination go stache-wild!

22 November 2011

may i introduce you...

to five Japanese artists that are part of a trans-Pacific collaboration with me! We are exchanging art to show and sell on each side of the ocean, with our first exhibit and sale at 2011 Claymates, coming up on December 2nd and 3rd in Fremont, California (all the details at the end of this post).

You must first meet Yuuco, who blogs at Seeds of Happiness and is on twitter as @cocotia.

Miss yuuco (illustrator)

Born in Kagawa, 1977. Studied ceramics at Osaka university of arts. Drawing and writing everyday just like sowing flower seeds. Hoping her tiny words and illustrations will bloom somewhere one day to make people who saw it smile. :) Also working on etchings in recent years. 

Here is some of her cheerful artwork:

Yuuco is the originator of our art-exchange across the ocean and she has just sent me a precious package full of art from Japan! I have the ticket from the postman and have arrange for a redelivery tomorrow ~ so if you check in again shortly, you'll see pictures of the originals that have arrived in America. These will be from Yuuco and from and each of the artists below. Personally, I can't wait to open that parcel!

Next, please meet Ikecoo...

Miss ikecoo (illustrator)

Born in 1976, Kagawa. An artist who makes people feel happiness from her drawings. Studied design at Kyoto collage of Art & Craft. Started working as an illustrator in 2006. Drawing a lot every day, her dream is to make the world full of her happy pictures.


And now, I'd like to present Kanae Nagashima ~

Miss Kanae Nagashima (painter)

Born in Kagawa, 1985, Kanae studied oil painting in the Art Department of Hiroshima City University. While in school, she studied abroad on a short term program at Kingston University, UK. After graduation, she has been working as a designer, showing her work regularly in exhibitions. She is presently working as an Art Master in Kagawa.

画家。1985年香川県生まれ。広島市立大学芸術学部油絵学科卒業。在学中にイギリス キングストン大学短期留学。卒業後、関東でイベントフライヤー制作やカフェなどで作品展示し、現在は香川県を拠点に芸術士としても活動中。芸術士≫http://geijyutsushi.archipelago.or.jp/

Our fourth artist is Pen Artist Santacc!

Miss Pen Artist Santacc (pen artist)
Born in Kagawa, 1978. Studied design at Kyoto University of Art & Design. She draws by pen with rough & swirling strokes. She is also the owner of the art shop 'Make Merry!' where she deals with arts, crafts, illustrations, and many kinds of hand made things. She's managing art events, art projects and workshops too; her shop is always full of young artists. 

1978 年 生まれ
2003 年 京都造形芸術大学 学芸学部 情報デザイン学科卒業

Last but not least, a gentleman artist! Mr. Shingo Akiyama (for whom I do not have a website), who not only has a beautiful website but is also on twitter as @akiyamashingo. I am loving this picture of one of his murals!

Mr. Shingo Akiyama (painter)
Born in Kagawa, 1983. Studied oil painting at Kanazawa University of Arts & Crafts. Has had many solo exhibitions, group exhibitions and workshops since graduation. His main style is line drawings with floating bright colors and illustrations. Recently he painted an enormous mural in the middle of town and also designed the packaging for a newly opened patisserie.



If you're in the Bay Area on December 2nd and 3rd, you're invited to come by 2011 Claymates, an annual sale of pottery, jewelry, truffles and art!

All five artists above will be featured, as well as Toni Rica (prints), Chiori Tasaki (oils) and me!

Plus, a variety of works from the original founders of the event: Akio and Terry Aochi (ceramics and handmade chocolate truffles), Yukie Nakanishi (ceramics), Margie Dickerson (glass art jewelry) and her sister Bobbi White (lampwork glass creations). There may also be some Ethiopian art from Sewasew Meaza, who paints on "sefed" ~ a large, traditional woven plate.

There will be lots to see!
You're Invited to 2011 Claymates
Date: December 2 - 3, 2011 (Friday and Saturday)
Time: 10 am - 6 pm
Location: Akio's Studio at 1901 Mandan Court, Fremont, CA 94039

Hope to see you there. ^_^

16 November 2011

my 100th post: preparing for a show

Welcome to my 100th blog post, in which I'll share some new paintings of mine and some fine artwork from Toni Rica! ^_^

Not so long ago I received a note from Yuko in Japan, asking if I'd like to collaborate with her and some artists that she knew. We had only spoken briefly on twitter before (where she is @cocotia) so I was surprised but delighted by her suggestion. She had two venues, a "box gallery" and a cafe' where art could be shown. I hoped to find a couple show locations here in the Bay Area, and we decided to trade art so that artists on both sides of the Pacific could have their works displayed on the other side of the ocean.

I can hardly wait to receive the art from Japan so I can first ooh and aah over it, and then make plans for how and where to display it. I don't yet know exactly how many pieces are coming, or which artists ultimately decided to participate, so it's really going to be a lovely surprise. I'm all fired up!

I recently finished two paintings that I'll display on the U.S. side of things (they're a little big to send afar). One I've shared with you above and the other is below this paragraph. You may not recognize them, but I actually started these one year ago when I blogged about their first layers. They actually hung in my house, unfinished, for all that time. I knew they hadn't achieved their final transformation yet, but I enjoyed them anyway. Now that they're finished, I'm appreciating them even more. (Sometimes my art takes a very slow evolution.)

I titled this one: Resilience. But I think it could be interpreted many ways.

Toni Rica is one of the artists that will participate with me here in the Bay Area and then send her art to Japan for display/sale over there. She has been absolutely wonderful! From the moment I asked if she'd like to be a part of this collaboration she has jumped in with both feet and is full of ideas, warmth and positivity. So much fun! I feel so supported by her enthusiasm and am very excited that I'll soon get to meet her in person for the first time. We met originally on twitter (where she is @tonirica) and I feel so lucky that such a talented gal lives just 15 minutes away from me. It's quite fun to find a twitter friend that is also an actual neighbor.

Rica sent me some photos of some of the art she'll bring to our first Bay Area event in December. When I receive the art from Japan (and from any other local participants) I'll make an official flier but for now you can have a preview of some of the goodies to come from Rica's hand:

I find this to be so gorgeous!

The sea and hill make me think this is the Italian Riviera (though I've never seen this sort of elephantmouse there). I'll have to ask Rica what place she thought of when she drew it.

She's so good with the details! They flow out of her pen.

We have begun talking about how to display things and about further locales where we can hang our work. It's all new for us, and we don't know what will happen, but that is the fun of it ~ not knowing exactly what to expect, but being open to anything and enjoying the simplicity of creating and sharing what we've made with others.

And so my 100th post comes to a close. Thanks for reading!

12 November 2011

mail art & rabbit


Last week I received two packages in the mail, both from across the Pacific!  The weather was pleasant this morning, so I took them out to the back garden to photograph them in the grass. If you're familiar with rabbits, you know that they're naturally curious and mine is no exception ~ she hopped around and enjoyed checking out the mail art too.

The first envelope was from my new mail art pal, Emily Orpin in Seoul who writes the Good Things* blog that is always enviably full of worldwide travels, pretty photos and cute doxies, with splashes of fashion and crafts thrown in. She asked me what I'd be interested in receiving and I asked to see a bit of daily life in Korea. I was not disappointed by the many snippets of Seoul that she sent to me!

Pages of a Korean fashion magazine.

Magazine cutouts, handmade tags & a handmade book about Seoul by Emily.

Aren't the colors pretty? I am now under the impression that Seoul is full of soft, bright colors on pale, natural backgrounds. Let's look inside the amazing accordion book she made:

This was so fun to unfold page by page to always discover another view of her neighborhood, city and landscape. She also sent along tiny envelopes in pretty patterns with paper goodies tucked inside. I am going to be challenged to return something equally inspiring and beautifully presented to her. If I look around, I wonder what I'll find will be the palette of my city? Thank you, Emily!

The other treasure I received was a large envelope from Juri Kosaka in Tokyo, who I originally met on twitter (@juriko). We've exchanged some emails and come to know each other a little more. Although we've never met, I feel close! Earlier this year, she drew my desk from a photo that I sent to her. I liked it so much that she told me she would send me a copy. However, she also included many more things in her package:

The envelope has a frame of film stars and she also included a brochure from the Tokyo film festival.

Do you also see the beautiful bookmarks with her paintings on them? The colors remind me of Gaugin... a very clever and lovely idea as they have her contact information there, rather than on a regular business card. I shall surely use them when I read.

And here is the desk drawing... I'd better go clean it up so it looks nice and neat like that again!

When she told me she would send me a copy of this work, I asked her to send me a photo too, that I could draw for her. She sent me quite a number to choose from ~ but they're all nice... I don't yet know which one I'll pick.  

As an added surprise, Juri enclosed a small set of watercolor illustrations. In her letter, she asked me to draw on them, collage them, or find some way to use them in further art so we can create a new collaboration! The drawings are so delightful ~ I'm getting many ideas of how to use them, but I hope I have the skill to do them justice. ^_^;;

Bunny likes them too.

These two packages brought me so much cheer and inspiration! After receiving them, I spent the rest of the week painting on canvases that I'll share with you soon. There's still one that I'm wrestling with and hope to conquer this weekend. It's for a friend, which is why I think I'm not quite as relaxed about it as I should be. Pressure! 

I certainly have my work cut out for me... I now owe mail art to Jeannine Saylor, Jessica Gowling, Emily and Juriko. Time to create! Let's go! :D