29 September 2011


I've been juggling so many different events and activities at work. They are all for the kids, so I feel good even though I'm a bit worn out. One of the more entertaining aspects of my job lately was drawing lots of dragons for the upcoming walk and bike event. Here's some of the artwork for the event fliers and T-shirts. Pretty cute?

20 September 2011

portrait:landscape ~ on its way!

The portrait:landscape book began its journey around the world today! Looking at the list of artists it will visit I wished I could travel along to meet everyone in person.

I put all the contributors' names in the front, added a table of contents, completed my portrait and landscape, and wrote a little something on a local postcard for the back pocket. Have a look!


End papers (front)

Title Page      

Table of Contents

My self-portrait (mixed media)

My landscape (watercolor)

Blank Pages 8-9 ~ for Chiori!

Back Pocket (with my postcard peeking out)

Now it's in the mail, on its way to my dear friend @hooka111. The journey begins! ^_^

19 September 2011

biking with my canadian mail

Jessica's bison fluttered in the breeze.

What do you like to do with your mail art after you receive it? Hang it about your studio? Admire it on your desk for a while? Tuck it in a secret drawer? I've done all those things, but today I decided that my mail art needed some fresh air. So I borrowed a bicycle and gave my treasured envelopes from Jessica Gowling and Jeannine Saylor a first-class view from the front basket.

As we rode along, certain places seemed to fit particular pieces of mail art. Both Jessica and Jeannine are always very generous and full of creativity with their mail art. I'm excited to share how these treats from Canada fit so well in their new home in California. Away we go!

* M A I L - A R T from J E S S I C A *

Jessica's (signed and numbered!) roaring buffalo print felt at home with the tall grasses. Their bushy tails mimicked his fur.

The bay horizon made a nice contrast to the yellow stripe. (And I tried to have creative hands when photographing the "Creative Hands" book spine.)

Jessica's cute envelope of road trip stickers nestled in with the bicycle tire.

The lightning bolts on this sticker were a good match for the power lines.

Jessica also sent me a proof of her moose print. He was so fine we took his picture on the path where the grey road could let him shine alone.

I really loved receiving Jessica's package and discovering all the delights inside. She also sent a little book about apple picking, perfect for fall and back-to-school. I should have photographed it on the lawn by the park's playground, but by the time I got back there I was so hot and tired that I forgot! The mail and I rode about six miles today and I made the dreadful mistake of starting around noon on what turned out to be a very hot day.

The ride was definitely worth it, though. Look at all these pelicans!

And now...

* M A I L - A R T from J E A N N I N E *

Jeannine handmade her envelope from a magazine with a turtle on it. He liked this spot in the plant where he could appear to be climbing into the water.

This part of the path had lots of dry branches. A passport tag, a paintbrush and a teeny framed picture of the universe hung on in the breeze.

I really like her silhouette series. The feather and the leaves joined her cave mixed media piece in the flowers along the path.

Close-up of the cave ~ it's one of my favorites. So simple, yet very rich with subtle texture!

It turns out these flowers have the same name as me.

We returned to the turtle theme at the end of the ride. A tiny "outer space" envelope housed four Canadian stamps that hung out with the turtles in the sand.

Now I shall get busy putting their replies together and into the mail. As usual, I've been gathering bits and bobs but need to sit down and perfect the collection for mailing. Thank you Jeannine and Jessica for being so patient until I could get this post together and share the wonderful things you sent me. Keep an eye on your mailbox for my replies! ^_^

18 September 2011

glass adventure

Some years ago, my mother introduced me to her friend Margie, who is both a potter and maker of glass jewelry. Margie had six of us over last night to try our hand at making some glass art. This was my first time with this medium so I started with the glass bits from her scrap box.

Bounty in the scraps.

I learned how to score and snap-cut the glass into smaller sizes and shapes, but then decided it would be a fun challenge to use only the pieces as I found them.

I was a little hesitant at first, gathering colors and trying to figure out how they looked together. At first I didn't like any of the combinations I was coming up with.

Um... now what?

In the meantime, my friends Noriko and Hiroko (who had just arrived from Japan and were completely defying jet-lag) seemed to know exactly what they were doing. They were cutting tiny pieces for earrings and gluing pretty stacks of colored glass on top; scoring larger pieces for necklaces and making everything match.

Noriko's work in progress.

PJ, on the other hand, had already fused her glass on an earlier day and was now grinding off the rough edges and finding pretty cords and fixings from which to hang them.

A little water is needed when grinding, just like when cutting tiles.

Finally I got my wits about me and made five mini artworks for necklaces. The big white and silver piece had been fused before and tossed into the scrap bin, so I just added a couple accent colors on top. Perhaps it will make a good magnet.

Craft glue holds the pieces in place until they're fused in the kiln.

After everyone's pieces were ready, I closed the kiln and fired it up. It's all digital, so that was just a matter of pushing buttons. By now the pieces are fused and ready for finishing, but I can't return as soon as Hiroko and Noriko, who will finish their jewelry this week while I'm at work.

In the kiln: mini glass collages ready to fuse by Noriko, Hiroko, Yukie and me.

These are some fused pieces that Margie had for us to see as samples.

And here are just a few of her finished earrings made with this type of glass technique.

I'm keen to see how the pieces transformed in the kiln. I wonder how much "spread" occurs and how the colors I've chosen will blend. Looking forward to my next appointment at Margie's to find out!

Thank you, Margie, for a very fun and creative evening. ^_^

11 September 2011

art & friends ~ {tuscany}

from Miwako

This evening we went to San Francisco to have dinner with new friends from Siena, Vito and Dina. They are artists of a different medium ~ architectural gardening! If you desire an authentic Tuscan garden design, I would happily recommend this notably kind and enthusiastic couple, landscape architects and founders of Citera Studio. Dina also keeps a cooking tumblr where she shares authentic recipes passed down through her family. It's in Italian, but I find it quite soothing to watch one of her videos of how to make bread... I only wish I could eat some at the end!

They were sweet enough to courier a drawing to me, sent by our mutual friend Miwako. When I saw her illustration, I wanted to hop on a plane to Italy right away to stay with her in this beautiful old building. It was once a convent that has since been transformed into numerous apartments. I can already envision our little ones running around together in the grass or playing tag around the tree in her drawing. If I could go quickly, there would still be a blue sky and warm sun. September is the most beautiful month in Italy.

I've shared a small watercolor of Miwako's on this blog before. She has a delicate touch and refined aesthetic. I know she sent me this drawing because she wants me to move to Siena and keep her company... and it's very tempting! The power of her sketch is quite strong; she knows exactly what I love there. Maybe I can't move there right now but I surely want to plan a visit and spend as many idyllic days together as possible in the beautiful countryside. One day... arrivero'!

09 September 2011

new traveling book ~ {portrait:landscape}

The cover so far... I carved and stamped the girl and will add a title next.

We've been talking about it on twitter for a week, I've been bustling around on my end, and now ~ at last! ~ I'm ready to unveil our new collaborative project as it changes from bright idea to something we're actually doing. It's a new traveling sketchbook (a Moleskine Watercolour Notebook, to be precise) that has its own theme and a big line-up of talent ready to fill it up!

The theme(s): Self-Portrait & Landscape

Self-Portrait ~ Each artist gets a double-page spread to express their self-portrait in the broadest sense possible. The self-portrait is not limited to a bust or facial view, but can be abstract, representational and even figure-less. It is a portrait of the artist in whatever form pleases the artist or best communicates their character. I think it will be really interesting to see how each artist represents themselves.

Landscape ~ Because the book has many pages, each artist gets a second double-page spread on which to create a landscape of the area where they live. The landscape will be an interpretation of the artist's actual city or neighborhood (as opposed to a mental landscape or personal universe that would fall more on the self-portrait side). With each artist's unique style, it will be fascinating to see their interpretations of their surroundings.

I was initially nervous about choosing a theme, but I think the portrait : landscape theme is a fun play on words. Incidentally, artists are welcome to turn the booklet to 'portrait' or 'landscape' orientation for their respective drawings, but this is definitely not required in any way. Feel free to do what you wish!

The Talent:

Jessica Mack @BrownPaperBunny
Jessica Gowling @jessicagowling
Jeannine Saylor @saylor_made
Kye Sangha @KyeSangha
Anna Jane Searle @annajanesearle
Anika Starmer @aisforanika
Nicolle Cheung @heartleftbehind
Toni Rica @tonirica
Thuraya Lynn @thurayalynn
Juri Kosaka @juriko
Russelle Adams @HeedlessCeramic

and... room for four more contributors. I'm waiting to hear back from two more, so that leaves at least two spots open if anyone is interested! Just let me know.

The book will travel by mail to each participant and return at the end to me. I'll finish it off with an introduction, table of contents, etc. Then, one day in the future... we'll have an art show of collaborative books and we'll all gather together to eat, drink champagne, dance and have an art party. Perhaps Toni Rica will play guitar and sing for us! Doesn't hurt to dream, right? ;-)

The very simple and general "rules" of this collaboration:

1. When an artist receives the book, they have two weeks to complete their artwork. If life intervenes and you must take three weeks, then take three and don't panic or fret. However, a two week limit is more ideal since there are 16 artists that need a turn. Just do your best! :)

2. In the back pocket, each artist is encouraged to place a postcard from their town/area/country with a little note about themselves or their artwork. Since we have participants from many different places in the world, it will be fun to see their drawings as well as a postcard of their hometown.

3. Artists, please send me a message via twitter, email or this blog when the book arrives to you and again when you mail it off to the next artist. A list of the artists in sequence will be in the back pocket so it will be easy to tell where it goes next.

4. Please post pictures and information on your blog or twitter so that all the other participants can follow along and see the book's gradual development! We'll all be looking forward to seeing each person's contribution and the book's progress.

5. Have fun!

That's about it. If I've left out any information or you have any questions, just ask. I want to give a big Thank You to all my dear friends that are participating! You guys make me very happy. ^_^

03 September 2011

mix tape artists' cards

 The Mix Tape Project is now winging its way to Maryland. It will still visit Canada, Japan and Kuwait before going back to Brown Paper Bunny's Jessica Mack in Australia. The last things I can share with you from the project are the illustrated cards from each artist, tucked in the book's back pocket. Enjoy!






Good bye, Mix Tape!

02 September 2011

thank you juriko!

A little update to the story of my personal desk illustration from Juriko ~ I'll share with you the photo I ended up sending to her. I had to take one at night because of all the reflections on the desk from the sunlight coming in the windows. 

She took the time to turn it into one of her beautiful drawings, making it light and bright and adding little touches of color here and there, softly showing just a few select reflections in the glass. I admire her work so much. 

Please go see my desk as interpreted by Juriko on her blog here!

Some of Juriko's other paintings and works are in her online gallery here.

And... if you missed it before, you might also like the collection of her work I posted earlier this year. I always find there's something honest about her work that resonates with me.

I'm very excited because she gave me permission to print off her drawing so I can frame it to hang near the window. Thank you, Juri!