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