Years ago, I went to visit Costa Rica. I had wanted to go white water rafting. I told my old college roomate about my plan and she said, “My mom lives there and has a house there. Can I go, too?” I said yes to that. I had no idea her mother, Carol, had moved there and that Kate went to Costa Rica regularly.
Carol’s house was much nicer than I had imagined. I thought we could stay in the mountains for a few days before going to another part of the country, where the river ran. I had wanted to get to water, and thought there would be none up where we were staying. Someone forgot to tell me about the pool overlooking a vista with five distant, yet visible volcanoes.
Carol wanted to take us to one of the nearby towns, which was famous for its tourist crafts, as a nice way to put money into the local economy. We drove through other towns to this place that was like a wooden mall, full of souvenirs. To be honest, I found most of it to be pointless and ugly. I'm not trying to be mean. I know someone had to make all of it, but I was not really attracted to almost any of it. I bought a small tin cup with a painting of a building on it. There, I bought something. As the other two browsed, I started to hang around by the front door, a sure sign that I am “done” with a place. While I was hanging around out front, I noticed a man a little down the road with some paintings propped up on makeshift easels. They had wanted to head back, but I asked my companions for a few minutes to go check out what he was up to. They let me investigate and came to look too.
We walked down the road. A small studio was perched on the side of the road, with the jungle slanting back and down, behind. In my crappy Spanish, I was able to praise the man, Ulises (like Ulysses), for his work, which was very strong and simultaneously sophisticated and primitive. I bought one of his paintings!
In the studio, there was a tray of burnt looking clay figures and fragments. I picked up a feline looking head, a Jaguar head. I asked if that was his sculpture and began to praise the heck out of it. He said no, that it was an artifact he found in the jungle that stretched out back.
I had been going on and on about how cool it was that he had found it, wondering how old it was, who made it, and everything like that. He was so grateful that I had bought a painting, a REAL painting, instead of the tourist crap next door - that he insisted that I take the artifact. He would not take no for an answer. It was, and is, a fabulous gift.
Since then, I move it around my house. Often, it lives on my bedside table, where it usually looks good with whatever else is going on there. I really like it. It inspires me in a way. I painted a surface about it. I used a permutation of said surface in a photoshoot for Claflin, Thayer & Co.
As my violet began to bloom, next to the artifact, I got a lot of enjoyment from just glancing at those two things. The elements began to combine in my mind. When last in New York, I went to the Met. I had taken a photo of an ancient painting of tiger skin rug. I liked how they stylized the spots. I spent a long time drawing the violets and the shapes of the spots for this design.
The final design may be view in the password protected gallery. Request the password using email via the contact page.
Sometimes my neighborhood strikes me as very beautiful. I'm going to make a point to take pictures & make palettes about it. That's the closest I'm getting to a new year's resolution.
Doing the work it takes to make this pattern what it wants to be. It's been hours and hours, but I'm loving it.
Been musing on the frilly yet humble nature of the geranium plant. Working up a new collection inspired by this plant and it's lacy leaves.
Since I was a kid, this tender plant has always struck me as being magical, like water lily pads floating on land. The leaves are water epellant, so when there is moisture, it collects on the surface of the leaves like jewels.
This is me having a nice quiet night of flower drawing. You can eat the flowers and suck honey out of them. Awesome.
When I look at the above print being developed I see an art nouveau quality. Even though in real life the blooms can be near-flourecent, I'm working with a softer pallet for this series.
This is a picture I snapped of a shrub on my block. I love it. Right now, I am working on some patterns based off of it.
Below, a painting I did a while ago incorporating some branches that I imagined in the likeness of the above plant.
So far the collection of patterns is looking a lot more loose and textural.
Here, I'll show you some of my scanned drawings and one of the patterns being developed.
When the collection is complete, it can be viewed in the password protected area of my site. To request a password, just email me through the form provided on my contact page.
Sometimes I just let myself play... Flipping and rotating, seeing what emerges from the geometry of the original shapes.
This statue is in the permanent collection at the De Young museum in San Francisco.
I haven’t written in this public journal for a little while. I have been writing in my private journal a lot, though, sketching and ruminating. I have had much to think about, moving into this new year, and have felt very reclusive and private. In that mood, I have been working in a diligent and devoted manner on two new collections, one of which is based on a plant that grows on and around my building: Blue Morning Glory.
It’s taking me a little while, but I know it’s going to be very beautiful, cool, and totally worth the while. I have something special in mind and while this type of intricate floral is familiar and even traditional, the end result that I am going for is totally unique to my style. I’m truly excited to be creating this beauty.
First, I have to draw the layout. Designing an interlocking repeat is like creating and solving a puzzle all at the same time.
After the layout is sorted, comes tracing the drawing in micron. This may seem redundant, but trust me, it is actually a huge time-saver once working with the art in the computer. I have made the mistake of not doing this and just really, really regretted it once attempting to make selections in photoshop.
My vision for this print is going to combine some water colored elements with patterned elements. So great, I start watercoloring.
Not satisfied with the quality of my inaugural attempts, I had to practice. All the components need to be on the same level, need to be beautiful in their own right before they can be combined.
Now I have the flower family all ready to ride and be combined with the other elements of the design.
To view the completed design, just drop me a line and request a password to my private gallery of print collections.
Somehow I got the idea that I wanted to make a design that was “dripping with malachite.” Recently, I had bought a little nugget of the substance and had been inspired by the greens, the strata, and the way that it looks like paused melting or bubbling.
I set about painting, which was fun.
The home studio
Next, I cleaned up the paintings in the computer and began to flip and rotate them. I was trying to create a scale shape that could be tiered down to give a dripping feeling. I stepped back from the computer.
What had I done? I didn’t want to loose the painting work or give up on the original idea. There just had to be a way to use malachite as inspiration without ending up with an embarrassing piece of hippy porn.
The answer, in this instance, was to pair down. I had been producing all the fodder for the pattern, but it was time to stop amassing and start editing.
I was able to stay true to my initial concept and solve the problem by cutting a scale shape from the art.
A malachite scale
Interested buyers may view final print by requesting a password & checking out the protected gallery.
Recently my father moved back to the County where I was brought up. I have been making trips back there to get him settled in. On my most recent visit, I hit my limit with cleaning up and decided it was time to hit the road. Before returning to city life I decided to see if I could find this particular nature spot that I remembered as being really magical. I hadn't been to this spot in over 10 years and was wondering if I could even recognize the pull-out that the trail picks up from. Well, I found it, and it's just as rad as I remembered it.
Here are a few pictures from my hike. I can see how the land I was brought up in gave me the appreciation of color and pattern that I have today. Reconnecting with my gratitude for the world in which I live and feeling inspired by nature was the perfect medicine.
Today I was feeling a little down. I went to visit my friend Lindsey. She gave me company and encouragement, which did my heart good... Came home and worked a little more with these ink strokes I have been playing with. A while ago I had cut out these polka dots from a picture I took of the ground and I'm liking the way the two ideas look combined. Looking forward to making this work.
This is a peak at what came of that sea shell drawing.
I've always had a love of the sea and swimming. I go in even though it's cold here, on the West coast and I do about 40 laps in a pool, on the regular. I am currently working on a design inspired by a shell I found on a beach a while ago. I love this shell so much and am happy I'm finally using it as inspiration.
Last week I took a little road trip. Snapped this beauty. I can almost smell the sea breeze just looking at it.
There can be moments in creating a design where you really have to get in there, keep pushing yourself to solve a problem, whether it be visual or technical. Fortunately, the steps along the way to a finished design can be beautiful in their own right. These phases let you know you are on the right track, keep you excited for the end result to come.