Clearing clutter and embracing materiality

Hope your year is off to a good start. I have new art to show you, but I'll admit this past January I've been busy mainly behind the scenes, clearing digital and material clutter. And it was really worth it! That stuff saps a lot of mental energy. I moved my emails to a single provider, all my online accounts in a password manager, totally refreshed my website, and cleaned up my studio so all my supplies are now easily accessible.

The illustration below was sent as a static image to friends and family when telling them of my change of email address. Then this week I wanted to practice animating a walking character and turned it into a loop.

I can't take credit for the beautiful design of the house as it's actually a real house in my neighborhood, which you can see in the photo below. I don't know the people who live there but something about that house just enchants me.

It's tidy and lively all at the same time. The landscaping mirrors the shapes of the windows and the roof, and the shades of green reflect the blue and yellow of the walls. It looks almost magical.

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Along the same subject, houses and landscape, I'm working on another canvas painting from the monthly paint night at my neighbor's studio. It's a view of a hill from a trail I like to hike.  Still a work in progress, but I'll show you anyway.

I might add more trees or bushes but I like the calm areas of the sky and the hill. According to Adobe, people want to see more images of silence and solitude in 2018. It certainly rings true to me, I want less "busyness" in my art (but don't get me wrong, more business!).

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Valentine's Day is coming fast, and this year I participated in a secret Valentine Exchange organized by Ute and Sanae. We were given a person to send a handmade gift to, with their favorite colors and motifs. My valentine liked peonies among other things, and the colors silver, blue, green, and purple. So I did a small painting of peonies with acrylics on a wood panel.

Making art in that gifting spirit was quite joyful and I think it could be a good idea to put myself in that frame of mind even though I do it with the intention of selling.

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And you see, those colors inspired me to revisit and freshen up existing designs. As part of my website redesign I updated my shop and added several Society6 products. Click here to check it out!


I love offering designs printed on products but in the spirit of making more art by hand I would be very happy to eventually have enough original gouache and acrylic paintings to start offering them in my shop as well. 

Alchemy, patterns, fables and MOO stickers

I have lots to share with you today! First off, an open brief for Amelia's Magazine's 10th anniversary on the theme "That Which We Do Not Understand", meaning things like Mysticism, Spirituality, Alchemy, Paganism, Witchcraft and many more. To celebrate the anniversary Amelia put out this brief and launched a kickstarter campaign to fund her project (please help if you can!). She plans to produce a one off limited edition collectible artists’ book that will be available online and in a few prestigious bookshops (including the Tate) with an exclusive series of A2 limited edition gold foiled art prints. Cool, right??! I just learned about this via Amy from my Work/Art/Play class. As tempting as this sounded, with everything I've set to do and the tight deadline I didn't think I would be able to pull this off. But I did!! Here's the full artwork I sent in today. 

Below are the sketches I used for the illustration. It all started by looking at my ceiling like I do almost every morning while I eat my breakfast. It's a stucco ceiling and I always play and try to see "things" in the texture. One of them I see all the time is a lion. I've stared at him so many times, but never put him down on paper. Something pushed me to do it Friday morning, and from there I started researching how I could turn this lion into an idea for this brief. 

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As far as mystic subjects goes I could easily find two applications for the lion. One is the tarot card "Strenght", and the other is a symbol for one of the stages of alchemy, a old spiritual tradition dating from the Middle Ages. I chose to go with the different stages of alchemy, in particular the cosmic marriage. I selected my favorite animals for each of the stages: the raven (blackening), the swan (whitening), the green lion devouring the sun (greening), the union of unicorn and stag representing the white queen and red king, followed by the resurrecting phoenix and the ouroboros which marks the completion of alchemy. The image of the king and queen is a very common one for alchemy and it is also similar to the "Lovers" card in the tarot deck.

 
 

When I was a kid we had a three-fold mirror in the bathroom and I loved to close both doors and form a triangle with me in the center. I was completely fascinated to see all the reflections repeating at infinity.  I believe we all reflect each other's consciousness and the triangular shaped heart in the center to me represents this universal consciousness, with the eye at the center to mean awareness.

Earlier in the week I developed a couple patterns for a class I'm taking. You can see where I borrowed from the idea on the second pattern for the layout of my alchemy illustration :). 

I also started working on a new fable for my series, it will be called "the goner." I'm only at the stage of figuring out the colors and textures, so this isn't final, but I though I'd show you where it's at.

The other one on the right is not new, but I found a better name for it this week. It was called the "dreamer", and I saw the tension in it as meaning uncertainty. Then I read a few days ago something about embracing who we really are rather than wishing to be someone we're not and the tension that result when doing that. This drawing I did a while ago, but I never quite understood it really until I read this. It's not about uncertainty or dreaming, it's about hiding the real self. The new name came to me in a flash while listening to the latest album from First Aid Kit (excellent btw), the song called "Master Pretender". Pretender, that's it! And the opposite I renamed the Proclaimer, as in "proclaiming" who we really are :).

One last quick thing! Moo has 25% off sale for another two days, so I took advantage and ordered some stickers to give away at my upcoming sale November 29th, see the info from the press release below.

BOOKARTSLA  presents it's First Annual Holiday Festival and Sale
Saturday November 29 9-5  2014
11720 Washington Place, Los Angeles, California 90066
Shop Locally and Leisurely with 14 local craftspeople displaying handmade gifts.

Located in Los Angeles at 11720 Washington Place 90066, BOOKARTSLA is a non-profit organization devoted to bringing the beauty of printing, binding and collecting artist's and other handmade books to the public. BOOKARTSLA 's light filled 1600 square foot studio space houses antique letter presses, a working bindery and exhibition space. The organization offers a variety of classes, workshops, lectures and exhibitions conducted by celebrated book artists aimed at all levels, from experienced practitioners to those just discovering the art form.
Come join the fun and support BOOKARTSLA.

Color progress on the beholder

The beholder is what you get when you flip the storyteller around. We're now backstage so to speak, where everything is out in the open. I just finished putting in the first touches of colors. 

Next is the hardest part: remove the old words, examine the images and figure out what they are telling me. Then phrase that in 17 syllables. It's like a "find the caption" game. Want to try ;)?