friends that never met

Michael McConnell, at Fayes Bench Gallery in San Francisco, created an art project ‘Friends That Never Met’ where instagram friends would pair up and create a piece of collaborative art embracing their online friendship; a chance to work on something tangible in the real world together.

So I had a good think and asked Melodie Stacey, an artist I follow on instagram and whose work I love, but who I’ve never met in person, if she’d like to work with me on some artwork. She said yes!

We each started a piece with a character, and posted them to the other to finish. Here is ‘How do you do?’ featuring my Mr Lizard. I noticed that Melodie often paints in blue, so I decided to do blue too. It’s a mokuhanga print with watercolour, while Melodie painted in gouache.
The artworks are all small-ish, and look wonderful on the wall in the gallery.

Melodie sent me several blue ladies to work with, so I chose one and decided to add an elaborate hat and avian friend. Here is ‘Feather Lady’.I studied Edwardian headwear to get inspiration and added my hat as a collage in blues onto Melodie’s painting.Social media is a great platform for artists to interact and inspire each other from all over the globe, and I really enjoyed taking this concept and adding a physical element to it. Melodie is in the UK, I was working in Japan, and the show is in California. I love it!

The show is up for the whole month, with an artists reception this thursday evening, on September 21st. Please do pop in if you’re around! All the artwork is for sale.

 

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the French Laundry

We finally managed to visit the French Laundry recently, in Napa, and I enjoyed every single bite.I did a little sketch of each course and item as it was served…The food was beautiful, as well as delicious, and it was a pleasure to draw.

I can still taste the flavours now…

 

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Labour Day sale

Here in the US it’s labo(u)r day on monday, so I’ve put all my prints on sale for 4 days, from today. Hurrah! Please visit my shop here to take a look…

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solar eclipse

I watched the solar eclipse on monday, using eclipse glasses, and painted the various stages as the moon’s shadow moved across the sun.From northern California we only got about a 70-80% eclipse I think, but it was still a wonderful sight.Maybe next time I’ll manage to see a full one…

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mokuhanga prints in my shop

I’ve just put some of my new mokuhanga prints in my online shop. I printed these while I was in Japan and have just completed signing and preparing them. There are two versions of this little imaginary trumpet flower, one in blues and one in red and green…And there are blue and pink peonies too.Hope you’ll pop by my shop and consider a purchase for yourself or as a gift!

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Lassen National Park

This weekend I visited Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. It had forests, volcanic rocks, and beautiful lush meadows with wildflowers… There were tiny streams and creeks of clear icy water…and incredible mountain-top lakes, surrounded by snow.We watched the Perseid meteor shower and saw many falling stars.It was like a dream…

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Vermont map

I recently illustrated a small map of Vermont for Middlebury Magazine. It’s a lovely little article about the author’s annual journey to Bread Loaf. I think it’s always interesting to see how an illustration starts, so these are the initial sketches I made when I was thinking about how to approach the project. The first sketch, which I ended up working with, shows the map from an aerial bird-eye view, and the entire route. The second sketch shows the road to Bread Loaf in a more 3 dimensional way, although some of the road is hidden behind hills…I take the page layout into consideration when I work, so it makes me happy to see everything come together nicely on the printed page.

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birthday

As usual, I like to make my birthday last longer than a day, so I had three! On my actual birthday I went out for dinner to the Cliff House in San Francisco, and enjoyed a relaxed dinner with sunset views over the Pacific.I was given a little cooking course as a gift, and spent the next morning with chef Jean Yves in his kitchen learning how to make pate a choux and eclairs. So delicieux!Then my birthday picnic in the park. I love spending time with friends, eating sandwiches and cake, in the sunshine on a lovely day…Summer birthdays are the best!

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mokuhanga print

I completed one large-ish print while I was on the mokuhanga residency in Japan: one that features plants in a garden. I was inspired by the abundant greenery all around the house, and in the surrounding gardens.I did some initial pencil sketches and arranged them in a wide landscape.Then did a painted version to work out solid areas of colour.I then started carving a long block of shina wood. And then carved, and carved some more…When the block was fully carved, I set up, ready to print.It’s the largest mokuhanga print I’ve ever made, and was extremely challenging. But I learnt alot, and really pushed myself. I had only meant to do a pink and green version, but felt that blues might work too. I’m now fond of them both!I intend to take the print further, and create an artists book out of it. It’ll be shown in Hawaii in a few month’s time, and I’ll blog again when it’s all done…

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tokyo

This week I spent a few days in Tokyo, visiting friends, art stores and exhibitions. First stop the Ota Museum in Harajuku, to a ukiyoe exhibition of Edo from the water, and then the Nezu Museum, to a ceramics one. Both were wonderful, and highly recommended!Then on to Pigment, a store with paints and paraphanelia, and more brushes than I’ve ever seen in my life. So. Many. Brushes. And all of them gorgeous.I love the city, well, cities generally, but in particular Tokyo, and I find the everyday urban views beautiful. Even just the railways at dusk, walking home after an exhausting day.Can’t wait to visit again soon!

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