Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No New Art Yet, But Another Hike...

I don't have any new sketches or paintings to post this week, but we did go hiking this weekend, so I guess I'll post that. I really could just blog about hiking, given how much of it we've been doing these days. On Sunday, we drove over to Arroyo Sequit in Malibu. We took Westlake Blvd. for a good part of the drive which unbeknownst to us was a long series of hair-pin turns and certainly not for the weak of stomach.

Signs at the beginning of the trail warned of this being mountain lion country. We didn't see any mountain lions, but we did see a lot of speckled lizards and one horned toad. The trail itself was pretty short, about a mile and a half plus a brief detour.

It was so quiet there. You could hear the wind blowing through the pines - one of my favorite sounds, reminiscent of my childhood.

The trail afforded lots of great, sweeping views of the valley and mountains in the distant, as well as some huge satellite dishes. The detour close to the end of the trail led us to a paved which actually went right up to the dishes, which appeared to be the property of AT&T. It's always so strange to be surrounded by nature and then stumble across something very much man-made and very high-tech - seems so out of place.

Another odd aspect to hiking in LA is that we live in this incredibly dense, heavily paved urban jungle, but if we drive for twenty minutes or so, we're suddenly in the middle of nowhere. Driving through the mountains really feels like back-country where there might be a pocket of houses or a small town, but mostly wilderness. I can almost forget that I'm really right, smack in the middle of one of the country's largest cities. It really is quite strange when you think about it.

We were planning on doing a much longer hike at Chesebro Canyon on Monday, but we decided to get into a car accident instead. It really was unfortunate - we were barely two blocks from our home when we all stopped short just past an intersection and ended up in a three-car pile-up. We were the sandwich car and took the most damage. We'll probably have to replace 'Sophia.' My husband is sad - she's been a good car for a very long time. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. We were all walking around, talking coherently right afterward, although we were all badly shaken up. We both woke up feeling really sore today. Hopefully, we'll feel better soon and get the lack-of-car situation figured out this weekend. Dreading car-shopping...

I guess I should try to get some painting done today so I actually have some art to post next time!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rockets & Art

Whew! It was a busy weekend. Saturday evening, we learned that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA - http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/) in Pasadena was having their annual open house this weekend. So somewhat spur of the moment, we decided to go. It was pretty interesting although we didn't really get to spend a whole lot of time there as we were planning on going to an art show in the afternoon. Looking through our photos, I'm realizing we don't have any pictures of the rovers! So, the best I can do is the command center and a clean room:

I know the pictures aren't great. Command center was really dark and we were shooting through super thick glass to capture the clean rooms, but it's the best we could do in the circumstances.

The clean rooms were probably the most interesting part to us since it's very much behind-the-scenes sort of thing that you normally wouldn't have a chance to see. Chris (my husband) was in heaven shooting pictures of all the heavy industry on the campus. He works in video-games so having reference photos of all kinds of interesting places is really useful to him. It's always entertaining having to explain to people why he is shooting pictures of fire hydrants and dirty brick walls!

We left JPL around noon and headed down to Beverly Hills for the "Affaire in the Gardens Art Show." I'm intrigued by art shows where the artist actually sells physical art since this is something I've never really done before. I'm so tempted to try this sometime, but then I wince when I think about the over-head involved in such an endeavor. Not only would I have to produce prints and merchandise, but I'd also have to fork out some cash for the display boards and tent. And then if I didn't sell enough... well, that would be disheartening to say the least. I guess it must be profitable for some artists, but certainly not all artists, right? One thing that I do notice when I attend art shows is that there really aren't any children's artists present. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? My work would certainly be unique in an environment sans other children's artists, but that still doesn't mean it would sell. Just something to consider for the future I suppose....

I'll put in a plug for my two favorite displays:

Gabe Leonard - beautiful paintings (http://www.gabeleonard.com)
Vicki Banks - very cool and clever animal sculptures - lots of ravens. She doesn't appear to have a website...

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Wheat Wife

When I was just starting art school, a couple of my roommates had been hanging out with a guy who said with questionable sincerity that he could "see fairies." Although I, myself, have never "seen fairies" and cannot help but draw into question that sanity of this statement/person, he did once describe a little fairy-man that he had once seen who had wheat for hair. This description apparently left an impression and I'd always wanted to illustrate this character. I could never envision the fairy as a male however. So here is my interpretation:

I'm thinking she's some sort of harvest fairy. It seems only appropriate to have her carrying bread in her basket.

The composition for the painting is still subject to change, but in terms of color, I'm planning a very earthy color scheme - lots of brown, yellow ochre, gray, and white.

I've had this image floating in my head for a long time, so it will be nice to get it out of my system. So, credit goes to John-Who's-Last-Name -I-Can't-Remember-If-I
-Ever-Knew-It for the very cool 'wheat as hair' concept.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Christmas Card - Finished!

This one took a pretty long time, but it's finally finished:

My intent was to use this as a promo/Christmas card this year, but I kind of hate to sit on it that long and am wondering if I could find a home for it with a greeting card publisher. I've never had much luck getting attention from card publishers in the past, but I suppose it couldn't hurt to try again.

I started this one with a monochromatic watercolor under-painting, since that method seemed to work out pretty well on "The Tea Merchant." I'm still undecided if I'm going to incorporate this method into all of my work. It does add a chunk of time to the process, but not as much as I would have thought.

Changing the subject completely, we went hiking this weekend. Actually we go hiking on most weekends when work/time/weather permits. This weekend, we hit the Getty View Trail which is more or less across from the Getty museum. It was a big surprise to us that this trail even existed in this location since it's literally right next to the 405. My husband used to drive this highway to work every day for four years and never had any inkling that there was parkland right here.

This was probably one of the more harrowing trails we've hiked as the path was very narrow and parts of it appeared to have started to slide down the hill. It was a mile-long series of switchbacks up the side of a low mountain. The reward at the top of the trail was a pleasantly wide fire road that runs along the spine of a couple mountains and grants stunning views of the landscape below.

It was kind of hazy, so the view was probably not quite as nice as it would have been on a clear day, but it was still majestic nonetheless. Needless to say, at the end of the day we were exhausted!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Cherry Blossom Fairy

I didn't think I'd be back here updating so soon, but my "Cherry Blossom Fairy" painting is now available at Ellen Million Graphics as greeting cards and bookmarks. And since I'm not featuring it too prominently on my website, I thought I'd write a little bit about it here.

At my house, we watch a lot of anime. Those of you who also watch anime will know all about "Cherry Blossom Viewing" since practically every series that takes place in Japan seems to include at least one, if not many references to cherry blossoms and/or the annual cherry blossom viewing festival. I must have had cherry blossoms on the brain this spring because when March rolled around, I remembered that there are reputedly something like 2000 cherry trees around Lake Balboa in Encino.

Desiring to have my very own cherry blossom festival, I dragged my husband over there the last week of March and we strolled around and took a lot of pictures:

A lot of the trees were pretty small, so I can't quite say we had the grand experience of walking through huge, billowing clouds of cherry blossoms, but it was still quite a sight. We even had one of those petals-fluttering-to-the-ground-I'm-in-an-anime moments. Next year we're going to have to take some sake with us.

Some time before this, I had seen an Omar Rayyan illustration that feature a parasol-toting fairy, albeit of a more European persuasion. It always seemed like a cool idea to me. I think the cherry blossoms and the fairy smashed together in my subconscious (I dreamed this image) and this painting was the result. (So, thanks go to Mr. Rayyan for his inspirational work and credit for the parasol-fairy concept!)

I don't know whatever possessed me to paint it in watercolor, as this is only the second watercolor painting I've done in something like nine years. The image just demanded watercolor. It was a brutal reminder of how weak my watercolor skills are. It's something I guess I'll have to work on.

Oh yeah, the original painting is available for sale on my Originals page.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Gift for Mom

Since my Christmas card is still very much in progress, I don't have anything really new to post this week. So I guess I'll post this:

I finished this piece a couple months ago, but I couldn't post it anywhere until just recently since it was a birthday gift for my Mom. (Her birthday was Tuesday!)

I picked a personal mother-daughter theme for this one. When I lived at home, we would go out to coffee all the time. It was one of our favorite things to do. Without giving away what I was doing, I tried to grill her on her favorite animals, colors, etc. to figure out the details of the painting. I spent a long time on Flickr trolling around for good reference photos of blue flowers. The lily-of-the-valley were thrown in for variety and because they are my mom's birth-flower (and mine too!).

If anyone is interested in prints, they are at my shop.

One more little piece I sketched out this week:

It's my first ever ACEO. For those that don't know, ACEO means "art cards editions & originals" and they always measure 2.5"x3.5". I'd noticed how many fantasy artists seem to be producing these and it seems like a good, quick way to put down an idea that you otherwise might not have time to complete. So, one day I cut up some left-over board into various small-format sizes and tossed them into a drawer. I thought it would be nice to just be able to grab a piece of scrap board and slap down an idea. Of course, knowing me, I have to draw it out on paper before I can "slap" anything down. I'm sure I'll make this into more of a production than I originally intended....

Usually my ideas wouldn't work out too well as small formats, but I finally had one that seemed ideal for an ACEO. The idea for this one came from a dream. Not a terribly original dream, but a dream nonetheless. It's probably difficult to see, but there's a snowflake drifting down toward her hands, hence the pending title: "Winter's Last Snowflake."

I guess that's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by!