New Great Arrow Cards!

Great Arrow Graphics, the greeting card company that makes every card by hand using traditional silkscreen methods sent to me a box of my latest designs. It’s always exciting to see the finished products and hold them in my hands.  I think they look great, feel great and even have a lovely smell of fresh ink!  Let me know what you think and leave a comment.  I will choose at random, three people and they will receive a nice sampler gift package of my cards.  Not just the ones you see here but for other occasions as well!

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Artist Spotlight in Annie Troe’s Art Licensing Blog

I’m honored to appear on Annie Troe’s Art Licensing Blog, Artist Spotlight feature.  You can read it here.

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Messy But Fun!

It’s been awhile since I last posted.  Time just flows so quickly and months pass before I realize I haven’t shown anything new!  This is my  latest passion, Japanese textile techniques I have been learning in preparation for a trip to Japan in the fall to experience the real deal.

I’ve become fascinated by katazome,  Japanese stencil cutting into mulberry paper.  This technique has been used to create textiles for kimonos for hundreds of years.  Here is a stencil I cut from the mulberry paper using my Year of the Monkey design.

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Next I used a rice resist paste that is made from using rice flower and rice bran.  The paste will block the dye from penetrating the fabric and the image of the monkey will soak up of the dye. I used a kitchen spatula to apply the paste.

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Next I mixed up a batch of indigo dye and turned my backyard into a primitive laboratory. 
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I dipped my monkey into the dye and this the results.  The “white” areas have a beautiful texture where the paste didn’t resist the dye.
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Happy with the results of the monkey, I am moving forward to stencil the whole suite of Chinese Zodiac animals.  Here is the first batch where I already carved the stencils and pasted and dyed.  Seven down with five to go!

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Japanese Garden Themed Design Contest

Woo Hoo!  It’s been awhile since participating in a Spoonflower.com design contest.  What used to be a weekly has now been changed to a monthly contest which works just fine for me.  I decided to jump in and challenge myself to design to the Japanese Garden theme.  What I didn’t want to do was to take the usual elements of a Japanese Garden and arrange in a random toss and repeat.  My idea was to create an experience of walking through a garden to enjoy all it has to offer.  I hope you like it and will go to this link and vote for my “Kawaii Japanese Garden”.  Kawaii, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, means “cute” in Japanese.

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Spring!

Here in Southern California we’ve gotten a bit of rain lately, not a lot, but at least SOME, bringing relief from the terrible drought we’ve had the last few years.  Nature is certainly happy and is responding with bursts of color all over the place, especially at Descanso Gardens where it looks like spring on steroids. I ventured to take photos and do some sketching a couple weeks ago.

Within Descanso Gardens is a lovely Japanese garden.  The annual Cherry Blossom Festival drew 12,000 visitors this year.  I couldn’t get within blocks of the park, so I returned on a week day afterwards.  I love this little orange bridge snuggled in with the cherry and azelea blossoms.

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My sketch doesn’t do justice to the little orange bridge but that’s okay, it will continue to be there and it will be my challenge occasionally.  I used Tombow watercolor pens which I like because of the brightness of the colors and great for quick studies.

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A few days later the tulip gardens bloomed.  Again when I went to the gardens there was a long line at the entrance that a couple of visiting ladies told me that they waited an hour to get in.  Lucky for me I have a membership, so no wait.

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I love the spires of blossoms rising out of the sea of tulips.  I think they are called delphiniums.  The variety of tulips was breathtaking.  I took some close up photos of the most dramatic ones to paint them later.  Below this sketch is a photo of the most unusual tulip I’ve seen yet.  I may be back with some closeup watercolor studies of tulips.  Happy Spring!

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Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

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Are you a Monkey?

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To Relieve Stress Try Coloring!

I’ve been noticing a new trend lately that keeps growing by the minute.  Adult coloring books.  Seen on the shelves of my local art store, JoAnn’s Fabric store, Target, Amazon, there are dozens of titles suddenly appearing everywhere.

So what is driving this trend?  According to artist/blogger Joan Beiriger, publishers such as Dover Publications began marketing their coloring books by pointing out that coloring has therapeutic value.  Joan’s blog post led me to another blog, Quartz to read more about coloring in its post, “Color Me Happy”.  It says and I quote here:

“Many adult colorists have latched onto the idea that coloring promotes mindfulness, and can help reduce stress. They are right, judging by the latest expert thinking. Though there aren’t studies specifically on the benefits of adult coloring, play is important for both adults and children. Coloring can act as a de-stressor, art therapist Saba Harouni tells Quartz.

These coloring books can act as a reset button for adults who are moving too quickly from one responsibility to the next, or trying to do them all at once. The repetitive motion of coloring can be both cathartic and meditative, and you can focus on filling in the lines on the page. “You’re giving your brain some some space and something to focus on that’s meditative, that’s containing,” Harouni says.”
So, it’s not surprising that artists see this as another opportunity to find ways to put their art out there and have it be interactive with consumers.  Spread the joy!  My good friend Debra Valencia just released three wonderful adult coloring books on Amazon.com and is working on several more for later release.  They feature some of her signature patterns that she has successfully licensed to a multitude of surface design applications.
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Sewing Pretty Bags

The other day I received a complimentary copy of a brand new craft book, “Sewing Pretty Bags” by Debra Valencia and Cheyanne Valencia. I was thrilled to see my own fabric, Blooms & Berries, manufactured by Robert Kaufman, featured on the cover!  Sisters and sewing partners, the Valencia’s put together this fabulous book packed full of fun sewing and craft projects using modern fabric collections from fellow textile designers.  Debra Valencia is a textile designer who has created fabric collections for some top textile manufacturers that are sold widely as quilting and craft fabrics.  Cheyanne, sewing project designer for the book is an expert in sewing and needle arts.  The project they created with my fabric collection is called “Stylish Grocery Tote Set”.  Congratulations Debra and Cheyanne on the release of your first craft book and thank you for including my fabric collection!

SewPrettyBagsCover2Upper left hand photo:  Stylish Grocery Tote Set using Blooms & Berries fabric collection.

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Giddy Goats Prancing! New Spoonflower contest entry.

This Spoonflower.com contest was a challenge because I decided to enter one day before the deadline.  Luckily I already had an image I could work with to design a pattern for this week’s theme “Goats”.  But the challenge was that it was not only the last minute decision but also that the contest required use of a limited color palette; the rules are that you have to use the colors they proscribe and I don’t usually work with colors such as emerald green, deep dark green, yellow, mustard yellow and gray.  So if you are digging these giddy goats you can vote for them here.  I would so appreciate your vote and your “like”!!

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