This year, for the first time ever, I did not celebrate Valentine’s Day…. so sad!
Marc and I had caught the most horrible flu, it truly knocked us down for over a week. Neither of us had ever been so sick. Needless to say, Valentine’s Day came and went. Now that we’ve recovered I wanted to do a little something fun to mark the holiday…
always a good excuse!
Yesterday we went to Ethnic Arts to pick out our annual “Valentine” milagro, we’ve been collecting them for years and have fun displaying them on the walls of our kitchen nook (a.k.a. The Frida Room).
Here is The Frida Room, our ever-evolving shrine room to Frida Kahlo.
And here is a closeup of a wonderful saying that I hand-painted on the wall, the rough translation is “Be Fearless, Choose Love!”.
And here is today’s project, created in the Valentine spirit!
Marc and I went to Oaxaca, Mexico for Day of the Dead in 2011. While we were there we fulfilled a longtime wish of mine; to dress up, have our faces painted, and get a professional photograph taken to look like an old portrait! Our photo session was hilarious, the photographer was so fun to work with. Above is my favorite photograph that I have painted over with encaustic medium (beeswax and resin), the encaustic gives it such a perfect ghostly look.
Today, I finally hung the photograph and hand-painted our names, place and year on the wall.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, full of love, appreciation, and playfulness.
Category: Hand-lettering & Typography
This year, for the first time ever, I did not celebrate Valentine’s Day…. so sad!
I recently came across this announcement/mailer in my archives and I was reminded of how much I love old wood type!
Matt Gonzalez, among MANY other things, is a wonderful collage artist and Lola Home Store (which sadly closed last year) was showing his work and throwing a lively artist’s reception. The colorful collage shown was one of my favorites in the exhibit and I felt the style and personality paired so well with the mixture of old wood typefaces that I chose to work with.
I also had fun adding the playful use of color to complement the piece.
I do so miss the great projects and events that I got to be involved with for Lola Home!
I have been dying to post about another amazing project for Martha Stewart Weddings, featured in their summer issue! I was contacted by the Martha Stewart design team to create a wedding suite inspired by berries! We decided to center the designs around a custom illustrated border that I had created.
Here is our original inspiration, a wedding invitation that I created for Aya and Corey, perfect for a story about sweet summer weddings!
All of my designs were beautifully printed by Moontree Letterpress. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with them. The gorgeous quality of their work made my designs shine! In this photograph above, you can see the actual wedding suite pieces along side the magazine… my little escort cards look delicious in those darling baskets of berries! The elegant calligraphy of names/table numbers on the escort cards was created by Wendy Cook of Bellocchio, her hand is so exquisite… truly one of my heroes.
I also want to thank the talented and generous Rebecca Kutys of Moontree Letterpress for allowing me to use her beautiful photographs for this post!!! Due to timing, I didn’t get to see the finished printed pieces before they were photographed for the article.
Thank you Rebecca!
Another one of Rebecca’s wonderful photographs. I couldn’t be happier with the whole overall look of the article. I love the pale green they chose to print in.
An elegant close up, again from Rebecca, the quality of the printing really adds a whole other layer to the experience. A wonderful collaboration.
Today I’d like to share a really fun, and quite different, project. I was contacted by Michael Buchino, the graphic designer for Portland Center Stage, to create a poster design for their 2012 season. The play was Black Pearl Sings!
A brief synopsis from Michael: In 1935 Texas, Susannah, an academic and song collector for the Library of Congress, visits a high-security prison where she meets Pearl, an African-American woman imprisoned for murder who longs to leave prison and find her lost daughter. Hoping to record the treasure trove of spirituals and African folk songs that only Pearl knows—and make her reputation on the discoveries—Susannah bargains for Pearl’s parole and arranges for several public performances. The two women soon find themselves walking a delicate line between exposure and exploitation.
Featuring beautiful a cappella renditions of little-known American folk songs, Black Pearl Sings! chronicles a powerful story about being a woman in a man’s world, being black in a white world, and fighting for one’s soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity.
I was very interested and excited to work on such a different type of project. I read the entire script and relished in trying to create a captivating and communicative image. I explored several different rough concepts and illustration styles.
Here is one of my studies. I thought it could be interesting to play with old sheet music paper and to use the lines to represent prison bars.
Here is a similar study, again using the music paper, but here I wrote the words to a song that Pearl sings in prison to gather attention.
I loved keeping my designs in black and white with a touch of red, simplicity can be so powerful. The storyline and the main characters also made it seem quite fitting.
I also explored “illustrated type”. I love expressive typography and I thought it could be interesting to illustrate the name of the play and somehow communicate the storyline.
In the end Michael chose this design concept and I was very pleased. The final poster image, shown at the beginning of this post, evolved into a portrait format rather than landscape to accommodate other printed verbiage and I like the way it turned into a strong checkerboard of information. My illustration style in this design is inspired by one of my favorite artists of all time, Margaret Kilgallen. If you don’t know of her you should watch this short film. She was so talented. I love her work and sensibilities.
Oh how I love Valentine’s Day! Such a great excuse to pause for a moment, remember the ones we love, and create something… a note, a card, a piece of art…. to express our feelings and appreciation. This Valentine’s I thought I’d post about a sweet menu that I created for Chez Panisse Restaurant. Alice, the owner, created a wonderful tradition of giving each couple, dining on Valentine’s Day, the most perfect bouquet of violets (one of Alice’s favorite flowers). So it seemed fitting to create a menu featuring an old botanical image of violets, I painted each menu with watercolor and gouache. I hand-lettered the menu in a style inspired by one of my hero’s, Ludovico delgi Arrighi, an Italian master from the 16th century.
Here’s a photo of one of those sweet bouquets! So romantic!
Beautiful cases of violets delivered to the restaurant.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I hope you all take a moment to express your love to those close to your heart.
I took a walk this morning with my dog, Lola, and was astounded by the cherry/plum blossom trees in my neighborhood! They were full of blooms and the scent in the air was so fresh and alive, it made me think of the wedding suite I designed for Bridget & Peter.
Bridget wanted to do an early spring theme for her wedding. She told me “…springtime in New York… the plum and cherry blossoms start to bloom and grass begins to peak up from the ground which is charming. I also like the concept of a new marriage and new beginnings that are represented in spring.” She wanted a soft “Easter palette” of buttery yellows, pale purples, plum colored ink and “tea stained paper“.
I had never tea stained paper before but the idea sounded beautiful… I was curious to give it a try!
The results were beautiful, each invitation a slightly different shade… however, I must admit it was very labor intensive… not sure if I would challenge it again. I ended up having to steam iron each card by hand to get it to lay flat before I could silkscreen and letterpress print them!
I was able to find gorgeous Italian envelopes in the perfect colors. Below is the response card and envelope. I’m so happy Spring, once again, is in the air!
I have been dying to post about my first appearance in Martha Stewart Weddings!
I was one of the lucky designers that was contacted to create a wedding suite inspired by pattern. I was assigned stripes! Instead of sticking to the classic crisp lines we know so well, I created stencils and hand-painted watercolor washes onto each and every piece.
Labor intensive, yes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way ; )
The results are so soft and romantic.
Here is my full page feature! Beautifully photographed by the Martha Stewart team.
I love the way they styled the photograph with the background fabric and hand-painted cookies…. can you believe they found the fabric for the background after I created the suite?! It’s perfect! So exciting to see my work on the page of such a well known and respected publication!
It has been quite some time since my last post. It amazes me how quickly time moves on. My life has been busy with work, travel, more work, and the construction of my studio addition! In times like these I find it helpful to make myself “signs of encouragement”…. little handmade signs to comfort and motivate me through the chaos. Just the process of sitting down and making myself a little reminder makes me feel better.
I can be known to procrastinate. I’ve also been known to labor a little too much over things. In cases like this my supportive boyfriend, Marc, reminds me that
“Done Is Beautiful” (a saying used often in construction).
This is another one of Marc’s sayings… and it’s a perfect description of the trouble we can get ourselves into!
I have also been known to over think things… and paralyze myself in the process!
I think we all need, at one time or another, a few signs of encouragement.
Today I have a very special project to share that comes in the form of an animated announcement! I worked very closely with Lois, the owner of Lola Home, to create this beautiful piece. I designed the page layouts and created the text and hand-lettering. The animator, Jan Heiman, did an exquisite job bringing our concept to life. She illustrated the shopfront and little houses and made our dreams come true! She blended the soundtrack perfectly as well. Please check it out by clicking on the image below.
Although I did not get the opportunity to create the 40th birthday menu for Chez Panisse, I did get to play a small part in the celebration and history. In honor of the 40th year the walls of the Café and Restaurant were wallpapered with hundreds of custom printed menus from the past!!! And I am pleased to say, several of them were mine.
This gorgeous photograph is courtesy of Grub Street San Francisco,
check out their slideshow of the Café…. it’s looks amazing!!
It’s thrilling to have my work intermingled with the work of so many talented artists, many who are my friends, mentors and heroes! A very special memory indeed.