Friday, December 31, 2010

Featured Artist

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball is a Kentucky girl, a printmaker, painter, knitter, gardener and kitchen mess-maker who currently lives in Austin, Texas.  She creates earthy and ephemeral landscapes that focus on the intersection of history, memory and place.  Carolyn graduated with a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003 and a MA in printmaking from the University of Louisville in 2008.  She currently runs the studio of the Women Printmakers of Austin , PRINT!subscription 2010 and Kimball Prints.
Roulette Farm, etching, aquatint, a la poupee, 12"x17," Carolyn KImball, 2008
Many of your prints seem to "tell stories."  Do you find there to be anything particularly effective or challenging about printing as for a medium to illustrate stories or history?
I'm a huge history buff and I'm especially fascinated by the intersection of history and landscape; all the memories and emotions we pour into our associations with a certain place.  Memory and history are both very ephemeral and so is the land, they're all constantly changing with the passage of time or perspective. There's something I find really fitting in using an old technique like etching to speak about history.  When you make an etching aquatint, you are essentially capturing dust ( ground tree sap) that's floated down on an etching plate. Fixing something as ephemeral as dust in place to make an image is not unlike capturing something fleeting like a memory. Also, I just love how beautiful and delicate the medium is.
Sunken Road, etching, aquatint, a la poupee, 13.5"x17.5," Carolyn Kimball, 2008
Your print subscription makes artwork affordable for almost anyone--only $10 a month!  Please share a bit about the history and idea behind "subscription art."
The idea for the print subscription started with a friend who used to run a letterpress shop and was selling 'shares' in his business in the form of art. When I discussed the idea with other artist friends, I found out that other contemporary artists and even a few Old Masters had done the same thing! I thought it was a great idea because most people I know interested in art, but it's a really daunting prospect to throw down a large sum of money all at once on piece. What if you change your mind or decorate in a few years?  Since you receive so many prints, if there's one print you don't like as much, it's not a big deal since you didn't spend a ton of money and a new one will be on the way soon. I wanted to make my art accessible and it's always fun to get a package in the mail! It's also a great stash to have on hand for last minute gifts.  I've expanded the subscription for 2011 to included a couple of different subscription options:
Taybeh, etching & aquatint with watercolor, 3"x4," Carolyn Kimball, 2010
Do you find that the variations in character created by different types of prints {monotype, etching, gelatin, etc} conducive to specific themes or subject matter?
Absolutely! I find etchings are perfect for works that deal with delicate, fleeting topics like memory or history. Simple graphic images are great for woodcuts and simple rustic line drawings typically end up as monotypes.  
Galilee, watercolor, 5"x7", Carolyn Kimball, 2009
Sincere thanks to Carolyn for sharing her beautiful landscape prints!

What do you think of Carolyn's earthy, ephemeral images?
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wedding Invitation

Peacock Feather
During my childhood, my family made frequent visits to Southern California, where my grandparents lived.  When visiting my paternal grandparents in Pasadena, there were a number of places that we visited year after year: The Huntington Library, The Norton Simon Museum, the Gamble House, the San Diego Zoo, and "Tournament House" to name a few.  I remember these visits with incredible fondness, which, of course, is more readily attributed to my Grandparents who were warm, hospitable, and interested in knowing their Grandchildren.
No visit to Los Angeles County was ever complete without a visit the arboretum.  My Grandparents visited the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens several times a week for a walk.  From the time when I was very young, I remember exploring the arboretum grounds, marveling at the Queen Anne Cottage, the adobe (dating to 1840), the rose gardens, and the Meyberg Waterfall.  The peacocks, however, were perhaps the most exotic sight during these nature walks.  These birds were introduced to the arboretum by Lucky Baldwin in the late 1800's. Since then they have thrived, becoming a naturalized species.  
There was always a vase of peacock feathers at my Grandparent's house and I frequently returned home with a colorful feather packed in my suitcase.  The vibrance of these feathers was extraordinarily captivating to me as a child and I still find them to be beautiful.  These memories inspired me to use these majestic-looking feathers as the basis for this new invitation design.    

Do you remember the first time you saw a peacock?
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Welcome winter!  Old man winter has certainly arrived in the windy city.  We've already enjoyed a few snow showers and a number of single digit days.  The change of season which has taken firm hold inspired this painting.  It is based on an image from an edition of the Chicago Tribune from 1950.   
I love the nostalgia of this image, which I painted using Japanese Sumi Ink.  The gracious curves of the car, the houses marching along in the left portion of the image, and the simplicity of monochrome colors.  It conjures memories of the freshness of a new snow, being inside watching the snow fall, and the words of poets like Claude McKay, who wrote in his poet "To Winter:"

Stay, season of calm love and soulful snows! 
There is a subtle sweetness in the sun, 
The ripples on the stream's breast gaily run, 
The wind more boisterously by me blows, 
And each succeeding day now longer grows. 
The birds a gladder music have begun, 
The squirrel, full of mischief and of fun, 
From maples' topmost branch the brown twig throws. 
I read these pregnant signs, know what they mean: 
I know that thou art making ready to go. 
Oh stay! I fled a land where fields are green 
Always, and palms wave gently to and fro, 
And winds are balmy, blue brooks ever sheen, 
To ease my heart of its impassioned woe. 

Wishing you warm and healthy holidays!  
What do you think to be the best part of winter?
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Other Projects

Wrapping Presents with Reused Materials
I am a big fan of reusing materials.  There are a number of misconceptions about recycling, particularly plastic recycling.  Generally, it makes sense to reduce material consumption and to reuse materials as much as possible.  In architecture, reusing materials is often extraordinarily valuable.  I spent a year at the Rural Studio as an outreach fellow.  Many of the early projects at the Rural Studio creatively reused materials for building, such as the Yancy Tire Chapel and the Mason's Bend Glass Chapel, which was constructed with used car windshields.  
Of course, it's a great idea to reuse an existing building rather than tearing down an existing building and rebuilding.  If that isn't possible, there are some great organizations like the Rebuilding Exchange, which help homeowners to effectively deconstruct and redistribute materials.  These are, of course, bigger ideas with regard to reuse.  
I also appreciate much more modest ideas for reuse.  I try to purchase clothes and home goods as much as possible from thrift stores.  I also reuse materials for tasks such as wrapping presents and packaging items for mail.  This year I found cream packing paper, a DiNapoli aluminum can, and a plastic mushroom carton to be ideal for wrapping presents.  Paired with ribbons, which are easily reused and plant trimmings, the reused materials were great for wrapping.   
What are some of your best reuse tips?
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Featured Artist

Valerie K

     Valerie K was born and raised in Casablanca Morocco and currently resides in Pasadena with her husband and 5 year old son.  She has been designing jewlery for the last 15 years and was selling it wholesale. She now has an Etsy shop, through which she is sells directly to the consumer. 
     Valerie works with all kinds of metals, from 22 karat gold, to silver which is mixed and matched with beautiful colored stones. These metals and stones embody, the rich colors and beautiful architecture of Morocco. 
     When she isn't designing jewelry, she's in her organic garden where her fig tree is abundantly producing figs for jams, in addition to an generous crop of heirloom tomatoes.
14K pink gold vine earrings with diamond
Many of your designs seem to reflect forms found in nature, do you look directly to nature for inspiration? What are some of your other sources of inspiration?
    Yes, I draw most of my inspiration from nature, trees, plants. I love the pure and perfect aspect of a leaf or a branch. I love the outdoors and love to garden so i am always outside especially in the spring when I start my vegetable garden in the back of our house. I grow all kinds of things from tomatoes to eggplants. I am delighted in the morning when I can go pick a tomato and eat it for lunch or dinner. My second passion after jewelry is cooking.
     My other source of inspiration is antique byzantine jewelry. At the time, they used pure 22karat and 24karat gold to handmade every piece of jewelry. Those pieces have a very natural and unfinished look to them which makes them perfect in their imperfection. I made a few rings like that but with the price of gold right now, they are not as easy to sell.
14 K yellow gold earring with gold dots
I love the interesting stones that you incorporate into your designs: “pink Tourmaline faceted nuggets,” “peruvian calcite,” “yellow chaicedony.” How do you select the stones which are used your designs? 
    Oh for the stones... i try to go to the Tucson Gem Show in Arizona. I feel like a child in a candy store. So many beautiful stones, and I have been in the business long enough that now I can select gems that are unusual and cuts that are uncommon. When I first saw raw diamonds beads 10 years ago, I thought this is it!  Wow!  They were amazing and still are. But I am always on the lookout for exciting stones and different cuts. 
22 karat gold ring with green milky aquamarine 
What have you found to be the benefits and/or challenges in your transition from designing wholesale jewelry to selling directly to the consumer? 
     When i was doing wholesale, I did not have any contact with the end customer. I dealt with buyers who decided what to carry in their catalogs or stores. I loved it but I did not have that direct connection with the person who was going to buy my piece. Now that I am doing straight retail, I do have a direct connection and I feel that I am part of their dream, for a moment. Especially if they are buying an engagement ring, it is a really special occasion for them and I love being part of it. 
Peruvian calcite necklace
Many thanks to Valerie for sharing her beautiful jewelry designs and be sure to check out her blog.

What do you think of Valerie's elegant, nature-inspired designs?
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wedding Invitation

Colorful Tiles
During my time living in Italy and traveling in Mediterranean countries, I was always quite charmed by the beauty of the tiles and pottery, which are readily available in that part of the world.  
I am delighted by the way that these tiles are timeless and classic, without feeling overly formal or uptight.  Their bold colors and organic shapes feel at home with modern eclectic objects.
As many people may be charmed by the colors and delicate designs of the Mediterranean and their influence in the American Southwest, I have designed this invitation influenced by the hand painted tiles from Spain.  The invitation features my own watercolor painting.  

What do you find most charming about Mediterranean design?
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Aragon Theater, Chicago

Lawrence Red Line Stop, Chicago, watercolor on paper, Jane Sloss, 2010
For the third year, I am making a donation to the One Inspired Evening Art Auction.  The auction is a benefit for Inspiration Corporation an extraordinary organization in Chicago.  Inspiration's stated mission is as follows:
In an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Inspiration Corporation helps people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing.  


I feel personally invested in Inspiration Corporation.  I volunteer, serving breakfast weekly at Inspiration's cafe.  Meals at the cafe are served restaurant style and I am delighted by the opportunity to pour guests their coffee, serve their breakfast and clear their plates.  I see the positive impact that the programs of Inspiration Corporation have in the lives of participants and am delighted to give a small amount of my time.

Chicagoans should check out Cafe Too.  Cafe Too is the social enterprise restaurant of Inspiration Corporation.  The restaurant serves as a training program, which has helped hundreds of individuals gain the skills they need to find employment and exit homelessness and poverty.  Not only that, it's delicious!

What are some of the organizations that you think are extraordinary?
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Other Projects

Chopping Onions and Garlic
So, chopping onions and garlic isn't really a project, it is just something that people who cook do, all the time.  Sometimes it can seem a bother, when I'm in a rush or when the onions cause extreme eye irritation.  For the most part though, I find the act to be a bit therapeutic.  There something satisfying for me in being quiet, accomplishing a menial task and enjoying the process that goes into cooking.  In reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Being Peace several years ago, I remember being particularly struck by his instruction to be present even when doing something such as washing the dishes or, perhaps, chopping onions.   

Soon after I moved to Chicago, I had the good fortune of receiving some basic "knife skills" tutoring from my friend Carlos, who is a professional chef.  His tips particularly as they related to chopping onions and garlic were of great value to me, so I thought I would share these instructional videos with you.  

Upon Carlos' suggestion, I purchased a Global Chef's Knife.  That knife has become my most valuable kitchen tool.  I had no idea that I could be so fond of a knife.  The knife's forged metal design (all one piece, handle and all) makes it lightweight, easy to clean and good for gripping.  I love the way it looks and, of course, it cuts extraordinarily well.  
I thought I was share my love of the global knife with you, in case you find yourself searching for a last minute Christmas gift for someone in your life who loves to cook.  

What is your favorite kitchen implement? 
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Featured Artist

Nina Cherian
Nina E. Cherian is an architect, educator, and printmaker. She is deeply committed to a process-based visual practice and specifically focuses upon the relationship between drawing and printmaking in her work. She believes in design as an act of optimism, and is most interested in using craft as a force to resist normative design outcomes. She is interested in discovering relationships between art and architecture through the use of materials and a harmony of scales, and works through drawing, printmaking, glassblowing, and metalworking to carry out these beliefs. In addition to producing prints and drawings independently, she has exhibited work and held residencies in Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Untitled Lithograph, stone lithograph, ink on paper, 10"x14," Nina Cherian, 2010

In composing prints what consideration do you give to the use of light and dark tones or colors in your designs?
     So much of printmaking is about the stratification of ink and color relationships therein. The practice of mixing ink, in and of itself, is a skilled craft, so it's critical for me to understand color in order to project what will result after pulling the print. I have an ongoing body of collage studies (not prints) that looks closely at color relationships.
     Creating these color relationships is fundamental in most of the monotypes I have made. My lithographs, on the other hand, were drawn and printed only with black ink and so the tonal build-up with tusche washes is critical in creating depth within each image. Both in my monotypes and lithographs I intentionally use the tone of the paper to participate in the image as negative space.
     I'm interested in posturing a provisional space that holds moments of discovery, where formal and spatial relationships converge from the usage of color or form. I'm also interested in collapsing the physical, intellectual, and poetic structures we build in order to give shape to our lives. Like archaeology, the analysis of layers and their contents allow us to make connections and reconfigure disparate fragments to tell new stories.

Collage II, solarplate etching; ink on paper, 7"x5," Nina Cherian, 2009
Many of your prints feature shapes, which are reminiscent of organic shapes found in the natural world.  Is your work intentionally inspired by nature?
      I would say my work is influenced by nature on a secondary or tertiary level. Being outdoors, understanding natural processes, etc. is a very important part of my life. But I'm hesitant to say that nature influences my work on a primary level. I draw what is in my mind. My sensibilities rely heavily on the act of drawing and in developing what comes out of the act of drawing; creating organic forms as a response to a delicate line drawing, and creating a delicate line drawing as a response to organic forms. The act teaches you the meaning of the act; the act purifies the motive if you support the act fully. 
Study 2, monotype; ink on paper, 6"x6," Nina Cherian, 2009 
Does your training as an architect inform your approach to print making?
      Definitely - in many ways my background as an architect has shaped my printmaking sensibilities more than any other part of my life. There are so many parallels between architecture and printmaking as far as the degree to which they both rely heavily on process, craftsmanship, and a refined technical knowledge. I'm deeply committed to a process-based visual practice. The overlapping qualities between the two disciplines is what pulls me to them so strongly. I'm interested in anything involving technique, craftsmanship, and process! Welding, bookmaking, metal casting. . .anything that involves making with my hands. 
      It's extremely important for me to position my prints in dialogue with my architectural work because of this fundamental relationship I see between printmaking and drawing. I believe in drawing as a way of seeing and experiencing something differently. On a formal level, many people have observed that my prints have a very architectural, or graphic, sensibility about them. Architecture and printmaking are the two most important disciplines in my life, I never think of them as separate practices; they both consistently influence my thinking and intentions.
Study 2, monotype; ink on paper, 6"x6," Nina Cherian, 2009 
Who are some artists/architects whose work you admire? 
Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy, Theo Jansen, James Turrell, Josef Albers, Giorgio Morandi, Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier, Saarinen, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Ball/Nogues Studio, Robert Smithson

Thank you very much to Nina for sharing her work.  

What do you think of Nina's printmaking?
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wedding Invitation

Bicycles for Two
A friend of mine attended a wedding in Florence, Italy this spring.  The wedding guests were transported by taxi to from the bride's familial home in the hills outside the city to a large courtyard in the city.  There, they found rented bikes for everyone!  So, the entire wedding party travelled via bike through the streets of Florence to the city hall where the ceremony was to take place--a wedding bike parade!  
That story of a wedding day bike adventure inspired these bike themed invitations.  Nothing like a bit of whimsey and fun to celebrate love!
What do you think about the idea of a wedding day bike parade?
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Old Water Tower at Night

The Water Tower on Michigan Avenue in Chicago is iconic, a building that even those who visit the city only briefly are likely to know.  After making this painting of the water tower at night, I found myself wondering the history behind the building which Oscar Wilde described as "a castellated monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it,"
I found that the water tower was constructed in 1869 based upon a design by architect William W. Boyington.  The building houses a 40 meter standpipe which was used to equalize the pressure of the water pumped from the adjacent pumping station. When built, the tower which reaches 154 ft, towered over all the neighboring buildings.

The pumping system was built to provide the city with clean water, pumped from intake bins that were located in Michigan Lake. The plan was not a great success since the bins eventually became polluted. This problem was only solved at the end of the 19th century after the direction of the Chicago river was reversed. The tower became functionally obsolete in 1906.

Today the tower houses a gallery which showcases works from local photographers.  The current exhibit, which runs through January 11th is called “Fashioning Desire."  It is an exhibit of work by Chicago-based fashion photographers such as Sandro, David Leslie Anthony, Verser Engelhard, Brian Kuhlmann, Erika Dufour and others which culls together images that function in both commercial and artistic contexts.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Other Projects

Making Ice Cream

Last spring, I discovered a recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream in one of my favorite cookbooks--a book called "Simply in Season," which offers assorted recipes based on seasonal fruits and vegetables.  I tried the recipe and was delighted by the results.  Ever since I have been making modifications to the original recipe based on seasonal ingredients and experimenting with my favorite flavors. 
Whipping cream whipped to soft peaks
So far I've tried six flavors: strawberry, peach, coffee, coffee oreo, pumpkin, and coconut chocolate chip.  I'm eager to try other flavors, like mango, cantaloupe, and perhaps apple cider.  I recently made a second batch of coconut chocolate chip upon request and thought I would share the secrets of ice cream sans ice cream maker here.
Ice cream in a 9x13-inch pan ready for the freezer
The original Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe is as follows:
2 c. whipping cream (whipped to soft peaks)
2-3 cups strawberries (mashed)
1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
6 tbsps. sugar
1 cup cold water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Chill all ingredients.  In mixing bowl, beat all ingredients together with an electric mixer.  Pour into a 9x13-inch pan and freeze until mushy, 3-4 hours.  Remove from freezer and return to mixing bowl.  Beat until smooth but not melted.  Return to pan and freeze another 3 hours.

Ice cream after frozen for 3-4 hours and mixed
This is my modified ingredient list for Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:
2 c. whipping cream (whipped to soft peaks)
shredded coconut (to taste)
1 1/4 c. cream of coconut
1 cup cold water

6 tbsps. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips (to taste)
Follow same instructions as for Strawberry Ice Cream.
Any suggestions for new flavor experiments?

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Featured Artist

Christina Brosnan
    Please welcome Christina Brosnan, this week's featured artist.  I came to know of Christina's work because she was the photographer for the wedding of my friends Jaime and Tom, in Adare Ireland.  When I saw the photographs that Christina had taken of the Adare wedding I was totally floored by beauty of her photographs, so much so that I decided to make a painting based on one of her photographs.  I was also surprised to find that Ms. Brosnan is originally from Chicago, my current home! 
    Christina Brosnan has been studying and practicing photography for 10 years.  She attended College of DuPage in Chicago and after graduating went on to study at Speos Photographic Institute in Paris.  She runs Brosnan Photographic, in Ireland, with her husband, Colin.  Christina loves photography and documenting people.

What is the most or some of the most interesting locations in which you've taken wedding photographs?
For me I find pleasure in photographing in new locations. The best locations I've worked in were Thailand and London. I was fortunate enough to photograph a friends wedding in Bangkok. The Thai traditions are so different from western traditions. I also recently photographed an engagement session in London. I love photographing in big cities. There is so much around you that makes for a great backdrop, such as a busy street with lots of people or a simple doorway. There is usually a lot more colour to be found in a city rather than a forest or park. But they can work equally as well especially in Autumn when the leaves are changing colours or during sunset with the warm glow.

Do you find yourself to be partial to photographs produced in a certain type of daylight (morning light, bright sunshine, overcast light, dusk light, etc)?
I've never been particular about the time of day I photograph. I think you can always capture a great photo whether it's sunny, cloudy, sunset or sunrise. If you always photograph at the same time of day in the same light conditions your photos will always look the same and every couple wants something a little different from the next so it's good to be able to photograph in any light condition. Having said that I generally try and avoid shooting midday in the sun. You can get some terrible shadows with the sun at it's highest.

I think one of the most striking things about your portrait photography is that you photograph people on location and not in a studio.  What do you find most interesting about photographing people in a location of their choosing?
It's the same as painting a picture. You don't paint a portrait of someone on a white background, you paint them in their environment. Putting people against a plain background seems stagnant. You can really create a masterpiece with shooting on location. You don't need to bring in props, everything around you is a prop. I really like to capture people being natural and there's nothing natural about putting them in front of a white background.

I really appreciate Christina sharing her work with us!  Be sure to check out the Brosnan Photographic website to see more of her photographs. 

What do you think of Christina's lovely photographs? 
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding Invitation

Spring Leaf Invitation

This invitation is a revision to a design created last spring, with thoughts of warmer weather, new life and delicate leaves.  I revisited this design recently modifying the colors, adding digital versions of the leaves to create contrast and using a darker background to offset the leaves.   

Spring and weddings seem to go together quite naturally .  So many couples wed in the spring.  In Chicago, where we experience long, cold winters, the first signs of spring are incredibly hopeful and for me elicit emotions such as elation and delight.  I love those first days of spring when Chicagoans wear shorts despite that fact the temperatures have only reached the high 60s, the sidewalks are jammed with people, and the trees are just beginning to show signs of life.  

What is the best thing about spring where you live?
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Just Married!

Almost two months ago, I had the delight of attending the marriage of my friends Jaime and Tom.   They were married in Adare, Ireland's "prettiest village."  This image was captured by their photographer, the very talented Christiana Brosnan.  When I saw this picture, it immediately felt like it was meant to be painted--the subtle variations in color of the vintage car interior, the background out the windows of the car, and a wonderful shot of Jaime and Tom.  So, I made this painting for the couple--I hope they like it! 

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Other Projects

Studio Makeover
The space that I use to make art is a cozy corner in the back sunroom of my Chicago apartment.  There are lots of windows (north and east facing) so the light isn't bad and I recently acquire a cabinet for storage of various supplies.  Until recently though, the area was also cluttered with various overflow items from the kitchen: coffee maker, reused plastic bags, paper towels, etc.  As I've been spending increased hours in the space painting, blogging, and designing invitations, I decided to give the space a makeover.
My primary goals were pretty straight forward:
1.  Improve organization: provide better access to the materials I use regularly, get as much clutter as possible off of my desk allow much needed free space for working.
2.  Create a space conducive to creative endeavors: provide opportunities to display sources of inspiration on a temporary basis, be intentional about the visual environment (hopefully one which will no longer include a recycling bin and a container for dirty towels!).  
My studio makeover is, of course, modest in nature.  I'm very happy with the results though.  I find that I'm generally happier and my stress levels stay lower, when I keep my personal spaces organized, with trinkets that remind me of good memories.
Check out this flickr group featuring other art studio makeovers.  

What are the best components of your work space?
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Featured Artist

Cristina Jaco
Cristina Jaco was born in October 5th, 1976 in Goiânia-Goiás-Brazil. Graduated in Graphic Design in 2000, post graduated in Administration in 2004 and post graduated in Education in 2008.  She started drawing when she was a child and has never stopped. Since 1996 she has been working in web design.  And since 2010 she has been painting more seriously. Cristina intends to present her first art exhibition in 2011.
Auto-Retrato II, 35cmx25xcm, Aquarela, 2010

What inspires you about drawing and painting the human figure?
In fact it really doesn't matter if I'm painting the figure or a bird or an abstract composition. What inspires me are the color combinations, the line and the shapes. In the human figure we can find interesting shapes and all the elements are combined to form the image.

Retrato de Fazendeiro, 25cm x 35cm, aquarela papel montval, 2010 
You do a lot work with watercolor painting, what do you find to be the constraints and opportunities of the medium?
I've tried different techniques to produce my paintings. I've painted in oils, acrylics and I've drawn using pastel and other mediums, but watercolor was the most interesting challenge. I like the fluidity, the transparency and the drying speed of this medium. I also like the fact that it is on paper, I don't like canvas. Some people think because it is too fragile and water sensible it is difficult to master, but it really doesn't bother me. I believe I've found my medium and for the next paintings I'll explore watercolor combined to other materials, mixing drawing and painting, to produce some abstract pictures.
Galo de Campina I, 25cm x 35cm, aquarela papel montval, 2010
Who are some other Brazilian artists of note, who may not be familiar to readers is U.S.?
A great antique watercolorist was Debret, but I prefer the Cândido Portinari style, the strokes of Romero Britto and the shapes and textures of Tomie Ohtake.
Mankin, 50cm x 35cm, papel fabriano, 2010
More about Cristina in her own words:
I believe is is the artist's responsibility is to remain faithful to her vision and develop their skills in materials for which they chose to express themselves. It is about creating art that is believed, that her mind and soul cry out to create.

I make no distinction between representation and abstraction, and I'm not tied to any historical trend or tradition. I use various methods and processes to create my paintings. Sometimes the picture that I paint reflects reality more truthfully, sometimes I allow myself to paint freely without much concern with the real.

In the first half of 2010. I developed a series of works in watercolor, these paintings try to explore what attracts me most: the visual texture, the color contrasts, brightness, lightness, lines and well-defined shapes. I paint what pleases me aesthetically and try to express myself through these paintings. I see the world and give my point of view. Currently, I am in a phase of exploration of the material in conjunction with other techniques.

I like to paint common themes: people, animals, landscapes, still life and abstract compositions. I always try to observe the world around me to have more repertoire and push myself to work without losing vitality. My view is always changing and I keep looking for new
things to create.

For the next year, I will work on my first art exhibition!
Ave Pescando, 25cm x 18cm, aquarela papel montval, 2010
Thank you so much for sharing your work with us Cristina!  Be sure to visit Cristina's blog to see more of her work.

What do you think of Cristina's lovely paintings?
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wedding Invitation

I have long thought vineyards to be quite beautiful places.  One need look no further than the rolling hills of  Tuscany or the Napa Valley for reassurance that the settings for viticulture are nothing short of delightful.  In the fifth year of my architecture education, my first semester studio was focused on the design of a theoretical project for a cultural center to be located at the Barboursville Vineyards, a very beautiful vineyard locatedin Virginia.   

It is becoming common for couples to marry among the grapevines all over the U.S. and beyond.  I have designed this "grappoli d'uva" or grape bunches invitation to compliment these stunning celebrations. 

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