While I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago I managed a quick visit to Juri's Tearooms in the food hall of the flagship store of the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi.I designed the logo for Juri when she had her tearooms in the Cotswolds in England, and now she has a new branch in Japan!I also did several afternoon tea illustrations for the packaging of Juri's own blends of tea, which have now been updated with new paper packing around the foil packets.The scones were delicious, and I can't wait to try the full high tea...If you're ever in the area, do pop in and say hello from me!
On a quick visit to Tokyo recently, I managed a little sketch of the desserts during a very pretty meal at Hannariya.It is a Kyoto style place and the dishes were as beautiful as they were delicious...
Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall's new River Cottage cookbook has just been published, illustrated by yours truly. I debuted a brand new illustration style, to keep the flavour of the illustrations I've done before for River Cottage, but adding a new dimension.I created a painted collage style, a bit reminiscent of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but with thicker paper, so there's a very definate shadow on the pages, to give the impression of depth.I worked with the art directer Lawrence Morton to come up with the theme for this book's illustrations, which is 'the preparation' for cooking. So I focused on the tools and equipment in the kitchen...and also the preparation of the ingredients themselves. For example, how to cut them...and how to select them...This wonderful book is available from Amazon US here and Amazon UK here. It would make an excellent Christmas gift!
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...
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!
This week, I visited more museums, and happily spent time sketching. These were both taken in the V & A my most very favourite museum in the world.And then at the weekend, a visit to the Cotswolds. We stayed in an adorable house in the tiny village of Lower Slaughter, and spent time chatting and walking in the countryside. We stayed right by this lovely watermill, and I took an early morning walk one day...We went to the farmers market in Chipping Norton......where I managed to do a few watercolours, in spite of the drizzle.This is a little sketch of the house where we stayed. I loved sitting in the tiny garden courtyard...And then it was back to the city for my last week, and no visit to London would be complete without a cake and cup of tea at Maison Bertaux.
I'm in the UK for a while, and working hard, while trying to fit in some visits and exhibitions when I can. Here's a sketch I did today watching my niece and her dance group in the little town of Horsham. It was adorable, and sort of like going back in time.Whenever there's a chance, I stroll in the garden, and soak up the green-ness of the Spring. I could sketch plants and flowers forever...I've been inspired by some amazing exhibitions, sketching and making notes as I go. This one was at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy. I love trying to work out how different prints were made, and what techniques were used... I especially loved the Josef Frank exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum. So many incredible patterns and designs!I was incredibly moved by the Howard Hodgkin exhibition Absent Friends at the National Portrait Museum. I've always loved his work, but this show made me see the paintings in a different way...So much to do while I'm here. More London sketches next week!
I love sketching and photographing the wonderful, beautiful food and restaurants in Japan, but I have to be quick, before it all goes cold!We ate all sorts of dishes, from udon to kushiage, and all of it was fantastic... Here's a little watercolour sketch of a simple rice onigiri on a red wooden plate.
For 2 weeks I've been travelling in Japan, mostly in Kyushu. We started in Kumamoto, with a wonderful view of the famous castle, although we couldn't go inside due to earthquake damage.We spent an evening at Good Time Charlie's bar, and met the man himself, the Johnny Cash of Japan, and listened to him playing classic country music.We travelled on to Kagoshima and picked up a cute little square rental car and drove through the mountains to Satsuma. We passed Japan's largest tree, over 1500 years old, and arrived at a pretty onsen ryokan where we sat and looked at our garden view and sipped tea.We next drove to Mt Kirishima, walking to see some lakes formed by volcanic craters and then on the the highlight of our stay, Korian. They are primarily a restaurant, specialising in grilled chicken, but also have one set of rooms for guests to stay in. We've never stayed anywhere so traditional and meticulous in preserving their heritage. The house is from 1882, and has been kept in use by the family since then.They even had the original round stone and metal bath, which is stoked by a fire! It literally felt like we were in a Ghibli movie.Each meal we ate there was special and superb: we watched as they hand-made soba noodles, and they made us a bento for our day trip to the countryside. We visited the local sightseeing places like this pretty little shrine in a cave......where I did a little sketch and admired the moss and ferns. We spent some time at home, sitting in the cosy kotatsu and I painted and it was heavenly. The whole family welcomed us as old friends and we never wanted to leave.
I recently packaged my mokuhanga lemon print for my collaborative project with Yoomni Nam and Katie Baldwin. I made an etching of a seed packet, and folded up the lemon print to fit inside: a print inside a print.The seed packet design is based on vintage references I found while researching my part of the project, which is about California.More news about this project, called Alabama + California + Kansas soon!
My friend Nathan asked me to create some illustrations for his wedding invitations, and I came up with several ideas for the three different event cards. Each card had a slightly different level of formality, so I tried to accommodate that.I also drew a little vignette of their names for the cards, that could be used on various stationery. I was asked for 'rustic but stylish', as the wedding was in Yosemite National Park, so I thought about the time I'd been there, and concentrated on the sweeping views and sequoia trees. The first event was on the lawn at the Wawona hotel, where I drew the lovely floral arrangements in the glowing early evening light.The wedding ceremony took place on the lawn of the Ahwahnee hotel, with the glorious mountains as a backdrop, on a perfect summer day.As a wedding favour each guest was given a waterbottle with my illustration of Half Dome on, but as a special thank you, Nathan and Strawn gave me a set of glasses as well, and I couldn't resist taking this picture. Congratulations to the happy couple!
I have a piece in a group show opening next week in San Francisco called Not a Lemon. It features the work of 50 Bay Area artists and there'll be paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. I had my first real California moment when I made lemon curd from lemons from my very own little lemon tree growing on the balcony, so for this show I created a hand-lettered recipe. I printed a woodcut lemon branch and wrote the recipe in pen and ink. I made 3 different versions, to experiment with type style and spacing, and they'll all be available at the exhibition.The opening reception will be on thursday 7th July 6-9pm. I'll be there, it would be great to see you! Hope you can all make it to see the show while it's up.
We went very old-school on a recent trip to Las Vegas, and tried to rediscover that classic vibe from the movies. We went to see the Showstoppers musical at the Wynn (where I sketched in the dark)......and sat drinking cocktails while an old-timey lounge singer crooned. We gorged ourselves on the traditional (but indeed excellent) hotel buffet...
I designed a lovely garden toile for the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena a while ago, and it's been used on a gorgeous parasol (see my previous post) but now it's also available on a teaset.The printing is beautiful and the fine bone china is delightfully delicate on both the teapot and the two teacups that come with it. The design is based on their famous Japanese garden, the rose walk, and the fantastic California succulent and cactii gardens. If you haven't been there, I really recommend it! You can buy the teaset on their online store here.
I was thinking about my Tiffany & Co. mug the other day, and checked on instagram if anyone had posted any pictures of their mugs, and found some amazing images. I especially love this one...Thank you amberallurecupcakes ! And here's a selection of some others, a big thanks to everyone who posted them. So glad you're enjoying your mugs...I love instagram so much!