I'm sorting through images for my new website (hopefully launching soon!) and found these photos of several children's room murals I've done over the years. These two were for my neices...This jungle themed room is in a new baby's room in California.This subtle white line painted floral was in Hong Kong, for two lovely girls who shared a room.And this London-themed corridor and bedroom is in a suite of rooms in Mayfair...I love painting these murals, and always happy to take comissions!
things I've made
This week I went to the Boroichi fleamarket in Tokyo. It has been held twice a year in the same place for over 430 years, and is an intangible folk cultural asset of Japan. I wandered, browsed and sketched, and bought a beautiful little sobachoko. When I got home, I did some watercolour sketches of it...I enjoyed it so much, I did a few more, looking at old sobachoko online for reference.And then made a little design of my own...
I always have trouble thinking of what to draw for my winter card, so I was happy to come up with a snowdome illustration this year. Here are some of my initial sketches. I was originally thinking of having a page of a differently shaped and sized snowglobes, but then chose to keep it simple and focus on just one. I wanted a cosy house in a forest, and did several little watercolours to experiment.
For the final artwork I painted a little house on a snowy hill with smoke coming out of the chimney, and then had it printed with an extra layer of silver foil to show the glitter inside the dome. I love that it sparkles as you move the card!
I've been having a wonderful week in London, visiting museums and seeing friends and family. I'd been waiting all year to see the Tove Jansson show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and it didn't disappoint...Her work has always inspired me (especially the black and white drawings in the Moomin books), and I feel invigorated to work harder now. I also loved the Modigilani show at the Tate Modern. I'd never seen so much of his work all at once, and it was extremely moving.And of course the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition at the V&A. So adorable, and a wonderful example of author and illustrator producing perfection together...
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!
I've got these supercute robin and ivy blank holiday cards in my shop right now. There are 2 designs, and they each come in packs of 5.They're blank inside for your own holiday message, and come with matching white envelopes. I can ship them from either the US (now) or the UK (in 2 weeks time). Happy card-writing!
While I was in Hong Kong last month, I helped out my friend Alex, who runs Dogalicious, a healthy dog food company, at his stand at the pink dot festival. I offered pet portraits of people's dogs, in exchange for a donation to lap, the animal charity.I'd never tried this before, but most of the owners seemed to be quite happy with the results! Dogs don't stay still, so I had to capture their personalities whilst they wriggled...I did the portraits in watercolour and brushpen, each one in under 10 minutes!There is even a video of the event that you can watch here. Woof!
In September, after a short holiday on the Big Island, I went to Oahu with my friends Katie Baldwin and Yoonmi Nam, to attend the 3rd International Mokuhanga Conference at Honolulu University. We installed Into the Fold, an exhibition of our newest collaborative mokuhanga project. It was an extension of our current project (un)fold: we invited three printmakers, Sarah Hulsey, Fuko Ito and Mia O, to collaborate with us, exploring the ideas and acts of folding and unfolding, and the lineage of learning the mokuhanga technique. We also gave a presentation about the project during the conference.Here's a close-up of my piece Into the Garden. It represents an abstract garden, is printed so that it can be viewed from either side of the paper, and has a printed enclosure. It's lovely when it sways slightly in the breeze, and the plants seem to be alive.My Meyer Lemon Curd Recipe was also shown in the juried international group exhibition: Beauty of Mokuhanga: Discipline & Sensibility 木版画の美：修練と感性 I did quite a few sketches in the presentations I attended, and also at the conference opening and closings, of the speakers and committee members...I had never participated in the open portfolio at the previous conferences so I thought I would give it a go this time. I showed a selection of my mokuhanga prints and artists books, and spoke to anyone who was interested...Here you can see my blue Into the Garden piece in an alternative configuration.Katie, Yoonmi and I also showed our previous wood+paper+box print collaborations on a separate table, and everyone was encouraged to open and handle each of our individual prints in the boxes.It was a thoroughly enjoyable conference, where it was great to meet up with old and new friends and colleagues. It encouraged me to spend more time on my printmaking practice and I can't wait to start more prints.
I'm in HK at the moment, for various projects, and just took part in the Symposium for Disaster Risk Reduction at the Hong Kong PolyU.Author Martha Keswick and I gave a presentation as part of the campaign for Disaster Risk preparedness, to launch our new childrens picture book series: 'COPE - How to be Ready for Natural Disasters'.It's a series of books featuring a team of kids who travel the world teaching other kids how to handle various natural disasters. The first book is about Earthquakes. We hope to eventually have books that include what to do in hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tsunamis, blizzards and volcanoes.Because of increasing climate change, natural disasters are becoming more prevalent, and it's so important that children know how to deal with them. We are actively looking for partners to help us publish and fund the series. If you know any NGOs who might be interested, please contact us! We have a temporary website here for more info:
If these books can saves lives, I will feel like I've done something worthwhile. Please help if you can!
I've designed some Christmas cards for my favourite animal charity again this year, Animals Asia. I worked on lots of different ideas, and three were chosen for the cards. I tried to make them cute, but not too cute...If you're considering buying some charity cards, please help us help the moonbears! You can buy the cards here. Thank you!!
Michael McConnell, at Fayes Bench Gallery in San Francisco, created an art project 'Friends That Never Met' where instagram friends would pair up and create a piece of collaborative art embracing their online friendship; a chance to work on something tangible in the real world together. So I had a good think and asked Melodie Stacey, an artist I follow on instagram and whose work I love, but who I've never met in person, if she'd like to work with me on some artwork. She said yes!
We each started a piece with a character, and posted them to the other to finish. Here is 'How do you do?' featuring my Mr Lizard. I noticed that Melodie often paints in blue, so I decided to do blue too. It's a mokuhanga print with watercolour, while Melodie painted in gouache. The artworks are all small-ish, and look wonderful on the wall in the gallery.
Melodie sent me several blue ladies to work with, so I chose one and decided to add an elaborate hat and avian friend. Here is 'Feather Lady'.I studied Edwardian headwear to get inspiration and added my hat as a collage in blues onto Melodie's painting.Social media is a great platform for artists to interact and inspire each other from all over the globe, and I really enjoyed taking this concept and adding a physical element to it. Melodie is in the UK, I was working in Japan, and the show is in California. I love it!
I watched the solar eclipse on monday, using eclipse glasses, and painted the various stages as the moon's shadow moved across the sun.From northern California we only got about a 70-80% eclipse I think, but it was still a wonderful sight.Maybe next time I'll manage to see a full one...
I've just put some of my new mokuhanga prints in my online shop. I printed these while I was in Japan and have just completed signing and preparing them. There are two versions of this little imaginary trumpet flower, one in blues and one in red and green...And there are blue and pink peonies too.Hope you'll pop by my shop and consider a purchase for yourself or as a gift!
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!
I completed one large-ish print while I was on the mokuhanga residency in Japan: one that features plants in a garden. I was inspired by the abundant greenery all around the house, and in the surrounding gardens.I did some initial pencil sketches and arranged them in a wide landscape.Then did a painted version to work out solid areas of colour.I then started carving a long block of shina wood. And then carved, and carved some more...When the block was fully carved, I set up, ready to print.It's the largest mokuhanga print I've ever made, and was extremely challenging. But I learnt alot, and really pushed myself. I had only meant to do a pink and green version, but felt that blues might work too. I'm now fond of them both!I intend to take the print further, and create an artists book out of it. It'll be shown in Hawaii in a few month's time, and I'll blog again when it's all done...
This week I carved a small block from cherrywood (my first) to do some paper-testing. I printed two versions of my peony design onto many different types of washi paper to decide what sort I would use for my big project. I'm hoping to do some bokashi printing, and wanted a paper that would show the gentle gradations well, as well as printing black sumi ink sharply.
I'm in Kawaguchiko, Japan, for the next few weeks, on a mokuhanga (Japanese woodblock) printmaking artists residency with mi-lab. It's in a beautiful location in a small town on the edge of the lake at the foot of Mt Fuji. I'm working on a series of prints, but in the meantime, here are some little sketches of the famous mountain.The views all around are beautiful, surrounded by mountains, wildflower meadows, and small farm plots, but it's Mt Fuji that dominates the landscape, whenever it appears from behind the clouds...
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.