watercolour

happy christmas!

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!

Hope you all have a wonderful, cosy, warm, and sparkly Christmas holiday!

Christmas cards

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!

Lassen National Park

This weekend I visited Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. It had forests, volcanic rocks, and beautiful lush meadows with wildflowers... There were tiny streams and creeks of clear icy water...and incredible mountain-top lakes, surrounded by snow.We watched the Perseid meteor shower and saw many falling stars.It was like a dream...

mi-lab

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...

Japan Kyushu travels - week 2

After the mountains, we travelled to the coast, in the misty rain, ready to explore another side of Kyushu. We stayed in a hotel in Nango, and watched the changing mood of the sea and the sky...We drove and drove, along winding roads, past smaller and smaller villages, watching the green around us get more tropical, and finally reached the southern-most tip of Japan. There's a little lighthouse and the sea was wild and it was wonderful. We took a ferry across the Sakurajima bay to Ibusuki, and I sketched the misty views of the mountains on both sides.We went to see the little volcano called Kaimondake, jutting out into the sea. It's somehow not as scary as Sakurajima, and both calming and beautiful.

I find rural Japan fascinating and special and worry that people are leaving for the cities, but am hopeful that there is a movement now for people to return and enjoy a slower pace of life. These are rice paddies in Miyazaki after the rains, when we could hear the frogs singing. Just thinking of the beauty there makes me happy.

christmas cards for sale

I designed a limited edition small batch of christmas cards for sale this year. They're bundled in packs of five, and there are still a few packs left if you haven't sent your cards out yet. You can purchase them from my shop here. robin-1There are two designs, both featuring a cheeky robin in some ivy and berries.robin-2If you're interested, please contact me and I'll get them to you as fast as possible!

Animals Asia products

I was recently asked to design some products for the charity Animals Asia. These products are sold here and the profits go towards their work saving animals.tea-towelI painted illustrations of wonderful moonbears, as I really love them and can't stand the way they are farmed and treated so cruelly. I tried to show them being curious and adorable, and most of all, hopeful.tote-bag-stillI started the project by researching and sketching moonbears, and playing with ideas on how to bring some colour and fun into the images.bear-sketches-2 I then tried out different styles and media, and picked watercolour to give the illustrations a loose, free feeling.bear-sketches-1There's a teatowel, a tote bag and a tshirt, with different illustrations, and all available from the Animals Asia online shop.tshirtBuy them for all your friends! Please help save the bears!

Christmas cards

Something I've been thinking about for a long while is opening a little online shop to sell some exclusive Mariko products. I'm often designing for other brands and companies (which I love doing!) but I'd also like to start my own little personal brand. I'm going to start slowly, with paper products like greeting cards, and then try to develop in an organic way. robin-1-smallerI'm working on my shop, which I hope to launch later this year, but in the meanwhile, here are some pics of my very first specially designed Christmas cards for sale.robin-2-smallerPlease contact me directly if you're interested in ordering them, either for yourself, or wholesale! They are sold in packs of 5 cards with envelopes.

Yosemite

We went to Yosemite National Park at the weekend to attend a wedding, and I loved being surrounded by the trees in the wonderful clear air.wawonaWe stayed at the historic Wawona hotel (now renamed the Big Trees Lodge), and completely relaxed.wawona copyWe went up to Glacier Point twice, the first time at midnight to watch the Perseid shower, and the second time during the day. The meteor shower was one of the most magical things I've ever seen: the night was totally dark and all the stars in the milky way were visible. And then the stars fell, some brightly, some quickly, and some leaving a trail of sparkles. sketch and domeDuring the day the view was spectacular, with blue mountains and valleys all around as far as the eye can see. Truly a marvel of the world...

Wiltshire weekend

I just got back from a lovely weekend on the Wiltshire/Somerset border in England. We stayed in a bed & breakfast place surrounded by rolling green hills,cley hilland I did a few sketches, and took a few photographs, and just took it easy. This is a watercolour of Cley Hill. There is a fantastic legend about the hill (read about it here) and it's also a famous UFO hotspot! Woo!

London flowers

I'm in London for an early Spring, and enjoying the flowers in the changeable weather. I've been experimenting with mixing watercolour and pen and ink, and drew some peonies for my mum.oters day 2016 contrastI visited Petersham Nurseries with my parents and had a lovely lunch, and I wished I could take every single flowering plant home with me...flowers petersham

exhibition prints

My show continues for 2 more weekends, and I'll be at the studio this afternoon (saturday) so please feel free to drop in!pink jug 2Here are two of the newer pieces in the show. I've been experimenting with adding different media onto prints: the pink jug is a mokuhanga print with added pen line drawing, and the bird mug is an etching with watercolour.bird on a cupGraphic Arts Workshop: 2565 3rd St #305, San Francisco, CA 94107

Point Reyes

Hope everyone is having a relaxing winter break. I just got back from a little visit up the coast to Point Reyes National Seashore, which was chilly but oh so beautiful! We visited the Point Reyes lighthouse, and saw grey whales on their way to Baha.point reyes sketchbookIn Inverness, right by the water, the sunrise glow with mist over the water, was pink and golden and like a dream...sunriseLimantour beach was wild and empty, limantour beachand I lay on the sand in the sunshine and painted the grasses in the sand dunes.sandunesReally, really, can't wait to go back again and discover more!

Kyushu part II

From Kumamoto, we travelled by scenic train to Kagoshima, with its famous active volcano Sakurajima. We visited up close, riding the boat across the bay, watching nervously at the smoke puffing gently from the top...sakurajimaWe spent a day further south in Ibusuki, and visited the famous sand baths. At Yamakawa it was calm, almost tropical, and we saw another famous mountain called Kaimondake, with its perfectly conical shape.ibusukiThe skies we saw over the waters were truly magical through the train windows, as we travelled along the coast.coastWe ate at a tiny restaurant, that specialised in local style yakitori, and the regulars were amazed to see us. These sorts of places are what make travel amazing...IMG_9169From there we made our way to Kurokawa Onsen, passing by yet another active volcano, Aso san. At Kurokawa we stayed in a lovely traditional ryokan and tried many different sorts of onsen baths. We rested, and walked in the Autumnal mountains.autumn And then back we went to Fukuoka for one more evening of tasty food. Here's a lovely tempura place we found, dating back to the 1930's!IMG_8230And then on to Tokyo, and home.

Kyushu part I

This week I have been in Kyushu Japan, starting my travels by train around the island. from train 2I love travelling by train here, it's so efficient and also somehow charming. As you get further into the countryside, the trains become smaller, more unusual and fun! We started in Fukuoka, eating at yatais, and we're now in Kumamoto, at an adorable minshuku guesthouse in the countryside. I drew the view from our two windows.window watercolourThe rice has just been harvested, but the fields are still beautifully green, resting until the summer.countryside1

kapok shop window displays

I recently designed an autumn window display theme for kapok in Hong Kong. I created watercolour illustrations in shades of reds and browns for their 'into the wild' theme, featuring foliage, berries, and cute woodland animals. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I created various layouts of the illustrations for the six different store locations.

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Kapok has two stand alone stores in Wanchai, one large one in PMQ in Central,PMQ 2 copy and several concession stores within department stores,kapok voyage copyso they all needed slightly different treatments. I love the cube stands and little details inside the stores too...store copyHere's to a happy Autumn!mouse