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.We stayed at the historic Wawona hotel (now renamed the Big Trees Lodge), and completely relaxed.We 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. During 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...
Last weekend we went to see The Iron Stage doing a Game of Thrones improv night in San Francisco, it was amazing! I did lots of sketches while I watched...I said hello to the cast afterwards and showed them my drawings and they posted them on their facebook page, hurrah!Next month, Star Trek improv!~
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...
The new HOBBS store in High Street Kensington, London is open! And lots of my specially commissioned illustrations are framed and decorating the walls...I was asked to create illustrations for the stores, in a variety of styles, that reflected their values of quality and British heritage.I also made a special map of the surrounding area showing the wonderful buildings and streets you can explore near the new store. I highlighted some of the HOBBS iconic fashion items...
... and of course a countryside feature, the pheasant!I also did some hand-lettered quotes, some etchings, and included some pages from my sketchbooks.I hope you'll be able to visit and let me know what you think. Happy shopping!
Thanks to Nick Jesse for the store photos.
kapok, the hipster boutique lifestyle store in Hong Kong had their ten year anniversary this weekend, and they've been building up to it with a variety of events. I designed and illustrated a map for their #kapok10 anniversary launch, and they've used elements from it throughout their stores, website and social media.I've never created a map from scratch before, by which I mean that it's an imaginary place, not a real one. I was asked to create a country that embodied everything kapok stood for: creativity, fun, fashion and a truly international flavour. I could start anywhere! And of course a new country needs a crest: kapokland's features the pink dolphin of HK and their new motto: 'future classics' Here's the full map, showing an archipelago of different exotic fantasy islands, covering all seasons at once, with both tropical and arctic lands.The reverse side of the map also featured a close-up of the main town in kapokland: Kapokville. The town had shops and museums, but also global embassies, a castle and even pedalos!This is how it was used on the kapok website...They even had a stand at a local design market with fun illustrated props for customers to interact with......and also used some of the animals as a banner on facebook...I especially liked how they used details from the map on the store windows...and inside...Congratulations kapok! Here's to the next 10 years of fabulous!
I've just come home from a wonderful visit in New York and Washington DC. I love NY, and it felt wonderful to meet friends and wander in all my special spots... I showed my portfolio, ate fun dinners, and saw some inspiring exhibitions in both cities.
I was super excited to see the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, the White House, the Museum of American History and the Capitol.I was especially moved by the Jefferson memorial, as he's my favourite US President of all!
I spent a few days in Vienna recently, and finally managed to eat at the famous Cafe Central with its glorious arched ceilings.I mixed it up a bit, and then went for cake at Simoni's, a very modern cafe, and just as delicious.The big revelation for me was the visit to the Kunsthistoriches Museum. I couldn't believe how many truly amazingly beautiful works of art there were.My favourites were this portrait of a lady by Rubens...and this absolute gem by Vermeer. It gave me such a lovely warm feeling.Vienna is such a beautiful city, even the hotdog stands are like works of art. This photograph is my tribute to Hopper, and features Durer's Hare on the roof.
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,and 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!
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.I visited Petersham Nurseries with my parents and had a lovely lunch, and I wished I could take every single flowering plant home with me...
One of my photos has been chosen to be in the annual juried plastic camera show at the prestigious rayko photo center in San Francisco. This is a double-exposure medium format shot I took with my trusty Holga when I was travelling in India. I'm not a photographer, but I do love analogue photography so much. The opening reception is this wednesday evening, March 9th, 6-8pm if you're around! Show continues until April 29th.
I was given this lovely simple shimekazari to put on the door, made of straw and rice, to ward off evil spirits and invite the good ones in. Let's hope it works!Today we enjoyed a Japanese osechi meal, all handmade and tasty, in a variety of special dishes, many of them wedding gifts used for the first time. Sometimes making beautiful food can be as fascinating as illustration.And here's a close-up of a little carrot blossom I made...Hope it will be a healthy and happy 2016 for you all!
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.In Inverness, right by the water, the sunrise glow with mist over the water, was pink and golden and like a dream...Limantour beach was wild and empty, and I lay on the sand in the sunshine and painted the grasses in the sand dunes.Really, really, can't wait to go back again and discover more!
This week I'm in London, admiring the lights, and loving the Chrismassy-ness of it all. Along with two of my monsters colleagues, Lynn Hatzius and David Humphries, we had a stand at the House of Illustration annual Illustrator's Christmas Fair, held in King's Cross. We sold prints and cards, and I even had some of my London Toile products.I've been admiring the wonderful Christmas windows around town, and my favourites are the glorious Fortnum and Masons...and of course Tiffanys.And the best thing about London is the choice of exhibitions, and these constructed trees by Ai Wei Wei at the Royal Academy were stunning.Can't wait for more London inspiration this week!
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...We 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.The skies we saw over the waters were truly magical through the train windows, as we travelled along the coast.We 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...From 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. 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!And then on to Tokyo, and home.
I spent a bit of time in HK walking around the older parts of town, that haven't been developed, and took some photos of the traditional shops I love...This is the key-cutting man who works on my street,and this is the local corner shop where I used to live.I love the way the shops look, even when they're closed for business,especially their original exterior metal shutters... I really hope that all the places like these never disappear.
I went to tree interiors shop in HK this week, and loved their fantastic new display of my HK toile products.Apparently the noodle bowl two-piece set is a best-seller, hurrah! Here is a sign they have showing all the different products.I especially liked this way of showing the Chinese teacups...Hope you can fit even just a little piece into your kitchens!
We attended our friends Marc & Liz's wedding at the weekend, which was a beautiful, sparkly, glamourous event in downtown Los Angeles.I sat to one side, and had a wonderful view of all the pretty bridesmaids, and loved the way they all had the same dress, and yet managed to look individual.My favourite sketch of the evening is this one of the bride and groom cutting the cake, it really makes me happy!We sat at a table full of wonderful people, surrounded by glittering glass and soft lights in the trees.Congratulations Marc & Liz! Happy days to follow...
We drove from Missoula across the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains and along the edge of the Great Plains up to the Eastern entrance of Glacier National Park. The Park was beyond breathtaking. The mountains, the trees, and the wide vistas of lakes, they were all so beautiful, I think they'll fill my mind for a long time.I painted several of the lakes, loving the reflected colours of the skies. This is a huckleberry cobbler, keeping my watercolour company...This is Lake McDonald, where we tried to swim in the freezing water, brrr.And Holland Lake at sunset... ... and in the morning.We stayed in a beautiful ranch cabin surrounded by meadows,that also inspired me to paint...The sunsets and sunrises were bigger than I've ever seen, this is truly the Big Sky Country!We saw a mama bear and her cub in the forest, and I collected images of Montana bears:Yay Montana! Can't wait to visit again...