Linocut Christmas

I had such good intentions to post more this holiday… ah well. I was busy making more art!

Last year I made everyone’s Christmas cards by hand and decided to do the same this year. While I chose to do them in water colors last year, which was a blast, this year I wanted to use some skills that I’d learned at NSCAD. When we did our linocut prints in printmaking a few months ago, I knew immediately that that was how I wanted to do Christmas cards this year.

I bought some 4″ x 5″ linoblocks (linoleum with wood-backing to make them easier to carve), two large sheets of Stonehenge paper, a couple tubes of water-soluable print-making ink and was on my way!

Linocut Xmas Cards by Jess Lingley

Linocut Xmas Cards by Jess Lingley

I think they turned out decently, though I’m still not sold on the owl. I wanted to keep the designs minimal so I wouldn’t break my back on them. Carving is hard work, and even these had my elbows and back aching the next day… but enough whining! These were fun to do and not that difficult, either! If you want to do your own linocut cards there are plenty of great resources to help you online, like this Instructables tutorial.

(via Instructables)

(via Instructables)

They suggest printing on papers that have patterns on them which can yield some interesting results. Overall, I found print-making at school to be a very finicky business. If you don’t ink the plates enough, or don’t put enough pressure down, you won’t get a clear image for a result. This can be desirable at times, however. It can be very unpredictable which some people like in art. I tend to like things to be a bit more controlled, but it was interesting to push my boundaries in print-making class. Linocut prints and dry point printing were my favorite techniques by far, but dry point isn’t really possible unless you have a proper printing press to get the right amount of pressure down.

If you don’t feel like making your own linocut prints, but would still love to have one or gift them, Etsy carries a ton of beautiful linocut prints from hundreds of different artists.

(via redcatpress on Etsy)

(via redcatpress on Etsy)

(via AtlantisPrints on Etsy)

(via AtlantisPrints on Etsy)

Finally, though technically these next prints are wood cuts and not linocuts (the technique used to make them is identical as far as I know), they’re absolutely stunning. I was introduced to Tugboat Printshop through BOOOOOOOM’s website. A two-person operation, they do large-scale woodblock prints.

"The Moon" 35.5" x 30.5" Woodcut Print on White BFK Paper Paul Roden + Valerie Lueth, 2012.

“THE MOON” 35.5″ x 30.5″ Woodcut Print on White BFK Paper Paul Roden + Valerie Lueth, 2012.

"THE FOUR ELEMENTS SET" Four 12" x 10.25 " Color Woodcut Prints on Ivory Somerset Paper Paul Roden + Valerie Lueth, 2012.

“THE FOUR ELEMENTS SET”
Four 12″ x 10.25 ” Color Woodcut Prints on Ivory Somerset Paper
Paul Roden + Valerie Lueth, 2012.

The amount of tiny detail in these equates to hours upon hours of careful carving, but even if you ignore that, observe the multiple colors. In order to do multiple colors in a linocut or woodblock print, you need to have different blocks for each color. You basically need to carve the same thing for as many colors as you wish to include in your final print. There is so much room for margin of error in these kinds of works. I can’t imagine how long it would take to go from start to finish. Paul and Valerie talk about their process a bit here.

People wonder why prints like these are so expensive; beyond the insane amount of work that goes into them, there are a limited amount of prints that can be done before the wood wears down and becomes unusable. These beautiful prints are worth every penny in my books!

This may be my last post before going back to school, so everyone: have a great holiday and a happy new year! I have so many things to look forward to in the new year and I’m totally ready to get started! Let’s go, 2013!

Funky Items for Your Office Space

Whether you work in a cubicle, have your own office or even work at home, there are tons of ways you can spruce up your boring work space! Since there are so many options out there, both permanent and easily reversible, I may revisit this topic again or even make it a regular post topic. For now, let’s start with some small ways of bringing color into your space that aren’t permanent and can change with your mood.

Vintage Rainbow Mug (via Etsy)

Vintage Rainbow Mug (via Etsy)

A rainbow coffee mug is a great way to start your morning, or kick-start your afternoon. Having a personal coffee mug at the office always made me feel more comfortable, like I was bringing a little piece of home with me.

Metallic Gold Zebra Business Card Holder (via Etsy)

Metallic Gold Zebra Business Card Holder (via Etsy)

I saw this and had to post it just because of how ridiculous and hilarious it is! Why keep business cards in a boring old wallet or flip book when you could stack them in this fabulous gold zebra holder?! It may catch some eyes in your cube, or even become a conversation starter. If your client takes a card from this and laughs, perhaps that’s a little something to help remember you by. Or maybe it just makes you smile, and that’s great too. A smile or laugh is a great way to perk up on a dreary day.

Kantha Quilts (via Decor8)

Kantha Quilts (via Decor8)

If your building is drafty or you’re like me and always get chilly when sitting down for long periods of time, bring in a nice afghan or quilt to wrap up in. The patterns, colors and price ranges of quilts vary wildly so there’s something out there for just about everyone’s tastes. I like the mix of the floral and textile patterns on the above Kantha quilts. These are a great way to brighten up a boring chair, as well. If you have more space or an office of your own, you could even hang them on the wall to really brighten up the space.

DIY Color Block Cabinet (via Say Yes to Hoboken)

DIY Color Block Cabinet (via Say Yes to Hoboken)

These next two items are ways to change your furniture to give them more color, but they’re at least semi-permanent, so make sure to get permission from your boss first. Or go crazy if you work from home! The above image links to a tutorial on how to color-block wall storage. Without the paint I would’ve thought that shelf a bit old and dingy, but giving it bright stripes of color really helps to modernize it.

The Latest DIY: Faux Snakeskin Table

The Latest DIY: Faux Snakeskin Table

This is one of my favorite finds over the past few weeks: a tutorial on how to re-do a table without painting it, but instead by laying fabric over it! You could use this tutorial on just about any piece of furniture, but simple is probably better and easier. With a bit of glue and a lot of your favorite fabric, the possibilities are endless. Why have a solid block of color on a table when you could have snakeskin?

If you’re going to be spending long periods of time working, I feel that it’s important to make your work space as comfortable and inviting as possible. Even if you don’t have a lot of choice on where you work, there are both small and large ways to make the space more enjoyable.

Spring Colors in the Home

As the warm temperatures continue and the green grass starts to peak up out of the dirt outside, brightly colored spring decor has been finding its way into my blog roll. Sipping on tea and looking at colorful things is a great way to wake up during those sleepy afternoons!

Animal Planter Trio - Mini Modern Art Centerpeices (via Etsy)

Animal Planter Trio - Mini Modern Art Centerpeices (via Etsy)

These are a bit kitschy, maybe even a bit creepy, but I love the colors! It’s a great idea to have an usual object hold plants instead of the typical plain planter pots. These would be great in a child’s room (depending on the material, may want to watch if they’re breakable), but would also work well in a room painted white, allowing for many differently colored accessories, or in an outdoor space. If you don’t like Disney-esc creatures, you can also get dinosaur versions.

vertical succulent wall art - made to order (via Etsy)

vertical succulent wall art - made to order (via Etsy)

Some more Etsy-goodness here: a living wall! This wall is filled entirely with Succulents and made to order. This means a bit of a wait before you get it (you’re looking at a few months anyway while the roots set) but the results speak for themselves. Provided this was hung on a well-lit wall, it would be beautiful inside. It would also look great in an outdoor space or on a patio. The lush colors remind me of Greece, marveling at how beautiful the nature there was. So many of the bright colors I love occur naturally; the almost glowing quality to the aquamarine lakes, the tart green of the limes and lemons, the electric neons in the sunsets… nature provides so much wonderful art for us, so why shouldn’t we have it in our homes?

Blue & White Ginger Jars (via Marcus Design)

Blue & White Ginger Jars (via Marcus Design)

Blue & White Ginger Jars (via Marcus Design)

Blue & White Ginger Jars (via Marcus Design)

Two of my favorite colors, blue and pink, together! These ginger jars would look great in almost any room and could hold any number of brightly colored blossoms. I love the patterns on these vases and wouldn’t mind trying to paint some on my own. The combination of block text over floral patterns is stunning. I also like the branch-lamp hanging over top of them.

White Frames for Bright Prints (via Paper Fashion)

White Frames for Bright Prints (via Paper Fashion)

I’ve seen many white and silver frames before, but have trouble visualizing what kind of art I’d put in them. Here, we see brightly colored prints in them. This helps promote openness and light in a room. Kind of makes me want to do a super neon bright illustration just so I could try this out. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work with fully colored backgrounds; perhaps it’s time to try illustrating a simple subject in the middle (or off to the sides) and leaving the rest of the page blank? It makes quite a statement and really draws your eye to the subject in question.

Happy Friday & weekend, everyone! I’ll be back next week with some road-trip related posts. I’m so looking forward to a break and some fresh inspiration!

 

Sitting Down & Stretching Out

I hope everyone has enjoyed (or is still enjoying) the long weekend! In celebration of eating well and relaxing, here are some chairs that will help you do just that in style.

Chair for stretching out on (via Marcus Design)

Chair for stretching out on (via Marcus Design)

I like this chair because of the blue and pink floral pattern, but also because of it’s irregular shape that would allow you to stretch your legs out. Additionally, there is room to sit several people sideways, so it works well in a living room setting. The antique claw-feet are a nice touch.

re-upholstered benches (via The Peak of Tres Chic)

re-upholstered benches (via The Peak of Tres Chic)

These small benches would work great in an entryway; I can’t count the number of times I’ve come inside during the winter and stumbled around trying to unlace my boots with nowhere to go. It would be so much nicer to grab a seat for this; it would also be nice to have somewhere to set down purses or bags temporarily while I remove my jacket, scarf, hat, etc. Originally these benches were simple black leather but the author of this post stapled some new fabric over them and re-painted the legs herself. Click on the photo to see the full tutorial! This is something I could definitely handle…

Envelope Sofa (via Apartment Therapy)

Envelope Sofa (via Apartment Therapy)

This versatile sofa, dubbed the Envelope Sofa, immediately caught my eye. It’s a nice soft and neutral gray, so it’d work in almost any space. Whether you like to sprawl out or curl up, there’s room for pretty much everything here. Because of it’s reasonable size it would look good even in a small living room.

Technicolour Tub Chair Designed by Ray Clarke (via Etsy)

Technicolour Tub Chair Designed by Ray Clarke (via Etsy)

So much color! The quantity of different fabrics could be overwhelming to some, but when I saw this all I could think of is how I would customize it. You could put swatches of lots of different things in there; old band shirts, leftovers from other sewing projects… the possibilities are endless. If you wanted to tone it down you could easily do so with a solid-colored throw, or a few solid-colored pillows as well. This particular chair would probably work best in a neutral-colored room but since there are so many different colors happening on it, it’s fairly versatile.

 

Fashion Inspiration 21-03-12

I haven’t had a chance to start anything new since I finished the Cherry Blossom abstract piece on Sunday, so here’s some fashion that’s caught my eye recently.

Dark Beauty, via A White Carousel

There are several aspects to this look I really like: the lacey patterns, the transparent layers of fabric, the dramatic makeup and the voluminous hair. I immediately thought of painting this girl when I saw her; there’s a great balance of patterns and textures. The sequins are carefully placed to avoid being too flashy, and instead give the look an elegant edge.

via Melanie Castillo on Pinterest

The black and white palette works really well to unify this composition which might be a bit busy otherwise. The combination of different textures, fur, leather and shine, are an aspect of fashion I really enjoy. The graffitti on the wall and the snow on the ground, with imprints of feet, helps to define the model.

Vogue Japan, via Tom & Lorenzo

This page is out of Vogue Japan. In contrast to the previous image, I like how busy this one is. It captures a sort of energy and is exciting and flashy. I like the main model’s long sleek hair against the gold detailing on her dress. It’s like she’s from the future, visiting present-day Japan. Go check out the other photos from this shoot, they’re gorgeous too!

Lilybrush evening dress

Green and pink, perfect colors for spring! The fabric in this dress looks so luxurious, flowing and rich. I love the tie in the middle and crown of blossoms in her hair. Again, this is something I’d love to paint. The creases give the dress a lot of depth and character, I could have a lot of fun with that.

For My Home 29-02-12

Last weekend was a bit of a dud. I did get a chance to test some colors out on a sketch and begin coloring the life owl. As well, I did a bit more on the abstract, but I didn’t get as far as I’d planned. I was overly tired and needed a few days of of rest, so I let the art go for awhile since I didn’t want to push myself. I’m feeling better today, though, and I’m ready to dive back into it. Since I don’t have much for progress shots I’ll show you what I’ve been drooling over to have in my home.

Paula Mills' family room

Paula Mills' family room (via Design Sponge)

Having an old-fashioned travel trunk has been on my “want” list for a long time now. Currently, in our bedroom we have a large armoire to hold some odds and ends including my make-up, medicine and not much else. It’s gaudy and a huge waste of space; I look forward to getting rid of it. After looking at some train-style travel cases for make-up, I got the idea to find an old trunk to have at the foot of the bed to organise the content of the armoire. It would free up a ton of space in the room and I could custom paint it myself! Though I haven’t gotten any closer to my goal I fully intend on doing this, hopefully sometime this year.

Industrial Chandelier with Vintage Bulbs

Industrial Chandelier with Vintage Bulbs (via Etsy)

I really love this “industrial chandelier”. It’s simple and was a warm inviting aesthetic. It would work well in a studio-space, an upgraded garage, a basement or even a neutral dining room or den. Since it’s not overly-detailed it would work in a multitude of spaces.

Design by Joy Triboult

Design by Joy Triboult (via The Zhush)

I talked about print and pattern in my fashion post last week and I feel it works in interior design as well, but it needs to be treated carefully. With the mirror in this space there’s a zebra-print border that looks quite nice without being overwhelming. If the entire dresser was covered in it, it risks looking a bit gaudy. Here though, it looks quite nice.

Pop Art Dresser

Pop Art Dresser (via 79ideas)

Want to keep a minimalistic look in your room, or don’t want to clutter up your walls, but you still want to display art? Paint your dresser! I love how this simple dresser was jazzed up using pop art. Keeping it black and white is a great way to keep the feel modern and fun without overwhelming the space. This is something I would absolutely consider doing myself, if I can convince my husband our furniture needs sprucing up. 🙂

Inspiration 16-01-12

Happy Monday everyone! It was really chilly over the weekend so I stayed inside and got into some art but I don’t have any photos to show off just yet. In the mean time, here are some illustrations I’ve been drooling over recently.

"La Marelle" piece by Elodie

"La Marelle" piece by Elodie

Elodie’s pieces are colorful and traditional. She plays with different methods of shading (hatching versus pointilism) and patterns. Detail-oriented with interesting color choices, her work is captivating. The background of this piece with gradients from red to yellow really bring out the blue of the girl’s dress. Loving the detail on the skirt and jewellery.

Nothing Matters, We Are The Sweetest Mistakes by Fumi Mini Nakamura

Nothing Matters, We Are The Sweetest Mistakes by Fumi Mini Nakamura

Nakamura’s work is along the same vain as Elodie’s while being very different. This piece in particular caught my eye because there is so much to take in and try to understand. It’s composition is tattoo-like in nature and would be too cluttered if it weren’t for the carefully placed negative spaces. I think for work like this, a lot of planning is required to make it come together successfully.

Candy Elk Dreamer by Gerrel Saunders

Candy Elk Dreamer by Gerrel Saunders

The vibrant trippy colors grabbed me immediately with this piece. I love the mix of macabre and candy. The clean and crispy look of digital work (whether in Photoshop or Illustrator) is very appealing. I particularly love the way the feathers are laid out here.

Pure Morning by carissa rose

Pure Morning by carissa rose

I was turned onto this artist from a local shop downtown, Pretty Little Freak Boutique, who sell her prints! I love tattoo-style drawings of people with tattoos… does that make me weird? Her watercolor and ink combination is lovely and the blanket is especially beautifully colored. I love the detail in the patterns, backgrounds and environments that she puts into her work. I should really look into getting a print to hang in my studio.

Until next time, stay warm!