a lovely weekend retreat

I promised you that I would share the highlights of my weekend retreat with my LIDL ladies. It came at the perfect time and was soooo needed and totally AWESOME!! Jen found us an amazing house with a great deck, a HOT TUB and a creek out back. She’s totally our den mother, keeping us organized, and making sure everyone is well taken care of :-) Thanks Jen!!

Upon arrival we opened a bottle of wine, rolled out some craft paper and broke out the markers, ’cause chatting and drawing just goes hand and hand with these gals.

It was so nice to have an extended period of time to spend with everyone without an agenda…well other than relaxing, laughing & connecting, but that just happens naturally.

We all came armed with a vast selection of art & craft supplies and an array of books and magazines to share and inspire. We “set up camp” and didn’t leave the grounds all weekend (minus having to replenish our beverage selection:-) And oh my goodness, the whether was practical perfect. It was just warm enough during the day that you could soak up the rays and not feel sticky or sweaty and in the evenings a light breeze would coax you into a cozy sweater. 

The one organized group activity we did was a journaling exercise that was designed to push us to further explore and dive deeper into our dreams. It was great to share and listen to everyone’s aspirational and sometimes fragile dreams with such an open and caring group. It really truly got me thinking and I definitely have some more excavating and exploring to do. But it was totally a great starting point. 

It really was a very lovely weekend that ended way too quickly. We most definitely need a DO-OVER!!

Some of the photos in this post were taken by Jen, Willo and other LIDL members. If you want to see the rest of our pictures you can check out Stef’s and Willo’s flickr streams.

Sketchbook Stories :: Alisha Wilson

I got connected with Alisha thru my husband Jay. He’s on the board of AIGA SF and Alisha is a super active local member and networker to boot. You can almost guarantee that she’ll be holding court at all of the major design events in the city. But, we really got to know each other when we would grab lunch together and just sit and chat.

Alisha was born and raised in Vermont, and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design, but her sights were set on the west cost.  She pick up and moved to San Francisco only 5 days after graduation and started her own freelance Illustration Business.

Alisha has worked at Gladstone as their Sr. Designer, Flip Video as Graphic Designer and online Merchandiser, and now works for Recurly as their Manager of Design and Creative Goodness. Alisha’s has been working on an art licensing portfolio for many years and writes about her journeys in her blog Sweetooth.

Here is Alisha’s Sketchbook Story::

AW: This year I set an art licensing goal. My goal is to create a collection every month, with the hopes of having 12 complete collections by the end of  2011. So far, I am on track and I wanted to share the process on how I made my collection “Cherry Nice”.

AW: I love sweets, candy and mostly anything girly. I am always snapping pictures of nice looking treats. A lot of the work I make is images of goodies. I call this set of licensing collections “Snacks and Treats”. I had a life drawing professor in college who would always say “go get your snacks and treats” when it was break time. This phrase always cracked me up, so I have claimed it for my own and used it ever sense.

AW: I have an incredible sweetooth and my love for sweet images started in high school where I did my AP art portfolio on candy. I sculpted, painted, photographed and ate a lot of candy. When I moved to San Francisco and was done with college and free to paint whatever I wanted, I once again returned to painting sweets.

AW:I visit a lot of bakeries in search of the cutest cupcakes, or cookies and take them to my art studio and get started. My most recent cupcake collection “Cherry Nice” incorporates cherries and cupcakes. So I picked up a bag of cherries and an amazing red velvet cupcake from Baked my local cupcake shop.

AW: I first set up the individual objects I am going to paint and shoot many photographs of the items from all angles with lots of different lighting.

AW: Then in Photoshop I merge and arrange the images how I want them. I make color and saturation changes to my images, then print them out.

AW: I transfer the images to watercolor paper and looking at the original items (the cherries and cupcakes) I start to paint. It is important to me to actually see the objects so that I can get cues on textures and make them look as luscious as possible. For this collection I also painted a few background textures to incorporate into my designs. I don’t over plan how these textures will actually work with the food objects. I just know they come in handy when trying to make wrapping papers and greeting cards and such.

AW: After everything is painted, I scan the finished paintings back into Photoshop and go to work on deleting all of the background textures so each item is isolated. This is absolutely my most un-favorite part of this whole process. I have many collections waiting to have their backgrounds deleted, but alas.

AW: I use these isolated objects to create repeat patterns. I make many patterns in all different colors so that I have many surface patterns to choose from when mocking up the repeats on products.  I try to think who would the end user be for these products and what products would  be appropriate for these images.

AW: For this collection I made 2 different apron collections and a tableware collection. 

AW: Some of my “Cherry Nice” collection is being licensed by Flip Video. I hope you enjoyed my story. I had fun telling it.


Here’s where you can find Alisha ::

website:: http://www.alishawilson.com/

     blog:: http://alishawilsonblog.blogspot.com/

  twitter:: @alishawilson

linked in:: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/alisha-wilson/10/361/94a

Summer Camp!!

Today, was actually, Ava Blu’s first day of summer camp and I was more anxious and nervous then she was. I was up way way too early fretting about how it was going to go while I was making her lunch. Worrying that the drop off was going to be a terrible tearfest, but in the end she just waved good-bye and walked away with a huge smile on her face. She didn’t even turning around once to look back. I’m so glad she had a great first day!!! :-)

Looking forward to a creative weekend!!

Can’t wait to leave for the Russian River in just a few hours!! I’ll be chillin’ all weekend with my amazing LIDL ladies!! A much needed creative retreat! It’s been nuts since I got back from Surtex and I’m looking forward to having a fun relaxing weekend to recharge my battery. And what better way to do it than with a group of uber talented creative ladies. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back :-)

clothing diet

Last year, right around this time, I read this article in the New York Times about this web challenge called Six Items or Less and felt super inspired. Now, I knew that there would be no way that I could go down to only 6 items in my wardrobe, nor did I have enough restrain and willpower to not shop for a year, like the folks that were doing the The Great American Apparel Diet. But, I did think that I could definitely simplify and weed out all of the crazy patterns and colors that were hanging in my closet. (Which to be honest, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing on a everyday basis, for fear of people noticing the repeat items). So I decided that wanted to come up with a daily uniform of sorts to make my mornings and life a little less hectic. That weekend I did a HUGE purge and and instuted a few self-inflected rules and guidelines for myself.

Black, White, Neural Base Colors & Denim

I allow color to enter my wardrobe thru accessories such as scarfs (that are a bit of a staple for me), sweaters and jewelry. That give me just enough splash of color to makes me feel fashion forward and current.

So, it’s coming up on a year, that I’ve instituted this system, and I have to say that it’s totally working for me! And it’s actually been quite freeing! Now, I know it’s not for everyone, and who’s to say that I’m not going to one day fall in love with an amazing colorful printed top that I absolutely “must have’, but for now it’s just the kind of simplicity that I need in my life. And you know what, I don’t think anyone’s ever noticed :-)

Sketchbook Stories :: Another Page :: Paige Pooler

This week Paige is sharing with us another page in her Sketchbook Story. You’ll get to see an inside view into her process. And I do have to say it’s pretty amusing the way she faces her hurdles. I think most of us can relate to the procrastination that sometime comes with the fear of starting a new project. If you’d like to read Paige’s first debut stop by here.

Here another page from Paige’s Sketchbook Story ::

PP: When Cindy Ann and I discussed my posting here several months ago, I was excited and happy about the prospect working on some of my own ideas. I thought this deadline would be a great incentive for me to get a whole collection of designs drawn. HAHAHAA!!!  I also had delusions that I might even develop something spectacular…something that would eventually take off like wildfire and pay my bills for the next forty years. Okay, so that did NOT happen.

Actually, and the good news is, paying work came in and that’s even better because the bills I have NOW will get paid. Eventually. (Hey man, where is one that check anyway?!) Unfortunately, for the purpose of this post, my most recent work has either been work-for-hire or has not yet published.  And even if I was able to share, the majority of this work would still be too similar to my previous posting in January . This means, that absolutely, something else had to be done…and quick too…because, when I got Cindy Ann’s email reminder on Wednesday, not a thing had been started!! Oh no!

So, here it is THE PROCESS…from concept to final…with lots and lots of panic and (ridiculous amounts of) procrastination thrown in for good measure.

It just so happens a dear friend of mine is putting together a silent art auction for Japan.  This presented a great opportunity for me to both get the art made and get the word out to other artists who might be able to donate as well!! OK!  So at least I knew what the project was for….now, I just needed to figure everything else out.

So, I hemmed and hawed. I walked the dogs. I made a smoothie. I thought about the earthquake and following aftermath and knew I didn’t want to focus on the destruction. Besides being an optimist and always trying to find the bright side, I think a happy image is more likely to sell. Initially, I thought about Godzilla and Hello Kitty sitting in a jacuzzi but, I sort of did this before, just with a different creature, Nessie.

I mention that I’m having a hard time knowing where to start with this painting to a friend and she just gave me a gem….”cherry blossoms” she said.  That’s all I really needed. Now I had something to work around, I had my muse!! *Special shout out to Cari for the save!!


PP: Cherry blossoms are so pretty and delicate and hopeful. And it turns out, they symbolize (according to www.experts123.com) “the arrival of Spring. End of winter. End of difficulty period. Start of prosperity. Joy. Beautiful Nature. Freshness. New generation. Life cycle.” I rather like that. It’s hopeful.

Even though my online reference was awesome, I still didn’t know my angle. I perused my bookshelves for anything Japanese.  I’ve always loved Japanese culture and have lots of little trinkets…lots of gifts from friends who have gone and brought me back a cute little toy or something.  I’m definitely inspired by these on some level.

PP: Still, my own stash wasn’t quite enough to get me going.   It was time for some Research and Development! Honestly,  I probably should have stayed home and hunkered down to draw something…or..anything for that matter but I was in full-blown procrasti-mode. Living so close, there was no way I wasn’t going to pop on over to Little Tokyo for some inspiration (and more trinkets). I bought myself a back massager type thing, sushi boxes, pens, notepads, cards, a mug, change purse, a toy, mochi and ponzu sauce. All in the name of research!!  That includes the sweet potato danish at the Japanese bakery. Interesting and kind of delicious.

PP: I could spend forever looking at Japanese packaging, I just loooooooove it.  They’re not afraid to have a little fun with their designs. I still didn’t have my “idea” fleshed out but I had such a great day exploring.  I knew I’d get my answer. The next day was Saturday and time was a tickin’!!!  I needed to get this all done and out on Sunday. So naturally, I head off to Macy’s one day sale!! Honestly, this is extreme procrastination happening, I’m not normally so awful. I wondered why I was doing all this and the answer I came up with was fear.  I was working thru my fear of actual paint (all my work is digital these days and they haven’t invented an undo button for my paint brushes or color changes, easy tweaks, etc.) Plus, I could NOT afford to NOT use the extra coupons my mother gave me for the sale!! Come on! You’da done the same thing!!! (*BTW, I got a really cute dress!)PP: Sigh. Finally, I come home.  I scratch my head. I go back out to the art store for supplies since I can’t find everything from my recent move.  Then I totally fall off the vegan train and get a slice of NY style cheese pizza.  Get home…sit at computer. Sigh again. Audibly.  Shockingly, a sketch or two I do come together.  I am pleased, choose one and go!!! 

PP: From there…I just sat at my desk for an extended amount of time until I couldn’t feel my legs anymore…

 PP: I did add a little bunny at the very end and I think it perks things up a bit more.  Now, I can’t promise not to fuss over this painting over the next few days…but here’s the final art.

Art Party for Japan – Call for Donations!


rock the boat

Oh my gosh it was a beautiful day today in the Bay Area, some might have even say a bit too hot. While I was walking along the Embarcadero to meet some old coworkers for lunch I was think about this book that I recently picked up and started reading called On Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington (Jay happened to have a signed copy laying around the house that he picked up at a recent conference he attended).

In Arianna’s introduction she talks about the limits that fear places on us especially when we sacrifice our personal truths and “go along with” and conforms with the masses, whether it’s because we are seeking approval or because we are just trying to be “nice”. I think we’ve all done this at one time or another and today I was reminded that sometimes you HAVE TO rock the BOAT! Make your own waves to ride and use your inner compass to guide you. I say this, but also know how hard it is to do. I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings and I’m not great at confrontation. To be quite honest, it actually make my stomach churn at nauseating speeds. But, I also know that the only person’s happiness you can truly alter is your own. And as much as I may dislike the experience, sometimes confrontation and criticism are necessary to break-thru to the other side.

I am in no way perfect at this and sometimes I say the wrong things and take criticism way too personally, but I am getting better at it. Standing tall while the boat is rocking isn’t easy, but sitting on the docks definitely isn’t an option. I’m working on balancing my fears the best I can.

Sketchbook Stories :: Heather Davulco

Heather has always had a passion for painting and drawing. After graduating from The University of Texas with a degree in Textiles and Apparel she decided to pick up her paintbrushes and begin painting again! And in the true spirit of a creative soul she started building her own life as a independent residential and commercial mural artist. In addition to creating murals, Heather also teaches faux finish classes to adults and summer art camp to local school age children. Her work has been featured in Delaware Today and Better Homes and Gardens Home Plans Edition. Heather resides in Bucks County Pennsylvania, with her husband, who just happens to be her college sweetheart, and their two girls.

Here is Heather’s Sketchbook Story ::

HD: I spent about 2 years working for a company called Muralisticks, which creates removable murals for children’s rooms. I have done 6 collections for them: Cape Cod Beach Buddies, AlphaFUN, Country Nursery Rhymes, Pond Frogs, Dancing Frogs, and Dress Up. You can check it out here: www.muralistick.com

HD: This is the process for creating the collection “Cape Cod Beach Buddies” for Muralistick.

HD: I gather lots and lots of imagery and I like to pin them up everywhere. I take pics whenever possible, and my client sent me photos of her daughters and dog. We also mapped out the walls and what images we wanted for which space. We planned this for her own nursery but also to offer to clients as well through Muralistick. We wanted the room to feel like Cape Cod.

HD: I usually do some rough sketches and send those to the client, then I take their suggestions/ideas and make final sketches.

HD: Once those are okayed then I use my opaque projector to size the image correctly. If the painting will be printed a particular size the client will often need me to paint the image in a certain specific measurement.  Using the projector allows me to get it exactly the correct size. My set up is in the basement where I can get it nice and dark!

HD: The first photo is what the room looked like when it was base coated two different colors of blue-sky and sea. This is a totally removable mural! Isn’t that cool!?

HD: The whales are my FAVORITE! I also really love the way Jerimiah the brown beach poodle came out.

HD: Also I am currently creating my third licensing collection for Dish and Spoon Productions which makes art and accessories for upscale nurseries. 

HD: My work with Dish and Spoon will debut at the ABC Kid’s Expo in September (hasn’t been released yet)

HD: Country Nursery Rhymes collection–the baby basket inspiration and the process of painting it hanging from the tree, and also the fox. I like his expression so I included him.

HD: In addition to the licensing work I am doing now I also spent a couple of years creating migraine inspired art which was widely published (two pieces in medical journals) and was on the cover of a beautiful book entitled Migraine Expression, by Betsey Blondin. One piece was also shown at a gallery.

I keep up with my blog about once a week and try to show current and past projects. I also have been anecdotally telling some stories about how I first started my mural biz in Austin in 1994 (I included a pic taken around that time too) 

Here’s where you can find Heather ::

   blog :: www.aheatherdavulcu.blogspot.com

more collaboration

Had a mother daughter Friday and did a little more collaboration!! These are still a work in progress but you get the idea. I’m thinking there might be a joint etsy shop in our future.

creative mornings :: scheduling & savage drawings

This is week 2 of implementing my new routine. I spent the first part of the morning at the cafe roughing out what I want my ideal weekly schedule to look like. It still need a bit more tweaking, but at least it’s a start. And then I got down to business and starting drawing. It’s a little sneek peak of what’s brewing for my next art collection :-)

It was actually a really productive morning. I didn’t do much dawdling and just got to it. What was funny/interesting, is that there was another person in the cafe that was also sketching. And I noticed that, the minute she picked up her iphone to check her messages, she was done for! Shortly after she packed up her things and left. (Gosh, I felt her pain. That was me last week.)

Note to Self: Leave the iphone out of sight and don’t check it until drawing time is over.