I-F: Flawed

I grew up in Montreal, Canada, and I used to love waking up after a heavy snow and seeing that flawless blanket of white over everything. But even more, I loved being the first one to run across it and ruin that perfection!

So this is for all my friends and family in Montreal, Boston and Portland, OR, who have been getting record snowfalls (which I am appreciating vicariously as we have been sweltering under 43C+ (110F) days, though much milder today thankfully)

I was also inspired by this cute animation and equally lovely song, via Natascha. I've had the song in my head all day.

Good luck keeping cool/warm depending on your hemisphere!

I-F: Strings

This is a bit silly now that I look at it, but this is what I fear I will have to do to my little lime tree, who has unthinkingly produced about 20 flowers on one spindly branch alone. I don't know if they will all turn into limes, but if they do, there will have to be lots of strings attached!

That said, I love my lime tree (who I have named Kermit). I have only had him for about 6 months. The prospect of having my own lime production centre is very exciting because my husband and I have this motto: "everything is better with lime" which we decided upon in Mexico, when we couldn't think of one food that wouldn't be better with lime juice. Can you?

I-F: Primitive

Some people might feel quite 'primitive' before having their first cup of morning coffee...

OK so this wasn't done for I-F and it's a bit of a stretch, but there you go. This is actually for the 2nd blogaversary of my online critique group The Creative Cup. I've found CC invaluable in my humble lil illustration career - from getting practical advice on composition and style to personal encouragement to sharing industry info and links. I feel lucky to be a part of it, so thank you Creative Cupsters!

This illo was done with a mixture of ink, acrylics and collage in my moleskine. I bought this acrylic paint called 'Mixing White' by mistake, and was really disappointed because it is much thinner than the normal W&N Artist's colour, but just discovered that it's great for use on top of collage. See? everything has it's use! (famous last words from a hoarder, which by the way, I refuse to be, except when it comes to art supplies...)

I-F: Homage (to mother earth)

This illustration was done by candlelight during Earth Hour on Saturday March 29th between 8 and 9pm. If you don't know what Earth Hour is, you should! You can find out more about it here.

It was great, we turned off the electricity to everything except the fridge, I painted at the kitchen table and A practiced the real piano instead of the electric one. We looked out the front door and the whole street was dark. I'm a big one for making a greener footprint as much as possible, so I hope this raised some more awareness.

ps. it is our suburb of Melbourne in the portion of street map used in this illo, and our street is even featured but I won't tell you where. I honestly chose this page at random (because I couldn't see much!) so quite the coincidence!!

I-F: Garden

I wish there was one tree in my "garden", just ONE! But I don't think we can even call it a garden yet, it's more of a field. Yes... a blank canvas we keep telling ourselves... we can do whatever we want! but unfortunately (as much as we really love this house) just about EVERYTHING needs doing, and a garden is a bit further down the list. But it will be fun once we get to it!

I-F: Multiple

It takes multiple cats to make a good Cat Circus!

The cat at the bottom is my 2nd cat Rusty.
The 2nd cat is my 1st cat Sniffles.
The 3rd cat is my current cat Whiskey.
Not pictured are Touchstone (Touchy), Muddy, and Kiska. Don't you just love pet names? :-)

The cat circus came from Whiskey because she can do these amazing leaps and bounds, I thought she should run away and start a cat circus. But I'd miss her. So I'm glad she didn't. But I think I'd like to do a series of cat circus illos - it would be hilarious!

Hope you like it!

I-F: Theory

It is my theory that an octopus would make a great DJ! Check out all those arms - one to hold the headphones, one with the next record, one to twiddle knobs... perfect.

This is a colour test for just a small piece of a sketch I did for an underwater rave party. I want the finished painting to have much more contrast and energy than this, but I think it's a good start anyway. This is the original sketch:

Note the black light eel, jellyfish lights, psychedelic fish and crab with legwarmers! I had fun with this one, and it will be fun to finish.

Oh, and I still can't quite reveal my news yet, but hopefully very soon...

I-F: Alphabet

I had all sorts of grand ideas for my alphabet but ran out of time again this week... but blah blah blah I'm tired of this excuse so here are a few quick little doodles instead. Maybe I'll find some time to do at least the 2nd one up a bit better, cause I like the idea.

So while I was doing this rather uninspired one:

I noticed how funny it is that the 'p' and 'q' are opposites, yet they sit side by side in the alphabet. maybe that's why you're supposed to mind your p's and q's, cause it might be like a dangerous office romance if they fell in love?

I-F: Moon

Well it's nice to be participating in Illustration Friday again I have to say. It's great to be back in my studio with all my materials after painting with just a little travel kit for 4 months. (how I missed my sponge!) that said, this was still done in my moleskine...

My head had been filled with interest rates, numbers and calculations recently, so it was really good to use the other side of my brain! Looking for a house is a lot of work (so is convincing banks you can actually make repayments even if you don't have all your taxes done!) but hopefully it means we'll get a new home of our very own out of it at some point.

so, i guess it's not to hard to see what I was thinking of when I did my moon illo

Home again home again....

I'm home. I almost can't quite believe it. 4 months of travelling, having completely new experiences, meeting amazing people again or for the first time, trying new foods, being blown away by incredible music and art, exploring, adventures unplanned, surprises and sooo many good times and great memories...... and now it's all over. it's a bit of a spin out to be back to the same old-same old. as nice as the comforts of home and a bit of routine are.... I was in JAPAN last week!!

But I have to say it is nice to be back to my studio, cold and wintry though it is. The one major issue we've had to deal with on our return is that we have to move out of our house because the landlord has decided he wants to move back in. and we've been trying to decide... do we rent again or do we buy? can we buy? going crazy with house inspections and bank managers, trying to figure out if it's all possible. not exactly the relaxing welcome home we were hoping for, but maybe it's the bit of excitement we needed to avoid the post-travel blues :-)

A few nice things on an illustration front though are that I was accepted to the stylefile which I applied for before I left. It is a great resource for publishers to find australian illustrators so I'm very glad to be a part of it. Also the Illustrators Australia website is up so I need to get my stuff on that as well.

but until then here are the last sketches from my travelling moleskine:
we went to a park/zoo near our friends' house in Gothenberg and saw some moose! they're such funny creatures.

Japan was fantastic and we definitely didn't have enough time there. I am 100% going back there someday, maybe to study, who knows?

and that's all she wrote folks! The end of my travel sketches. thanks to anyone who might have been checking in along the way, hope you enjoyed them, I certainly enjoyed making them and it's such a great record of our trip now (along with the 26 CD's full of photos and videos of course!)



we've been skipping through countries lately..... from France to Italy, one night in Switzerland and now in Sweden.

it's all been about visiting friends so it's a great part of the trip. I met some of Andy's friends in Genova,Italy who I have been hearing stories about for years; we met some friends of mine in Zurich who I know from travelling around Australia together years ago; now we are with some mutual friends in Gothenberg for a week.
next stop (and last stop) is Japan for our friend's wedding. I love Japanese art and aesthetic so I'm really excited to go there for that reason (as well of the wedding of course!)

it's hard to believe that our 4 months of travelling is almost over. it's going to be great to get back home, to my bed, my studio, and some semblance of healthy eating again! but at the same time I don't want this trip to ever end. "real" life seems so far away, but it's going to slap me in the face pretty soon!!

but for the moment I still have a week to go so yipee!

here are some recent sketches:

Paris french onion soup

Genova, Italy - I loved how all the buildings were painted pink and yellow, such beautiful meditteranean colours. it was funny on the train to zurich to see how all the bright colours changed to brown and grey the farther away from the sun and sea we were.

One of our friends here is Sweden grew up on farmland and we went to visit her hometown and lots of cows and woolly sheep. this picture was inspired partly by a children's book i bought where sheep were done with just splotches of paint (will post about the books I bought when I get home) and also because I had made a dark smudge on this page by accident, so turned the smudge into fingerprint cows! Fun!

my next post might be from home!!xx

Montreal to Paris

well the whirlwind tour continues and now we are in europe. we slunk through boston and the beach at provincetown, rocked through Montreal, and now we are in drizzly (but beautiful) Paris. We are enjoying some lazy time recuperating after not much sleep in Montreal for a week, and some major jet lag, but still enjoying all that this great city has to offer...
here are some sketches from the last little while:

flowers, done at the beach in Provincetown, Massachewsetts where we rented a little cottage with my family for a week. I'm not sure why this image popped into my head - maybe some tourist's hawaiian shirt.

done on the plane from Montreal to Paris. We had such a great time in Montreal, from giving Andy the full tour of 'my life' (house where I grew up, the municipal pool, my first school, etc...) to staying out dancing with friends to street festivals and amazing food - it was a great trip, and hard to really sum up. The green mound in the middle is Mount Royal - a mountain in the middle of the city with a cross on top, a but like New York's central park (but on a smaller scale). We climbed it one day and got a great view of the city.

Montmartre, Paris. where it all began. Andy and I met here 11 years ago, and we are staying in the same hostel where we met! we even cooked the same dinner that we remembered cooking together in 1996! (paella out of a box) it's been another run down memory lane and it's been incredible and a bit bizarre. who knows where we'll be in another 11 years...!
please also see my post for this week's illustration friday word 'camouflage'...

USA to Mexico and back again.

Hello from Boston! It's been a while since I've posted. it's pretty crazy, this travelling thing. Planes, buses, subways, hostels, packing, unpacking, carrying, lifting, navigating, maps.... oy vay! and that's just getting there! we've had a fantastic time but it's nice to once again have a bit of break from all that, as we are now at my brother's house in Boston and able to draw a breath. (in between entertaining my 2 year old niece, that is. at least she takes naps!)

so here are some of the sketches I've done along the way that I haven't had a chance to post. also please see the next post for this week's illustration friday. enjoy!

1. roadtrip across the states

2. first sketch in mexico. many of the ancient pyramids were built according to the moon and sun

3. dia de los muertos - a very important day in Mexico

4. love cactus

5. back to the US - New York windows

I-F: My Paradise

We just went to paradise 2 weeks ago. In the south of Mexico, in a tiny little fishing town called San Augustinillo, we found it.

a breezy open-air cabana, warm weather and warm water, a comfortable bed and hammock, soft sand and fresh fish, and where the turtles now swim freely.

San Augustinillo once relied on the poaching of turtles ('tortugas' in spanish) as its main commerce, until it was banned in the early 90's. they had to find some other way to make a living, so tourism became very important, and that's why we were able to find a dreamy little cabana by the beach in a town most Mexicans haven't even heard of. we were there for 5 days, but we could have stayed there forever.

i did these sketches of 'tortugas' there (among others) while swinging in the hammock, and while Andy composed music on our little deck. it was, decidedly, paradise.

I-F: Citrus

It's been nice to have a bit of down time in the middle of the trip to do things like... Illustration Friday! the word this week is Citrus. This technically is still a travel sketch, but from another trip...

and here's a bonus one I drew while waiting for my laundry. (I came home to paint it though) I'm enjoying playing with crazy textures with the paint and then having bold and detailed linework on top.


Funk'd Up

the last two weeks in New Orleans have been totally crazy. between carting around a big keyboard in a little car for Andy's gigs, to dancing 10 hours a day at Jazz Fest and late night gigs, we've been totally funk'd up and now i think we're totally funk'd out! it's been nice to have a little time to relax the past few days. (okay, I can hear the violins playing now...)

but we have seen some amazing music, we are so lucky. one of the best concerts was this pianist i had never heard of, Davell Crawford, at this intimate little venue called Snug Harbour. he could go from funky r'n'b to gospel to calypso so seamlessly and easily, and not only is he a technical player but just has so much soul, and it comes out through his playing and his incredible singing as well.

then there was Dumpstaphunk which is a band put together by Ivan Neville, and just the funkiest *&% you have ever heard. they had us dancing until 4am after being at jazz fest all day, and we were still screaming for more.

then there was Harry Connick Jr. closing out the jazz fest with amazing playing and hilarious dancing, Bonnie Raitt's soulful crooning, P-Funk'n'it, and so much more....

so here is something I did with all that in mind. these are just some of the bands we saw! it is on top of a collage of different gig lists and schedules from our time here, and a style of writing i've seen used here for different signs. enjoy! (if you can read it!)

oh, and I finally finshed up the last new mexico sketch...

having fun experimenting with dropping water on the page just as the paint is drying - it makes such great effects!

I-F: Remember

Please remember New Orleans...

I am staying in New Orleans for the next few weeks, to see the Jazz festival and to get a good dose of Andy's favourite city in the world. This is my 3rd time here, and walking around the French Quarter, you would never know anything had happened. But if you look a bit closer, you can see it everywhere. Many rebuilt, repainted buildings for sale. Lots with spraypainted markings by rescuers to show they had visited there. T-shirts saying 'make levees, not war.'

At the Jazz Festival, almost every musician makes some reference to Katrina. it is still very recent. Most people have been affected deeply in some way and the emotions are still quite raw. We walked into Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra just in time to hear him play a hymn he wrote for his father who drowned in the storm and whose body was never found. it's so heartbreaking that this could happen to such an amazing, unique city and that it's own government hasn't helped it pick up the pieces. There is a lot of resentment and bitterness too. But somehow everyone seems to rise above that and the people who are here do everything they can, and the people who were displaced still love New Orleans.

So this is my hommage to NOLA. (New Orleans, Louisana.) The Fleur de Lys has become a really strong symbol for the city.

I know there is always the next crisis taking media attention, but I hope we can all remember this city from time to time and even help out once in a while, whether it's literally rebuilding houses, or buying a new orleans' musician's CD. every little bit helps.

May it always keep its head above water....