April 29, 2009

Snapshot : New beginnings

Today is a new beginning for me. A really big, wonderful fresh start. It's my first day as a freelance journalist and I can't wait to see where this road takes me. If I could arrange the flowers and scenes surrounding my new road, I'd like them to look like like the ones above. Pretty please. Yeah, ok, I'm thinking of a perfect world where tulips bow like ballerinas and hydrangeas imitate butterflies... but why not dream a perfect dream? Why not aim to create or capture the incredible?

The photos above go a bit beyond beautiful for me. They're subtly, quietly, breathtaking. The steady hand behind these perfect scenes is Tracey - [ r ♥ c e y t ♥ y ] {I br♥ke for bokeh}'s. She's a Canadian photographer with an awesome sense of humour (comes with the territory) and a quirky philosophy I love. Here's a bit about her:

What gets you in a creative mood? The urge is always there to make something, to show everyone what I see when I see it. I have not taken a photo in two days and I can feel it there, growing, 'do something' 'make something'. It's like an itch that needs scratching!

My favourite flower is probably the tulip. I find them very challenging to photograph and when I get something I like I feel very rewarded.

What are you reading? I am 3/4 of the way through "A Clash of Kings" by George R. R. Martin.

Pics clockwise from top left: Perfect Purplebells; And across her face dancing, the first shadows fly to kiss the pussy willow; Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing; The umpossible; It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are; and The second age.

April 28, 2009

Birdinhand : Tears of joy

I get excited easily about lamb roasts, good wine, funny friends, warm autumn days, really nice tea, vanity fair arriving in the mail and impromptu dinners in newtown. I also get really excited about art and I never knew how fun it could be to blog about it. I love finding pieces with common threads that are - at a glance at least - so incredibly different. Like the works above, they appear worlds apart to everything else I've found, but they have so much in common. Hello birds! Hello originality! Hello gorgeousness!

The uber-talented and sweet Madeleine Stamer - creator of Little Circus Design - has a new exhibition in Melbourne beginning May 2nd that I'm really excited about.
Here's a bit about her:

When do you feel most creative?

With a very active two and a half year old and an 18 week old baby it’s more like ‘when can I be creative!’ and the answer to that is when I should be sleeping… Like most artists I have sporadic bursts of creativity during unusual moments such as in the deep of the night, while I’m feeding baby, driving the car and I’m constantly daydreaming about what I could be making but I have trained myself to resist the urge and wait until the coast is clear of little tackers. When the little girls are sleeping during the day that’s when I knuckle down and get busy with my art.

What is it about birds?

Since I can remember I have always been fond of feathered creatures.

It goes right back to associating sights and sounds of birds with a particular experience or a pleasant memory. More often than not these memories are fond recollections of the past. I recall precious moments walking with my dad in magical bushland listening with him to the dreamy call of the bellbirds.

My dad taught me how to listen properly to the different bird calls and to appreciate the different breeds and all their little idiosyncrasies. When I was young I watched birds, I drew birds, I pretended to be them and I listened to them, I could distinguish a warning from a pleasant morning greeting. We were blessed to live in a special pocket of town. We had a natural creek flowing at the end of our street with beautiful native plants and sweet smelling gums. It attracted many breeds of native birds. For many years my best friend was my pet duck Fergus who often ventured down to the creek with me waddling by my side with our two loyal dogs always on the look out for cats who were ready to pounce.

Who’s your favourite artist?

Such a hard question to answer… Here are my top 10 influences: Children’s author Dick Bruna, Gaudi, Chagall, Lady Pink, Mirka Mora, José Guadalupe Posada, Hieronymus Bosch, Vaughn Bode, Stig Lindberg and Niki de Saint Phalle.

April 27, 2009

Talentcomp : Colour me calm

Phew. Today was busy. Busier than most days in the wonderful world of magazine making. So I'm having a calm evening with the hubby. Roast chicken, lemon and honey tea and pastels. I tried the bold thing around our house a few years back and realised (before it extended to the big items thankfully) that bold is not for me. Oh no. Colour and I now have a perfect understanding - it's pastels all the way. I breathe deeper that way. It's a good thing.

Check out the fabulous work above by Mara at Printspace. She's a Melbourne-based illustrator and graphic designer who has a clear obsession with birds and love (snap!... plus we share the same fave colour, olive green, and she's *gasp* addicted to home magazines). Anyway, enough about soul-sisters, this woman is talented. The works above are hand drawn in ink, coloured digitally and printed by an epson on soft white art paper. You can also find her new stationery shop here and her cute blog here. So much love!

Giclee prints clockwise from top left: Sweet Too, Hoot. Hoot. Little Owl, Love is Bigger Than All Of Us and Hello Coco.

April 26, 2009

Plaything : The perfect weekend

How to have the perfect weekend in Sydney.
Take a call from a gorgeous friend asking if you're bored and feel like popping on another friends' boat for the afternoon. That's really the best start, and the wise answer is 'absolutely yes.' Next, pack an amazing bottle of rose, a bucket of stuffed olives and your camera. Finally, let magic happen.

April 24, 2009

Paperthin : A life in colour

Oh the colour, the serenity, the butterflies... aren't these pieces just BEAUTIFUL? They're from Chris Chun's current exhibition 'Chinoiserie,' all works on paper. "I generally paint things that make me feel happy, I am inspired by and they are beautiful to look at," he says.

I'm going to stare at these for days. And days. They make me very happy. Thanks Chris.

April 22, 2009

Canvasworks : Well spotted

We have a Jacaranda tree in our backyard. It's right at the back, standing protectively as the guardian of our 'estate'. During the summer when it's in full bloom, there's nothing nicer than sipping a cup of tea under its gentle giantness.

TR Mack Studio has painted these poppy bright acrylics on canvas, above, which are inspired by the colours of Italy. Perhaps that's why I crave olives when I look at them too much. I love the deconstructed colours of the leaves and scenery against the gentle giantness of the delicate trunks. Bravo Tom.

Clockwise from top left: Topiary Olivo di Fonituna, Jardin Des Sinfonias, Sinfonia nel Prato Pieno di Sole and La Primavera nel Frutteto

April 21, 2009

Talentcomp : Life's like that

I think happiness can only ever exist when you're in this moment. You can be surrounded by all your friends on a Mauritian beach, but still not be happy because you're wondering when it will end or why your hair's so curly. But on the other hand, you can catch yourself laughing in the middle of a storm, stopped in traffic on a Monday. Life's funny like that.

I guess that's why I love art so much, in all its guises. It stops me in my tracks and brings me back to the present. It makes me think, makes me appreciate and makes me happy.

Fields of Green, above, is by Charlene, a US-based artist who's been painting for over 30 years. It's such a sweet digital collage that reminds me of what bliss looks like.

April 20, 2009

Snapshot : Cotton picking

Exquisite, aren't they? Shanon, a photographer from Minneapolis, is the woman with the talent behind these captured moments. You'd hardly be surprised to hear that she's happiest in her garden, but isn't it amazing how we can perfectly capture that which we have a real affinity for? Whether it's in a sketch, a collage, a photo... our favourite subjects are the ones that come to life so fluently.

I just adore these.

Clockwise from top left: Blush, Into the Clover, Black Hollyhocks, Fill the Jar, Pink Willows and Snow White Lace.

April 18, 2009

Talentcomp : An ideal world

I'm no bunny whisperer, nor am I gifted with any kind of special understanding of the animal kingdom, but I'm pretty sure foxes and bunnies shouldn't be together in the same box. It's like inviting an Italian friend to a French restaurant, or wearing white velour trackies around your emo friends. It's dangerous. You just don't do it.

Estonian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Kristiana Pärn may come close to artistic carnage - innocently painting floppy ears and red pointy tails with the same brush - but thankfully she never puts them in the same frame. The understated and gorgeous prints above (clockwise from top left: Skinny-Dipping, Solitude,
Where Are You Fox and Follow Your Heart) are all made from original acrylic illustrations. Kristiana made the originals to "study different techniques for making an impression of light and air," she says. "The background was created by applying colored pigment on damp board, then objects were drawn with sharp outlines and bright colors to create depth of field." Just beautiful.

April 17, 2009

Shopfind : Rockin' robin

Last year I stumbled across these divine collages by Bird Nerd on Etsy. I was so in love with Chelsea's designs that I bought a set of her Sakura Collection to use as thank-you cards. Six months has passed and no-one has received a Bird Nerd card from me because they're just so beautiful. I can't bear to give them away. Sorry peeps. (Get your own).

"My collages aren't traditional, I call them painting with paper," says Chelsea. "I paint the majority of my background with acrylic paint, then cut out paper leaves individually to create foliage. I then compose a bird from carefully trimmed layers of paper and accent it with ink and paint details. I like using paper in my work for many reasons: it adds texture and depth, I like vibrant pattern and crisp edges, and often papers have small flaws which add character to a piece." Nice!

If flaws add character, I must be one heck of a bird.

also makes and sells glass pendants, pins, stickers, ornaments, tea towels and prints (above). Clockwise from top left: Swallow Nouveau, Fat Chat, Escape III and Mod Nuthatch

April 14, 2009

Snapshot : The quiet american

I've just had the most serene weekend away in the country with friends: lashings of good conversation, delish food and fresh air; no mobile phones, computers or stress allowed. Back in the city, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. The sun seems harsher, traffic is hideous and the neighbours have started yelling at each other. The strangest bit? I don't have any music on.

Today's post, therefore, is a quiet one. The lovely Valeria from Florida, a 21 year old design student and photographer, has some super sweet pics on her Etsy and Flickr pages that I love. She prints on lustre paper (in between matte and glossy), chooses simple scenes and uses
sunlight to light each photo. They couldn't suit my mood any better. Sigh.

Clockwise from top left: Dress in Water, White, Flowers and Glass Cup.

April 10, 2009

Snapshot : Spectacle merveilleux

The sun is setting here in Sydney a lot earlier since daylight savings kicked in, so when I walk along Hyde Park on my way to the train station after work, the sky casts a magical glow behind the dominating, leafless trees. I look like a child some days, walking slowly, gazing through the branches, listening to the birds, taking in the eerily romantic scene.

At about the same time, talented photographer Marc is up at the crack of dawn to catch trees, new blossoms and the fresh light the sky brings first thing in the morning in Rennes, France. I love his photos, digitally enhanced as they may be. I love their melancholic energy, simplicity and their universal understanding.

Clockwise from top left: Les Arbres Bleus (The Blue Trees), Floraison Blanche #1 (White Blossom #1), Fleurs Blanches (White Flowers) and Un Peu du Printemps #3 (a Bit of Spring #3).

April 8, 2009

Sloganjoy : Sir laughalot

I'm naturally quite a funny person. Sometimes it comes out a pinch too sarcastic, other times it's so straight it flies over everyone's heads, but most of the time it's in-yo-face funny. Can't help it.

Still, I like to be reminded to laugh. And most of all, I like it when the reminders are cute and clever and creative. Like these screenprints by Nick from London, aka Linocutboy. They're hilarious in a hand-crafted subtle way. Love it.

Bring it: linocutboy.etsy.com

April 7, 2009

Talentcomp : Hey petal

I've started to paint again recently, something I haven't done for years. I'm painting big, lush flowers on a small canvas and enjoying it so much. Isn't it funny, as soon as you start to work on something in so much detail, everywhere you look there are flowers waving at you in the breeze, begging you to drink in their colours and quirks.

pollyjarman is a Perth-based photographer and artist who loves the flowers and their quirks too. Her Cream Magnolias painting above (bottom left) is such an understated flourish, while her Flower on a Fence pic is so random and vintagie, I love it! Swings at the Beach is something I'd love to cover my fridge with, to make me smile every time I pass by and Hey little birdy is too cute for words.

Check it: pollyjarman.etsy.com

April 5, 2009

Snapshot : Sunday, lovely sunday

I love perching at my backyard table in the sun on a Sunday, I love plums, and I love my new love by William Dohman. He cuts them by hand from recycled plywood, dry-brushes them white and sands them for that uber rustic look. It's a bit rough love.

He also makes breathe, think and read, and will paint them any colour you like. Plum anyone?

April 4, 2009

Talentcomp : Four seasons

As any creative type will tell you, inspiration can come from anywhere. But the biggest source for most - including me - is nature. There you'll find all the colours, textures and serendipity imaginable.

Check out Erin McNulty's lovely seasonal pieces above. Autumn Tree, Winter Night, Spring Fever and Sunrays, illustrations narrating the beauty of a tree's annual ebb and flow. Stunning! Youll find more leafy greens here: etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6889181

April 2, 2009

Talentcomp : Boldly go

Stranded in a cafe the other day, waiting for the rain to pass, I became mesmerised by a flannel shirt in front of me. It was buttoned to a very hippish young lady with ray bans and uber skinny jeans. Now normally I would dismiss such a material straight away, but somehow (was there a sharp blow to the head I can't remember?) I got to thinking about art. This chicken was so confident in her style, anything would have worked. She could have worn a rainbow muppet poncho and I wouldn't have blinked.

There I was scrolling through these bold works by Brandi Strickland on etsy. And I'm thinking, they're bright, personal, fun, story-telling pieces of art. They stop you in your tracks. They're beyond confident in what they are, and they get you thinking, like a belted flannel in the city.

Brandi has a large net she throws to the world. And the reason she's an artist is because "it's the only thing broad enough to hold all my interests under one roof. I can explore nature, science, literature, psychology, communication, and spirituality, all in a days work."

Her work "explores the connection between nature and technology; the universe’s beauty and mystery, coupled with man’s desire to explain and understand it." You can see this playing out in the collage/paintings featured above, (clockwise from top left) Intuition, Parachute, Mountain Brothers and Red Mountain.

Mesmerised by the whiplash of colour? Find more at her paper whistle shop: paperwhistle.com

April 1, 2009

Shopfind : Garden fresh

Yarraville, VIC, is a favourite little spot to visit when I drop into Melbourne. And it just so happens that two of my favourite people live there too! They took me for a local adventure the last time I was there, and one of the shops we mooched about in was Sedonia (in Seddon). It's so full of amazing little pieces you never knew you needed, yet it doesn't feel junky like some other bustling shops do.

As I was buying my stranger-than-fiction woollen necklace (lots of circles joined by bits of wool, I love it, but do I think I'm a cat?), I spied these gift cards on the counter. So divine, I had to have three of them. And I only just rediscovered them digging for a thank-you card. Isn't that nice. Head to Sedonia on Gamon Street and peruse the quirky chic within.