July 29, 2009

Illohaven : Some kinda wonderful

I'm in awe of these illustrations by Mari Katogi. The illo above is the sweetest Little Red Riding Hood ever. It's so fresh and modern in a definite Japanese style.

And here we have the cheekiest Alice in Wonderland... I'd murder that pile of macaroons in a split second. Oops. Sometimes I confuse what's not real with cravings. Ahem. Next?

Hansel & Gretel on their way to nom their way through a candy house... Mmmm candy...

Alice through the looking glass...

This one is such a fave, I've saved it as my desktop background.What a talented artist, these are absolutely divine. Go here for more: mari.lomo.jp

Now I'm off to the beach!! I'm stopping only to pick up my friend C and her dog Ferris. Fish n chips here we come... xxx

July 27, 2009

Layerlove : A beautiful mix

Happy is a Monday afternoon full of dandelion tea, Hershey's Kisses and winning eBay bids. Cue satisfied sigh. Speaking of winning, how ace are these mixed media prints? Super lovely Mindy Wilson from Montana cleverly throws together her pics, textiles, illos and digital influences to create these goodies. Cute and sweet and rustic and fabulously original...

Who inspires you?
I'm inspired by my friends and family and all creative people, really. I love when others share what they make with me, point me to their blog or bring something to show me. When someone is making, making, making I'm inspired to do the same. I'm also inspired by nature though that's not really a 'who' unless I'd said Mother Nature.

Birds, beautiful and funny looking, sound pretty and simply crazy little creatures, I love that I can draw them in so many different styles and they still get the chance to be called birds. Corny little birds like this one are most normal for my illustration style. I really haven't shared many images with this style of these on Etsy.
Fave blogs?
I love finding blogs with step by step images of various project that artists are working on. I love to find a beautiful mix of family images and projects too. Here is one example: Anna Maria Horner

I love this artist's creations... Feltcafe... the felting is amazing. I don't felt but, I am totally engrossed in her projects. Like these.

The Small Object is another fave.

The Farm Chicks (I was a vendor at one of their shows this spring) I'd also found a K I L L E R chocolate cake recipe in February and I think it made me gain 20 pounds, which I am just beginning to shed. whew.

Pics from top down: Morphee, Largo Nice Rack Distressed Large Lion Print, Striking Large Morphans, Jelly Bean Soup Funky Print and Vintage Wallpaper Inspiration Print.

July 25, 2009

Funflicks : Coming alive during winter

Today was sunsational. Warmish and so clear, full of good things. It started with a trip to Officeworks (hello stationery) and Bunnings (I wore my jacket with house paint all over it so I looked semi-pro). We then partook of a most delicious sausage BBQ at home and a crack at a few jobbies around the house.

Unable to resist such beautiful afternoon sunshine, and in possession of a dog in need of a long walk, we headed down to Bicentennial Park for an easy stroll along Rozelle Bay.

Scout's insane energy had her racing along the water at full throttle, chasing balls and sticks and barking orders at other dogs to stay away from her bum.

It's funny how native flowers come alive during winter. When all the fancy flowers are taking a break for a few months, wattle and other overlooked blossoms flourish.

I should have something interesting to say here about the flowers above but I've no idea what they are. I just like the shot. How do such delicate flowers belong to such a robust native?

I've seen loads of feet shots on Flickr and I love the randomness of it. Peach havaianas, ripped jeans and nice paving. 'Tis moi. Have a fab/random weekend wherever you are xxx

July 22, 2009

Sketchalot : Bird, bike, boom and belonging

Today, my peeps, was delightful. It was so busy, but busy when you're freelancing has an underlying feeling of gratitude instead of stressiness. It was also warm. Real warm for mid-winter. I stopped by Bronte beach this morning - where I used to live... sigh - on the way to a shoot for a story I'm writing. I also ate burnt fig jam, honeycomb and caramel ice cream this afternoon in the sun. In between I was crazy busy dancing on this laptop, but tis all good.

Today's post, therefore, is all good and should make you feel like you've got a smile full of sunshine and a belly full of yum. Meet John W. Golden (you're already smiling at the name, aren't you?), a digital artist with a love of vintage and a handy knowledge of fun. Here's a couple fast facts about Mr John...
What's your earliest creative memory?
My earliest memory of drawing was a game a friend of mine and I used to play. We would draw tanks and airplanes and other military type stuff on pieces of paper. Then we would place a pencil point on one of our drawings. Using one finger on top of the pencil's eraser (to hold the pencil upright), you would flick the pencil point toward your opponent's drawings, resulting in a pencil mark "fired" from your drawing. If the pencil mark hit your opponent's drawing, they had to draw a scribble-y explosion on top of that drawing. The loser of the game was the first to run out of drawings.

Did you get in trouble for it?
I definitely got in trouble for it, as it was usually during school that we played the game.

What's your favourite magazine, book and blog?
I read Juxtapoz (mag), The Business of Holidays (book), and blog-wise, I follow AshleyG, The Black Apple and a dude named Matt Logelin.

Pics from top down: Belongs to You, Band Legged Blue Green Striped Bird Collage, Cycles per Second and Boom.
You know you want more: johnwgolden.etsy.com; jwgdesign.blogspot.com

July 20, 2009

Talentcomp : Slightly twisted does it for me

I've just had the most unexpected weekend. Hubby was away Friday night and working like crazy until Saturday night, so I made the whimsical (and somewhat mad) decision to paint his office. At 4pm I was in a cab picking up the perfect blue-grey (Porter's Explorer Blue), by 6:30 I had moved out as much as I could from his very full room and by 10:30pm I had finished the base coat. 7am on Sat I started on the blue and I was amazed at how serene the colour was. By 5pm I was done. And very, very sore. See I'm not good on ladders, especially not when they're sitting precariously against a wall (I didn't have much room to move around - his desks and one bookcase were too heavy to shift very far. Where the ladder wouldn't fit I was standing on my bedside table!)

Anyhoo he loves it. He put up his wooden blinds, we moved things back in and it looks twice as big (the original colour was dark orangey-red). I'm so thrilled! I only wanted to do it as a surprise because he's been working so hard, but what I didn't expect was to learn so much from the experience. I really pushed myself way past my limits to get it done (when I said precarious ladder angles I meant it! Plus horrible dizziness at the thought of falling off, a super tired body... you get the idea). So as my body recovers I feel mentally stronger... kinda hard to explain but I feel brilliant today! Bruised and tired and absolutely wonderful!

Speaking of some kind of wonderful, photographer Sherri Wilson Conley has shared some extremely pretty pics here on the blog. I'll let the rest of the post come from her...

Do you have any hidden talents?
Like tying a knot in a cherry stem with your tongue? Patting your head while rubbing your tummy? No, can't do any of that stuff. How about this... I think I could be a real good carpenter. I'm pretty mechanically inclined and I love working with wood and even own my own band saw! The smell of sawdust takes me back to the days when my Dad was working downstairs in his workshop when I was young. He was always making something with his hands. Of course, he taught me everything I know about woodworking.

Who are your favourite authors?
I really don't have any favourite authors. I read all kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction, on a variety of subjects. Sometimes I read two at a time. I just finished reading John by Cynthia Lennon, before that a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and a few by Eckhart Tolle. The next in line to read is Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks, Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Healing Words by Larry Dossey.

What makes you laugh?

Quick, dry wit and slightly-twisted humour does it for me. Dave Barry and Garrison Keillor are two of my favorite humorists and are great to read if you want a lift! I love to hear friends tell stories on themselves, you know, the embarrassing kind where they just wanted to crawl under a rock...but they share it with you and it's so darn funny you both laugh until you cry? They're the best! And my two daughters can quickly bring me to tears from laughing fits and it happens frequently...usually in public!

Pics from top down: Soft, Flying into the Night, A Hint of Pink, Laughter is the Best Medicine and X's and O's.

More: sherriconley.etsy.com

July 16, 2009

Plaything : Ordinary absurdities

I think I've learned to accept Stuff. Like how many greys I have at such a young(ish) age. Or that my dog favours my hubby. It's true. (Perhaps I need to move on from 'acceptance girl' to 'crazy lady with pockets full of liver treats'). And how I can cook just about anything in the world... except rice. That I can't carry off bright clothes. Like perhaps my singing voice isn't as magical as it was when I was 20. (Ok it seems there needs to be a bit more work on this Issue). But I really, honestly have come to embrace winter. See, there are two kinds of people I know. The cold-weather peeps who would rather camp in July and hibernate in January, and the sun-worshippers who complain at the first drop of rain, are fully stocked with fake-tan (in case it gets banned or other such disaster) and are generally better off ignoring from early May to mid Sep. I have always been a sun bunny and would watch in horror as my husband (yes, kiwi-born snow bunny) revelled in the thought of roasts and crisp mornings.

But this year was different. Cold was fun. Maybe it's the early greys turning my brain fudgy. And don't worry, I'll still be loving summers forever... but check out these pics. Aren't they mid-winter perfection? Glass of red anyone?

They're by Sydney-based photographer Linda Kruger. Must be why I feel so at home and snuggly when I look at them. I'm in awe of Linda's techniques - the extra painting and layering - that's still subtle enough to let the original snapshot shine through. Here's some interesting stuff about Linda...

What inspires you?

Inspiration usually takes me by surprise, and I often think it's as much to do with being in a mood to be receptive. When I'm in the right mind-set, almost everything is inspiring. I also go through stages where I don't feel inspired at all (and consequently get no work done). Artist friends of mine have said it's the same for them too, but we all agree that those times are usually followed by more energetic productive periods. It's almost like the down time is an important part of the process, where the ideas are percolating away in the background. Having said all that, I'm really enjoying the work of Arthur Dove at the moment.

What makes you laugh?

I think there's so much to laugh about. The funniest things are just to do with the ordinary absurdities of life. Dogs are always good for a laugh. But not clowns.

What music are you listening to?
I don't listen to music much while I work, because I get distracted by it. I prefer to just listen to the sounds of my neighbourhood. When I'm not working, my current winter playlist includes Mike Andrews, The High Llamas, Kurt Vile, Hank Williams, Modern Lovers, Meg Baird, Muslimgauze.

Pics from top down: fresco 1, Collector Bird, Autumn and Lindisfarne.
More pics, interesting info about the pics and curious things: elfine.etsy.com & olivedear.com

July 14, 2009

Pictureperfect : Sometimes I get the giggles

I had a super busy day yesterday, so busy that I slept brilliantly, but still woke exhausted. Being so out of it isn't fun, but this morning I rather enjoyed it. Out for a walk with my pooch, the air smelt fresher, the leaves looked crunchier and the flowers - what's left of them - looked sensational. I almost wish I had that kind of warped clarity every morning... but perhaps next time I'll take my camera and see if I can capture some of the lovliness.

Someone who most certainly knows how to capture a delightfully perfect moment is Amy of ara133photography... (Peeps please note the mention of shafts of light on a stormy day in the first answer, that's pro speak for cloudburst beauty)...

What's your fave subject to photograph?
I love trying to photograph sunlight, back lit flowers and weeds, and high contrast scenes (such as bright sunlight shining into the deep woods, or shafts of light on a really dark, stormy day). Those are subjects that just amaze me to the point that sometimes I just stand and stare at them... they're also the most difficult for me to photograph effectively! But I keep trying :)

What are you reading?
Usually I have more than one book that I'm reading at a time, especially if I'm rereading books (which I do frequently). And, sometimes I need an adventure to read at breakfast or lunch but something calmer for before bed! Right now I'm rereading 3 books - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Susan Cooper's the Dark is Rising (I have a penchant for children's books!), and Melissa Nathan's the Nanny. I'm also rereading Plant Physiology for my big PhD comprehensive exam coming up!

What makes you laugh?
My husband, The Office, the Shopaholic book series, and bedtime (sometimes I get the giggles before bed, everything seems funnier late at night somehow!)

Willow, Flourish, Sea Flower and On the Way to the Picnic.

More: ara133photography.etsy.com

July 10, 2009

Snapshot : Keep on going

It's been a while troopers... but nice to be back. I just visited Kuala Lumpur for a work thing and it was magic. The best part about Asia is always the people - they're such a genuinely happy lot. Many of us westerners are endlessly concerned with the unimportant and insubstantial... and for what? Joy comes from friends and family, if we put as much effort into our relationships as our hair we'd be deeply appreciative. (Or is that just me?) Anyhoo, enough preaching from the laptop, let's get on with the show...

I think these pictures alone could make me very happy. They're windows into nature, another source of endless bliss and comfort. The artist behind the beauty is Kim, a self-taught photographer from San Diego...

What makes you laugh? I love laughing, so I laugh quite a bit... but my favorite things that make me laugh are my boyfriend telling me a joke that only the 2 of us would get, my dog playfully bumping his nose into me & when I finally laugh he gets so excited (I swear he's cracking up!), and of course laughing with friends on a night out that you never want to end.

Who has been the biggest influence on your photography? I would have to say boyfriend, Kevin... he is always behind me 100% in whatever I do, and always keeps me going when I feel I'm just not getting anywhere. He pushes me to try ideas and is always trying to get me "out there" so people can see my work.

What's your favourite subject? I love shooting landscapes, nature, pretty much anything & everything... but my all time favorite subject would have to be wildlife! I love animals, so I could spend all my time photographing them if I could. However, since I don't have that opportunity as often as I like, my dog must suffer the consequences! I don't think he minds though... he now is so used to a camera in his face, he associates it with treats :)

Thanks Kim, I might just lie back and stare at the trees all afternoon, pretend I'm in Monterey or Santa Barbara again with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

More from Kim: kimberleyrose.etsy.com
Pics from top down: Dreaming Daisies, Tranquility and Always Look Up.

July 2, 2009

Snapshot : Everyday beauty

Ok, so up to this point of my blog I have sung out constantly about my obsession with birds, cherry blossoms and laughter. Want more? Well it's not so astounding, but I'm also helplessly in love with tea and cheese. I drink about five cups of tea a day (Mariage Freres green, T2 chai and white and Ovvio herbal blends) and once upon a manic time I managed Simon Johnson stores - each has their own cheese room. I would get into work early and talk to the baby cheeses, tasting them to see how ripe they were and chopping of the nasty bits so they looked super delish. I would research how each one was made and how to extend it's delicate little fatty life. I still adore cheeses, five years after leaving the food scene, and enjoy throwing together a cheese platter more than I should. Sigh.

When I was on Etsy the other day, I saw this beautiful shot of berries (above), and daydreamed about covering an entire wall of my living room with it. To my lovely surprise, it's a photo by a super sweet woman called Meg, who has a shop called Tea & Brie Photography, named after her girls Thaya and Aubrie. Beautiful names, stunning photos and a craving for triple cream brie... ah it's a nice way to start a Thursday. Here's a few interesting things about Meg...

When did it start?
I remember taking pictures when I was little, and in high school/college I took it a bit more seriously, but at that time I wouldn't have considered it a passion. Like so many women photographers out there, I became much more serious about photography with the birth of my first daughter. 16 months later, with the birth of my second, I became officially obsessed with photography!

Who and what inspires you?
I think that "being present" in your life provides endless inspiration. By practicing the art of awareness, you are really able to see the beauty in every day things. Of course other photographers are a constant source of inspiration, and I spend a lot of time every day looking at photos on the web. But really, my inspiration comes from my every day life and those seemingly ordinary moments that I spend with my girls on a daily basis.

What gets you in a creative mood?
This is a tough one to answer! I think it is so easy to get wrapped up in our every day lives, and the "go go go" of having two little ones is almost inevitable. Sometimes just slowing down is a simple way to spark some inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. When I'm not photographing my girls or out on a shoot for business, the "constant change" of nature and the weather is enough to get me in a groove. It is amazing how different a flower can look over the span of a couple of hours!

from top down: Beauty Berries, Tulip, Cherry Blossoms, Spring Lace and Raspberries on Turquoise.
More: Teaandbrie.etsy.com