Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Watercolor Wednesday 11

For the last couple of weeks I've found myself unable to make myself sit down and finish any paintings, but luckily I have a small backlog of pictures in various degrees of completion.

The genesis of this painting is a little unclear to me: about a year ago my boyfriend and I had a small brainstorming session where we decided to sketch out ideas for a spaghetti western with campy monsters. Nothing really came of it, but to this day I still find myself drawing cowboy mummies ever so often.

Little Red Riding Hood, as a goat, heads towards the void where her grandmother's house should be, but isn't, because I got distracted either by food or something shiny. I added a bit of goauche to her cloak and some of the shadows since the watercolors were getting a bit muddy.

I'm not sure what to make of this one! I started painting the creepy ratty guy first, and then just kind of tacked on the bee.

When I find myself in an artistic rut I like to take some time to find some new source of inspiration. Most recently I've taken up reading collections of short stories by Ray Bradbury, whose work is always a wellspring of unusual ideas.

I also tried out using this neat little flash application that randomly generates topics from three wheels of words. The results range from intriguing to downright weird, and I'd suggest that anyone with a bad case of artist's block try it out!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sketch Sunday 11

A couple of weeks ago I went to Maker Faire at the San Mateo Convention Center to help Ambidextrous Magazine promote their upcoming issue titled "Space." I was invited to put together a collage of the editors. Since the theme was "space," I decided to draw them as astronauts and aliens!

Editor's photo collage for Ambidextrous magazine issue 11: Space

I started out with crops of each person's head, floating over a black background. Then I sketched out pose ideas for each of them, rotating heads to fit the composition of the big picture. The stars, comets, moon, and planets in the background are all Photoshop brushes that I once downloaded, but can no longer recall from where. Eventually, colors and other details were added, to yield this final product!

The most difficult part of this picture was dealing with the silly artsy people who sent in their photos in black and white. Were they trying to be classy? Emo? Maybe, but who knows. It was too bad because I added color to them anyway. Can you tell which heads were colored by hand? Hopefully not, because that means I did a good job. ;)

Ambidextrous is Stanford University's journal of design. I know a few people that work on it, and volunteered to help out with this image. The magazine is run entirely by students and features some really great articles on design and the design process. Most of the articles are written by professionals in the field, and cover a wide range of subjects about design concepts.

If you are interested, check out their website for article previews!

The questions they pose to the greater design community relate to the broader design process, and not just a single aspect like industrial or graphic design. For example, issue 10 ("Getting it On") covers topics from condoms to the evolution of the zipper.

One thing I really like about the magazine is that each issue has a centerfold called Functional Dissection where they take apart some device and document the process. In issue 8 ("Secret"), the Ambidextrous team took apart a combination lock to show us what made it click. Other issues broke apart roombas, polaroid cameras, and even a nail gun.

If you are interested in reading more about Maker Faire, check out my friend Paula's recent blog post at Quite Curious! She provides a great account of it, and has some great photographs as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Can you guess what these are?

Do you remember that picture game when you were little, where they show you a zoomed-in detail of a cropped photo, and you have to figure out what the object is?

Blue stripes, pepper flakes (pelicans at Monterey Bay)

Foliage in negative lighting

Green carpet wall (stacked broccoli at grocery store)

So this isn't exactly like the picture game I described above, but the idea is similar. I love photos made to look like textures, especially if I can get the entire frame to be nearly homogeneous. This broccoli wall at my local grocery store just stood out to me, so I whipped out my camera to get a snapshot of it, a split second before an employee told me that I'm not allowed to take photos inside the grocery store.

Pink foliage (magnolia flowers in bloom)

Ruby droplets (grapefruit)

Amethyst wild flowers

13 pounds of olives in the sink

A collection of ladybirds (seen at the Academy of Science)

The greatest inspiration is finding beauty and joy in the simple things that surround us every day. What do you like capturing in your photos or art?

Cinnamon sprinkled on pine nuts (banana bread mix, ready for baking)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Light & Nature

Rainbow- why is the sky much darker to the left of the rainbow?

Last week, nqd featured Keri Smith's work titled "How to be an Explorer of the World." After reading through the preview pages of her book, I thought to myself, I already do some of these things! I constantly admire the world around me, and sometimes try to document what I see with photographs.

I thought that inspirimint readers might be inspired by some of the pictures I have taken over the past few months, so here they are for your enjoyment! These photos make me feel more connected to nature.

I love the way light reflects off of eucalyptus leaves

Sun & clouds, shot from the highway.

Dusk at Golden Gate park.

Dried orchids.

Peach blossoms from the farm (mid-March).

The tender shoots and flowers of pea plants make a delicious stir-fry!

Have you ever noticed that the tips of golden poppy leaves flame?

Last year's grape vine twisted around the wire.

Purple flowers by the lake.

Light filtering through chlorophyll reminds me of stained-glass.

Droplets aggregating on the surface of a freshly-cut honeydew.

The rain forest biosphere at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco teems with life!

A giant Geneva wheel, a component of the 10,000 year clock's chime generator (displayed at Maker Faire).