More New Bedding for Land of Nod!

07/31/13

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I’m super excited to announce the release of my latest bedding for Land of Nod: Welcome to the Jungle, which comes as a sheet set for toddler beds and also for cribs! You may also remember the 1001 Good Nights Bedding I did for Land of Nod last year. Both designs are illustrated with my drawings, which I made into a repeat pattern to adorn the bedding.

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You can purchase sheets and coverlets over at Land of Nod!

Enjoy and happy Wednesday!

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Yep, We’re Legal

07/30/13

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I’ve been writing about my journey into marriage a lot over the past year and a half. And the last post I wrote on the topic lauded the Supreme Court decision to strike down the parts of DOMA that made marrying Clay in California illegal. In early June, before the SCOTUS decision, Clay and I got married in a big wedding celebration (more on that when the official photos are in my hands next month). And then on Friday, because of the SCOTUS decision, we got legally married at the County Clerk’s Office of Alameda County.

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We went –  just the two of us — and our dear friend and official witness (and wedding planner for our actual wedding last June), Elizabeth. The first part was much like being at the DMV: paperwork, some time standing at a computer filling out forms, and then, a number. Eventually the number got us a place at a desk with a clerk who verified all of our information, printed out some official looking forms, and sent us to wait for the clerk to come fetch us so we could go upstairs to the ceremony room.

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Here we are waiting for the clerk (who was on her second day on the job as an officiant), to escort us upstairs for the ceremony.  The ceremony itself was a bit bizarre, especially since we’d already written and read long vows to each other at our official wedding in June, but we did it all over again, this time repeating the simple vows the officiant had prepared. But it did feel great, especially since this was the ceremony that made our marriage legal.

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After the ceremony, paperwork in hand, we drove home to our little house in Oakland, and spent most of the rest of the afternoon working, as we normally would on a Friday. It was all a bit surreal, perhaps even more surreal than our actual wedding in early June. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long — being legally married — and I actually spent most of my life thinking it would never happen. And the simple process that we’d been banned from for so long, was over in an hour. Just like that.

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And now, just like that, we are back to normal life. Except we’re married, officially, for real, like billions of other Americans. And that feels really, really good.

Have a great Tuesday!

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On Trusting

07/26/13

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{From my sketchbook}

I’ve written here before about being an anxious person, and my current efforts to relax with, manage, and lessen my tendency to worry. It has been a main focus of my life for the past several months. Recently, I sat down with Claire Fitzsimmons — former Deputy Director and Curator at the Wattis Gallery in San Francisco, who now keeps a wonderful blog called Joe’s Daughter — and talked to her about the intersection between my creative life and my anxious nature. You can read the complete interview here.

When we are confronted with any realization in life (and mine, most recently, was that I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying) we have a choice to ignore it or dig into it. I have spent a lot of the past few years ignoring my anxiety, which, for those of you who are anxious know, only makes it grow exponentially. I realized recently that I needed to look at anxiety directly, call it out for what what it really is (a story I tell myself), and then, as I wrote in my last post on the topic, give it a hug. I’ve been working to do all of those things, of course, but also to create a new life for myself that allows for more space for relaxing and slow movement, so that I am not constantly rushing to finish things (which only compounds my worry). I have slowed the pace at which I do things, trusting that my hard working nature will pay off regardless — even if I no longer self-identify as (or engage in the behaviors of) a workaholic. I’m trusting that I’ll still make client deadlines, I’ll still do good work, and that — even without a constant hustle — my livelihood will remain intact.

And so far so good. I’m more relaxed, happier in general, sleeping well. I’m taking regular breaks and long walks (those who follow my on Instagram have probably noticed the extra time spent outdoors). I am setting expectations for myself about what I am able to accomplish in a day that also allows for down time. I’m also making time for personal work, which I wrote about yesterday. I’m still meeting deadlines, and, miraculously (or maybe obviously), my work is getting better. It’s amazing what happens when you are not rushing.

I still have a long way to go. I have said before, this is my life’s work, working with fear. It’s like peeling away layers of an onion. But I’m also beginning to realize that despite how scary some things feel in the moment (typical scary things for me include: not hearing back from a client right away or feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing when I’m working on the book I’m writing) — no matter how scary things feel in the moment, everything always works out.

On that note, happy Friday & go enjoy your weekend.

 

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On Making Time to Make Personal Work

07/25/13

34e4816af4a411e2a9ed22000a1fb773_7Part of achieving the work/life balance that I’ve been striving for is making time for creating personal work. I’ve written about this before, but as working artists go, I think busy working illustrators, in particular — especially busy illustrators — struggle with finding time to make work just for the sake of making work (as opposed to making work specifically for a client, and that’s what I mean by “personal” work). I’ve been really lucky in that I continue to get (and take) a really nice amount of paying work and with great clients on fantastic projects. And I’m so grateful for that. But the flip side is that time for creative exploration (unattached to any particular outcome) has fallen by the wayside. I made a decision before I left for Paris that from now until the end of the year I would take every Wednesday afternoon (for at least 5 hours) to make personal work in my studio. It would be sacred time, and only illness or other extreme circumstances could interrupt it.  Even if I am up against tight deadlines with client work, I’ll take this time to play in my studio.

Yesterday was my first of these Wednesdays, and it was everything I’d hoped for: relaxing and fun. I’d started a new abstract painting a couple of months ago and it’s been sitting in various stages of completion for a long time. In addition, I have several blank, gessoed canvases waiting for paint. So the first thing I did was hang them on the vast studio wall that has been sitting unadorned since I moved there in March. I have never before had the luxury of so much wall or floor space in a studio, and I am thrilled to be using it now.

My goal was to really dig into the abstract that I’d started, and I spent the afternoon incorporating line work into the piece — an idea I’d been wanting to carry out for some time. I really love doing detailed line work. I find it incredibly calming. I mostly do it with pens in my sketchbook but today I decided to take it to a canvas with a small brush and some soft body acrylic paint. The result is below.

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This piece is called Le Chemin, which means The Path in French. It’s 16×24 inches, gouache and acrylic on canvas.

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It was a hot one in my studio yesterday. When it’s hot outside, it’s particularly hot in my studio. When it’s cold, it’s particularly cold. Admittedly, I spent a good part of the afternoon taking breaks to sit on my sofa to drink water and recover from the minor swelter. I have to remind myself that sitting and doing nothing for periods of time is not only part of the creative process, but part of how to not be a crazy workaholic. And that, my friends, is precisely what I am aiming for.

 

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Paris 2013: Les Puces (The Flea Market)

07/23/13

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As most of you know, I am an avid and somewhat obsessive collector. I even wrote a book about my collections in 2010. So as you can imagine, I love a good flea market, and lucky for me, Paris is full of them. On the weekend, you will often see smaller, open air “brocantes” pop up in various places in the city, and we went to one the first weekend we were there. But there is also a large and permanent flea market in Paris called Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Market (Les Puces literally means Flea Market). It’s one of the largest flea markets in the world, and definitely worth a visit if you like vintage stuff. Much of what’s there is pretty expensive (I only bought a couple of little things), but its beautiful to look at and a slice of Parisian life that you will not see anywhere else. My friend Jordan posted wonderful directions to get there via the 4 Metro line on her blog, which we used. It’s a bit confusing when you get off the metro, so these directions are a great resource.

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Les Puces takes up several city blocks and is divided into several different sections. Some are mostly furniture and some have more bric-a-brac and smaller items. The swamp meet is nearby, and parts of that sell vintage as well, so one could easily spend an entire day trolling the area.

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What makes this flea market different from many (at least in the US), is that vendors have permanent stalls, which they open on the weekends (and limited hours on Monday) each week. Vendors store their wares while the flea market is closed and go off to look for new treasures to sell.

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There are restaurants intermingled in the winding alleys of Les Puces, so food for the weary shopper is never far! Here we are waiting for our lunch at Tarte Kluger.

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We also found there were ample restrooms (most of which were very clean!), which was not the case in the rest of our Paris adventures. This is a photo I took in the mirrors of one of the fancier restrooms at Les Puces, right across the way from Tarte Kluger.

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I don’t speak French at all (except for a few words and phrases) but most of the vendors I encountered were very willing to work with me on purchases and some were even open to a little bargaining!

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It’s hard to walk the entire flea market in one day, unless you have boundless energy. There is a lot to look at! It was pretty hot the day we went, so we were extra pooped by mid-afternoon. The good news is that the flea market is open both Saturday and Sunday and for some hours on Monday, so there is plenty of opportunity to stroll.

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I am missing Paris something awful this week. This happens to me every time I travel and come home. I am like a love-sick girl pining to get back to her crush. I am still dreaming of Paris at night when I go to sleep.

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Happy Tuesday. More Paris posts coming over the next couple of weeks!

CATEGORIES: Travel & Adventure
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Paris 2013: Storefronts, Part One

07/19/13

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Storefronts — especially those that maintain original (or at least vintage) signage and typography — are one of my favorite parts of Paris. On this latest adventure there, I photographed as many as I could (and would have shot more, had it not been for cars or construction debris blocking many I saw). Some were photographed when they were closed (hence the covered windows in some). I took so many photos of storefronts (including restaurants) that I must divide them into two posts (Part Two will come next week). Enjoy!

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Happy, happy Friday. Happy, happy weekend.

 

CATEGORIES: Travel & Adventure
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Les Poissons Print Now Available!

07/18/13

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By popular demand, I’ve made & am releasing a print version of one of my sketchbook drawings from my Paris trip. Les Poissons is now available, both in color and black and white, in both 8.5×11 and 11×14. Visit my shop to purchase!

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Happy Thursday // almost weekend.

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Paris 2013: Blue Doors

07/17/13

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{Me, captured by Clay, taking a picture of a blue door one evening.)

As you may recall from my trip to Scandinavia last year, I love a good door. I photograph them wherever I go, and I’ve even been known to paint them. My trip to Paris offered so many excellent doors. On this trip, I noticed that blue doors dominated Paris streets, and so I began photographing them. Blue is an important color in France (you see it everywhere), and so it seemed fitting. Here is a collection of some of the blue doors that I photographed while I was there. Enjoy!

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In case you missed it, yesterday I posted some of my sketchbook drawings from this trip. Over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing more of my Paris photos and stories here, so stay tuned.

Have a great Wednesday, friends.

 

CATEGORIES: Travel & Adventure
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