Look like a mermaid…

swear like a sailor…

two-faced cup
Had a quiet day at home, on the boat, yesterday. I took my stash of Posca pens out, thinking I would have a bit of a play in my art journal…but this plain white cup on a kitchen shelf caught my eye, and I wound up painting a mermaid and a sailor on it, instead.

I saw the quote online, on a mass-produced cup, and nearly bought it; but the design was rather poor—no images, only the words in a scribbled font, and they were unreadable amid the expanses of white space—that the whole thing looked skimpy and cheaply made.  I decided I would wait until I found a better one, then forgot all about it until yesterday.

two-faced cup

Few people know that Posca pens can be used on ceramics. Because we sell Posca pens in the shop, I’ve had to download the extensive materials information sheet  from the Posca website for our customers.

Drawings done with these pens can be baked in an oven to make them semi-permanent (the pieces probably wouldn’t hold up to heavy use, and must be washed gently, by hand). I like them much, much better than Sharpies, because the acrylic paint in a Posca pen is opaque, so that they cover with one stroke and I can layer different colours on top of each other.

two-faced cup

I can’t take credit for the sailor, which is not mine…he was from a bit of street art that I spotted in Colombia, over a year ago…

I’m uncomfortable with the fact that I’ve used someone else’s design, but it was the seed idea that got me started in the first place, and I didn’t actually believe I would finish the cup (because I’ve never drawn on a cup before, the surface sloping in funny ways, cleaning up with alcohol and gingerly holding it in some paper towel so as not to get the oil from my fingers on it…it all seemed too hard, I was sure I would fuck up at some point.) It wasn’t until I’d done both sailor and mermaid that I realised the thing was “for real”…that it was good enough to “fix” in an oven and keep.

It’s just for myself, and I won’t be repeating the design again. I would like to use the same quote on a mug for my Society6 shop, but coming up with the entire design from scratch. Someday.

two-faced cup

Collaged journal covers

Water Traffic“Blue Circle Bay”, paper collage, acrylic paint.

The Green Pond“The Green Pond”, paper and fabric collage, acrylic paint.

paint & puffballs

Allium journals (WIP)
These embroidered allium journals are probably the most time-consuming of the ten journals that a friend has commissioned from me, so I thought I had better get cracking on the embroidery part. This is Number 2. They always take longer than I think they will: the painted canvas is leathery, hard to push through, and my index finger already bears small cracks and cuts where I use it to push the needle in. I suppose I should use a thimble, but I don’t own one (I have yet to find one that fits me properly).
Allium jurnal WIP
The puffballs are very pretty (I think so, anyway) when embroidered…they don’t look as nice, painted or drawn. But it’s incredibly boring work, the same star stitch, over and over. Thank god for audio books! They make the repetitive stitching bearable. I have been listening to Barbara Mujica’s “Mi Hermana Frida” in Spanish. It’s my second time to listen to this audio book…a year and a half has passed since I first listened to it. I’m enjoying it so much more, this time around, because my Spanish is much better than it was then. It’s a nice way, too, to hang on to what I know of the language, as I hardly get to use it over here…

Tea & chocolate in Barcelona

Té y xocolata
Another teacup book cover in what’s become a whole series of hand bound journals, over the years. I am making 10 journals of various designs, commissioned by a good friend and loyal collector of my one-of-a-kind handbound journals over the years.
Té y xocolata
Getting started was hard—I am rusty at designing bookcovers (the extra-wide format, and one must always bear in mind that the cover will fold, later on, to form front and back covers, plus a spine.)

These teacup ones are especially baffling, because  they use so many different mediums (layering, sewing machine appliqué, paint, spray paint, collage, painting, embroidery, stamping or stenciling…for this one, I also printed the teacup with fresh leaves) but after a few false starts, I have finally found a rhythm, and the other 8 books are coming along more smoothly than this one did. They aren’t all of teacups.
Té y xocolata
I named this book after Barcelona, because of the Barcelona based chocolatier, Simón Coll’s, chocolate wrapper used for the flower vase. This chocolate bar wrapper design has been in continuous use since 1880.

rombo-simon-coll

Memorial Day Sale

memorial day sale

A big two day sale, over on Society6

Get a whopping 20% off all items PLUS Free Shipping to anywhere in the world. Now’s your chance to fill up on art and good looking stuff for your home, or stockpile a heap of pressies for the next few months’ flurry of birthdays and occasions.

Sale starts Sunday, May 28 @ 12am PT (that’s +16:30 hours—or 4:30 pm on a Monday—for my peeps in Darwin) and ends on Monday, May 29 @ 11:59pm PT (or 4:29 pm, Tuesday). You can head to the sale by clocking Here.

Paradise Found

Paradise Found

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

excerpt from Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot

I went away for two years, to marvel at vine-hung jungles up muddy rivers, at tepuys rising like wizards fortresses out of a sea of greenery, at waterfalls so high that half the water had blown away on the wind before a drop reached the ground where I stood. I clung to mules as we descended near-vertical mountain paths in the Andes. I bedded down for the night in bus stations, in traveller’s inns that felt like army barracks, in 18th century mansions filled with antiques, and in a crash pad in New York—eight Latin Americans in one room, of whom one spoke English.

I stayed with locals in disparate settings of 18th century charm, or 18th century poverty…in a clapboard house sinking into the squishy mud on the edge of a filthy canal, in a house in the old slave quarters of a medieval city, where the young prostitutes drank and argued on the old cobblestones, and  I spent one night in a communist-style block of Cuban apartments where the water and electricity came on for a few hours each day, but every resident owned an instrument and the building twitched its hips to salsa music, morning till midnight.

Naturally, when the time came to return home, I was a little worried that life in Darwin, Australia, would seem poorer for all the places I’d been.

I needn’t have worried.

As the old cliché goes, “There’s no place like home.” Back up the creek on our houseboat, SonOfAGun, the mangroves swayed in the sea wind, and morning sunlight lay slick on green-gold water like fine olive oil. For many months I was utterly spellbound.

When Kris and I moved our boat to this spot, I loved it right off the bat: the solitude, the natural surroundings, the quality of the light, the chi of living surrounded by water. I didn’t think it was possible to love this place any more, until I came back from my wandering and found that I did.
paradise found 2

“Paradise Found” was made for the exhibition “Gypsies, Vagabonds, and Wild Mad Women”. I priced it to discourage anyone from buying it and, luckily, no one did. I’m glad, because I want to live with this one for a while. It’s the beginning of what I suspect may be a bunch of love letters to my home and my life.
paradise found 3
It’s composed of watercolours, acrylics, collaged papers (linocut, textured or painted beforehand) and a bit of colored pencil. I’ve just uploaded the image to my Society6 shop, so it’s now available as a fine art print on acid-free rag paper.