Shanghai chai

Tea in Shanghai - 1

And here is journal number two, Shanghai Chai.

In the grand old tradition of Western-made chinoiserie, it’s a little bit of a hodge-podge of Oriental stereotypes, rather than anything correctly Shanghainese. Awkward cultural appropriations, I’m sorry…the journal has more in common with this Manhattan Transfer song (but then, that’s Singapore…what a dog’s breakfast I am making of this!) than real places.

These babies are ready to go to Finland.

Tea in Shanghai - 4

Tea in Shanghai - 2

Tea in Shanghai - 3

Tea in Helsinki…

Helsinki tea time

Here’s the completed made-to-order journal, incorporating those painted dishes I showed in the last blog post.

Helsinki tea time

Such a headache coming up with a background color that suited! Painted several canvas backgrounds…all much too dark and detailed. This one, though perhaps still busy, is lighter and softer. Pink is never the color I try out first…it just doesn’t occur to me. (How unlike the feminine and fun work of Hanna Anderson, where pink is the foundation for nearly everything!) But I’m happy to give it the stage if it does the job, and it has saved the day, here.

Helsinki tea time

Helsinki tea time

My Finnish patroness wanted two journals: number two will be out from under the book press tomorrow. Then I CAN FINALLY PACK AWAY MY PAINTS AND BOOKBINDING GEAR! These are pretty much the bindery’s last books before the trip.

Woo hoo!

Tea in The Solarium

Tea in The SolariumMore tea, so forgive me.

In the sun-filled solarium, this time, surrounded by hothouse ferns of wild purple hue. Another tea-stained page taken from the fantastic, mostly fanciful, life of Mata Hari…and the golden walls are peppered with tiny mauve stitches…

Tea in The SolariumI scanned at higher resolutions, this time, and the file was big enough to put on throw pillows and other things, for once. Learning. It never ends.

These are available from—where else?— society6, as always, and their sales special—$5 off each item, plus free shipping worldwide—is still going. Makes me wonder if they ever turn it off. I’ve gotten so used to the great prices that I’ll probably become depressed when they finally do go back to regular pricing…

more teacups…

gold roses tea cup
Gold Roses of the Sun…a one-line poem from Monochords by the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos; a teacup inspired by Islamic tiles, a tea-stained page from a book about Australian Literature…

Still making teacup illustrations. I have done 7 or 8, now. It’s impossible to paint teacup after teacup, and not get fancier and more ambitious as I go. I really can’t repeat a series of steps over and over, it bores me silly…I don’t know how other artists do it! For me, every teacup has to trump the one before; I have to accumulate what I’ve learned previously, and bring that to bear on the next illustration. Eventually I will hit a ceiling, where my teacups (or anything else I’m illustrating) become so baroque, so slick, ornate, and extravagant, that they are monstrous and kitschy, and the balloon I have been soaring in pops, sinking slowly back to earth again.

The Sea Dog’s Teacup, below, is maybe two or three cups away from that point at which my designs and ideas will collapse under their own weight. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and I loved, loved, loved drawing the seascape and albatross on the side of the cup…as well as the magic realism of the sailing ship inside it.

And just for fun, I’ve posted it on Society6, as well (everything I make, pretty much, is going to go on there from now on…sorry if it gets boring, but a girl’s gotta pay for her art materials and South American adventure somehow! 😉

Sea Dog's tea cup

Tea with Lady Lavender

tea

Hello, sorry It’s been so quiet on here. I’ve been quite busy making stuff…just didn’t remember to take pictures of anything I was doing, hence nothing to show you or blog about.

Yesterday I started working on a series of mixed media journal covers because I visited my own ETSY shop a few weeks ago, and things were looking very, very lonely and neglected. I am trying to get back into bookbinding now, because I have a dozen or so text blocks of beautiful paper all bound and ready for covers. The covers are always the hardest part (but also the most fun) because I don’t like to repeat myself, and I tend to get stuck for a long time, fiddling with tiny details on every single one.

The subject of this batch of journal covers is tea time; this one’s predominantly lavender. The base is painted artist’s canvas. I’ve used various papers—tea stained pages for the tea cup, and my own marbled paper for the tea, some gift tissue—and bits of fabric. Machine as well as hand stitching. Acrylic paints (and some dimensional glitter paint), acrylic inks, and some shading with colored pencils.

tea

tea

What have you been tinkering with lately?