Paint Lab for Kids

I have a super talented friend, Stephanie Corfee, who writes art books for children and earlier this year she asked me to be one of the contributing artists for her latest book Paint Lab for Kids.  I was so proud to be considered and even prouder when she suggested that the book would feature both mine and Isadora's artwork.   My little girl has her artwork in a BOOK!!!!  This is her painting of a ship in a bottle (and mine below).  As you can see, our artwork demonstrates how to work with soft pastels.

We are very excited about trying out the other wonderful art projects in the book.  Each of the 52 projects features a related piece of artwork by a working artist as inspiration.  You can read Stephanie's blog post about here!

If you'd like to buy the book you can find it on Amazon and in all major book stores!

Thank you so much Stephanie!!!!!  xxx

#alittleart

A month or so ago I started an art project on Instagram. I wanted to find a way of artistically experimenting on a regular (daily) basis, without parameters or agenda - other than to end up with something to post on Instagram.

I had some Strathmore Artist Trading Cards that I'd bought in NY (little rectangles of different types of paper that can be bought in packs) and was wondering what to do with them when I realized they might provide the the ideal format for a manageable, daily art project - because they were so tiny.  The size (2.5" wide) means that I can't work on them for a long time, I can't get wrapped in fiddling details and huge compositions and I can experiment with an idea  and move onto the next one quickly.  

I started with just color and texture. Stripes and layers and circles.  I tried all sorts of paints and pens  The problem was that once I started I couldn't limit myself to just one a day  (I have the same problem with biscuits).

I hash-tagged my project #alittleart and invited fellow artists to join in.  I got a great response and posted the work to my Instagram feed.  Then I realized that wasn't ideal.  There were so many lovely contributions I had to start a new page for them.   I love the way some of them became entire collections and even inspired larger pieces - like these from Julie Hamilton, Sunny Spot Studio and Claire Wilson.

Over the last few weeks I haven't been as productive as usual and my project lost momentum.  I found that posting to a second Instagram account is tricky (to say the least), involving logging out and back in repeatedly.  I think I may have to abandon the page entirely.  However, I just finished a number of designs that came about as a direct result of all that playing around. Apparently these types of projects are known as #creativeplaygrounds - where the focus is on experimentation (playing) and consistently 'showing up'.  It's been so successful for me in terms of feeding my work - my techniques, concepts and color - that I wanted to share the process with you.  I will be continuing the project and do hope that you'll be encouraged to join me again.  I know I won't be able to maintain a daily momentum but hope to be consistent.

These are the result of playing with paint - thinking (very) loosely of floral motifs.

These are the result of playing with paint - thinking (very) loosely of floral motifs.

I elaborated on them a bit then thought I'd see what would happen if I chopped them all up.

I elaborated on them a bit then thought I'd see what would happen if I chopped them all up.

The chopped up pieces were so pretty.  I used them to make individual flowers on illustration board.

The chopped up pieces were so pretty.  I used them to make individual flowers on illustration board.

The art board gave them such a 'finished' quality, I lined them up on my shelf for a quick photo shoot.

The art board gave them such a 'finished' quality, I lined them up on my shelf for a quick photo shoot.

This was the final version - a range of greetings cards! 

If you'd like to join me in my project please do!  Just tag me @victoriajohnsondesign and #alittleart.  It encourages you to 'show up', inspires you to experiment, feeds your daily design work and allows you the time and freedom to really enjoy creating art in the way you want to.  You can follow me on Instagram here.

Below are some of the beautiful pieces from my fellow artists.  The first three are by J Broxon.  I haven't seen an entire collection of them posted but included three here because they're so gorgeous!  

Tall Pinning!!!!

little houses tall pin
lettering tall pin
painted jungle tall pin
vases tall pin

Have you ever heard of this? My friend Ohn Mar Win is a Pinterest wiz and advised me to pin some tall pins as they have a great re-pin rate.   They're ideal for me as I every design I do belongs to a collection and I can show entire collections in one image with a tall pin.  I'm about to pin these up so please have a look at my Pinterest page and if you like them maybe you can add some of them to one of your boards!!

New Fabric Collection with Windham

I'm really thrilled to finally announce that I have a fabric collection with Windham Fabrics.  It's based on my butterfly designs and is called 'Whisper'.   

These are the original designs;

And these are the fabrics;

Windham asked me to do some of my embroidery using the fabrics and sent me some samples;

Windham Whisper Collection

This is what I came up with - an embroidered cushion cover!

You can see the collection on the Windham Fabrics website here!

Painting in the Garden

Hi!  I recently tidied up my garden, bought new cushions and hung the swing.  The wisteria, bougainvillea and plumbago have grown into a beautiful canopy above the table (it's taken me  four years to train them over the wooden frame) and I now have a perfectly shaded spot to paint.  It's impossible to sit in the garden in Rome without heavy shade as the sun is blisteringly hot.   

The other weekend I spent the afternoon experimenting with inks.  The range of colors, from soft petals to deep, intense blues, and the serendipitous nature of the ink, the way it bleeds and pools, had me transfixed for hours.   

Surtex - how did it go this year?

Hi!!! First a disclaimer - this is long.

I've had a relaxing few days since arriving home from New York and am finally able to to reflect upon my experience at Surtex.  I was convinced that my second year would be easier. But it wasn't.  In fact I think I was far more efficient at preparing last time round.  The weeks preceding the show were difficult and I felt like I'd left everything until the last minute. Contributing to the stress was my decision to build a new website from scratch in March and a succession of projects since signing on with Jennifer Nelson Artists - both of which are wonderful developments and I'm not complaining - but things got a bit hectic.

The blurb books and a few last second designs.  They arrived in the nick of time!

The blurb books and a few last second designs.  They arrived in the nick of time!

I left Rome with a  kind of exhausted shrug of resignation, seriously wondering if I'd pulled it off - if I could compete with the success of last year.  My close friend Charlotte accompanied me from Rome.  She came last year too and it was lovely to have her support on the journey. As we stepped out of the taxi at the airport she asked me what nice things I'd got in my suitcase and I won't write how I responded.  All I'll say is that my poor work didn't deserve that comment and it made me pay!!  I'd put all my most treasured, irreplaceable show materials (original paintings, business cards, hand-made booth trimmings, portfolio books) in my hand-luggage, thinking I wouldn't entrust it to the baggage handlers.  I shouldn't have entrusted it to myself.  I left it at Security. I didn't realize until a whole hour had passed and I was blankly staring at the lipsticks in Duty Free sensing that something was amiss.  Charlotte said I went white. Thanks to her calm good sense and fluent Italian we got it back - ten minutes before boarding.  I almost wept with relief.  I'm so sorry paintings.  I love you and I'll never be rude about you again!

Arriving in New York was as magical as ever - this being the view from the taxi - slightly enhanced!

No wonder they named it twice!

No wonder they named it twice!

Charlotte had booked a suite for us to share with Flora Waycott in a place called Off Bowery Suites in Lower Manhattan.  We went for dinner with my friends Audra and Bret and  later that evening Flora Waycott arrived from New Zealand!  It felt so festive, traveling all that way to meet up with old and new friends in Manhattan.

Flora is so easy to get along with and down to earth (we first met when she helped me on my booth last year) and she, Charlotte and I spent many happy hours endlessly gossiping over the course of the week, though Charlotte was weary of 'shop talk' by the end of it.

Made it.  That's the errant suitcase full of treasures at the front there.

Made it.  That's the errant suitcase full of treasures at the front there.

I set up on Friday, helped by Audra, who is also an artist/designer.  Like last year, the hall was almost empty.  Most of the veterans whisk in and out on Saturday afternoon/evening, ready for the show opening on Sunday. By the end of the day we'd put up the banners, sort of baggily, and a few trimmings.  I like setting up early because it gives me time to rectify any problems the following day.  

Hanging up the butterflies.

Hanging up the butterflies.

On Saturday at midday I stood waiting outside the Javits Center and heard a voice shouting 'Victoria'!!  It was Jennifer Nelson and her friendly sister in law, unloading interesting looking boxes from her car.  We've only met  once in real life once when she came to see my stand last year. It was lovely to see her again, having spoken to her on Google Hangouts almost once a week for the last few months. She's genuine, warm and enthusiastic - and so tall!  Every online friend I've met at Surtex so far has been the wrong size.  The ones I thought were tall are short, the ones I thought were little are big etc.

Ready for a busy day!

Ready for a busy day!

Shortly after, I met Ohn Mar Win for the first time.  She asked me months ago if I'd like her to help on my stand and I jumped at the chance.  She's professional and super-talented and I knew she'd be perfect. She even matched my artwork and I have a color matching compulsion so this won me over completely.  We spent a happy afternoon, sticking up my paintings, assembling printed boxes, attaching paper butterflies to things.  I felt like I knew her as we've been online friends for eighteen months.  By the end of the day I was starting to feel less anxious and quite positive about my booth. It looked very pretty. I had the same booth anxiety last year (dreaming that my stand was made of wicker) and ended up being pleasantly surprised then too.  

Finished!

Finished!

Flowers designed by nature to match my booth!

Flowers designed by nature to match my booth!

Hand-made butterflies. A labor of love.

Hand-made butterflies. A labor of love.

My Mom helped me turn my embroideries into these cushions.

My Mom helped me turn my embroideries into these cushions.

On Sunday the show opened. Last year I lacerated my feet in multiple places from three different pairs of 'sensible' shoes.  This year I wore pointed, patent, heeled shoes in defiance.  I NEVER wear heels.  And they were like fluffy clouds attached to my feet. Unpredictably comfortable!  Here are Ohn Mar and I in our co-ordinated outifts.

Co-ordinated perfection.

Co-ordinated perfection.

And so the show...What can I say?  Was it good compared to last year?   It WAS.  It really WAS!!!  It was so busy!!! I had a fantastic booth location, thanks to John Erich, the Sales Manager.  About three weeks ago my friend (a fellow exhibitor)  emailed me to say our allocated booths had vanished from the map. Shortly after John Erich offered me a replacement spot so close to the front and center that I could not believe my good fortune and I said YES immediately.

There appeared to be a continuous stream of clients sitting down to look through my books.  I've held certain companies on a pedestal for several years now.  They've featured in journal entries on 'goal' lists and I've worked on many personal projects with them in mind, steering my aspirations towards them like beacons on the horizon.  This year I managed to engage with several of these companies and really feel there is great potential for building working relationships with them.  The show was worth it for this alone.  

Busy!

Busy!

Jennifer was hugely supportive and helpful, welcoming old and new clients, manning my booth while I attended seminars (very worthwhile), dashing off urgently every time she received a call from Lauren Lowen or Monika Forseberg and Jennifer Orkin Lewis at the Cloverly. We all had different booths this year but will exhibit together as Jennifer Nelson Artists next year.  We missed Bee Brown but hopefully she'll in New York for 2016.  Ohn Mar was brilliant at engaging passing clients, cheerfully greeting them and asking what they were looking for and whether they'd like to have a look at my work.  Ohn Mar, Anne Bollman and I managed a leisurely stroll around the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at one point - and I have only one thing to say about that...Fractals!

There seemed to be fewer artists and students wandering the aisles this year, maybe due to the prohibitive cost of entry (nearly $500).  There were, however, plenty of friends attending, either exhibiting, helping someone out or walking the show for inspiration.  I enjoyed the social aspect of the show as much as anything else, chatting to familiar names and faces. One evening an enormous group of us ambled along the Highline, ending up drinking margaritas in the Meatpacking District.  Another evening, we ate at Jennifer Orkin Lewis's brother's award winning restaurant on the Lower East Side. On another occasion, a large group of us ate at the Bowery Bar.  I love visiting New York, experiencing all the things I took for granted when I lived there with a fresh perspective.

Charlotte. I couldn't have done it last year or this year without you!! 

Charlotte. I couldn't have done it last year or this year without you!! 

Flora waycott and Elizabeth Olwen  

Flora waycott and Elizabeth Olwen  

Jo chambers and Rachael Schafer

Jo chambers and Rachael Schafer

Anne Bollman and Claire Lordon

Anne Bollman and Claire Lordon

Carolyn Gavin and Helen Dardik

Carolyn Gavin and Helen Dardik

SALLI AND NATE FROM THEY DRAW AND COOK

SALLI AND NATE FROM THEY DRAW AND COOK

I didn't manage to visit the Stationery Show which was disappointing.  I also regret that I missed a couple of favorite clients while I was away from the stand.  I didn't walk away with 'cash' this year but I don't consider this a disappointment.  I think the key objective of exhibiting at Surtex is to build relationships and cement existing ones and the show was extremely successful for me in that respect.  The projects are already coming in and I'm anticipating busy weeks ahead.

'Doing' Surtex is a unique experience - from the extreme expense and exhaustion involved in the preparation to the mild euphoria of standing in your own booth, surrounded by your own work, talking to people you've dreamed about.  Seeing months of intense hard work come to fruition is indescribably rewarding.  That said, I'm quite relieved that next year I'll be participating as an artist/helper at Jennifer Nelson Artists, rather than doing it alone. The great thing about Jennifer is that she views her relationship with the artists as a partnership and I'm sure helping to do her booth will be just as rewarding.  I know she'll welcome the personal touches and trimmings that make it fun!

I can't wait to go again and I can't wait to see the outcome of the show in terms of exciting developments with fabulous clients.  I'll keep you posted!

Happy!

Happy!

Blog — Victoria Johnson Design

Hi!!!  Welcome to my new blog page.  Please have a look around my website while you're visiting.  I'm so pleased to finally have a 'responsive' website.  Almost immediately after I built my last website I realized it couldn't be seen on phones and tablets and it's been hanging over me ever since.  I built this one with Squarespace as I'd heard so many good reviews - and they were right.  It took me a matter of days to do it, then a couple of weeks to sit and ruminate and poke at it a bit more until I felt happy with it. Please let me know what you think!!

In the meantime here's a piece of brand new art just for you (not that I'm trying to influence your opinion or anything).

You're the best!

Here we go!!! Surtex 2015!!

It's that time of year.  And this year I'm a veteran.  I know how it all works, don't need to get into a state, it'll be ten times easier this time round. Won't it?

I'm panicking because I feel like I was way ahead with the planning last year but yesterday I had a look through my 'to do' lists from back then and actually I wasn't.  I started preparing in the second week of Mar.  So I'm only a week behind.  Last year I was confused about every tiny detail, the size of the booth, how I'd hang, display, transport things.  I nervously read every line of the exhibitor manual.

It reminded me of when I brought my first new baby home and the idea of her growing teeth and eating real food and not wearing nappies was an alarming prospect in the future and I had no idea how we would do all that.  Obviously, when I brought the second new baby home there were no daunting mysteries and I felt confident that his baby years would be much easier.

But they weren't really.  I still had to do them/deal with them.  The difference was that I knew how the second time round.  Which is what  I'm finding now.  I know exactly what to do but I still have to get on and actually do it!!!!  And more importantly - I have to find the time to do it.

So, with that in mind, I started my preparations with an extremely important task that couldn't wait a moment longer - making a pretty 'to do' list.  It's pinned up in front of me as a jolly, happy reminder of the hellishly busy weeks ahead.

It will be worth it though - I can't actually wait to go to Surtex - it's the highlight of my year - just like having my babies was the highlight of my life.  No pain, no gain, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, you get out what you put in!!!  Here we go!

I think I like collage best!!

I just listened to this interview with Lisa Congdon by Monica Lee from Smart Creative Women -

here

.   Lisa talks about  my friend and fellow Jennifer Nelson Artist,  Jennifer Orkin Lewis (August Wren) and her brilliantly successful sketchbook project.  She talks about it in the context of finding what makes you enthusiastic - what makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning.

I've been working as an artist/designer pretty much my entire adult life, in one way or another, and obviously there have been creative peaks and troughs during that time.  

I think university was probably one of my highest points creatively, where I had the opportunity to exercise the purest freedom to be myself and experiment artistically (for zero money). The grimmest period was the first few years after having my first child - where I wearily cranked out miserable looking designs two and a half days a week, to try and keep my hand in and earn enough to pay some bills.

And now!!!  I'm riding the crest again!  I'm doing what I want - and it's okay - clients like it!  And a lot of it turns out to be collage!  I don't know why but this really appeals to me.  It's messy and chaotic and I can draw and paint on it... and I can't keep clicking the back button when something is wonky.  But it's also clean and flat and bold and brightly colored.  And at the end of it I'm holding something in my hand that can be propped up or hung (or scanned and photographed and messed about with!)  

I can't tell you how many times I used to sit in an NY design studio and dream of expressing my own taste like this.

I look at what I'm creating now and think - well - it's not difficult is it?  You always liked this stuff, these colours, these shapes, these layers.  Why couldn't you have been doing this before?  And the answer is...because I wasn't ready.  I was in a constant low grade panic, with a (misguided) voice in my head telling  me what was okay and what wasn't.  And I didn't have the context or support to exercise that level of  freedom.  Over the last few years I've worked towards building that context and support, surrounding myself by voices that override my own when it tells me what I can't do.  

One of those voices is Jennifer Nelson's.  She's shouting loud and clear.  The other voices are those of my online artist friends around the world.  And then, most importantly, there are my clients  - the ones who want to work with me, who think I'm doing a great job!   Of course, at the end of all this though, there's me isn't there!  I'm starting to understand what I REALLY like and go where I want to go.  I'm  cheering myself on - and on the days when the enthusiasm is ebbing, there's always Wilson (the disembodied head stuck to my computer stand) to remind me!

Time to...start managing time!!!

My kids and I haven't been very well lately.  For two weeks straight one or the other of us was bed-ridden - which meant that I wasn't very productive.  Normally this would have been annoying and frustrating because there is always too much to do and not enough time - but during this particular period it was exasperating.  Since signing on with Jennifer Nelson Artists I've had one job after the next.  The success of the agency has exceeded all my expectations and I couldn't be happier with the outcome!!  This means, however, that I have many more projects to juggle and  need to start structuring my working week better, finding ways to be more productive so that when disaster strikes and we're all at home lying around, I'm not in a state of panic about how I will catch up.

I'm NOT a morning person.  If I could choose when to work I'd start at around 4pm and work until past midnight.  But I can't because I have children and my work day has to fit around them.  Because I'm in a sort of fog for the first few hours of my work day, I start later than I should - around 10am - and don't make the most of my time.  This is going to change - I'm going to sit myself down at 9am every day!   I've also started keeping track of my work hours and am amazed at how sporadic they are - stopping and starting, changing from one day to the next!  That is also going to change.  I'm going to try and keep set hours!  What else?  Ah yes - I've had a strict policy of working on ONE thing at a time, then clearing it all away before starting the next.  I love working like this - it keeps my brain tidy.   It's not possible anymore.  I'm going to have to start multi-tasking!!!  Eeek.  But maybe I will manage to post on  my blog more often if I get used to switching from one thing to the next.

Lastly - I have to get up at 7am every day for my kids.  But I often don't go to sleep until way past midnight!  That's another thing that will have to change and may even lift the morning fog a bit.

I'm memorializing all this here!  I would add in a plan to exercise regularly but I've been threatening to do that for twenty years and it hasn't happened yet so I'll tackle the other big changes first.

Changed the name and the header!


What do you think?  You might think this is the last word in narcissism but there is a reason.  I embroidered my name for my artist thumbnail on Jennifer Nelson Artists website - here.  It took a few evenings in front of the telly as you can imagine so I wanted to get as much use as possible out of it.  I've had my old banner and website for three years and am considering my options for an overhaul.  I particularly didn't like the old name of my blog - 'Conversationally' - because I thought it sounded a bit trite - conversationals being the name of prints featuring little pictures, which is what I do.
So I thought I'd post my embroidery.  I could NOT get the right recipe of resolution and size (I tried to put the image above up there) so I ended up with just Victoria.  So now my blog is called Victoria?   Ha Ha.  It's a work in progress.  Any ideas?

Gold!!!




I've been doing a sketch type thing a day recently. A lot of people have started doing it and I think many of them were inspired by the sketchbooks of Jennifer Orkin Lewis, or August Wren, which are filled with incredible thirty minute paintings. You can follow her on Instagram (augustwren) as she posts daily.  
It's actually a very good practice, enabling the sketcher/painter to create without inhibitions (or even discipline) and really experiment.  Then the experiments fuel the 'real' work. 
This is how I came up with my gold floral above. It was a spin off of some watercolour florals I did, using masking fluid and ink, and curiosity led me to quickly try the technique with gold acrylic, gold being a big trend this season. 
This one experiment inspired me to go to the one and only local art shop this morning and go mad buying everything gold and some new canvases.  I'm looking forward to doing some very shiny paintings soon!! 

Thank you!!

The launch of Jennifer's new agency was a huge success, beyond our wildest imaginings, and on Monday morning we all reflected on the generous and supportive response we got.
I'm working on Valentine ideas at the moment so I made this little dog with a huge bouquet to say thank you to everyone who so kindly sent their best wishes.  I love being part of a global community of artists and at times like this I really value having the companionship, support and advice that I receive daily from everyone.
I started building a collection under my own name three years ago, feeling like a very obscure needle in an enormous haystack and wondering how my work would ever get noticed.   I have a tendency to swing wildly between extreme exertion and complete inertia but I approached this with a slow, plodding consistency, tackling everything methodically, following a (very loose) structure I'd set up for myself.  This year I'm getting a sense that my efforts are coming to fruition.
A year ago I started a  goal journal, feeling sort of obliged to follow the protocol, to see if it worked.  It's a very sporadically-entered collection of ramblings but among the mess are some goals.  I recommend doing it.  Some of the more outlandish ones are actually being realized and its unimaginably gratifying to tick them off!!  I'm predicting that with Jennifer's help and my artist friends' support some of the other pipe dreams are also going to become attainable.

Represented by.......



I'm so pleased and excited to finally tell everyone that I am represented by a new agency...Jennifer Nelson Artists!!  I've got to know Jennifer over the last few months and feel like I'm the luckiest recipient of a wonderful opportunity.  I've enjoyed developing my career single handedly over the last couple of years and wondered how much an agent could add to my progress.  Then I spoke to Jennifer.  She's so confidence inspiring, brimming with enthusiasm, always available and a hundred percent engaged in our collective goal to get my work out there.  She has tons of relevant experience in our industry and is incredible professional - I'm just thrilled to be involved in her fabulous new venture.
In addition to being impressed by Jennifer herself I was blown away by her choice of artists that are also coming on board - Bee Brown, August Wren (Jennifer Orkin Lewis), Lauren Minco (now Lowen) and Monika Forsberg.  They're all phenomenally talented and I'm so proud to be associated with them.  Please, please go and have a look at the website - jennifer-nelson-artists.com - and look at our galleries.  I think they look amazing!!!!
If you'd like to see mine it's jennifer-nelson-artists.com/victoria-johnson

Fall/Autumn Colors - Inspiration


I'm trying to do a Fall/Autumnal design at the moment - squirrels, foxes, acorns, leaves and so on.
I had a big hit with the fox design (below) a few years ago.  I did a group of six pieces using this palette and it did very well.  The colors are very obviously Autumnal yet the addition of the bright pink accent makes it contemporary and whimsical.
This time I'm looking for a more sophisticated palette - something more geared towards home furnishing. 
I've been noticing a lot of these unusual grey pumpkins on Pinterest lately and the combination of those with the traditional orange variety put me in mind of something that has perennial appeal in Autumn - tan leather and heather grey knit: tan boots and heather grey tights, a grey, chunky knit sweater with a tan handbag. This really conjures up bookish, windblown, collegiate sophistication for me and I'm very keen to try it out!!  I put together a mood board (see above) and pulled my palette from it.  I particularly like the way the greys slightly veer off into taupe/mauve tones.  I think they'll look great against the warm burnt oranges, browns and golds.  I'd also like to add that hint of pale melon in somewhere as a surprise.
Today I'm going to be trying to incorporate it into those little birds and squirrels.

New Print and Pattern Designers for Hire Directory - I'm in there!!!




So - a couple of weeks ago I had a nice email from Bowie Style (Marie Perkins) at Print and Pattern, inviting me to appear in her new Print and Pattern Designers for Hire Directory.  
Apparently, one of the most common problems with Print & Pattern is being able to find an artist quickly in the extensive archives - especially if you do not have a specific name in mind that you can enter into the search box.
So in order to enable companies to find designers that they can commission or licence more easily Marie has created an online directory page where each artist can have their own image button.
This should allow busy art directors to find artists more quickly.
The buttons/banners feature the artist's unique designs and link directly to their portfolio website 
rather than to their work on the Print & Pattern blog.  The cost is very reasonable at 100 pounds a year.

Obviously I said yes!!!  Print and Pattern is viewed daily by art directors in our industry and this exposure has real potential to lead to work opportunities. She asked me to make a banner for the page, featuring my name and some artwork, and this is what I came up with!  Hope those art directors out there like it!!   
The directory has been 'curated for quality not quantity' and is a real feast for the eyes, featuring some amazing designers/artists.  I'm very proud and pleased to be included!!  
Above is a screen shot of the first part.  You can see mine on the bottom right!! If you'd like to see all the artists on the Designers for Hire Directory please click here!!!

I'm the Lovely Ink featured artist this month!


This month I'm the featured artist on Ghost Kitten's Lovely Ink Blog Post.  You can see the feature here.
If you want to receive a free 8x10" printable and desktop wallpaper of this "Choose Happiness " print, sign-up for Lovely Ink here. Every month, Lovely Ink delivers free inspirational art to your inbox.
Please go and have a look.  Some great artists have taken part in this fabulous project!  

Some of my Favorite Artists!!

Back in July, my friend, Anne Bollman, asked me if I'd like to participate in a blog hop and I said yes, of course, not realizing that it was the same blog hop that I'd agreed to do for Melissa Iwai (which is here).
I finally managed to do my part for Melissa a few weeks ago but didn't manage to do it for Anne until now (sorry!).  Since I've already answered all the questions for Melissa, I decided to make this post a feature about some of my favourite artists, showcasing their work and explaining why I love it.  
If any of you ladies would like to continue the 'hop' you just have to write something about me, answer some questions about yourself (see below) and feature two more artists. Here are the questions;
1. What are you working on?
2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
3. Why do you create?
4. How does your creative process work?
But since I broke the rules, I don't mind if you do too - so no obligation!!!

Anne Bollman

First I'd like to show you some of Anne's stunning work.  Anne is based in Los Angeles. I love her sense of humor.  It's evident in almost everything she does. I think this is why she's so brilliant at doing characters - her sense of fun enables her to create relatable, friendly personalities for almost anything you can think of.  Look at that snail, and the ink blot with 'oops' written in it!!!  Anne has a fresh, clean graphic style that I can imagine on a million products!



Isn't this a beautiful concept - the idea of all the different modes of transportation.  Usually this is a masculine theme (cars, airplanes) so it's so refreshing to see a feminine version - a lemon yellow camper van and a bicycle with flowers in the basket!! Anne also does co-ordinates very successfully, taking elements of the key designs and creating simple repeats to create a broad reaching collection.


Look at these gingerbread men/women/  They're skiing on candy canes and they've just come from their ginger bread house!! And their candy canes are making a heart shape!  And the trees are lollipops!  So much thought and humor has gone into this concept.  You can see more of Anne's work here.




Betsy Wood

The next designer I'm featuring is Betsy Wood who lives in England.  I love her work.  It's incredibly trend-driven and clever.  Look at how she's used foliage as the fox's tale, the owl's wings and the peacock's tail. And the simplicity of the animal shapes - they're so uncluttered but are full of personality!



And this! The lettering is really varied but cohesive and I love the bird shapes, especially the one facing his tail.  Each one has a different voice too!  



Are you blown away by this?  I was when I first saw it!  Look at the details!!  So original, such variety.  There are layers and layers of disparate imagery here, all held together with incredible skill and understanding of color and composition.  Look at the hole punch circles, the stag emblem, the arrow on the owl's chest, the cameo brooch, the vintage wallpapery ground.  Amazing talent!



Isn't this a lovely idea for the GTS Terrarium project!!  You can see more of Betsy's work here.





Rebecca Jones

Next is GTS finalist Rebecca Jones. She's English but lives in Melbourne, Australia. She's an absolutely brilliant illustrator and it's no surprise that she made it to the final stage of the competition.  Rebecca creates the most appealing characters imaginable and sets them in worlds that are both vibrant and delicate at the same time.  There's something light and lacy about her style that exudes femininity without being at all girly or twee. Rebecca has an incredible imagination and I always find a subtle surprise in her designs. In this one it's the watermelon slices on this little girl's dress!



This design is FULL of delightful surprises.  This is Rebecca's entry for the first round of the GTS. Look at that house in the tree with the ladder!!!! The squirrel running up the side of the jar!  The linear toadstools tucked into the background, the gently floating seed pods around the edges!! And look at the bear's face!  I want this to be a story to read to my children!!  



How pretty and delicate is this!!  You can see more of Rebecca's work here.





Flora Waycott

Here's Flora's beautiful work.  She's English/Japanese but lives in New Zealand. She's also a GTS finalist and it's no surprise in her case either!!!  Flora also has a delicate, illustrative style.  Her characters are massively appealing and beautifully proportioned.  She often uses a gentle color palette (I tend to think of it as European) and well observed, hand drawn, linear icons.  Look at these little women.  Creating appealing adult, female characters is extremely difficult as they can either look too young or not pretty enough.  I think these hit the perfect note.




Flora is very inspired by nature.  Her floral studies are beautiful.  She's half Japanese and I think this comes across in her work - something about the simplicity and cleanliness of the imagery.  There's nothing heavy or over complicated.  Very few, well executed elements make a really strong impact.  You can see more of Flora's work here.





 So - there you go! Aren't they all incredible!!!  Good luck Rebecca and Flora with the GTS and good luck to Anne and Betsy with your wonderful designs! xxxx



Need a mid-year diary? Buy one at WHSmiths right now (I know the designer!)


We went to England for a couple of weeks in August and I thought while I was there I'd just pop into WHSmith's near my Mom's house and see if there were any of my designs in there.  And yes!!!  I found them.  Cute aren't they!  I like them sat next to each other on the shelf.  The colours look nice together!  So if you fancy one, you can probably find one there right now.