Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year EVERYONE!!!

This year I decided to make my own holiday cards and, not having tried my hand at crafts for some long, long, lo-o-ong time, came to two eye-opening revelations:
glue is MESSY and... glue is FUN!!!
Definitely doing this again next year.
The idea for these surprisingly came from medieval illuminations of the St. Albans Psalter (and Russian folk craft of matryoshkas, of course).

An illumination from the psalter
I saw the stunningly and painstakingly decorated pages on display at the Getty museum, fell in love with gorgeous drawings, and, ever since, have been looking for an excuse to draw miniatures. And what better excuse than hand-made holiday cards? Not that anyone really needs an excuse to draw or paint or sketch or etch or sculpt, just some inspiration, some paints, some pencils, some brushes and a bit of paper (or canvas or clay or marble, depending on your ambition and available space).
On the dollies dresses I originally wanted to use real gold leaf, but the time was running out, so I went with the gold designer's gouache and loved the results. Its so dressy, shiny and pretty! The paint dries to a nice deep gold without brassiness or flatness.
Some other cool art done with a bit of gold gouache and lots of imagination...
Erte Gouache Costume Design Cinderella
Gemma Black Calligrapher, walnut ink, designers gouache, 23ct gold leaf, pen-white
Leon Bakst, gouache, gold paint and pencil on paper
Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat
images via Pinterest
A holiday drawing for my hubby who comes from Virginia, the land of the cardinals!
Love these festive red birds, they are such bright and cheerful little guys!

May Your Days be Merry and Bright... My Christmas Wishes...

Ah, the smell of Christmas! For me Christmas always starts with the nose. The scents of cinnamon and nutmeg and Christmas trees and something not quite tangible enough to describe in words - a fragrant essence that reaches your heart and fills it with anticipation, wonder and joy, and you just know that it's finally here - the most magical season of all!
handmade Christmas ornaments inspired by the Christmas carols

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Giftlist: Puffin Chalk

Tanamachi Studio worked with Puffin Books - a children's division of Penguin books - to create Puffin Chalk, a series of classic children's books with a brand new look. Every cover was hand-drawn in a larger size with chalk, then photographed for reproduction. These gorgeous volumes are a delight to own and will make wonderful Christmas gifts for the little ones on your list. Peter Pan, Pippi Longstocking, and The Wizard of Oz are all available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 Round 1, Pippi sketch from Puffin
 Round 1, Wizard of Oz sketch from Puffin

Dana Tanamachi is a graphic designer who makes custom chalk signs. Even if you don't know the artist by name, you've likely seen her beautiful chalk work around lately. Her chalk lettering has been featured on book covers, in Nike ads, on skateboards, on magazine covers, the list is extensive and growing. Her work has also inspired a huge trend in chalk lettering in the typography and design world.

The studio blog posted interesting videos and sketches that capture the creative process and the work that went into these concepts. It is worth a click over to the site to see the amazing work of this design and hand lettering boutique.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Beautiful Fall

The winter is almost upon us, and all things Fall we came to treasure and admire - flame-colored leaves and quivering reflections in the puddles, flocks of birds dotting the sky and scents of harvest during street fairs - must give way to new sights and sensations. One season locks itself away like a coffer, while another opens up spilling forth its bounty.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the Fall:

Making steaming, heart-warming drinks:
fresh apple cider and hot chocolate and mulled wine...

baking mouth-watering pumpkin pies...
and all sorts of sweet and savory treats, until the whole house smells like SPICES,
and feels like we live inside a bakery!

Watching the changing patterns in the puddles;
it is hypnotizing and very, very pretty...

I'm halfway convinced pumpkins are magical!
A handful of them transforms a simple porch into a gateway to festivities, good mood
and expectations of wonderful.
You can carve them, paint them, decorate with them
or simply... eat them.

Playing in the leaves...
Also the way they crunch when you walk on them!

Gorgeous Colors
It is in the Fall that I find myself most drawn to my old painting studio,
to the smells of oil paints and wet branches tangled over the windows,
to the feel of cool, gilded light sluicing over my skin like spidersilk...
On the crisp, sunny days or the foggy, lazy days
or the quiet, rainy days
the latent painter in me wakes up with a ravenous need to create...
The world is dripping with color,
and subconsciously I want
to save it for the pale winter months,to preserve a small part of it
 the same way
I preserve sweet, fragrant plums or lovely, sunny cherries to savor later,
when the trees are dark and bare and cold.

Watching Critters Forage in the Woods

Getting Cozy with a Good Book and a Mug of Hot Coffee

Lighting the Fire
All images via Pinterest