Monday, July 27, 2015

Spiderman of the Rings

I recently had the honor of painting my first outdoor mural! This is a project that I did with my neighborhood, the Alberta Arts District, about the history of our area. My mural in particular was about the Vanport flood of 1948. Vanport (named because half in Vancouver, WA, half in Portland), was a town, at the time occupied by African Americans who had come up from the South to build ships. The entire town was washed out in a day, and never rebuilt. The African American people displaced by the flood could not own property in Portland at that time. The Alberta district became an area where they were able to own property. As a result of this, white flight happened, and the area became a redline district for businesses. I had a ball painting this! It was a wonderful way to interact with the community and learn and educate at the same time. I'd like to extend a big thank you to Alberta Art Works and the BUFOR building for having me. Photos: Toby Orzano

Friday, June 19, 2015

Or we could just float away on different rafts and die another day...

These past few months in Portland have been magical! Spring, and subsequently summer, has happened upon us, bringing the rains to a stop and an excitement to be outside. During the past few months, I got to not only meet the owners of Walnut Studiolo, but to do some fun packaging illustrations for some of their products. It was a fun change to work in one color and one tone, and uniquely challenging.

This year, one of the experienced organizers of the Portland Tweed Ride invited me to organize! It was such a fun time! We started in a brand new to me place, Cathedral Park in St. Johns, and had a great day of leisurely bikes and picnics. You can see more in the coverage from The Oregonian, complete with sweet shots, by clicking HERE.

I had to create a flyer for the Tweed Ride! Obviously, I was inspired by Mucha's bicycle illustrations.

I also helped organize a Robin Williams Memorial bike ride, where we all dressed as Robin Williams characters. This is a sticker that I created for the ride.

Here's a fun illustration that I did for a tee shirt!
Coming in July 2015, I'm going to be doing my first outdoor mural on Alberta Street. Here's the color comp:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Even Santa Claus believes in you

March was such a fun month for me! I've gotten involved with some wonderful bike communities here in Portland, just as I dreamed of doing when I dreamed of moving here years ago. One of these groups is Women on Wheels, which empowers women on bicycles. What more could I dream of? I went to a wonderful meetup which consisted of morning yoga with awesome special instructions for cyclists and runners, a ride along the river, and a private tour of the Chinese Gardens. The Chinese Gardens were truly inspiring, and I look forward to visiting in warmer weather when the lotus blossom and I can walk barefoot on the stone paths.

I was touched by the deliberate planning of the Chinese Gardens. Below is the Scholar's room, which featured a banana tree planted outside. The banana tree, with its large leaves, was placed directly under one of the roof drains (also aesthetically gorgeous), to make music to inspire the scholar while they were at work. Another deliberate idea that resonated with me from the gardens was that everything was in "framed perspective".

Another bike dream come true for me was visiting the workshop of Walnut Studiolo. I've been a fan of their handcrafted bicycle leather goods for years, and they were kind enough to help out with the Portland Tweed Ride.

When I wasn't biking everywhere (I biked a lot this month, and it was amazing), I was working on my first mural since Community College days. This was done on a door at Collage. Mice kept coming up in conversation for me, as I had fond memories of a mouse painting that my grandmother did. I remember that she wasn't finished with it, but I begged her for the painting, and eventually she gave in and let me have the unfinished watercolor painting. This, in a way, was an homage to her. Below, the sketch;

In progress;

A detail of the final mice!

Finally, some woodburning! I've been itching to expand my wood paintings by laying in the darks with a wood burner, and I finally took the plunge this month. I'm so excited to debut these in a new fine art show this spring! Below, the beginnings;

This is after some wood stain and watercolor and more wood burning;
This is all ready to go with some copper leaf framing!

Cheers! Here's to April, the Tweed Ride, and my Birthday! I'm so excited!

Monday, March 2, 2015

As you explode out of your own.

February is officially over, friends! While my dear friends in the NE got a killer winter, we were able to go forward this year with the "Worst Day of the Year" ride. Last year, it was cancelled for our snowstorm of 4". I went with my cousin and her daughter, and we had a great time! The lovely ladies from Women on Wheels had made some extra headgear that they let us use!

I spent the first part of the month working on a commissioned portrait for a friend from high school, for an anniversary present. Below, the in-progress shot:

This was the final. Happy Anniversary, guys!

I got some merch this month, which is always exciting. A lot of the time, the final illustration that I see is on my computer, and seeing things in print is such a treat.

I took the reigns for organizing the Portland Tweed Ride this year! In 2010, in my former city of Rochester, NY, I founded the Tweed Ride there and led it for three years before moving. It's an honor and really exciting to be planning the ride here in Portland, OR. Of course, the first thing I did was make a poster/postcard image for it. Below, the linoleum beginnings:

The first print:

The final image! I was heavily inspired by Mucha, Portland sunsets, and the photo reference of the girl came from one of my old rides in Rochester, NY.

Something new that I've been working on are mural proposals! I'm going to be doing some mural work this summer and fall when I go to Eurobike and Interbike with Nutcase Helmets, so I thought it'd be good to get some practice in before then. This is one of the proposal sketches I submitted this week, dealing with Portland History in the Alberta Arts District.

I've been trying not to be super smug about it, but the early spring here has brought loads of flora into my life. Yesterday I took an hour out of my day to draw the flowers on the porch.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A one-way mirror to my soul.

Ahoy! This January was really fun, because I got to kick off the year with working on my helmet design for Nutcase Helmets' artist design series. Going in, I felt pretty good, having designed quite a bit for print before. There were, however, some fun new challenges that arose in the drawing process. I got to go into the Nutcase offices here in Portland, and talk one on one about our printing restrictions whilst holding onto helmets. After some amazing creative work together that led to a nautical adventure design (YES!), I started out on the work. After transferring my drawings to linoleum, I carved them out.

I then mixed some inks, brayered them out, and inked up my linoleum to get it ready to print.

The most exciting part of my process is when I get to see how the print turned out!
After this part, I scan the prints into photoshop, and start the less glamourous process of layering and coloring in photoshop. This is a very exciting time for me, as this is when the art starts to really sing.

(Photo credit: Toby Orzano)
Designing for a round helmet is like designing for a globe. Do you remember those world maps where the globe is in a weird shape because you can't squish a circle down to a rectangle on paper? EXACTLY. In the end, we decided to put the background image directly on the helmet, then have the foreground characters as decals that will be added on top.

What foreground characters, you ask? How about a pedal-powered Jules Verne-inspired machine?

Or, one of my classic divers that I'm so in love with?
Or a WHALE SUBMARINE? What? YES. Obviously I had a lot of fun on this project.

So, I'll get to see all of this loveliness on some real helmets on the prototypes we'll be bringing to Eurobike and Interbike this late summer/early autumn. These helmets will be available to YOU, the general public, in spring 2016. Until then, save your pennies! XOXO, Carla

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who's Feeling Young Now?

It's almost the end of 2014! Where did the year go? The past few months I've been getting out and about at least once a week to hit the woods here in Portland. I've started more trail running and hiking, which is one of those things I've always said I need to do more often, and never did! It's been a true pleasure. This is from a snowy hike up at Eagle's Creek in November.
I finished up an album cover/stickers project this past November. I'm really pleased with how everything turned out. The circular illustrations are for stickers on the middle of blood red records!

This is the full exterior jacket illustration. I can't wait to see it in print!

I did a couple of commissions for holiday gifts this year, and each one was a pleasure. Below, an old friend from Rochester and her fiance;

An old co-worker from Borders' dog, Neela (what a cutie!);
Finally, a camel with gold leaf, because camels with gold leaf.

I had a huge dream come true this month when I entered the Nutcase Helmets artist series' design contest, and was chosen as one of the winners! We are currently working on a helmet design together (the design below, though swell, is not the final design for the helmet). In late August, I'll be traveling with the Nutcasers to Germany for Eurobike, where I'll be doing live painting, and then to Interbike in Las Vegas for some more live painting! This is a huge dream come true for a bike nerd like me.

Speaking of traveling, my trip to NY is coming up VERY SOON! On January 8th, I'll be having an art closing event at Discovery Wines in Manhattan. I'm excited to see old friends and family in my first trip back to the East Coast in over a year. I'll have these posters for sale there, a recycled image from a previously rejected poster.
Speaking of rejection, I'll finish out with a few rejected sketches that I've done recently that I think are pretty good. Being an illustrator means tons of rejected sketches, but there's something to be said about the ones that are rejected too!

Cheers! to 2015! My resolutions are to travel abroad more and see more live bluegrass music.