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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'd just set the course North and I'd study the charts and towards dawn I drifted towards sleep...

Dear blog, October was a pretty awesome month. I celebrated a year of living in the Pacific Northwest, and it's reflected in all of the nautical art that came out this month. I started out the month with a wonderful trip with my cousins to Hood River, OR and Mt. Hood. Hood River is a sweet little town located where the Hood River meets the mighty Columbia River. In this part of the Columbia River Gorge, the way that the winds come through make it a destination for windsurfers. Another special thing about Hood River are the amazing views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. I fell in love with Oregon a whole lot more on this trip!

We also went way up (6000 feet!!) to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood on this trip. You may have seen Timberline Lodge in The Shining, they use exterior shots of it in the beginning. Timberline Lodge was part of the WPA between 1936 and 1938. Many of the workers on the lodge had become impoverished during the Great Depression, and the building of the lodge employed these people and gave them a living wage. One of the best stories was an artist who was found living in a piano box, surviving on beans soaked in rain water. These workers were so excited to be employed and worked hard to hand craft EVERYTHING in the lodge, from the masonry, to the hand-hewn timber for the building, all of the wooden furniture and railings, the ironwork, the hand-woven curtains and textiles, down to all of the gorgeous details in the woodwork throughout the building. I was overwhelmed with appreciation and inspiration visiting here.

I was very excited to be involved with Design Week Portland this year! I was part of the mixed media show at Grand Central Bowl, where artists are given a bowling pin and encouraged to "go crazy" with mixed media! It was a great opportunity for me to branch out from the world of two dimensional media that I'm accustomed to, and try out some new things. And yes, I created a mermaid scene.

I had the great opportunity to create a poster for the local band, Pediment, and their upcoming EP release party. The art director on this piece was on board with my lust for all things nautical, and really open to me experimenting with color scheme. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I learned a WHOLE LOT about shipping fine art this month, as my paintings travelled 3000 miles to be on display at Discovery Wines in Manhattan. I'm so proud and honored for the opportunity to show my art there and connect with an entirely new audience. In early January, I look forward to visiting friends and family in NY and having a closing reception there. Below, some of the paintings that are on display now.

Finally, a project that is non-nautical (or, I am not just a one trick pony). I've been posting progress on my sketches for this album cover for a few months, and we've gone through quite a few revisions to get the image and color scheme just right. You may wonder how I came to this particular color scheme. This album is based on a very weird time in the musician's life spent in Butte, MT. There's a toxic feeling to the town, something very sinister lies beneath. As we progressed in our sketches and color studies, we discussed using a fresh bruise as the color pallet to really get that uneasy and sinister feeling across. Below, the linoleum block inked for the back cover, featuring "Our Lady of the Mountain", a huge statue in Butte that towers over the mountains.

The finished and photoshopped "Our Lady";

The front cover, featuring the eerie oil rigs that are lit up and bright red at night.
From here, I get to move on to creating the stickers that are going in the center of the vinyl records, a new and exciting project for me. The records for this release are going to be blood red as well. November brings rain, Dia de los Muertos, an opportunity to see one of my favorite folk singers, participation in a holiday group show, and more wonderful projects. Cheers!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

We can't hear a thing when all we think about are all the things we think we might be missin'

September has been a wonderful and productive month here in Portland! I've delved back into the depths of my gold leaf obsession from college days. I'm using the gold leaf as a framing element for my upcoming fine art show at Discovery Wines in Manhattan.

I was lucky enough to do some design work for the fine folks at Discovery Wines as well, which coincided with grape season in Portland. I've never lived somewhere where grapes grow so well. Right now as you walk around the neighborhood, the air smells of grape jelly, rosemary, and ripe figs. It's so fragrant. For Discovery, I wanted to get past the overused imagery of a wine bottle and glass. It seemed too obvious. While vacationing in the Napa Valley this past Spring, I got a great shot of an old fashioned wine press, which I used for this image. Below, the layout drawing:

...and the final! I was really excited to capture the experience of "peeking out" from under a grape arbor.

On a completely different note, my cousin's wife had a baby, and this was a present commissioned for his 40th birthday. Portraits are a scary thing for me (ego gets in the way, sometimes, even for the best of us). Also, capturing a baby's face while still getting a likeness was challenging. I had fun, and learned a thing or two on the way.

I was incredibly honored to be part of the release of Ani DiFranco's new studio album, Allergic to Water, due out next month! My tee shirt is available for pre-order here.

I'm super pumped to be part of 1975's Halloween group art show for the fourth year in a row. This year's theme is "Devil's in the Details", and I wanted to explore where deviled eggs come from.

An old friend of mine opened a restaurant this year. It's awesome to see her success, and be designing for their tee shirts!

I'm coming up on my one-year anniversary in Portland. One of the things I'm doing to celebrate is taking part in Portland Design Week's Mixed Media show at Grand Central Bowling. I get to decorate a bowling pin!