Sunday, March 30, 2014

Many a Mountain

You may have noticed I've got a bit of a mountain theme going on. It all started...

Paragliders over Queenstown, New Zealand

on a long journey I took about 8 years ago. One year of travel gave me ample time to fill quite a few sketchbooks with many a mountain drawing. Those sketches turned into an illustration which became mountain calendars and then mountain quotes on mountain cards. And here's the latest on Society6--anything from mountain mugs to mountain shower curtains!

So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to relive some of those beautiful sights and share a few of my favourite mountain photos with you...

Emerald Lakes on the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

The mountains intrigued me with their majestic stance and calm presence. Almost like they were in a constant state of meditation. They seemed to give me permission to do the same--to be still, to admire the beauty and to breathe deeply.

Volcanos inside volcanos in Bromo, Java, Indonesia

Even though they remained so still and permanent, their colours changed dramatically. From a black silhouette at night to brilliant, warm hues that emerged gradually, as the sun started to rise over the horizon.

Uluru (aka. Ayers Rock) in Australia

The high altitudes often brought clouds and fog which can make these intimidating forms magically disappear before your very eyes.

Clouds rolling over Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, Borneo

They appeared in so many shapes and forms, silently standing before oceans, valleys and fields.

Beautiful beach in Krabi, Thailand

Long shadows and bright colours from the early sun in Cuba

Mountain range across a rice field in Bali, Indonesia

I have seen mountains from here to there,
They seem to be following me everywhere!

Now what do you think about my next project--a mountain mural?!

Buy Mountain products on Society6 with this special promo (valid until April 13th) or follow the evolution of the Mountain Mural on Instagram!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Talking Walls

I've noticed a lot of walls in the last few days. They were once just regular walls, then were touched by artist's hands and then magically transformed--for the better.

Wavy wall at Verity Spa

With so many drab looking walls in the city, I'd love to paint some of my own! More on that later...

Last Saturday, the weather was feeling a little dull--until we drove into the Lablaws parking lot. Typically, you'd expect this grey expanse of concrete, filled with grey cars, awaiting their drivers to emerge from the grocery store's grey building, is nothing to write home about. But on this cloudy afternoon, my day suddenly turned into sunshine as I forgot about my hunger and speed-walked towards this vibrant mural beckoning to me from the back of the lot!

Lablaws Mural

The colours ranged the entire spectrum and sprang out from the sea of grey. The image was divided into a landscape of graphic blocks, silhouetted trees and detailed birds. Of course there were birds--but oh how I do love them :) To me, the mural was like watching the sun starting to rise above a mountain range....

Lablaws Mural

The next day, I ventured out to The Gladstone Hotel to check out the exhibit "If Walls Could Talk". My friend Jen Spinner and Hazel Eckert created this entire room out of paper... a paper chair, a paper bedspread, paper walls, paper lamps, and even paper nightstands with drawers that slide open!

Three-Star Quality Inn by Hazel Eckert and Jen Spinner

Then I peeped into a tiny replica of the Huron House. Each peephole allows you to inconspicuously spy into the tenant's apartments.

Room for Rent by Mike Ellis

One of my favourite rooms had walls covered with intricate, black and white drawings. Ornamental flourishes decorated the corners of the room, while every feather, sword and armour was completely adorned with line work.

Ornament, Lament by Kat Gomboc and Rebecca Ladds

This piece of string changed the space in the stairwell and created even more dimensions from it's shadows cast onto the walls.
Stairwell at the Gladstone Hotel

Then today, I ended up at Google HQ for a little info session. Even better than the free breakfast, was this fun wallpaper I discovered in the washroom!

Google's ladies loo.

What wall art has spoken to you lately? 

Monday, March 03, 2014

Thinking of Spring

Happy March everyone! It's time to celebrate–for Spring will be here soon and on Valentine's Day I received some exciting news...

My Art Scarves were unanimously accepted into Craft Ontario!!

Migrating Monarchs

Formally known as the Guild Shop, Craft Ontario is a huge supporter of the art's community. Their beautiful shop is located on Cumberland Street in Yorkville where the silky scarves are now on display. They're available in 3 light-hearted designs including flying birds, butterflies and ferns.

Bon Voyage Birds

So until the days actually get warmer, I'll keep a cup of tea and my space heater close by, imagining more ladies wearing Art Scarves in Yorkville.

Feathery Ferns

How have you been keeping warm this long and cold winter?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Many Years Ago

It's funny to see evidence of our creations as a young person--hilarious actually! Recently, my mom showed me a Farm Word Book I illustrated in Kindergarden. This is going WAY back to a time when every character I drew had to include a belly button--obviously!

An impressive attempt at a tractor and 3D barn (don't you think?!)

I even remember holding the crayons in my hand, struggling to translate an image of these animals from my 5-year old memory. Even though they were familiar to me, there was no Google Images or farm animals in my backyard to use as reference. Although, my parents were raising a few rabbits at the time which probably explains the "very good" comment from Mrs. Williams on the rabbit page.

Mickey Mouse rabbit and 4-legged chicks

Fast forward 30-plus years and I'm flipping through this book, laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks. I can confidently proclaim that my artistic skills have improved--I hope you agree too! However, ladybug-looking pigs and 4-legged chicks aside, one thing remains constant...

Ladybug pig and house-shaped cow

That is--I still love drawing animals. Perhaps, it means I just never grew up! Regardless, I've had fun opportunities to relish in many animal-inspired creations: From Fish Colouring Books to Fisher Price Learning Books to Jump Math Workbooks to my latest, Art Scarves... and I'm sure there will be many more to come!

Apple-eating horse (of course)

Do you have any childhood treasures that shows something of who you are today? Please share a picture or comment below!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Ice Land

Almost like Japanese trees covered with cherry blossoms.
Branches fused to a sign.

Now that we've completed our first week of 2014 (and having survived the coldest week for a long time!), it seems appropriate to reminisce Toronto's pre-Christmas ice storm. Fortunately, I didn't lose power but knew many who did. Especially my friends and family in Brampton (my hometown) where the ice is still holding on.

Icicles hanging from the porch.
Like icy ET fingers!

Two days after the city practically shut down, the coating of ice on everything had disappeared. However, along the evening drive to my parent's, we saw black pockets of the city still without power. Continuing North everything became icier again until we arrived into a completely different world.

A perfect winter wonderland.

Low branches that are normally 30 feet high.

Every single branch, berry, telephone wire and blade of grass was incased in an inch of transparent ice. The car lights naturally decorated tree-lined streets like Christmas trees. The trees looked fascinating; each one had taken on a unique personality while becoming frozen in an unusual configuration while being bent with the wind.

Red berries.

Ice-coated grass.

Usually the ice was unbearably heavy which curved the branches downwards into huge arcs. Many had completely snapped off leaving tall shards pointing towards the sky. The pine branches draped so low that they became fused to the ground.

Droopy tree by the pond.

A couple days later, it looked even more unreal in Caledon. Another storm had covered the layers of ice with another layer of snow! The skies were blue and the sun started to weaken the ice's hold on the branches. Every little breeze instigated a chorus of crackling sounds followed with a sprinkling of snow clumps. A warning not to photograph too long below the dense clusters of trees! 

The Lockness Monster!

My parent's hedge--frozen solid.

Lately I've been feeling the urge to travel again. It ended up that this annual trip back home eased that need (just a little) by turning into an adventure in itself. Exploring familiar territory that no longer looked familiar was like being in another country... perhaps like Iceland?! 

Click here to explore more other-worldly Ice Land photos on Flickr!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Metropolis Factory Show

Tucked away between alleyways and the West Toronto Railpath, you may just stumble upon the Metropolis Factory. It may not be in an obvious location but once discovered, the large industrial space will quickly inspire "wants" for all things unique and vintage.

A couple days ago, I set up a booth among other fellow artisans who create amazing things from jewelry and clothes to artwork and cupcakes. All were tastefully displayed with a Vintage flavour... and I found it so much fun to design my booth around these parameters. In fact, I narrowed the theme even further to reflect a "1950's style camping trip into the mountains"!

Since it was a priority to keep costs at a minimum, I managed to hardly spend anything at all by using items already owned, borrowed, up-cycled or found:

Already owned: Wooden CD boxes, round mirror and globe.

Photo by Allyson Reid

Borrowed: The vintage-style Judy from the stylish Marie-Eve Tremblay. The satin-lined suitcase with the red, metal lantern from my lovely boyfriend Julian. The decorative cedar snipped from my Mom's front yard hedges!

Up-cycled: The 3D "mountain" business cards were cut from my old, 2012 Mountain Calendars and then stamped with my logo. The small frames around the Mountain Cards used to be trim on a door (which I painted and attached a hook at the back).

Found: Frames around the Mountain Calendar and Vintage Wallpaper Notebooks. The drawer is from a nightstand I found on the street last year, then painted and bought a cute little owl knob on Etsy :)

What's your favourite creation that was made at little or no cost? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Time for a Riddle

I have a little secret,
not revealed just yet!

It's been brewing since May,
and worked on everyday.

It's something new,
shown to only a few.

Initially just a single thought,
into a product to be bought.

What a special transformation,
from idea to experimentation.

Researching and sewing,
photographing and drawing.

Learning about printers, fabrics and hems,
information from my wonderful friends.

Following along this fun trail,
my imagination took off like a sail.

Hold on a little bit longer,
'till then--enjoy the wonder.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween is Beautiful

Happy Hahhhlloween!

Yeah, it's mostly about gore and zombies... but it also makes me feel bloody good :)


It's an annual event of spiritualness--your memories of costumes, candy and parties from previous lives.

Consider how all of your senses are involved: The sound of crunchy, autumn leaves, dead beneath your feet; The deliciousness of Reeses peanut Butter Cups and all those other succulent treats; The smell of buttery pumpkin seeds awakening in the oven; Feeling all the tools and materials to slaughter up some frightful decor; Freaking out from the sight of scary spirits in horror movies and haunted houses. 


It summons creativity in all of us. It's always in the details, in every costume and jack-o-lantern, that leaves me breathless

Feel free to share your creations, I'd love to see them!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Graffiti Adventure

It's fun to rediscover your own city.

Cartoon faces on a garage door

Beautiful! The most detailed graffiti I've ever seen.

On Saturday I met up with fellow art enthusiasts to walk through alleyways around Bathurst and Bloor. Richard led us through parkettes, pathways and parking lots. He explained the culture of street artists and the different styles of graffiti. The terminology ranged way beyond my limited vocabulary of "tagging" and commissioned "murals". Here is more info on Toronto graffiti.

Mural behind the Victory Cafe in Mirvish Village.

Repeated stencil in a hidden dead-end alley.

Every corner we turned had a new surprise.
Every person was drawn to different details.
Every piece will continuously transform.

The cutest one of all--makes a grungy back alley worth visiting :)

I was amazed at the variety of sizes and surfaces and techniques.

Strategically composed within the frame of a pipe and a ledge.

These wispy trees almost went unnoticed. 

Impressive shading technique made with spray paint.

Wandering around on a warm sunny day, chatting with new people, seeing new things, felt like I was traveling in a different country. It reminded me how much I crave adventure!

Where have you found amazing graffiti?