Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Condition of Light

Without light, we wouldn't see anything--but without darkness, what would the light play with?

Intricate lamp in the Sultan's Tent
It's the combinations between light and dark that make a compelling composition. Infinite possibilities emerge from different weather conditions, the time of day and the time of the year. Changes happen in the sun's angle, intensity and colour.

Haunted chandelier in Balzac's, The Distillery
Recently, I've noticed many intriguing indoor lights from elaborate lamps casting their shadows onto different surfaces.

Shiny reflections give the fabric canopy more depth...

Hanging chandelier in the Sultan's Tent
Shadows sliced onto walls and ceilings...

Stairwell chandelier at the Gladstone Hotel
Shadows bend and elongate into layered tones...

Wall lamp at Verity
Now imagine how light and dark play outdoors...

  • The last glimmer of sun just before it sets behind the ocean's horizon. 
  • Light slanting through a wooden fence, painting white lines across your face. 
  • A canopy of leaves waving in the wind, casting dancing spots of light and shadow on the ground. 

What have you seen when the condition of light made the memory worth remembering? Please comment below!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nature on Nature

It's that time of year again! The cherry blossoms have already come and gone and now I get to post my annual photoshoot with the trees. Although this time, I brought something of my own...



I've been anticipating these awesome blossoms for months so they could meet my Art Scarves. It seemed like the perfect juxtaposition—to combine the scarves' nature-inspired artwork with nature itself. The artwork was created from fleeting experiences immersed in nature during my travels—just like the blossoms only last for a brief period of time during the whole year.

The delicate blossoms were as soft as the silk.



Together they danced in the long branches,


and waved hello in the breeze.



The scarves hugged the tree trunks,



and petals sprinkled to the ground.


We'll have to wait another year for the cherry blossoms but Art Scarves are here to stay!

Now available in Toronto stores at Craft Ontario (Yorkville) and Distill (The Distillery) and on Etsy.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Mountain Mirage

Now I get to wake up in the mountains—every morning!


I don't even need to set up a tent or take a long flight to a distant land... the mountains live right here, permanently, in my bedroom.

Within a week, my bedroom radically transformed, from a blank wall to a complete mountain scape. The mural is like a mirage—it seems like the real thing and then draws you in to look closer. The multiple layers create visual depth, like you can actually see over each mountain ridge. The gradation in colour looks calm and creates a peaceful feeling that fills the entire room.

All it took was a vision, 2 gallons of paint and a lot of fun. Here's a glimpse at my process in making this mural:

I used string to grid the wall, then transferred a pencil outline of the image
Pouring the paint into more manageable-sized containers
The solid colours used at the top and bottom complete, time for a break!
Adding the first layer of mixed paint
Each mountain had a bit more grey (Kendall Charcoal) added to create a gradual layering effect
Yippee, only 1 more colour to go!
All done... time to enjoy the view and my cup of tea
Photo-shooting the final mural
Would you like to see these mountains painted in one of your rooms? If so, which room would it go in? If not, what mirage can you envision?

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!