Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Abstract: As Soft as Sky

I remember returning from my 1-year trip, and going on an art-rampage to "discover my style". I experimented with different materials, discovered new techniques, and created piles of work. Now, as I look back on these pieces, I realize that the experimental process never ended. Being an artist has not been about having a identifiable style, but instead, the continuous act of creating, making and doing.

Finding inspiration right outside my window. 

Recently, a client asked me to make art unrelated to any work I've done before. And so I've entered another phase of searching for specific paints and playing in different styles. I'm beginning to break free from the idea of needing to conform to a particular style. Instead, I'm relishing in the process, exploring and feeling free from not setting my own limitations. Like the sky, creativity goes on for infinity. 

Drawing thumbnails for composition.
Colour mixing to match the decor.

My client wished for a special momento for her upcoming milestone birthday. Her vision was a calming abstract of soft, horizontal shapes, to match her living area. I was excited but had never painted anything like it before. So I researched different brushes and paint mediums, practiced mixing and blending, and gave myself an excuse to visit the AGO exhibit to analyze how Turner painted his skies! 

Analyzing Turner's skies. 
Blending the final piece.

The result: She loves it and said it's exactly what she wanted! Happy 30th Katrina! 



Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Sale!

Save up to 33% on everything in my Etsy Shop!

Looking for something little and lovely for that special friend? Treat them to a one-of-a-kind watercolour drawing or a silky soft Art Scarf.

Here's a few other gift ideas:

Flying Birds Photograph, $19 (reg. $29)

Vintage Wallpaper Notebooks, $12 (reg. $18)

Mini Pinecones Watercolour Drawing, $39 (reg. $49)

Migrating Monarchs Art Scarf, $149 (reg. $169)

Picton Boats Collage, $19 (reg. $29)

Find more cards, notebooks, drawings, photos, etchings, collages and artwork, here on Etsy. 

Or if you're in Toronto, feel free to stop by and see them in person! Write to me here to set a time. 

Happy gifting and have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kensington Market

A new mural is going up in Kensington Market! 



I've spent the last week painting this 13-foot wall and will be adding the finishing touches tomorrow. Tomorrow also happens to be Pedestrian Sunday, so come on by, grab a coffee and wander the fun and colourful streets.


Then come on over to The Embassy, say hi and maybe shoot a selfie under some palm trees!

The Embassy
223 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
12-7 pm (Pedestrian Sunday)
9-5 pm (I'll be painting)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NEW! Moveable Murals

Another mural is complete and on it's way to BC!

Moveable Murals are an exciting new option, especially for those who live outside the Toronto area. They can travel TO you or WITH you, where ever you may go!

They're completely customized—to fit perfectly onto your wall and match the colour of your decor. You get to be involved every step of the way and watch the process evolve into a finished mural.

Here's how it works:

1. First, we talk about your room and the design you're looking for. I have a selection of pre-designed murals or I can draw something uniquely new.

2. We work together to select the best paint colours.

3. A scaled line-drawing is created to illustrate how the mural will look on your wall.


4. The design is drawn onto the canvas and the painting begins.

5. Secondary colours are carefully mixed to get the perfect gradient.

6. Sit back and watch the progress evolve on Instagram!

7. The mural is completed with a signature, then bubble-wrapped and boxed for shipping.

8. I bid the mural a safe journey and then send it directly to you.

Would you like your very own Moveable Mural?
If so, just say hello!
Or, get my free Art Letter delivered straight to your inbox :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Someone's Front Yard

Summer in Toronto is so beautiful, thanks to other people's front yards!


As I walk around the neighbourhood, I can't help but notice flowery displays. Hosta patterns cover the ground and Cosmos stand up high. Poppies flutter in the wind and Hydrangeas bloom into pom-poms. 


I can't wait until I acquire my own garden. However, until that day arrives, these little patches of stranger's yards have been a very welcoming substitute. There's no reason not to enjoy nature—even if it's not mine!


Isn't that what front yards are for—displays for everyone to admire? The next time you see one, try walking by slowly, breathe in the essence, admire the colours and even take a quick photo :)


If you already have a front yard, thank you so much for sharing!

"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul." –Luther Burbank

Where have you found your favourite front garden? Post your photo in the comments below! Or show me on Instagram

Like this post? Sign up for my art letter and get more just like it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nature in the City

As much as I love living downtown, I do miss quiet streets and a green backyard. But wait—why not have both?!


A recent client lives just South of me, in a small condo in Liberty Village. His small living quarters only offered 2 thin strips of wall, above the kitchen cupboards and the closet. It really felt like it needed some cheer, so he asked me to paint some peaceful scenery.


Being from Northern Ontario, his childhood memories are filled with Canada's wildlife and the great outdoors. He gravitated towards the mountain scene so we discussed some alterations to personalize it to his own tastes.

Blue was chosen for a soft sky and calm lake. Then mixed with green for a tree-lined landscape.


I incorporated some pines and peaceful creatures: a deer sipping water and a loon looking on...


a moose sitting in a valley...


and a soaring eagle.


Even though, the available wall space was very long and narrow, the condo still transformed into an entirely different atmosphere. Painting a similar background on both sides, created continuity throughout the room. Including long, rolling landscapes added depth and expanded the space.

Now his home feels like a comfortable place to relax, surrounded by nature and it's calming remedies.

I've just added 4 new murals to my website! Take a peek here and let me know which is your favourite in the comments below!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

3D Window Mural

From window-less to open-vista, Marsha's bathroom now looks bigger, brighter and better! 



I'm sure we all have a small space in our homes that may be under-enjoyed because they're... well, small.


Recently, I've been able to make a small space look larger—without undergoing any construction! Technically, there still isn't a window but the three-dimensional painting creates the illusion that there is.


The ceiling was also painted sky-blue to look like an open Mediterranean-style courtyard:


Every time Marsha passes by the door or enters the room, she gets to peer out at an expansive view. Although it's not real, it's a realistic-looking reminder of the Rockies and the positive feelings they conjure.

The blue sky and clear reflection radiates warmth and peacefulness. While admiring it, she's suddenly transported to a different place that makes her feel more relaxed. "Seeing the mountains so many times a day makes me feel peaceful, deep in my bones."


With a bit of shading and perspective, just imagine all the possibilities!

What 3D image would you like to see in your home?

P.S. While painting this window mural and posting for my "10 Years Ago" photo-a-day challenge, I realized a funny coincidence. Exactly 10 years ago, to the day, I drew this window! Follow my challenge here on Instagram. 


Saturday, May 09, 2015

10 Years Ago

I'd like to share a journey with you, a trip that I took 10 years ago...



I left Toronto on May 5th, 2005 and experienced a year's worth of adventures, friendships and stunning views.

Several months prior, I had this strong desire to do something different. I knew I wanted to see more of the world, to draw new things, to meet people from different cultures, to see unusual landscapes and to experience different ways of living.

Then I started reading travel books, and emailing artists from Singapore to New Zealand, and figuring out a budget. The more I researched, the more feasible it seemed to become! I made a decision: to travel around the opposite side of the world for 1 year.

It became a mission, there was no stopping me. And it probably gave me strength to get through the harder parts. Saying goodbye to everyone for a whole year isn’t easy! I left a good job, sold almost everything I owned and relied on a Lonely Planet to help guide me where to eat, sleep and how to say hello in every language.

So I put everything I needed into a backpack and flew to Hong Kong. It wasn’t until I was on the flight, and the pilot announced, that I realized the day… “Welcome aboard, on the 5th day of the 5th month of 2005… 05.05.05!!! Andrea's Number says 5 means big change—and May 5th also happens to be her birthday :)

Throughout the year, I took about 20,000 photographs and filled 11 sketchbooks. I did keep a blog, although this was right before Facebook and social media, when most things were shared privately. So now I’d like to share those photos and sketches that many of you never saw. And I’m looking forward to reliving every day of those experiences and conversations and beautiful things from 10 years ago.

I hope you enjoy this 1 year journey!

Follow me here on Instagram, as I post a photo a day...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ta Da... The Gold Bird Mural!

It's here, it's here! A couple months in the making and now The Gold Bird Mural is complete. My studio has been transformed into a brighter, more uplifting space to work and live. Every time I look at it, I feel very glowy inside :)



Now I'll finish showing you the process from where I left off in my last post...

After testing a couple types of gold paint, I prepared the wall. It had several nail holes from the picture frames that had been up so they were filled in with Polyfilla. After smoothing the patches with sandpaper, the whole wall was rolled over with my last bit of left over paint. 


The wall was marked into square feet with bits of painter's tape. The squares are replicated on my digital illustration so that when the image is projected, I scale it until the lines on the wall, match up with the lines on the image. Then I know it's placed exactly as I designed it! 

The drawing begins...



Then I get to paint with liquid gold...


It's a beautiful feeling, to paint and witness the changing reflective qualities... 



Now, I get to watch shiny, flying birds, a perfect view from where I work all day :)


What image would make you happy while you work? I'm always thinking of more mural ideas, so let me know in the box below!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Warming up by the... Mural


The pigeons that sit outside my studio window have become quite a source of inspiration for me. When I first moved here, I couldn't help myself from taking countless of photographs of them flying together in the open sky. Then, those photographs became a piece of artwork. Then the artwork became an Art Scarf...


Now, the pigeons are becoming a mural!

The pigeon's sounds and movements have been quite comforting. I'd love to enjoy their company more by inviting them inside. Their flying forms remind me of freedom and adventure--the perfect vibe for my work space.

As this mural idea was brewing, the weather was becoming colder and the skies greyer. I imagined how much warmer I'd feel if I could create the illusion of sunlight. I thought if I used gold paint, it's metallic qualities will reflect natural light into a brilliant shine. As well, the gold hue will cast a warm glow around the room!

After the idea was confirmed, it was time to start the design process. First, I selected my favourite flying bird photos. Then the photos were simplified into a 1-colour graphic and placed into a scaled line drawing of my wall with the furniture. I ended up with 4 different design options and asked my friends to help me choose:



The votes were super helpful--thank you friends! With #4 being the top choice and #3 a very close second, I blended a bit of the tree branches into #4. Voila--now I can't wait to start painting!


I got so excited that I bought 2 different brands of paint to make sure I selected only the best colour and shine. Here's the swatch test (in progress) showing 1, 2 and 3 coats, which I also tried with and without a yellow base coat:


Next step will be transferring the image onto the wall. Stay tuned and I'll show you how! Or, follow my process on Instagram.

What image would make you feel warmer? Let me know by commenting below!

View more murals at pamlostracco.com