Sunday, October 22, 2017

Thank You Cards

I just wanted to pop in and share one last thing from our wedding in the summer. I sent out our Thank You cards earlier this month so I feel like I can post them up on the blog to complete all the artwork I did for our day.

These feathers also appeared on our RSVP cards and some of the other day-of artwork that was around for the wedding. I had my printer make these slightly larger than 4x6" so that I could insert photos into the cards and the edges wouldn't peak out.

On the back I used the feather-theme again like a logo with our names and the date hand-lettered. I also brush-lettered all the envelopes in a similar style. Instead of sharing one of my family member's home addresses, I lettered a few "fake" addresses to photograph. This one for Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote is my favorite!

That's the last of the wedding posts that I will do! Now I'm focusing on finishing up some commissioned pieces and moving into Christmas card territory. We are having a beautiful fall so it's hard to focus on winter and snow. Personally, winter can take as long as it likes to wander this way, I'm good with the warmth!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Baby Nixxon

This is a very special handlettered baby name painting. It wasn't on my commission list, but a gift for a little guy who is has been diagnosed with a very rare neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is is an inherited condition that causes nerve cells in the lower part of the brain and spinal cord to break down and die. When this happens, the brain stops sending signals to the body's muscles. Babies with SMA can have difficulty crawling, walking, or even breathing. Among other things, SMA makes muscles weak and leaves babies really susceptible to pneumonia.

Nixxon is the nephew of a good friend of ours. His parents recieved this devistating news about their son in August and have been living out of Sick Kids hospital while Nixxon struggles with this disease coupled with a fight against pneumonia in both lungs.

I wanted to do something for Nixxon's parents as they have a hard road ahead of them. They have had to make very difficult decisions for the health of their son. Nixxon is fighting fierce at Sick Kids and is continuing to make positive strides everyday. Unfortunately, there is no cure for SMA but there have been advancements in treating the disease to help kids live more active, engaged lives despite the limitations their muscles have enforced on them.

I usually like to paint baby names with nature or animals as I feel like they can represent childhood in a non-traditional way - without pastels or cutesy themes that will be outgrown. Nixxon's parents are both fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, so I figured a blue jay would be right at home in their space.

Fall is clipping right along now so I'm trying to get the most out our unseasonably warm autumn. Right now that looks like going for hikes with Aaron through Provincial Parks in our area, drinking lots of tea on the deck with a blanket and sitting around a ceramic table-top fire just enjoying the season.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is all about family around here. Our whole weekend is full of family and food and fall colours. This long weekend has been the best weather we've had in a long time, more like summer than fall, but I'll take it!

I brought my camera with me to take some family photos (sharing soon!), and I thought that I would share some of the autumn-feels.

My brother grew some pumpkins this year! These are all from his pumpkin patch garden.

Have a wonderful long weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Advice in Gold

Ever have one of those days? Those months? Those years? Where it feels like you can't catch your breath? No matter how many times you hear it, in times of stress you just can't remember to breathe. Seems so simple: breathe in, breathe out, calm down.

My mom asked me for this simple statement in gold foil a while ago. Truthfully, I had lettered it in early June and it was scanned on to the computer, but when I tried to foil it, the gold just wouldn't stick. I tried different papers, different printers, using an iron instead of a laminator (don't do it, it was a disaster), different foil types. Nothing would work. Out of frustration, I text my friend whose printer I had borrowed before when I was just starting to experiment with the gold foil. I remembered that her's was the only printer that had given me a clean, shiny gold transfer. I was hoping to buy the same one from somewhere, but instead she offered to bring it to us to borrow and see if it worked.

The good news is that it did. It worked quite beautifully actually. The transfer was perfect and the gold shines like the sun. There was some trial and error that I had to go through however. The paper I tried to use first was too thick so it kept jamming up. Then it kept printing a ghost transfer of the words under the print and smearing toner all over the page. Just breathe ...

Like creating any kind of artwork, there is always a process of discovery. Or maybe better known as the mistake process. But at the end of it all, I have a gorgeous gold foil print. I suspect that this type of gold foil transfer works best with a dedicated black toner printer. All the other printers around me were a combination colour and b/w. No matter which I printed from, I just couldn't get the clean transfer I was looking for. My friend's printer, an HP Inkjet MFP, did just the trick. I ran it through my hard working laminator twice to make sure the heat was strong enough.

Here's to taking the advice of this gold print and just breathe.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Robin, Robin, Cardinal

I have TWO paintings to share today! Both of these little birdies were done as a commission for Aaron's aunt and uncle. When they visited us for our wedding, they asked if I would do a painting of a robin. Their daughter's name is Robin and they collect items with robins on it for their home. They also had a close friend who was really into robins, and would it be cool if I did one for her too? Of course!

I decided to make both of these fairly similiar so it wasn't too hard to pick between them when I sent the little birds to their new home. I spent a while doing sketches to start as I knew I didn't want to duplicate the paintings completely (boring!) but I also didn't want them to be so different that it felt like one was more special than the other.

Aaron's aunt and uncle also shared a story with me about their friend. They told me that she recently lost her husband and that since then she has felt a special connection to robins. After her husband passed away, she started to notice robins all around, as if they were coming to her in her grief. Strangely enough, this is not the first time that I've been told that people find a connection to birds when grieving. A friend of mine who has also lost her father told me she and her dad used to watch birds together at their family cottage, and on her wedding day outside her hotel room, there were birds all over the lawn as if waiting for her. Even in my own family. My dad had a talent for catching birds when we were kids and mimicking bird calls. My dad was a big whistler. There are birds that sing a specific tune that will immediately call back memories to my dad because he would whistle back at them and they would respond to him. My grandma had a budgie and he was the only one that could get it to sing as well. Strange some of the connections we unearth when someone we love is gone.

The birdman himself! These little guys were always freed unharmed afterwards.

I have to admit that I've been quite fond of all the birds that I've been painting. It's kind of turned into a small series since my Christmas card last year. These two robins are the first of the commissions that I'll be working on this fall. I'm already thinking about my Christmas cards this year (I can't help it!) and I'm excited to get back to painting!

As always, thanks for reading!