Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Richmond Print is done!

I Just thought I'd put up a quick post to show pics of the new Richmond, VA print! It features the Italian Garden in Maymont Park. I went down to Richmond a few weeks ago to take some pics for this project, and didn't really have a clear idea of what I was going to make the print of, until I saw Maymont. It's just so unique and beautiful, and I knew if I lived in Richmond, I'd spend a lot of time there. Plus, I like to make prints of places where people get engaged or married. Maybe that's a bit sappy of me or whatever, but I am a romantic at heart, and I also know that many people buy these prints as wedding gifts. Not to mention that many places where people typically get engaged or married are quite beautiful or iconic to begin with. I know I would like something like this of the place I was married or engaged. Actually, I don't have a print of either of those places, which is kinda weird cause I'm the one who makes them! But I plan to soon. I was going to make a set of places where my husband and I were engaged (masonic temple in old town Alexandria), married (St. Mary's church in old town Alexandria- where Dev's grandparents were married; some of our pictures look very much like theirs which I think is so wonderful), and had our wedding reception (Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA- spectacularly beautiful location which we had to camp out overnight outside of to book a year and a half in advance of our wedding! So worth it.) for our 5 year anniversary, but I ran out of time. Oh well, there's always next year!
So, here are the pics of the Richmond Love print:

Here is an image of the first scene in Maymont Park I tried to do- the Japanese garden. I worked really hard on it, and so wanted it to work out, but it just didn't. It's too chaotic, and it doesn't breathe. It's just a little hard to look at I think, and it doesn't lead the eye around to different elements in an organic or dynamic way (if that makes any kind of sense). Plus, I was concerned that many of the details would be lost in the printing process. But I thought I would post it anyway, just to show that sometimes these scenes don't come easily. I know they look like simple designs, but like most things, the simplicity is deceptive. It's a challenge for them to look simple, as evidenced by this failed design.

So, now I'm working on Quebec City and a second NY Love. I'm hoping to get them printed soon. London and Alexandria, VA will hopefully be coming very soon as well!

Oh, wait, I said this was going to be a quick post, didn't I? Haha, oh well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gocco Process

There was a time a few years back that I had no idea what gocco was, and was very curious how the sellers on Etsy I was buying from were making these prints called gocco. So, I thought I'd share a little bit about my printing process. Now, mind you most of the work that goes into my prints happens before this point- research on a place, trying to find the right mix of romance and city views, deciding how to draw different elements (don't even get me started on how many tries that Chicago fountain took to get kinda right), etc. This is the bit that happens once I've totally decided on the image, have printed it out with carbon based ink (I always use a laser printer- I find it to be more reliable than copy machines, but that varies from person to person), and have exposed it onto a screen (I forgot to take pics of that bit- but I'm printing a few more prints next week so perhaps I'll post some from that run).

Also, these pictures are not from my studio where I usually print. These are from my day job office conference room. I print here when the boss is out of town. That way, I can use my time most effectively (since there usually isn't a ton for me to do when he's out of town except answer the phone- and as you can see, there is a phone and message pad right next to the drying rack). Also, something about this room makes my prints turn out better. I don't know what it is- perhaps it's the humidity level that keeps the screen from drying out, or it's more ventilated, I dunno, something. Or, it could be that I don't tend to sing along with my ipod at the top of my lungs here since there are other offices above ours who get kinda stompy when they're annoyed about our noise levels. I suspect when I sing a lot, as I do at my home studio (cause I figure, Dev's been with me 11 years now. He was fully aware of my cruddy singing voice for the 6 years before we were married, so he had plenty of time to run for the hills. Now he's legally obligated to listen to it), it dries the ink on the screen out faster. Or at least that's my working theory. Anyway, here are the photos!

Here's our conference room printing studio, complete with one of my stained glass windows I made in college in the background,and my beloved drying rack.
Here's one of my gocco machines. This one is newer, and I use it for exposing the screens since it seems to work better for that. I also have a PG-10 with a movable platform that I use to print the moleskines on.
Here is the exposed screen that I've inked already. I draw those little guide lines on there for when a design has a few different parts that don't need ink, and I want to be able to have an idea of what part of the screen needs to be reinked when all the ink is mushed together and I can't see what parts are what anymore. If that makes any sense.
Here's the inked screen loaded onto the gocco and ready to print.
Press the top part down onto the paper for a second or two...
...and voila, print! I add the red umbrellas later.
..and then repeat. A lot.

Hope that shed a little light on how I make these prints for those of you that aren't familiar with the gocco process. I'm hoping to have Richmond, springtime NYC, and Quebec ready in the next week or so. Then I'll probably move on to Paris 2, St. Louis, Alexandria VA, Sydney, and London 2!

Also, I bought a sewing machine yesterday that my mom is teaching me to use...so now I can finally actually hem my curtains instead of using tape! Yay!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The new LA print is finally finished!

Just thought I'd post a few pics of the print I just finished, Griffith Observatory in LA!

In researching places to put the couple in LA, I stumbled on pics of Griffith and immediately liked it. It just seems so dreamy and foreign and romantic set way above the city, and I love the architecture style. I also thought I'd give our girl a fun polka dot dress and her heel is popped up ever so slightly upon being kissed, like an old Hollywood movie. I hope you enjoy the print!

Here's the matching moleskine:

Now I'm starting to work on the drawings for a second Paris print, a second NY print, and Quebec!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wedding-y Stuff

So, my sister was recently engaged, and my five year wedding anniversary is in a month, so my mind has been on weddings lately. For my own wedding, as you might imagine, it was important that as many things as possible were handmade and meaningful to us. Our cake was made by my husband's cousin's wife (it was beautiful and spectacular and could have fed the guests of 3 weddings), and I handmade every favor, place card, table "number" (each of our tables was named for a place of some significance to us- Ireland was my family's table as we're both very Irish and we went to Ireland for our honeymoon, Alexandria is where we grew up, Masonic Temple is where we got engaged, Mount Vernon is where we had our prom night dinner and our rehearsal dinner, Paris is where we had our first kiss, Charlottesville is where he went to college and Harrisonburg is where I did, etc. Guest's placecards had a sketch of that place, and they had to match the sketch with the picture on the table (both said the name of the place too- we weren't trying to make it too hard!), and of course, our invitations.

Table "numbers" or titles or whatever you call it

Our favors- I didn't make the books of Irish blessings, I just made the book covers. That counts, right?

And here is our fantastic lemon raspberry cake!

I worked forever on these invitations, because I really wanted them to be something special and different. So I though it would be fun to upload some pics of the one I kept. Looking back there are a few things I wish were a bit more polished, but I am proud of them (if I wasn't, Devin, my sisters, my mom and all the other people who helped put them together would be kinda pissed). I designed them around the Irish claddagh ring, which symbolizes love (the heart), friendship (hands holding the heart), and loyalty (crown on the heart). I wanted to update it a little, and spotlight each symbol separately, so I made 3 logos, one for each symbol, which are embossed on the front of the invitation, and the corresponding words are embossed on the second flap of the invite. I then found quotes that had each of the 3 words in them that also dealt with love or marriage in some capacity. I matched the quotes with pictures of us growing up, moving closer together as we got older (metaphorically and on the pages the pictures get closer to the center) and coming together in the last page. The claddagh is usually described as meaning "love, friendship, loyalty" in that order, but for us friendship came first, then loyalty, then love, so that's how I ordered the symbols. Anyway, here are the pics!

awww, isn't 5 year old dev adorable in his little suit? hopefully our future children will be that cute! In my 5 yr old pic, I look like I'm plotting something (and most likely, I was)!

Oh, and I couldn't resist adding this in- this is a pic of my engagement "treasure hunt" clues. Every year, Devin's mom makes him a treasure hunt for his Christmas presents (or she did when he was younger and all- she doesn't anymore since he got married and also because when he was 18, they adopted his 3 sisters from Kazakhstan so they've had less time on their hands since going from one child to 4!). Anyway, I was there for quite a few of these treasure hunts, and just loved them. So when he was coming up with a way to propose, he remembered how much I love the hunt or any kind of thing I can "win", so he set it up as a treasure hunt. His best man drove me around in a giant SUV trying to find the clues, and each clue location was someplace of significance to us, and there I'd find one of my friends waiting there for me with a gift from Dev and a rose and the next clue, and we'd pile more and more people into the SUV as the day went on. Each clue was in the form of a poem, and there were I think 13 total. It was a seriously awesome day, I don't know how he coordinated all of it but he somehow got a bunch of my friends/family to all different spots all over DC and northern VA until I got to him at the Masonic Temple where the rest of my family and his family was waiting with cameras and champagne. He was waiting with a ring he'd had custom made for me from a pic I found of a diamond and sapphire art deco 1920's ring a few years before. It was a good day! So I still have all the poem clues, and I've been meaning to frame them all, but here's a pic of some of them.

And here's a pic of the proposal- look, umbrellas! OK, you can all throw things at me now, I'm a lucky girl :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hi Daily Candy people!

So it has come to my attention that Daily Candy DC has featured my art today, which is pretty awesome as I am an avid DC reader myself (thanks Erin!). Anyway, curious where to buy my stuff? Le Village Marche in Shirlington Village is the only one who currently carries my City Love notecards (I don't sell them on my website right now), and they also have the DC Love and Paris journals. It is also a really great shop, full of all sorts of beautiful gifts and goodies, and definitely worth a trip to- everytime I go in I find something new that I need! A Show of Hands in the Del Ray section of Alexandria also has a few things, mostly my Rory the Corgi line of notecards and a few city prints (although I would call them if you're looking for one in particular as they don't have many). Also, my Etsy site, which you can get to by clicking on the My Etsy Shop link just to the right of this post. So, welcome, and thanks!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cherry Blossoms & Spring Flowers

So I bought a Kodak Dualux a little while back for 99 cents on Ebay, and I've been having some fun with it. So, I thought I'd post some of the pics I took with it these past few weeks of the pretty flowers in my yard (helpfully planted by the former owners, who, according to the German across the cul de sac when she's trying to make me feel guilty about not caring enough about plants, were part of her now-defunct neighborhood gardening club. I just don't think that a person such as myself who kills flowers practically by looking at them would be very helpful in a gardening club. Instead, I am a secret member of the weeds club).

This one is obviously not taken with the dualux, but it's of the cherry blossom tree in my front yard, one of the biggest reasons why I really wanted this house in particular. It's a wonderful tree, with an umbrella shape that makes it look like a giant bonsai tree. And, for about one week per year, all we can see through the living room picture window is pale pink blossoms. It looks like a painting.

Also a few pics are of the cherry blossoms in DC, which I love to look at but the weather hasn't been so great during the cherry blossom festival time so I only ended up getting a few pics on a very gray day. I think the ones of the magnolia trees came out better.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lovely things on my wall

I've been meaning to post about this for awhile, but time flies when you've got a long to-do list. I'll go ahead and blame it on the stomach flu/food poisoning thing I had yesterday, which had me nearly convinced I would not live to see today. But here I am. I even got up to swim this morning, much to Devin's chagrin since he'd decided I'd still be sick today and therefore he'd be able to sleep in. Oh, was he ever wrong. Instead, I got up to take my thyroid meds and accidentally spilled the entire cup of water I was holding on the bed. So there was no sleeping in to be had. Anyway, Yo-ii is one of my favorite artists on Etsy. A little while ago, I bought 3 of her prints from her Night Tales series. We got Night Tale 2: Orchid Yard, Night Tale 4: Woods and Night Tale 1: Moon and Rabbit, partially because both woods and moon and rabbit featured little rabbits, which remind me of my dearly departed Shark and Puppy rabbits. I finally conned Devin into using his engineering and applied electrophysics degree (yeah, I'm pretty sure hanging 3 frames each with 2 hangers that are not level in a straight line requires applied electrophysics, whatever the crap that is) to hang them in the maddening but pretty frames we bought at Michaels, and voila, here they are. I think they look fantastic. Keep an eye on her shop, she always has interesting stuff, and it goes fast! Oh, and the book you may or may not be able to see on my table thing (really just storage for devin's DVD obsession. Thankfully lately he's been a bit more judicious about what he buys, but for awhile it seemed like he'd buy almost any DVD on sale. And then he wanted to display the DVDs in the room. Um...no. That did not happen, thanks to Ikea having the perfect dresser that we repainted and fits all the dvds inside in an orderly fashion.)..oh yes, the book. It's The Mincing Mockingbird's book of his bird paintings with funny titles. I absolutely adore the titles. Really, you should go read some of them in his shop. Never fails to make me laugh. I think my favorites are: He Thinks My Sudden And Terrifying Mood Swings Are Kinda Cute, You Will Give Me Your Rumpus Room to Use As A Lair, and You May Think You Can Play Games With My Heart, But I Will Own You At Scrabble. Which is so true, cause I definitely will. Don't get me wrong, I really like the paintings too, as to me birds are much more beautiful in theory rather than having one tweeting and crapping in my house, so I have a lot of bird art. Also because Devin is absolutely terrified of birds. And in doing this post, I've just noticed he's added more prints since I got the book. He is obviously a lot more efficient than I. I promise I will get something new into the shop very soon. Probably LA, since I've promised a few people I'd finish that soon. Problem is, I haven't been in LA in like 10 years, and I can't think of a good place to put the couple. Any ideas, anyone familiar with LA? My idea right now is Griffith Observatory, but I'm just not sure. Suggestions are welcome! That is all.