Flower Motifs

Audrey030_color_workedYou don’t have to draw a whole rose garden to make a floral pattern!  Sometimes a simple illustration with a fun repeat can provide the right note.  It’s also fun to try to mix geometric shapes with flowers, like this simple cross here.  Try drawing pyramids or spheres along with your flowers, for a modern twist on the ever-classic floral.  Flowers are cheery!  But who wants died in the wool (literally), washed-out tea roses when there are so many fun things to decorate?  Don’t forget about suites…. this pattern is the jumping off point for at least three other, larger motifs, which make mixing and matching a lot more fun.

Snow is here…

on the ropes blueIt’s winter-time and most of the United States is experiencing low temperatures.  Some of us even have snow!  I love snow…  there is something pristine and irreplaceably beautiful in a fresh snow.  But the depiction of snow in art is usually limited to white, silver and sometimes–for the more daring–red.  Now, for all the rainbow colors that can be seen when looking closely at snow, I have never seen red!

But I would encourage designers to embrace other colors at winter-time for multiple reasons.  First, because the light is so very bright and wonderfully reflective, that certain bright colors become cheery and work only at this time of year.  Second, those who don’t live in snow may be under the impression that it is dark and we need extra light palettes, but, actually, when there is snow constantly on the ground, it never gets dark!  At night, the glow of snow can peak through the gaps in your curtains and keep you up at night.  And, third, because in a winter-white world, decorating with white leads to winter blahs, it is almost necessary to keep color around.  Help us keep from becoming S.A.D. and give us some cheery colors!  Even red (because, frankly, it works very well at this time of year).

If you are wondering what colors accent snow whites, I would suggest looking at what blooms or has kept its color during the snowy months.  Over winter, there are red, pink, and blue berries on bushes.  The early spring bulbs have yellows, violets and pale pinks with a spring green or dark, velvet green accent.

The Holly and The Ivy…

arabic2greensIt’s time for some of my favorite things!  Like the Charlie Brown Christmas special or lots of yummy things to eat; but, especially, decorations that you can make yourself!   Although you might want to re-think the day-glo ornaments….   Seriously, this is the time of year when hand-made presents and decorations are IN!

This design is inspired by the super-creative way we cut paper as children to make fun holiday chains and ornaments.  With a careful twist, it could become a wreath!

 

Leaf Peeping…

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This weekend looks to be the peak of fall color for Maine and the northern-most states, and so begins the pendulum of trees turning and losing their leaves just in time for winter. It’s hard to think of trees feeling warmer without their leaves; I can’t imagine shedding layers as a good strategy for people, can you?

But I enjoy leaf-peeping—pleasantly driving along roads watching the leaves turn and swirl in piles on the lawns and sidewalks, a few jack-o-lanterns and cornstalks decorating the homes and mailboxes as we pass by as though singing out “welcome, fall” to their neighbors and rejoicing in the season. Because, if we have to be cold and stay inside, we can at least throw a good party!  Halloween is all about putting on more layers and eating something yummy, after all!

Just because it’s Fall doesn’t mean I have to wear black…

just peachySeriously.  I hate shopping at this time of year because stores show the most dreary clothes that look like they were pulled out from dark basement corners.  I don’t see why, in the middle of all the riotous colors of Autumn–gold pumpkins, red apples, yellow and orange leaves, blue water and skies–I should be walking around looking like a dead twig.  In Bermuda, they have fall sweaters in pink and light blue… and they look great!

I bet if we all wore a little less somber colors and bought a few more cheery colored home goods, we wouldn’t mind mind the cold weather quite so much.  Join me in a pastel Autumn and let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Foods Run Amock!

PumpkinSuddenly, as I sip my new pumpkin tea, I wonder how many pumpkin things one can consume in a day?  I like pumpkin…  I like the look of them and how they feel when I touch the outer shell on cold pumpkin-carving nights…. I like them glowing on the stoops and porches of American houses all across the country…  I even like them growing in the fields and picking out the best ones for pies and the best ones for charlie brown carvings…   AND I especially like them in brownies and soups and other good treats…

But in typically American fashion, we seem to have allowed pumpkin to creep into everything — pumpkin OREOS?  Really?  Is it still pumpkin if it’s artificial pumpkin?  Somehow, I liked the thought of having to see the actual pumpkin flesh before you eat it….  back in the days when you’d only eat it in pies and maybe, if you were fancy, a soup.

Ah, well, nothing says fall like pumpkin…. so I’ve decided to embrace it!  Bring on the pumpkin muffins and heap on some pumpkin butter spread– the fall harvest will end all too soon, anyway.

Tiki time!

Audrey059_worked_bluegreen_multi_flat One cannot celebrate August properly without a moment of tiki styling…  What is it about polynesian carvings and the word tiki that brings summer so quickly to mind?  For me, I think it’s something to do with the completely foreign way of life of the Māori, the warm weather, lush, jungle surroundings and the abandonment of cares to the pleasure of a summer moment.  In short, it’s a metaphor for  “anything can happen.”

In the last days of summer, especially, it’s time to grab hold of the days as they slip by.  Now is the time for lazy moments on the porch, making home-made lemonade, watching the ferns grow and taking that extra walk around the neighborhood to look at everyone’s gardens and admire the vibrance of summertime.  So, go ahead, have some fun, and throw up a little tiki decoration like this one.

 

Frivolity in the Jazz Age…

008_blueWhen I think of the 1920’s, sometimes I think of the iconic image of spoiled heiress Nancy Cunard modeling dozens of African-inspired arm bangles, or “Shipwreck Kelly” sitting on his flag pole in rain coat and hat for days upon end with masses of spectators at his feet.  Why did they do it?  Was Nancy really trying to make a statement about African relations or did it actually  start before she became an activist on all things African?  Why did Shipwreck Kelly die immediately after a pole sitting reprise in the 1950’s with only clippings of his glory days in his pocket?  There was something about the Jazz Age…

What people did then was all about novelty–doing something exotic and doing it over-the-top.  Some of it was the reaction after World War I and the horrors of poison gas and general world turmoil.  The Bentons, art deco historians, wrote that the need to create fantasy was “functionally necessary for survival.”

The interesting thing, I think, is that most Americans were bitterly aware of their need to be frivolous.  It was a self-conscious act of desperation.  In 1927, Edwin Avery Park, the American critic, wrote that a “new spirit in design is creeping in about the edges.  It fastens first upon objects of a transitory and frivolous nature.”  Frivolity became the catch-word of the day.  But the “fragility and tragedy lurking behind the glitter,” from all the painful leftover emotions of WWI, that combined the dream’s fundamental frivolity with ruthless commercial interests to create something grandiose…  its transitory effects, the wave of color in shop windows … became art deco, in fact.

The Stork Club

storksNot just for booze-hounds anymore, the Stork Club is also known as a group of friends who are all pregnant together at the same time.  They meet at Starbucks (and pretend not to drink coffee), chat about their aches and pains and go to the bathroom every 20 minutes…

In tribute to their newest member, a friend of mine, I did a happy little stork pattern in blue, because she wants a boy.  Who wants to lay odds she’ll have a girl (and love it?)!

Quilting…

cherry rosette quiltIn honor of my fans who quilt AND as a tribute to the excellent quilt exhibit currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, I wanted to play a little with deco motifs and traditional wedding ring quilts…  Enjoy!

 

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