I learned to do trompe l’oeil paintings in the one and only art class I took, a watercolor course at Pitzer College, and it’s one of my favorite styles. I don’t do it much since it’s incredibly labor intensive, but the results never fail to impress, and I’m rarely impressed by my own work. Trompe l’oeil is such a fun way to display collections: like a whimsical, two dimensional shadowbox. I find myself hoarding things like extra buttons and ticket stubs to paint later on–my boyfriend even knows to save his own boarding passes or the jackets for coffee cups for me. (If you’re wondering, I do offer custom trompe l’oeil paintings–feel free to contact me for details.)
Funny story: I was supposed to take a ceramics class instead of watercolor, but a glitch in the registration system bumped me from the sign-ups–I probably would never have gotten into design or illustration if it wasn’t for that watercolor class and that registration error! Crazy how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?
I honestly can’t believe I’ve done twenty-six dog stalking portraits: that’s half a year! It seems like not so long ago that I hit publish on the very first dog stalking installation. My favorite part of the series–aside from getting to spend my time seeking, cuddling, and painting dogs!–is showing the owners’ portraits of their favorite canines (one highlight: when one owner asked to purchase the portrait I featured of his wife’s doggie submission!) Of course, it’s terribly difficult to decide on the best entries into my canine archive, but in honor of Dog Stalking’s half-year-versary, I’m going to try. Read on to find out my five favorite dog stalks!
Remy is one of the first dogs I ever stalked (and the first to receive dog stalking’s now-signature typographic treatment!)–a sweet fox terrier at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market.
I met El Madrileno on the very last day of my European adventure a couple of years ago–I never got to find out his real name, since he was wearing a bow tie instead of tags!
Once I met Mark Zuckerberg’s puli Beast at the mall. The perks of living near Facebook!
I was so excited when Andrew Knapp gave me permission to feature his sneaky border collie Momo!
If there were dog entertainment in every traffic jam, tough commutes would be no problem. If I were president….
The design: confession–I constantly judge books by their covers, so if I didn’t already have a stack of reading material on my desk right now, I’d be ordering this novel straight away. According to the inside cover, the illustrations are by Alicia McCaldin. I can’t find any additional information about her, which is a shame, because this cover illustration is breathtaking. The quirky paintings, watery washes, and vibrant colors all call to mind Africa or some other enchanting and exotic locale in the most subtle, refined way.
The translation: what other than an outdoor nook perfect for observing birds and enjoying summer weather? Nothing embodies whimsy quite like hanging seating, although flamingo statues created from paper come pretty close. Quirky and colorful plant stands, planters with vaguely primitive patterns, and a colorful graphic floor pillow echo the illustrations on the book cover, and large neutral pieces like the rug and hanging chair bring in the cover’s refined, natural sensibility. This is a corner I definitely want to while away my summer in!
Last month, I announced that Striped Cat Studio was teaming up with Bedsidesign and A New Journey to launch Postmark Society, a pen pal group by bloggers for bloggers. I’m so excited that it’s finally time to start writing! If you signed up anytime since we announced PS, then you will be receiving an email from Christie, Kate, or myself today with your partner’s information. We will email you as a pair and give you each other’s address. It is up to you to begin letter writing from there. *We have decided to do it like this so that you and your partner can decide who will begin the letter writing!
Please note: Registration for PS is going to remain open indefinitely. However, only those who signed up by yesterday are will be able to participate in this first round. But don’t despair! The next round of match-ups will be in three months. That means that today through mid-August you can still sign up, and expect to be paired with a pen pal in three months’ time. We’re doing it this way to insure that everyone can participate, even months down the line! So, if you haven’t signed up yet, you can still do so here.
Thanks again to Postable for offering such a useful (free!) service to help collect addresses, and for helping us to promote Postmark Society and even provide some of our first members with awesome pen pal starter sets. We are truly grateful for their help, and for your participation!
Today is a small detour from the Floral Alphabet series: instead, let’s chat about floral arrangements!
For years, I would speed through the flower arranging portions of Martha Stewart’s TV show and skip those sections of her magazine. Recently, a switch turned in my brain, and now I can’t get enough flowers! It may have something to do with Clementine Floral Works’ gorgeous, unusual, and teeny-tiny arrangements. This past weekend, I attended a floral workshop at my local West Elm held in celebration of the launch of The Flower Recipe Book (nope, I won’t stop going on about that book! It’s absolutely beautiful) and learned a few things about blooms. First, did you know carnations can be really pretty?
When you arrange flowers, you’re supposed to create a base with the larger ones first–kind of like a foundation. Then you fill in with the smaller, wispier bits, and then the taller elements. I’ve never tried any flower arranging before, and I think I’m actually pretty good at it! Lucky thing, because I prefer not to stick with things I’m not immediately good at.
On Mother’s Day, my mom and I bought an armful of new flowers to practice with: hydrangeas, snap dragons, sweet peas, and some dainty purple buds. I made one large arrangement of hydrangeas, tiny purple blooms, and snapdragons, and one small arrangement with the leftovers plus sweet peas and some elements from our backyard–tarragon and lavender. The “leftovers” arrangement might be my favorite: the sprigs of lavender look so rustic, and the long dining table we built last summer makes a perfect backdrop for the bouquet!
So, will you try arranging your own bouquet next time you pick up flowers?
The design: another Palm Springs wedding suite. Will I ever get tired of these? Probably not. I think it’s the muted colors and slightly distressed texture that gets me: all of these suites are refined and playful at the same time. This particular suite by Jay Adores leans toward the modern, with some great typesetting and a truly fabulous vintage-y script font for the really important headers. (You know what’s funny? I don’t even like Palm Springs much!)
The translation: a casual and ever-so-slightly flirty dress by Ace & Jig (the masters of casual and ever-so-slightly flirty clothing), paired with a few small but statement-making accessories. Since the inspiration was a wedding suite, this relaxed cotton number gets some dressier accents–sweet earrings, a subtly sparkling clutch. I’m a big fan of the unexpected, somewhat collegiate pairing that is dresses and oxfords. No, it’s not a bit dressy, but the inspiration design isn’t either: the invitations and outfit are both well suited to someone with stylish but laid-back sensibilities.
**It feels like forever since I’ve done a wearable design–I missed two weeks in a row! I really was busy, but I have to admit it’s hard not to procrastinate these posts. I have some doubts about my skills in fashion illustration–”doubts” as in, those skills just don’t exist yet. I’m admitting to you now that I don’t think my attempts here are terrible, but I’m not entirely happy with them yet: my abilities just haven’t caught up with my tastes. That said, I’m going to keep trying, but don’t be surprised of the look of my illustrations changes from week to week–or if I skip a week altogether. Thanks for witnessing my practice, all! xo
It’s been awhile since I did a Striped Cat paper doll! Next Wednesday is my 22nd birthday, and it seemed like a good reason to fire up Adobe Illustrator and draw some party hats and birthday cakes for my furry friend. In the future, I plan to give these little dolls a new look that’s more in line with the illustration style I’ve developed over the last couple of months, but frankly I’m still quite fond of this little guy. Oh and his birthday card? You can buy it right here!
If you want to print and play with your own paper doll, just download this printable!