Tiny Homes opens today at Light Grey Art Lab! Naturally, I was super excited to be accepted into this show. Buildings? Tiny things? What's not to love? As what often happens after I receive a prompt though, I spent a while spinning my brain trying to come up with a concept. Buildings are a subject-matter that I deal with often and I really wanted to push myself. Did it even need to be a building? A home isn't necessarily a building.
I kept coming back to the idea of Earth being our tiny home. It's something that my mind often wanders off and thinks about. I'll think about how big the country is....then the world....and the depths of the oceans....and then the galaxy.....and then ten minutes has gone by and I snap myself back to Earth.
This piece was also influenced by my recent travels to Iceland (also with Light Grey! Post about this forthcoming....I finally uploaded all of my photos to my computer). I was in awe of the beautiful, vast landscapes of this country and kept feeling very small, but also very safe. There's a cozy melancholy that I hoped to convey through this piece.
Squares are a very challenging dimension for me to work in and I spent a while fiddling with this composition. The last time that I had to work in a square format I turned it into a circle ha It also started out far more colourful and I muted it down as I incorporated more of the deep space idea and wanted to focus more on the textures. I'm still quite fond of the hills and sky on the version on the right, though.
I thought of the triptych idea while I was in a meeting at work and spent the rest of the meeting doodling these thumbnails. Once I broke out of the square format it all fell into place nicely. It wasn't going to be a sequential piece at first but these ended up being my favourite thumbnails and I really liked the story that they hinted at.
Botanica opened last night at Light Grey Art Lab. This show celebrates the origin of our Earth and how plants have shaped our culture and planet. 125 artists drew inspiration from ancient stories, scientific endeavors, historic discoveries, and beyond to create the work for this show.
Once I got over my excitement to be included in this show (I have been known to draw plants on a few occasions before...) I had so many ideas about the direction that this piece could take. I let my mind wander for a week exploring as much plant-related media (podcasts, documentaries, books, blogs) as I could get my hands on before settling on a topic. Many ideas made the B-list (something involving poppies and the Opium Wars? The symbol of the chrysanthemum in Japanese culture? Tulip mania and the Dutch Golden Age?) but someone that I had heard about on a podcast early on in my research stuck with me.
E.H. Wilson was a plant explorer that traveled the world (well, mostly just Southeast Asia) to find new plant specimens to bring back to England to be studied and cultivated. Plant exploration continues to this day and I love thinking about how the world is so vast and the plant kingdom so expansive that we are still able to discover new species.
I loved the imagery of a ship being overtaken by plants and it was a great opportunity to illustrate something that I have loved for so long: Spanish moss. I also really enjoyed experimenting with a more subdued palette than I typically use. The most difficult part was getting the sails right. I wanted them to look somewhat accurate but also keep a bit of whimsy to them (thanks Josh for ship reference material!). I took a lot of cues from images of vertical gardens and "vines overtaking powerlines" is also now in my google search history. After that, it was just a matter of when do I stop adding plants?
It's finally starting to feel like spring around here and there hasn't been too much to report other than my binge-watching The West Wing over the past few weeks. Here are some bright flowers to celebrate the unseasonably nice weather in the midwest and a few things from the past few weeks:
Listen // Speaking of plants, a great conversation with botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer from On Being.
Robo Show opens today at Light Grey Art Lab! They asked over seventy artists to create pieces featuring their own robot designs. I was really excited about this prompt and wanted to challenge myself to work a bit outside of my comfort zone to try and create more of a back story and environment with my robot.
I spent a decent amount of time trying to overcome all of the robots from pop culture that I love. A few designs that I have really loved over the years include Howl's Moving Castle, the robot from Castle in the Sky, the Iron Giant, and more recently the mecha suits from Legend of Korra. I wanted to be inspired by them, certainly, but really had to push myself to not just remake the Iron Giant. Sometimes unlearning things is the most difficult task.
The only thing that I knew from the start was that I wanted it to involve plants somehow. I really liked the idea of combining the natural and the mechanical. I went through a lot of crazy back story ideas (most of them post-apocalyptic just because I wanted to draw the landscape and I liked the idea of my robot surviving and protecting some sort of plant life from Earth-that-was) before I finally settled on a walking conservatory built by a Victorian scientist to roam the earth and collect and house plant specimens. I had recently finished reading Devil in the White City and post-apocalyptic eventually morphed into the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition.
It took me a while to nail down the design of my robot. Editing was really the most difficult part. So many ideas for what to include! It could be anything! I wanted to include architecturally-inspired details, elements inspired by couture fashion, at one point the robot housed an aquarium. Editing to make sure that the robot had a clear purpose was really challenging.
Lighting and environment are not something that I often tackle in my illustrations. I really enjoyed working on this illustration a couple of years ago and thought that Robo was a great opportunity to experiment with this a bit more. Once I had figured out the robot design, putting it in an interesting setting was the next challenge for me. Showing scale was an important element that I wanted to portray. One of the notable things about the 1893 exhibition is that it introduced the Ferris Wheel to the world, Chicago's solution to upstaging the Eiffel Tower unveiled at Paris' Exposition Universelle four years prior. The wheel presented the perfect opportunity for my robot to rival it in scale.
I worked through quite a bit of the illustration before deciding that the composition was just too dull to look at and I hit a bit of a roadblock. Inspiration actually came to me while I was procrastinating and watching Jessica Jones. The framing in this show is so fantastic. I was immediately struck by this shot from episode twelve and moved the Ferris Wheel to the foreground of my illustration. (Sometimes it pays to procrastinate!)
And that's the story of Bioterra, the mobile conservatory that visited the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. I can't not think of how the name sounds like "bioterrorism" now but it was one in the morning so what are you gonna do. Be sure to check out all of the incredible robots in the show on Light Grey's website or if you're in the Minneapolis area you can see the show at the gallery until the end of March.
Hello Friday! I'm taking it easy this weekend after getting back from a quick trip to Columbus, OH for work yesterday. It was my first time visiting the city and I loved it! Definitely hoping that I get the opportunity to return in future. Hope everyone has something to look forward to this weekend whether that be adventures out and about or some quality Netflix time (I finally started West Wing and am already hooked).
In other news: The Robo Show opens tonight at Light Grey Art Lab! If you're in the Minneapolis area you should check it out. I've got a process post coming up later today about my piece for the show.
Dear Montréal, when can I move in? // A few of the beautiful buildings spotted last weekend while I was in Montréal with my sister. I could easily just spend my entire visit walking around looking at houses whenever I'm in this city. (Many more building pictures from the trip on my instagram.)
Friday Dance Break // It's not unusual....
Happy Friday! I am currently on a bus en route to Montréal (well actually it's Thursday night and I'm writing this in advance....and feeling marginally superstitious about stating my plans for tomorrow) because who doesn't want to visit Montréal in January? Spent the last couple of days in Ottawa with my sister. I was hoping to partake in a bit of skating on the Rideau Canal but the weather has thwarted that for this visit (but you'll never hear me complain about it being above freezing). Oh well, next time!
Monet: A Bridge to Modernity // I got to see this great exhibition yesterday. One of my favourite parts of the show was a listening area where they had a few ipods loaded with music by composers that were active around the same period. Listening to the impressions of nature and light captured through music while flipping through books filled with Impressionist paintings seems like such a simple idea but it was totally transformative.
The Answer // I caught up on Steven Universe last weekend and was so in love with the backgrounds in this episode. I mean, the backgrounds are always incredible but they were exceptional in this one.
Kill them with Kindness // Important read about confronting internet bullies, being a woman in the design industry, and trying to lift others up rather than tear them down.
Happy Friday! It's been a busy week so I have a whole lot of relaxation planned for this weekend. I've got a sneak peek at my piece that I finished up earlier this week for the Robo Show at Light Grey Art Lab that opens in a few weeks. More on that to come.
I went to see Anomalisa last night and I'm still not sure how I feel about it but if you are planning on seeing it I recommend not seeing the trailer beforehand. I think that not having any preconceived notions about the film and asking what they were trying to say as I watched helped to enhance the story.
Hope that you have something to look forward to this weekend!
A few other things // Love these beautiful abstract embroiders by Lisa Smirnova. A new Beatrix Potter story (over 100 years old!) is going to be published and it will feature illustrations by Quentin Blake! All of my childhood dreams are coming true. Also loving the colours and mark-making in these desktop backgrounds that Zuzanna Warszczynska created for Design Love Fest.
Friday Dance Break // Because this one never gets old.
Week three of the new year and I already skipped a week! Oh well, I was in Atlanta for work (and failing to visit the largest aquarium in the world) last week and also had a nasty cough so not much terribly exciting to share. Spent some time painting this week and drawing Miss Fisher when I should have been drawing robots. I hope that everyone has a great weekend and that you East Coasters stay safe and warm.
The Special // I enjoyed this interview with artist Kevin Lanthier discussing his photo-collages that explore the history and myth of Vancouver by examining and recontextualizing the buildings that still stand today. (On view until January 30 at Hot Art Wet City if you're in the area!)
Friday Dance Break // I wish I was BFFs with these awesome ladies. The thing that I currently miss most about Canada is this song being on the radio every five minutes (thank you, CanCon). That and, y'know, universal health care.
Happy new year! One of my goals this year is to blog a bit more regularly (remember when I used to do lately posts?.....all two of them?). I've challenged myself to do a weekly post about a few things that are inspiring me and probably the occasional trip photo. One week down, fifty-one more to go!
A trip home // Had a great trip home for the holidays. A few highlights include the Lee Bul exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, staring at the mountains for days, and visiting a few of my favourite people in Seattle.
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries // My mother has been telling me to watch this for months and I finally sat down and watched the first season with her over Christmas. Always listen to your mother. I think my 2016 resolutions can be summed up as "Be Phryne Fisher". A badass lady detective solves crimes in Jazz Age Melbourne in exceptional style with my favourite Scooby Gang since Buffy. To say I'm obsessed would be a gross understatement. (There are three seasons on American Netflix).
On the creative process // Really enjoyed this conversation with Quentin Tarantino on The Nerdist Podcast.
I'm halfway through my 100 Day Project! It feels like it took a long time to get here but when I was compiling all of the buildings that I've made thus far into the grids below, it seemed like it went by really quickly. It's definitely fun seeing them come together into a tiny town.
In my process post about the project, I talked a bit about what makes a building. The first leg of this project has really shown just how vast the range of answers to this question really is! I've had fun drawing inspiration from different architectural styles and architects, delving into a little bit of their history. I've also enjoyed playing with shapes and fitting things together until they look interesting (these have been some of the most challenging days...I could rearrange pieces on the page for hours).
I think that I'm so drawn to buildings as a subject because they are something that seems so rigid but contains so many possibilities to infuse with life and character. As an exercise a few days ago, I put together a pinterest board with one hundred building illustrations. It contains apartments, cottages, landmark destinations, skyscrapers, castles. I think that the only things needed to make a building appear to be a building is something resembling windows or doors. Some way for people to interact with it. After that, all bets are off.
I've been collecting a few links to other building related projects that I've run across recently. I love seeing how other people interpret these structures. The images above are from Anastasia Savinova's "Genius Loci" collage series. (via The Jealous Curator)
And finally, if you have a few minutes to watch a video, the fantastic earthships made from repurposed materials in Taos, NM. (via Colossal)
At the halfway mark in this project, it has been interesting to think about how people shape buildings and buildings shape people.
Light Grey Art Lab's Bower Bird show opens today! The show features artwork from 90 artists creating pieces about the things that we collect. For my piece, I illustrated all of the houseplants that fill my apartment.
My mother has always loved plants and gardening and tried to instill a love for the botanical world in me and my sister from a young age when we would accompany her to nurseries on weekends and be absolutely bored (unless it was the one with the golf carts). I didn't begin to love plants until I started working at a garden center with her during my summers off in college and now I can't imagine any space that isn't improved by a little greenery....or a lot of greenery.
I illustrated all of the plants that I currently have in my apartment from the small plant cuttings on my work table to plants handed down to me by friends who have moved away to my pothos vine that I am trying to train to grow around a doorway. There is a good chance that I will have acquired one or two more before this show is over...
I originally planned to have the plants arranged like a specimen chart so I drew them all individually without paying any attention to composition since I planned to arrange them all separately later. As I was drawing, though, I began to like the overlap that was happening that made it feel more jungley. So, I proceeded to spend an extra three days trying to figure out how to tetris all of the plants together. Many thanks to Anna for her suggestion to try it on a black ground—something that I never would have thought to do myself.
The show opens tonight at 7 if you're in the Minneapolis area! My home jungle print is available as a limited edition postcard or as a print from the Light Grey shop. And definitely be sure to check out all of the pieces from the other incredible artists in the show. I just spent ten minutes poring over the Light Grey shop and am so happy to have my work included alongside such amazing work.
I'm 1/4 of the way through my 100 Days Project (insert self-five here) and thought it would be fun to write a bit about the process since I've gotten a few questions since I've started. One of my main goals of this project was to get myself away from the computer (she said as she typed on the computer) and it really has been a great reminder that putting Photoshop away and making time to play with more traditional media is a really important creative habit.
Texture (usually watercolour) is such an important part of my illustrations and I wanted to experiment with new textures for my 100 Days Project. My mom gave me a Gelli Arts printing plate for Christmas that I used to create a stock pile of printed cardstock to use for collage. I had a lot of fun experimenting with unexpected colour combinations. It's such an easy, fast way to stretch my palette because if you don't like the way a layer turns out, you can just let it dry and then print right over it. (If you watch the video you'll be treated to some sweet, sweet background tunes).
It's been a really good challenge playing with different shapes and especially colour combinations. There is something really satisfying about being able to pick up all of the pieces and continue to rearrange them until I'm happy with the combination. It's an immediacy and a tactility that is missing when I work in Photoshop and I too often forget how fulfilling working in this way can be.
They're not that large! Just 5x5. The small scale really helps me not to labour over them. One of the challenges/questions that I keep thinking about as I make these is what exactly makes a building look building-y? Is it windows and doors? Is it when you add a little triangle roof? I've been drawing inspiration from different architectural styles (sometimes intentionally, sometimes it just evolves as I play around with the pieces on the page) and don't have an answer to this question at this point. A few days after I started the project, I ran across this great post by Supertrooper Studio that so perfectly illustrates this question.
Here's hoping that I can keep the momentum up for 75 more!
I finally got around to starting my 100 Days project after being inspired all summer by wonderful projects popping up on my instagram from the illustration community. I wasn't sure exactly what spurred this onset of projects and then I finally ran across this post from The Great Discontent who seem to be the champions of this summer's 100 Days enthusiasm.
It took me a little while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do but I had a few criteria that I set for myself while trying to formulate my plan:
- I wanted to work with a subject-matter that I enjoy so that it would be sure to keep my interest for the span of the project but also give me an opportunity to explore it in new ways.
- I wanted it to be something that would not use a computer. I spend way too much time on the computer as it is without setting a new project for myself for 100 days that would also have me sitting in front of my screen. This would also give me a chance to experiment more since my illustrations are so digitally dependent.
- I wanted it to be something that wouldn't be too time consuming. If I laboured over it, I knew that I probably wouldn't see it through to the end.
With that in mind, I came up with 100 Days of Buildings! For the next 100 days (well, 99 now) I am going to create a small building collage out of printed paper that I've made. I'm really looking forward to playing with shape and colour in a traditional media and seeing what comes out of this. You can follow #100DaysofBuildings on instagram!
Hi friends, it's been a while since the last Lately post. Here are a few of the things that have been inspiring me recently.
Pyrgi, Greece // While scrolling through my instagram feed a few days ago, the photo on the right made me pause and stare. How is this incredible town covered in beautiful pattern and colour real? The buildings are adorned in patterns created by painting and carving plaster called graffito. Definitely added to my Things-to-Draw list. If I ever travel here, I'm going to have to go solo because whoever I travel with will likely grow tired of me stopping every few feet to draw everything.
A couple of weeks ago, the cool folks at Light Grey Art Lab hosted an incredible retreat in the mountains of Utah. Spent the weekend hiking, staring at the night sky, admiring the unbelievable rock formations, and having great discussions with other artists. We shared this cabin in Brian Head, UT. Two words: chainsaw bears.
I grew up with mountains but the mountains of Utah were just so entirely different. It was hard not to trip over my own feet because I was too preoccupied looking up at them. We spent the weekend hiking around Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Cannot thank the incredible Light Grey team enough for putting together such an amazing trip!
As a love letter to one of my favourite television series, I thought it would be fun to make some Parks and Rec themed Valentines to say farewell for its final season. I had so much fun with the Arrested Development ones a few years ago and have been wanting to make another set so this was the perfect excuse. You can download and print 'em to give to your galentine or someone that you love and like. I also have some nifty square ones that you can share on instagram available to download on my tumblr if that's your (Jeremy) jam. Thank you to all of my cool friends that helped me think of the perfect phrases to pair with each character!
Click here to download the complete set!
I made you say that........you are my Valentine.
Happy new year! I hope that 2015 is treatin' you right. I wanted to share a few of the homes that I illustrated last year for Home for the Holidays. It was my busiest year yet thanks to Mallory. There were some really special stories that people shared with me about the homes they asked me to draw. I illustrated childhood homes, homes of parents and grandparents, summer homes, and even a barn! Without a doubt one of my favourite projects I do every year. Already looking forward to next year!
If you would like to have me draw a home for you outside of the holiday season, I take commissions year-round. Feel free to email me and we can chat!
Lately, I've been missing the ability to share a bit of what I've found interesting or been inspired by that blogging regularly allowed me to do. So I thought I'd start semi-regularly posting what non-art happenings I've been up to and some things that have caught my eye.
Home for the Holidays // My free time has mostly been consumed by house illustrations for the past few weeks. I always love doing this every year and hearing the stories that go with the homes that people share. All of the illustrations are wrapped up now and I'm just waiting to pick up the last batch from my printer so I'll share a bit more after the holidays but here are a few of my favourite bits. I set up a mailing list for anyone interested in being notified when sales begin next year!
Over the Garden Wall / I recently (well, recently when I started the draft for this post a month and a half ago) devoured this entire series. The best kind of weird, dark folklore but with lighthearted characters and bizarre surprises to keep it from being too depressing. And gorgeous, gorgeous backgrounds and great music. You can get the entire series for just $10 on iTunes!
Land/marks // A few months ago, two of my favourite people broke my heart and also reaffirmed why I love and admire them so much when they quit their jobs, put all of their belongings into storage, sold one of their cars and left to travel around South America for half a year. My friend Jessica has been documenting their travels through gorgeous photographs as well as beautiful patterns inspired by each of the places they visit and sharing them on her travel blog. I have avidly/jealously been following along.
UPDATE: Unfortunately they are all sold out for this year due to the popularity generated by the Buzzfeed article. I am so overwhelmed and grateful for the support. Thank you, everyone! It's something that I do annually every holiday season so if you are interested in being notified next year when sales begin I have set up a mailing list that you can sign up for right here. You won't receive any additional mail or junk, just one email next year when sales begin.
I'm excited to be bringing Home for the Holidays back for the third year! Every year I love hearing the stories of time spent at summer cabins, old homes that have been sold, new homes that have been bought, first apartments, and the many other reasons that the buildings I am illustrating are special.
For those new to Home for the Holidays, it is my custom illustration project offering the opportunity to give some affordable, personalized art for the holidays. I love drawing buildings and would love to illustrate one that is meaningful to you or someone you know. Whether it be a home, a summer cottage, winter cabin, historical landmark, travel destination, garden shed, or whatever other structure your heart desires. Submit a photo and you will have an 10x12 or 10x10 illustration on your doorstep by Christmas!
This year there are
30 spaces available SOLD OUT. Here are the details:
What do I get?
You will receive a 10"x10" or 10"x12" (illustrations measure 8"x8" or 8"x10" with a 1" border) print that has been reproduced digitally on archival quality watercolour paper.
Where do I email my photo to?
Please email your photo(s) to seguin.marisa[at]gmail.com with "Home for the Holidays" as the subject. Multiple angles are welcome.
What buildings will you draw?
House, condo, cabin, cottage, castle, Versailles.....as long as it has some semblance of a dwelling (i.e. I will not draw the Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, etc) then I would like to illustrate it for you!
When will I get my print?
I will be sending them out as I finish in the order that they are received. International orders will be mailed no later than Friday December 5. US orders will be mailed no later than Friday December 12. If you need your print sooner than this please include a note in your email. I will do whatever possible to accommodate requests for prints to be mailed by a certain date but make no guarantees that they will be mailed earlier than the previously specified dates.
Can I see my illustration before you ship it?
Unfortunately not. The elimination of the usual back and forth makes it possible for me to offer these at a flat rate.
Can I request certain colours?
Unfortunately not. Again, for the same reason as above, the elimination of the usual back and forth allows me to offer these illustrations at a flat rate.
Can you ship it to someone else for me?
Yes I can! I'll even include a note if you'd like.
How much does it cost?
$65 + shipping. Shipping costs can be found in the shop.
Do you offer refunds?
Once you have sent me your photo your sale will be considered final.
When is the last day to place an order?
I will be taking international orders until Sunday November 23 and US orders until Sunday November 30.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions! You can place orders through my shop right here.