Art + Artist Feature + flowers + In My Next Life + Life / Monday, 11 Mar 2013

In my next life: painter

This is the second post in a new monthly series called, “In my next life” where I basically gawk at people whose jobs I’d love. See last month’s with professional ballerina at the Royal Danish Ballet, Christina Michanek
photography by Luisa Brimble courtesy of Arent & Pyke’s blog In/Out

A few weeks ago, Luisa Brimble, a fantastic photographer based in Australia, showed a picture on Instagram of artist Laura Jones’ studio. I was instantly (no pun intended) hooked. Laura paints florals in beautiful, bright colors and thus, her studio is a floral haven. I think I would be pleased as punch if this was my house. 
I grew up in a pretty artistic household and at one point I had decided to be a painter when I grew up. I don’t know when that decision was disrupted–perhaps school, sports, music? But never could I have imagined something like this. Laura’s work takes the cake, right? I’m rarely tempted to actually buy a piece of art–I’m usually quite content to just post it on my Pinterest board–but I’m so absolutely drawn to her work. Check out the interview below.

Did you always want to be an artist? Why or why not?
I did, I have always made art and knew I would always want to make it. I didn’t know if I’d actually become an artist but as I got older I realised that I could make it happen. Being an artist is really important to me now. I work hard at it because I believe that it is what I should be doing and because the world needs artists! 

How did you get into painting? 
I have painted ever since I was little. It has always come naturally to me although that’s not to say it is easy. Painting is a very difficult thing to do because you are always trying to push yourself to make better work, and it is always hard to make space for it in your life around part time work.

As of late, you’ve been painting a lot of flowers. Why? What’s the attraction?  
I grew up in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia. There are a lot of beautiful gardens there and my mother always had flowers around the house. I have always loved them. When I was studying for a Masters in Art at the College of Fine Arts, I would bring big bunches of interesting leaves and flowers to the printmaking studio and make coloured etchings with them. I also started working in a flower shop part time to get me through uni. That was about 2005 and I have worked in flower shops ever since.

My most recent body of work is all about flowers because painting them just made a lot of sense all of a sudden. I had always done a little bit of flower painting here and there but I realised I should make a whole show about them. Flowers are very symbolic, reminding people about the transience of life, whilst also being very positive, happy things. They were good for the soul to paint and I hope that’s what people feel when they look at my flower paintings.

Were there people along the way in your field who you admired or helped you shaped the decision to be an artist?
I have so many. The most influential time was when I was at art school. Because I majored in printmaking, we often had a lot of artists come to the studios to do print projects. The students would assist the Master Printer (and our teacher), Michael Kempson, who would work alongside artists to help them make etchings and works on paper. I met so many painters during this time, and I would ask them about what they did and how they did it. It worked out that the first thing I needed to do was to get a studio. As soon as I graduated I found a studio and I have been a practising artist ever since.

Do you have a mantra or something you live by?
I can’t remember where I read this one but it helped me a lot when I was starting out and feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the potential in painting and where to begin! It was in my first studio, which was above an old pub in Western Sydney, and I remember reading it somewhere and then writing it on the wall, “There is only what you do and what you don’t do.”

My interpretation was to do the work, one painting at a time. Each painting will be better than the last and you will learn something from everything you do.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

The actual process of making things. I am so interested and engaged in what I do, from preparing a surface to paint on, to applying the paint, to painting over something that doesn’t work, to making decisions about what to do next, or even just rearranging my studio. I love looking at something and then trying to describe it with my hands. I really enjoy everything about making work in my studio.

How do you juggle the balance of life/work?
I work all the time, and just get things done. I could probably cook and exercise more but I just love working whether it be at the studio or the flower shop. I socialise a lot and go to lots of art openings. I think I manage to squeeze everything in by working long hours and not watching tv. Life is a constant struggle for balance I suppose.

Is there anything you could do without? I could live without living in the city I think. One day, maybe soon, I’d like to go where there’s more green.


What’s one of the most memorable moments of your career so far?

My recent show is probably top of the list. I really felt so happy with my paintings, and the opening was a huge success.


Being selected as a Finalist for the Doug Moran Prizefor Portraiture– it’s Australia’s richest portrait prize and to be showing with so many other great artists including some of my good friends was wonderful.

Working with Grantpirrie Gallery as their Master Printmaker was amazing too. Also going to the New York Studio School to do a drawing course. There’s too many, and I can’t wait to keep working on more.

If you weren’t painting, what would you be doing?
I would probably be travelling right now. Like a gypsy! 

Thank you, Laura, for participating in In My Next Life. Don’t you just love her? I love the part about hoping her paintings speak to your soul. The answer is yes. YES! Flowers do so much for the soul and I’d love to be surrounded by them like that. If you happen to be in Australia, she has a show right now until the 15th at the Maunsell Wickes Gallery in Paddington. More info here.

And are you looking at the floral print on the chair? It’s from Edit. Isn’t the matching chair/skirt lovely?

Did you ever want to be a painter? What would you do if you could do anything in the world? Speak up! 

denmark + Design + Life + we do weddings + Wedding / Friday, 8 Mar 2013

Thumbelina wedding shoot

A couple of weeks ago I introduced a wedding shoot that I styled as a part of We Do Weddings. We had divided ourselves into 4 groups and each took a section of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” and went to town. I was a part of “something blue” and “something new” as seen here. Though there were many ways to take “new” we took “something new” to mean a “new” fairytale. Lots of brides want to be that princess in a fairytale and we wanted to bring a new, uncheesy romanticism to the meaning. To do this we used Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina. You know I love scale, so I was all about it. Of course, there had to be oversized flowers everywhere. I even made a jumbo flower for this bride to really bring it home. This time I was partnered with Tine Hvolby, who shot all of these photos, Hazel of Think Foto, and Rikke of Gudnitz Couture, who made the lovely wedding dress as worn by Christina Michanek (remember Christina? She’s a soloist for the Royal Danish Ballet) and joined by her husband, a former dancer with the Royal Swedish and Danish Ballets. Rikke makes lots of dresses for the rich and famous in Denmark–fancy! We lucked out with a rare sunny day, which created some beautiful lighting to play with. Didn’t Tine kill it?!

Here’s the invitation I created for the wedding. Look familiar? After this, I decided to base my new 2013 calendar from it (get it on sale here).

So gorgeous.

If you’re in Denmark, check out the We Do Weddings website. It’s such a great resource for planning a wedding.

Photography by Tine Hvolby
Dress by Gudnitz Couture
Models: Christina and Sebastian Michanek
Stylist and prop maker: Brittany Watson Jepsen

Style + This Girl / Wednesday, 6 Mar 2013

This girl

This girl (Erin O’Connor) wears my dream dress. Dress gods, where might I find this?

This girl  |  passes  |  visits

See more This Girl 

DIY + holiday + Projects + St. Patrick's Day / Wednesday, 6 Mar 2013

St. Patrick’s day candy poppers & care package

Aren’t these little guys adorable? Michele Brummer Everett who has pretty much been a god-sent since before I moved back to the US, made some adorable Valentine’s day candy poppers and I just about died out of cuteness. Michele is a wonderful illustrator and textile designer who can pull out the cutest characters. I asked if she would let me borrow her idea for a St. Patty’s day version and thankfully she said yes. AND she drew the cutest little leprechaun. She’s the best! 

Materials: scissors, leprechaun template, toilet paper roll, rainbow template, chocolate gold coins (I bought mine on Amazon Prime–the best!), writing utensil, double stick tape, tissue paper, embroidery floss, scrapbooker’s glue, needle
Step 1: print the rainbow paper on normal office paper.
Step 2: Cut it out and measure against the toilet paper roll.
Step 3: Tape it onto the roll. I used double stick tape to attach it.
Step 4: With the scrapbooker’s glue, glue the end of the toilet paper roll and hold it onto the tissue paper
Step 5:Trace around a quarter onto a piece of paper
Step 6: Cut around it.
Step 7: Cut around the front and back of the leprechauns.
Step 8: With 3 strands of the embroidery thread, make a cross in the circle.
Step 9: Make a hole in the end of the tissue paper with the needle before entering in from the inside of the roll so the paper circle stays on the inside of the roll and the rest of the thread dangles out.
Step 10: Glue the two pieces of the leprechaun onto the end of the thread.
Step 11: Stuff the toilet roll with your goodies. I put in a first layer of moss and then gold coins and then more moss.
Step 12: Glue the top of the toilet paper roll.
Step 13: Attach onto the tissue paper to seal it off.
CARE PACKAGE
You know I love me a good care package (see my Valentine’s heart and suitcase) I lined the inside of the box with the rainbow paper and set down shredded green grass with gold coins on top and the poppers. Then, I wrapped the box with the rainbow paper and now it’s good to go!

Thank you so much Michele!

DIY + Party + Projects / Saturday, 23 Feb 2013

Oscar party!

Admittedly, I’ve never been nor have I hosted an Oscar party, but my friend was recently talking about how she has her nieces and nephews over for the big day and they all dress up. How fun is that?! SO, I thought these prize ribbon badges (what’s the official name, anyone?) would be a fun accoutrement. I cannot take credit for the idea. You see, I have a very clever friend who is an amazing illustrator, Michèle Brummer Everett (you might remember her as the pencil), who hosted a presidential waffle night on Monday and made badges like these but with the faces of the presidents (take a look on my Instagram account). I asked her if she would show me how to make it and she was kind enough to agree. Thank you thank you! I turned them into the Oscar nominees so that you can use them tomorrow for your Oscar parties. Are you having one? Attending one? 

You will need: template of the Oscar nominees (download here), geometric backgrounds (download here, here, here, here) designed by Michèle Brummer Everett, scissors, pin backings (or safety pin should work fine too), glue gun, long stapler

Step 1: Print out the Oscar nominee template on sturdy laser paper cardstock on 11×17″ (A3). Office paper is fine too.
Step 2: Cut out all of the heads. I left a small white gap around to act as a border.
Step 2: Print out the geometric background paper on 8 1/2 x 11″ (A4) on thinner office paper.
Step 3: Cut out the geometric pattern leaving no white space.
Step 4: Fold the geometric paper in half so it’s long ways.
Step 5: Cut it down the center.
Step 6: Fold up the bottom in half.
Step 7: Fold it up again.
Step 8: Fold it up one more time. These fold will act as guidelines for the next step.
Step 9: Unfold. At the bottom make sure the first fold stars by folding up. You’ll basically make an accordion fold halving the folds you already made.

Step 10: Fold the accordion in half.
Step 11: With your long stapler, staple the center together.
Step 12: Glue the two sides together where the staple is. Make sure you put some in the very center so it glues without bubbles.
Step 13: Hold together for a few moments.
Step 14: Repeat on the other side.
Step 15: Unfold your accordion badge and fix it up a bit so that the folds are even.
Step 16: Now take your chosen Oscar nominee (I choose Bradley Cooper) and glue the back and attach to the ribbon.
Step 17: Take your pin and glue it to the back. Make sure it’s not dead center or it will tilt when it’s attach. About 1/3 down from the top should be fine.
Voila!

How cute are these? Everyone thank Michèle for showing us how to make them. She’s currently redoing her portfolio website and it’s going to be absolutely charming, but in the mean time, visit her here.

Alrighty, if you do make them, I’d love to see them! Use #LarsOscarParty so we can all keep track. Happy Oscaring! Here are some more ideas for your Oscar party from StudioDIY

Oscar nominee actor pictures:
Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Emmanuelle Riva, Naomi Watts, Daniel Day Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joquin Phoenix, Jessica Chastain, Quvenzhane Wallis