Category Archives: watercolor art/paintings

The Sketchbook Project

A couple weekends ago I heard about The Sketchbook Project.

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I wasn’t so sure at first whether or not I wanted to sign up because it’s the end of the year and the project is due just after the holidays and this time of year just starts to get more and more chaotic in my life as the end of the year gets closer.

But then I saw they would be touring and one of the stops is in Seattle, June 10th through the 12th, 2011, and that really peaked my interest. So I signed up and chose my theme, which was difficult to choose from. I managed to decide on “Capture The Flag”.

I’m still awaiting my Moleskine Cahier sketchbook and details in the mail, which gives me time to brainstorm some  ideas. So, do you have any ideas or suggestions for me? Has anyone else signed up for The Sketchbook Project too? If so, please do share. I’ll do my best to share here how things are going with the project once I get started.



Filed under book binding/book arts, calligraphy, Fun Stuff, watercolor art/paintings

A Gift Of Spring

I’ve been workin’ on a little somethin’ for my friends and family and it’s almost done. Would you like one too? Just let me know and e-mail me your address before May 31st and I’ll send one to ya…it’ll just take a little while.

Here’s just a little sneak peek.

I’m an admitted Oprah Show addict. Yep, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do from 4:00pm – 5:00pm when she retires the show. I just hope I get the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) when that begins because I’m sure it’s going to be good.

Anyway, this afternoon I was able to take some time to watch the show and it brought back lots of memories. Kind of fitting memories considering summer is nearing closer. Two of her guests today were Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers. Thanks to Dad, I don’t think we ever went on a family vacation without the two of them, among others like Alabama, Eddie Rabbit, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, but especially Kenny. Camping with the family with some country cassette tapes of Dad’s along with some of his beef jerky we stopped to get on the road. We were always listening to music and despite my brother & sister’s disdain for country music, we all loved Kenny Rogers. Let’s just say, if you don’t like Kenny Rogers you suck. Jus’ kiddin’!

As the weekend nears, I leave you with a little music (from an older Oprah show) to enjoy and maybe even reminisce, like myself. (Hmmmm…what’s the correct way to say that?…like myself?…or like me?) The first song is a classic, both are really, but the last song…that one’s a special one.

That one goes out to Mom & Dad, it’s their song (I love you Mom!). Enjoy and have a great weekend everyone!

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Filed under family, music, news, watercolor art/paintings

Live Painting

Painting in a French shop in Tokyo by Nathalie Lété.

C’est magnifique!

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This would make a beautiful mural in a babies room.

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Urban Craft Uprising

If you know me, you know that I love independent artists. There’s a huge movement happening around the globe to support small businesses, especially those selling handmade goods.


I wish I lived closer to Brooklyn so I could always attend this event. This weekend is The Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco and if I could go anywhere this weekend it would be there.

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I want to go to there (Liz Lemon quote)! However, Seattle has been on this handmade movement for a while now.


Ladies & Gentlemen? I give you the Urban Craft Uprising. The UCU began in 2004 and used to be a winter holiday craft show supporting independent artists, but this year, for the first time, they’ve started a summer event, which will be on August 1st & 2nd. It’s the largest Indie Craft Show in the Pacific Northwest and we need it, because San Francisco is still too far to go for something like this.

Here’s a look at some of the awesome vendors that will be there.


I can’t wait to see the work of A Farmers Daughter up close. She’s got some beautiful pieces that brides would just swoon over.


Just have a look at this bird cage half veil. It’s very reasonably priced. It’s one of those things that make me wish I were a bride every day of the year.


She does boutonnieres too, so definitely worth a look and don’t forget to bring your guy too. There’s plenty for your man to see.


Does your man cycle? Do you? Take a look at Vital Industries. How could you not like this hand screenprint t-shirt? I think my friend K would dig it.


Isn’t this a great hat from Flipside Hats? It looks so Italian to me. What a great alternative to the weekend baseball cap for your guy. Very stylish! And it’s reversible! Awesome (said in a high pitched Will Ferrell voice)!

There’s even soft toys for your kids, nieces or nephews.


How could you resist these adorable mini marshmallows from Scrumptious Delights?!


Or what about this little guy from local Seattle artist Softlife? They’ve got some fun looking creatures.

t_robot_cAnd dude! Do you think I could convince local Seattle artist, LuCoo, to make an adult size t-shirt like this? Kids have the cutest clothes!

Artists coming all the way from NYC to local artists from Seattle, Redmond, Bellingham, Vancouver, CA., etc. and many other artists in between. From jewelry, paintings, clothing for children, men, women…even clothing for the real shape of a woman, hand-spun & hand-dyed yarns, 100% natural skin care products, glass, pottery, soft toys for kids, soap, handmade books…


This necklace from here.

il_fullxfull.66249631This gorgeous pillow from here.

Everything handmade and when I say Indie Crafts, you’ve got to know that it’s going to be unique and one of a kind. There’s gonna be a lot to see and I know it’s going to be loads of fun. You know where I’ll be on August 1st & 2nd and I can hardly wait! Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this.

So mark your calendars. August 1st & 2nd at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Oh! And check out the UCU blog here.

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Filed under book binding/book arts, Fun Stuff, interior design, news, Uncategorized, watercolor art/paintings, weddings

The coffin of a document…

…the scabbard of a bill; the husk of a remittance; the bed-gown of a love letter. – Ambrose Bierce

My April envelope, yes that’s right – April, is almost complete. You could say I’m a bit behind, but I’m not giving up. Those waiting will get their envelopes – eventually.


I decided to share a scan of how it’s shaping up before the address gets added. I cut some Arches paper using my own envelope template this time. This is just the front before it’s all folded, sealed and ready to go.

The theme? The famous quote, “April showers bring May flowers.” Hmmmm, perhaps I’ll make May’s envelope with a floral theme then. So what do you think of the envelope so far?

Oh! And happy move day to the MG family, M1,M2,M3,M4,M5. I had my nephews, M3 & M4, stay with me last night and we had a blast playing Wii and building a fort. I will miss you guys, but you’re only three hours away, so not too bad.

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Filed under envelopes, watercolor art/paintings

The Artist In The Family

Have I ever mentioned that I have a cousin who’s a fantastically talented artist? Well everyone, meet my cousin Chris Manwaring.

160{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

Actually, this is Chris’s son, but this painting is a dead ringer for Chris when he was a little boy. I swear, all three of his boys look so much like him.


For a while Chris and the rest of the family lived in the Seattle area, but now he calls Utah home. This really isn’t the best photograph, but this is one of his paintings hanging in the living room of his mom & dad’s home, my aunt & uncle. It’s an area in Utah, perhaps around Vernal, which sadly doesn’t look like that anymore.

158{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

This painting is of Lake Odessa. I think that’s in Michigan, which is where he served a mission for the LDS church.

manwaring{image from Cache Valley Artists}

I had the chance to visit Chris, his wife and kids while I was on my recent trip and he has the cutest family. As I walked into the living room of his home, off to my right was an empty wooden frame painted gold that stood almost from floor to ceiling! It was almost as wide as the wall it rested against too! A frame made for a museum piece I swear…and that’s where his work will one day be, I’m sure of it.

11si20051149l{image from IMCM}

I thought it had been about 15 years since I’d seen him last, but after thinking more about it, it’s actually been much longer! When Chris was little I remember he loved The Incredible Hulk. I wish I had pictures of the sketches he’d drawn of Hulk.

400px-Incredible-hulk-20060221015639117{image created by Bryan Hitch from here}

I can’t say for sure how old he was, but he was very young. He’d sketch Hulk over and over focusing detail on Hulk’s muscles and the contours of his body, shading all the right areas. It almost feels like that’s where it all began.

162{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

The above painting is one of my favorites I’ve seen of his. Isn’t it gorgeous? Hey Chris! How much is this one? Probably way out of my budget. I just want to take a blanket, lay it out on the grass and lay down looking up into the trees for a while. It simply reminds me of the grove of aspen trees that were outside my bathroom window before they were chopped down, long story. But they seeded themselves and I planted a couple more and soon there will be no need to paint any color on the walls in my bathroom. When the aspens are tall and full of leaves it will fill the room in green just like before.

164{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

No, that’s not my Kosmo! But it sure does look like him. His legs are more red coloring like the rest of his fur and his tail curls right up like a husky dog. Other than that, it looks like my Kosmo. He even likes to stand like that on our backyard deck surveying the neighborhood.

761{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

I’m certainly no professional artist, but from our childhood years you could tell he loved to draw and he just kept developing his talent more and more.

2008-in_october{image from here}

Chris was lucky enough to study under Valoy Eaton. Here’s a painting of Mr. Eaton’s above.

157{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

The above painting by Chris is of Jenny Lake in Wyoming. He mentioned he loves going to Wyoming to paint, but this totally looks like an area in Western Washington. So Chris, you need to come back home to paint some time with your wife and kids.

760{image from Mountain Trails Galleries}

To read more of Chris’ bio click here. To purchase artwork created by Chris visit the Mountain Trails Gallery in Park City, UT. To commission Chris for work feel free to contact me and I’ll put you in touch with him.

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Letters Of Joy (Part I)

My weekend at Letters of Joy was so much fun! It was so nice to have so much time to study, learn and see so many friends of mine and meet new ones too. I also learned that my awesome and talented instructor will be teaching a sort of advanced copperplate calligraphy class starting Tuesday. I may have to adjust some things around in my schedule and one week I’ll miss due to an important trip I’m going on later on in the month, but other than that I’m so there! I’ll be sure to share about it here with you too.

Last Friday was the lecture given by the special guest of the conference, Lisa Englebrecht.

2420588{image from her web site}

I loved Lisa’s work before and I love it even more today. Not only that, but she is the most wonderful person. Later on in her lecture she spoke about her desire to find young artists and how she tries to bring them into the fold of the lettering arts community. She embraces certain graffiti art, not tagging but graffiti art.

img_0159-300{image from her web site}

She also embraces tattoo artistry. It’s a permanent art and while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there’s still nothing worse than walking around with a very permanent, visible tattoo that looks like it was done by an amateur with horrible letter forms. It just makes you feel sorry for them. For so long I too have appreciated viewing such art and it felt good knowing I’m not the only one who does within the calligraphy community.

She was very inspiring. And when it comes to experiencing an artists block, she had some wonderful tips. One which was, do what speaks to you. If hearts seems to speak to you and comes back time and time again, like it’s been doing for a while for her, then use it. Go with it and make something out of it. For some other tips from various random artists click here.

2420591{image from her web site}

At lunch time, on Saturday, I had the opportunity to sit with her for a little while as she signed copies of her book for others while we ate. In my previous career I worked for an international wireless company and on a daily basis I would speak to various vice presidents, presidents, the CEO, COO, attorneys, leading council, etc. and never have I been tongue tied or nervous to do so. But Saturday sitting right next to Lisa felt like I was sitting right next to Oprah frickin’ Winfrey! I’ve felt that way once before when I took a class once from Jocelyn Curry and I’m sure I’ll feel that way if I ever meet Sheila Waters, her son Julian Waters, Denis Brown and perhaps a few others. I mean, imagine you’re a struggling director of short films and you have the chance to sit down next to Steven Speilberg. That’s how these people are viewed within the calligraphy community, or maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it.

56679{image found and for sale here}

Despite my initial nerves, my friends and I had a good conversation with Lisa as loads of people stopped by praising her, myself included. She definitely made me feel very comfortable talking with her because she’s so darn nice! At the end of the day she must be walking on cloud nine and a heart 6 feet wide knowing how much and how many people love and appreciate her work.

I’ll share more about my classes later on in the week.


Filed under calligraphy, watercolor art/paintings