Here in Pasadena

One year to the day life got in the way,  I still find nice things in Pasadena.

Hearing Pasadena

It is a beautiful, crisp morning today in Pasadena...I think the last blast of heat has left, leaving cooler evenings and more comfortable days.

Pasadena manages to take beautiful care of their buildings. This is a newly renovated one, now home to the Urth Caffe, a favorite stop in the morning. Even on the hottest morning, the thick walls and breeze-way manage to make it one of the coolest places in town. Enjoy the hand-made and site-specifically designed tile work. So well done!



pentimento |ˌpentəˈmentō|        noun ( pl. -menti |-ˈmentē|)

a visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas.

ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from Italian, literally ‘repentance.’

Marks and Mark-making

I'm drawn to the primal intent I see behind the hand of the artist. One rising star in the world of editorial illustration who has not only managed to keep her 'hand' visible while transferring into the digital realm, indeed is all about pentimento, is Wesley Allsbrook. I think she is an amazing, resourceful and prolific young artist. I never tire of her work, she has a true and fresh vision. Her use of color is intuitive and gutsy.

Wesley does   amazing   things with water: physically, metaphysically and metaphorically.   © Wesley Allsbrook 2014

Wesley does amazing things with water: physically, metaphysically and metaphorically. 

© Wesley Allsbrook 2014

This is one of my favorite pages.

Scroll to the spread and double-click on "Taken by Pirates" for close ups. Each image has it's own beautiful palette. It is a shame that the huge typeface need cover her work, but that is the nature of commissions art directed by the patron. Her interpretation of the play of objects and light on and through water is assiduous and delicious. She often includes and is very generous with her process drawings on all her websites and blogs. I'm such a fan and can't get enough!

Here is her explanation of how she developed her interpretative skills as a student at the RISD.

More of her work:

Two Mollys and a Joluvian

Here are three young artists who have managed to earn a living as scribes. With hand-drawn calligraphy, they take it to the next level with digitalization and the creation of fonts. One would think the genesis of their work was digital, because their figures are so evenly handled, but you'll see in the videos, that most of the work is done by hand and only slightly tweaked digitally, where they manage to keep the organic individuality of their work.

Calligraphy & Digital Fusion 1: 

Molly Suber Thorpe, out of Boston, shares her vision on her website, Plurabelle. It is astounding when you see her co-ordination skills and confidence first hand in her teaching video:

Molly Jacques, from Detroit, has a comely look to her work and also teaches workshops. I like the way she manages to cluster her lettering together to make a textured and contained "mark". I'm all about shapes:

Joluvian is from south of the Equator, and a Master Calligrapher. He is über-versatile stylistically and a consummate mark-and-shape maker. Here, he shares the tools he uses and goes from the actual drawing board to a vector program.

Amaz-balls all!

Back to the task at hand...

...the artist's hand that is, a theme I'm going to focus quite a bit, as while many of us transitioned from traditional mediums in the late 80's to the digital world, we continue to appreciate hand-written notes, natural light and eraser crumbs. The irony of the spate of Photoshop tutorials on learning how to distress images is not lost on me and is up there with whiskered jeans.

I was out walking the other day and saw this hand-painted house plaque and was able to get up close. It is carefully and beautifully painted. The wall isn't smooth either but has some tooth that probably affords the artist a degree of control. It's a vertical surface as well, - did the artist use a mahl stick? Most likely.

You can see that the touch-up paint is a little lighter than the original, and can't miss the amount of control the artist had. Beautiful! 



Now, the above sample is very tightly executed and I appreciate this type of control because it has been my style as well in some areas of my work, but those aren't always the kind of samples I will show you. In the next few posts, I will bring you other wonderful and diverse mark-makers.


D-Day: dads, dogs & donuts

© micki zurcher

© micki zurcher

Today is a day of launchings, some more important than others. You decide.

We must never forget the sacrifices of the WWII Allied landing invasion on the beaches of Normandy 70 yrs. ago. My father fought in that war, and is, thank God, still live today.

The Official Launch (yea us!) of this website today is dedicated to him.

And it is also, National Donut Day, created during WWI and freebies are being passed out everyplace and alas, arteries full to bursting everywhere.

Ah, a good day it is.


June in Los Angeles

June Gloom! The weather that is, when the mornings are overcast and cool and afternoons hint at the blistering fire-season to come. A perfect time to fire up a blog!

It's not all gloomy however, as the season for the magnificent Jacaranda trees extends into the summer. Yes, we all here in L.A. have to hack our way knee-deep through heaps of purple blossoms spilling onto the streets and sidewalks, where they stick to the bottoms of our Birkenstocks, blocking parking spaces and hiding garbage cans. Not to mention creating a glare of purple haze (yes she did say that) sending us careening for our Persols. 

Me? I'm heading for the nearest food truck. Yeah baby.

Jacarandas along Los Feliz Blvd.

Jacarandas along Los Feliz Blvd.

Scrub and succulents in the Aqueduct Centennial Garden, Los Feliz Blvd. at Riverside Dr.

Scrub and succulents in the Aqueduct Centennial Garden, Los Feliz Blvd. at Riverside Dr.

William Mulholland Memorial Fountain  , Los Feliz Blvd. at Riverside Dr.

William Mulholland Memorial Fountain, Los Feliz Blvd. at Riverside Dr.