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Posts from the ‘Art Nouveau’ Category

The Art Nouveau Ketubah

21 December 2008


Finally, after three odd years, I sifted through all my Art Deco wedding photos. Despite a constant conversation with myself about why I chose to wear that particular hairstyle, I love my wedding pictures. Reminding me of joy and insanity, friends and family, the photos serve to highlight that blur of a day. I do not know if I would have remembered Uncle Stu wearing a tuxedo with a clown nose or “Redbeef” (my husband’s roommate from college) donning a kelly green suit and matching top hat.

However, while photos jog the memory of a place and time, the ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, serves to remind the couple of the emotion felt, the feelings had.

The Art Nouveau inspired Ketubah pictured is just that. An original design painted in gouache, the stylized waves are reminiscent of the bride and groom’s time in Santa Cruz, where they met many years ago. Contacting me personally to execute both the text and design, it was a joy to create. The text, Art Nouveau inspired English and Hebrew calligraphy, is their vows: promises to each other to be met over a lifetime.


A Garden of Shoes and The 1960s Psychadelic Mod Fashion Plate

8 November 2008


I keep everything. I have broken dishes, an entire couture collection of single shoes, (Belle, my mastiff-laborador, having chewed the other mate–most recently a pair of handmade snakeskin Italian leather pumps that I picked up at a thrift shop in London years ago. Alas.) almost every single piece of correspondence that I have ever received, and boxes upon boxes of clothing.

I have it in my head that someday I will create some sort of art from my history. Most likely these treasures will remain in my attic, sit in my basement and wait to be moved to their next domicile.

My imagination can actually see the beauty I could create. The broken dishes to be made into a Gaudi style backyard bench, the clothing resewn into gorgeous new frocks, and all those poor single shoes? I once saw a famous garden where old purses were bronzed and placed about. I liked the way it looked. Could definitely do the same with the shoes. Especially my old cowboy boots.

This week I went through my art studio looking for inspiration. I always joke that my workshop looks as if it was hit by a natural disaster. People don’t quite believe that until they see it. It’s quite amazing, actually. Utter chaos. I love it.

So I am sifting through boxes and drawers and find a linoleum block/woodcutting kit bought about ten years prior. Thought I would give it a go. I found that I truly enjoyed carving the blocks with my various Art Deco inspired images, retro fashion plates and an Art Nouveau inspired nature scene as well. And I enjoyed the printing itself. A new found medium.

Pictured is my 1960s Mod Psychadelic Fashion Plate. A limited edition, signed and numbered linocut print, she is available in my Etsy shop.

A Grand Wedding and The Art Deco Ketubah–A Modern Jewish Marriage Contract

20 September 2008


The Ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract outlining a couple’s commitment to one another, is an honor to create. Given pictures of the groom’s grandparents 1940s Art Deco style Ketubah, photos of grand interiors, and cutouts from magazines, I set to work designing a hip, modern take on the Art Deco Ketubah.

Working with the bride to create an homage to her beloved’s family yet incorporate the couple’s own aesthetic, I set to work painting in gouache the image of the tree and birds as well executing my own unique English and Hebrew alphabets in calligraphy.

The bride sent me the pictures following the wedding. Held at the Ruins in Seattle, it was most certainly an affair to be remembered. My jaw literally dropped; she was so beautiful and the wedding a spectacular gala event, reminiscent of a scene from The Great Gatsby or maybe Grand Hotel. I felt like a movie star myself to be in some way part of such a lovely Art Deco inspired scene.

Just Waiting

30 June 2008


Much of my time spent as an artist is in waiting. Waiting for the next show, waiting for the customer to call back, waiting for the paint to dry. Just Waiting. And while waiting, beginning other projects that will soon, in turn, be waiting themselves. If patience be a virtue, right now I have virtue in spades.

Currently I have three projects in wait. Two Art Nouveau inspired marriage contracts and an Art Deco style wedding invitation. Both marriage contracts are actually Ketubah (Ketubot in the plural), Jewish legal marriage documents with both English and Hebrew calligraphy denoting the text. One is a simple black and white Art Nouveau inspired assymetrical frame with Hebrew and English written in a simple, yet elegant hand. The second is inspired by the bride’s grandparents’ Ketubah ca. 1940.

The wedding invitation is in an Art Deco style specifically inspired by the Oviatt Penthouse a Los Angeles Art Deco landmark reminiscent of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel in beauty and opulence.

The waiting, however, is over for the purchase of my images on iPop magnets. Femme Fatales four pack set and the Fashion Plates four pack set as well as the large La Belle Vie single magnet are all available for retail purchase via the website.

So I sit and wait. Not a bad thing. I sit in the sunshine and work, my art in constant revolution as each project takes a turn in time to become whole.

So Tired (Daydreaming on a Scarlet Sofa)

6 June 2008


So titled is this painting. And so titled am I–last week spent painting many new panels; this marketing said paintings. Becoming so engrossed in my work takes an emotional toll only later realized.

My images haunt me–they appear in my dreams, not as people from ages past (haute couture in an Art Nouveau style) but splashes of color I know are mine. They vex me, sitting in wait adjacent to the bedroom (my studio and drafting table are in the “vanity room”–a small Victorian style dressing room with a built-in armoire and dressing table) not having seen the light of day.

I find it peculiar that art should thus exist virtually; a series of code rather than a tangible image when a tangible image does indeed exist. And even more odd, that the audience also be virtual–a set of avatars and comments suited to inspire progress and provide inspiration.

As one who normally eschews technology, I could not be more grateful for it right now.

I shall post each new painting over the course of the next month and will execute many more. They are all painted in gouache (a water-based paint similar to watercolor but with more pigment producing a bolder, matte tone) on Plywerk (a handcrafted wood panel made in Portland, Oregon and using environmentally sustainable practices), ready to hang and available exclusively through my Etsy shop.

Queen of the Surface Streets

6 May 2008


I spent the past week in decadence celebrating my beloved’s birthday. One night spent swaying to the gyspy rhythms of Devotchka, the next dancing to the indie jams of Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks provided a much needed rock out.

Dinner at Le Pigeon, their chef voted by Food and Wine magazine as the top chef of 2007 capped the week off perfectly.

Interspersed therein was First Thursday, Portland’s swanky art walk, skate show, and street party replete with large groups of revelers congregating in an open appreciation of culture and art.

I painted the above following the Devotchka concert. My favorite tune of theirs, Queen of the Surface Streets,

(I’ll give my days to the Neanderthals
With the classic rock
And the wrecking ball
I’ll go swimming in the wet concrete
And I’ll cast my pearls at the unpaved streets),

inspired her, Art Deco style.

My First Album Cover Part II

15 April 2008


First approached by Brian of Jive White Boy (don’t let the name throw you) through my myspace page to illustrate his debut album, I held zero reservations as this has always been a dream of mine.

Part Eliott Smith, part Leonard Cohen, this local Portland singer songwriter’s music is darkly folky, sweetly biting. A fan of Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, he felt my illustrations lended a classic yet slightly sinister quality to his indie rock musings.

The inspiration came from listening to his songs on repeat whilst sketching. The 1920s Jazz Age style image seemed an appropriate one and was also reminiscent of Brian himself. The CD should be available sometime this summer, hopefully in a wide release (or at least it may be purchased globally through the internet; I will provide a link on this site when it is released).

I am most proud to present this illustration as well as the back cover song list (all fonts wrought completely by hand in the Art Nouveau style of the early 1900s and of my own alphabet, of course) as it has been long in the making. I can’t wait to see it on the CD itself. A dream come true. Thank you so much, Jive White Boy.

The Art Nouveau Wine Label

14 March 2008


A year and a half ago I was approached by two wonderful young wine makers whom recently relocated from New York City to Walla Walla, Washington. Following their libatious dreams westward, they bought a large acreage, two German Shepherd puppies, and started their own winery. Fans of Art Nouveau style, the vinters approached me to illustrate the label and work together to design a concept for the winery itself.

Located on the North Fork of the Walla Walla River in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Stella Fino winery pays homage to its Italian roots through both its namesake and old-world Italian wines similar to those found in Montalcino, Italy.

Pictured is my illustration of Stella Fino as she appeared in New York City in the 1920s. The proprietor’s great grandmother, she arrived in the United States through Ellis Island in the early 1900s from Italy.

Perhaps my favorite commission piece thus far, I only last week saw the bottle for the first time. You can’t tell in the photo, but all of the lettering and the image are raised. In addition, I also painted a 3′ x 2′ enormous painting of Stella to be framed and hung at the winery. Already reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, I think this amazing wine is on its way to greatness. I feel most honored to be a part of it all.

Indie Rock, the Electric Viola and Art Nouveau

6 March 2008


My sister plays the electric viola. A member of multiple bands over the past decade, she has played in warehouses and for house-parties; for weddings and in street fairs. For the larger shows she asks me to do the poster art.

The life of an indie rocker violist dictates a measure of flexiblity when it comes to performance locales. Venues include concert halls and ballrooms, but also smoky pubs and basement parties.

Below is my favorite such story:

I had yet to visit the venue in which my sis’s band was to play. Next door to the indie-rocker hipster glam bar, Tube, I figured it to be similar–expensive drinks, skinny jeans: the typical see-and-be-seen Portland crowd.

I should have been clued in by the name, Food Hole. It just sounds gross. And gross it was. I could wax at length about the lack of decor, windows (except for one that was boarded) and utter filth, however many a dive bar fit that description. Food Hole out did even the nastiest dive bar.

The single toilet was behind the stage. Not in a room, mind you, simply just behind the stage there was a toilet. And that was the bathroom. Absolutely disgusting. But highly memorable.

Tomorrow my sister leaves for SXSW in Austin, Texas in both her capacity as a musician and as a booker for the Wonder Ballroom here in Portland.

Pictured is my Art Nouveau style illustration of her wailing away on her viola. Designed to be used on business cards illustrated especially for her SXSW sojourn and screenprinted by Julie of Handmade Julz, she is now ready to assume full rock ‘n roll status.

Art Nouveau, Relaxation and Pretty Pictures

5 March 2008


Last night my dog got out. Neighbors across the street sought to corral her back into my house lest she run into the street. Run into the street she did whilst a large truck approached. The truck stopped just in time, but poor Belle was so scared she ran right into the parked truck. She’s fine, but I’m shaken up.

My nerves still in an uproar, I sit at the computer, drinking tea trying to calm down a bit. When in these moods, I hearken back to a simpler time by going inside my paintings, seeking solace through Art Nouveau styled organic lines, matte colors, haute couture fashion and pretty faces.

Pictured is one such image. I find her countenance peaceful, her expression calming. She has a certain nobility about her, yet no pretension; her life maybe less complex, less trying than her modern day counterparts. I pretend myself there, and somehow I feel a bit more relaxed.

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