Category Archives: Design

I entered the Minted Design Challenge: Make A Statement Large Format Art Challenge

I am planning on painting several large paintings for my mother’s newly remodeled home. It’s a challenge for me since most of my work up until now has been 16 x 20 or less. I’m still debating on painting something really big or splitting the space up into diptychs or triptychs. Added to my headache is the cost of shipping.

While I was wasting time on the internet I came across this appropriate online art contest with  They are asking for large pieces of art to print and I figured it would be a good exercise for me to go through my past artwork to see what would actually work at a larger scale. One thing that I thought was a little strange was their proposed new format is 48″ x 70″…it doesn’t seem to meet any of the standard aspect ratios (unless my math is way off) .

Anyway here are my submissions:
art prints - Bougainvillea Kisses
art prints – Bougainvillea Kisses

art prints - Winter Solstice Abstract
art prints – Winter Solstice Abstract

art prints - Greyed Out
art prints – Greyed Out

art prints - Macheros Sunrise
art prints – Macheros Sunrise

art prints - Wilted Tulip
art prints – Wilted Tulip

art prints - Low tide ripples
art prints – Low tide ripples

art prints - Candy Bougainvillea
art prints – Candy Bougainvillea

Design I Like: Piet Oudulf

I realized that my favorite thing that I saw during my trip to NYC (other than my friends) was the Highline, a public garden built upon an abandoned railroad.


The fact that the gardens were the most inspiring thing made me realize that I do in fact belong in Portland!

Alison told me that the Highline was designed by garden designer, Piet Oudulf.

His work is amazing. He uses lots of native plants, perennials, and grasses and he creates these beautiful landscapes that have amazing color in all seasons.


He uses grasses for color and even the dying seedheads provide textural and color interest in the dead of winter. via Pinterest


Someday I would like to visit the Netherlands and view his private garden. There are so many more beautiful, inspiring garden examples in this pdf I found on the Harvard School of Design course he taught about designing for Mood in the garden:

“Mysticism totally depends on circumstances that are out of your control. Fog, dusk. It makes you feel on your self in a different world.”

“Emotion and mood are vital to the success of a garden…They are qualities, however, that are very difficult to define in hard-and-fast terms. It is always difficult to describe why certain gardens are attractive and not others. It is even more difficult to write prescriptions for creating different moods, for mood is only something that can be planned into a garden to a limited extent.”

Sounds like painting too 😉


Textile & ceramics in paintings at the Met

Remember the cool green jug I got from OKO Portland and then painted in this still life study?  Cezanne had a green one too and I got to see his paintings up close at the Met in NYC.

While I left mine pretty transparent, Cezanne painted his with glorious thick paint. I also love the patterned wallpaper. It’s a dirty yellow ochre, but somehow still glowing.

Here’s another still life with the green jug:

Here’s an amazing turquoise and deep blue pitcher in a Van Gogh still life. Isn’t that lime green background so yummy! His work is full of textural painterly brushstrokes but the paintings don’t feel unsettled I think because there is the balance of the thin, delicate dark paint strokes.

Look at these luscious textiles in these paintings by Vermeer.

Wednesday night oil sketches


Here is a oil painting sketch of Moolack beach where I’m trying to capture the wind blowing across the sands while reflecting the sky during low tide. I’m using Arches oil paper which in theory should be awesome. As someone with a full time job outside of art, time for art is always limited. I have been looking and trying  various  supports that will simplify the task of art production (prepping canvases or boards until I win the lottery and can pay for my own studio assistant) and give me more time to paint. Unfortunately the Arches oil paper is as unappealing to me as their watercolor paper. It has the texture of a bounty paper towel and it is WAY too absorbent—it somehow doesn’t let me to remove any paint off the paper which for me is one of the defining characteristics of the oil paint medium—it’s malleability and wiping-off ease. So anyways for this study, I’m not even trying to do much glazing or thin layers. I’m aiming for bold, thick layers which I would never do on a canvas or linen but I almost have to do on this oil paper. I also did an under layer of acrylic. Actually I think this paper should be marketed as acrylic paper because it is thick and it is pretty decent for acrylics. But the paper is way too expensive to use for just that purpose.

So far this painting is too aggressive and chaotic to me. On this paper it’s hard to make the subtle blends that the location really calls for.  This painting just goes to show you how hard it is to paint simply. I’ve been admiring Katherine Bradford‘s oil painting work for a long time. Her work uses the icons and imagery of children’s art….superheroes, boats, and simplified human forms..but the work is decidedly not childish…it’s beautiful and masterfully done. All the haters that look at this type of work and say I could do that…trust me it’s not as easy as it looks.

Katherine Bradford found on
Katherine Bradford found on
Katherine Bradford found on

I also did another oil painting study of Bandon beach. We went down to the southern Oregon coast earlier this month. I haven’t posted about that trip but stay tuned. It was AWESOME!!!


It’s at a stage where I like the looseness and softness (and the maroon color glazes) and I debate if I should continue and risk losing what I’ve already done by potentially overworking it. I’ll probably just keep going.

Emily Henderson, writer of the  design blog I read everyday, says that in the early stage of a creative career, it’s quantity over quality that matters. So in that spirit no point in being a perfectionist and being scared to ruin this painting….right now it’s about learning and exploring.



Design I Like: Beam & Anchor

I follow Beam & Anchor on Instagram,  they ‘re a cool Portland retailer that has an awesome selection of merchandise.

I want this linen apron.  

Or this linen towel.

Beam and Anchor

Linen is so beautiful. How come art stores don’t carry pre stretched raw linen art panels in these colors?

This simple geometric stand for jewelry is kinda impractical for me since I don’t wear a ton of jewelry. But I love the elegance of its form and it’s not ridiculously expensive.

Beam and Anchor


A fun, Scandinavian towel in lovely shades of mustard yellow. Also not ridiculously priced.

Beam and Anchor

Inspiration from Old Snapshots

Back when I had a flip phone, I used a fuji finepix digital point and shoot to capture snapshots. It was definitely a much clunkier process than the brilliant iphone. Buried on my desktop were pictures from maybe eight years ago. It’s interesting to see what random things I took pictures of, and what I found inspiring and still do: flowers, textures, patterns, shadows.

A pigeon in Italy. One of my few travels abroad. I dearly wish I could do more traveling.

Picture 190

The patina on this diner/storefront somewhere in DC. I don’t even remember where this is or if I have even been inside.


Brick pattern in Italy:

Picture 189

Wall texture and water stains in Italy:

Picture 188

Martin Puryear’s spackle? and nail holes texture on plywood:

Picture 331

from one of the best arts exhibits I’ve ever seen. His sculptures at the National Gallery of Art. I wish Portland had a museum of the same caliber.

Picture 253

I’m sure I thought I was being so surreptitious in taking this picture from some exhibit, possibly the National Gallery of Art. Does anyone know who did this watercolor?

Picture 265

Ink stains. Maybe a Rauschenberg? I really have no idea.

Picture 301

Bright colors in what to me looks like part of Matisse?

Picture 313

I used to use my point and shoot to take visual notes even from books and magazines. This was before Pinterest. Look at this divine Giacometti drawing.


Pavement crack patterns near Van Ness in DC:
Picture 367


The most bizarre marbled pattern on this fabric chair. And what is that plant in the sea of green it’s sitting in?


I love watercolor washes. Probably since I used to make my ballpoint pen ink bleed.





Design I Like: Jessica Helgerson

You know who has the most darling tiny home complete with a mossy roof and shiplap walls?

Jessica Helgerson

Jessica Helgerson, Portland interior designer who from what I can tell is part of the design elite- her beautiful work is all over the great design trade magazines. I would totally live in a tiny home on Sauvie Island in a heartbeat but land is rare and expensive on Sauvie. She has five acres! Le sigh.

I learned about Jessica first from a Dwell Magazine feature of her Saul Zaik mid century modern remodel.

Jessica Helgerson

It is stunning and if I could afford her I would have her come to the Saul Zaik A1 MCM home I’m living in to give it a proper remodel. (Saul Zaik also designed this treehouse that you can book on airbnb!)

But alas you must have serious dough to afford her exquisite work, like this Portland, Alhambra area, kitchen or the Brooklyn brownstone renovation I’ve been drooling over on Instagram.


Jessica Helgerson

#tbt #jhinteriordesign #brooklynbrownstone #weloveNYprojects!

A photo posted by Jessica Helgerson (@jhinteriordesign) on


Design I Like: Alice McCall

This is my dream dress: pink and floraly and frilly.

Those dusty pink ruffles…💞 @alicemccallptyltd

A photo posted by Kerrie Hess Illustrator (@kerriehessillustration) on

Not sure who the designers are in these last few but I love the pattern and colors in all of them!

Le petit princess @mackenziefoy

A photo posted by @jillandjordan on

Saturday dress flicks 💃💃#saturday #weekendfun

A photo posted by Jaase Designs 🌵 (@jaase_au) on

Library of Flowers

I have thought about coming up with a less lame name for this blog, but I haven’t thought of anything good. Which is why I am so jealous of this brand with the best name ever, Library of Flowers. It combines my love of flowers and books and art. So easy. Would have been a great name for this blog, too bad it’s taken.

Anyways here are some of their delightfully vibrant packaging- pretty floral watercolors: WANT!

Library of Flowers
Library of Flowers

They’re selling a bunch of items on One Kings Lane. It’s not cheap but candles and perfume are pretty pricey even at Target.