Monday, June 22, 2015

Soulmates + Spirit Bird Paintings

I've just finished two new oil paintings, Soulmates- 11x14 and Spirit Bird, 8x10. You may have seen glimpses of these in progress before, and I am proud to say they are now finally complete.

Soulmates captures the union of two hearts in a moment of pure bliss. Bluebirds and an idyllic landscape symbolize this delightful happiness that we call true love or sometimes first love. In every relationship, there is give and take, and thus the ying yang symbolizes perfect balance. Originally, I envisioned this piece as a possible Lovers card for a tarot deck. Perhaps it will someday be so! Soulmates prints are now available in the RPS shop.

Spirit Bird represents a moment of connecting with the divine. Birds are revered in many traditions as living close to spirit or as messengers of spirit. This piece doesn't focus on any one tradition in particular, but rather celebrates the importance of spirituality in our lives. Whether it is a hopeful thought, prayer, meditation, reading, ceremony or song, it is like a moment of magic, possibility and upward flight. Spirit Bird prints are now available in the RPS shop.

And... both of these original paintings will be on display in Portland's Siren Nation Paint Your Art Out show opening next Saturday June 27, 6-9pm at Olympic Mills Building, 107 SE Washington St. It will be a fun evening with live painting demos, art auction, wine bar, music and more. Over 40 NW artists will be featured. If you live in Portland, stop by!

In the studio.....
Both pieces were painted with Holbein Duo Aqua oils from Japan. Water-soluble oils don't always get a good review compared to long-standing traditional oils, but these are remarkably high quality and are also compatible with traditional oils, acrylics and mediums.

UPDATE: Framed and hanging at the show.....

See more pics on Instagram @robinstudio :)
♥ Robin

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dragon Boat Art

I'm excited to reveal my latest painting, Fire and Water.....

I created this piece for a special show, Fire on the Water- Dragon Boat Art, curated by fabulous Alea Bone of Bonewerx, which will be held at Portland 5 Center for the Arts during the Portland Rose Festival in June. Dragon boat races are a longtime festival tradition and the gorgeous handcrafted boats were donated to Portland from Kaohsiung, China. If you live in Portland, this will be a fun show, check it out! My painting will be for sale along with many other unique, dragon-themed works of art.

UPDATE:  The original has now sold, but Fire and Water prints are now available in the RPS shop :)

Behind the scenes - painting
Inspired by my previous Japanese garden series, I chose the same circle motif with Sashiko pattern background to represent water. (In the background is a new piece Siamese Parlor and a quilt for Gina cat, stay tuned!)

First, I transferred the background pattern which I created in Adobe Illustrator.

 Then started the center with a quick sketch....

Filled in areas of color and created spiral waves....

Roses on the oars symbolize the Portland, the City of Roses :)

Finished and framed for the show!

Dragon blessings ♥

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Design, Branding and Color Psychology

Time for some color inspiration! What colors best describe you or your business and attract the audience you seek?

From The Complete Book of Color (a long time favorite on my bookshelf):

Red- active, passionate
Orange- creative, joyful
Yellow- positive, uplifting
Gold- wisdom, abundance
Pink- love, kindness, hopefulness

Green- nature, comforting
Blue- tranquil, peaceful, trustworthy
Purple- spiritual, creative 

White- classic, spiritual, expansive
Black- serious, professional
Brown- stability, supportive
Silver- balancing, sensitive

Pastels- soothing, caring
Brights- vibrant, creative
Earth Tones- grounded, eco-friendly

There's no question color has an effect on us in everything from gift and paper products to interior design, fashion and advertising. Notice how you feel when you wear different colors or which colors stand out to you when shopping or surfing the internet.

According to Pantone, "Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness. This is known as chromodynamics." The first thing I usually ask my design clients before selecting colors is what feeling do you want to convey? What color descriptions above match that feeling?

For the web, managing eye fatigue is an important consideration when selecting colors too. It's slightly harder to read light-colored text on a dark background than dark text on a light background. Bright-colored text is also harder to read on a screen. Try a light or bright color as a subtle design accent on a neutral background paired with dark text to achieve the same color effect.

For art, design or handmade products, it's important to allow your work to be the main visual image. Use color as a subtle accent in advertising or packaging. For example, I placed a light teal in the header and a red stripe in my logo to bring in a hint of color. Vibrant one-color logos and product tags work well for designers as well.

Here's a fun online tool for designing color schemes: Paletton. Choose one color and see what it looks like paired with shades, complementary colors and more.

And more of my favorite color resources :)

Color Marketing Group
Pantone Color Trends
Psychology of Color

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crafty Design Ideas: Wedding Scrapbook

Album: K & Company
In honor of our anniversary, I put the finishing touches on our wedding scrapbook album this past weekend! Jeff and I were married two yrs ago on the Oregon coast and it was a magical day.  ♥

My vision for our album was to combine elements in nature with a touch of elegance and romance. Since we were married at the ocean, I used a combination of sheer and embossed wedding papers, shell and sand papers, hand-cut flourishes, stamps and embellishments.

I chose ocean blue as our wedding color along with a spiral motif to symbolize eternity...

I arranged the book chronologically, and created a unique border for the page spread in each section.
Thanks to the lovely Sarah McAllister Photography, we have so many gorgeous photos from our special day. On each page, I combined three to four photos in collage style.

Of course, I had to make my dress! I based the design on Simplicity 1909...

To create scalloped edges on many of the page elements, I used a variety of Fiskars paper edgers. Love these scissors. I've had them a long time and I use them for everything!

For the ceremony pages, I used the ocean paper with rhinestone spirals and hearts. I printed a verse from our ceremony for each page in this section which we wrote together...

I chose Jolee's Boutique sticker embellishments (bells, birds and flowers) as accents throughout the album.

And the trim around the photos are hand-stamped flourish motifs accented with Holbein silver glitter paint at the points. The bottle has a super-fine tip, and their paint is saturated with glitter which is nice for fine detail.

Leave it to Iko cat to help me too.... :)

Photo corners and flourishes were made with a stamp set using Brilliance Dew Drops silver ink pad to create an old-fashioned look.

Added sheer ribbon edging on a few photos for a romantic effect...



Follow RPS #craftydesignideas on Instagram for more inspiration

Monday, March 9, 2015

Website Color Makeover: Anna Magruder Art

Looking for a simple way to freshen up your site? A background color change along with new header graphics can give your site a completely new style. And it's an affordable way to re-brand your business and boost your professionalism. Recently I helped artist Anna Magruder, who paints gorgeous vintage-style portraits, create an elegant new look for her site!



Color Makeover/Style Tips
  • Think about your business brand and the mood you want to convey to your viewers. What words come to mind? What colors match your concepts? Is it playful, serious, trustworthy, creative, eco-friendly, etc.
  • Choose no more than two colors and fonts for your site, and use shades of these colors for a clean, professional look. One color + black and white works well too.
  • Neutral backgrounds are best for showcasing art or handmade products so that your work stands out and viewers are not distracted. 
  • For whimsical, craft or children's products/services, adding a playful design element or swatch of material in the background can work well.
  • Subtle nature imagery in the background can enhance human services businesses such as healers, coaches or counselors.
  • Earth tones (a good mix of light and dark) work well for builders and environmental organizations, bright greens boost eco-products.

Considering a web makeover? Connect with me. I'd be happy to take a quick look at your site and offer you ideas. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Art + Craft + Gardens - BC


Now I know why they call it 'Beautiful British Columbia' - truly so much art, design and stunning nature in this region! A couple months ago, Jeff and I spent a week between Victoria and Vancouver visiting gardens, art galleries, artisan studios/craft shops, discovering neighborhoods and local eats. It was lovely.

We left on the ferry from Port Townsend...

Coming up to Victoria, the regal Empress Hotel greets us.

Loved the hanging baskets everywhere. And the streets are rich with boutique shops, cafes, and hotels- many with art on display. I found the cutest needlework shop in Victoria and they had 12" circular needles :)

 We stopped in many native art galleries!

Mother Wolf-Harvest Moon by Maynard Johnny Jr. from the Perpetual Salish exhibition

Is there anything more charming than a horse-drawn trolley?

At night, the Parliament building is lit up by the waterfront- so magical!

Next we were off to see the famous Butchart Gardens, which was still breathtaking even though it was late fall.

Mio amore! Jeff with his favorite sweet treat in the Italian garden ♥

In the Japanese Garden at Butchart...

We stopped at Hatley Castle to find two peacocks tending the gardens. Be still my heart.

On the way to Vancouver, we took another ferry.

Love this shot with the reflection in the water...

Throughout the city, we found amazing public art and mosaics...

Chinatown and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

A mosaic for each animal of the Chinese zodiac...

Stanley Park has an amazing collection of totem poles honoring their First People.

We strolled through the Nitobe Japanese Garden at UBC. Each lantern around the garden represents a stage in life from beginning to end- such a spiritual place.

We got lost in the labyrinth at VanDusen Botanical Gardens!

In North Vancouver, we stopped by a local native art gallery.

Downtown, we visited local artists studios/shops at Granville Island.

The Gasthaus district is charming with it's historical architecture and native art galleries.

Leave it to us to find Little Italy in Vancouver too, it's a small strip along Commercial Drive. :)

And of course, I had to bring home some art!

 (applique laser cut Orcas by Quilts with a Twist, I sewed and added beads.)

Kolus by Beau Dick, Whale by Dwyane Simeon, Ancestor's Journey by Ben Houstie 

 April Moon by Betty Albert

Love you BC. ♥