Chalk Mural for St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’d like to share something that I’m passionate about, being creative. This week I had this urge to draw. Really draw. To go big or go home. I had a burning need to plan and sink into the process.  One of the most valuable aspects of art and creating is about the process. Never be afraid or self conscious to create. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but creating art can be very personal, spiritual, introspective and uplifting. This is why I love working with chalk. Chalk is forgiving and chalk is temporary.

Here’s some perspective on the space and scale…


What’s this mural about?

  • This mural is for the people at QuickBase, Inc. to make them smile! Put something happy and bright in their day (our initials as a 60s rainbow ligature).
  • It celebrates a weekly office event—Waffle Wednesday (golden waffle at the end of the rainbow)
  • The art is themed around St. Patrick’s Day (rainbow, shamrock, leprechaun)
  • Working towards minimalism has taught me about all the joys of letting go. What a shock! World’s best kept secret. Now that I know about this secret, I can create with less fear. It’s not about putting in hours of work that will soon be erased. It’s about knowing that only the physical footprint will be erased. My experience has been created. It’s a part of me forever.

What’s the process?

  1. Get your inspiration. Mine came from Jessica Hische. Amazing artist (hand letterer). Exceptional teacher (Skillshare course on Drop Caps). The culture at my office is supportive of this type of thing too. It wasn’t my idea to bring chalk art to the office, it was encouraged by our Waffle Wednesday chair.
  2. Ponder & Marinate. It starts with the simple question “what am I going to do?”. Let it swirl and brew.
  3. Research to narrow the clarity. I googled for a visual reference “rainbow letters” and found a very close proximation
  4. Sketch. I started to sketch out Qs and Bs and rainbows… and had to think about how to tie in a waffle (that is the one rule of our murals).  Before I knew it I had a layout I used color pencils to choose a palette. I checked my chalk supply to finalize color choices. Decided on 4 (hot pink, yellow, green blue)chalk_sketch
  5. Go time. Grab your tools, go to the wall. First items used, a yard stick and a level. Use to draw a 3′ straight line in the middle of the board. I took a cereal bowl (from the neighboring kitchen). I used it to trace, creating 3 circles, using the line as my horizontal guide. Knowing how all the stripes would work together was key. I started to fill in the main shapes with the inner most stripe (hot pink)
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  6. Go slow and focus on your breathing for getting the circles filled in right. I noticed this made the arcs a lot cleaner. Far less lopsided than I usually do.
  7. Put your body into it. For the big arc (rainbow), I started on the left, visualized how it should go, used my shoulder as a pivot, and put my whole arm into it with a really good exhale. Exciting! It worked! A little off, but fixable by shaping.
  8. Create a skeleton first, build the forms on top (sketch then sculpt).
  9. Reassess. When it was almost done, I realized that it needed a Leprechaun. I searched for this on Found lots of great inspiration (never steal from these artists! this is their life and they are sharing it with us). I looked fast (as an exercise it can be fun to go quick) came away with some ideas for very graphical beards. Made the guy really hairy so that I didn’t have to get into the details of his coat and face.
  10. Use a damp Q-tip for details. Damp. Wet will drip. I use damp Q-tips for detail work like eyes and cleaning edges. Eyes are generally more pleasing when dark. So, I’ll create these by erasing what is already there.

What did I get out of it?

  • Meditation—I let myself sink into going slow and breathing with intention (as one might do with yoga)
  • Experiencing that a little planning does go a long way.
  • Noticing that this was part illustration (the planning and the skeleton sketch), part sculpting (filling in the parts of the shapes that felt off, redirecting the bend of the line, without having to erase).
  • Walking the line of complex and simple—There’s a lot going on here… Rainbow, Letters, Leprechaun, A Waffle, A Shamrock, Stripes that drip like Maple Syrup! Complexity and trying to say to much is a definite no in graphic design. On the flip side, know the rules to break the rules. All these details being grouped as one (more or less) element works for me.
  • A piece of art I love looking at. Something I am proud of.
  • Learning how to spell “leprechaun”

Color + Light: A study of palette on a winter afternoon.


You ever look around your house?



Not just at the things or the nagging chores, 20140223-125554.jpg

but at the colors . . .



The decorating choices you’ve made . . .


and what the light does when it enters your space . . .


Yesterday was so bright!


Everything looked so different. I had to take some time and watch the afternoon unfold.


Shaking, it’s cooler than a stir

One of many things I learned as a result of stepping into Boston Shaker, Davis Square. First of all, bitters. Bitters are the joy and the flavor code to grasp for a truly remarkable cocktail experience.




Ginger beer. You either love it, hate it or like really really really really love it! I am that third category, which I hope is why I went way overboard and spent $16 on this highly recommended brand, Blenheim, from South Carolina. I’m sure it costs far less in it’s native land. But, if you’re a yankee and you want some spice, what are you gonna do? Oh. I just answered that. A true yankee would make her own. Sorry Dad.20121021-180038.jpg

And here’s the book that revealed to me why we might shake a cocktail vs. why we might stir. Home Bar Basics, By Dave Stolte. Appreciate this guide. It’s concise, informative, useful and rewarding. Dave Stolte, had an outstanding Manhattan last night. At this rate I’m headed for drinking at home on a fairly exclusive basis (unless it’s wine).20121021-180049.jpg20121021-180113.jpg

Barker and Mills cocktail cherries. Vanilla and bourbon. It’s dessert.20121021-180058.jpg

Lady in the shop, along with a familiar customer, made sure I understood to not only enjoy the cherries, but to use every last drop of the juice!20121021-180105.jpg

Now I just need to find a fun crowd, happy to sparsely sip. Most of us seem to know the glutinous glug. I’m a glutton. In this exact moment, I vow to explore the sip.


The Davis Flea

The Davis Flea. It’s how I got my shopping back!

After weeks of not posting I’m finally moved to shop again. (I guess I’ve just been loving my new job that much, so back off retail therapy). Premier The Davis Flea last Sunday and with a pocket of cash, there I am. This Sunday I return with a camera. Are you near Somerville? Check it out. It’s very cool. It’s well curated so the ratio of cool stuff is quite high. It brings the discovery of the rural fleas to the urban realm. Convenient. Alluring. Brilliant idea! Glad it’s here. Hope it stays.

Other event treasures include live music and fresh apple-cider donuts.

The Davis Flea, founded by Greg Ghazil, Jennifer Kniff and Maureen Nuccitelli

Flea finds from last week:

Hey, Hey

Here’s a little story for you: When I was around six or seven, I would race home from school in the afternoons simply so I could watch The Monkees reruns on TV. It never crossed my mind that this show was 30-plus years old, that the way-cute boy band members were almost senior citizens, or that my massive crush on Mr. Jones would never be reciprocated. I’ve had these DVDs for a few years now (actually, I have the limited edition boxed set because I’m just that dorky, but I couldn’t find a good pic online), and, as always, I maintain that this show was under-appreciated, quirky and hilarious…and these guys were way (way!) ahead of their time.

And let’s be real…how cute was Davy?!

Video: YouTube
Images: Amazon


Favorite Coffee Table Book

I’m a huge Charley Harper fan. So huge, in fact, that I sort of want to keep this amazing book on our coffee table at all times, just to remind all future house guests about exactly how awesome Harper’s art is. An Illustrated Life is a beautiful tribute. Plus, Todd Oldham(!), so duh.

Image: Barnes & Noble

Wind Me Up

My love for wall art is well documented on this blog. So it’s no surprise that 20×200 is one of my favorite sites ev-er. It provides a huge selection of affordable, easy-to-shop prints…it also provides me with the urge to build an addition (or two) just to have more walls to hang things on. The site also partnered with West Elm recently, another one of my favorite shopping spots! Here are my two latest purchases, both by artist Todd McLellan.

Images: 20×200

Ben Kweller Flies A Kite

Technically, this isn’t shiz that I bought–the hubs gave it to me as a gift, since my love for Mr. Ben Kweller is akin to my love for patterns. (Which, if you’re paying attention, means that I’m a big fan. Huge, even!) Kweller’s new album “Go Fly a Kite” came out recently, and it’s–no surprise here–totally awesome. So much so, it’s on perma-play for me at work every day. Perhaps it should be on your list of shiz to buy. Just sayin’.

Image: Ben Kweller

Home Sweet Home

It’s safe to say that I’m slightly obsessed with wall art. I might even have a closet (or two) full of yet-to-hang items…

This is the latest purchase: A custom-made graphic for my sun room, made by one of the lovely owners of the super-adorable shop Bells & Whistles in Belmont, Massachusetts.  It’s not framed here, but you can use your imagination! It’s cute, I swear.