Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chine Collé!

Chine Collé means "chinese collage" and it's a process of running a collage over your printingmaking paper on the press. I'm having alot of fun with it. Here's some examples:

Nostalgic print

Here's an update to an older etching of mine. I added shading with aquatint.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Etching: Japanese Paint

This is an etching I have made from a drawing I created this year. To me she represents the graceful ideal of femininity as well as the thought of "creating who you are" - because of the way she's painting herself. She is hand- watercolored. You can buy my artwork at my ETSY STORE

New Etching: Girl with Tea

This is an etching I have made from a drawing I created this year. She is so beautiful and peaceful, I find her to be an inspiration of femininity and charm. She is hand- watercolored.

This is a pure zinc plate, etched by acid, over a hard ground resist.
Here's some of the process:
After the plate is made (which i'll explain in another post one day)

I spread ink over the surface and use a combination of starched cheesecloth and newsprint to wipe all the ink away from the "un-etched" areas.

I then carefully place the pl registering it on the bed rulers. ate on the press,Then goes the paper which has been soaked in water, then on top of that lay the thick press blankets, then I turn the wheel and watch what comes out the other side!

Its a wonderful process because everything is so tactile - a wonderful change from creating art on a computer. The print you're seeing is hand watercolored, and I do have 25 of those for sale, as well as 200 plain black & white ones (which is a very classic look) If you want to buy, visit my ETSY STORE

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This tutorial will demonstrate how to add a sun or object behind the white mission building.  This is a good lesson in how to make proper selections by using various selection tools, including the illustrious quick mask mode. You will also see the benefit and practicality of using layers.

Original Image: (You can click on it and save this image if you would like to work with me)

Step One, Making an initial selection: 
What I would like is to have a sun shining behind my building.  The best way to do this is put the building on a new layer of its own, so that I can 
place a sun right behind it and move it around if I would like.  It might be faster to select this sky in this picture because the sky has a relatively uniform, solid blue color - a perfect reason to use the Magic Wand Tool.

Select the Magic Wand Tool by choosing it on the toolbox, or simply press "W" on your keyboard.

If you click on the blue of the sky, you will notice that it didn't do a perfect job of selecting the sky, the reason is because there is most likely a checkbox at the top called "contiguous" that is currently checked.  This is telling photoshop that you only want to select pixels that are touching eachother.  
After you UNCHECK CONTIGUOUS, when you click on the sky, you are telling photoshop that you would like to select that blue color all over your image whether the pixels are directly touching each other or not. 

 If you click on the sky now, it is able to select the areas in the bell windows, as well as to the lower right where the tree branches are. Your selection should now look like mine:

Step Two, Refining Selection with Quick mask:
Quick mask is another way to make selections.
It's more creative and intuitive you just need to know how it works and it might become your favorite way to select.
First of all, I'll show you what happens when I click the quickmask button.  It looks like this on your toolbar:

When you activate quick mask mode (either by pressing on the quickmask button shown above or pressing "Q" on your keyboard) photoshop takes your current active selection and turns it red.  Your screen should look like mine: If it does not, read further.

If your building is red and not the sky, it's because of a simple setting that you can change.  To change the setting: Double click on the quick mask button.  You will get the following dialog box.  Make sure that Color Indicates "selected areas" and NOT "masked areas."

You will have to click on the quick mask button again after changing this setting to get into that red mode.  Just for fun, click the quick mask button on and off just to see that the red area will become your selected area.  Now comes the fun part, you can add to and subtract from the red areas NOT WITH THE ERASER, but with a regular paintbrush and some Black & White paint.  Wherever you paint black, it will add to your selection - therefore appearing like you are painting more red.  Wherever you paint white - what do you think will happen? -It will take away from your selection!

Now let's refine our red areas, select the brush tool ("B" on your keyboard) and start painting with white over the areas we don't want selected (like on the bell tower on my image)

I'm now going to further refine my selection around the tree branches, using small brushes to really get it perfect.

Ok, now that i've refined my selection, it's time to get out of quickmask mode.  Simply press Q on your keyboard, and watch what a beautiful selection you have.  
Now here's the catch: In order to put a sun Behind the building I need to make a copy of the building and paste it on a new layer.  What's the deal - We've pretty much selected everything but the building!  That's ok, it's so simple. we simply need to invert our selection, and you access it up in the Selection menu:

Now your selection should look like mine:

Step Three, Duplicating the pixels within your selection
I want to duplicate the building and put it on it's own layer Above the background layer.  Why? Because we're going to put another layer sandwiched between those layers and put a little happy sunshine on it, that's why.
How do you do this? Well, make sure the background layer is active (by clicking on the word "background layer" on the layers pallet and pressing "Command J" on your keyboard.  Your layers pallet should now look like mine, but nothing will look different about your image.

Step Four, Creating the sun on a new layer:
Click on your background layer to make it active (the layer on the pallet should be highlighted in blue) and click on the New Layer button (down at the bottom of the pallet next to the trash can)  You should have a brand new layer called "layer 2" with nothing on it. (If it is not sandwiched between the two existing layers, you can drag it down in the hierarchy of the layers on the pallet itself)
Now with your middle layer active, time to make your sun.  Just use the elliptical marquee tool, changing its feather to "10 px" drag a perfect circle by holding down Shift while you drag, fill the selection with your color.  Now the magic is that you can then choose your move tool (by pressing "V" on your keyboard) and you can move the sun around to anywhere you like.

That's it!  I should let you know that while you're editing in quick mask mode, feel free to lower the opacity of your brush... When you change it into a selection, it will retain the transparent quality that you used when you painted!
 - If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to comment.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Typecamp = happy fun time.

To recap - There were 15 graphic designers who came from all around the world. We had three instructors who each specialized in typography in their own delightful ways.
The lodge we stayed at - Bodega Ridge Resort was absolutely beautiful. It's like what the Russian River wished it could be. The island was silent. Nothing but trees, and the sounds of my own footsteps. I highly recommend visiting if you ever have that need to "get away from it all." - because you really are away from everything, except yourself that is.

Each day we would talk about design in a little lodge setting. We would pick apart why certain designs were better than others - in newspapers & magazines. Our instructors were definitely knowledgeable. I really enjoyed spending time with all of the people who came, everyone came from a different background, but I believe we all were so similar in the ways that we process information and enjoy the visual in this world.

With the summer camp-like setting I noticed that many of us felt free enough to express ourselves like children. Going back to boys vs. girls and hiding from eachother in the dark. The wonderful thing about the island is the darkness. You can see all the stars at night and some how, every day's temperature was so perfect, I did not even realize I was outside - almost like in a star trek halodeck. Galiano is definitely a place I would create if I ever get the chance to be in a halo deck. :) Here's some nice pictures of typecamp:

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I'm off on another well deserved adventure.. I'll be going to Galiano Island right off the coast of Vancouver Island in Canada. To do what you ask? I'll be getting together with about 15 other odd-ball designers from around the world to sit there in a summer camp setting, talking about typography!

I would say typography is the science of choosing which typefaces (fonts) to use in particular circumstances to convey a message as effectively as possible. Fonts can even evoke emotions!

Here's the Link - I can't wait to upload my pictures from Vancouver and Typecamp, here we go, I leave the house at 5am tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Extreme Moisture

Cupcakes..the essence of moisture

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brilliant Advice

I have a ritual when I paint: I listen to podcasts and self-help tapes.. There's an internet radio show in particular that has helped me immensely with the practical day-to-day activities in my life that sometimes seem overwhelming or un-solvable. I highly recommend listening to Amania Jacobs and Vega Rozenberg as they are some of the wisest people that you will ever hear.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page so you can pick the archived show of your choice.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Here's a finished oil rendition of an old watercolor I did in Europe (You can find the original in some old posts)

New Cupcake Addition

Well I'm running on this cupcake tangent - it's quite enjoyable...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Yes, sometimes I do get outside. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Girls with power tools

Well I'm full throttle into gardening now... I've officially built my own compost container. I made all the calculations for how much wood I would need, went down to Home Depot and bought the lumber & screws and when I got home, I was a handy girl. Used that cordless power drill i recieved from my parents on some distant birthday and went to town.

So something I learned about composting is that there are 2 kinds of materials you can use for composting: Greens & Browns..
Greens: Any organic "wet" materials (like the scraps you collect from the kitchen)
Browns: Dried, fibrous materials (like dead leaves, papers, dried grass, hay)

When you are filling the composting bin, it is important to use the greens and browns as alternating layers - otherwise the wets will decompose too quickly and the dries will never really decompose at all. -Pretty cool eh?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Square Foot Gardening

I came to the community garden on Sunday and found the most incredible surprise. There, for me on my little plot of land was a special frame with partitions created just for me and my square foot garden! I would like to thank Chris and Jonathan for all of the work that you put into it, it truly makes me happy.
I filled the frame with my special soil mix and planted in each square foot - what did I plant?
Ichiban Eggplant
Japanese Cucumber
Sugar Snap Peas
Green Bell pepper
heirloom cherry tomato
heirloom carrots
Japanese Baby Corn
Bok Choy
Chinese Lantern
Sweet Peas
Vanilla sunflowers
WHite cosmos
Romain Lettuce

We will see what comes about, but it's official, my garden has begun! It feels extremely good to turn the mind off and play in the dirt, helping little seeds grow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cupcake Pickle

Here's my newest addition to the family:

Raw Milk

I did something cool today - I went to the State capital in Sacramento and helped to fight pass a bill to keep raw milk on the shelves in California - and we won! It was wonderful really to watch the legislative process happen - to watch a representative propose the bill and have witnesses argue for and against it. What a tense moment for people who's businesses are affected by the passing of a bill. I felt a huge sense of purpose and camaraderie when we heard the votes happen before our eyes.

If you were not aware of the benefits of Raw milk, I would love to share with you the flip side of just how nutritionally deficient pasteurized milk is. Milk in its raw, live form is a tremendous whole food that helps our immune system to remain robust.
The following material is just one helpful explanation, taken from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon & Mary G. Enig, Ph.D:

Some people have a low tolerance to milk because they lack intestinal lactase, an enzyme that digests lactose, or milk sugar. All baby mammals produce lactase but production of the enzyme declines and may even disappear after weaning. In humans, a mutation or recessive gene allows the continued production of lactase in some individuals. In an isolated population that depends on milk products for animal protein, those with this gene would have an advantage. If a gene for the persistence of lactase had a frequency of 5% in such a population, in 400 generations its frequency would have risen ti 60% assuming that hose who possessed it had 1% more children per generation that intolerant individuals. Natural selection is the mechanism for adapting isolated populations to the food available to them. But modern man is highly peripatetic and no society in the western world is composed entirely of people whose ancestors come from the immediate region.
By some estimates, only 30-40% of the world's population produces lactase in adulthood. Overuse of antibiotics also contributes to lactose intolerance. However, most lactose intolerant individuals can consume milk products in small quantities without problems. Asians are said to be lactose intolerant but many of the inhabitants of Japan and China drink milk and eat milk products like cheese, yoghurt and ice cream when they can obtain them
In addition, some people are allergic to a milk protein called casein, which is one of the most difficult proteins for the body to digest. Once again, the process of natural selection will reult in a population more able to digest csein if milk and milk products are part of the traditional diet.
The practive of fermenting or souring milk is found in almost all traditional groups that keep herds. This process partially breaks down lactose and predigests casein. The end products, such as yoghurt, kefir and clabber, are often well tolerated by adults who cannot drink fresh milk. Butter and cream contain little lactose or casein and are usually well tolerated in their natural state, even by those who are lactose intolerant. Even so, fermented or soured butter and cream are more digestible. Those with an extreme intolerance for milk protein can take butter in the form of ghee or clarified butter from which the milk solids have been removed. Cheese, which consists of highly concentrated casein, is well tolerated by some and best completely avoided by others. Cheese made from raw milk contain a full complement of enzymes and are therefore more easily digested than cheese made from pasteurized milk. Natural cheeses, whether from pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, will be more digestible when eaten unheated. Processed cheeses contain emulsifiers, extenders, phosphates and hydrogenated oils; they should be strictly avoided.
While some lucky people are genetically equipped to digest milk in all its forms, the milk sold in your supermarket is bad for everybody, partly because the modern cow is a freak of nature. A century ago cows produced two or three gallons per day; today's Holsteins routinely give three or four times as much. This is accomplished by selective breeding to produce cows with abnormally active pituitary glands and by high-protein feeding The pituitary gland not only produces hormones that stimulate the production of milk, it also produces growth hormones. Recently the FDA approved a genetically engineered growth hormone for cows. These hormones are identical to those produced by the pituitary gland in today's high production cows. This practive will simply add to the high level of bovine growth hormones that have been present in our ilk for decades. These hormones are present in the water fraction of the milk, not in the butterfat. Babies receive growth hormones from their mothers through their mothers' milk. Small amounts of these hormones are necessary and moderate amounts are nnot harmful, but a superfluity can result in growth abnormalities. Excessive pituitary hormones are also associated with tumor formation, and some studies link milk consumption with cancer. The freak-pituitary cow is prone to many diseases. She almost always secretes pus into her milk and needs frequent doses of antibiotics.
Another serious problem with today's darying methods is the feeding of high-protein soybean meal to the cows. This stimulates them to produce large quantities of milk but contributes to a high rate of mastitis and other problems that lead to sterility, liver problems and shortened lives. Little research has been done to determine what these soy feeds do to the kind and quality of protein in cow's milk. Is the current high rate or milk-protein allergies due to the use of inappropriate feed in our dairy herds? The proper food for cows is green plants, especially the rapidly growing green grasses in the early spring and fall. Milk from properly fed cows will contain the Price Factor and cancer-fighting CLA as well as a rich supply of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, under the current system, farmers have little incentive to pasture-feed their herds nor to follow other practices that result in high quality milk.
Another factor contributing to the degradation of today's milk is pasteurization. We have been taught that pasteurization is beneficial, a method of protecting ourselves against infectious disease, but closer examination reveals that its merits have been highly exaggerated. The modern milking machine and stainless steel tank, along with efficient packaging and distribution, make pasteurization totally unnecessary for the purposes of sanitation. And pasteurization is no guarantee of cleanliness. All outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated milk in recent decades - and there have been many - have occurred in pasteurized milk. This includes a 1985 outbreak in Illinois that struck over 14,000 people causing at least one death. The salmonella strain in that batch of pasteurized milk was found to be genetically resistant to both penicillin and tetracycline. Raw milk contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens. Pasteurization destroys these helpful organisms, leaving the finished product devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply. Raw milk in times turns pleasantly sour, while pasteurized milk, lacking beneficial bacteria, will putrefy.
But that's not all that pasteurization does to milk. Heat alters milk's amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%; loss of other water-soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%; the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor is totally destroyed as is vitamin B12, needed for healthy blood and a properly functioning nervous system. Pasteurization reduces the availability of milk's mineral components, such as calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur, as well as many trace minerals. There is some evidence that pasteurization alters lactose, making it more readily absorbable. This, and the fact that pasteurized milk puts an unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, may explain why ilk consumption in civilized societies has been linked with diabetes.
Least but not least, pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk - in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilders, including calcium. That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer from osteoporosis. Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat.
After pasteurization, chemicals may be added to suppress odor and restore taste. Synthetic vitamin D2 or D3 is added - the former is toxic and has been linked to heart disease while the latter is difficult to absorb. The final indignity is homogenization, which has also been linked to heart disease.
Powdered skim milk is added to the most popular varieties of commercial milk - one% and two% milk. Commercial dehydration methods oxidize cholesterol in powdered milk, rendering it harmful to the arteries. High temperature drying also creates large quantities of cross-linked proteins and nitrate compounds, which are potent carcinogens, as well as free flutamic acid, which is toxic to the nervous system.
Modern pasteurized milk, devoid of its enzyme content, puts an enormous strain on the body's digestive mechanism. In the elderly, and those with milk intolerance or inherited weaknesses of digestion, this milk passes through not fully digested and can built up around the tiny villi of the small intestine, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients and promoting the uptake of toxic substances. The result is allergies, chronic fatigue and a host of degenerative diseases.
All the healthy milk-drinking populations studied by Dr. Price consumed raw milk, raw cultured milk or raw cheese from normal healthy animals eat fresh grass or fodder It is very difficult to find this kind of milk in America. In California, New Mexico and Connecticut, raw milk is available in health food stores, although such milk often comes from cows raised in confinement.
In many states you can buy raw milk at the farm. If you can find a farmer who will sell you raw milk from old-fashioned Jersey or Guernsey cows, tested free of tuberculosis and brucellosis and allowed to feed on fresh pasturage, then by all means avail yourself of this source.
Some stores now carry pasteurized but not homogenized milk from cows raised on natural feed. Such milk may be used to make cultured milk products such as kefir, yogurt, cultured buttermilk and cultured cream. Traditionally cultured buttermilk, which is low in casein but heigh in lactic acid, is often well tolerated by those with milk allergies and gives excellent results when used to soak whole grain flours for baking. If you cannot find good quality raw milk, you should limit your consumption of milk products to cultured milk, cultured buttermilk, whole milk yoghurt, butter, cream and raw cheeses - all of which are available in all states. Much imported cheese is raw - look for the words "milk" or "fresh milk" on the label - and of very high quality.
See for a listing of raw milk and milk products from pasture-fed animals.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Painting In-Progress

I've been working on one of my little paintings -it is of a girl pulling a mystical plant out of the ground with her magical powers - symbolically speaking - aside from this painting coinciding with my new desire to grow my own plants, I see a much deeper meaning which is the desire to quickly manifest mystical events into my life. A person that is attracted to this painting (IMO) believes they are a manifestor of the things they want in their life, or finds that idea extremely satisfying.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Don't shit where you eat

So I've decided that I want to grow my own vegetables. There's a community garden that I've been volunteering at and it has helped me to see just how valuable for the body it is to eat a vegetable that just came out of the ground. I have a tiny outdoor patio at my house and I have been doing some research about gardening in small spaces - I have found something that I really love - called "square foot gardening" - and the special thing about it is that you partition your garden space into square foot sections and plant your crop in that space. You never till the soil after the harvest - just add another layer of compost. -Saves alot of water and space and does not deplete the soil like traditional row gardening.

My friend Jonathan took me to a compost workshop today and we learned about the way to go about composting in your own backyard. San Francisco actually has a fantastic composting system - many people have their trash, recycling, and composting taken on the curb - and all of the composting gets taken to a huge industrial composting plant where it gets processed and turned into beautiful (black gold) compost. Another method of waste management was brought to my attention - "humanure" - composting your own feces! Its true it makes a closed-loop circuit of waste - but can you imagine feeding a tomato to your guest that you know was grown in your own dookie? Seems un-kosh. Anyways - here's a picture of a good composting bin and my second most cupcake painting.

If I try to interpret these paintings I would say that cupcakes are the quintessential food of happiness. They serve their purpose by being a sweet dessert that is specifically yours. There's no "sharing a cupcake" - it's personal, its a cake to call your own. I would say a cupcake is the perfect symbol for the way I would like to see the events of my life. Though sometimes the events that come may be seemingly negative or against the grain of what I want, the symbol of a cupcake I believe is something that can transform that moment and make it into something sweet, serving its purpose of creating happiness. It's a symbol of comfort and with it comes additional symbols - Thus far - the button: Such a tiny item that can keep two pieces of fabric together. A master of appearing humble, yet when put to work it does its job well.
And the drinking straw - a symbol of purposefully pulling the essence out of the drink of desire. In this case it is choosing to drink the cupcake of happiness :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Discoveries & Cupcakes

My eyes have been opening lately to all it is that the universe has to offer. I've always heard "the world is your mirror" but never really put it into play until recently attending a "level 1" workshop put on by the aspire foundation. I learned that the world really is my mirror and those times when a person really, really bothers me, or really attracts me - it is nothing but a reflection of the way I feel about my self. Oh how many people I have purposefully not spoken to because I had judged them quickly - where the judgment was only a projection of my own reality. I've learned that no one can really hurt me verbally - anything they say to me can only really come from their own dream world - therefore how can they accurately judge my state if they cannot see past their own?
Each one of us is really a brightly shining star that has an infinite amount of energy to give and receive. Many of us are so afraid of being hurt by another that we hide our bright light by creating a game or mask around ourselves in order to prevent any kind of pain. I have learned that it takes being vulnerable and accepting the universe as a perfect matrix for our own creation and expansion.
This all probably sounds just like words with no meaning - I hope to elaborate with new examples. If you have never heard of the aspire foundation, I would highly recommend attending their workshops - it has absolutely brought more beauty and truth into my life -

Anyways - I've been painting , here's a new finished piece (yes it's a button on that cupcake) and one that I just drew out and will paint soon. I thought it might be fun for you to watch my process.