Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Illustrating Olbrich Garden

I'm still working on card designs from my research and reference trip thru Wisconsin in June. In Madison, I visited the gift shop manager at Olbrich Gardens who is interested in my cards and in a custom card of their gardens. My experience with Como Conservatory in St. Paul, led me to suggest the garden where people get married. People love to have a card or print illustrating that special place.

At Olbrich, the weddings occur at the Events Garden. I took several pictures for reference. The purple flowers, including Wisteria, were gorgeous. Some weren't in bloom yet, but I could illustrate them in full bloom in my final art.

The setting was very balanced with the gardens mirroring each other either side of the path. The background was the most challenging with the large amounts of green, but the brown wooden pergola created a nice central structure to build upon.

Here's the final illustration of the Event Garden with the purple and white flowers, many round bushes and the stone pathway that leads to the outdoor altar under the pergola. I hope couples will enjoy my version of this beautiful space where they got married.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Appleton Fabric Design

Following my visit to Appleton, Wisconsin last June and my meeting with local groups headed by Kathy Meyer, it was time to go home and create a custom fabric design. Armed with notes from our meeting with business and city marketing leaders, and a lot of reference pictures, including the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel shown above, I was ready to pull it all together.

I made quick sketches of the local landmarks on tracing paper, cut them out, moved them around, scaled them up and down until it started to create a composition. This was going to be sold as individual panels and yardage, so I kept the elements contained within the borders of my square rather than bleeding off. The design included the Children's Museum, Houdini Plaza, Building 222, Hearthstone, the Fox River, Mill buildings, water fountain at City Park, the wind sculpture on College Avenue, and references to recreational activities such as boating, jogging, biking and kayaking. There are also icons representing the Flag parade, Mile of Music Festival, Octoberfest and Farm Market. I shared a final pencil drawing with the group and just a couple minor adjustments later, I scanned my drawing and started outlining all the icons to fill them with color. The group requested a turquoise/lime color way like my City of Lakes. That works well because they can use the wave coordinate with their City fabric using the same colors.  The other color way is more Fall colors with tans, reds and oranges.
I sent the files to Modern Yardage for a strike off of each and liked how they turned out. Next I designed a coordinating text panel using words that describe the city and local events.

The group chose the second version of type with the waves between words and Appleton in the same script font as the main panel.  Then I approve final files of the printed strike offs from Modern Yardage and jpgs of the art is posted on the Modern Yardage website and are ready for purchase.

Here's a link to where you can purchase the Appleton fabrics at Modern Yardage. Kathy Meyer has ordered fabric and within a day, has sewn herself a beautiful top in voile! I am excited to see what the Appleton Quilt Guild will create out of their own custom fabric. Local quilt shops can order panels to sell in their shops for customers,too. It was so much fun to create a custom design thru Modern Yardage for Appleton. It's a great niche market. Next on to Watkins Glen and their custom fabric design.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Road Trip: Taliesin, Spring Green, Brucemore & Lanesboro

Yes, I'm still on the road. This time my sister and I visit Taliesin in Wisconsin; Frank Lloyd Wright's home and Architecture School. The two hour tour goes by quick as you try to memorize the interiors since no pictures are allowed. Here's a few of my favorite spots around the school, his home and the gardens we saw.

My sister Cathy with me on the balcony

It's always been my dream to illustrate Frank Lloyd Wright's homes, so my Wisconsin retail rep has been helping me meet with Taliesin's gift shop manager on this trip. I left her with samples of my Historic Park Inn card, box set and art print to share with her superiors. You have to be approved and have permission to illustrate and sell cards of his properties and his trade marked name. So she will get back to me with their decision. I hope one day my cards will be sold in this gift shop that I so admire.
Next we travel down the road for lunch at The Spring Green General Store and Cafe . Karin purchases my cards for her shop, so I wanted to stop in to visit and try out their cafe. The pizza and salad was great! She has a wonderful selection of products and clothes, too. They have a variety of events going on all year.

Time to head to Iowa to spend time with family.Mom and I stop at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take more photos for future cards and a stop in to the gift shop to say hi to Kaycie and see my cards and prints at their gift shop. 

My Mom

 Then one last stop in Lanesboro, Minnesota to visit a friend interning at The Lanesboro Arts Gallery. I enjoyed looking at the talented artists' work and getting to know more about it. What a charming busy town! It happened to have an art fair in the park that day on Father's day so the stop was even more fun. 

Thanks for following my trip through Wisconsin researching and visiting with my current and future clients. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Road Trip: Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison

Yep, that's in Olbrich Gardens.Stunning, isn't it? It's the Thai Pavilion that shines bright gold in the lush landscape. It was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. We visited it on a beautiful June afternoon on my road trip thru Wisconsin visiting clients and gift shops. Here are a few more pictures of the details and gardens around it. It's worth a visit next time you're in Madison. Here's a link.

I arranged to meet the gift shop manager and discuss creating and illustrating a card of their garden. My cards for The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul have done well; one reason is because couples get married there. People like art of the gardens or places they got married in a way that's different from photography. Couples can get married at Olbrich, too, so I chose that area in the garden for my first illustration. It takes place in the Event Garden.
The pergola backdrop is covered in Wisteria and surrounded by pots of purple annuals with manicured shrubs. In fact, a gardener was pruning them the day we were there. There's a space for chairs on either side of the walkway for guests. (I looked up 'weddings at Olbrich' online and saw some actual wedding photos and how the area was set up.) 

As an illustrator, I can play up the flowers and colors to make this a great card image for them. I can't wait to start drawing!  
My road trip continues to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin next.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Road Trip: Monona Terrace

This inscription says it all. Madison, Wisconsin made Frank Lloyd Wright rework his plans for Monona Terrace several times  between 1938 until until his death in 1959 and then waited until the 90's to build it. It was on my Frank Lloyd Wright list to tour and fortunately, my sister Cathy drove over from Iowa to join me. We've toured many of Wright's buildings together over the last 10 years.
The best view is from the middle of Lake Monona, so you'll have to settle for this model view instead. It has a circular theme through out the exterior and interior design that I haven't seen in previous buildings. It's a community and convention center that opened in 1997.
We loved having lunch at the public cafe on the roof overlooking the lake on this beautiful summer day. 

These are just a few highlights from our tour with our very knowledgable guide. You can always tell when a guide is a big Frank Lloyd Wright fan and speaks passionately about the building. These are some interior shots of auditorium, trade show spaces, dining and event rooms.

 My sister and I really liked these hanging lights. They looked rather art deco. The guide said they look even better when the other lights are low and these are brighter.

 The view from inside towards Lake Monona.
 The carpets designs captured the building theme as well.
This view made me think of the Guggenheim Museum with it's circular style.
Then it's off to the Gift Shop to talk to the manager and do some shopping....I mean 'research'.

I shared my card and print designs with her and we decided to do a view of Monona Terrace with some other Madison buildings in the skyline. I can't wait to start drawing and collaborate with her on my views of this wonderful building. 
Next, on the trip list is Olbrich Gardens in Madison.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Road Trip: Appleton

I was charmed by Appleton's Quilt Guild president, Kathy Meyer, last winter on her visit here to Minneapolis. She loved my Minneapolis City of Lakes fabric collection for Modern Yardage and told me how Appleton quilters would love to have their city landmarks on fabric. They have a big group of 137 enthusiast members and supportive city leaders, all very proud of their hometown. Modern Yardage has the ability to print niche fabric themes and I was ready to design for a new city.
So I planned a road trip thru Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, starting with Appleton.
Kathy pulled together a group of women to meet with me at The Blue Emporium gallery to talk. I shared my Minneapolis fabric collection with them and we discussed what landmarks and images I should photograph and then draw for Appleton.
The Blue Emporium has a great collection of handmade and local art, including silk screens by Cathy, the owner. She works with 3 talented artists to create prints, cards and silk screened images including the appleton icon at the top of this blog post. Following the meeting, Kathy Meyer drove me around town to take photographs but torrential rain made that difficult!
A few of us gathered at Kathy's home before the guild meeting that evening and we enjoyed dinner and these cookies Kathy pressed using an empty thread spool. Very creative!
This photo shows just part of the large gathering that night, despite the flooded streets just a couple hours earlier. I'd estimate 80 members attended, brought projects to share and to listen to the guest speaker, Jacquie Gering. 
Wow! She was an amazing quilter, designer, speaker and teacher. I adored her designs and thoroughly enjoyed her talk. Here's a link to her blog to learn more about this talented woman and her Tallgrass Prairie Studio. 
I met members during break and after the meeting to show them samples of my work and get ideas for Appleton fabric designs. They were all excited to hear about the project and want to know as soon as it's available. 

The next morning was sunny and beautiful, so I went back downtown to take reference photos of places like the Lawrence University chapel and the Houdini Plaza shown here.  Then I was back in the car headed to Madison for the next leg of my road trip.