Happy New Years!! I'm back from a long holiday break filled with food, family and friends!  I thought it would be fun to start the year off with a fresh new drawing.  Pomegranates are one of my favorite winter fruits to eat on a salad or as a snack.  Here's a way I've recently learned to open them without getting juice everywhere....

I also made this tasty relish with pomegranates, olives and pistachios!  It's delicious!  Happy 2013!!

Hudson Seed Valley Packet

I love getting email updates from past projects!  Hudson Seed Valley Library recently send me an image with my final seed packet and it looks awesome!!! I can't share it yet, but I can show you the post they did about my proposal for the project.

This project with Hudson Valley Seed Library creates seed packs featuring original work designed by artists.  They also create an accessible and affordable source of regionally adapted seeds.  When I saw their call for work in March I submitted some images.  I was thrilled to be selected to create a packet for the Panther Edamame variety and I had it finished in the beginning of June.  Anyways, here's a little article about the packet I did for Hudson Seed Valley on their website.  Also check out some of the previous art packs.

Attack of the Umibozu!

Do you remember this piece I did awhile back? It's the fearsome Umibozu!  He was part of my Yokai aka Japanese monster series.  Anyways, I was thrilled when Tiny Showcase contacted me to team up with them and print it!

   Tiny Showcase is based in Rhode Island and they feature the work of some of my favorite artists! Their prints are typically small and done in limited edition runs of 100 making them affordable and unique.

Oh and if thats not good enough, Tiny Showcase donates $250 of their sales of each run of prints to a charity of the artist's choice.  I selected the Tomorrow Fund because they offer tons of emotional and financial support to local families of children undergoing cancer treatment.  They helped Robin's family a lot when he was sick, so thats pretty cool in my book!

What I'm working on....

I was very resistant to working digitally. I thought the computer was evil itself. Now that I've figured out how to use it as a tool... I'm hooked! Seriously... what was wrong with me before? It has allowed me to be spontaneous in my mark making, change around lousy compositions and experiment with color/texture.

So... I was a little nervous about going back to the basics of paint and paper. But as I started painting this week I felt more confident then ever. I still love it!!!!!

Seeds and Puppies

Fall is here! So is my drawings of veggies from last week; more eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. Doesn't this palette feel like Fall? Although I'm more of a Summer fan, I am looking forward to cooking comforting foods with lots of squash.
Speaking of comforting...
My family got a puppy! I went home for the weekend to indulge in cuteness.
SHE'S SO FLUFFFYY! We drove to the middle of Virgina to pick her out and after much debate we named her Addie. (I was partial to Mochi or Olive) She's driving our other dog, Lexey completely crazy. Lexey is almost 15 and would rather be left alone. We are all hoping Addie will calm down a bit and they can be friends. Here's her sneaking up on Lex and nibbling on her foot while she's napping.

Yay puppy love!

Just Beet It!

Sadly, our CSA was put on hold for the last two weeks. : ( It seems like a lot of work to run a farm! Luckily I have a few tricks up my sleeve!

I didn't like beets when I was little, and I thought my Grandfather's borscht was one of the grossest foods imaginable. However, all of that's changed in the last few years, now I love a good beet! ( Especially with goat or feta cheese.)
These babies were roasted, diced and put into a tart filled with onion, goat cheese and walnuts. Delish! I also love the pink, vibrant color they leave on everything!

Thanks to everyone who came to the opening! It was a blast to see everyone's work and people reminiscing over their fav teen shows. Thanks again to Liz for putting the whole thing together! If you go to my website EmuAttacks.com you can see the pieces in full.

Eggplants, tomatoes, and a pepper

Even tiny veggies taste delicious!

The BF's stepmom gave me this dazzling, white eggplant form her garden. A few days later the CSA gave us these two beautiful purple ones. We got a ton of tomatoes last week, my favorite being the grape tomatoes! I bought some mozzarella cheese, basil and ate it all up!

What's Up... Carrot?

I needed to scale back this week's drawing (after feeling slightly exhausted from the Risotto one) and I thought carrots would be fun to draw. They have such an interesting shape and variety of texture I don't have to do much to make them look tasty!I felt the need to place them on this sweet little checkered apron!  

Did you know that if you cut off the tops and place the carrots in water they last much longer? My friend Allie told me that! I haven't had a chance to eat many of ours, so hopefully they will be okay when we get back from the beach this weekend.

All The Tiny Broccolli

Here's a make-up veggie drawing featuring.... Broccoli! I've never understood why anyone wouldn't love broccoli. It's delicious AND it looks like tiny trees! Some people look outside of airplanes and think the trees look like broccoli. I look at my broccoli and want to paint miniature houses with it.
So there you go...

Loose Lips Sink Ships

I realized I never put up the whole image of my Kappa or my other Japanese Sea Monster pieces! Here's my Kappa complete with children swimming nearby unaware to the danger that lurks below.

Here's another one of my favorite sea monsters: the Umibozu. Not to be confused with an umiboshi (a delicious Japanese pickled plum)

Very little is known of this illusive, enormous sea monster. They are said to dwell in the oceans off the coast of Japan and will capsize the boats of those who dare to speak to it. It's name, meaning sea monk, is probably due to its bald, shiny head. Some people believe they are the angry spirits of dead monks, and sometimes they will appear to shipwreck victims or fisherman. One account claims they will ask for a barrel and then use it to sink the ship. The only way to insure survival is to give them a bottomless barrel. Another account claims they posses powerful tentacles and can shoot fireballs out of their eyes! Few people have seen the Umibozu and lived to tell the tale... so if you do see one look the other way and pretend you don't notice it!

The Raspberries Taste Like ...

Hello! It's been quite a heat wave up here in Providence... I've been holed up in the studio with the door closed and the AC blasting, with that being said I still got finished my drawing for this week! A lot of the veggies were repeats so I focused on what I was most excited about... RASPBERRIES!!!!

I also took this as an opportunity to make a still life with my my collection of ceramics I brought back from Japan. I'm a sucker for bowls, especially tiny ones. I banged out this drawing pretty fast and I might do another one to celebrate other veggies we got in the share. We will see!

Veggie line up!

The weather this past week has been hot, hot, hot! But it hasn't stopped the veggies from getting big and delicious. This week's batch of scallions, chard and kohlrabi were all noticeably bigger than last week.

I've never had fava beans... but I'm excited to give them a try! This week I painted the veggies on top of our kitchen table. Robin's parents kindly gave us the table when we moved into our apartment and it is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. The top is metal with this kind of kitschy design. It's fantastic for rolling out cookies and pie dough. Anyways, it seemed like an appropriate back drop for the veggies!


This week we got beets! Last night I made a tasty salad of roasted beets, goat cheese and walnuts with cooked beet greens and onion tossed in some red wine vinegar and olive oil. Tasty! The beets were very tiny but also very delicious!
I decided to make my life harder by drawing these all in baskets... I will not be doing that again! I'm already plotting what to do with the rest of these veggies. (The sugar snap peas are long gone) I think I'm going to make a pesto with the garlic scapes this week to eat over pasta and maybe throw the chard in there too!

Meanwhile, I decided to add some more pages to my Tsukiji fish book. This week and last I've been drawing and cutting out tiny pieces of paper. Also, I've started on the writing! I'm tying up quite a few loose ends (from projects started in Japan) I'm hoping after I'll have the momentum needed to put up my website.

CSA Hurray!-week 1

I generally try to be supportive of local business; coffee shops, book stores, cheese stores and of course local artists! I also eat and enjoy cooking veggies so when a friend asked me to share a CSA I couldn't say no! I've been waiting eagerly since then to pick up my first week of CSA shares. (CSA =Community Supported Agriculture ) basically it means that after making one big payment I will have fresh veggies each week from now until October! Allie and I went to pick up our first weeks share yesterday and I felt the need to draw my half of the vegetables.
Sooooo if all goes according to plan I will be drawing my veggies and fruit each week. I've never seen this purple kohlrabi before but I've read its good in a slaw and the garlic scapes make a fine pesto. I look forward to the challenge of finding tasty things to make with all my veggies. If your interested in getting your own and your in the Providence area I think they still have shares! Check out Ledge Ends Produce! In addition to the regular CSA shares they have other special ones you can add too like fresh corn and they will be at many of the Fabulous Farmer's Markets in the area. Yay veggies!

Crap a Kappa!

What lurks in rivers, likes to eat pickles and is extremely difficult for me to scan? A Kappa!
I am in a fierce battle with our scanner... I've been powering through these monster drawings. Cranking out a new one each week! But now I'm having some technical difficulties with the scanner....uggghhh... more later!

Bamboo Cat

I know a lot of artists don't enjoy keeping a sketchbook. But for me it's the easiest way to jot down my thoughts and have a visual record of my process. If I'm stuck I'll look through old sketchbooks and pick up an idea. Here is a quick sketch I did back in September of a cat with bamboo coming out its mouth and ears. Also a ticket from the William Kentridge show I saw in Kyoto, they are showing some of his work at the MOMA right now. If you appreciate charcoal drawings or animation you should check it out!

The idea for this visual was based off of a cat that lived near my apaato. (It gave me the creeps!). The second root of inspiration (hee hee) was bamboo, I feel in love with its tentacle like roots. I can definitely imagine them attacking someone. For some reason my brain mushed these two things together and so I started sketching this character.
I did some sketches of real cats and also of the cat in different positions and shaped slightly differently.
I had an extra copper plate for the printmaking class and wanted to create a print of the cat. Here's a more finished sketch of how I planned to print it. Things got busy and I ran out of time. Last month I started looking through my sketchbook and decided to work on Bamboo Cat some more.
After the sketch I did a final sketch on a nice piece of paper and scanned it. Then I printed out a few copies of it on crappy printer paper and did some color studies.
I've found this is a great way to work things out before starting on the final. It seems time consuming, but actually the color studies are quick and loose. By the time I start the final I'm feeling pretty confident because I've already worked out the value and color relationships. I also love being able to change a color or add an extra pattern on the color study while I'm working on the final. Here I messed around with adding stripes to the stripes of the tiger and the outlining him in brown.
Here's the final! I was pretty happy with how it turned out so I think I'm going to approach the other Japanese monster drawings in a similar way.
Well that's it for now! As of this week I'm also starting on a website... finally! Yay!

Swimming, swimming, keep on swimming....

I just wanted to share some of the sketches and images from the Fish Market. I had a fun time looking through my photos and trying to identify some of the fish. From my sketchbook:

The more I drew the more I felt compelled to create images with paint, paper and pen that captured the textures and colors of Tsukiji.
Next, I thought about how I would explain the market to someone who had never seen it. Images that show the true juxtaposition of the market: intense concentration of the men working on a single fish to someone hacking at whole frozen tunas!
I was mostly struck by the organized chaos; the close quarters of the stalls and narrow alleys filled with booths and tables of fish carefully separated and labeled according to size and type.

The men working at the market seemed incredibly focused. Amidst all the confusion they knew where to go. Running from stall to stall, others carving fish and older men taking copious notes while overseeing the stall.

I loved watching customers interacting with the vendors. People talking about crabs, tasting fish roe and navigating the crowded alleys of Tsukiji at a rapid pace. (trying carefully not to be run over by people driving small vehicles).
How could I make a series of images of Tsukiji and neglect to mention sushi? On the left is what I had for breakfast one morning at the market; ikura, unagi and maguro (salmon roe, sea urchin and tuna over a bowl of rice with some cucumbers and a little wasabi) yumm... I know you might think its gross, but don't knock it till you've tried it! On the right are some other options of nigiri (fish on rice). I left space in the images or around them and i'll add some text but I'm still having a hard time with the writing.
Last image is of the overall market. I struggled with this piece and then I redid it completely. It falls flat for me.... I didn't feel like this captured the true chaos of the market and sheer volume of people and fish. But that's okay there are parts of it I still like.


So that's all for now! Happy Easter, Passover, Spring and April! The weekend was beautiful and the week is shaping up to be just as nice. I'm trying to get some time outside while staying productive before I return to DC next week for the Cherry Blossom race!

Little Red Research Project

One of the classes I'm taking is a book class and for our assignment we were instructed to do a 12 page accordion book without words. I decided to use that as my guidelines for a reinterpretation of Little Red Riding Hood. In Japan she is known as Akazukin or Red Hood. The Japanese have lots of bento boxes, candy, hair combs and really cute post-its with Akazukin on them.
I had a lot of ideas about things I wanted to change in the story to make it feel fresh and more Japanese. I wanted the story to be contemporary but include traditional elements. Here's some of the first sketches of the characters. I looked through some Japanese fashion magazines and clipped out clothing I liked for the characters. I really had this strong image in my head of Lil Red in a bamboo forest, mostly because I think bamboo is so otherworldly and beautiful. From there I thought about other things I could change; have her riding a bike instead of walking with a basket.

Next I started thinking about the bamboo forest and the color palette I wanted to go with it.

Here's some bamboo reference I took.

I love yellows, greens and blues of the bamboo.

More bamboo

I painted a few photocopied versions of this before settling on colors for this one. I wanted to work with a limited range of colors for the bamboo but still make it feel inviting and lush.

Finally, I knew I needed to do a character study to get a handle on some of her movements and expressions. I figured it wouldn't hurt to include some background too. I love incorporating pattern into my work and I hate painting landscapes. So... I decided the best way to deal with this is to think of the background as small shapes and patterns. I think it works pretty well with my characters too.

So there you have it, the beginning of my Little Red Riding Hood or Akazukin. Next I'll post some sketches of my wolf, which is not a wolf but a Tanuki.

Mountain Girl

I actually have been doing lots of work here, despite the fact that I haven't posted it yet. For my printmaking class we are allowed to make prints of any subject matter we choose.Like most of the foreigners here I am in awe of Kyoto's gorgeous mountains. The mountains surround the city on all sides and seem to go back forever. The first time it rained it looked as if the mountains were steaming, like smoke from an angry dragon or something.

I thought about this a little more and had a great image in my head of a creature living in the mountains. It would be a giant, cloud breathing, angry, naked girl.

Anyways I did some quick sketches and color studies to figure out how I wanted her pose. I didn't go with this pose below because I thought the other one was more interesting.

Then, I painstakingly transferred the sketch onto my copper plate with some transfer paper. Next, I used my etching tools to carve the image into the plate. I printed it a few times and worked back into the plate until I was more or less happy with it. I can always work on it a little more later.

Of course after making this image I reflected on why I had made it. Was it because I feel like a giant freak being "the foreigner" here? Or maybe I was inspired by all of the Japanese myths I've been reading. Or could it be that I was subconsciously inspired by RoaldDahl'sBFG, one of my favorite children's books of all time? It's probably a mixture of all of these things.

I colored this one with gouache just to see what it would look like in full color.

Here's a close up where you can see the lines a little better. Anyways I'd love to get some feedback! That's one of the things that are hard to come by when you don't speak the language. Let me know what you think! Hopefully this week I can also put up some images of my trip to Kobe or the Fushimi Inari shrine we visited over the weekend.

Gelato # 7

Who doesn't like gelato?? Honestly, If you find me someone who doesn't like gelato they are probably lacking a heart. In which case you shouldn't be friends with them.... but I digress, while in Rome my family took it upon ourselves to consume a ridiculous amount of gelato. This place was recommended to me by every book I read, every blog I visited and by my good friend Brian. I also read a really favorable New York Time's review of San Crispino.At first I was skeptical that it would live up to my expectations, but it did!!! Even though this specific gelato is well known and near the Trivii fountain it doesn't mean it was easy for me to find. I dragged my family through the streets of Rome and I would not allow them to rest until we found the gelato of my dreams. The whole thing was a magical experience:  The door outside the gelato place is modestly marked with a small sign and the New York Time's review.. Typically the gelato is topped with bits of fruit or candy, depending on the flavor and you can look at the gelato to easily figure out what you want. Not at San Crispino, they keep the gelato covered in metal containers that seem to be refrigerated individually at different temperatures. Being a huge Nutella fan I was always drawn to trying out every version of nocciola. pssttt here's a great homemade Nutella receipe. I haven't tried it yet but I have faith that it will work. Another favorite flavor was banana which mostly tasted like the best parts of banana bread batter. yumm. The other important part to mention is that when they serve it they don't want it exposed to the air for a long period of time so they move very quickly when opening the lids. They also don't serve their gelato in cones as they feel it is unsanitary.
Yum, Yum, Yum! If you find yourself in Rome please visit San Crispino and eat some Nocciola for me!