Children’s Dentist Office Waiting Room

This winter I was contacted by a friend to cover the walls of their children’s waiting room at their new dentist office in Fargo, ND. She had been inspired by the holiday doodle backdrop I had done for a recent photo shoot. For the dentist office, she wanted something similar in black and white, but with a dental theme.

She provided me with a few inspiration photos, showing particular interested in the paisley pattern.

DentistMuralI used the provided images as a starting point and began doodling teeth, brushes and tubes of tooth paste. It felt very awkward at first, drawing these foreign objects. In the beginning it was a struggle to make them cute and fun.

The final space included 2 different walls. The first was a large wall to be covered entirely in illustration, with a TV low on the wall. The second wall was a magnetic white board to be used as a “No Cavity Club” board, where kids could put their names. This wall also included a maze and play area.

I presented my first sketch for review and we worked through changes from there. The tooth “tooth” fairy was a no go and we focused more on the paisley, full doodle look.

DentistMural10After the first review, I started to find a style for the dental themed images and began filling in the background with fun shapes, including variations on the paisley.DentistMural2

Another set of sketches was presented and quickly approved! I continued to practice the shapes that I would be painting, so that when it came time to paint, it would just flow.DentistMural3 DentistMural4

 

I flew to Fargo, ND in May to paint the walls of the in progress dentist office. To begin, I used yellow chalk to draw out the main items: teeth, brush, letter bubbles and tooth paste. Next, I painted over all my chalk lines and then began filling in the space around the large illustrations.

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Once complete, I had a wall of fun dental themed inspired doodles. My sketch provided a basic frame work from which to work, but the actual placement of everything happened right when I painted.DentistMural6

For the activity wall, I used vinyl lettering for the “No Cavity Club” to ensure consistant letters. I worked with the magnetic toys provided to create a fun maze and tic-tac-toe for the kids to engage with.
DentistMural7Sometimes it can be a struggle to start a project that, initially, I’m not excited about. But I love how working through the process and watching my work and style evolve can transform the way I feel about a project. I’m thrilled with the final painting, as is the client. I just wish I could sit in the room and hear what the kids say when they see it!

 

 

Sleep Under The Stars

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 9.11.53 AM I actually started this piece with an intention: to create a piece of art for a boy’s room. This small sketch was the beginning. I almost never start off with a plan when I create, and if I do, it usually evolves quite a bit.Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.04.34 AM

I started with basic color areas, nothing very pretty. In fact a color palette that felt quite foreign and boring to me.IMG_4502I worked on darkening the whole piece to feel like night, defining the mountain-scape and drawing and painting in my trees. This was the point that I left my artwork at a friend’s for 2 months and wasn’t able to move forward. That’s usually part of the process, but it’s generally called “being stuck.”

The sky and mountains were particularly dark and needed some light and definition. I layered acrylic, fluid acrylics and watercolor to create the right texture.

SleepUnderStars_progressWhen I outlined everything in white, I became really excited about the piece. I felt like it was going where I wanted it to.

And then one of my favorite parts of the process began: choosing the bits and rearranging to finish. I cut out a template for the teepee and found I liked the kraft paper as it was. I pulled out my scrabble letters and rick rack and strung the text in the night sky. I tried fabric on the bottom, but decided it was too cute. My husband suggested adding a fire.
SleepUnderStars_studioI think this piece really hits the sweet spot in terms of balancing my strengths as an artist. It combines my loose intuitive backgrounds, with my detailed illustration  and thoughtful collage.

Now available for sale on Etsy.

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There is an Over Abundance

I started this piece back in July, while painting at my friend Cara’s. I was experimenting with a slightly different palette and trying to play without thinking too much. I really liked what was happening. But I knew that it was not finished. Like so many of my paintings, I just didn’t know what needed to happen next: I was afraid of ruining my own painting.

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Finally, I was able to make some progress. I got out my oil pastels from high school and started coloring in the circles and adding more of my winged circle shapes. Off and on for weeks, I just made small movements within this painting with the oil pastels.

It wasn’t until yesterday, after a massage with my favorite massage therapist, that I had the inspiration to complete this painting. My body felt energized and all of the heavy energy I had been carrying was gone. I felt light. I didn’t realize I had the inspiration when I began to tinker, I just knew that I needed to be in my studio creating.

After altering the pallet and bringing in pink to the circles, I needed to add more pink. Finally deciding on an orientation, I used magenta fluid acrylic to ground the bottom of the painting.

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I have a hard time leaving paintings without text. They feel unfinished to me. This painting felt too busy to add text so I made a very bold move and covered the entire thing with more paint! Initially, this was a hard decision to make. I liked the winged circles, but since I knew the painting wasn’t finished and I had taken a photograph, I needed to move forward.

The slight arc of the circles on the bottom, made me think of a globe with sun rays, so I went with it and painted yellow over the top and purple across the bottom. Next, I etched into the yellow paint. I really love this technique of etching into my painting and letting the previous layer show through a bit. It so reminds of the scratch boards I used to draw on as a kid. All the previous layers are present in this painting, they build depth. Sort of the way every moment of our lives leads us today. There are no wasted moments.

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My massage therapist and I talked a lot about energy during my appointment and what she had said stuck with me. “There is an over abundance of everything.” We often don’t ask for what we need because it feels selfish. We feel If we ask for ourselves, then we are taking from others. This is not the case.

OverAbudance4I don’t love (or trust) my own hand writing enough to use it, so I used my graphic design skills and laid out the text on the computer.  I printed it out and used tracing paper to trace my design onto the painting. I filled in the text with my new white acrylic pen and then painted in the word abundance by hand.

And I love how this turned out. I love the message. Both of them. The message that is written across this art, as well as the reminder that we must move forward, make bold moves to create the lives we want. That no moment is wasted, it all leads you to today.

Gone Camping Photo Backdrop

My latest large painting is a collaboration with Bell + Whistle for their first Wunderville shoot – a series of styled photo shoots here in Denver for kids and families.

As usual, Nicole had an amazing vision for this vintage camping themed set. Our initial conversation had us all tied between using a camper or a teepee as the main focal point.

IMG_3903IMG_3902After presenting the first two sketches, we were all in LOVE with the teepee! With some additional inspiration photos from Nicole,  I was able to create my final sketch.

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camping sketchWith my sketch in hand, I was able to start painting. This was the first time I was painting a canvas as large as this one, 12ft x 15ft! I had intentions of setting up inside to paint, but quickly realized I didn’t have any place in my house that was large enough or had enough light.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 5.12.28 PMThank goodness for beautiful Colorado! We’ve already had our first dusting of snow here in town, but this week it has almost been 90. Perfect weather to be painting outside.

IMG_3940This kind of painting is actually kind of physical, so I had to take several breaks to relax my back. Just another excuse to enjoy the awesome blue sky.

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A few shots of the finished painting, drying in the backyard.Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 5.21.54 PMSeveral weeks after completing the painting, the photo shoot was all set up.  My husband and I had the opportunity to take part in the camping fun! I enjoying seeing the final set all come together and the magic that my backdrop helped create.CampMural CampMural2 CampMural3

The Evolution of Our Backyard

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.36.46 AMimage-6We have lived in our house for over 4 years and this is by far my favorite summer in our backyard. We’ve finally completed our dedicated eating space, complete with a new table and trellis for shade and privacy. Our plants are filling in and we have so many bees this year because of all our colorful flowers!

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flowersAfter our garden was damaged by hail in June, it’s been slow going to get our tomatoes to produce. Just this week we were able to pick our first of the big beef tomatoes. And our zucchini has been rather unproductive this year. Something I’m not terribly disappointed about, actually.

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We seem to have miles of butternut squash vines, all filled with squash. I’m hopeful to be stocked up for the fall. We’re still waiting for Bear’s giant pumpkins to do much. Right now we only have 2 the size of baseballs.

image-1I’ve noticed the nights are already starting to feel cooler, but fortunately here in Colorado, we can hold on to summer days a bit longer.

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Yoga Prayer Progression

Lexisworks_YogaPrayer7This piece began as far back as winter, and looks nothing like it’s original form. It started when I was inspired by the graphics of the 2014 Winter Olympics. I began cutting patterned paper in geometric shapes and arranging them.

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I really loved the diamond shapes and the pink and purple color palette. It was a fun departure from the blues and greens that I had been using. In addition to the diamonds, I glued on some vintage embroidery transfers and a doily. And then I started painting and using my bubble wrap stamping.

I liked where it was at, but I didn’t know where it was going so it sat for awhile. As usual. So I made a bold move, and painted over just about everything. And I HATED it.Lexisworks_YogaPrayer2 I had lost everything that I loved about the previous layer. The only thing left that I liked was the texture of the doily. So I continued painting. Now the diamonds had completely lost their existing pattern, but at least the paper itself was creating texture. I drew my flower vine that has been appearing on other work just for something familiar.Lexisworks_YogaPrayer3

 

I thought maybe collage was the answer, so I glued a vintage envelope from a hotel in Paris. This was some time in May. It sat for a long time again because now I had put this nice vintage element on top and I didn’t want to “ruin” it the way I had everything underneath.Lexisworks_YogaPrayer4 Finally the day came for me to make a move again. I covered a lot of the painting with paint again, but this time not as densely. It unified the entire piece, but still allowed the previous layers and texture to show through.

I keep a list of quotes on my phone. Things I may use in my art one day. Recently, my phone lost this list of quotes. I was laying in bed one morning and I remembered that I had had a prayer from my yoga class stored on this list. A quote I knew was prefect for this piece of art. So I laid in bed one Sunday morning, ignoring Bear’s request for me to get up for breakfast, searching for this quote:

May the long time sun
Shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.

Next, I brought my computer down to my studio and typed out the quote and started playing around with the layout and size of the text. Once I had it right, I printed it out and used tracing paper to copy the words onto my board.Lexisworks_YogaPrayer8I used colored pencils to color in the letters. Then added some extra detail to the mountains with some geometric lines. To ground the piece, I finished it up with my usual bar of patterned paper and fabric with a strip of rick rack over the top. Lexisworks_YogaPrayer5 Lexisworks_YogaPrayer6And now I LOVE it.

Camper Inspiration

 

Come Away with Me

Come Away with Me, $140, original on 14x11x1 on wood panel

Since we purchased our truck camper this last spring, I knew it was in inevitable that this new theme would creep into my art. IMG_3334But I didn’t set out to create this camper piece, as I rarely do. In fact, I started this piece after I returned from the Grand Canyon, inspired by the pictograms I saw in the Desert View Watch Tower.

IMG_3120I wanted to work with a different color palate than I’d be using (as much as I love the lime and teal, I needed something new.) I admit, I didn’t venture far away but it was enough of a departure from what I had been working with.Camper

I enjoyed carving into the wet paint, revealing the layers beneath, and creating subtle texture. I also revived my brayer and loved this new way of applying paint. I quite enjoyed where my painting was in this “move” stage, but I knew it wasn’t done so I kept moving forward. Looking back at the stages of my paintings, I sometimes miss these raw moments. I know it is apart of the final paining, but in my attempt to finish a painting, I feel too much of this gets lost.

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This is right around the time my painting sat for a very long time. I knew it was not done. I’d lost the energy from the previous layer and now everything looked to nice and the same. But there were parts I really liked, like all that texture and was fearful of doing something to ruin my own painting. I should know better by now, but this fear is always there.

So I made a bold move, got out my favorite cardboard piece and pushed paint over almost the entire painting. It felt so good! And now I had a something to work with. This was when the vision of the camper came to me. This nice green setting with the mountains rising above. Fitting, since we had just returned from the Grand Tetons.

Camper3I had also realized that I was missing collage. I’ve been doing more painting lately, which I really enjoy, even though it is more of a struggle for me-that idea of creating something from nothing. So after the camper was painted in, I pulled out my fabric, paper and rick rack and got to work decorating. (Something I have been banned from doing in our own camper.)Camper4

 

I knew I wanted to add a string of text but I just wasn’t sure what that was. It was a friend from Instagram who suggested the Norah Jones song “Come Away with Me” and I thought, that is perfect!

Camper5I really love when it all comes together like that. It only took about 2 months to finish the piece, but sometimes they just have to sit until inspiration strikes. And I have quite a few sitting and waiting….

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