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Travel Sketches: France Part 2

by abby on June 19, 2015 | Comment

Paris Flower Boxes
{The flower boxes were everywhere in Paris. Aren’t they gorgeous?!}

Hello Friends!

On this trip to France, I made an effort to capture moments of beauty with my sketchbook and camera too. I want to share with you about a dozen photo sketches from this collection. It’s a combination of photographs of visual beauty and personal spiritual beauty (you know things that make you say “ohhhhh and make you happy”. Enjoy!

Notre Dame
{She’s a beauty all around, but I do love her side view best.}

Sennelier Art store
{You guys this is where Cezanne and Picasso bought their art supplies! Oh yes, I came away with a set of chalk pastels. Eeeee!}

Degas Dancer Pastel
{Seeing Degas originals and other works from the Impressionists was an amazing moment. When I walked into the gallery at the Orsay Museum I choked up a little.}

Kids Book Store Paris
{There was a French kids’ bookstore in the neighborhood we stayed in Paris. It was fun to browse the colorful picture books all in French.}

Stain Glass from Forte La Lotte
{Caught this moment in the chapel when we visited Fort La Latte, a medieval fort along the English Channel.}

Suuny Breakfast Table
{Our sunny breakfast table during our Dinan stay. Nice way to start the day, right?}

Dinan House
{The detailing on the old wood houses in Dinan, Brittany was so whimsical.}

Old Windmill
{We stopped to this working windmill during a country drive. It’s still grinding grain to make flour! She’s a good ol’ gal.}

Picked Wild Flowers
{I’m all smiles with freshly picked wild flower in my pocket given to me by D.}

Rain Boots
{Awwwww! I found this row of boots in the hallway of our last apartment in La Trinite. Adorable.}

la Trinite sur Met Sunset
{Ahhh, a pastel sunset.}

Eiffel Tower
{The Eiffel Tower is spectacular when lit up at night!}

Have a great weekend!

Pencils are Awesome

by abby on April 10, 2015 | Comment

pencil sketch of watering can
{Pencil sketch in my journal}

I love pencils! No surprise right, being an artist? Graphite or colored, there is something delicious and utterly satisfying about dragging the tip of a pencil across paper.

I have always loved them starting back in early grade school. I would collect neon decorated graphite pencils. As an adult, I still have a few special ones: a skull and cross bone pencil and pencils with well-known Penguin authors on them, like Oscar Wilde. I think part of my love of pencils is the texture and the simplicity of use. No high-techness required.

The happy news is that there are lots of us pencil lovers out there! In fact, there is a shop in New York City that sells only pencils. It’s called: CW Pencil Enterprise and its run by Caroline Weaver.

photo of cups of various pencils in all colors
{photo from Gothamist}

It’s like being in a candy store! You can purchase the pencils online, but I absolutely want to step into the shop at 100a Forsyth Street Street in Manhattan.

Oh and the other fun thing in the works: a pencil of the month club! Yes! Weaver explains: “This is definitely in the works and will start in May or June. I’ll send a really special pencil (old or new) each month along with its story. Stories are really important with pencils—aside from its physical characteristics which often vary rather subtly, it’s what sets them apart from each other.”

It’s the little things in life, right?

Do you have a favorite pencil?

My Travel Sketchbook

by abby on June 6, 2013 | Comment

photo of watercolor sketchbook and dried watercolors with brushes

Guess what you guys?! D and I are heading out on a great vacation adventure this weekend! We’ll be flying into Portland, Oregon to explore the city for a few days and then we are taking a road trip down along the coast to San Francisco. Eeeee! You can imagine how excited we are.

One of my goals on this trip is to incorporate time to sketch and watercolor. I’m sure I’ll find great inspiration with dramatic coast lines and the amazing surprises we will find along the way.

book necklace from Just Terrific

In fact I have a SUPER COOL sketchbook that I will be wearing on this trip, too. Yes, I said wearing it. It’s a book necklace made by Just Terrific. I met Rachel at a local art and craft fair and immediately fell in love with her book necklaces.

Just Terrific leather bound book necklace

Each book is hand sewn. The cover is made of leather and fastens together with a cord of leather. Her book necklaces are all unique. I chose this one because I liked the length of the chain and the earth-color beads.

photo showing open blank pages of small book necklace

The book necklace pages are blank—perfect for a few words of the moment or a quick sketch, wash, or doodle!

lady wearing small handmade book on a metal chain

Ta-da! I simply adore it. The book is small and not heavy at all. Plus, the chain is long enough for easy on and off, too. I cannot wait to fill it with moments from my travels.

I’ll be back in touch after our vacation and I’m sure I’ll share with you a few sketches from my book necklace. Have a great week!

Where are you vacationing this year?

Like Mother, Like Daughter

by abby on April 22, 2013 | Comment

white ceramic bowl with home spelled out

I’ve been away visiting my parents for an extended weekend. It was a lovely retreat from my day to day hussle of running my own business. I got to lounge on comfy couches reading books and I even fell asleep in the sunshine on the living room carpet (I know I’m like a cat!) .

vase of yellow tulips
{Yellow tulips on the kitchen table} Bright Blue Glass Pitcher and bowl of fruit
{Bowls of fruit under the kitchen window}

I love this wreath!

yellow forsythia wreath on front door
{The front door}

I found typography too in the house…
rock with word laugh etched into it

Perhaps having a daughter who loves letters inspired some decorating?

white wooden block spell out family in living room

Thanks to my little “time-out” I feel refreshed and ready to get back to book design and painting this week. I hope you too are feeling good and have a great week!

What Spring colors are in your house?

Hanging Out with Columbus

by abby on December 4, 2012 | Comment

D and I took a trip to New York City over the weekend and thanks to my best friend we got to experience a very cool public art exhibit. It’s an outdoor (but really indoor) installation by Tatzu Nishi called Discovering Columbus and you will soon see why.

This is what we saw when we came out of the subway:
Discovering Columbus

We were invited to climb the stairs inside the scaffolding.
The Living Room art

This is me admiring the view as we climb:
Abbydora Design

And on the landing just before we step inside this is what we saw. Amazing!
nishi art
new york city 2012

And finally we stepped inside a newly constructed and fully furnished living room built around the stone statue of Christopher Columbus 75 feet in the air!
abbydora design

This was the wallpaper:
mickey mouse elvis

You could sit on the chairs, watch a flat screen TV, and admire the amazing views out the windows.
abby kuperstock

I highly recommend seeing this artwork yourself! The city views alone are fantastic. You do need to reserve a ticket, but happily they are FREE. Yay!

Have you recently seen some amazing artwork? I’d love to hear about it.

Cape May Sketches

by abby on August 24, 2012 | Comment

victorian beach town

I’m back from a great week at the beach! D and I had a wonderful vacation at the Victorian seaside town of Cape May, NJ. It’s one of my most cherished spots in the world.

I do love the beach-really at any hour, but mornings on the beach when the light is soft and it’s just you and the ocean are my favorite. One morning I brought watercolors and a few scraps of cold press watercolor paper with me during a stroll in the sand. D was kind enough to sit and let my creativity flow. He was sneaky and snapped a few photos of me “in the zone”!

AbbyDora Design watercolor

I sat near a lifeguard chair and row boat. It was fun just to combine the pencil and loose watercolor washes. No pressure, just letting the paint flow.

watercolor illustration

D got a little closer!

en plain air watercolor

I look so serious, but I truly had a blast painting in the sand! For my last watercolor sketch I looked down the beach to all the emerging beach goers and beach gear. I focused on the pops of color.

watercolor beach sketch

It was so much fun to sit in the sand and paint. I wished I had one more morning to do this again. I did take several photos of the beach and around town. I’m planning on turning a few of those into watercolor paintings too. After this vacation, I feel refreshed and energized to start creating again.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Chicago Art Weekend

by abby on March 6, 2012 | Comment

abbydora design artwork
My boyfriend and I took a long weekend to visit friends in Chicago. It was our first visit to this mid-west city and our friends, Kirk and Tracie, were amazing tour guides. We hopped buses, “L” trains, and pounded the pavement to see the sights.

custom handmade stationery
It turned out to be a great art weekend. Chicago is home to one of my favorite paper stores, Paper Source, so of course, it was on our list to see. It was great fun to fill my shopping basket with brightly colored envelopes and not have to pay shipping!

Then later on, while waiting out a rain storm in a coffee shop, I casually looked out the back door to see a giant Dick Blick art supply store. Fate stepped in, I swear. I don’t have one of these stores in Rochester and as it turns out they are a wonderful supplier of art boards that are treated to either paint directly onto or you can mount prints to them. I took a few to experiment. My suite case was becoming heavier and heavier as the weekend continued.

The climax of this art weekend was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a museum that surprised me with its collection. They have several gems in their galleries. As an artist it’s always a thrill to stand in front of the original painting that you have studied for years and only seen as a 3″ x 5″ rectangle in a book. Seeing Edward Hopper’s Nighthawkes caused me to have such a moment.

Edward Hopper

The painting is so much larger than I imagined! I think I could stare at this painting for 15 minutes and not be board. Hopper has created a very compelling visual story. Who are these people and why are they at this diner?

Another favorite artist of mine is Toulouse-Lautrec. I’ve known him for painting cabaret girls and the night-life of Paris, but I didn’t know he also went through a circus phase.
chicago art museum
I love how the horse is painted and the perspective Lautrec created.

Finally, in the education center at the museum was a small exhibition of the children’s book paper illustrator, Steve Jenkins. He creates beautiful illustrations of animals and insects with cut paper collage. The detail of these creatures is amazing. Here are a couple of my favorites.
fish illustration

children's illustration

These illustrations are used in non-fiction picture books that share with young readers amazing animal facts.

Phew—what a weekend! My thanks to our hosts for their great hospitality and for trekking along to all the art stores and museums. D and I really did love seeing Chicago and I’m sure we will be back—next time in warmer weather!

I spy great design…again

by abby on July 19, 2011 | Comment

I was on the road again this time heading south to Maryland. As always I’m on the look out for interesting typography and design. Once your eye is trained to look for these examples it is hard not to find objects along your way worthy of a photo.

While having a day in Annapolis to shop at the FABULOUS paper store, Paper Source, the winding streets led me to this painted advertisement on the side of a brick building. I do love to find decaying or weathered type. The layered of pealing paint give this sign even more visual impact.
abbydora typography
abby dora design

As I passed the marina, I came upon a coffee house called City Dock Coffee. I found their logo to be quite clever.
abbydora identity design
Did you catch the sun rising on the horizon as it becomes the coffee mug? Nice touch!

Finally, the weekend ended with watching an Orioles baseball game at Camden Yards. Even here at a baseball stadium there is great design. This is the clock that sits on top of the big screen in the stadium. I love the vintage feel of the type of “Orioles” and the beautiful twisting ironwork surrounding the clock face.
abbydora illustration

You just never know where you will find an eye catching example of great typography or design!

I spy…good design

by abby on June 30, 2011 | Comment

abbydora book design

As you know the natural beauty seen on our road trip was amazing, but there were also a variety of eye catching design finds. Bad design and typography is all around us and so when my eye spies some of the better examples I pounce to document it! I pulled together a collection of the design and type highlights to share with you. These gems were found while on a cable car in San Fran, wine tasting in Sonoma, and sightseeing along the central coast of California.

SAN FRANCISCO BEAUTIES
abby dora illustration
abby san fransico

SONOMA TASTEIES
abbydora design artist
abby dora graphic design
abbydora stationery

CENTRAL COAST SCORES
abbydora butterfy
abbydora custom cards
abbydora design identity
abbydora promotional design
abbydora design children's books

Remember keep your eyes open for your own great design finds. You might even want to check out the latest stamp collection released by the post office today.

Big Sur Textures Revealed

by abby on June 29, 2011 | Comment

abby dora travel
Hope you enjoyed the texture brain teaser yesterday. Now for the answers!

Texture 1
Succulent plant, Hens and Chicks (you gotta it Kirk!)

Texture 2
Seaweed

Texture 3
Large clovers

Texture 4
Redwood bark

Texture 5
Driftwood

Texture 6
Pier poles in the bay

Texture 7
Totally weird plant found in gardens at The Getty! (Looked like coral to me.)

Where you close? How many did you know?

I’ll leave you with a couple more views from the west coast.
abby graphic design
abby Carmel CA

Just makes me want to jump on a plane and head back out west!