Underwater odyssey

Fun experiment, inspired by my son’s obsession with submarines. Painted on watercolor paper with gouache.

Liam_Submarine Final


The making of: The Harriet Club

Today I am happy to share with you some of the process in creating the cover for Kathe Maguire’s new young adult book, The Harriet Club!

As this book was self-published, I worked with direct feedback from Kathe.  Although she has a strong visual aesthetic, she also granted much creative freedom and this provided a wonderful working environment for me. Our first conversations focused on creating a contemporary cover that was inspired by Louise Fitzhugh’s classic young adult novel, Harriet The Spy. We talked about a few important landmarks and story points that should be included in the illustration. We also discussed keeping it black and white.

ON RESEARCH:

harrietTHC_MiroslavTHC_Provenson

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PB Pumpkin Plates

This fall I was hired by M.J. Hughes at Pottery Barn to create some illustrations for a fall pumpkin-themed plate. Below are the comps I created after a first round of proposals. I found inspiration in early American folkart furniture and textiles, Renaissance prints, Woodblock prints, and even my one of my heroes, Rockwell Kent. I did rough drawings by hand and then finished them digitally. The feedback was positive, but unfortunately they weren’t picked up. Regardless, I had fun exploring the different directions and would love to do more work of this nature. Thank you M.J.!

PB_PumpkinPlates_0002_Layer Comp 3 Read more


Heck of a lady

So many lovely children’s books, old and new!  Another Little Golden Book fav from my boys’ baby years is “I Can Fly,” illustrated by the talented Mary Blair. There are many great spreads, but this is my favorite with beautifully confidant DRAWING + COLOR + DESIGN:

MaryBlairFly1

 

Through research for a project and my Illustration class, I came across her work again and learned that she had worked as a concept illustrator for Disney, creating concept work for the films Peter Pan, Cinderella and Alice and Wonderland, among others.

Fast forward to this year: Surprise!  The Walt Disney Family Museum (which is practically in my backyard) is featuring an exhibit on the artwork of Mary Blair!  I was delighted to catch it and dragged my mom, whom is a huge Disney fan, along with me. Ms. Blair was incredibly prolific in her lifetime — I was impressed by the variation and plethora of her work!  Be sure to catch it before it’s gone September 7, 2014.

MaryBlairPeterPanShe was talented on many levels, but what really caught my eye was her gouache work.  They looked vibrant and fresh even today.  And how did she do those amazing gradations?  These concept paintings from Peter Pan were dazzling. So many magical night scenes.

If you want to see more of her work, there’s a nice collection over at pinterest.

 


Tibor Gergely

 

TiborGergley

Today, I present the painter and illustrator, Tibor Gergely.  I have learned about him through books that I’ve purchased for my twin boys.  Attached are a few pictures from our favorites, The Little Red Caboose and The Fire Engine Book, both illustrated by Tibor Gergley. I find his work incredibly inspiring (and delicious to look at!)

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Here’s to the Sunny Slopes of Long Ago

Raisin'KaneRanch

In 2008, my dear uncle, the rancher/salesman of pharmaceuticals to large animal owners/secret cowboy/and all around stand-up gentleman, Mr. Darrel J. Kane, hired me to make a mural for his new house.  It was an awesome project — pulling me out of my city life bubble and dropping me right into the middle of a western movie.  In fact, to get in the mood, I decided to watch the TV mini series Lonesome Dove inspired by Larry McMurtry’s novel, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, and Robert Duvall, who played the main character Gus McCrae and who I can credit with the wise quote above. Read more


The Hairy Ape

AlexisMahrus_HairyApe

I have created a category called, “Blast from the Past” where I will share with you projects from my past.  The first piece is an illustration I did for Marin Theater company for a performance in 2001 of the Eugene O’Neill’s, “The Hairy Ape,” directed by Lee Sankowich. I worked with Karen Koster and Ellie Mednick for art direction.

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The birth of a Painting

AlexisMahrus_Lament&Release

Most of my work in the past decade has been created for a job- whether it illustration, design or a mural.  But in 2009, I began a series of paintings that were born our of my own (very private) experiences.  Still, I’d like to share the story with you because in this case, there is a happy ending. Early that year, I had a miscarriage.  I was surprised to find out how common they are and spoke with many women who shared their stories.   It was quite a painful experience, physically and mentally.  Even though I had loved ones around me, I felt quite alone.  In fact, I felt I had to be alone.

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