Monday, December 24, 2012

Have a Sassy Christmas!

This year, I went very simple with presents other than ones to my children. All family and friends are getting tea or chocolates. So when I received a really personalized and thoughtful gift from a friend, I felt that I want give her something a bit more personal in return. I don't usually do paintings as gift, nor do I paint a lot of cats, but here is the opportunity for me to do both. I texted her this morning for photos of her cats and here is what I managed to put paint on paper while my little guy took a nap. Doing these paintings reminds me Christmas is a time for showing your appreciation of people you care about. Thank you for the opportunity my friend ( you know who you are) and you will get your paintings after your trip.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Don't dwell on what is lost...move on and create more

Sigh! Today I finally realized that I have lost some of my original files of my pattern design when my network drive went self destruct a couple months ago. I do have them in a pdf file and have uploaded them to Spoonflower, but I do not have the originals. I found that out as I was exploring the Society6 site and made my artwork available for more products. That part is very exciting so I am not dwelling on the lost too much. I now have my artwork available iphone, ipod covers, and a pillow covers. Please come check it out.  Here is the link Astrid Fox at Society6

Friday, November 30, 2012

Giddy at the Getty LA

I'm on the flight back from a short vacation in LA. We managed to combine family activities like Disney with some cultural outings like the Getty and I think everyone had a good time. My highlight of the trip was the visit to the Getty. I loved taking the tram up to catch a magnificent view and I enjoyed seeing my favorite old masters. I was pleased to show the kids their first Van Gogh - the Irises, even through the experience probably went right over their heads. I was particularly drawn to a piece by Degas - the hat maker. I liked the composition very much. I will further study this piece after I get home. The Children's House was inspiring not just for kids. I doodled along with my boys as you see here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Self portrait

This week, I hit a bit of the creative wall. I was very dissatisfy with how I did with last weeks technique - glazing medium diluted colours over black and white on a tonal study. I let me ego or my expectations get in the way. During class, we repeated the exercise but with a portrait. I was quite nervous as I hadn't painted a portrait for many years. To intensify the self judgement more, I chose a self portrait. The photo is of me in my twenties. At the end, I conquered my fears and painted with less hesitation. I enjoyed painting from my younger self and transformed the image to my age today. Note to self: use larger reference and work out composition before execution

Friday, November 16, 2012

Absorbent ground and limited palette

I am giving absorbent ground another go here with a limited palette - Yellow Ochre, burnt umber, alizarin crimson and bronze. Here is what I got. I mixed the absorbent ground with the colours as I find a colours background gets me inspired easier.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tonal studies

During the third class, we focused on tonal studies and prepping for the glazing technique. I used these studies to explore my recent interest of landscape.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dancing and painting

During one of my Painting Bootcamp classes when we were asked to mix up two complimentary colours to show a transition from one to the other colour. I got to a place that felt very natural, I really felt like I was in my elements. I painted quite watery and produced a continuation of transition without gap in between each colour. I blended on the paper and show a gradual scale. The process was very liberating. It felt like my arm, hand and brush was dancing on the paper. I am a fairly clumsy person physically. I don't have quick reflexes like athletes and dancers do. But armed with my brush and paints, I felt quick and precise with my movement.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Apples and figs

The red and green exercise continues. Here is the homework for this week, continuation of exploring the complimentary colours. I had less time to devote to the painting part this week but have been constantly thinking about colours and compositions. I intended to create a study that show a gradual style of rendering from detail and contrast to soft washes of layered colour. I had intended to take the most detailed part and paint it in a built up thicker paint manner. The fig in the bottom got the most detailing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Plein air

I was walking my dog along the river when I took this photo. I wish I was always prepared to set up anywhere to paint when my little guy finally falls asleep in the van or stroller. The water was so calm, the air was a bit hazy. The vibrant fall colours in the trees with their reflection on the water was beautiful. I will pack my travel water colour kit in the van from now on for moments like these. Paint when baby sleeps is my new objective.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Red and Green

I arrived at  my second class ( unintentionally 1 1/2 hours) early. It was good for me to get some warm up painting going. We did a critique on last week's orange and blue studies. I learned a lot from other people in the class. It is quite amazing the limited palette could look so different under different brushes.  After the crit, we proceeded on using red and green. I chose Alizarin Crimson and Hookers Green and brought some produce for the market to paint.

Briefly what I learned today: 

My fear of watercolour has lifted. Painting with acrylic in a watercolour manner is fun. 

I had learned painting mainly from a couple painting teachers, really one. As much as he is a very great painter, learning from Karen has been very refreshing. Her teaching style paired with my readiness to explore is a perfect match.

Painting acrylic on raw canvas... I can't wait to try it!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Orange and Blue studies continue

The complimentary colours exercise continues. I know this subject was a bit intricate. But I find that I have to really like the subject to paint it, otherwise I get bored and loose my focus. This exercise brought me back to my art school days and all the terminology came rushing back; composition, foreshortening. Recently, I have discovered that I benefit from talking through my process. Luckily, I am at a point in the life where I don't care if I appear to be crazy by talking while I paint. It also helps that the only audience I have today is my 2 years old, and he doesn't seem to mind. I did the right one first and found that my drawing did not convey the foreshortening enough therefore confused my eyes. I drew the second one with a bit more accuracy but I think they both made me think about light source and shadow. I think I might get a flower from the market to paint for tomorrow's class.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Painting Boot Camp

So I went to my first class of Painting Boot Camp at Emily Carr last Sunday. I was a bit anxious as to the level of the students would be in the class. The Class was a good mix of younger (20 somethings) to retired Grandmother probably in her 70s. We explored colours and mixed them according to the RBY colour wheel. I was pleased to get the familiar assignment of painting an object with only one orange and one blue. Here is what I did in class. The goal is to lay the blue as the background and use the orange on the object to bring it closer to the viewer. I am very pleased with the instructor - Karen Yurkovich. She has extensive training in painting and a very light and encouraging teaching style. We are using acrylic like watercolour which I rarely do. I usually use acrylic as an oil substitute. I am enjoying going back to the basic of mixing colours and using a medium in a fresh way. I am enjoying being open and exploring.

Monday, July 30, 2012

In preparation to September

In the beginning of the summer, I received news that a good friend of, who is also a painter, is being represented by a gallery. I was very happy for her but also a bit envious and questioned where I'm at in my art career. Instead letting a bit of jealousy get to me, I though sensibly about my time and my young children. So I made a date for myself to refocus on my art career and also more on myself in September. With the kids back to school, well the little hopefully will get in to the 2 hours twice a week early preschool, I will have a more structured schedule to work with. I am excited when I flipped through the Emily Carr continue Ed calendar and think I have found a few courses I want to take. I decided on an intermediate painting boot camp course. Can't wait

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Commission art

I am beginning a new commission art project of a 30" x 60" painting of my roses. I am very delighted to start this project. Although my hand still hurts from losing my balance off the bike, I am able to lightly hold the pen or pencil to do my sketches. This will be a horizontal piece, I am feeling more drawn to a vertical format right now so I am starting my sketches in a vertical format to get warmed up. I know that it will lead me to the required format in time.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I recently saw an artist, I met in the past, preparing for a meet and greet at a local cafe. I have had odd feelings about this artist's work. She seems to have been successful in selling her work but I question her integrity. Does her work sellout? Why does that bother me? There are quite a few pieces of her work I really like, but I find that they seem to be strongly "influenced " by other artwork I have seen before. Her style also vary greatly from series to series; they seem very trendy. On the business side, it makes sense to produce work that will sell, but I question why her style seems so different? I like to try different things too, am I jealous that she is doing what I would like to do, paint whatever style she feels like doing and not concerned about developing a consist style? While I am bothered by her art practice, I know that if I can figure why it affects me, I will learn and grow from it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New friend

I met a new friend who is a surface pattern designer for a fair size retail clothing store. She reminded me that I should state what I would like to do in my websites like my skills and my interest. I have since edited my online presence to include commission opportunities. I guess I just thought that it was clear by displaying my art in my online portfolio of what I do and like to do.

Here is a quick doodle of the day as a pick me up. It works!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What makes me tick

In my last blog, I asked myself what art is to me. In relations to the statement of " art is patience", I have come to acknowledge that creating art is patience. I also started dissecting my work habits and it feels like I've opened up a door into my creativity.

Walks - going for walks makes me look and see. They help me think.

Sleep - besides the obvious rejuvanation affects it has on my body, I create and process in my dreams.

Go or Stop - creativity, like life is constantly flowing, even when an artist feels that they are stuck in an artist block. I think blocks are a combination of stress and burn out. Also processing in between times of physically creativing counts too.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Art is...

An illustrator
I really admire recently posted "art is patience". That got me thinking what art is to me. I always thought of art as being exciting and have an impact. I never thought of it as being patience. Perhaps I should give it more thought and think about what art is to me.

Sometimes, I am not a patient person but I understand that patience is necessary with all things. When I am impatient, I distract myself with other tasks, mainly research. As a good multi-tasker, I am also aware of the danger of unfinished tasks or projects. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to find out how I work instead of just labeling myself for having problems. It is crucial to identify my short comings and turn them into positive asset. Sometimes, I like to trick myself into doing something I don't like to. Luckily, I am on a bit of a productive high right now. I am reviewing online presence and deciding whether I need to have several portfolio site to display my work.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Buy Me

As I play around with my online presence, I am looking at different portfolio websites out there. I am now set up to sale prints here It's a pretty neat print on demand set up where I don't necessary have to part with my original piece of work if I am selling the prints. I am excited to upload more of my work for sale as prints and some originals.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creative, Inc.

I borrowed a book from the library called " Creative, Inc " and it has sparked me to rethink my online presence. I have more than a handful of sites, including artists community type portfolios like, a few blogs and tumblrs. I think it's time to merge or streamline them, especially for my home site Other than my home site, the rest of my sites are linked together well, just that my home site seems to be a bit disconnected and holds more of my older work.

 I started looking around online at artist portfolio sites and am excited to report that there are some nice stuff out there. I found a skin that will make my redesigning a lot easier. It's called,  it has a free verison that has a limit to 50 images per gallery and some other limittions and more extensive pro version for a paid fee. My existing home site uses a similar way of displaying my work but it was labour intensively coded. Another artist community I found is called They offers a smaller free trial that can display 5 projects and 35 images. I like their nice clean designs and of course they have a more extensive paid version. I am happy to be able to sign up with

I would like to think that I am the only Astrid Fox in the world but sadly I am not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I am dusting off my speedball linocutters, got some linocut blocks from the art store and started some block printing. Oh I am glad people have invented easier to cut blocks comparing to the old school hard linoleum. I remember how hard the old lino was to cut, there was always fear of cutting too much or cutting my hand.

I am trying to make a stamp with these rough trials. The stamps will be used on shopping bags. I find the white super soft block very easy to cut but it was a bit challenging to get a clean crisp line. The grey one is a perfect softness to cut and also gives clean lines but it was hard to transfer the image on it as the material didn't take the good old graphite in the back technique. I also tried a white neo-colour on the back, but no luck, I ended up freehanding it. I may try chalk next time.

I have always loved printmaking.

Who knows, maybe I will crack open my skillscreen kit too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Inspirational drink

a cup of coffee ( Americano made with Peet's Sulawesi - oh so yum!) as early as noon will get me out of bed to draw this. Damn I am light weight on the caffeine department but Thank you Peet's for the inspiration drink.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So therapeutic

I can imagine that all these doodle roses I do might not seem very interesting to others, or just plain old all the same.  But every time I find time to do them, I find a sense of calmness and excitement all blend into one. 
I have been transforming some of my little paintings, acrylic on wood into repeating patterns. I am glad that I finally found my way of doing it. When I first started drawing these spiral roses, I want to make them into patterns but didn't know how. Well, fast forward to now, I have experiment, explored, learnt more technology and voila, it is all coming to together. I already have ideas of how to turn this one into a pattern. 
Sleep a little long my toddler so mommy can play more.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

and let there be colours

Before I got to these ones, I had way too much going on. I had too many colours and thick stripes under the roses. Finally... as usual, I simplified it and am pretty happy with these ones.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Doodle colour study

Sick kids mean my doodle practice can't be explored as extensively, but I managed to do a quick colour study on the blood orange at the dinner table.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

No. 2 repeat

Didn't think I could make this one. Rough night. Sick kid. Interrupted sleep. Will apply colour tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A variation

Today, I have taken my 20" x 20" canvas in PS onto the old school brush and ink on 65 lbs paper. I mixed Chinese ink and a bit of gel medium, to give it a bit more body, and doodled away. I forgot how therapeutic the motion of painting spiral has. Tomorrow I will scan and work on it on the machine.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No 1 Repeat

Here is what I have done with the doodle from yesterday. I am liking this pinkish with grey colour scheme.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Doodle Discipline begins

I have been inspired by two amazing designer friends of mine to start an art discipline exercise. This exercise will kick my creative process into higher gear. Every day, I will set aside one hour to do this. I will open up a 20" x 20" canvas in PS and start doodling in different layers. I will select the doodles I like and arrange them into a repeating pattern. I like that it is very gestural and intuitive exercise. This will help me create a unified series of pattern. Here is my first doodle of the day. I don't know how long I will do this, but I will do it until I feel that I have a collection of patterns I am happy with.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Game Plan

Now that I have gotten the impulsive obsessiveness of producing one finished pattern every night, I am writing a realistic plan of how to divide my time up between my family life and art life. 

So with a cup of Cream Earl Grey sitting beside, I am writing my long term game plan for success in the art world.

I will allow myself to work on my process step by step, without digging into my necessary sleep time. For weeks, I was working frantically every night after the kids are in bed, I was afraid the creative juices will run dry if I don't do it now, or that I will not have time because I needed to take care of the kids. Then my body will break down and I will get sick.  I got burnt out.

Figuring out what works for me

The kitchen island is still my best doodling space, it's high enough to keep away the kids' grabbing paws and I can supervise them as I draw. I do retreat to my computer, mostly after they are in bed, to do the actual designing and playing with colours. I found a fantastic website about colours, it's called Design Seeds. It has given me great inspirations. 

Army of Me

Yes it is title of a Bjork song, but I think it is best way of describing this part of my plan. 
I remember when I started getting into Children's Illustrations, I worked on building an image library. I started doodling and worked on developing characters and use as reference later, like a boy standing or sitting. It will be a great asset to do the same for my patterns. I will doodle and build resources that can be turned into motifs or elements that can be used later. So I am building an "army of me ( my own doodles and art)" that will be around to back me up when I maybe feeling a bit dry on the inspirations department.

Sit up straight

Sounds cliche and simply right? But I really need to focus on good posture while designing at the computer, as my shoulders and upper back can really tighten up after my long sessions of being in my world of colours, shapes and lines. I also lie on my yoga block position in between my shoulder blades to stretch things out especially if I want to be able to sleep after sitting at the computer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Surface Pattern Design

Oooooo.... I think I found my calling. Surface Pattern design. I have always had the dream of designing pattern since I learned about the Arts and Craft movement. I never pursued it because I didn't know where to go or how to find out more. I recently met a stay at home quilt pattern designer mom and she reminded me of the site Spoonflower.

China Marker

My Husband has the day off tomorrow, when he asked me what I need to do tomorrow, I really wanted to art geek out and say ' I just want to draw with my newly bought CHINA MARKER'. But I didn't. I did steal away a couple of minutes and doodled on my favourite work area - my kitchen island.

In my last post, I talked about revising my online presence. I have been working hard on it and have made some progress. I have linked almost everything together now, and have started another tumblr as my portfolio site. I love the easy to use themes. Is it wrong to be glorifying about tumblr on blogger? I still don't have my drive back so I am only uploading older work onto my portfolio tumblr. I like the theme ( template) I chose, it suits my scatter brain.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

All is not lost

So the good news is my major storage drive is not fried. The data is intact. I still don't have it back yet, my tech genius has ordered me a new adapter ( which did get fried from the power outage) and then we should be up and running again. After the thought of having to start all over from scratch, I decided it is time to streamline all my online presences. I am very excited about it and need to sit down and draw out a bit of a plan; a flow chart of sort. I want to have a master page with my own address that will link out to my tumbler, my blogger and all will repost on facebook and twitter. Let me look into it...

Friday, January 20, 2012

My world is crumbling

The power outage two nights ago left our server storage unmountable. Does that mean all my work is gone? At first all I could think of was my more recent work; my children's illustrations, my surface pattern designs. Then I realized I have work from 10 years ago in that storage. I tried to convince myself that this is an opportunity for me to let it go, start FRESH. On top of that, one of the sites I have posted many of my work up has closed. One less place I could have an archive of my work online.  Then I thought about the photos, photos of my younger days, of children, my memories. I tried to convince myself the most important things, people, is in front of me. I don't need photos to remind me of my past. I have my lovely family right in front of me. But. I am sad, so sad that I couldn't even work on my art in my sketchbook without thinking of all the stuff in that storage, let along start another new on the computer. I have the fear that everything in the storage is really all gone, then I got even a bit more sad when I heard Etta James died today.  Hoping for a better tomorrow.