Plein Air Paintings, Central California

New Piece, Painting, Places

This past weekend I attended WooCamp, near San Lucas, California. I took the opportunity to be off the grid to give oil painting another go. I hadn’t touched the stuff in probably 5 years, mostly on account of it being extremely messy and me having no where in my humble apartments to work on it without destroying every piece of clothing I own, or the apartment itself.

But it was nice to get my hand back in it (yeah, literally, I’m such a messy painter), and no better place than spring in central California. This is the off highway 101 Central, not off Highway 5 or 99 Central, to be specific. And yeah, there’s a difference. While both are pretty rural/agricultural, the hills along this side of the state make all the difference. It’s definitely a part of California that doesn’t see much play in tour books, but definitely the sweeping chaparral that I strongly associate with this state and my childhood. Golden hills, purple and blue shadows, bright yellow mustard plants popping up every where, and the quintessential gnarly oak trees, which are so impressive to look at, but SO difficult for me to paint.

I make no promises to have many more of these posted in any near future, but in an ideal world, I’d have time (and space) to paint more often.

Texas Hold Em Poker Tournament Custom Card Deck

New Piece, Print

Every year the company I work at hosts a Poker Tournament Fundraiser for Relay For Life (American Cancer Society). A couple years ago, I made a poster for the event and designed a face card with the President/CEO’s face on the card and it was a huge hit. I had been considering making a whole deck of cards with faces of other people from office since, but never quite got my act together to put it together. This was the year it was going to happen though, even in true last minute fashion (isn’t there an expression that great things only get done when you don’t have enough time to do them in?).

The face cards are all of people whose faces most people who work there would recognize. The President and co-founders got the King cards, and the Jacks and Queens are VPs, with one exception being the Queen of Clubs who gets a spot as the official cheerleader for the Relay for Life event, as she’s very active in organizing events and getting people on board to donate. I modeled the cards after the classic “Bicycle” format, and used the colors of the company’s branding. I used the font “Helldorado” to get that western look with the typography.

Getting the cards to coordinate upside down and right-side-up and look the same was a fun challenge. I was more brazen with some designs than others, but overall was pleased with each of the designs. In the interest of sharing the joke with you, since you probably don’t know what these people look like, I’ve done a couple side-by-side comparisons so you can see where I drew the characters from. All of these were designed in Illustrator, and I more or less traced the faces with a .5 stroke to start, and once I was satisfied that I had included just enough detail, I finished off the designs with the neck/shoulders/patterns. I spent roughly 1 hour on each face card design (some more, some less). Most of the images I was able to pull from just 1 photo, but there were a couple that I pieced together from multiple photos to get the right look.

If you are very interested, I’ve posted the full pdf with all the final artwork for a full res viewing experience.

I was super happy with the vendor I chose to print these. There is such a smattering of custom playing card design/printing companies available on the web and I didn’t have much to go on, so was glad the gamble paid off when I decided to use them. How I got past their really terrible 1.0 website is beyond me, but again, they were great, so withhold judgment on the site.

For the record, the event these were made for was a huge success, and I believe raised nearly (or over) $7,000 towards this year’s Relay for Life Fundraiser.

Saga Motor Hotel, Pasadena

Places

This hotel was timeless, and by timeless, I mean totally dated. A relic from 1950 (60?), and loving it. I loved the typography of the name “Saga,” the two-toned peach paint job, the teal accents, cinderblock lattice walls, decorative concrete motifs, viking mosaic, and excessive use of palm trees. A total California retro gem. I was sad to see that they had attempted to update the interior of the rooms, so they weren’t nearly as cool.

My brother put me up here when I was down visiting in Pasadena, and I have decided it’s the only hotel I ever want to stay at again when visiting.