The Cali Love Series

Inspiration for Cali Love

Every Wednesday of the summer my mom and her teacher buddies met up at Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego to run us kids and hang out. I loved bringing friends and playing in the waves. My hair would streak with blond and my skin would tan, my shoulders and cheeks tinting red. My family has traveled to many beaches while road tripping up and down the coast, a tradition we continue today.

My love of travel and serendipity has led me to see much of this state and beyond, but California is special in its variety of landscapes and cultures. She has a varied reputation through screen and song. A spirit born out of the gold rush, of people seeking fortune and freedom, striving to reinvent themselves and forge a new path. The risk takers and runaways that imprint themselves on this state.

California Dreaming

These artworks are about how the state rubs off on you. The imprint of the California Poppy is made from rubbing tempera paint sticks over cutouts and the paint turns a negative space into a positive one. I start each piece with the Poppy, carefully rubbing colors together to bring out the shape, then the coastline and borders. Like us, each laser cut piece is very similar, though they are made from different pages of a book. I meander through details with gold leaf, gouache, pencil and pen to fill in the topography of the state.

In making this work I feel like an aimless traveler exploring the state, stopping at the roadside fruit stands, taco trucks, vistas, and at least one drive-through-tree. I’ve been wandering through this series while replaying memories from my travels. I hope this collection brings back your California dreams and inspires you to explore and adventure.

I’m Coming Home

But my heart cried out for you, California
Oh, California, I’m coming home
Oh, make me feel good rock ‘n roll band
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home

– California by Joni Mitchell (Watch her play it)

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How The Art is Made

The image of California is laser cut from paper from an old children’s school reader. I place the cutout on top of a blank paper and color the cutout and the paper beneath with tempera paint stick. The paper beneath results in a negative print of the shape.  There are two versions of artwork from this process: one is a colorful California shape on a plain background, the other is a negative space that I fill in by hand with gouache (opaque watercolor) paint.