Recently Chad asked me to create artwork for him to hang in his new office, which contains bare walls just waiting to be filled. Originally, I planned to make a large painting on canvas, the kind with acrylic or oil paint. But as I rummaged through my supplies and tried to think of a subject to paint (a landscape? still life? something else?), it didn't feel right. I hadn't painted in awhile and knew it would take time to get comfortable using the brushes and paints again. Then maybe I'd be able to create a piece that both of us loved. So, I let myself off the hook and did what comes naturally: I drew using the computer.

Chad gave me very few parameters for what he wanted. In fact, the only one was that the artwork couldn’t be girly. "No flowers," he said. Check.

Chad is a handy guy, so eventually I chose a hand tools theme. I spent a few minutes picking up and putting down the various tools at his work bench, examining their shapes and sizes to determine which ones contributed the most variety. The selections were made and then I arranged, and rearranged, them flat on the floor until I could see the basic composition that would ultimately make up the finished piece.

The color choices were easy to make. I emphasized his favorite color with a dark, royal blue background and a bright, cobalt blue for the tool handles. I intentionally let some of the background peak through the tools, and left jagged edges, for texture.

Once the art was finished I sent the digital file off to be printed on canvas, so no frame or glass would be required for hanging. And, it would have a traditionally-painted appearance to it.

When I received the canvas in the mail, I couldn't believe how well it was constructed and how accurate the colors were to my digital artwork. It also passed the husband seal of approval!

Tools Art Print on Canvas

I was so pleased with the tools art print that I added it to the Etsy shop, where customers can purchase one of their own.

Have a handyman in your life who would enjoy this special gift? Click here for details.

~Christina

Getting warmer. I looked back at my first 50 pillow designs and realized it took about 25 designs before things started to feel really comfortable. So if history repeats itself, given my little break at Day 50, Days 75-76 should be hopping! But, hopefully it won't take as long this time. ;)

This ocean themed design began with an existing pattern that I tweaked and recolored. It has a lot of potential, but I can't say it's 100% me. I think I'd love it even more without the pink starfish and may remove them just to see what happens.

Day 56 - Under the Sea - Revised - blog

These jellyfish were in the same existing pattern that I mentioned above. I wanted to separate them out and have them swimming on their own, much like you'd see in an aquarium. I rather like this one.

Day 57 - Jellyfish Pattern - blog

A simple sunshine-y pattern drawn on a rainy day.

Day 58 - Sunshine Pattern - blog

This design came on a day when I was coming up short on what to draw. Looking through my sketchbook always helps, however, and I came across these pebbles, hand drawn in charcoal, that I hadn't used in my work yet. I set them into a repeat pattern with a neutral, tan background. I'm pleased with its natural, organic appearance.

Day 59 - Charcoal Pebbles - blog

The charcoal pebbles led to a charcoal pear (naturally!). I experimented with bright, preppy colors and think the combination of the color and semi-realistic pear gives it a hint of pop surrealism. Not exactly my style, but still fun.

Day 60 - Charcoal Pears blog

Snowmen for Day 61, inspired by snow that blanketed our house that morning. Over the holidays I was hooked on a similar color palette and went back to it for this pattern. I felt that familiar click, when the process of drawing and the finished art feels most like me.

Day 61 - Snowman Pattern - blog

Last but not least, the moon and stars, inspired by the sunshine pattern from Day 58. It wasn't intentional, but the various moon shapes have a dimensional effect to them that remind me of paper doilies.

Day 62 - Moon and Stars Pattern - blog

62% complete with this project!

~Christina

Happy 2018, everyone!

I'm slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things after taking a much needed break over the holidays. I did some planning for the new year, which included hanging a white board in my office (why have I not done this sooner?), and am already enjoying checking items off my list. I have very specific things I'd like to accomplish this year and it will be an interesting one if everything comes to fruition. I've even had a completely NEW creative endeavor placed on my heart in which I'm currently dipping my toe. If the water's fine, you'll be sure to hear about it here!

I won't give a description for each pillow design featured today but you can visit my Instagram account and search on #stewardpillows if you're curious to know a little more. I will say the Peace dove, made on December 5th, was my last design for 2017 and gaining momentum again after the break has not been easy! But I know that taking daily, consistent steps and continuing to do the work will bring it back again. 😊

Day 49 - Colored Christmas Lights - blog

Day 50 - Dove Peace - blog

Day 51 - Purple Confetti Pattern

Day 52 - Vintage White Hex Tiles - blog

Day 53 - White & Gray Herringbone - blog

Day 54 - Barnacles - blog

Day 55 - Octopus - blog

Spoonflower

Dec 8, 2017

In:Design

After reaching the halfway point (!) of the 100 Days of Pillows project, I decided it was a good time to switch gears for the holidays. Namely, I'll be traveling and taking some rest days with family. So, the pillow project will commence again in January.

Spoonflower

I realized recently that while I had shared my Spoonflower announcement via newsletter and social media, I had not shared it here! If you're new to Spoonflower, it's a website where you can purchase fabric by the yard, wallpaper and gift wrap with just about every artwork and pattern you can imagine. As I've been growing my pillow design portfolio, I thought Spoonflower was an excellent place to start sharing my work.

Here are samples of my designs on Spoonflower fabric! Their print quality is excellent with colors true to the artwork.

Spoonflower Fabric Samples

Currently there are 28 of my designs available on the website and that number is growing. I have to proof the designs before making them available for purchase and that happens in batches, but more are coming soon! Spoonflower even has a sister site called Roostery where you can have any of my designs sewn into home decor products like pillows and duvet covers.

If you're a sewing enthusiast or want to have something made for you, I invite you to head over to my shop and take a look around. You just might find something for your next sewing project. :)

Click HERE to get started.

~Christina

After the Thanksgiving break I started up again with Christmas designs. It's funny, working with holiday motifs isn't something I can force myself to do (I've tried). But when the mood hits, it stays awhile.

Whimsical reindeer silhouettes using the same pink in the poinsettia pattern from Day 40.

Day 42 - Jumping Reindeer Silhouettes - blog

The tiny houses from Day 31, this time, decorated on a Christmas night.

Day 43 - Tiny Houses at Christmas - blog

I switched gears on Day 44 and went with butterflies. They were past illustrations that I set into a repeat and changed the color palette.

Day 44 - Butterflies - blog

Inspired by the butterflies, I illustrated my favorite insect to draw: the ladybug!

Day 45 - Ladybugs 2 -blog

On a roll with insects, I took inspiration from another past illustration, designed a pattern and used a bold color palette. I'm calling these "royal bees" in gold and purple.

Day 46 - Bees 2 - blog

By this day I was done with bugs and went back to a winter theme. Here I used a digital gouache brush to give a painterly effect to the snowy trees.

Day 47 - Winter Blues 3 - blog

Another fall or winter design in the same medium. I've wanted to paint pine cones for a long time but was never brave enough to try it. It wasn't as bad as I expected, especially when using tricks in the digital world 😉 and when you give yourself permission to NOT capture every detail. I used a less-is-more approach that I think turned out well. The pine cones were drawn from an actual cone picked up in the back yard.

Day 48 - Pine Cones - blog

I wonder what art will be made next week? Time will tell!

~Christina

Another week of the pillow project is complete (yes!). It feels good to be approaching the midpoint. This week had more "what am I going to draw" moments that lasted longer than I liked, but my commitment to drawing something by the end of each day hasn't wavered.

The first design was inspired by a recent stay at Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque, NM. The building was originally constructed in 1926 as the Santa Fe Hospital and was converted into a boutique hotel in 2010. It was fascinating to walk through its halls and wonder about the stories they could tell. Articles from the hospital are on display inside the hotel, including keys that belonged to the original rooms.

vintage keys pattern

Where there are vintage keys...there are vintage locks.

vintage lock pattern

I noticed my patterns were trending toward "tight" designs, so I intentionally went with a larger scale in this floral pattern. I wanted a simple design that made fun use of the negative space, or the empty space around the objects.

modern floral pattern

Another large scale pattern with these poinsettias. For some reason I had Christmas on my mind that day. Could it be all the Christmas commercials on TV or the decorations already in every store? Hmmmm..... ;) I adore the color palette used here. You just can't go wrong with Christmas colors.

poinsettia pattern

And lastly, I reused the cream colored poinsettias from the previous design to create a wreath. My sister-in-law commented how she could see a large "JOY" or "NOEL" on the previous pattern, so I took inspiration from that and hand lettered the word "Joy" inside the wreath. I quite like it!

poinsettia wreath illustration

Since next week is Thanksgiving, this project will be put on hold for 2-3 days. But no fear, I'll get right back into it after the holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours. ❤

~ Christina

It was a great week creatively-speaking. I feel like something has clicked in the past couple of weeks and my work is getting better. I can now look back at some of my earlier pillow designs in this project and see where I was struggling to find my way.

While I didn't have a set theme again this week, I think it's one of the most consistent weeks I've had. It started with a white peacock feather pattern that was just calling to be incorporated with gold.

peacock feather fabric

A companion peacock pattern immediately followed and by that time, I was in the groove of using white lines within my designs.

peacock pattern

modern tree pattern

The oil lamp illustration was drawn from an actual lamp my mom gave to me, handed down from my grandparents. I was inspired by the beautiful pattern etched into the glass.

oil lamp pattern

Lastly, a terrarium pattern that started with an illustration I made earlier in the year...that also used white lines to represent glass. Today I drew the plants for the 2nd terrarium, the one with the flowering cacti, and created the repeat.

terrariums pattern

2 months from now I may look back at these and again say I was trying to find my way. Even if so, I see real progress happening!

~Christina

Well, there was no planned theme this week as I thought I might have. Coming up with a theme I'm willing to commit to for a week is challenging! In many ways I like being able to draw whatever subject I feel like drawing for the day. On the flip side that leaves too many options available. Nonetheless, the week ended well and I feel like I'm finding my stride.

Days 28 (Halloween) and 29 were especially fun since I used digital watercolor. Painting the pumpkins felt so much like using real watercolor, or even ink, that I wanted to break out the real thing. Just having that extra bit of texture in my artwork is nice.

The tiny house design for Day 31 feels very much like "me". It's modern and illustrative. I can see expanding the pattern at some point by adding additional motifs, or maybe creating a companion pattern for it.

Ah, it feels good to have another week of pillow designs behind me. This one wasn't without artistic struggle, but seeing the results after pushing through was completely worth it. ❤

checkered pattern

Halloween pumpkin pattern

foliage pattern

candle pattern

tiny houses pattern

Since last week I unintentionally designed mostly geometric patterns, I decided at the beginning of this week to intentionally set a theme. I chose a floral one, thinking it would be a good exercise to determine if I really enjoy making floral prints.

The conclusion? I enjoy it. I wouldn't want to make only floral designs for the rest of my life, but they definitely have a place in my heart.

The designs for Days 22-25 were all made using a similar technique: they began as pencil drawings on paper before being inked and then converted to digital art in Illustrator. The one for today, Day 26, is different in that I started "painting" it digitally from the start, using Photoshop. It has a more painterly, textured appearance that I like. Painting using my Wacom tablet still doesn't feel 100% natural, so I think for that reason I shy away from it, but it really does produce beautiful results.

I liked having a theme this week to help focus my thoughts. I may do the same again next week.

This week I leaned toward modern prints. It wasn't something I set out to do beforehand, but a session in my sketchbook last weekend resulted in a lot of the geometric and modern motifs you see in these patterns. The fun part is always arranging, coloring (and re-coloring) and seeing how the final design differs from what was originally sketched in pencil. It's also satisfying to start a day having no idea what I'm going to draw and ending the day with something to be proud of.

I can firmly say I'm passionate about every single one of these designs.

That feels good!