I'm Writing and Illustrating a Book!

© Lindsay Gardner 2019

© Lindsay Gardner 2019

I’ve been holding on to a BIG SECRET for a quite some time, and I finally get to share it with you today. Hang on to your hats!

** I’M WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING A BOOK!! **

Provisionally titled WOMEN IN THE KITCHEN, the book will be published by the iconic WORKMAN PUBLISHING (!!!) in 2021. It explores and redefines what it means to be a woman in the contemporary culinary landscape, celebrating women’s stories, passions, and trailblazing achievements in the world of food through illustrated essays, profiles, and more, with contributions from chefs, food writers, restaurateurs, activists, and home cooks.

Women are the creators and keepers of multitudes of stories, big and small, domestic and professional and everything in between, that have long been disregarded or overlooked. I’m thrilled to get to research, learn, curate and make art about this topic that is so close to my heart, and doubly thrilled to get to share these profound, timely stories with you and the world.

It is a DREAM COME TRUE to get to make my idea into a real book at all, let alone with the incredible, thoughtful humans at Workman.

Speaking of gratitude; I grasp for words to express the infinite depth of mine for Kate Woodrow of Present Perfect Department, my brilliant friend and now book agent, with whom I’ve long dreamed of scheming on a professional creative project. As my agent, she has been an insightful, imaginative, dedicated, savvy and FUN advisor and coach, since I first nervously told her about my idea, through developing my proposal and helping me find an amazing publisher to make it real.

Since I started working on this project in earnest and reaching out to others last year, I’ve been utterly and deeply moved by the the warmth, generosity, vulnerability and reflection in my conversations with women chefs, entrepreneurs, writers, restaurateurs and home cooks. At the end of the day, THEY are what it’s all about. Getting to know these humble, passionate and strong women has restored my hope in humanity amidst what can feel like dark times.

When your work is the thing you absolutely love to do, it doesn’t really feel like work. I’m beyond  grateful that I get to do this joyful stuff every day and make things with my head, heart and hands. I’ve fantasized about writing and illustrating a book since well…forever, really. And though I’m a wee bit nervous because I haven’t done it before, I’m mostly just REALLY EXCITED.

I can’t wait to dig in, and I hope you’ll all follow along with me here as I do.

 

Five Favorite Tools No. 4: Chloe Warner

© Lindsay Gardner

© Lindsay Gardner

Interior Designer Chloe Warner expresses her artistic vision through a unique blend of pattern and color. Her work balances vibrant, traditional florals and textiles, with light and airy geometric pieces, fresh color and modern touches. Chloe's sensibility was enriched from a young age by her mother's and grandmother's elegant interiors and, as she says,"passion for flowers and fabrics," a propensity that has stuck with her and has become a defining aspect of her aesthetic.

After graduating from Harvard's Graduate School of Design in 2005, Chloe founded Redmond Aldrich Design. Since then her business and imaginative perspective have thrived and become a well known design beacon. She's been prominently featured in a number of design publications, and this year, her work was featured in the esteemed San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

She continues to cultivate her creativity, drawing inspiration from a well-rounded confluence of sources - patterns, textiles, art, comedy, literature and architecture. While she takes craftsmanship and design very seriously (she doesn't mess around!), she maintains a refreshing sense of humor and whimsy, giving her work that very special something. It's elegant and approachable; inspired, yet always livable and cozy- the ideal combination.

Here are Chloe's reflections on her Five Favorite Tools: 

1. & 2. Mechanical Pencils & grid notebook.  These are such a staple for me - I use them to sketch plans, render an elevation, take notes, and I love the look of 20 yellow pencils peeking up from a nice cup.  Order, you know?

3. Swatches. If paint were the only tool I had I swear I would be just fine. These British colors are my favorite, because of the limited choices (all options are good), and the moody descriptions. For example:  Green Smoke No. 47 - “An uncertain green/blue/grey color popular in the second half of the 19th century.”

4. Pinboard.  So much of my job is about combining beautiful things that other people have made, and I couldn’t live without a surface where I can see, for instance just how a pink velvet looks with an olive ribbon and a geometric wallpaper.  I am constantly adding and subtracting, stealing and editing.

5. Pom Poms. I love having poms of all shades ready to pop into a scheme.

 

Five Favorite Tools No. 1: Pamela Baron

I'm excited to announce that today I'm launching an ongoing series called Five Favorite Tools. 

Like so many, I spend a great deal of my days thinking about the best way to balance my time, and how to structure my art practice so that I can fire up my creative brain efficiently when I have time to work. I've recently come to realize just how important having the exact right materials at hand is to this aspect of my practice-- specific brushes I love, and that feel great in my hand, paint that I can't wait to squeeze onto my palette, a messy palette that I want to jump back into, my favorite paper. When I sit down to make art, the physicality of these materials activates my senses, wakes me up, and makes me want to get started.

In thinking about these questions, I became curious about the ways other artists approach their tools and materials. What are the tools that are super familiar? Which ones are essential? What tools make someone want to dive into their work, and why? Are there special or rare tools that are particularly important? These particulars are super interesting to me, so I decided to delve a little deeper by asking friends, fellow artists and other creatives to participate in this project. I asked the generous folks who said yes to send me pictures of their five favorite tools and answer a few brief questions. Then I illustrate the objects, and share them with you every other week here on my blog and over on Instagram.

Though I'm just getting started with this project, I'm thrilled and fascinated by what I've received so far. These talented, wonderful, imaginative people have sent in thoughtful and thought-provoking descriptions of their tools, and why they matter so very much to what they do. I can't wait to share them with you.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the Five Favorite Tools of Oakland-based artist Pamela Baron.

©Lindsay Gardner

 

I am fortunate to have gotten to know fellow Oakland artist, Pamela Baron, in the past year. She makes delicate and whimsical watercolor and ink paintings, and is well known for her detailed paintings of funky Bay Area homes. Here, Pamela describes her five favorite tools, why they're important to her and how she uses them. 

1. My brushes. I use Raphael 8404 Kolinsky Sable brushes almost always in the 3/0 or 2/0 size. My work involves a lot of details and line work so I need the precision of a kolinsky sable brush.  I usually have about 3 or 4 of the same brush that I rotate between. I also have one junk brush with firm bristles that I use to mix paint. My brushes live in a small ceramic house that I found in a vintage store when I first moved back to the Bay Area in 2011. When I saw it in the store, I couldn't believe that I found something that looked like one of my paintings come to life.   

2. My paints. I am obsessed with Schmincke but I also use Daniel Smith on occasion. I discovered Schmincke in college (well, watercolors in general) while I was studying abroad in Rome. In my terrible Italian, I asked the local art supply shop owner what his favorite product was in his entire store and he gave me a pan of Schmincke watercolor. I spent that summer falling in love with watercolor. I love the vibrance of the paint and how thickly I can paint it if I want. This set is special to me because I have been coveting it for YEARS and just this past November I was finally able to afford it so I bought it for myself as a birthday present. I do a lot of mixing in my palette for my own artwork, but for my clients, all paint gets mixed in tiny jars and labeled.

3. My sketchbook. This is a new obsession for me and I am still on the hunt for the best sketchbook with watercolor paper in it.

4. My Fluid Watercolor Pads. I love to experiment and I go through paper rather quickly so this is the most economical watercolor pad I've found. I also like their orange covers. I used to use Arches, but they were so pricey I felt bad whenever I made something not good with them. I find that I paint more often with the Fluid pads. For special projects or for house portraits I use Sennelier watercolor pads which are the best.  

5. My black Acrylic Artist's Ink by Daler Rowney. I put it into a glass jar with an eyedropper top. I think most people assume my black line work is a pen, but it's brushwork with my 3/0 brush. I squeeze a drop or two from the dropper into a bottle cap and run my brush along the ridges to get the perfect amount of ink on my brush. My husband brews and enjoys beers so I have an endless supply of them. (It's also nice to think of him during the day while I work.)

 

Studio Tour: Before & After

Before

Before

 
After

After

 

When we moved into our house in 2015, the space that is now my studio was a sunroom annex off of what is now our daughter's bedroom. As you can see, it was a tad dingy and VERY yellow. After much consideration, we decided to build a dividing wall, which made the bedroom smaller and created a tiny hallway conduit. Et voila: my studio! It's not huge, and it gets pretty warm sometimes and frigid at other times. But, this small, well-lit, breezy space is all mine! I can even close the door when I leave, so that when I return everything is still in the same place (a key factor when sharing a house with two curious kids under the age of five). It's quiet, bright, and my generous windows face the yard, which someday will be even lovelier and full of shady trees and fragrant blooms, as I like to imagine. Having this space, separate from all the distractions of the rest of my domestic life, has been key to me being able to make art these past two years. I feel so grateful to call it mine.

Take a gander below to see more pictures and details about how I organize my space.

Looking in from the hallway we made when we separated this sun room from the bedroom. I use a lot of hot pink artist's tape. And I use a vintage letterpress tray to keep my paints (semi) organized. We collected the posters from concerts at the Fillmore over the years.

Looking in from the hallway we made when we separated this sun room from the bedroom. I use a lot of hot pink artist's tape. And I use a vintage letterpress tray to keep my paints (semi) organized. We collected the posters from concerts at the Fillmore over the years.

When we moved in, this wall was a wide, shallow closet with a broken sliding door. I took the doors off, and had built-in shelves put in. This is where the bulk of my supplies and flat files are stored. The light fixture is from  Schoolhouse Electric.

When we moved in, this wall was a wide, shallow closet with a broken sliding door. I took the doors off, and had built-in shelves put in. This is where the bulk of my supplies and flat files are stored. The light fixture is from Schoolhouse Electric.

BOOKS! Having inspiring books around me is comforting and helpful when I'm distracted or in need of a little oomph. My shelves are filled with books, succulent plants, prints and special photos. The house print on the upper left was a gift from  Pamela Baron , and the smaller house print is from  Kate Pugsley .

BOOKS! Having inspiring books around me is comforting and helpful when I'm distracted or in need of a little oomph. My shelves are filled with books, succulent plants, prints and special photos. The house print on the upper left was a gift from Pamela Baron, and the smaller house print is from Kate Pugsley.

This window bench doubles as storage. Without it, I'd have no where to put all of my shipping and packing materials. Also, it's awesome for aimlessly staring out the window when I need a break.

This window bench doubles as storage. Without it, I'd have no where to put all of my shipping and packing materials. Also, it's awesome for aimlessly staring out the window when I need a break.

Old-school clipboard solution for tacking up inspiring stuff on the back wall of my studio.

Old-school clipboard solution for tacking up inspiring stuff on the back wall of my studio.

Some of my desktop essentials. Vintage scissors that I inherited from my grandmother. That hot pink tape again. Pretty string. Business cards. Palette, watercolor paper blocks, brushes, water. I collected the small rocks along the window sill with my daughter last summer on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Some of my desktop essentials. Vintage scissors that I inherited from my grandmother. That hot pink tape again. Pretty string. Business cards. Palette, watercolor paper blocks, brushes, water. I collected the small rocks along the window sill with my daughter last summer on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The best seat in the house.

The best seat in the house.

 

It's Business Time

Over the last few months, along with preparing to open my Etsy shop, I have been working on developing my business card. I've looked at a number of inspiring examples, and thought hard about how to incorporate my logo into the larger vision for my brand. In the past year I have worked on several logo and branding projects for amazing clients, but for some reason, it is much tougher to make decisions for my own branding, than it is for me to work from an outside perspective on someone else's branding.  

So, here is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a few designs I have been working on. I want my card to be slightly larger than a typical card format, with enough room to write short, hand-written notes to my clients and Etsy customers on the back. If I go with one of the two with more white space, I'll have room to do a small painting on each card after printing-a hand made touch that I think would make the cards more unique. 

I'll report back soon with the final product! Happy Thursday, friends!

Screenshot of business card drafts on my desktop

Screenshot of business card drafts on my desktop

My Etsy Shop is Open for Business!

I'm thrilled to announce that my Etsy shop is now open for business! Opening this shop has been a goal of mine for a long time, and last night as I pressed the button to officially open the shop to the world, I felt a huge rush!

Check out the shop right HERE!

In my shop, you can buy archival art prints of my illustrations, paintings and drawings, and I'll soon be adding original pieces for sale as well. As many of you know, I love working on custom and freelance projects too, so feel free to get in touch if you have a project proposal.

Thank you all for your continued support, encouragement and interest in my work. The last year and a half has been a wild ride, and I wouldn't have been able to get this far without all of your love! 

Happy Friday, Friends!

   Screenshot of my Etsy Shop Page!

 

Screenshot of my Etsy Shop Page!