Saturday, June 4, 2016

Rabbit Wisdom:

Wild, lithe electric energy. Ever alert and aware. Joyful in the alacrity of their bodies.

Even the most common, overlooked animals have much to teach us humans who have forgotten so much of our wildness. We need only be humble enough to observe and to learn. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrating Earth Day

What a wondrous, intricately beautiful planet we live on. How entrancing are her myriad life forms, how precious of a haven she provides. 

I find nothing more saddening than our disregard of her well-being and our destruction of our animal and plant brothers and sisters. I pray we wake up and learn to be kind and grateful for this Eden we've been given, to be gentle with our impact and conscious of the importance and sanctity of every living being. Without them, we are nothing. 

Thank you Earth, for everything. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Year of the Fire Monkey! I was so honored to do this piece for Shambhala Publications, whose books were my first introduction to Buddhism fifteen years ago.

"May this Lunar New Year of the Fire Monkey burn all our confusions, barriers and separations within us, between us, and the rest of existence. May the fire of wakefulness kindle our deepest aspirations and our deepest prayers. May we rejoice and marvel at the magic of this illusive reality. May we see this world rightly, as it is, without our concepts, limitations, elaborations and fears." 

-Penpa Dolma

Also, a deep bow to artist Robert Beer, whose decades of work has made traditional Tibetan iconography available for illustrators like me to be inspired by.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Peace on Earth and goodwill towards all creatures- not just those who walk on two legs, but those who run on four, who fly through the air, who swim in the sea, and who reach roots into the earth and leaves towards the sun. All life deserves respect and all beings deserve love. 

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"The lovely thing about the unsayable is that it is unsaid. As soon as it is said, it is sayable and loses all its mystery and ambiguity. Art exists so that the unsayable can be said without having to actually say it. We cloud it in secrecy and obsfucation. The mid is free to roam and all things can be imagined, under the cover of darkness. How nice that is. How tired we are of having things explained to us. Of having things said."

-Nick Cave

Monday, July 6, 2015

"What I want to say is
that the past is the past,

and the present is what your life is,

and you are capable 
of choosing what will be,
darling citizen. 

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world. 

And live
your life." 

-Mary Oliver 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"The mission of the artist in an over-technologized society is to call the old magic back to life." 

-Tom Robbins

Friday, February 27, 2015

Good morning world! Here is a new 7x8 ink drawing titled, "Sancta Simplicitas," Latin for sacred simplicity. 

"What I want to say is

that the past is the past,

and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.

And live
your life."

― Mary Oliver, Red Bird

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy belated Valentine's Day everyone! Here's a little cut paper illustration to celebrate the day. Xo.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Oftentimes when I tell people I'm an illustrator, they're a bit confused about exactly what that means. Am I a graphic designer? A fine artist? What is the difference anyway? 

The answer is that illustration is an art form defined not by its medium, but by its context. Illustration combines the masterful creation of art with a practical application, and you can find examples of it all over the public sphere of popular media. Illustrators make images for advertisements, editorials, consumer products, children's books, clothing, movies, video games, comic books, and much more. Illustrators use their ability to visually problem solve and create striking images to manifest their client's ideas and needs.  

A recent job I just finished offers a perfect example of what an illustrator does. I was approached by the lovely and talented Renee LaLonde of Denver's Bakin' Bakery to bring to life an image she had in her mind. She wanted a woman with a rustic homesteading feel to her, wearing an apron and holding a basket full of peaches. Oh, and she wanted the woman to have a pigs head!

Delectable creations by Bakin' Bakery. 
Concord Grape Rosemary Donut... Yum!
Bakin' Bakery does weddings too! 
This offers a perfect example of what an illustrator does because I would have never come up with the idea to draw this image on my own. It was entirely her vision and quite different than anything I'd attempted to draw in the past. With her approval, I added in a wreath of flowers and foliage, comprised of ingredients she often uses in her baking- lavender, sage, prickly pear cactus, and dandelions. It actually proved to be quite a challenging assignment, but in the end I came up with an image that Renee was extremely happy with, which in turn made me extremely happy. 

The pen and ink part, in progress.
It's really rewarding when a client loves the work you've done for them. For me, there's something really meaningful about offering this skill I have for visual problem solving to help bring other people's visions to life. I feel really blessed that I have such wonderful clients like Renee who come to me to create the images for their business. If you're in the Denver area, definitely check out her food truck- she's a delightful lady and her food is not to be missed!

The finished image! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

I'm excited to share my first entirely digital illustration, which just happens to be for a beer label. Beer is in my blood- my father co-founded Boulder Beer, the first microbrewery in Colorado back in the 70s.

My dad (center with his hand on the motorcycle) and his unruly friends, around the time of the founding of Boulder Beer.
I have vivid memories of being a small girl and touring the brewery, walking beneath the towering shiny metal cylinders and inhaling all the mysterious earthy and rich smells. I hope a sense of that magic and wonder was communicated in this image. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

In honor of the holidays I present to you a few fun little paper cuts inspired by the cheer of the season. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm flattered to announce that one of the textile designs I did for The Om Collection has been picked by Yoga Journal as one of the best yoga pants of 2014! Visit the page here!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I know I've sung their praises before, but I just have to mention once again how honored I've been to work with both the beautiful songstress Ayla Nereo and her partner The Polish Ambassador. This duo exemplify so many inspiring qualities, whether in their creative effulgence or in their genuine efforts to make a positive impact in this world. Earlier this year, they transformed their fall tour into what they called The Permaculture Actions Tour, where they organized thousands of people to volunteer within their own communities on projects that ranged from planting trees to transforming unused urban lots into community gardens. It was a brilliant idea to get the people who attend concerts and festivals to put their energy and numbers to use for a greater good. Here's their Kickstarter video from before the tour:

The Permaculture Action Tour turned out to be a huge success, and many communities across America benefited from the positive impact. TPA and Ayla are continuing to find ways to spread environmental awareness, permaculture wisdom, and the inspiration to join together to be stewards of this planet. I was delighted to work with them both yet again to create the poster for The Roots Gathering, an event they have organized in Costa Rica in May. 

The image I created is a homage to the eminently powerful life-force of this planet and the beauty that springs forth from it. The lighting reminded me of a sun rising from behind trees, so I named it "Dawn." May a new era in humankind's history dawn in which we learn the priceless and irreplaceable value of this Earth and the plants and animals who share it with us. 

In other news, I was asked earlier this year to display my work at the Academy of Art University's library in San Francisco. As part of the semester long show, the library conducted an interview with me, which you can read on their website here, or below, if you care to know a bit more about me!

Where were you born?
I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado where I garnered my deep appreciation of nature from a childhood spent enveloped in the forests and glades of the Rocky Mountains. The formative experiences I had in the dense woods and sun-dappled meadows of these mountains heavily influenced both my paradigm and my visual interpretation of the world. This connectivity helped me develop an acute awareness of detail. The fluorescent dabs of chartreuse lichen on cold, grey granite, or the delicate follicles of soft downy hair on the unfurling frond of a fern delighted my eyes and taught me about beauty. It was in nature that I learned about art, through the symmetry of a butterfly’s wing or the iridescent greens and reds of a ruby throated hummingbird’s tiny feathers.
When the tides of my life pulled me away from the Colorado mountains I so loved and placed me into the chaotic cacophony of a California city, I began to understand that the experiences I had as a child were uncommon to many who didn’t have the fortune to grow up amongst the trees. Reflecting on this, I began to understand my purpose as an artist. I feel that is my role to visually depict the sacredness of the human experience, especially as manifested in nature, so that others may connect to this powerful source of abundant primordial magic. In my art I strive to provide a window into the sacredness of the ordinary world and the latent spiritual potential of every human individual.
What is your major at AAU?
I’m working towards a master’s degree in Traditional Illustration. I also have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in Editorial Journalism and have written for a wide array of publications, including JuxtapozHi-Fructose,Climbing Magazine, and Elephant Journal.
How would you describe your work to someone?
I strive to capture the organic framework that makes up the world we live in, the underlying patterns that become visible in elevated states of consciousness. While my work is constantly evolving, at the moment I have two very distinct styles I’m working with. Both styles are very design-based with a graphic sensibility. One style uses cut paper and is more geared towards children’s books, while the other style is predominately pen and ink with intricate detail and allegorical content. I like to explore the design potentials created with dynamic symmetry while using imagery borrowed from nature- flowers, birds, fish, animals, trees, etc.
Who or what influences your work?
Although I find inspiration in thousands of places, nothing influences my work or my perception of the world as much as my daily meditation practice. I’ve been studying Tibetan Buddhism for a little over a decade and have attended numerous meditation courses including a month long retreat. Nothing focuses and cleanses my perceptions as powerfully as meditation does. It’s like wiping the dust off of a pair of glasses- suddenly you notice the small beauties and intricacies all around you. I also find that meditation greatly heightens my creative powers, as well as my ability to concentrate.
As far as other artists go, I find inspiration from artists of the past such as William-Adolphe Bourguereau, John Singer Sargent, and John William Waterhouse. I’ve always been inspired by Frida Kahlo and Georgia O Keefe, not only for their art, but also for their boldness as female artists and fearlessness with which they lived their lives. I’ve been very influenced by Alphonse Mucha’s design sense and am a fan of Maxfield Parish and J.C. Lyendecker. Contemporary artists that I admire include John Baizley, David Hale, Nicomi Turner, Josh Keyes, James Jean, Jeremy Mann, Nikki McClure, Emily Hogarth, Nimit Malavia, Sylvia Ji, Tiffany Bozic and Joao Ruas.
I find a lot of inspiration in literature and poetry, as well as in music. I am also inspired by strong emotions, whether it be sorrow or joy, happiness or loss, love or grief; I find they provide potent creative fuel. My ultimate muse is found in nature- in redwood forests, granite mountaintops, desolate deserts, or the vastness of the sea.
What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?
My process begins first with inspiration, which comes sometimes as vague and fleeting images that flash before my open eyes. I attempt to capture these with quick and messy sketches that would be intelligible to anyone else. The next step is generally collecting reference photos, which can sometimes be the most time-consuming part of my process. For my pen and ink drawings, I’ll often use Photoshop to test out compositions before starting a pencil drawing, which I’ll eventually ink. Recently, I’ve started scanning my finished pen drawings into Photoshop to color them.
My cut paper illustrations come much more organically to me, and I often just draw the designs straight from my head without reference. The process of cutting the paper, then assembling and gluing the layers is extremely tedious and time-consuming though.
What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.
I’m planning on graduating in December of this year. Between now and then I have several commissions I’m working on, including a few album covers and concert posters. I typically spend every break from school traveling, rock climbing, and being out in nature as much as possible.
The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.
Marisa Ware’s interview was conducted by Audrey Ferrie, Library Director, in January 2014.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween and final day of #Inktober! This piece, "Effulgent Flux," began as a simple pen and ink drawing, so it seemed appropriate to finish off the month with and to celebrate this day of remembrance for those who have come before. May we embrace the ephemeral nature of our precious lives; may we live and love fully while we still have breath in our lungs and warm blood in our veins. 

My dear friend and ardent yogi Matt Champoux wrote a beautiful interpretation of the visual imagery of this piece, which was a delight for me to read. I love hearing what other people see in my work, especially when it is in line with what I was trying to convey. While I may not have been aware of the specific meaning of the imagery I chose, Matt's interpretation of this piece as a conversation on impermanence and the myriad variety of appearance is spot on. 

He writes, 

"This piece illustrates the twin wings of the dharma practice and the inseparability of compassion and understanding the interdependence of all phenomena. The skull powerfully us of our own ephemerality, which is the common fate for all of creation - change and impermanence. The swan shows the gentleness required as we begin our journey on the spiritual path, but it is also the true nature of all awakened beings. The swan is also a coded image referring to the unspoken mantra that rides on our breath - the japa ajapa mantra - which calls out to Shiva, or pure consciousness, as the nature of our true self.  The snake is a potent representation of the ferocity required to cut through our deluded perspectives of the conditioned mind. It is also symbolic of the primordial power of creation and harkens back to the imagery associated with tantric yoga and kundalini worship. It's venom represents the poisoned confusion of samsara, or the wheel of cyclic existence. The butterfly holding it all together reminds us of the great benevolence underlying the process of all yoga practices rooted in tradition and the fire of sincere inquiry."

In closing of this month, I'll leave you with this sweet little morsel of beauty and truth:

"You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret - you return to the beauty you have always been." - Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#Inktober Day 30, "Silence."

"Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long
conversation in my heart. Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,
yet already I have given a great many things
away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,
except the prayers which, with this thirst,
I am slowly learning."

-Mary Oliver

Monday, October 27, 2014

Inktober Day 27... a little owl to be finished tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#Inktober Day 25, "Progeny." 

"In darkness things merge, which might be how passion becomes love and how making love begets progeny of all natures and forms. Merging is dangerous, at least to the boundaries and definition of the self. Darkness is generative, and generation, biological and artistic both, requires this amorous engagement with the unknown, this entry into the realm where you do not quite know what you are doing and what will happen next. Creation is always in the dark because you can only do the work of making by not quite knowing what you're doing, by walking into darkness, not staying in the light. Ideas emerge from edges and shadows to arrive in the light, and though that's where they may be seen by others, that's not where they're born." 

-Rebecca Solnit, from The Faraway Nearby

Friday, October 24, 2014

Inktober Day 24- a work in progress.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#Inktober Day 23, "Luna."

"The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes. 
And as I love you, the pines in the wind 
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire."

-Pablo Neruda, from "Here I Love You"

Monday, October 20, 2014

#Inktober Day 20, "Through the Gates."

"Perhaps the death mother like the birth mother
does not desert us but comes to tend
and produce us, to make room for us
and bear us tenderly, considerately,
through the gates, to see us through,
to ease our pains, quell our cries,
to hover over and nestle us, to deliver
us into the greatest, most enduring
peace, all the way past the bother of
beyond the finework of frailty,
the mishmash house of the coming and going,
creation's fringes,
the eddies and curlicues."

-from "An Improvisation for Angular Momentum," by A.R. Ammons

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#Inktober Day 19, "Messenger."

"My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth
and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,
over and over, how it is that we live forever."

-Mary Oliver

Saturday, October 18, 2014

#Inktober Day 18, "Ancestor."

"Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.
Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.
Be still, they say.
Watch and listen. 
You are the result of the love
of thousands."

-Linda Hogan

 It's so neat to see past creations of mine showing up in the world independent of me. Yoga Journal just posted a few photos of one of the leggings I designed for The Om Collection (see the rest of the article here). This was from my first foray into textile design, and I'm excited to say that I'm working on another set to be released in the near future!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Inktober from yesterday, Day 16, titled, "Sky Walker." 

While that may sound like a Star Wars reference, in this case it's referring to a dakini, a female spirit in Tibetan Buddhism. Dakini translates to "she who traverses the sky," "she who moves in space," "sky walker" or "sky dancer." Dakinis represent enlightened energy in feminine form, evocative of the movement of energy in space. Though generally of a volatile or wrathful temperament, they act somewhat as spiritual muses or inspirational thoughtforms. May we all be visited by a dakini today! 

“In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.” 

-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today I had the opportunity to do live art for the first time at Morning Gloryville in San Franscisco. It was a really great experience and I'm excited to do it again next month! As an artist, I end up spending so much time alone in my studio, drawing in solitude. While I love being immersed in my own mind and imagination, it was a really refreshing change to be creating in the midst of a packed dance floor, my easel shaking from the bass of DJ Rachel Torro's beats. 

In other news, here are the last few days of Inktober drawings!

In progress! 
"We do not do this easily. We have lived so long in the heaven of touch, and we maintain our mutability, our physicality, even as we begin to apprehend the other world. Slowly we make our appreciative response. Slowly appreciation swells to astonishment. And we enter the dialogue of our lives that is beyond all understanding or conclusion. It is mystery. It is love of God. It is obedience."

-Mary Oliver

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#Inktober Day 11, "Night."

Oh, and there's Night, there's Night, when wind full 
of cosmic space 
feeds on our faces...

Many a star
was waiting for you to perceive it. Many a wave
would rise in the past towards you; or else, perhaps, 
as you went by an open window, a violin 
would be utterly giving itself. All of this was

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 10, 2014

#Inktober Day 10, "Wet With Rain." Borrowed from what may have been a song: "No Guru. No method. No teacher. Just you and I and Nature, in the garden, wet with rain." 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

#Inktober Day 9, "Rise."

Ink has always been my favorite medium, though it is an unforgiving one. It requires constant attention- one moment of lapsed mindfulness can have unalterable effects. In this way, drawing with ink is a great awareness practice. I've really been enjoying the Inktober challenge so far- thanks for all the support along the way!

"Be humble for you are made of Earth, be noble for you are made of stars." -Serbian Proverb

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#Inktober day 8, "Root."

Sleeping In The Forest

I thought the earth remembered me, she 
took me back so tenderly, arranging 
her dark skirts, her pockets 
full of lichens and seeds. I slept 
as never before, a stone 
on the riverbed, nothing 
between me and the white fire of the stars 
but my thoughts, and they floated 
light as moths among the branches 
of the perfect trees. All night 
I heard the small kingdoms breathing 
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night 
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling 
with a luminous doom. By morning 
I had vanished at least a dozen times 
into something better.