I got inspired last week, and I'd had this image in my head for a while that apparently needed to come out, of a man with a red and yellow painted tribal face….. I'm not sure where the image came from, but I guess that doesn't really matter now, does it?

So, in a flurry of paint, I started working on a bunch of different little canvases all at the same time. Here's a peek at a few of them!


That one on the right above (with the pink and red and green face) got painted over because I thought it was hideous and looked like an alien.

I'm excited to see where these experiments will take me! It's fun just messing around artistically without any specific agenda. I don't do it very often, so it felt really good last week.





So, I don't know how it's possible that I've never seen or used a water brush before, but this sweet, simple little tool might just be changing my life. I got some new felt-tip pens, too, and they are just a pleasure to draw with. Having the right tools is really important!

I spent some time tooling around in my sketchbook yesterday and then in Photoshop, trying out the water brush and also some new Photoshop brushes that I bought recently, and I'm officially hooked.

Here's a peek at what that little bear above turned into:


With Bill Murray spurring my along, naturally. ;) (I don't think I'll ever change my desktop wallpaper from this!)

The ICON 8 conference really inspired me to spend more time drawing…. I'm going to do my darndest to become a sketchbook-keeper. Drawing always scares me a little (I have no idea why), but I'm pretty excited to just PLAY and see what happens right now. I'm at a point in my art-making practice where I'm feeling a bit stale in what I've been creating, so I'm really thrilled to have some new tools and fresh inspiration swirling around. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I was so jazzed about art-making (I haven't felt that way in quite some time)!

I also started playing my guitar again a few weeks ago, which is also something that's scared me for a while… I used to play and write songs all the time, and then got so wrapped up in my art career that it just fell away. Every time I picked it up to try to play again I'd end up feeling defeated; my fingers would hurt, I couldn't play the songs I used to be able to play…. but for some reason this time I haven't put it down, and I've been playing and singing again just for the joy of it, even if it's hard and I'm rusty. And it feels so good! Facing fears + playing + doing things that make me feel joyful seem to be themes in my life lately. Hummingbirds keep showing up, reminding me to be joyful and take everything a bit less seriously….. I am paying attention!






I meant to post these new hamsas yesterday (since I typically post new stuff on Wednesdays), but I was distracted by nervousness when I woke up -- I gave a talk about licensing at the ICON 8 illustration conference here in Portland yesterday morning, which is something I've never done before, and oh my goodness was I nervous!

Thankfully it went really well, and I got a loot of good feedback from the participants. (And it was secretly even kind-of fun once I got started! Who knew speaking in front of crowds could be not so bad after all?) ;)

Anyway, I've got 2 new one-of-a-kind hamsas for you today, before I jet off into the Portland sunshine to do some more conference-y stuff. 

The Hamsa of Protection + Wonder is pictured above.




There's just one of each, so if you'd like to invite some protection, wonder, and/or action into your life, oe of these little beauties is for you!

{Check out all the available hamsas right here.}




{If you don't see the video above, click here to watch}

As you may know, I'm currently working on creating a pattern design e-course called Pattern Camp which will launch this fall. 

I made this fun time lapse video of me creating a repeat pattern in Illustrator, and I love it so much I thought I'd give you a sneak peek and share it with you! Why is watching things in fast-motion so much fun?

If you want to jump on the wait list for the e-course, you can do that right here.

I'll be launching the Pattern Camp website + sending out details to this list about dates, price, registration, etc in the coming weeks. Oh! And you can like Pattern Camp on Facebook, too, if that's your kind of thing. ;)

Enjoy! 




I think we're often taught not to get our hopes up, just in case things don't work out. 

But I think Elizabeth Gilbert is right -- not allowing ourselves to hope + dream + get excited about something with your whole heart sends a message to the universe that says: "I don't trust that this is truly possible." Or "I don't trust that I'm truly good enough to receive what I want." Or "I don't trust that I have what it takes to make this dream reality."

So today I say: LET'S GET OUR HOPES UP!

I want all my dreams to become a reality. Hello, universe, I'm hopeful!

What are you hopeful about with your whole heart today? For me, it's that I can create an amazing pattern design e-course to launch in the fall. This feels really big and scary to me, and I want to fully trust that I can do it and that it will be amazing + helpful to a lot of people. (If you want to get on the wait list for that, by the way, click here!)

What are your big hopes + trust for today?

////////

ps - Happy 4th of July + long weekend to those of you in the USA! I hope tomorrow is filled with backyard BBQs, sunshine, and fireworks. :)





Good morning! I have some brand new hamsas to share with you this morning. This current batch is my favorite so far -- especially the black and white one above. Man, I love black and white.

Each hamsa is one-of-a-kind, crafted lovingly by moi (while watching Ugly Betty reruns on Hulu, if you want to know the real truth... haha). They each have a word/energy stamped on the back, so they'll invite both protection and that special energy into your life. Hamsas are often hung in homes to protect against the Evil Eye.

Just click on the links below each photo to see each hamsa individually, or see all the available hamsas together right hereHope you enjoy this week's goodies and find one you can't live without!




Good morning!

I wanted to start the week off feeling productive, so I set about creating a new repeat pattern first thing this morning. I haven't been creating any new patterns at all lately (which is crazy, because it's my favorite thing ever), so that's got to change.

I'm really enjoying the colors in this one -- nice and summery, which is appropriate here given that it's supposed to be 87 degrees today and a whopping 97 tomorrow. Whoa! Hello, summer.

Anyway, this new pattern is called 'Electra'. Available for licensing! I think this would make an awesome bedspread, don't you? Or curtains on bright white walls!

In other news, Ryan and I are currently in the process of purchasing our house (the one we live in now, so we won't have to move! Hooray!), and one of the first things I'm going to do is paint all the walls white. I CANNOT WAIT.




I've got a new print in the shop today featuring sweet sweet Hummingbird. She's inspiring me lately since my several recent encounters with her. I saw my cat Anika quietly watching a hummingbird that hovered close to her in our backyard last week. Normally she gets all agitated when she sees birds and starts doing this funny quivering mouth thing, and her tail starts thrashing, but she just sat and quietly watched this teeny, hovering bird. It was such a beautiful, quiet little scene to witness. 

I've been playing around with mixed media elements in my paintings, glueing in bits of paper and collage elements. You can see a bit of a map mixed in there. I'm excited about experimenting with these techniques and seeing what unfolds in my work.

You can find the new print right here in my shop.
Hope you like it!




To celebrate the solstice over the weekend, some friends and I drove out into the Columbia River Gorge, crossed over the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington, and visited the ancient petroglyphs (rock etchings) + pictographs (rock painting) at Horse Thief Lake. In particular we went to visit Tsagaglalal (also called She Who Watches) -- that's her above. She sits looking toward the Oregon hills, watching over the river. The legend goes:

A woman had a house where the village of Nixluidix was later built. She was chief of all who lived in the region. That was a long time before Coyote came up the river and changed things and people were not yet real people. After a time Coyote in his travels came to this place and asked the inhabitants if they were living well or ill. They sent him to their chief who lived up on the rocks, where she could look down on the village and know what was going on.

Coyote climbed up to the house on the rocks and asked "What kind of living do you give these people? Do you treat them well or are you one of those evil women?" "I am teaching them to live well and build good houses," she said.

"Soon the world will change," said Coyote, "and women will no longer be chiefs." Then he changed her into a rock with the command, "You shall stay here and watch over the people who live here."

All the people know that Tsagaglalal sees all things, for whenever they are looking at her those large eyes are watching them.

-"Stone Age on the Columbia River" by Emory Strong, 1959  (via lensjoy.com)

062114-solstice3

There were a lot of other petroglyphs and pictographs to see in the area, too. I loved the owl above, and this funny guy, who our guide told us was a water spirit:

062114-solstice2

Here's a wonderful deer etching:

062114-solstice4

And high on the rocks along the trail, we saw a lot of these red paintings, often with red wavy lines indicating water, rayed arches, people, and animals. Isn't it amazing to imagine what these Mative American's lives were like?

No one quite knows how old these rock paintings and etchings are, but we did learn that the Columbia River Gorge has been inhabited continuously for 10,000 years -- incredible, right?

Apparently the walls of the gorge were/are covered in these types of paintings, but many of them were covered when The Dalles Dam was built in 1959 and the water levels rose. What a shame.

062114-solstice5

This visit piqued my interest in ancient cave paintings -- have you seen any of these ancient artworks anywhere in the world? Do tell!

On the way back we stopped at Horsetail Falls (also in the gorge) and went on a short hike from there up to Ponytail Falls. This is Horsetail Falls:

062114-solstice8

And this is Ponytail Falls:

062114-solstice6

There's a path behind Ponytail Falls on which you can walk, AND you can go in! So we did:

062114-solstice7

It was cold and exhilarating! What a way to celebrate the solstice. I am SO glad it's summer!



I painted over this little canvas so many times, I thought I was going to have to throw it away. I wish I had a before photo for you -- it was truly hideous at the start! (I'm not being mean to myself here -- sometimes this happens, where a painting is just plain bad in the beginning. All part of the process! I'll never forget a painting professor of mine telling me in college that you have to be willing to make the bad art in order to make way for the good art. So true.)

The canvas sat staring at me for weeks, taunting me in its ugliness, until one day I picked it up and glued some paper onto it. And then started painting some red leaves, and a white bloom.


And then a donkey showed up (inspired by my trip to Morocco and a recent visit to Apifera Farm for Pie Day!) -- can you see him?



And here's the finished piece. It's called 'Be Here Now' -- prints are newly available in the shop right here.

It's a good feeling when I can transform something ugly into something I love. :)
Hope you like it!






© 2015 jessica swift, LLC / website coded by emily thompson