Mural Mural on the Wall

Recently I was asked to design a mural for my work. We have been tasked with replacing some of the “canned” artwork that came with our store when it opened. Most of the artwork was painted by a painter (or group of artists) who works for the company and makes similar paintings for stores all over the east coast. They are based in the Boston area and generally get photos of the area and some scenes to paint.

We wanted a new look that is a little more playful for our “candy” section. I was inspired by the Tonawanda history of the carousel, so I worked that into my design. I used artwork and animals inspired by our candies: gummy bears and other gummy animals that we sell (dolphins, lobsters, sea horses, and rock fish)

This is the final painting, installed. It measures 4 feet high by 8 feet wide.

I’ll post details of the painting in following posts. See previous posts for works-in-progress photographs.


Floral Signage: Summer Blooms

Peony season is a short-lived season at the changing between spring and summer. Growing up I always thought of peonies as the harbinger of summer. At TJs they are grown in greenhouses, so we get them a little before “summer” every year.

Card stock and sharpie markers make these signs pop

These signs will be copied, cut out, laminated, and then priced for these beautiful blooms when they arrive.


Portrait of Ladies in Pink and Blue

Recently I shared an in-progress drawing of a lovely lady. Here is that same lady with her equally lovely cohort. I love the different color scheme and the adornments of each of their fancy hats.

Paint on chalkboard

I had a lot of fun drawing this board. I had left room in the center for some lettering and messaging, but I think it works with just the negative space. If you were wondering what is on their eyes, it’s cookie monocles, of course.


Portrait of a Lady in Blue

Often when I am asked to do a semi-permanent sign, I try to focus on animals or food items. I am making signs for a grocery store, after all. Occasionally, however I draw people or flowers. I have been redesigning the signage for our floral section the last few weeks, so I felt inclined to draw a portrait of a lady with flowers.

a lady in blue

This illustration will be featured on the reverse of one of our display “end caps” and will be a semi-permanent fixture in the store. I plan to draw another lady in a different color scheme opposite her.


Floral Signage: Spring Blooms

It’s that time of year at TJs: Ranunculus season! We are lucky to get these beautiful flowers in store for a limited time each year. As we have recently updated our floral department signage with my new illustrated signs for each variety of bloom, I just had to make these signs for the ranunculus.

Made from card stock and permanent marker

These signs will be laminated and then have the price written over the laminate. Then they will be clipped to the individual buckets. Ranunculus come in a variety of colors, and these signs reflect some of the variation in the blooms.


Watercolor Exercise

I am always on the look out for “new” techniques for art making. When I was in college (many years ago) we used a lot of masking fluid for ink drawings in my illustration classes. I decided to try using masking fluid again with some of my lettering.

Watercolor lends itself to masking fluid well. Both are not incredibly easy mediums to control, but they are useful to use together. Watercolor is of course very fluid and the masking fluid can stop the paints from bleeding too much.

I lettered this quote on paper first using masking fluid and made the perimeter out of masking fluid. I let the fluid dry while I decided on the landscape drawing. I then painted over the lettering with watercolor. Once the watercolors dried, I was able to peel the masking fluid off. It turned out pretty well for a small sample. I will probably go over the lettering with a layer of white gouache paint or paint marker.


Cheeseboard Signage: Work in Progress

I was asked to create signage for our cheese department. There are many ways to “build a cheese board” and sometimes those choices can be overwhelming. I tried to make a fun sign that could guide customers and work with any budget.

The tools of the trade
Nearly finished, some chalk lines erased

As you can see, I am working directly on this farmhouse-style wooden paddle (purchased at Michael’s craft store) using Posca brand paint markers. These markers are the best markers for what I do, in my opinion. They come in a range of sizes and colors and they have replaceable nibs.

For every painted sign of any size, I always do a preliminary sketch on paper and sketch out the design using white chalk. As the paint drys and I get further through the design, I wipe away the chalk while the paint stays in place.