Tag Archives: Prints

Featuring: Courtney Khail Watercolor

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Courtney Khail at Alt Summit. Not only is she a total sweetheart, she is also a very talented watercolor artist and stationery designer. I love watercolor art and knew that Courtney would be a great feature on From Rain to Shine. Enjoy!
Courtney Khail Watercolor
1. When did you discover your love for water colors?
To be honest, I can’t remember when I didn’t love them. Growing up, if I didn’t have one of those cheap watercolor sets to play with, I’d just smash up these plum colored berries that grew in our backyard and paint with those. So maybe that was the moment? I still remember how beautiful the different shades of indigo were against clean white paper.  

Of course, I am also incredibly fortunate to have parents who nurtured my creativity from a very young age. They enrolled me in a fine arts magnet school when I was ten years old (I attended that school until I graduated from high school) and when I was 12, they put me in private watercolor classes after school. I think they could see a passion for art in me that I didn’t realize was unusual or special. I think that’s common with artists though. If you’re an artist, that’s just simply what you are. You don’t choose it, it chooses you. So you never really have a moment per say, it’s more of a journey.
2. How did you turn your hobby into a full business?
Does stubbornness count as an answer? Because that and passion started my business. 
In all seriousness, I’m very Type A and as I neared the end of my college career I wasn’t sure what to with my life. I had the belief that success could only happen with a “normal” career path- you know- one with promotions, and raises, and health insurance- but no matter how hard I tried, I just never felt fulfilled in a “normal” job. I always felt as though I was meant to do something else entirely. Around the same time as all of those “what am I doing” questions were plaguing me, my now husband and I were planning our wedding. I couldn’t find anything I liked for our invitations, so he suggested I design them. So I did. And the more I immersed myself in all of it, the happier and more fulfilled I felt. I was drawing and painting again! Making creative decisions! Even when it was incredibly difficult, it was worth it. So with my husband’s constant love and encouragement (which I can’t stress enough just how important that was,) I decided to take the leap into self employment and launch my stationery company. It wasn’t easy, people tried to talk me out of it left and right, but at the end of the day, I loved doing it and I was too stubborn to even entertain the thought that I shouldn’t at least try.
So yea. Stubbornness and passion. (And my incredibly supportive husband.) 
3. When you are struggling with a creative block, what do you do?
If the weather is pretty, I get outside. Hiking, tennis, skiing–anything that requires focus and takes my mind off what I’ve been working on. 
If it’s not a pretty day though, I bake. Since painting isn’t formulaic (or at least not for me) baking calms my mind by giving it specific instructions to follow. If you follow them, then you’ll normally end up with something pretty spectacular. Even more so when you think about the fact that you pretty much just started with flour, eggs, and milk. That sense of accomplishment is key- especially if I’ve spent most of my morning staring at a piece of paper or a canvas thinking “seriously? Come on now. MAKE SOMETHING.” And worse case scenario? You get to eat cookies (or whatever you baked) which is a win in my book.
4. Any advice for someone looking to have an art based career that you wish you had known when you started?
Do your best to separate yourself from your art. At the same time though, give it all of your soul. Contradictory yes, but you have to find that fine line between throwing everything you have into a piece and being able to step back and realize it might not be something that sells, or even that people like. And when you realize that may be the case, you have to be able to force yourself to disconnect with it and not take that criticism as personal criticism. That’s a really hard lesson as an artist because you are your art and when someone criticizes it or doesn’t like it, it can sometimes feel as though they aren’t saying those things about your art, but instead about you. That only makes you defensive though and defensive artists don’t make good art. Defensive artists make scared art–or even worse, they stop making art all together.
5. Who are some artists or designers that inspire you?
Since my list of current artists changes all the time, I’ll stick to the artists that never change. I love the work of Rothko, Pollack, and Clyfford Still. I also love early 20th century modernist photography. Overall I tend to gravitate towards artists with a colorful, modern aesthetic. Very clean, and un-fussy pieces. The type that pull me in with their false simplicity.
6. Favorite color combination?
Black and white–maybe with touches of light blue or moss green.
Courtney Khail Watercolor
[Thank you Courtney! All photos courtesy of Courtney Khail Watercolors]

Glamorous Air France Ads

The new Air France ad campaign combines beautiful imagery and stunning colors to produce glamorous advertisements that look more like retro Vogue photos than something for an airline. Created by the French agency BETC and photographed by Sofia + Mauro, these bold and beautiful ads are stunning and reminiscent of the golden travel years. I wouldn’t mind framing some of those for my walls.
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad
Air France Ad
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad Campaign
Air France Ad Campaign
[Images via Ad Week, Ads of the World + The Fox is Black]


Mast Brothers Chocolate

One of my favorite places I went to while in Brooklyn was the Mast Brothers Chocolate factory + store. Christy, who is totally hilarious and my East Coast soul sister, joined me for brunch and then a walk through the fabulous chocolate factory.
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Mast Brothers Chocolate
My favorite part of Mast Brothers Chocolate is their awesome packaging and wapping. I wish their paper was sold as gift wrap, it is so wonderful! Mast Bros has one employee who is responsible for all of their paper+pattern design as well as their graphic design. Talk about a dream job. How much fun would that be! Sign me up to be that apprentice, because seriously, what is better than excellent design and delicious chocolate! If you are ever in the Brooklyn area, definitely check out their store!

Gift Tags

Last minute gift tags? Sure! I felt inspired by a pixel design on a bag I was given and decided to translate it to various gift tags for your presents. Take a look, and download below!

FR2S-Gift-Tags
Like what you see? DOWNLOAD HERE!

Gobble Gobble

Have a great holiday!
Happy Thanksgiving

Vintage Road Maps

I’ve been feeling inspired by my upcoming trip, and decided to take a mental break on flickr. Check out these vintage/retro road maps, a lot of which were put out by gas stations. Enjoy!

Road Maps of US
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[all images from flickr]

4th of July Designs

I had a great 4th of July weekend, going to the beach, and celebrating with friends. We decided last minute to throw a little get together after I found some adorable plates and napkins at Target. I designed some little print outs + made some confetti to make our place look festive.
FR2S 4th of July print
FR2S 4th of July print
FR2S 4th of July print
I decided to use more muted red + blue for the printouts so that it would all look cohesive with the bought plates and straws.
FR2S 4th of July Straws
I love these paper straws, and decided to add cute little sayings on each of them.
FR2S-Table
FR2S Cup and Straw
Last, but not least, I designed a patriotic-themed menu for our guests including drinks and appetizers we had:
FR2S 4th of July Menu
I kept the same aesthetic throughout all the decorations, and all the guests loved it!
Happy Monday!

Featuring: Milk + Thistle

FR2S & Milk + Thistle
A combination of clean, interesting, and colorful design is one of my favorite styles, as long as it is done well. Maja, creator of Milk + Thistle, has effortlessly nailed all three categories. Her designs and prints are unique and eye catching, and would brighten up any space. I got in touch with the fellow Pacific Northwesterner (Milk + Thistle is based in Portland, Oregon), to pick her brain about her inspiration and influence. Maybe some of her answers will help you next time you’re suffering a creative block.

1. Where do you find your inspiration? What do you do when you have a creative mind block?
I find a lot of inspiration here in Portland as well as my time spent in Berlin. I’m drawn to patterns, textures and geometric shapes. My style is emphasizes simplicity, and modern art. 
FR2S Milk + Thistle
2. How does living in the Pacific Northwest influence your work?
I grew up just outside Portland, in the vicinity of the Columbia Gorge. As a child my family would often hike trails along the gorge. The natural symmetry found in nature inspires a lot of my work and is a great place to go if I have a mind block. Recently, on a drive home, the sky was a gorgeous array of blues and pinks so I took a picture and plan on creating some photo manipulation with the colors and shapes. I’ve also accumulated a large stack of catalogs from my favorite brands that I enjoy browsing from time to time.
FR2S Milk + Thistle
3. Did you have any formal design training? If so, where?
I’m studying Graphic Design at Portland State University. I look forward to taking more advanced classes next year and having more learning opportunities. Tutorials online are also very easy to learn from and great to utilize when you’re in a bind.

FR2S Milk + Thistle
4. What helps you stay true to your design style?
To be honest, my style can be all over the place. I am constantly coming up with new ideas and projects but I consider this to be growth for myself as an artist. I do prints mostly but at the same time I have a ton of other projects on the side. I’ve been getting into printmaking and carving my own stamps which has been super fun for me.
FR2S Milk + Thistle
5. What are your favorite quotes?
“Stay hungry, stay foolish”
1. Be honest.
2. Be yourself.
3. Don’t worry what other people think.
FR2S Milk + Thistle
6. What is your favorite animal?
Dogs! I absolutely adore dogs. I have a ton of pictures of other peoples dogs on my phone.
FR2S Milk + Thistle FR2S Milk + Thistle
How awesome are her prints and photos? A big thank you to Maja for taking some great photos of her work station and design process for the blog. Head on over to her Etsy shop (Milk + Thistle) to browse all of her beautiful prints (I seriously have to stop myself from buying it all; I especially love the LA print). She also has an awesome Instagram and Facebook page so you can follow all her new work and updates. Keep your eye on this designer, I wouldn’t be surprised if her prints ended up in stores across the country. Thanks Maja, and good luck!