Other than watercolor, one of my favorite mediums to work in is graphite pencil. I don't even consider myself to be a strong sketcher or drawer. But when I find something with a beautiful form, I can't help but press my fingertip onto a surface to trace the outline of whatever I am seeing. This can be a coffee mug, a leaf, a chair, or a building.
The extent of my knowledge on architecture comes from basic art history classes I took in undergrad. But you don't need to study art to admire it! So, recently, I was trusted with a commission project to create a London landscape. I've been to London. It is bustling, regal, timeless, and gloomy. My clients were interested in a painting of some of the older buildings like Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, etc, as opposed to the newer construction (like the Shard or the Eye). They also wanted to capture the moodiness of the city.
I started off by sketching some buildings on a large sheet of paper (42x28"). Then I thought of what palette to wash this piece with. I thought back to the gloomy skies, murky waters, and tall stone buildings. Grays, browns, blues, and the occasional ray of sunshine. I also had to add my signature pizzazz--some flowers! To honor the theme, I went with some English flowers--some Canterbury bells and daffodils. And even if it didn't match the palette we HAD to add the Union Jack! Here is the final piece!
Last December, I trekked out to South Africa with my partner, Jonathan. Jonathan was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, through his college years. So we got to ditch the Lonely Planet books and followed the compass of his memory and adventure!
One of the places we stayed was Mabula Game Lodge, a near-14,000 acre wildlife reserve for indigenous game and plants. We saw cheetahs, toucans, zebras, warthogs, hippos, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, antelope, baboons, rhinos, all in their natural habitats.
One of the best ways to see the wild animals was by horseback riding. Riding a horse allows you to get close to the animals without scaring them, as they can feel threatened by headlights or hearing a car engine. That's when I was able to get on foot with my tour guide and hear the story about a flower in the savannah called a morning glory.
Most morning glory flowers unravel into full bloom in the early morning. The flowers usually start to fade a few hours before the petals start curling inward, sort of like they are sleeping. Some morning glory flowers are night-blooming.
Of course, since my passion is capturing nature, I had to paint this flower! As soon as I made it back to the US, I pulled out a huge 22.5 x 30" sheet of paper painted away. I wanted to catch the bright violet tones of the flower and contrast them with something dark. I went with shades of blue and accents of yellow to symbolize nightfall and daylight, when the morning glories bloom and shrivel. I also added some curling flowers in the mix too.
Check out the slideshow below on how I made this piece! The original "What's the Story, Morning Glory?" piece is for sale in my storefront, along with print copies!
After I quit my core "9-5" job about 5 months ago, I resumed my passion for painting as a means to stay productive. I'll also put it out there that painting was my way to cope with numerous rejections during my job search.
I've spent my free time traveling abroad these past few months. Some places I've gone are England, South Africa, Mauritius, and Hawaii, absorbing really different atmospheres and cultures. In all of my travel destinations, I always make a point to sit with nature, whether that be a small botanical garden, a major hike, waterfall, someone's back yard, whatever. I take when I can get, because nature keeps my mind focused and still. And while traveling, painting flowers and landscapes are a simple way to practice because they're everywhere.. Even if there is just a single flower budding out of a sidewalk, I'm inspired!
I appreciate their stillness, diversity, delicacy, functional anatomy, geometric shapes and symmetry, and roles in our ecosystem. I appreciate their restorative properties in medicine, their place in folk culture, and their universal presence.
This is a glimpse of my most recent piece called "Rain Smell". The inspiration for this piece comes from the lovely Ali'i Kula Lavender Farms in Maui, Hawaii - USA. The farm is at the base out of Mt. Haleakala, a 10,000 foot mountain covered by cloud. In a few words, the day was sweet, herbal, gray and dewy.
The feeling of being there that day can be likened to a lazy and rainy Sunday. Do you like bubble baths? So think of when you have a day off work and just want to stay inside your home all day. Maybe you have free time to pamper yourself with a nice fizzy bubble bath. And afterward, you slip into your favorite sweat pants and blanket. The farm was kind of like looking out your window at the end of that Sunday, seeing a cloudy and gray sky, and still feeling totally rejuvenated and happy inside.
For my palette, I wanted to capture that warm feeling and juxtapose it with subdued, dark colors. I used big brush, drippy, cloud-like, running water technique to depict the dew drops on the leaves. And finally, below here is one of my favorite arrangements at AKL farms, and the visual inspiration for the succulents and little white flowers in "Rain Smell".
Thank you for reading, friends! Shine on!
Hello and welcome to my blog! This space will be maintained to share some behind-the-scenes photos and inspiration sources for my artwork. But first, please let me introduce myself!
My name is Sierra. I'm a 26-year-old introspect, recently getting comfortable with calling myself an artist. I was born in the US of A to a first generation Thai-American father, Filipina mother, and have thus learned to hold my own in a feisty family of comedic bullies and to cook spicy food with equal vigor. My biggest life goal is to have my own solo art exhibit, and that is a current work in progress.
My favorite emoji is the black heart 🖤. You can usually find me at the gym, fawning over the nearest puppy, or exploring the nearest bar for a dark dark beer. I have at least 4 flavors of ice cream in my freezer at any given time, and counteract that sweetness with heavy doses of music in the dark wave, electronica and melancholy variety.
Music is the air to my fire. It's a tremendous source of inspiration and helps maintain the flow when I'm painting. My favorite musicians are:
My humor is off color but I still manage to have the best friends and family in the world. They keep me going and help make this art pursuit easy.