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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My First Products Ever have been Released!

Woo hoooo!
I'm so delighted today to share with you my very first products ever, that have been released earlier this year and are now available for wholesale and purchase!

It takes an awful lot of time for a design or an artwork to hit the shelves! Up to two years actually!
So the products below have been designed, and the designs sold to clients, about 1 1/2 year ago. This job definitely makes you practice patience, which is a very good thing indeed :)

These ornaments embellished with clear gem stones were especially designed for Kurt Adler, I'm so happy with the finished product! They made a fantastic job with all of the details of my designs.
They are part of their Baby Bling Collection, and you can spot sweet booties, a pacifier, a milk bottle, a cute hoodie with the motto "This Baby Rocks", a "Princess" hat, "Spoiled Rotten" mittens, tiny shoes, and I had to include a pair of ballet slippers and lots of little hearts, of course! All designed by me  with much love and manufactured by Kurt Adler with lots of care- hope they'll bring you a smile!
They make a wonderful gift for a new mama or to welcome a baby girl to this wonderful world!


These are my "babies" as they were the very first designs I licensed immediately after entering the licensing world! They make me smile big each time I see them- they will always, always remind me that dreams do come true!!! I was living at my parents home when they licensed, and I bet my Mom and Dad will never forget my reaction. Kim was there to celebrate with me, too, and we made such happy dances on the carpet singing and dancing and smiling together.

All these cute boxed cards, manufactured by LPG Greetings, are available for wholesale and purchase.
I love how they turned out!

I hope they'll spread cheer and love the upcoming Holiday Season!

Lots and looots of other products designed by me are on their way to the stores (but as I told you, it requires a lot of time to finally be available for purchase, even if I have already seen them :)). Will tell you, and show you, when I am allowed to!

Monica x

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Risk your Heart and Blossom.

It's just risking our hearts, chasing those big big dreams hidden inside...

... answering a loud "yes!" even if it's tremendously scary at times...

... that we can open up to all of the wonderful possibilities out there, and eventually blossom!

If we don't risk, there's no opportunity to bloom. With our fears of inadequacy, fears to be disappointed, or rejected, fears to fail, we are blocking all of the good coming our way. We feel the pain of keeping the petals trapped into the bud, but it's just too scary to open up and live. out. loud. Let the beauty explode, let the world admire our colors and partake of our joy. I know well, because I have done that myself for many years. 

What if we just risked our hearts instead... and blossomed?

Monica x

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Joyful Simplicities.

A very simple, gorgeous country bouquet with picked flowers and herbs, to adorn your home with... one of my favorite joyful simplicities for sure!

Peonies, rosemary, Hydrangea quercifolia, Geranium, Graminae (Poaceae), lilac (Syringa vulgaris).

And kissed by sun beams! Aaaahhhh. Pure bliss.

I'm so loving to admire and pick many wonderful flowers in this glorious corner of the world. There are soo many varieties, and wow they're soo big. Their colors are so vivid, they make me want to grab paper and colors and paint them. I used to sell original watercolors with beautiful bouquets in the past... I may do that again.

I think I have a smile painted across my mouth every single day and all day long! :)

Hope you're having a good week so far!
Monica x

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Art in Somerset Studio Gallery.

I'm happy today to share with you this lovely article published in the current issue of Somerset Studio Gallery.

This triptych (Take the Scenic Route), is part of a larger collection of artworks in aqua shades (one of my favorite colors). The triptych has been published split between two magazines (for editorial needs) and one piece was published back in January in Somerset Studio.

I am a great believer of taking the "scenic route". This artwork is a gentle reminder- to always explore and take detours, live in the present without thinking too much of what will be next, and savor deeply each and every step of the journey. There's so much beauty in this.

Thank you to darling Jennifer Jackson Taylor and Christen Olivarez  and their teams, for helping me put my colors, inspiration and goodness out there into the world! A special thanks to Johanna for the very beautiful pictures among vintage travel ephemera :)

Part of the article about the triptych, Take the Scenic Route. Prints available here.
Monica x

Monday, June 17, 2013

From my English Country Diary.

Last month, I had to run some errands, and decided to take the "scenic route" instead of the fastest one- as I usually do. Not that this is difficult in this picture- perfect Country- quaint corners, idyllic cottages, photogenic country roads and fantastic views can be found everywhere!

Anyway, I was on a quiet, solo- drive and happened to pass through this little jewel of a village (Long Compton, Warwickshire, close to the border with Oxfordshire), not far from where we live . Of course, you won't be surprised to know that I stopped the car and treated me to a little exploration. If you read my blog, by now you must have understood that I'm an explorer at heart! ;)

Here in England, I always feel like I have been thrown into a fairytale book! When you see pictures of such beautiful thatched cottages and English villages, you may be tempted to think they cannot be real... 

... and instead they are!! :)

I have no words to explain you what I feel living in this corner of the world... I just feel in my element so much, and my childhood never- forgotten dreams are so strong, that at times I can barely breathe and stand the excitement! It's a continued oohing and aahing (... very often loud and clear!).
It has been a wild dream of mine since I was little to live in England, among these cottages... I think (and several people have told me, too, surprisingly!) that I am perfectly matching the surroundings! LOL

These places seem to have stopped... time is but a mere convention here, because everything moves at its own pace. And at times, you have the strong feeling that it's not moving at all.

Everywhere you can glance at, everything is abundant and glorious and taken care of. Much love and patience go into those tidy, rich and cheery flower beds. And it's not rare that if you admire them loudly, you can even start a conversation and eventually go away with lots of helpful tips on the most desparate subjects (from gardening advice to recipes to who the most brilliant dentist in the area is and where you can find the coolest antique shop or the best tea room - and things like that).

If you stop and really pay attention, you'll notice that even ordinary things here have a special charm. Nothing is too modern in the English countryside, and even the useful objects are totally integrated in the landscape.

The honey-colored natural stone of the Cotswolds adds to the charm of these villages. It acts perfectly as a neutral background for all of the beautiful colors of the skilfully planted flower beds, gracefully arranged pots, quaint objects you can see everywhere, from colorful doors and artistic sculptures, to hanging baskets, house signs, trellies, benches and so on.

And when I left the village, while driving, all of a sudden I noticed a sea of blue...

... And so I discovered bluebells!

No words to describe the thrill and surprise and amazament to find yourself alone in a bluebells wood!! Wherever you may look, there were thousands of them. It was truly magical. I'm sure there are fairies living in there.

The message of this post is: a little unplanned wander sometimes, and taking a different route from your usual one (both in life and creativity), keeps you open, fresh and enthusiast. And you never know what you can encounter along the way... ;)

Happy Monday!
Monica x

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Etsy Shop is Open!

Hello everyone, just popping in today to tell you my little art shop on Etsy finally re- opened its doors!
There will be originals for sale at very affordable prices soon (mixed media and watercolors), and more and more designs for prints to choose from as I go. I am a very versatile artist, so there will be something for everyone's taste.
On a side note, I will be shipping from the UK from now on.

Some of my designs have been licensed to art prints, so I am not allowed anymore to sell them as prints in my shop, I'm afraid. But you'll find the prints available for purchase in the stores/online in the future.
Just for you to understand, when your work is licensed to make a different product (for example ceramics, fabrics, gifts, etc.) you are allowed to sell prints of the original. This happens with all of my paintings licensed to date, which I am able to sell as art prints in my shop.
Otherwise, you cannot sell but the original.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who purchased from me in the past! The life of an artist definitely is happier and tremendously enriched knowing that the fruits of her love and passion are hanging on someone else's walls, making them happy!!

Here you can see but a few examples of what you can find, as for now.
I hope you'll bear with me if I show the new things as soon as I have them ready for you in the shop. I don't like at all to promote myself, that's why I have an agent after all! I am an artist, and not a seller- but looks like a nonsense to block all of the positive energy, healing and good feelings that are bestowed upon me doing what I love, and not make them available to you, too.

I just want to be an instrument of joy, beauty and inspiration.

To find out more, visit my Etsy shop, thewhitebenchart, here.
Monica x

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Country Flowers of the Month (May).

And May came and went in the blink of an eye!

It brought along wonderful sunny days, blue skies, warmer temperatures, flowers galore, and the occasional grey, cold and damp days were easily forgotten.

Here in the Cotswolds, nature is one month behind this year, due to the unusual, cold temperatures recorded everywhere. Nonetheless, it has been possible to go out for a country walk and come home with beautiful bunches of wildflowers! In May I have bought only a bunch of stocks, and that's it. I have had my home filled with fresh flowers all month long, and they were all picked.
My greatest discovery of this month have been bluebells, I had never seen before. I will dedicate another post to celebrate their beauty.

I had no time to make but very quick bouquets (life's busy here!), and I used the containers I already had on hand. Milk glass bottles, a rusty jug, ceramic jars and mugs. 
I have taken many many pictures of my bouquets (for the vast majority with my iphone) and it was difficult to choose just a few to post on my blog. Should you fancy to see more, I post daily pics here.

Below each picture, you can find both the common name and scientific name of flowers and herbs. I almost always use the scientific name to refer to a plant, so I cannot go wrong, even if in different parts of the world they're called in a different way.

Please indulge the biologist in me (I have a Master degree in Biology, just in case you've missed that!) that urges you to  know how a scientific name is correctly written, as I see mistakes all around the internet. A scientific name is always composed by two parts, genus and species.
The convention states:
1. The genus name is written first.
2. The first letter of the genus name is  a capital letter.
3. The font is always italic (or underlined) or cursive if handwritten.
4. The specific name (species) is written second.
5. The initial letter of the species name is never capitalized.

So for example:
Hedera helix- Hedera is the genus, helix refers to the species. Its common name is ivy.
There are different species of Hedera- Hedera algeriensis, Hedera helix, Hedera canariensis, Hedera azorica, Hedera nepalensis, Hedera colchica, to name but a few.
The genus name can be used on its own, for example Hedera, but the species name must always be paired with a genus name.

Now enjoy some of the country flowers that embellished our home in May!

And so I discovered bluebells... these were all picked at our doorstep!!(Put big smile here).

Just a simple posy tied in string and displayed in a glass bottle... I incorporated feathers for added interest.

Since the half of the month, daffodils were still blooming profusely here in the Cotswolds.

Cow parsley or Queen Anne's lace (Anthriscus sylvestris) is such an eye- catching wildflower, that reaches a considerable height (in our back wood, it reaches my shoulders now!!!). Love its simple, white beauty.

Bluebells or Scilla non-scripta (now with the new classification, Hyacinthoides non- scripta).

Queen Anne's lace with Lunaria annua (or money plant, silver dollars, honesty).

Silene dioica, or red campion.

Matthiola incana, generally called stocks.

Lunaria annua.
Monica x