Monday, July 18, 2011

Bunny love.

That's right. I'm in love. With a bunny. 

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a visit to the ever popular Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It happens every year during the second weekend in July. Though I was not accepted to participate this year a few of my friends were and I went to support. It was a great show, but I really can't wait until the construction that plagues the location of the event to be completed so that more artists have the opportunity to participate. Particularly me.

I always go to the show with a little money in my pocket as I know that I will always find something I like and enjoy supporting fellow artists, even on my meager budget. This year I knew the minute I saw the booth that I wanted one of Sonja Ahlers beautiful bunnies. 
Sonja spreads her time around Vancouver, Whitehorse, and Toronto (though I heard that she's not often in Toronto) and has been evolving her amazing bunnies since the mid 1990's. They are made from hand picked vintage sweaters that she boils to felt the fabric and hand dyes. They have been featured in magazines, museums, galleries and movies (namely one that involves a lame shimmery vampire and a lovesick teenager). She uses the earnings on these sweet guys to help fund her other art projects. I've seen Sonja's work at The Magic Pony before, but only one at a time. To see a whole booth of them was almost too much for my heart. 

I have a thing for artsy toys and have a little collection that I've grown over the years.
Sonja's bunny fits in well. Even Ramona gives her seal of approval.
 Sonja uses the extra scraps of sweater to make little shawls. Each one is had sewn with care.
My bunny came in a cute little peach teacup. It makes me happy just to look like.
It seems this purchase opened a floodgate. They say things happen in threes, and I suppose art toy purchases follow in that tradition. This is a hand made, hand painted little guy from a friend of mine, Gosia, who participated in this year's exhibition. I adore him too!
 And just this weekend while at my favourite store in Kensington market, Good Egg, I found this bird whistle. At $4.00 I couldn't say no. The whistle blows (haha!) but the bird is sweet as can be. 
 Now it's time for me to start saving my money for my big trip to New York City. My day job will be sending me to attend the upcoming print show and Ronaldo and I are taking the weekend before as a mini vacation. Until then I've got loads of stuff to do. I will share it all with you! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Biking in the city, Claire style.

Have you melted yet? For goodness sake- go get yourself a popsicle or something before you read this post!

Okay- cooling device in hand? Let's continue. So, new work! I was asked to create a piece for the cover of the Toronto section of the National Post for this passed weekend. Yes, you can still find a copy of it likely until the end of the night of you'd like to see it in person. Otherwise, here are a few shots of it to look at digitally.

Courtesy of Claire Manning
Copyright Claire Manning
So, what do you think? The concept surrounded maneuvering the oddly placed park spaces in Toronto on a bike. I had a great time working on this piece. I chose to hand paint this with acrylic, and then added some touches (mainly the plaid patterns) in Photoshop afterwards. It's been a while since I've done work for the Post. I feel a bit nostalgic creating art for them as they were who gave me my big break and first payed gig as an illustrator. Thanks for the work, Post, and I hope to work with you again soon!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Illustration Mondays.

It's Tuesday!

Today is a vacation day for me. A little relaxation in the hazy summer is an okay thing. After nearly a week off of day job tomorrow will be a bit of a downer. I still have this whole day ahead of me and I plan on making the most of it, including a bike ride and a trip to Chapters to do some potential client research. I figure if they aren't coming to me that I will go to them. Checking out magazine mastheads is a great way to find out who the current art director is. 

Before I get into illustration Mondays, I wanted to share a piece of my weekend with you. 
Originally published on, photo by Sean Kilpatrick AP
Yes, that is me in my finest red Canada day dress, running for my life on Parliament hill in Ottawa amongst the half million that came to see the newly wed royal couple. It really was a case of run or be run over. I ran all the way to the front of the stage, got hit by the wave of people, and then tried to find my group and head back to an open spot away from the die hard Will and Kate fans. Thankfully, no one was hurt. We found a comfortable spot to sit and relax and enjoy the festivities in our nation's capital. 

Now, illustration Mondays. There is a website out there called Illustration Fridays. Every Friday the folks on this site send out a form of inspiration, usually words of some sort. I've decided that much like I'd exercise my body I need to exercise my illustration abilities, so on my Mondays I am creating a quickie illustration study based on their inspirational word(s). The idea is not to make it perfect, just get an idea down and finish it as fast as possible. Here are my first two.

Monday June 27th: Midsummer's Night
Copyright Claire Manning
Monday July 4th: Remedy
Copyright Claire Manning
So far I've found it a fun practice. I will keep posting them here for your viewing pleasure.

Now, off to enjoy my vacation day! Keep cool everyone!