The Great White North diorama

I made this small sculptural painting by assembling an ink painting of a Canadian winter scene in layers within a small box. I slipped a light behind one of the layers to give the house a warm interior glow, which can be turned on and off from the exterior of the box. This was a Christmas gift for my hoser best friend. He's pretty stoked.

{ the painting broken into layers in Photoshop }


Illustrated friends + family gift tags

It's like I don't have anything better to do during the busiest week of the year. (But these were a hit. Even Maggie changed her profile picture on Facebook, even though I painted her face covered in cake to accompany the cookbook I illustrated for her for Christmas.)


Family trees

One of my closest childhood friends recently had a baby girl, so in her honor the felt trees I've been making for years now find themselves in the family way, too. I've been experimenting with packaging, but I'm not sure you can buy these mesh bags for quantities less than one hundred thousand and anywhere but direct from China. Anyway, you can find individual trees of different sizes here in my Etsy shop!


Thank you for visiting us at Shop Party!

Thank you for visiting us at Shop Party yesterday! We couldn't have been more pleased with the turnout. James nearly sold out of his charming wooden landscapes, but the rest are available online in my Etsy shop. And I've updated the rest of my online shelves with the greeting cards, totes, prints, and felt trees I have left over, so please stop by! (It's much warmer there than it was in the Round Barn this weekend. I've never been so very cold.)


Sea Poppy stuffed pillows

I collaborated with my printer friend James Williams to screenprint my illustration of a ship in a bottle on these stuffed pillows I whipped up. It's a pretty cozy and tongue-and-cheek way to class up your captain's quarters, if I say so myself. (The nautical flags on the jib sail spell MKLA, of course.)

These will be available at Shop Party tomorrow (Sunday 12/8, 11-4, Deturk Round Barn, 819 Donahue in Santa Rosa), and thereafter in my Etsy Shop!


Beech bags!

Beech bags! These 100% black cotton canvas totes feature screenprints of my pink beech botanical study. They'll be available starting this weekend! Same Shop Party time, same Shop Party channel. Deturk Round Barn (819 Donahue) Santa Rosa 12/8, 11-4.


Gift tags + stickers (+ 100th blog post!)

Another Shop Party sneak peek: Gift pretty all year round! I'll have packs of all-occasion gift tags and 2" circle stickers for sale this Sunday 12/8, 11am-4pm @ Shop Party, Deturk Round Barn (819 Donahue) in Santa Rosa. Below is my favorite one of the set (because they always know before they even open it):

(Also: This is my 100th blog post! If I wasn't so busy working you up into a lather about Shop Party I'd do something to commemorate this joyous occasion. Oh well! Hope to see you on Sunday!)

(Psst. These are now available in my Etsy shop!)


2014 greeting cards

More things I'll have to offer at Shop Party on Sunday 12/8 (11am-4pm) in Santa Rosa at the Deturk Round Barn! I'm of the opinion that you can send New Year's cards at least through March, so best stock up! (These will be available in my Etsy shop starting next week.)


New botanical notecards

I'm getting ready for Shop Party, the annual holiday craft fair in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA, that I mentioned in my last post. Here's a sneak peak at my botanical notecards (sets of 6) available exclusively at Shop Party next Sunday 12/8 at the Deturk Round Barn (819 Donahue) in Santa Rosa! The original studies were done in watercolor with black ink backgrounds, and the printed cards do a great job of retaining the paintings' vibrancy and texture. These come with 100% recycled kraft paper envelopes and are bundled together with baker's twine. Starting next week, they'll be available in my Etsy shop!

Shop Party 2013!

I'm really excited to be participating in this year's Shop Party craft fair in Santa Rosa! Last year (my first) took place at the charming red brick Arlene Francis Center in Railroad Square, and I gushed all about what an overwhelmingly positive experience that was here and shared a super-snappy video of last year's event here. This year's fair should be even better: It's taking place at the historic DeTurk Round Barn (b. 1891!), the West End Farmer's Market will be bustling outside concurrently, proceeds go to the educational public arts nonprofit ArtStart (which my amazing mom co-founded and for which I worked as a muralist for 3 years), I have a bunch of new wares I'm excited about (notecards, totes, and lots of other little etc.--I'll share those soon!), annnnd I'll be sharing my table with my best friend and collaborator, artist James Williams (who makes the. most. awesome. stuff--I'll share more about him soon!). Stay tuned for more info, and I hope to see you there!


2013 Holiday Sale!

I have some new items coming in to my shop next week and I must make room for them! Today only, get 20% off any purchase from my shop with coupon code MKLA2013. Happy Cyber Monday.


Steinbeck, Alexie, Fitzgerald

Sketches of the last three authors we've read in my book club (clockwise from blue: John Steinbeck, Sherman Alexie, F. Scott Fitzgerald). These will be embroidered, but some nuance of the sketches will be lost so I thought I'd share them here (the eraser-topped Prismacolor Col-erase pencils I usually use for editing are fun to draw with too, it turns out). You can see another embroidered author in this series here. Sherman Alexie discussed his mullet (which he doesn't sport anymore, unfortunately) in the New Yorker recently. We love him.


Ontario leaf reconnaissance

After a week of clear, sunny weather perfect for tromping all over the property, it rained on our last day in Kinmount, Ontario. This was the only thing that has kept us from adventuring on foot as we've been doing all week, so we finally settled down in the sun porch to make the art we intended to make all along (after a rainy walk to collect plant specimens to paint, of course).


True North, Brave and Free!

Fall's here, and I say good riddance, bummer summer! It's been a busy season with a little bit of travel and a lot of work and a ton of ugh why no. So I'm pretty excited to blow this tired joint and ring in the coming of autumn in my ancestral homeland with my best artist friend and his family of hosers for a long-overdue collaborative art residency on their lakeside property. Nobody needs a canoe vacation as much as I do. I was just in western Canada in July, but I've never been to Ontario before, and never so far east in fall! I hope there's colors. (*this very inaccurate map is a little homage to Oliver Jeffers, whose work I recently discovered.)


Invited, Attended & Swooned

A few weeks ago I shared with you the wedding invitation suite I designed for some of my favorite and oldest friends (with the help of fancy-pants calligrapher Julie Manwaring of Flourish & Whim). Not long after, I received my invitation in the mail, and it was such a treat to see the whole package all together (even though I helped partially assemble them; still, long-live the delight that is real mail). We had decided on thick satin cardstock for the invitation and RSVP postcard and a lovely watercolor stock for the sash, and they printed up just beautifully.

Last weekend we drove up to sweltering Sonoma County to join in celebrating the big day. Despite 102° heat (fluttering shade sheets, cucumber water, and complimentary spray bottles helped us manage), the ceremony was beautiful, all four parents participated, and Ian's vows made everyone cry (you dog!). By evening the temperature was sultry and perfect, the twinkle lights came on, and we all sat down in two long rows to feast on truly some of the most delicious food I've ever had from Jersey Tomatoes. It was exciting to read along on the menus I designed as the courses were served. We had those printed on the same watercolor stock as the invitation sashes, and they ended up really complementing the bright table runners and bouquets of wildflowers for an effect that was all lush, heady summeriness. It was a spectacular day of new joyful beginnings and I am still over the moon about being asked to contribute and to be present for this amazing occasion. 


Shop Party Video

The good folks at Shop Party released this great video of the craft fair I was involved in last holiday season in my hometown, Santa Rosa, California. Handmade marketplaces such as Shop Party are a great way to support local artists and crafters and connect with your community, and being involved in my first one last year was a really positive experience for me. I gush more about my experience last December here. Check out the video to see some good ol' Santa Rosa community charm, and look for my felt treestiny volcanoestotesnotecards, and art prints around the 2:34 mark!

{ All images and video by Jared. N. Wright }



A dear friend of mine lost her mother, Carolyn, 59, last Monday morning to pancreatic cancer. I had never met her, but I see so much of my friend in her that I hope I was able to capture something of the sparkle and wit and beauty she passed on to her daughter. This portrait will be displayed at her memorial tomorrow afternoon.


California wedding invitation suite: Sonya & Ian

{Invitation front}

I am very excited to have recently completed a project very dear to my heart: a hand-painted wedding invitation suite for some of my oldest and dearest friends. Sonya and Ian and I all grew up in Sonoma County in the North Bay Area; I met Ian in seventh grade and Sonya in tenth. We were all friends in various capacities and the two of them dated for a while in high school before we all spread in different directions around the country after graduation. Now we're all back in San Francisco; they rekindled their romance some years ago and I rekindled my friendship with them and now here we are.

They had the really beautiful, wonderful idea to have their invitations feature a map of places and times of significance for them. This is special in part because so much of their story is about returning: returning to California, returning to each other, returning to the place of their childhoods to officially join their adulthoods together. In fact, their ceremony will be at the home where Ian grew up (and where they had their first kiss 15 years ago). It was really swooning me while I was working on it, and it's not even my love story. (The basketball hoop!!)

{Invitation back. Hand-lettered names and headings by Flourish & Whim. I've changed all the information for the blog version to foil your wedding-crashing attempts, sorry.}
Remember that calligraphy class I was taking a few weeks ago? Haven't I gotten good in just a few weeks' time? Practice, practice, practice! Just kidding. No. All the calligraphy was very graciously provided by another talented friend of the couple's, Julie of Flourish & Whim illustration and lettering studio. She is amazingable and works on all sorts of impressive projects, and these invitations just wouldn't be the same without her touch.

Another element that the couple really wanted to incorporate was pattern, citing Otomi textiles as something they really loved. I took the simplified organic shapes of those traditional Mexican embroideries and the fact that my friends are big hikers and made something that I think really suits them. I spent the bulk of my time during this month-or-so-long project researching and painstakingly painting native/wild plants of the California bay and coastal regions. (Calflora.org was a great and very specific resource.) Pinterest helped me hold all my findings and Color Scheme Designer helped me stick to a color scheme that would lend the whole thing some consistency. Phew!

{Some of my on-screen process}

I am glad I invested all the time I did in noodling around on these plant paintings; I think the result is something that really captures their love of the outdoors and honors this unique section of the world we Californians so love (and which is so significant to their story).

{RSVP card front. Hand-lettered top line by Flourish & Whim.}
{RSVP back. The address pictured is actually of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park,
which I thought might appreciate your visit more than the betrothed would!}

{Paper sash that will be folded around both the main invitation and RSVP cards.
Hand-lettered names by Flourish & Whim.}
{Dinner menu. Hand-lettered names by Flourish & Whim.}

We are having everything printed by a local green printer, GreenPostcards.com, and I pick it all up tomorrow! This has been a fantastic project, and I'm so honored that I was asked to help Ian and Sonya tell their wedding story.

Every petal of blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine. And mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color--not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies . . . 
--John Steinbeck, East of Eden 


Bay Area Bridges

Some simplified versions of the bridges of the Bay Area that I drew for use in a larger map project. I didn't end up using these, but I think they're kind of nice in their own right. (Looks like I forgot to draw the Dumbarton Bridge, though. Oopsie!)


Calligraphy class!

{I am your fanciest, most elderly friend.}
I just finished my second class of a two-session calligraphy workshop at Makeshift Society with the lovely Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls, and I'm so charmed! Hot tea and cookies and meditative letter practicing made for a very pleasant evening. I've always really liked hand-lettering, but my handwriting essentially comes in two styles: caps lock and original flavor. With some practice, I may be able to add calligraphy to my repertoire. After this class, I now have a ton of respect for people who calligraph professionally--or even just adeptly--and a new favorite nib pen. And I'm sure that learning how to draw capital B's totally backward is good for my brain, somehow.

{left: Me, in the corner, looking severe and focused. right: Maybelle!
Photo by Celeste Noche for Makeshift Society.}

{Me trying white ink on a kraft paper bag. Photo by Maybelle.}