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