To start with, here is December! As the final skull for 2014, I think this one may be my favorite (perhaps tied with May). December’s birthstone is turquoise, which I chose to paint in a Lady Liberty-esque spiked crown. I feel it strikes a balance between pretty and edgy (with a dash of tribal thrown in). Forming the band of the crown a wreath of holly blooms and buds. Commonly, December’s birth flower is said to be narcissus, with holly as an alternative. However, as narcissus is just another name for daffodil, which is March’s birth flower. So, not wanting to repeat myself, I went with holly, which is also highly appropriate for the season. The holly flower represents foresight and domestic bliss (which foresight can often be helpful for, right?).
Don’t go yet! I want to leave you with a very sincere thank you to all of you who have stuck by me this year, and those of you who have joined along the way (not to mention my pleased amazement that some of you have been on board with me even longer). I appreciate it more than you will ever know. I hope to have a printed full 2015 calendar with this year’s images available in my shop within the coming week or two, so stay tuned!
Better late than never, right?*
Some say November’s birthstone is topaz, and some say citrine. My mother and eldest sister happen to be November babies, and my mom has always said it was topaz, so that’s what I decided to go with! November’s flower is the chrysanthemum, which comes in many hues. I chose to paint in orange tones to coordinate with the stone, and in honor of all things pumpkin, because who doesn’t love pumpkin? As for their meaning, well, that’s a bit difficult. Red chrysanthemums mean love, and yellow mean slighted love, so let’s just go with a compromise of fickle love (in case you’re confused about how I came to that conclusion, red+yellow= orange, so love+no love= semi-love). And, in case you were wondering, white chrysanthemums symbolize truth. Happy pumpkin season, everyone!
* Allow me to explain. I work at a school (my former middle and high school, in fact), partially teaching ceramics and partially working as costume coordinator and set painter for the school theater productions. No matter how much I resolve to plan ahead and get the calendar done early, there is always more last-minute work to do for the plays than I have anticipated. And so, the last two weeks have consisted of late nights and last-minute prop-making and costume adjustments. I can’t ever let the kids down, so I have to (temporarily) let you down. My sincerest apologies, and thank you, as ever, for your support.
I think that most people who enjoy my artwork will agree, October is the best month. First because Fall is the best season (even though I live in Southern California, where we do not experience much change between seasons, there is definitely a difference in the air), and second because of Halloween. All things dark and creepy and macabre!
And here is October’s calendar, where I’ve chosen to do the largest representation of a gemstone yet: an opal brain. Opal is not easy to paint, and I fear I haven’t done the milky iridescence justice. However, I do like that it makes the skull resemble a pirate wearing a bandana. The marigold is October’s birth flower, which the Victorians said represented cruelty, jealousy, and grief. Not exactly pleasant sentiments, but I suppose if they fit anywhere, October would be their month. Plus, they’re golden, like pumpkins and changing leaves and Autumn sunsets.
See? October is the best.
Happy Labor Day to all readers in the US! I hope (like me) that you have a day off from work (or school) and you are enjoying it. Here’s something else to enjoy: September’s calendar!
September’s birthstone is the sapphire, which I’ve chosen to paint in a trillion cut, in sort of a skewed “third eye” placement. Right next to it is a purpley-pink aster, September’s birth flower, which is a symbol of love. Remind the romantics in your life of that the next time they make a run to the market for a bouquet. Take that, red roses! (Which, incidentally, according to some translations, also represent love, but they’re just so overplayed.)
This month’s illustration puts me in mind of a flamenco dancer, with the big smile and large red flower pinning back the hair… er… Anyway… Here is August, featuring pear-shaped peridots (see what I did there??) and a large California poppy (yay, homestate!). Poppies in general translate to eternal sleep, oblivion, and imagination, which is quite fitting for the flower that opium is derived from. Red poppies, specifically, symbolize pleasure. So, if you ask me, August ought to turn out to be a good one! Enjoy!
July is a wonderful month, for many reasons. Summer is just getting into full swing, fireworks, long days, rubies… Here we’ve got a large oval one, accompanied by July’s birth flower, larkspur, which symbolizes fickleness. Perfectly fitting for a summer fling, don’t you think? Enjoy!
It’s a few days late (everyday life getting in the way again), but here is June! June’s birthstone is the pearl (which I find slightly incongruent, because pearls are not exactly stones), so I’ve chosen to do a little play-on-words and use them as the skull’s “pearly whites.” I’ve never been a huge fan of the typical white, perfectly spherical pearl, so I’ve chosen to give him the look of an avid tea drinker, with mottled pearls ranging from beige to iridescent to black. This month’s birth flower is the rose, a flower whose meaning varies with its color. I painted a white rose, which symbolizes several different sentiments, depending on interpretation, including virginity, chastity, new beginnings, and, as noted in The Language of Flowers by Kate Greenaway, “I am worth of you,” which I rather like. Enjoy!
This may be a new favorite so far! May features an (emerald cut) emerald and lily of the valley as its birthstone and birth flower, respectively. Lily of the valley symbolizes a “return to happiness,” so I hope it brings you joy and good tidings this spring! And don’t you just love the jovial look on this guy’s face (erm, skull…)??
April 1st, and here’s the new calendar! April babies are pretty expensive– their birthstone is the diamond. Diamonds, the hardest mineral on earth, are common tokens of eternity and devotion. When paired with the sweet pea, April’s birth flower, which is an emblem for departure, an interesting dichotomy arrises. Seems like something someone could write a graduate paper on…
Also, I’ve yet to come up with a good April fool’s joke to play on someone. Suggestions are welcome.
Back in November, I was approached by Nina, a customer at Patchwork Show in Long Beach, about creating a special Christmas gift for her sister, an OBGYN in Texas. Nina was purchasing my “U is for uterus” card and wanted to know if I could turn the illustration into a pillow. The black ink drawing was too small for me to enlarge to pillow-size, but I had been meaning to add a uterus to my series for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity! I explained to her that I would like to create an illustration of the uterus including flowers specifically chosen for their appropriate Victorian symbolism. Luckily, she loved the idea, and so I whipped up a sketch:
Once Nina gave me the go-ahead, I made the final painting, titled “Her Majesty”:
I ordered the fabric and received terrible news: it wouldn’t arrive until after the holidays! I felt awful for letting Nina down. Then, unexpectedly, a few days before Christmas, the fabric was delivered to my door step! I immediately sewed and stuffed the pillow (with a lavender upholstery-cotton backing), and sent it off to Texas, where it arrived exactly on the due date.
Here is Nina’s sister, with her new custom sofa accessory:
I very much enjoy custom requests and commissions, I love getting to hear peoples’ stories and why a particular body part is meaningful to them. Do you have a tale to share?
(prints of “Her Majesty” are available on my Etsy)