Saturday, December 13, 2014

Inspired by an interactive piece at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, I made a fun little sculpture in the kids area. The artist Charles Long created a wonderful display with blocks of plasticine for kids (and some adults) to make something and put it out for display. It was quite popular with my boys and I had a great time too! Since Nozkowski has been on my mind, I did a sculpture inspired by him. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Links: Nozkowski

The geometric and the organic in one string of lights.

An amorphous wreath.

This Shibori DIY coincides well with Nozkowski's aesthetic.

This little lamp is so like Nozkowski's amorphous shapes.

A quick and easy Nozkowski-inspired sculpture DIY.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Imagines Nozkowski 80s Album Cover

My parents had an album with a cover that featured a white grid in the background. I studied that cover along with all the others and still remember many of them now, 30 some years later. It definitely proves the strength of visual materials to a young child.
That grid came out in this Nozkowski inspired drawing. I couldn't help it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

After Nozkowski

Pastels are like paint without the mess or the heady smell.  They make a painted drawing.  After a lot of time away I am finally feeling ready to work again.  Nozkowski is still my chief influence right now and so far I am really enjoying the creation of playful backgrounds and amorphous shapes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Research: Nozkowski

Fresh Paint adaptation of Nozkowski Painting.
I've believed that a great way to understand an artist and his/her process is to copy one of their paintings. I chose this one because of the complexity of the background and mix of geometric and organic. Most of his paintings have this dichotomy, but this one is more apparent. 
The bits and pieces I learn about Nozkowski's process is forever inspirational. I especially like this tidbit on his connection to nature.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Lately, I've been uninspired. The busyness of back to school, helping my new Kindergartener with his homework, and new volunteering opportunities have all kept me from my first love of painting and creating. Until......I was digging around in my secret stash of articles, items, trinkets, and other special debris (a.k.a my morgue) when I discovered this old article I cut out of W Magazine a few years back. Apparently, it needed time to steep and showed itself just at the right moment when I'm ripe for ideas. It's an article about the artist Thomas Noskowski. He is an incredible painter who really speaks to my aesthetic. My plan is to research him, his work, his inspirations, find my own thoughts and create a little something of my own. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On Vacation: Paintings

I did these two painting while on vacation. The one above is from Miami. It's the view from a tram. No idea what building it is, I just thought it was very pretty. The painting below was done in Manarola, Italy in Cinque Terre. I was sitting in the middle of an adjacent terraced vineyard and did a quick watercolor. That was definitely one of the more beautiful and memorable travel moments I've had.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vacation: Painting

Okay, I didn't get too weird. It's so hard to do something other than the norm. I love clean lines, color, and bleeding edges. But, I did add pattern which is something I never do and that pattern is plaid which is even more rare. I'd like to think of this experiment as a vacation from my usual way of painting/ drawing. This should make for an interesting week. Maybe I'll even learn something.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vacation: Painting

Blue is a vacation color. Water, calm, the sea, just what one is supposed to experience on vacation. This little watercolor is a work in progress. I want to do something different, out of my element. It's time to get out of my comfort zone. Let's see what I do next.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Research: Vacation

If I could go anywhere for vacation right now, I would like to revisit the tiny island of Torcello. A short ferry ride from Venice, Italy, it's a magical place with gorgeous cypress trees, a small church, small ruins, and beautiful views of the water and other nearby islands. The quiet atmosphere only adds to it's beauty. It just might be my favorite Venetian island.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


With Summer nearing a close I'm feeling nostalgic for past vacations. Though my family is unable to take a vacation now (Kindergarten starts Tuesday for Gio!), I'm thinking about where I would want to go if I could. They say planning a vacation can be just as restorative as going, so I'm going to do just that. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Project: Gyotaku: Fish Printing

Beaches equal the sea and the sea equals fish. Gyotaku is the traditional art of fish printing. The method was originally used by Japanese fisherman to record their catch. It's also a great project to do with kids. Gio and Eamon love it and often ask to do it. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Project: Foam Printed Seashells

Foam plate printing is so fun and super easy. It's a great printing project to do with small children. We've used this technique for many things including thank you cards and gift tags making them much more personal. The beauty of this type of project is that any drawing looks great when it's printed. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prints: Sea Creatures: The Beach

Seahorse, foam print, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
I love doing these little foam prints. They're so simple and easy to do. I'll have to do a tutorial sometime and have my kids do it as they always turn out looking great. Sea creatures make such a great subject since they can be shaped or designed in so many different ways. Maybe it's their simplicity that makes the design so much fun and easy to adapt.

Octopus,  foam print, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Cute Little Octopus,  foam print, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Links: The Beach

Eamon and Gio on a typical day at Muir Beach. Cold!

How to bring the beach to your home.

To drink at a beach party.

dreamy beach holiday.

My favorite beach movie.

Great beach-y read.

Sit outside and enjoy flipping through this and then this.

Perfect to take along to the beach.

Wear this to the beach, but in the San Francisco Bay Area it would more likely be this.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Paintings: Shells: The Beach

Bright Shells, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Iterations, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Watery Conch, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Research: The Beach

Continuing with the beach theme, I've found a few books to help consume me with images and words about the beach. I've been looking at Picasso: Bathers which is a wonderful tome full of Picasso's paintings of the beach. Most exciting are the paintings he did when hiding his affair with Marie-Therese. Noa Noa is a journal written by Paul Gaugin while visiting the islands of Tahiti. It's a fascinating look into a Frenchman's view of island life over a hundred years ago. A great daydreaming books is Seaside Style from Taschen. I like imagining myself in all of these rooms. And, one of my favorite books in the world, A Cabinet of Curiosities with lots of great illustrations of seashells. I can't get enough!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Beach Paintings

Dotted Starfish, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
 I didn't realize how much I was going to love this theme. The beach has so many great shapes, colors, objects, animals, etc. I'm overcome with ideas. This is the first of a batch of sea related paintings and drawings. There will be more!
Pink Jelly, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Clownfish, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Dark Jelly, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Beach: Italy

On the Cinque Terre Trail

Continuing with the summer beach inspiration with some pictures of Italian beaches. They are so beautiful they deserve their own post.

Monterosso, Italy

View from Cinque Terre Trail

View of Amalfi Coast

View of Minori, Italy

View of Capo d'Orso

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Beach: U.S

My sister Teresa sketching atop the mountains above Big Sur.

With summer upon us I'm feeling the need for inspiration from the beach. Rocks, sand, wind, fog, cliffs, seabirds, tide pools, and seashells. The mood of the beach, the cultural history, the color, the beauty. 

Julia Pfeiffer at Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer at Big Sur

The beach at Carmel, CA
California's Lost Coast
The beach at Charleston, NC
The beach at Savannah, GA
The beach at Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha's Vineyard

Friday, June 20, 2014

Water Plants Drawings

Lined Waterlilies, pen and ink on paper, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
 Waterlilies have so many pretty veins and long stems, I had to try drawing them with pen and ink. It's very fun to recreate those pretty, long lines and follow the curves of the leaves and buds. 

Lined Waterlily Buds, pen and ink of paper, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Water Plant Paintings

Pillowy Lily Pads, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Lily Symmetry, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Project: Hand Flower Sculptures

Flower sculptures made with hand prints are cute, fun and can actually become toys. My boys loved playing with them. The act of painting is quite fun too, as they get to put their entire hand in paint. I wanted to create a project to go along with the theme of close-ups of flowers and plants so I just super-sized a flower and this is the result. Read on for directions on how to do it with kids.

Step One: Gather materials. You will need tempera paint in green plus a flower petal color such as red, orange, purple, or yellow, white glue, scissors, paper towel tubes, colored puff ball, bristol board, and an inking plate or paper plate. 

Step Two: Pour the paint on the plate and have the child smear their hand in it. 

Step Three: Press hand on bristol board. For young kids, you will need to hold their hand to the paper for them. Let them know that they need to keep their fingers still.

Step Four: Continue printing until you have at least 4 hand prints.

Step Five: Paint paper towel tube green.

Step Six: Allow to dry, then cut the hands out. This should be done by an adult. If you're doing this as a class project, ask for parent volunteers to cut the hands out. 

Step Seven: Glue only on the bottom part of the palm of each hand.

Step Eight: Arrange hands in a fan formation at the end of the tube. Make it a little easier on yourself by flattening one end of the tube before applying the hands.

Step Nine: Glue puff ball to the center of the hand formation.

Complete flowers!