Posts Tagged 'painting'

wet paint | water into wine

We have a wonderful client, Larry Walker & Associates, who are water and environmental engineering consultants. We’ve been able to refresh the LWA website and collateral, and get to know some of the family who help run this company (where everyone is treated as family).  LWA  truly cares about doing the right thing for their clients, for the environment, and for their staff. That comes from Larry, himself.

Larry and his wife, Louise, are retiring after 30 years with the company, and the staff chose to honor them at their retreat at Lake Tahoe last weekend. Lucky for us, they decided to do it with wine for all, and Steve was asked to design a wine label for the event, illustrating the passions of Larry and Louise. Italy (especially Lucca), art (especially sculpture) and water (especially Roman aqueducts). Of course, Larry and Louise were also presented with the painting, along with the wine.

The painting:

Wine label Final

The label:


The wine:


Illustration: Steve Barbaria

Label printing: Monarch Color Services

Wine: Putah Creek Winery

Client of the day, Kathryn Walker!


re:treat | melbourne street art

My friend Michael Bermudez had the best response to the recession–move to Australia.  Michael has been my Aussie design scout, and this week’s gift was a set of photos of  Melbourne street art.  In the “news to me” category, Melbourne street art is a big deal. Even a travel destination, according to the LA Times.  Graffiti artists are actually encouraged and often commissioned by businesses around Melbourne.

Most of Michael’s photos were taken along Brunswick Street in the suburb of Fitzroy.


All photos by Michael Bermudez.

More on Melbourne Street art here and here.  Michael was also my source for the post on Rhett Dashwood’s Google Map alphabet,  and the Mankind is No Island video.

3313_777808313753_1210745_44748112_5832030_nHe’s currently adding to the gaiety and frivolity of New Zealand, hanging out in Auckland and visiting Wellington, looking for drinking buddies, a temp job and cool art. I promise, he’s an adventure.

Mustang~Journey of Transformation

Ever have a friend whose talent, adventures and pure productivity takes your breath away? Who always has a story that leaves you in awe? Who inspires you to reach just a little deeper into your own creative toolbox?

imagesWe’ve known Will Parrinello for over 30 years. He was a “radio guy”  when we were all students (we were newspaper folk) in Chico in the 70’s. He’s one half of Mill Valley Film Group, along with his partner John Antonelli. Their films all have a spirit of curiosity, adventure, creativity and inspiration, and it’s been a thrill to watch them (the filmmakers and the films) over the years. Will’s latest film, Mustang—Journey of Transformation, premiered at the Aspen Short Film Festival earlier this month. And now it’s headed to NY to screen in competition  at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival on April 27. Tribeca was started by Robert De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal in the wake of 9/11.

Mustang – Journey of Transformation tells the story of the Himalayan Kingdom of Mustang, a Tibetan culture saved from extinction through the restoration of its most sacred sites. It is narrated by Richard Gere and is truly inspirational. Mustang lies on a windswept plateau between Nepal and Tibet in one of the most remote regions in the world. Isolated by both geography and politics, Mustang–known as the Forbidden Kingdom–has been completely off- limits to westerners for 50 years. This starkly beautiful place is home to one of the last surviving repositories of Tibetan sacred art from the 15th century. In 1991 Nepal opened Mustang’s border to the outside world.

What the first visitors found was shocking: the ancient monasteries were on the verge of collapse; the Buddhist wall paintings were disintegrating; the community was deeply impoverished. The people needed health care, education, and jobs. Surprisingly, the King’s first plea to outsiders offering help was to save the monasteries. The King understood… saving the art would save the people, because without cultural identity there is nothing. Mustang -Journey of Transformation is a tale of hope and rebirth told by the people who helped save the Forbidden Kingdom.


Restoring Mandala by J. Sanday

Will describes my favorite character in the film, Luigi, the Italian art restorer. “Luigi Fieni is the head art conservator on the Mustang restoration project. Luigi is like a beacon of light, and his energy jumps off the screen. Through his work in Mustang, Luigi has become, what I call a guileless Bodhisattva… through his open heart – we met dozens of his Loba friends. You have to see Luigi in Mustang – because he’s like the Pied Piper – everywhere he goes young men and women… and more women, come running to greet him. He’s universally loved for the great work he’s done, for his generosity as a skilled teacher and for the professional knowledge he’s shared with the Lobas, and for his amazing spirit.”

Interesting. I think Will’s energy and spirit are pretty amazing, too.

Please keep your eyes open for this film at your local film festival. And if you’re in NY, please consider attending one of the Tribeca screenings (April 27, 30, May 1 and 3). Then find Will and tell him you’re a friend of mine. I guarantee you’ll become a friend of his.

To learn more about this region and the people , check out the American Himalayan Foundation.

Golf, art, and old friends

Illustrator Mark Ulriksen and his wife, Leslie Flores, are two of our best friends from college, and our starter years at the Chico News and Review. We’ve stayed close, and have watched Mark  become one of the country’s most successful editorial illustrators. His paintings of dogs, musicians, politicians, and athletes are just slightly tweaked, and always get you to take a second look.

My partner, Steve, is  fairly obsessive golfer, and did an admirable job of containing his envy when Mark was invited by Golf Digest to visit the Masters Tournament last year and create illustrations for this year’s issue.







All illustrations by Mark Ulriksen for Golf Digest.

Mark told me this was one of the great weeks of his life. He was staying in a house with writers (including Dan Jenkins, John Feinstein and Tom Brokaw) and photographers, and was able to walk the course and sketch for seven days. He gave the photo editor his requests, and photos were taken for him to use as drawing reference  later (he was in the limbo-land between the pubic who could take photos, and the media, who needed photo passes, so this was the best solution). Mark started the project in September, submitting twelve ideas, and painting ten. Eight were published.

And he hasn’t been on a golf course since. Steve will have to remedy that, because that’s what old friends are for.

The 2009 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, starts today.

wet paint | new illustration work

Today I’m turning re:design over to my partner, Steve Barbaria. The new work is his, and I am thrilled to share it with you. Steve leads a double life, as a designer and an illustrator. It’s always a treat when his illustrations are integrated into our studio work. This time, integration went one step further, and the concepts that are showing up with our clients, like green building and globalization, have inspired his personal work. Steve, meet the Blogosphere…Blogosphere, meet Steve.


The paint is barely dry on my new paintings. These first two pieces are for the Directory of Illustration, and a new look for my work. I took inspiration from the emerging green energy businesses, and what I think will be a renewed interest in science on a national level. As a designer, the grid seems to play in much of my illustration work, just with more flexibility.  The strong graphic structure creates opportunities for an unusual juxtaposition of imagery, and allows me to explore pattern, connections, convergence, and influence. I like to think of this as “environmental innovation meets art and design.”



The second set of  images is for a potential show, Separated by Degrees. It’s an extension of the map series initiated by the map painting on our website’s home page. I began the set when Kim returned from her trips to India and Mexico with Freedom from Hunger. These are 12″ x 12″, and I plan to paint at least a dozen. I also have an even smaller set of 4″ x 4″ squares.

The first painting represents cultural iconography from Central America, especially Bolivia and Mexico. The woman is almost in hiding, behind the culture.


This image represents North America, and is based on electronic device icons and forms like the iPhone. There isn’t “deep” meaning, instead  it questions how we’re redefining our identities through our devices.


More of Steve Barbaria’s illustration work, here. Steve is also represented by Kolea Baker,  info here.