grapefruits, sunshine & watercolor(ing)

This past weekend was uncharacteristically relaxing. I literally told myself to stop doing. I didn’t set any alarms, I didn’t write out a to-do list and I didn’t even think about my clients or future projects (whether that was good or bad I don’t know yet.) So there I was, without a worry in the world, a beautiful day exploding before me and plenty of time to enjoy it.

The good news is, my weekend was successful. I know, because when my alarm went off this morning I couldn’t fall back asleep after I hit snooze and started to get bored just lying there. I was actually excited to get up and get ready for the day. Sometimes, you just need to stop doing. 

I now feel revived and ready to tackle any project thrown my way. But first, I want to tell you something I learned about myself while not doing. I forgot how much I loved working with my hands. We all use our hands daily, often doing things that don’t seem to matter much: brushing teeth, making a sandwich, watering plants, typing an email. We do these things with our hands (usually). When I sat down to paint a grapefruit this weekend it took me awhile to put the brush on the paper. (Never mind the fact that I was listening to The Hunger Games on audiobook and the dog next door was barking me right out of any state of concentration I thought I could hold.) But really, I sat there staring at the blank piece of paper, wondering where to start. I had forgotten all about that exhilarating moment. “If I start painting here, what will go over there?!? If I don’t put the right amount of pressure here the line work will be all wrong. This pigment might be too thick, but if I add water it will lighten it too much.” And then, I just started painting. There were a few moments where I literally thought, “Oh, I’ll have to delete that one later” and “I think I might need to align these differently.” It’s pretty embarrassing to admit, but I actually thought, “-Z”. I know… it’s totally sick and twisted. But, after a good, solid hour of painting grapefruit I remembered the imperfections our hands are able to create. I’m all about hand-drawn design and hand-lettering, but even then I usually have to alter some things so they’re legible, curved correctly, balanced, etc. Painting grapefruit was a total release of feeling the need to edit something. I just straight-up painted, without any regard for consequences, carefree and wild. Besides the fact that my right wrist is aching and sore today (due to the lack of any serious painting in the last two and a half years), I’m excited.

Upon realizing this little phenomenon, I decided to start a thing; a sort of practice/liturgy/ritual. I’m going to call it “a study of…” This past weekend was grapefruit. I will do rough, mostly non-scientific field studies which will include: drawings/renderings of a plant or other growing thing, a small description about its character, a color palette and maybe a little explanation about why I chose it. I’m a lot excited about this. I love painting. I love plant-life. It’s truly a match made in design blog heaven. (At least, what I think design blog heaven looks like…)

Ahem. Without further ado, here is my very first field study.

My mom has a grapefruit tree in her front yard. I used to hate grapefruit, like most little kids. Until I grew better taste buds.
Ever since I started enjoying real coffee (the black kind) I began tasting flavors I never knew existed.
Learning about the flavor profiles taught me a thing or two.
One of my new favorite flavors is… you guessed it: grapefruit.

grapefruit3grapefruit grapefruit2


and then I made…


If you want a delicious, refreshing and mostly healthy dessert, THIS is your best bet. Seriously. Here’s how you do it: 




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