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This is Part II of the most recent instalment from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko. For Part I click here.

If you’ve been following the progress of this collaboration you may remember the mysterious, magical forest scene from Yoko’s previous entry (partly pictured below, or you can click here to see it in more detail).

muji notebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook (amsterdam) – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

I was so enchanted by this mystical forest I wanted to create a protector for it, a guardian spirit if you will. She appeared in the guise of a tenacious, green-eyed owl.

muji notebook (amsterdam) - work in progress

late night prototyping

muji notebook (amsterdam) - work in progress

ear tuft/eyebrow, work-in-progress

muji notebook (amsterdam) - completed double page spread

notebook (amsterdam) – completed double page spread

She looks rather flinty, but she’s really quite friendly. That’s just the outward manifestation of her resolute determination to protect all those that call the forest home from all those that would cut down, kill, consume & catalogue.

muji notebook (amsterdam) - glow-in-the-dark eyes!

Of course no guardian spirit would be complete without glow-in-the-dark eyes! (My penchant for GID paint, and in fact anything that glows in the dark, does not seem to be abating.)

muji notebook (amsterdam) - eye see you

ear tufts folded for transit to tokyo

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

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notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II) | (7 – part I)

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Hello! Way back, through the mists of time, at the beginning of March 2016 I received an exciting package from my friend Yoko.

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

i’ve got mail – yay!

It was the next instalment in our MUJI notebook exchange. Opening a newly received notebook is always like opening a mystery door, or dimension hopping. Turning the pages of this notebook with excitement, I discovered a snowy white owl passing over the psychedelic mushroom territories of the mourillos

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

… and into the cool, mossy half-light of an enchanted forest.

mujinotebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

mujinotebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [amsterdam] – double page spread

As always Yoko has woven a tale, cast a spell. The forest is an enigma, full of signs… and portals to other worlds.

mujinotebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

mujinotebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

mujinotebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

I’ve been getting lost in the woods… and I love it!

mujinotebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [amsterdam] – artwork by yoko hayashi

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notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo.

The preceding five Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

all artwork (c) yoko hayashi

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'floral mandalas'

ink & watercolour ‘floral mandalas’

This time last year I was a bit snowed under by the many ‘to dos’ associated with moving to a new city so I took a break from my annual handmade festive greeting card manufactory… and I thought I’d be doing the same again this year (it’s December already??! where did 2015 go!?!) but then I got caught up in the colourful fun of painting a series of small ‘floral mandalas’, first as doodles in my sketchbook and then in a somewhat more ‘considered’ way on watercolour paper off-cuts that I’d been hoping to find a good use for…

'floral mandalas' details

'floral mandala' cards - work in progress

work-in-progress

I soon realised that I seemed to be making cards, and almost as quickly realised that hand-painting cards for all the friends and family I’d like to send festive new year greetings to would be completely insane quite unachievable in the time available. So I decided to try out the greeting card printing services of MOO (I’ve had business cards & stickers printed by them in the past and the quality is great… btw, this is not a sponsored post, just my personal opinion ;-). A unique (as far as I’m aware) and very appealing feature of MOO’s service is that you can have a different design printed on every card in a pack at no additional cost… so the possibilities are almost endless!

I scanned some of my ink & watercolour ‘floral mandalas’ and played around with them in Photoshop to arrive at five festive designs to have printed by MOO. These are they…

'floral mandala' greeting cards

‘floral mandala’ cards

Unable to resist the ‘multiple designs’ feature of MOO’s service I also had some creature cards printed (with designs based on these limited edition ‘animal diorama’ silkscreen prints made a few years ago).

owl & octopus 'animal diorama' greeting cards

‘animal diorama’ cards – octopus & owl

Not traditionally ‘Christmassy’, for sure… but I say good riddance to the jolly, fat man in the red suit and all hail the red-eyed kraken! ;-)

owl & octopus 'animal diorama' greeting cards

Some of these cards are now available in my Etsy storethey can be found here >
Or you might like to give MOO’s greeting card printing service a whirl yourself, here >

'floral mandala' greeting cards

springbok skull and glassblown polar bear

In celebration of today’s vernal equinox – and the promise it brings of much more light to come – here are some of the sunlit critters currently keeping me company at home and in the studio…

puffer fish and finger lickin' cat

paper puffer fish… finger lickin’ good

felted owl by swig (swig-filz-felt-feutre.blogspot.com)

owl (elegant fowl!) waits patiently in his not-quite-pea-green boat… (but pussycat is apparently too busy licking his paws for nautical nuptials?)

seahorse mobile by flensted

gently floating seahorses

abstracted cat

abstracted cat

work-in-progress wolf drawing

an unexpected rainbow cast across a work-in-progress wolf drawing

what cd shall I play now?

precarious pile of CDs (my studiomate’s DJ-ing aspirations are foiled again by his lack of opposable thumbs)

gira waving
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credits (in order of appearance):

◈ the skull once belonged to one of these majestic creatures
◈ the polar bear was made by the clever glass-blowing ladies of blåst glasshytta in tromsø, norway (northernmost glass-blowing studio in the world, apparently!)
◈ the fish is a japanese paper balloon – i found him at roppongi in amsterdam
◈ the handsome owl was made by the amazingly talented felt artist swig (you can pop over to her website right now for a spring postcard giveaway!)
◈ the very soothing seahorse mobile was created by flensted
◈ the angry (or is he remorseful?) yeti silkscreen print was made by kronk

(not included in this list are my own wolf drawings and the pictures of my furry studiomate :)

winter trees & snowy owl, artis, amsterdam

winter trees at sunset  |  snowy owl

I recently popped across the road to visit my neighbours, in search of inspiration for some wolf drawings I’ve been working on. The wolves were very obliging…

wolf, artis, amsterdam

handsome wolf

… but seeing these majestic, naturally broad-ranging creatures in captivity rends my heart (as is always the case when I visit my neighbours), though they seem content enough?

wolf paws, artis, amsterdam

powerful paws

Having gathered sufficient source material and inspiration for my drawings I proceeded to get entirely side-tracked admiring the feathered residents of Artis and the intricate calligraphy of the winter trees silhouetted against the late afternoon gloaming. Some of the birds pictured here are permanent (enclosed) residents, but others seem to come and go as they please… presumably returning for the free food and the general gezelligheid.

greater rhea fresh hay bath, artis, amsterdam

the greater rhea enjoys a fresh bed of straw!

grey heron & snowy owl feathers, artis, amsterdam

grey heron | snowy owl detail

winter trees & jackdaw, artis, amsterdam

jackdaw

winter trees & greater rhea feathers, artis amsterdam

silver feathers (greater rhea)

gannet (?) & winter trees, artis, amsterdam

northern gannet

heron silhouette & winter trees, artis amsterdam

heron-on-high

golden goose and duck feathers, artis, amsterdam

golden goose (and duck) feathers

"you talkin'to me" - gannet (?) & snowy owl, artis, amsterdam

“you talkin’ to me?”

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

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This magic has just started to unfold in the ‘garden’ on our little roof terrace. Methinks spring has most definitely sprung! #spring #lente #blossoms #plum (?) #pink #petals #stamens #delicate #growth #seasons #cycle_of_life #roof_garden #haarlem Dawn colours #dawn #silhouette #dome #cathedral #kathedralebasilieksintbavo #studio_view #rooftops #haarlem Dressing W-A-Y out of my comfort zone for the “glitter and glamour” themed wedding party of friends tonight. Gulp… they say it’s good to step outside one’s comfort zone now and then, right?! #shimmery #sequins #glitter #festive #ottodame #not_black #colour #pattern #texture This is Henk... just one of the many good reasons to go and get your hair cut @jill_and_sisi (Admiraal de Ruijterweg 221, Amsterdam) #henk #puppy #dog #super_soft #super_cute #jill_and_sisi #pattern #sunshine Full moon rises over the silver hills… (or, much more prosaically, simply a sleeping cat and the negative shapes left behind on a spray painting ‘drop cloth’ :) #magic_in_the_mundane #cat #fur #silver #grey #black #monochromatic #pattern #shape #spraypaint The bike lane… #symbol #icon #infographic #design #bicycle #emblematic #netherlands #bicycle_culture #cycling_infrastructure #ride_on

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