Month: December 2015

Painting of the Week – Jacarandá

The world is a wonderful place, you see. Full of mysteries and wonders.

There is this tree, called the Jacarandá (no idea how to pronounce it in English), that in Buenos Aires, lines a lot of the main avenues and a great number of the parks. When it blooms, it looks like a giant agapanthus flower, lining the streets.

It was one of my grandmother’s favorite trees. And no wonder! It’s beautiful.

Actually, besides being beautiful, the Jacarandá is one of the tree species that consumes the most CO2, approximately 4,000 pounds a year! Beautiful and ‘green’ at the same time.

The following painting, ‘Jacarandá,’ reminds me so much of the Bosques de Palermo – these amazing plazas / parks that line the Avenida Libertador in Buenos Aires, where a lot of these trees are planted. I used to spend many afternoons in these parks when I was a kid.

JacarandaRGB copy

I worked on this piece a couple of months ago and I started by using colors that I liked. As with watercolor, you never know what the end product will look like because it dries differently, and now, the piece reminds me so much of Buenos Aires and so much of my grandmother that I can’t give it up. I made a print of it and have it hanging in my office. A daily reminder of her.

‘Jacarandá’, watercolor on paper, 5×7 in.

If you would like to purchase some of my art, you can visit my shop!

Photo © Maria Rigou for Groundhog Design



DIY gift wrapping ideas

With the holidays approaching, I thought it would be fun to show you some inexpensive ideas to wrap gifts for your loved ones.

Back home, when you purchase a present, people at the store have different options for wrapping, and most stores around the holidays will gift wrap for you. Here, however, with all the shopping we do online, I feel like there is more space for creativity and uniqueness with gift wrapping.

Here are some quick and easy ways to DIY gift wrapping and make gifts look like a million bucks without spending a million bucks:

  1. Hand painted paper: For example, kraft paper with some brush strokes in different colors – acrylics are a great option for this type of wrapping because they are water-based and they dry quickly. You can even use a specific color scheme or go all out. Check out Lay Baby Lay’s tutorial with great-looking painted paper.
  2. Lately I have been hoarding beautiful magazines, especially the ones that are given out for free at the airports or visitor centers, that have amazing photos of picturesque places in the country. Some of these pages can be used to wrap small boxes and the end product can look like a collage of paradise. Same goes for old calendars!
  3. Kraft paper and twine and greenery (from your yard, balcony, old flower arrangements… you get my drift). Like found here on Odessa May Society.
  4. Newsprint is always easy to find and a quick way of upgrading a generic gift. You can also use different types of washi tape to close it off and decorate it.
  5. You can also use washi tape on white or kraft paper to create a holiday-ish pattern, like what Molly at Almost Makes Perfect did.

Do you have any other easy and quick DIY ideas for wrapping gifts?

Source: Lay Baby Lay.