Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Holidays are Blossoming

The holidays are in full bloom at TriFecTa, a wonderful shop where they create beautiful floral arrangements and have lots of unique and stylish gifts. Above is the illustration I created for their annual Holiday Open House starting with festivities tonight and throughout the weekend. They wanted to feature their cozy space and their charming "shop dog" Sam and I was happy to oblige. Let the Holiday Season begin!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Celebrating Cook the Part

Author Karin Eastham, Traci O'Very Covey (me), and photographer Cari Lightfoot Pike

I went to San Diego to celebrate at the Launch Party for "Cook the Part" this past weekend. Author Karin Eastham and her husband Gary, put on a fabulous party including delicious food made from recipes right out of their cookbook. It was so nice to see photographer Cari Lightfoot Pike again and other new friends. It was a festive event in a beautiful setting filled with great food, and great people having a great time. You can see more party photos here and read a nice article written about the event. A successful conclusion to a wonderful project is just the beginning -- you can purchase the book here (and please tell them Traci sent you). Cheers!

Books for all of the guests

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hey, Stella!

Recently I was researching some images of Frank Stella's paintings to show my students in the Fundamentals of Design class I am teaching this quarter. His work is inspiring to me and I thought I would pay him homage as part of my geometric tea cup series. His work is large and measures by the foot, my image above is small and measured in inches. We both love color.

"Stella Homage - Tea with Lemon", digital illustration

Friday, November 4, 2011

Launching Cook the Part

I am off to celebrate in San Diego this weekend at the Launch Party for the cookbook "Cook the Part." It is the cookbook that I designed and illustrated these past months for author Karin Eastham. Above is the illustration for the chapter called "Comfort Food." I'll post party photos when I return next week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Collection for Utah Opera

The Utah Opera asked me to create some new products to sell in their boutique using the watercolor illustrations I painted to promote their opera productions. I am excited about how they look and grabbed a snapshot of them on my studio table to show you. These are the first of the items offered in the "Traci O'Very Covey Collection for Utah Opera": a canvas tote with navy blue strap handles, a variety of small and large booklet journals, two small covered note tablets, and a set of four coasters. They are also selling fine art quality prints that I have signed. I'm not sure if these items are available for purchase online yet, but be sure to look for them next time you go to the opera. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

I have been teaching at the Art Institute of Salt Lake City recently. Last quarter I taught Color Theory and thoroughly enjoyed it. And, I got to know a good group of students in the process. Color is definitely a passion of mine so teaching about the various aspects of color, it's impact and influence, and each of the useful color harmonies was a pleasure. Hence the inspiration for today's color wheel cup with it's gray scale "steam."
 "Color Wheel Cup", digital illustration

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

According to the dictionary, the word "and" connects -- as in: along or together with; as well as; in addition to; besides; also; moreover. Tea connects too -- as in: sip to sip; thought to thought; person to person. Today's cup ponders the word "and" in the form of a steaming ampersand. So I suggest having a cup of tea, together or along with someone else, and in addition to conversation, besides connecting, you might also enjoy some company, moreover a pleasant interlude...and who knows what else.
"& Cup", digital illustration

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Today's cup is a continuation of my geometric cup series. The color combination of purple and green is always a favorite of mine.
"Purple & Green Striped Cup", digital illustration

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Love & Nature

I recently designed a wedding invitation package for a dear friend and client. She said she envisioned a sort of yin yang symbol with a bird and fish since they enjoy the outdoors. A garden party celebration is in store. It was a delightful project to work on and they loved the outcome. I wish them the best tomorrow and always!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

A busy schedule has me a little under today's cup is just a sketch on some cardboard with colored pencils. I do like it though...more later.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breathing in Renewal

It has been a whirlwind of deadlines lately which is wonderful! I love having good work to do. Pushing creativity is interesting--I'm used to creating under the pressure of a deadline within reason--but sometimes you have to step back and refill "the well" of inspiration. Sometimes you need space for the mind to still, to relax and release. My painting above, which now hangs in a dear friend's home, reflects what I need a little of at the moment. Just a few deep breaths and some peaceful silence to recharge my energy for the next round. Ahh...that was I'm ready to dive back in.
"Meditation", gouache, 12 x 9 inches

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

I have been illustrating a lot of food these past few months and it's showing up in my tea cup series. Today's cup features some cheery cherries. I love eating cherries and am reminded of a delicious three cherry tart I made using dried, fresh and brandied cherries. But they're also just a fresh sweet treat at tea time, plain and simple like my image above.
"Cup Pot & Cherries", digital illustration

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hungry For A Peek?

I can't wait to show you the illustrations I am creating for the cookbook "Cook the Part" coming out this Fall. I thought I'd snap a photo of my computer screen with a detail from one of them (with a couple of the others showing behind it). I am illustrating the chapter openers for the eight chapters and the cover (which I posted on the blog recently). First I sketch my idea, then refine the drawing, after that I scan it into the computer and add the color and texture. Painting digitally is just as gratifying to me as painting with paint. This is the kind of design and illustration project that thoroughly satisfies me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

It is midsummer and on morning walks through the neighborhood I see flowers blooming, bees hovering around the lavender going from blossom to blossom, robins with red breasts on green lawns listening intently for worms, and an occasional butterfly airily fluttering by. Today's cup is inspired by all of that, and also the volunteer purple flowers growing next to our driveway...I have turned them into curving vines lyrically uplifting the cup into a summer reverie.
"Flower Vine Cup", digital illustration

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Birthday Toast

Today is my birthday and I wanted to post something summer-y and festive. Life is good, especially when it is filled with creative work, supportive clients, loving friends and family, delicious food and some nice wine! I feel very fortunate and look forward to what my new year will offer. I painted the above acrylic painting to promote "Great Grapes! Wine, Art and Food Festivals" of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, who have enjoyed using it for several years. Another happy client makes me feel happy. Cheers to the good life!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Over the weekend we went to a going away party for an artist friend who is off to graduate school. The party was hosted by two other artist friends who are also musicians. Their other musician friends brought along their good voices and instruments–mainly of the string variety–mandolin, bass and various guitars among them. So, not only was the evening filled with good food and friends but a good jam session of live music, which inspired me to create this week's teacup.
"Guitar Cup", digital illustration

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Part in "Cook the Part"

Here is a sneak peek at what I am working on...drum roll please. Above is my cover illustration and design for an upcoming cookbook authored by Karin Eastham. Besides illustrating and book design, I also love entertaining, cooking and eating with friends. So I was thrilled to be a part of "Cook the Part" a cookbook that is all about cooking together. You'll have to wait a little bit longer to see the other colorful illustrations for each of the chapters and the rest of the design, but I thought this would whet your appetite!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

This past holiday weekend we traveled to Southern Utah and spent time with friends. I brought along my watercolor travel set, thinking I would have plenty of time to paint, but mostly I relaxed happily with my companions. We enjoyed a charming small town parade, cooked together and ate delicious meals, hiked in the desert and saw Native American petroglyphs on red rock canyon walls. The desert cacti were in bloom and the plants and trees were bright green. I did manage to paint this small watercolor of a leafy teacup on some 4 x 6 inch Arches postcard paper. Isn't it great how getting away from your everyday routine and environment enlivens and refreshes? Even though it was just a few days, it felt so much longer.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Symbolic Stars & Stripes

As we approach this all-American holiday weekend I was remembering that I had painted elements from the flag in my illustration for the Utah Opera's production of the "Grapes of Wrath". This is a truly American story of persevering through hard times. My illustration portrays Tom Joad alone against a landscape that cuts through him as a symbol of his dependence on the land for his very life. The parched colors of that landscape portray how the drought of the 1930s has made his life impossible. A simple house that sits alone in the background was his family’s home, now left behind. Small overloaded farm trucks travel under the big sky and across the dusty brown and ochre ribbons of plowed land that become the stripes and stars of the American flag, the promise of a better life. Joad is dominant in the center of the illustration, symbolizing the strength and will of the dust bowl migrants. The billowing clouds overhead represent hope and possibility.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Today's tea cup is another in the geometric series I have started. This cup is an exploration of squares...a square cup and square saucer and sugar cubes. It seemed to satisfy my craving for balance in design just as a little something sweet satisfies. One lump or two?
"Sugar Cube Cup", digital illustration

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Water & Air Feed the Soul

It's summertime and what feeds my soul is a blue sky with billowy clouds, birds in flight, and listening to the sound of water in a cool canyon creek. These things usually find their way into my paintings in one form or another. My painting above is an allegorical representation of water and air in their intertwined relationship with one another. I love the dreamy quality, the fluidity of the shapes and the color combinations in this piece. Art is food for the soul at anytime – good for your spirit, inspiring and life enhancing. What things in life lift your spirit and feed your soul? Do you live with art that inspires and speaks to you?
"Water & Air", gouache on paper, 12 x 16 inches, $700

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Going through some of my paintings from years past I saw this and thought it would be a perfect Tuesday Tea Time post. I painted "Two Tea Cups" in 2003 and it has a nice larger companion piece called "Jars and Vases" which was reproduced as a print. Both of these paintings are from a series of still lifes and have a nice combination of color and pattern. The tea cups are whimsical references to fine china patterns. Now I am thinking about how much I enjoy making a proper afternoon tea with assorted little sandwiches – two of my favorites are cucumber, and black olive with cream cheese – and other nibbles such as cookies, fruits and cheeses and drinking tea out of a china cup. But I'll get back to my painting for now and save that treat for this coming weekend.
"Two Tea Cups", acrylic on canvas, 26 x 32 inches, $1,500

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Still Life with Energy

I usually create my paintings in the water-based paints — gouache, acrylic, or watercolor — but I do enjoy the buttery richness of oil paints too. This painting of vases and flowers is one in a series of lively still lifes I have painted in oils. My husband and I have a collection of pottery vases in shades of blue and green and while the pottery in the painting are my stylized interpretations, the actual vases that I love still provide me with the inspiration. The painting above is currently on display at Caffe Niche in Salt Lake City.
"A Green Vase and Two Blue", oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, $1,200

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Purple and green is a favorite color combination of mine. Those two colors seem to work together in most any shade. This is a lighthearted illustration I did a while back that has a teacup on it so I thought it would be appropriate to post it today for tea time. It was on the front of a direct mail piece promoting an event at a gift and home accessories store called New Orientation. And, you'll find it right on the home page of their website. If you are in need of an actual can find it in their wonderful little shop!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Breakfast with Art

This morning I stopped at Caffe Niche to snap a few photos of my paintings there and someone was nice enough to take a shot of me.
I liked seeing people having coffee and breakfast amongst my art hanging around the restaurant.
One of the things that I enjoy about being an artist is hearing people's comments and thoughts about my art. Please stop by Caffe Niche, have a look around and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Sitting on the patio with a cup of tea over the weekend—hanging out with my two cats, reading, musing, and painting a small watercolor. A small painting may get started here but usually gets finished in the studio. The light and weather outdoors is too unpredictable to stay out for many hours painting. I do admire those plein air landscape painters who brave the temperature outdoors—too hot or too cold—the wind and the insects. For me the mornings this past weekend were temperate, beautiful and apparently inspiring.
"Cup with Blue Vase", watercolor, 10 x 7 inches

How it all started and my companion.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Enjoy an Artful Meal at Caffe Niche

Hungry for an aesthetic experience...or just plain old hungry? Treat yourself to a delicious meal at Caffe Niche surrounded by my art throughout the month of June!

The paintings on display are works from three recent and ongoing series. The gouache pieces are based on my interest in allegory, symbolic representations of nature, women, and colorful themes. The watercolor and oil paintings are expressions of my love affair with pottery vases and the exuberant feelings I get from flowers. The acrylic on plywood paintings allow me to paint intuitively and spontaneously brushing and scraping paint, leaving the grain of the wood revealed to express a raw emotional quality in contrast to the calm and peaceful figures. At the heart of my art—besides my love for lyrical line—is a pursuit of harmony in color interaction and balance of shape and form. I hope my art offers you feelings of serenity, contentment, and a sense of discovery.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

A friend of mine gave me a beautiful flower made of tea leaves recently. The whole tea leaves had been tied together in the center with thread to create a multi-petaled dried bloom. It was so pretty to watch it plump up when the boiling water was poured over it. It tasted of a fine rich black tea, not flowery at all – it just looked like a flower. There were lots of layers of tea leaves in that blossom. I got kind of wired after I drank the delicious tea. I have always said that flowers give me energy. That one kept me going all day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

June Art Display

Sixteen pieces of my art will be hanging at a local restaurant for the month of June. I overcame some pre-show angst by pulling out the artwork and leaning it around the floor of my studio so I could see it all together. Some new pieces and some from past series all looked nice together and it was good to see a body of work sitting there. Usually I work on one or two paintings at a time or I'll refine my sketches during a period of days, doing all the drawing and compositions when that is flowing. Then the color work is painted one or two pieces at a time. When a painting is finished I may live with it for a bit, move on to the next piece, or put it safely away in the flat file drawer until I have a batch of art to be photographed. I always have pieces hanging in my studio but it still feels good to see a big group of paintings ready to go on display and share with the public. I'm excited!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

I started a few large paintings with acrylic on canvas the other day. It has been awhile since I have painted that way, so it was kind of challenging to my comfort zone but energizing too. As time passed I got in the flow and lost myself in the process for a few hours. My husband walked in to my studio and asked "Why are you fascinated by tea cups?" I said "I guess they represent sort of a civilized-ness to conversation, and also a centering aspect when you are alone...and comfort." There is more to ponder about that I'm sure. Anyway, since the acrylic paints were out, I painted this colorful design on some gessoed paper for today's tea cup. I'll keep you posted when the larger pieces are the meantime a cheerful cup to brighten your day.
"Orange and Periwinkle Cup", acrylic on paper, 6 1/4 x 8 14/ inches

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Impressions of Monet

Last year at this time I was in Paris enjoying the magnificent paintings Monet painted of the water lilies in his pond at Giverny. They are exhibited at the Mus̩e de l'Orangerie and it was his idea to display these large paintings in an oval room Рactually two oval rooms Рone for the mostly pond and waterlily paintings and one for the paintings of the willow trees with their branches dipping down to the water. It is a meditative and beautiful experience to be in the room surrounded by this art. Even though there are many other people viewing these paintings with you they remain quiet and serene. The paintings up close have a different mood with dashes of colorful brush strokes that are abstract, gestural and confident.
I wish I were there now.
Photo by Mikel Covey

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Precision, geometry, and balance are all things I admire. Also, shape—both positive (the object) and negative (the space around it)—which to me needs to be in harmony. And, I like form and flatness. Sometimes I think I have a split visual personality because I love gestural spontaneous freedom and whimsy, but also refined perfection. This contrast in me keeps things interesting. Most of the time what I end up creating is about color and line whether it is free form or rigid. Today my tea cup image sort of reminds me of a graphic, stylized, flattened shape version of a Wayne Thiebaud still life. But it is just me being me after a few cups of tea.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Curiosity is an important trait, especially for an artist. Sometimes just wondering where an idea might lead and then playing around with a direction is all it takes to send me down a path of exploration. Experimenting and just making art, even when it seems fruitless at times, is what it takes to create something – something that might be meaningful and inspired, something that might communicate, speak to someone's heart and allow for an aesthetic experience. A sense of discovery and skill, a little faith, and at times, patience and persistence are part of what it takes to be an artist. Sometimes I chide myself for going off in different creative directions, but illustration, design and painting are all things I enjoy. Exploring what interests me will hopefully be of value in some way. The tea cup above was a whimsical study that could lead to a larger painting or pattern...maybe I'll have a cup of tea and ponder that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

We went to a friend's annual Tulip Party on Sunday which is a delightful event held each year. It is so nice to spend an afternoon chatting with people, enjoying a glass of bubbly and some good party food in a lovely garden filled with tulips and blossoming trees. Even though it snowed the day before, the weather cooperated by being sunny and cool but not too chilly to linger outdoors. So today a tulip becomes my tea cup and it's leaves make a handy saucer. A bit of whimsy and creative interpretation to usher in the month of May.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Springtime Muse

This gouache painting feels so appropriate today. Spring is in the air, cool and crisp, bright blue sky, multiple shades of new green leaves growing, and everywhere tulips are in bloom.
"Garden Nymph", gouache, 7 x 5 inches

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

I like blue and white china. I think a lot of people do. Speaking with a friend recently about it, we discussed the ancient China Trade route and how the blue and white Chinese porcelain inspired European countries--Portugal, France, The Netherlands, and England--to produce their own versions. So it is sort of an idea exchange, timeless and classic made new and then back to being timeless and classic. My drawing above has influences from a variety of patterns from my own collection at home. Ideas used to travel slowly from place to place...unlike now where sharing happens instantaneously. Maybe our communication can slow down slightly, just enough for some gracious thoughtfulness over a cup of tea.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

Best wishes for a Happy Easter weekend! Here's hopping...I mean hoping Spring has arrived and we can all enjoy a warm and relaxing holiday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. The design for this cup was inspired by a hand-painted box made in India that I have at home. A small border pattern of black and gold on a red background somehow sparked my interest. My imagination took flight and created this energetic looking cup of tea. The lightening bolt suggests the zing of a caffeine buzz after a strong brew. It stimulates the mind, creating an alertness that seems to enhance concentration. Tea actually has more caffeine than coffee but a typical serving and the way it is brewed makes the effects milder. A brisk cup of tea adds a vivacious quality to the present moment and a zippy mood to the moments that follow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

I once read that the best kind of rain is a “cozy rain”, where you could sleep in late, curl up with a good book, settle in by the fire with a cat on your lap and drink a cup of tea. The last of the cool silver rains of early spring soon fade into the showers that bring
May flowers.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Sometimes at night when I can’t sleep I have a cup of herbal tea formulated for nightime. There are many on the market to help you get some rest. They contain ingredients with naturally calming sedative herbs such as – Chamomile, Valerian, St. John’s Wort, Hops, Lemon Balm and Passion Flower. Also plant compounds such as Skullcap to help reduce anxiety. I find that these herbal teas are not the best tasting but they seem to do the trick. Silently and slowly sipping until sleepy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

I am sharing a spontaneous moment of brushy color in the form of a cup and saucer from my sketchbook. I wanted to experiment with this color combination. The warm and cool of complimentary colors – orange and blue against a black background. Orange is the color of warmth and energy (sounds like what a cup of tea gives me). Speaking of the color orange, I think of Orange Pekoe tea. Orange Pekoe is actually a black tea which is now known to have health benefits improving clogged arteries, helping treat diseases and making breathing easier for those with respiratory problems. So, tea has many benefits besides just focusing my mind. Orange as a tea flavoring is usually combined with spices. There are orange and herbal infusions, or those that have a black tea at the center with added orange-y and exotic flavors. But here, just a taste of something from my sketch book.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creative DNA

Like most artists, I get a vision of something in my head and if it lingers long enough I put it on paper or canvas, something to bring it to life and share. Line, form, shape, becomes design and color – tangible. My view from inside comes out to meet the rest of the world.

Why does one person consider a bird a symbol of inspiration? Of freedom? And, why does another consider it frightening or repellant, creepy? I find it interesting that we each have our own inner view point. Choreographer Twyla Tharp calls it our “creative DNA”. Each artist is drawn to a certain way of thinking, of creating, and perhaps a certain subject matter or color palette. We all bring our unique world view, biases, likes and dislikes to whatever we do. We can’t help it. We’re human. But an artist of any sort – writer, dancer, musician, or visual artist – helps us to see anew, see through their eyes, or at least filtered through their perception. We may be challenged by what we see or we may love it immediately. It’s good in any case. Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Above is my painting “Blue Graces”
Gouache on paper, 12 x 16 inches

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Tea Time

Tea and I go way back. When I was little, my mom would have tea with her friends and they would chat and I got to tag along. Even as a child, I had tea too – in a china cup. Tea tastes better in a china cup or at least a special cup. Coffee and tea are for slowing time, energizing the mind, being in the now, and for being together. It can aid in opening the self to another person or a meditative opening the self to the self. Fixing a cup of tea when I get to the studio is a ritual I have that helps me settle in and get focused on the task at hand (sometimes I have inadvertently dipped a brush in the cup...oops!).
I like to draw and paint cups and their saucers. Their myriad shapes, colors and patterns are easily invented in my mind’s eye, a fantasy cup or perhaps a memory of one filtered through my imagination. Above is one of my illustrations of a hot cup of tea. You are invited to join me here for tea each Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Violin as Visual Art

Isn't it great when you get to benefit something you love by doing something you love? Classical music inspires me and I love violins — the way they sound and their sculptural form (you may have noticed that they frequently show up in my artwork). So when I was one of 24 artists invited to paint a violin to be auctioned to raise money for the Utah Symphony I said “Yes!” They gave me a violin that was no longer good for making music. I sanded it, painted it white with gesso and began my creative brainstorming. I wanted to create something colorful, cheerful, and harmonious with the shape of the violin.

My idea came to me out of the studio so I sketched it on the back of an envelope, then at the studio I refined my sketch and made some color studies. I did the drawing actual size and transfered it onto the violin.

It was a little challenging painting on an object that has no flat surfaces.
I covered the instrument with birds, flowers, vine leaves and even insects on the sides, so I decided to call my violin “Summertime".

The violins were on display in various galleries and at Abravanel Hall before each symphony concert starting in December and ending at the Utah Symphony Guild’s fundraising auction event called “Heart Strings” that culminated on Valentine’s Day. All of the proceeds from the auction benefit the Utah Symphony and its outreach programs. I heard the event was a big success and raised lots of money...that's music to my ears.