Date: February 15, 2017 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
Inspired by her environment, this self-proclaimed “farmer-artist” creates stunning watercolor calendars and garden journals
How did you get your start doing illustrations? I have been drawing and doing illustrations since I was little, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when I had the idea to create a seasonal veggie calendar that I started to sell more of my work.
Are all of your calendars and garden journals drawn by hand? Yes! The originals are all drawn out by hand and then painted with watercolor and traced. When the illustrations are complete, I scan them into my computer to create the layouts for the products. Most of the lettering I use in my work is either my own handwriting or a font that I created from my handwriting.
Where do you find inspiration? I find most of my inspiration in nature. I love to garden and all the beautiful plants, animals, and colors always catch my eye. I have been lucky to work in a couple of great gardens like Little Rock Urban Farming and the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project. I thrive on working outside in the dirt, it’s essential to my art and keeps me constantly inspired.
What type of materials do you use? Right now, I am using mainly watercolor. I started using watercolors about three years ago after many years of painting only with acrylics. I like the bright, loose, and translucent feel of the watercolors but I am still experimenting with them! I also use ink for tracing because I like a lot of my illustrations to have outlines. In the future, I want to try more mixing of watercolor and gouache in my work.
Do you have a favorite place to sit and sketch? When the weather is nice, I like to sketch outside in the garden. During the winter, I do most of my work at home in my cozy office in Conway. I have a window over my desk so I can look out and see the backyard, which is full of trees, and I can also see my chickens running around.
Tell us more about the different kinds of calendars you offer. This year I have a fruit and veggie calendar that shows what is in season each month. This is a handy guide if you are trying to buy seasonal, local produce. I also have two versions of my “Backyard Hens” calendar. Each month is an illustration of a different chicken breed along with the color of eggs they lay and how many eggs they lay per week. I also did an Arkansas wildflowers calendar. This one includes info about where you can find different varieties growing in our state. I grew up in the country and most of the flowers I included in the calendar were ones that I found as a kid exploring in the woods and creek by our house. I also design garden journals to help gardeners keep track of their notes and sketches, and in 2017 I created my first planner. I’m already excited to get started on next year’s version.
That’s a big variety! Do you have plans for any pieces outside of the journals and calendars? Right now I’m actually working on a garden planner and a “cocktail cookbook,” which will be a collection of watercolor illustrations of classic cocktail recipes. During the spring and summer I normally take a little time off from my art to focus on gardening. This spring will be especially busy since my husband and I are starting our own small urban farm, known as Bell Urban Farm, in Conway! You can follow our adventures on Facebook or Instagram (@bellurbanfarm).
Azul Home, Conway, azulhome.format.com, @azulhome (Instagram)
Items are for sale locally at Bella Vita Jewelry and The Green Corner Store, both in Little Rock, or can be purchased at etsy.com/shop/azulhome.