The Love and Romance World Map Series: Florals, Chocolates and Hearts Galore by Charlotte Bassin

Here’s the deal. Over a week has passed since Valentine’s Day and like you, I am over it… but I couldn’t pass up a good deal on flowers and chocolates especially when I can use them to make fun world maps!

Ever since the day after Valentine’s Day, I have been busy, busy, busy… making world maps filled with love, beauty, romance, and sweets! Take a look at the sliding gallery below.

The floral maps are by far my favorite ones to make. The flower petals lend themselves to the organic shape of the land and I love how 3-dimensional the final artwork turns out. Working with flowers brings joy to my heart. I hope these maps do the same for you!

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes! by Charlotte Bassin

Cupcakes are these little morsels of joy. They’re sweet and beautiful and fun and yummy. Cake feels like this overwhelming monstrosity when you compare it to the perfect little package that is a cupcake. I love cupcakes, especially the cupcakes that are made at Gold Mine Cupcakes in downtown Golden… so delicious!

We ran into the entire family who runs the business when we were making our way around Golden giving free hugs on Valentine’s Day. They were so excited about us spreading the love that they invited us in for free cupcakes! We started chatting about my world maps and they mentioned that they had been wanting a world map bulletin board because they want their customers to be able to pin where they’re from, since they get visitors from all corners of the world.

My favorite moment as a world map artist is when I get inspiration for a new map because of a connection I made with someone, focusing on a topic about which they are totally passionate…. like cupcakes!

I mentioned that any of my world maps can be printed as a bulletin board and I promised them I would design a special piece of art just for them. I went home and immediately started drawing. I’m not sure yet what the final product is going to look like - I might make a couple different designs but for now I’m just submerging myself in the art of cupcakes - hand drawn, digitally colored and creating super fun and funky collaged cupcakes. Other ideas for artsy cupcakes are welcome. Throw them my way!! Better yet, send me your own cupcake artwork and I’ll add it to the map!

Here’s what I have up to now… this is just the start. I want to make a hundred more cupcakes with paint and collage. Stay tuned.

So, first I draw cupcakes in my sketch book. Then…

So, first I draw cupcakes in my sketch book. Then…

I photograph my sketch book and bring that into the Paper app on my iPad and use my Apple pencil to add color.

I photograph my sketch book and bring that into the Paper app on my iPad and use my Apple pencil to add color.

Then I can play around with color on my computer. How’s that for mixed media!

Then I can play around with color on my computer. How’s that for mixed media!

Free Hugs on Valentines Day by Charlotte Bassin

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Are you one of those people who doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s just one of those Hallmark holidays? Yeah, me too… or I was. I think Scott and I stopped celebrating it early on in our relationship/marriage. I can’t remember how or why but I know I didn’t mind. We should be celebrating our love every day, not just once a year, right? Easier said than done.

Things shifted though when my girls started preschool and they were encouraged to make little heart crafts and tell everyone around them that they loved them. Valentine’s Day got cute and fun! I was motivated to get back into it, for them. I started a tradition of writing them love letters listing all the things that I love about them: their qualities, passions and the things that make them unique.

This year, keeping in mind that my word for 2019 is CONNECT… I added something new to my repertoire. I decided to do a Free Hugs campaign in downtown Golden. I had seen this video years ago and I fell in love with the idea… the simplicity of it, the humanity behind it. It’s the same feeling that has inspired me to make my artistic world maps for the past fifteen years.

I had to push myself out of my comfort zone to do this, but I was committed. I was super nervous when the day came but with the support of the friends who joined me, and with the first hug that I shared with a stranger, those fears quickly subsided. We had a wonderful time and loved spreading joy throughout the streets of our little town. It’s not much, these small acts of kindness, but it’s one step towards making positive change in this world.

You can see it as a Hallmark holiday or you can see it as a day to celebrate family, love, humanity. I choose the latter.

Making of the Japanese Gyotaku Fish Map by Charlotte Bassin

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Did you know that I used real fish to make the printed fish in the background of this map?! Yup, I bought them at Whole Foods, put them in my fridge overnight, and brought them to Open Studio at Foothills Art Center the following day. Artist, Chuck McGee is one of the participants at Open Studio and focuses on making art in the Japanese tradition using Sumi ink and rice paper. He makes gorgeous lanterns that often include gyotaku - fish prints.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about that: Gyotaku (Japanese 魚拓, from gyo “fish” + taku “stone impression”) is the traditional Japanese method of printing fish, a practice which dates back to the mid-1800s. This form of nature printing was used by fishermen to record their catches, but has also become an art form of its own. Read more. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyotaku

I asked him about the process and mentioned that I would love to learn how to do it so that I could fill the oceans of one of my maps with fish prints. He was excited about the opportunity to teach me (and others in the studio) and was so generous to let me use his inks and paper. In return, I let him keep the fish which he cooked for dinner that night!

Each step of making this map was scary because I kept feeling like I was going to ruin it… adding color to the fish, adding the black continents and the pencil wave pattern in the background. In the end though, it is one of my favorite ones and I am thrilled that it was selected to be in the juried Members’ Art Show at Foothills Art Center. It is hanging there now until April 21, among the pieces of so many other talented artists.

Cheers,
Charlotte

Celebrating the launch of my new website with another 100 day project! by Charlotte Bassin

It has been just over a year and a half since I quit my job at the zoo to follow my dream of being a professional artist. I have been crazy productive: making art, meeting people, participating in art shows, selling art (yay!) and have been learning so much! I’ve been making art since I was in college, but selling it is a whole different story. It feels like I get to be a student all over again. Who knew there was so much to know about the business of art?

My hope is to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way so that others might be inspired to follow their own dreams. I’ll also share information about my art process and the things that inspire me. And, of course, there will be stories of travel and adventure.

As soon as I quit my job, I started doing these 100 day projects. The first two that I committed to doing were creating 100 maps in 100 days while also hiking for 100 days straight. I later journaled every morning for 100 days (it became a habit and now I do it every morning) and last fall I took a break from drinking alcohol for 100 days.

Now… with the launch of this new website I am embarking on yet another 100 day project, technically three – I’ve decided to commit to being more disciplined, focusing on these areas of my life: mind, body and spirit.

Mind: #100DaysofMeditation
Body: #100DaysofPlank
Spirit: #100DaysofCreativity

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Follow this blog for frequent updates or connect with me on Instagram and Facebook. And, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and ideas. At the end of the day, YOU are that which inspires me most, especially when I get to connect and hear from you!

Cheers,
Charlotte

P.S. This video used to live on my old website and I think it’s worth keeping around. I filmed it a few years ago working on a map that took me so long to draw (notice the change of seasons)… it’s still not finished! Maybe I’ll pick it up again at some point in the next 100 days, maybe I’ll even finish it!