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Meet Jess Phoenix: The Artist Behind Our Mother’s Day Floral, Rainbow Blooms

Meet Jess Phoenix: The Artist Behind Our Mother’s Day Floral, Rainbow Blooms Meet Jess Phoenix: The Artist Behind Our Mother’s Day Floral, Rainbow Blooms

Based in the Pacific Northwest, Jess Phoenix is known for her vibrant, colorful floral creations. Her art spans illustration, surface design, book covers, embroidery and more. No matter the outlet, her work contains this special painterly quality that uniquely captures the lushness of nature with a modern twist.

Is it any surprise that we asked her to create a Mother's Day floral for us?

So today, we're thrilled to share an inspiring Q&A with the artist herself! Join us as Jess Phoenix shares the inspiration behind Rainbow Blooms, a peek into her creative process and a dash of wisdom for nurturing your family's creativity.

Little Sleepies: What inspired the design of Rainbow Blooms? Can you share any stories or experiences that influenced your creative process?

Jess Phoenix: Rainbow Blooms originally started off as a stand-alone piece of artwork. I had a vision of creating a piece made almost entirely of blooms that would move through a gradient of color.

As I began working, I realized creating a rainbow would be really appealing... if I could pull it off! I was a bit nervous about how all the colors would transition into one another, and it took a lot of trial and error to get it just right.

LS: Who or what are your biggest creative influences? How did they impact your work on this print?

All the artwork I do is inspired by my desire to play with colors. I had originally tried exploring color by doing abstract pieces, but I discovered that having the structure of illustrating flowers was helpful for me.

That's especially true for this piece, as I dealt almost exclusively with flowers, as opposed to having additional leaves, vines, and stems, which I often incorporate into my art.


LS: Could you walk us through your design process for creating the floral print? How do you start, and what steps do you take from concept to final design?

Turning the original Rainbow Blooms artwork into a full, repeating pattern was a huge task! Since the artwork is basically a rainbow, I wanted to make sure the final pattern wasn't just horizontal stripes of color. This meant I would have to edit the art so the colors could transition into one another diagonally.

I used a method called a half-drop pattern repeat, where the design is staggered, giving the pattern more variance. This is also a very large pattern with a lot of things going on—I love that you can get lost in it and not quite see where the repeat ends and begins.

There was a lot of trial and error as I moved flowers around, filled in gaps, and then made sure everything could perfectly repeat. 

LS: The colors in your floral print are so striking. How did you decide on the color palette for this design?

There were lots of small color decisions that had to be made for this piece! Not only does every flower need to be assigned a color that will fit in the rainbow gradient, but then each flower has additional details that need to work harmoniously with itself and the overall pattern. I would have to step back a lot to get a sense of how the colors were interacting and if they were balanced.

So much of the process is driven by intuition. I would look at the overall pattern I was developing and just get a sense of how areas needed to change: either needing to recede more by decreasing contrast, come forward by enhancing brightness, or change colors entirely. 

LS: Reflecting on your childhood, were you always interested in art and design? Can you share some of your early memories creating art?

Both of my parents are artists, so art was always a part of my childhood. I have many memories of being able to use all manner of materials and tools that my parents already had—pastels, professional colored pencils, acrylic paint, etc—to create any art I wanted.

My mom would put a brown work table cloth over our kitchen table, and that meant we could do any craft, no matter how messy. She would also let me look through her sketchbook and I would dream of being able to draw as well as her some day.


LS: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

I think finding the way you like to work is more important than finding what your true style is, because styles can change over time. But if there's a method or medium that you love using and you feel comfortable with, you'll be able to create more freely.

That being said, try out as many different mediums as you can! The computer/tablet is a wonderful tool, but also try not to rely solely on it. My favorite method involves both real, hand-drawn elements as well as the computer.

Never stop actually putting pencil or pen to paper :)

We hope this Q&A inspires you & your little artists! To check out more of Jess Phoenix's work, head to her site or follow her on Instagram. Happy creating!



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