April 20, 2017

Art Letter #33: Spring Has Sprung

 Click here to see the time-lapse!

Awakening again... Spring springs alive with a sense of new beginnings. Students at TRSM anticipate year-end exams and some of them look forward to life after university. Energy flows along full hallways and melting streams, seeping through the earth, into seedlings curling up into plants, feeding animals and their young.

I emerge from my own hibernation into a landscape that looks new again. The air smells fresh, the rain feels warm, and colours blossom out of winter's remains. Eagerly, I prepare for an upcoming adventure, immersed in both art and nature, with artists who live for the same passions. In the inspiring outdoors, we'll flourish with the environment and grow a little bit more.

"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also." –Harriet Ann Jacobs

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Fareen's experience in her words... "Standing alongside @pamlostracco and Steven Murphy, Dean of TRSM, I can't think of any other opportunity that has come across me that was as amazing as this! Thank you Pam for painting such a beautiful mural at TRSM! I'm so honoured to be a part of it (heart emoji)."

The mural pizza party... After the Student Hallway Mural was complete, TRSM hosted a party to celebrate! The Dean made an eloquent speech (view here) about the mural and how it represents the university. I spoke about the concept behind the mural's design. Then each of the students received a print of themselves and had a photo taken with myself and the Dean. The party extended into the hall where we took more photos against the wall and I signed the prints! Special thanks to Ralston Kwan and Rita Linger for their multiple efforts in making this project a huge success—and to all the students for their compassion and enthusiasm! Read article: "New TRSM Mural Celebrates Energy of our Students"...

A Weekend in an Outdoor Studio

Camping on Toronto Island! On May 5th, I'll head out to camp and create with artists at Artscape's Gibraltar Point. With support by MEC Outdoor Nation, Outdoor Studio creates trips for artists to be creative while being outdoors. Nature has always been my prime source for inspiration—as it has been for artists since the beginning of time/art! I'm excited to explore the island from a different perspective and to share the experience with nature-minded artists. I'll be posting the art we make and the adventures we have, so be sure to: Follow along with me on Instagram...

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March 14, 2017

Art Letter #32: Back to School

"The best is yet to come." –Ted Rogers... My favourite quote of the month is mounted on a wall in the front entrance of the Ted Rogers School of Management. I read it over and over again, every morning while waiting for the elevator to head up to the mural. It reminded me that every moment contains hope for opportunities and surprises you could never anticipate.

As I painted amidst students rushing to class and studying for exams, I was engulfed in hope. Their positive energy filled the hallways with conversations about courses and by encouraging each other. They'd stop to watch me paint, ask questions, give compliments and even offer food! It was an exciting experience for me and for them which translated perfectly into a vibrant class portrait—a reflection of themselves optimistically working towards a bright future.

Ryerson's New Wall in a Hall

Ryerson's Ted Rogers School of Management... Excitement has been brewing since the idea first emerged to paint TRSM students on a wall. 22 students now adorn their own hallway, reflecting the busy and studious spirit of the school. It was so much fun to hear their comments, most of them wishing they were on the wall too! The most common, "That's sick", and "It looks so real", and my favourite, "It's like the Mount Rushmore of TRSM". It's a hit—and there's even more to come! More custom designed murals at pamlostracco.com...

Stadt Cafe is Now Open!

Stadt Cafe Toronto... For the past several months I've designed the branding for a friend's new restaurant in the Junction. The logo, business cards, sign, t-shirts and even a mural have come into fruition and can be enjoyed with the beautiful decor and nutritious food at Stadt Cafe, 3011 Dundas Street West. Check out more branding projects...

Magical Winter Skies

"Baby, it's cold outside"... Sometimes the best remedy for those winter blues is to get out there and look straight into the bright vastness above. Over the past month, the skies have been filled with: Michael Snow's Canada geese (Eaton's Centre); Branches from 2 trees reaching towards each other (Dufferin Groves); The Toronto Light Festival (Distillery District); The most beautiful snowfall of the year (High Park). Follow along with me on Instagram... or Facebook...

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read the full issue here or become a member to get it sent directly to your inbox—it's free!

February 14, 2017

Art Letter #31: Playing Around

"I believed then—in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult—that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or a raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical." –Jennifer McMahon

The Enchanted Playroom

A little girl and her mom... are so excited to spend time in this room! Two trees fill the walls, wrapping around every corner and angled ceiling. A slight breeze sweeps willow branches to the right, towards an oak tree in the opposite corner. A squirrel playfully peeks from behind a trunk while another nibbles at acorns. The girl's favourite, a cardinal, sits upon a light switch while she sings and dances in a beautiful princess dress. Custom designed murals at pamlostracco.com...

The Future of Colour

Colour Trends seminar at the Interior Design Show... a talk about colours for 2017 and how they're predicted. Science, politics, architecture, economy—pretty much anything that happens in the world, affects our lives and our relationship with colour. Trending topics about artificial life will inspire reflective and smooth materials. Adapting to constant and faster change will invite more transparency, like buildings made of glass walls. I expected to hear about only colour, then left feeling the need to experiment with new materials! Follow along with me on Instagram...

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day and a month full of love and friendship!

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read the full issue here or become a member to get it sent directly to your inbox—it's free!

January 22, 2017

The iheart Art Letter: 2017... Here We Come!

The 30th issue and the 2017th year...

December 2016, The Finale: Quotes on walls in the Graduate Studies offices at Ryerson University.
The geometric pattern in the letters reflects the mural painted in the hallway.

While snow wisped about outside my windows, I snuggled into a wrap twirled several times around me. I sipped hot tea and felt warmed by the fiery orange glow from the heat dish. With the Year Compass in hand, I imagined up a list of new hopes and reoccurring dreams. Goals to reach my desired life that's well-balanced between work and play, health and wealth, learning and experiences.

January 2017, Up Next: Design for a playroom mural of a willow and oak tree with squirrels and a cardinal!

It's quite the list but I do believe the process of writing makes ideas more likely to happen. Even if only a few come true, there's still good reason to look forward to 2017! 

I'd love to hear, how do you turn your wishes into accomplishments?

The Year Ahead: I've been working on creating the perfect calendar planner. 

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." –Tony Robbins

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read the full issue or subscribe for free to get it sent directly to your inbox. 

December 14, 2016

December: 19 More Sleeps!

A new mural for a new restaurant—opening in January!

I searched... looking up and down for the perfect Oak Tree. Along the way, I learned there's many species other than my desired rounded lobed leaf. Red Oak, Swamp Oak, Turkey Oak, Northern Pin Oak, Bur Oak... until finally, I came across my live model with leaf samples galore—a little White Oak!

Found oak leaves

While you search for the perfect gifts this season, I hope it's a magical journey of sparkling discoveries. The stressful hustle and bustle can be relieved by noticing the little things. Enjoy a moment or more by: looking up into the sky when the snow starts to fall; going for a night time stroll to admire the neighbour's festive lights; singing carols while making holiday treats; or my favourite, sipping a warm drink with somebody dear. 

What do you love to do leading up to the holidays? 

Mini Pinecones $39 on Etsy

May you have a wonderful December that's happy and *BRIGHT*.

See you in the New Year!
Read December's full issue...

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December 11, 2016

Published in Format Magazine

As a creative professional, an online portfolio has been essential to show my work around the world and connect with new customers. 5 years ago, I built my website on Format and now, 5 years later, it was featured in their magazine article: 5 Designers Reveal How to Get Clients with Your Portfolio.

Read the full article here.

November 20, 2016

Painting Mountains on Grouse Mountain

With thanks to Devin Manky who made 3 days of painting come together in this exciting time-lapse! This was an incredible project—my favourite so far! Read about the full journey in my previous post A Mountain Mural at Grouse Mountain.

November 08, 2016

Being Botanical

Flowers in my DNA. As the season transforms it's colours, several projects have finished up while others are getting started. Between these different phases, the pace changed from painting on-site over the past several months to planning here at home. An opportunity opened up to reorganize and clear-up my space—until something unexpected happened...

Everything botanical blossomed into view. Autumn leaves started to fall, as I started an old habit of collecting them. I found a few cherished floral illustrations by my grandfather, which triggered me to draw more of my own. I pulled out old sketchbooks with drawings and pressed flowers, that revealed more ideas I'd like to pursue. A book called out to me at a bookstore, which happened to be filled with captivating botanical illustrations. I went to a Benjamin Moore event at Casa Loma, to find myself feeling quite at home in the conservatory!

I've had a little transformation myself, from being obsessively organized to allowing flowers to litter my floor. You'll find "art stations" set up around the room with several experiments being worked on at the same time. Unleashing my own rules has revealed a new creative method and a spectacular view through rose-coloured glasses.

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read November's issue or subscribe for free to get it sent directly to your inbox.

September 21, 2016

Ryerson Grad Studies Mural Time-lapse

Artist Pam Lostracco paints a mural at the YSGS office featuring the winning entries of the GRAD 6-Word Contest, which asked "What are the best things about being a grad student at Ryerson?"

July 29, 2016

Outside the Box

Discovering Eastern + Carlaw inside-out. Far from my West-end hood, my first impression of this single corner of Toronto transformed as drastically as my traffic light box. I arrived with the intension of adding life to a lonely, gray intersection—only to discover how much life was already there! I began to realize there is a soul to every spot of the city—although some aren't as obvious until you get to spend a bit of time with it. 

Over 4 days of painting, the loud sounds of traffic were softened by dozens of friendly interactions. Pedestrians paused to ask questions, friends visited to say hi, joggers waved on their way to the Lakeshore, cyclists chatted while they waited for the lights to turn, and truck drivers gave thumbs up from their windows! The guys at Downtown Auto kindly gave me water and space to store supplies. CBC came by for an interview, followed by CTV a few hours later! Click here to see the clip

THANK YOU to all of you—and extra-special thank you's to: StreetARToronto for making our city so much brighter, Urban Barn for sponsoring me to do a second painting, and Benjamin Moore for supplying the beautiful paint. 

I'm just about to post the next Art Letter! Read the latest issue or sign up here to get it sent directly to your inbox.

June 07, 2016

A Boat, a Box, and BC

June’s Art Letter is here!

This months topics include:
*Muraling in the Mountains
*Views from a Boat
*Outside the Box Program

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The iheart is a monthly, light-hearted, photographic Art Letter. 
Thank you for reading! 

May 31, 2016

A Mountain Mural at Grouse Mountain

Best job yet! Painting + traveling is my dream combination and it actually came true at Grouse Mountain Resort.

Here's the day-by-day progress of my latest mural adventure:

Day 1: Had a beautiful, sunny flight. Warmly picked up at the ferry and up the tram to my amazing cabin. Shown the chalet's wall and introduced to staff. Sorted out a few logistics then visited my grizzly mountain mates:
Flying to Vancouver, I saw the mountains from a higher perspective. 

Airport to train, to ferry, to car, to tram, to... my very own cabin!
Meeting some of the mountain wildlife.
Day 2: Thanks to jet lag, I was up before the café even opened! Started taping up the wall at 7:30am and had all the paint mixed by noon. Layer 1 complete:
Measuring and taping up the wall. 
Mixing the paints to create an even gradient in tones.
Day 3: A steady stream of visitors were coming through after hiking up The Grind. Some commented while others named out the mountains they recognized. Met one of the staff members who had life stories to tell. Layer 2 complete:
Admiring all the people coming through the chalet.
Met Willie, one of the staff standing in front of The Lions,
also known as The Sisters. 
Lots of progress today, only 1 more layer for tomorrow!
Day 4: Finished up the last layer of pine trees and Grouse Mountain's identifier. Patched a couple holes, painted the baseboard and final touch ups. It's finished!
This added detail is called The Cut, indicating Grouse Mountain.

Captured at work from above. (Photo by Ainslie Fincham)

Day 5: Since the mural was painted on time as planned, I spent a day in Vancouver. Sushi in Kitsilano, walk on the beach, saki tasting on Granville Island, boat taxi and the best gluten free pizza I've ever had at Bella Gelateria! Arrived "home" late to catch the last (empty) tram up the mountain:
Enjoyed a perfect day off in Vancouver with my friend Jacqueline.
Without any visitors on board, the tram ride back up the mountain
was eerily dark and silent, while the wind whistled through. 
Day 6: A slow morning to watch my surroundings deeply in a sketch. One last look at the real mountains and then the mountain mural, before I headed off back to the airport:
Savouring one last look at this spectacular view. 

Taking final photos of the completed mural. 

It was so much fun, I want to go back! If you're in BC and would like a mural for your home or business, email me here. Let's make it happen!

Let's make more murals!

April 26, 2016

Art = Nature

I have a theory. Tell me if it's true. I believe art and nature are the same and cannot exist without the other. Nature is an art in itself, creating perfect colour palettes and harmonious shapes. Within all its organic-ness is perfection. How can nature be wrong? It holds an endless supply of lines and patterns. Nature is a terrific source for artists to "draw" from.

My inspiration has always derived from the world I see around me. While going through my photos from Vietnam, I noticed this connection for other artists as well. A figure drawing class in the middle of (what seemed) an abandoned garden. A monk who found eternal youth and happiness from painting thousands of mountain scrolls. A boy who used large leaves as his paint palette. A Canadian example, the iconic style of The Group of Seven. The documentary Painted Land, shows how they loved the natural landscape and spent their lives painting it. It's hard to know which they loved more—painting or being in nature?

Homes and Gardens: 
Look who popped up at the Home and Garden Show!

My little garden-in-a-vase integrating with the Gold Bird Mural.
A sweet bunny adds fun decor to a hydrangea garden.
Beautifully designed metal palm trees by Designer Palms
and they have coconut lights!
Sculpture Gardens at the McMichael Gallery. 

My friend Juli Lyons and I enjoyed a Spring afternoon photographing.
We walked among welcoming sculptures that seemed to
blend perfectly into the landscape.
A jar containing a Haiku poem hangs from each of the sculptures.
6 of The Group of Seven artists lay to rest here,
in a protective circle of rocks.
Check out my available nature-based artwork...

Art, Artists and Nature in Vietnam: 
Surprise Appearances in Gardens.

Mountains of mountain paintings made by a monk
(Dalat, Vietnam).
Nhat paints my portrait (Saigon, Vietnam). 
Mr. Thuc, the monk artist, looks much younger than his 65 years. 
Leaves used as a paint palette (Luang Prabang, Laos). 
Carving in the back garden of a restaurant run by an artist
(Kon Tum, Vietnam). 
This figure drawing class was completely hidden in the massive gardens of the Forbidden Purple City (Hue, Vietnam).