Flexible Design

Are you Lord of the Dance or a Warrior? King Pigeon or Half-camel? With these illustrations in my Yoga series, I wanted to depict the grace and serenity — as well as fitness and flexibility — required for various yoga poses, with a touch of retro style.

Upward Facing Dog Pose

Ūrdhva mukha śvānāsan, Upward Facing Dog Pose

Low Lunge Pose
Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Low Lunge Pose

Inverted Tiptoe Bow Pose
Viparita Prapada Dhanurasana, Inverted Tiptoe Bow Pose

Urdva Dhanurasana, Upward-Facing Bow Pose
Chakrasana, Urdva Dhanurasana, Upward-Facing Bow Pose

Warrior 1 Pose
Virabhadrasana I, Warrior 1 Pose

Half-camel Pose
Ardha Ustrasana, Half-camel Pose

King Pigeon Pose
Raja Kapotasana, King Pigeon Pose

Formidable Face Pose
Ganda Bherundasana, Formidable Face Pose

Lord of the Dance Pose
Natarajasana, Lord of the Dance Pose


Mid-Century Jewels

I love Mid-Century Modern architecture and design, and I’m lucky to live in Phoenix, Arizona, where many fine examples of such buildings remain standing to serve as artistic inspiration. This series of original illustrations pays tribute to some of the landmark structures that continue to grace the Valley of the Sun. This week’s post features new illustrations for two iconic bank buildings:

Stone-Age Bank
Stone-Age Bank

Designed by Frank Henry of architectural firm Weaver & Drover, this 1968 former Valley National Bank building (now a JPMorgan Chase Bank branch) looks like something right out of the Stone Age. Sitting at the corner of 44th Street and Camelback Road, this beloved building’s “peanut brittle” stone work, curvilinear floor plan, and mushroom-like concrete shade parasols in the parking lot and adjacent green space wow architecture aficionados, bank customers and passersby alike.

From Greenbacks to GreensFrom Greenbacks to Greens

W.A. Sarmiento’s building — a blend of Expressionist and popular roadside architecture —started life in 1975 as the Metrocenter Branch of the now-defunct Western Savings and Loan. Still standing but now housing greens instead of greenbacks, a Souper Salad restaurant currently occupies this iconic building. Its distinctive ribbed, conical, vase-like tower topping a round base encircled with arches can be seen and enjoyed by drivers on I-17 on Phoenix’s west side.


Lounge Lizard in the Desert

lounge lizard

Do blondes have more fun? Maybe when a lounge lizard picks up the tab. And where better to find a lizard than in the desert? The setting for this original illustration (and for my blog banner) was inspired by the quintessential desert playground from the mid-century, downtown Scottsdale’s Valley Ho. This modern architecture jewel of a hotel was built in 1956 but lost a bit of its shine in the 1970s. Happily, it reopened in 2005 after extensive restoration and is now as gorgeous as ever — just like our barefoot blonde sipping summer cocktails. Be sure to check out happy hour at the ZuZu Lounge.

Simply Marvelous: Phoenix’s Mid-Century Commercial Architecture

Published by the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office in January 2011 (and now in its second printing), the coffee table book “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix, 1945 – 1975” is features a great collection of photographs and details about the history of mid-century commercial architecture in Phoenix. It also profiles the architects who shaped modern Phoenix — Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Haver, Al Beadle, and Bennie Gonzales among them. In some cases, photographs (and the memory of long-time locals) are all that’s left of these architectural desert jewels. But despite some lamentable tear-downs, the Phoenix area still boasts some fine examples of high-style Modern and Googie architecture in everything from banks and offices to restaurants and hotels. This book covers just commercial structures, so we’re hoping a companion book on Phoenix’s residential mid-century marvels will come out some day. Meanwhile, this book is a must-have for anyone fascinated by the Valley of the Sun’s mid-century modern architecture like we are.