Masha = Watercolor Mischief

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Inspiration+process: flowering

Ever wonder how #watercolormischief comes about? Here’s a peek at the process as we work on our new spring collection going on press this week and coming soon to our shop! Our 12 Months cards have long been perennial best sellers especially the Cherry Tree Bird so we revisit our (and apparently our esteemed customers’) favorite subject of all time – flowering!magnolia-window-masha-dyans

It all starts with looking out the window. We’re lucky to be treated to endless floral fireworks of every variety year-round here in Los Angeles. The magnificent magnolia tree outside Masha’s studio does this indescribable perfect explosion every January/February and has already inspired last year’s Flowering Deer. It simply cannot be ignored so our vibrant pink tree happily makes it into the new collection in many forms.


Come to think of it, a tree in bloom is everything Masha D’yans Design strives to be: growing and prolific, breathtaking and tender, festive and full of promise, surprising, distinct, delicate in detail yet a riot of color. And let’s not forget the watercolor-like gradations on the marvelous petals. Who doesn’t bliss out at the feast for the senses that is spring?

We love visuals that aren’t only beautiful but also unexpected and clever, so looking at her favorite tree Masha had a few ideas. Here’s a quick sketch of one (a continuation on the floral fauna theme) – how cute would it be to imagine a fawn bringing you a bouquet of flowering branches and laying them at your feet for your birthday?

Here’s the painting of the animal in progress. Masha still favors the Ленинград watercolor sets of her childhood in Russia. “Their rich pigments are vegetable-based and are unique in the sea of paint brands” she says. “I always like to keep things loose and allow for colors to bleed into each other creating happy accidents. It’s all in the creature’s gesture and glance.“

This is a study of some kind of blooming branches.branch-sketches-masha-dyans

Many cups of tea, ‘what do you thinks?’ and eye squints later, the finished composition emerges!

A design has to go through rigorous selection process before it goes to press. These are some of the questions we ask ourselves every time a card is born: is it uniquely beautiful? Does it capture a mood for a specific occasion or multiple sentiments? Would we like to receive this card? Does it grab your eye on a shelf? Does it have wide-enough appeal? And finally, does it feel like #watercolormischief? Do you think this little fellow makes the cut? Tweet us at @mashadyans

Masha says: “..there’s always a nervous period for me as I try to edit all the ideas I have in my head and those I can’t stand not to paint and decide what will actually become a card. It’s surprisingly intense but exciting. Thankfully, I have nature’s marvels right there to help and inspire.”

Stay tuned for the new swoon-worthy cards. Let’s stop and smell the branches!