Toulouse Lautrec of Albi


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Our train pulled into the Albi station.  Birds chirping from a small and quiet town not far from Toulouse, Southern France. I didn’t know what to expect from Albi, a charming, pink hued city with narrow streets and the majestic Cathedral of Sainte-Cécile…but my only mission is to visit the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was one of the French Impressionists whose work I admire a great deal.  I love his unusual mix of color combinations on his canvas, prints, and illustrations.    Explore his choice of provocative images; the non-traditional subject matter in his world.

Source:  Toulouse Lautrec Foundation, Trip Advisor



Artsy Hotel, Semiramis Athens


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Art lovers meet travelers.

Surround yourself with art wherever you go. Hotels are sprouting up with cool decor and artwork collection.

Semiramis, Athens.

Admire Karim Rashid‘s modern design in techno color with a shot of Austin Power’s shagadelic!

Source:  Travel and Leisure, Semiramis Hotel

Artist Billy Almond – Update


Back in November 2011, we have introduced Billy Almond as of one of our featured artists. Since then, many exciting news took place.

Illustrator & Designer living and working in Lancashire, England, Billy Almond loves art at an early age.

  • studied Art & Design at Blackburn College and went to obtain an Honor’s Degree in  Scientific & Natural History Illustration at the Blackpool & Fylde College.
  • specializes in hand drawn illustration, computer based artwork,  and custom art and design.
  • his diversity in portfolio includes broadroom paintings to family portraits, pets, and landscapes.


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1) PinkLeafDesign:  What changes have taken place in your career since the last interview?

Billy Almond: It has been a very exciting, hectic time for me over the past year or so. My first son, Henry, was born on November 2nd 2012, we moved house and I started my PGCE teaching qualification last September so it has been difficult finding the time to produce and market my artwork on any great scale.

I have had work published on the opening credits of channel 4 show Vacation, vacation, vacation, which is available to see at

I donated a painting to Jordanian born Councillor Karimeh Foster Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen.  Who was invited to visit his Majesty King Abdulla as she is the only Jordanian women to achieve this position. I was asked to donate a piece of work as a gift for the King from the people of Darwen. The full story is available through this link.

I have had work published in the SRK’s Sticker bomb book Monster’s edition which is available in book stores all over the world and I have also started submitting work to the Manchester United Fanzine ‘Red News’.

2) PLD:  Name 2 to 3 new things/ lessons you have learned to promote your art business (excluding your new teaching job) since our last blog?

BA:  Marketing your work correctly is very important. When at college you develop a folder of work but are not given the marketing skills to back this up. You need to learn how to present, show and explain your art in a way that the client will find compelling. Convince them that your art is worth owning. Don’t be disheartened by knockbacks. Keep producing original artwork and sending it out. Be reliable.  Subscribe to newsletters such as Tate, Design week, Phaidon club and read them. Keep up to date with current art news and trends. Join and participate in online forums.

3) PLD:  For those artists who have a limited budget, what would you advise them to do to promote their artwork business?  If sky is the limit, what do you tell them to market their work?

BA:  Use social networking sites such as twitter and facebook to promote work. Email examples of work to prospective clients, art representatives and agencies. Create an online portfolio on websites such as Saatchi online, Behance network.

If the sky was the limit I would probably be sat painting on Venice beach right now. I would love to set up a city gallery chain all over the world. Giving local artists the facilities and opportunity to work, teach workshops and create a cross café, artist studio, art shop.

4)  PLD:  What’s trending to promote art in UK/ Europe for artist like yourself?

BA:  For artist like myself the Saatchi Gallery is an opportunity to get artwork on sale online at no cost to myself. The Saatchi Gallery provides a forum for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK. The gallery operates as a springboard for young artists to launch their careers. The AOI (Association of illustrators) protect illustrator’s rights and encourage professional standards. It promotes members work, has an online portfolio, gives portfolio advice and hosts a variety of workshops, exhibitions, seminars and events

5)  PLD:  What daily challenges you face when creating your art?

BA:   The main challenge I face when creating my artwork is finding the time and motivation to concentrate on and produce work to the standard that is needed.

Website –
Twitter – @billyalmondart
Facebook –
Blog –
Saatchi online – Artist Billy Almond – Saatchi Online

Valentine’s Story


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By now, you probably have already received tons of advertisements and marketing email regarding Valentine’s Day.  Not to mention that your loved ones keep reminding you this date, February 14th.

So, what’s the origin of this holiday?  Valentine’s Day, short for Saint Valentine’s day was established to celebrate love and affection between intimate companions.  It  named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD.  It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).

Well, in our modern days, the Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, flowers especially roses which represent love, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

In the USA, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800’s and now the date is very commercialized.

Many countries around the world has its own celebrations.

In France, a traditionally Catholic country, Valentine’s Day is known simply as “Saint Valentin”, and is celebrated in similar ways as other western countries.

In Spain, this holiday is known as “San Valentín” and is celebrated the same way as in the U.K, although in Catalonia it is largely superseded by similar festivities of rose and/or book giving on La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day).

Hundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as adults on Valentine’s Day. They went singing from home to home. One verse they sang was:

Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine —
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, valentine.

In Portugal, Valentine’s day is more commonly referred to as “Dia dos Namorados”  or “Boy/Girlfriend’s Day”.

Though it is not an official holiday in Sweden, the day is called Alla hjärtans dag (“All Hearts’ Day”) and was launched in the 1960s by the flower industry’s commercial interests.  The sales of flowers and cosmetics for All Hearts’ Day are only exceeded by those for Mother’s Day.

While in Denmark and Norway, this date is known as Valentinsdag. It is not celebrated to a large extent, but many people celebrate with a romantic dinner with their partner, to send a card to a secret love or give a red rose to their loved one.

As I read that there are similar Asian traditions for this particular date.  In Chinese culture, there is an older observance related to lovers, called “The Night of Sevens”.  According to the legend, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the milky way (silvery river) but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar.

Many of us do believe that everyday should be Valentine’s Day, but if you have already made plans for a romantic dinner for two, go ahead and make this date just a little more special!

Farewell Gossip Girl xoxo


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Two remaining episodes of the TV show Gossip Girl’ this month.

This will close another fashion chapter for the fashion trend seeking viewers. I have to admit that I didn’t watch the show until Season 5 (catching Season 1 to 4 online), and clearly it is interesting to checkout what designers Serena (Blake Lively) or Blair (Leighton Meester) were wearing…eye candy entertainment.

I also have to admit that one gets lost with all that intertwining of deceit and cheaters. So, who can keep track who is sleeping with whom when there are  beautiful satchels, pretty peep-toe booties or stacks of bling bling necklaces are in presence.

Kudos to the stylist Eric Daman!

Let’s see what’s the finale brings.



Hurricane Sandy Hammer Small Business


We hope you all are doing well after the big hit of Hurricane Sandy.

We would like to reach out to those small business owners like ourselves which have been impacted by Sandy, there are steps you can take to get your business up and running again. It might take longer than we wish.  Try to see if  you are qualified to get any type of government assistance or loans to re-start your passion.

Warmest regards,

Pink Leaf Design Shop (

Source:  Small Business Trends (, Huffington Post, NYC Business Solution,  NJ Business, NJ Biz