An abstract “tree of life” design with African folk design motifs by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

News of fire in the grove of towering conifers in Big Basin Redwoods State Park in August 2020 and images of smoldering red flames inside the base trunk of a beloved ancient redwood offer no comfort in Northern California’s oppressive heat and smoke of the last week. However, as a native Californian, I am optimistic nature’s intelligent design means these groves will be reborn. The ecology of the Redwoods is resiliently designed by a higher power. The thousand-plus-year-old ancient Redwoods, or “the Ancients,” have a dense fire-resistant bark that can be a foot thick. The Redwood groves hold particular significance to local California Indian tribes who harvested basket-making material from the sacred forest floors for function and ceremony. Indigenous Californian have been great stewards of the region’s natural ecology as ethnobotanists. Native Americans understand the need for planned burns to maintain groves and manage ground-level growth during long cold seasons so in times of drought, there is no excessive fuel for fires.

Lightning strikes caused this fire. Nature may not be convenient to us humans who are set in our ways and live and build homes in densely wooded areas with little humility for their dominant ecology, but Nature takes care of us even in our ignorance. As the Ancients of the Redwood groves reach to the sky, branches are few near the forest floor. The Ancients as Redwood ancestors watch over the passing of generations from above. The largest redwoods seeming stand alone. When the fogs return with moisture from the nearby Pacific ocean, we may, if we watch over time, see how life is naturally renewed. In familial clusters within the redwoods, the oldest surviving trees scarred by past blazes stand in the middle, a few younger giants will support the center Ancestor, and a circle of younger trees will eventually emerge in a beautiful chain of life. Let us be hopeful and humble as nature does her best work.

Welcome to Cat Nation…

January 4, 2019

Cat Nation came about after my uncle suggested that I do a design with "a lot of cats." For me, it is reminiscent of Venetian byways where working cats congregate. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2019.
Cat Nation came about after my uncle suggested that I do a design with “a lot of cats.” For me, it is reminiscent of Venetian byways where working cats congregate. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2019.

Black and white studies…

December 12, 2018


Dragonfly by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Carrot by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Dahlia by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Maritime Plauts

Maritime plant by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Bee and Tudor Rose by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Star Flower

“Star Plants” by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Drawing on handmade paper by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


European 1: Visual memory is not very good. Humans discern color less effectively than audio and many know only about thirty colors. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Minium, red sulphide of lead, was commonly used for small initials in illuminations and inspired the name for a genre of miniature painting: miniare –> miniature.


European 2: Reading color is contextual because we perceive color within spatial contexts. The interaction of color is seeing what happens between adjacent colors. Gestalt psychology asserts that human behave and perceive in unified patterns, the parts of which cannot be understood in isolation. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Blue is often associated with mourning. During the Middle Ages, many gothic churches were colored with blue because it was thought to reflect the divine. For this reason, many portraits of the Virgin Mary have her donning robes of vibrant blue.


Chinese 3: Albers had students utilize color papers to do exercises so that they focused on the interaction of color rather than mixing colors. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Purple, blending red and blue, for many cultures, signifies power, it is not very visible in the color spectrum even though violet reflects the very shortest spectral wavelength that humans can see.

The Many Faces of Color…

August 15, 2018


Babylonian 4: a color has many faces that are reflected in experiences that are relative in nature. Observations of color within different contexts creating deceptive optical illusions. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Chinese 5: Our eye’s ability to adjust its retina is a means to adjust to higher or lower light condition; when seeing gradual gradations between light and dark, humans are often unable to distinguish between subtly lighter or darker colors so that some shades of gray get lost. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Deceiving color

August 14, 2018


Hindu 6 illustrates the concept of middle color to show that color performs simultaneous functions. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Ancient Egyptian 7 illustrates the concept of the subtraction of color to show that color can perform many roles. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Ancient Roman 8 illustrates after-image color deception. The human retina receives three primary colors (red, yellow, or blue); by staring at the red, it becomes fatigued and sensitive to red sections so that a subsequent sudden shift of focus to white will cause the mine to perceive red’s complimentary color. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

To purchase other designs as cards from Zazzle.



Color’s illusions…

August 13, 2018


Ancient European 9, circa 12th century illustrates the illusion of transparence when color mixture leads to a loss of opacity so that it appears transparent or translucent. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Greek 10 shows that transparent illusions occur as color gains light only in direct color.


Roman 11 illustrates color boundaries and plastic action, a space-illusion employed by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

The Impressionists….

August 10, 2018


“Mayan 12” illustrates optical mixture where color dots change other colors by merging into a new color, which was used by Impressionists. Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and Paul Signac (1863-1935) developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


“Mayan 13” illustrates the Bezold Effect, another optical illusion, named after a German professor of meteorology, Wilhelm von Bezold (1837–1907), who discovered that a color may appear different depending on its relation to adjacent colors, which happens when small areas of color are interspersed. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.



14 features tonal parallel intervals, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


15 features experiment with intersecting color (middle mixture color) that would have been more successful using paper instead of ink; the result was too murky. According to Albers this exercise should illustrate a new deception the “fluting effect” found in a Doric column, which shows the illusion of volume. Fluting in architecture is the shallow grooves running vertically along a surface. The term typically refers to the grooves running on a column shaft or a pilaster, but need not necessarily be restricted to those two applications.


16 features trail bead motif, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.