A long weekend is quickly approaching us here in the US, so if you find you’ve got some extra time, why not try this fun exercise: Use watercolors to dab or brush a spot of paint on the paper and then create a character from it (in pen or pencil). Illustrator Marion Barraud regularly does this to great effect—her doodles are imaginative and delightful. With just a few different flicks of the brush, she’s able to produce diverse monsters with a ton of personality.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sometimes, you just wanna look at beautiful flowers. Artist Carrie Schmitt creates vibrant compositions of blooms in a couple of visually-striking styles. Some of her paintings feature thick sculptural strokes, while others utilize expressive lines and haphazard drips. Both are lovely.
Carrie’s career in the arts came later in life. In 2009, she developed a life-threatening allergy to heat and couldn’t leave her home for months. She turned lemons into lemonade, however, and used the time indoors to pursue her dream of becoming a painter. Carrie explains, “Creating became my therapy and escape as I struggled with being homebound.”
Carrie’s work—originals and prints—are available in her Etsy shop.
Saddo is an Romanian artist whose career has switched gears. Starting out as a muralist, his style was was noticed by advertising agencies and galleries in cities around the world.
Saddo’s visual language has many disparate influences, including horror movie posters, comics, Hieronymus Bosch, Henri Rousseau, naturalistic illustrations of plants and animals, pop surrealism, and religion. Wow! This is reflected in his paintings and illustrations, which feature realistically-formed figures that are often in busy, lusciously-colored scenes.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you might remember when this artist collaborated with Aitch on Memory. Check it out—it’s my favorite iteration of the classic card game.
Artist and illustrator Alice Wellinger creates surreal imagery that deals with the troubles of daily life and of childhood memories. Her realistic approach to these figures and accompanying subjects has a eerie effect—it’s as if they actually exist, but in a way that’s similar to a vivid dream. Did these things really happen or was it just a figment of your imagination?
Her conceptual—and often, thematically dark—work lends itself well to things that aren’t so cheery. Most recently, she created a series of illustrations about Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Othello.
Sometimes, a painting can take you somewhere exciting and new—a place where you’ve never been, much less imagined going. That’s how I felt when looking at the work of Tiel Seivl-Keevers, an Australian artist creating ethereal abstract images. With pockets of colors and organic marks, Tiel communicates places of of both splendor and despair, where the path ahead is unknown but there’s an awesome journey along the way.
“I build layers. I erase. I assemble. I alter, until I am satisfied that I have captured the mood and beauty that nature provides,” Tiel writes on her website. “Nature is repetitious and each season brings a memory; a visual, overlapped map that tells a story of new life and death. The destruction that rain and fire can bring, and the beauty that results. Each pod, seed, pebble and shell share a story.”
Tiel’s work is for sale on her website!
Brooklyn-based artist Keri Oldham has recently opened her latest solo exhibition at Kirk Hopper Fine Art in Dallas, Texas. Entitled Labyrinth, her beautiful watercolor paintings are an allegorical series that’s inspired by the 1980 cult-classic film, as well as the ancient myth of the Minotaur.
The gallery describes the work in Keri’s show as combining “images of demons and warriors with tragic figures and victorious ones. With armored women at its center, these pieces spin a new story on Theseus entering the maze and confronting the beast within.” The alluring pieces fuse medieval beasts with fashion and fantasy, representing inner turmoil and desires the many of us feel—to find meaning and success in our adult lives.
I love both the concept of Labyrinth and the style of Keri’s at-times grotesque paintings. They’re created with pigment, graphite, and applied paper pulp, adding these brilliant textures to her dizzying colors and patterns.
If you’re in Dallas, check out her exhibition! It’s up until November 14 of this year.
Kreh Mellick creates gorgeous monochromatic paintings that are alluring in their sheer amount of meticulous detail. The tiny leaves, facing all different directions, create a luscious movement throughout each piece and frame their curious cast of characters. I can’t help wondering—where are these people, and what is their story? They feel like they’re somewhere but nowhere, like they’re occupying someone’s dream.
Outside of that series, Kreh creates pieces that are less scrupulous, but still have the same, dream-like quality. Check out her Instagram for more! (Via Art Hound)
Este MacLeod is a UK-based artist whose works are full of color and personality. They’re cubist-inspired paintings that offer beautiful depictions of nature and still lifes, celebrating plants, animals, and idyllic landscapes. They use a flattened sense of perspective which makes their compositions complex. Every inch of her work is covered in vibrant hues and small shapes.
In her Etsy shop, Este sells prints, notebooks, and cards of her artwork. Brighten up your home with some of her vibrant works! How could you look at these and not feel happy?
I posted the above illustration on my Instagram (@brwnpaperbag) recently, but I like it so much that I had to share it here. British graphic artist Laura Knight painted these portraits that are inspired by Staffordshire Figures, a popular tchotchke for someone to have in their home.
I’m familiar with these types of things after having visited many antique stores with my mother and wooing over them. Laura explains their appeal to the blog Spitialfields Life. “They were on everybody’s mantlepiece and everybody’s dresser. They are a vivid background, deep in our memories of home. There wasn’t a kitchen without a piece of willow pattern or a mantlepiece without a piece of Staffordshire,” she says.
Do you/did you have anything like these figures growing up?