Artist Celan Bouillet creates “little worlds full of animals, greenery, and adventure.” The colorful, highly-detailed pieces feature places that are everywhere and nowhere. Sloths, giraffes, tropical leaves, and peacocks—all painted at the same scale—occupy the same composition. They are, however, so carefully arranged while together, they never fully interact. This is Celan’s design. “These mixed media pieces are highly detailed and manipulate scale along with pattern to create complex narratives,” she writes.
To produce these pieces is an exercise in meticulousness. Every branch, rock, and animal is painted gouache on paper which is then cut out and placed on a background. Celan’s compositions are so seamless that at times, it’s hard to tell—but her in-progress works on Instagram showcase her beautiful process.
Celan sells her work as large limited edition in her Etsy shop, The Bayou Botanist.
Illustrator Andrea Sparacio painted over 54 portraits that depict “trailblazing women who make America great” for NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Gender Card deck of playing cards. Each card features a woman (or women) who has/have achieved cultural and/or historical significance. For each individual, Sparacio has immortalized their face in her charming style.
The deck showcases women throughout American history. Icons like Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem, Beyoncé, and Hilary Clinton are part of this set, but there are many more—including some you might not recognize. It’s a great opportunity to support NARAL Pro-Choice America and learn more about the amazing sheroes who have helped shape the country. You can purchase your set of cards here.
Big, bold, and beautiful—that’s how I describe the work of Jenny Kiker, aka Living Pattern. Her watercolor paintings feature the striking leaves of plants like Monstera deliciosa, Valley Oak, and good ole ferns. To create these pieces, Jenny says that her process “starts with a combination of drawing from observation and imagination,” letting the leaf (or leaves) inform “where the line wants to go and how it wants to feel.” The results showcase the exquisite subtleties of these plants as well as the color achieved from watercolor paint.
Jenny sells her work through her website, but be sure to follow her on Instagram for frequent botanical inspiration!
Beautiful surface design can transform ordinary objects into functional works of art. Melbourne-based designer and illustrator Cassie Byrnes highlights this in her label Variety Hour, a print-focused endeavor that’s an outlet for her to “get as weird as she wants” and to experiment with new, crazy ideas. Each season, she hand-crafts a collection of prints that are then applied to clothing, scarves, clutches and more.
Follow Cassie on Instagram to see beautiful colors, patterns, and works in progress. (via The Design Files).
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.