Smocking and Glazing, All on Sheets by Maria Britton

Maria Britton

In 2010, I attended the Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­ter for an artist res­i­dency. (To any­one who is con­sid­er­ing apply­ing — you should! I had a great expe­ri­ence.) There, I met Maria Brit­ton, a fel­low artist in a dif­fer­ent stu­dio. At the time, she was paint­ing abstract images on sheets stretched taut over stretcher bars.

Fast for­ward to lately, and I thought about Maria and her work. What does it look like now? Upon Googling her, I see she’s still work­ing on sheets, but in a more refined way. Now, instead of sim­ply paint­ing on top of them, she works into them, incor­po­rat­ing embroi­dery, tech­niques. Here’s a state­ment about her work:

From con­cep­tion to death, the sur­face of a bed is a place where one both expe­ri­ences and escapes real­ity, a phys­i­cal con­nec­tion between dream­ing and wak­ing life. In the stu­dio I seek out home­spun inno­va­tions to play up the mate­ri­al­ity of the pat­terned sheets on which I have been paint­ing for the past 10 years. Recently I have started to incor­po­rate smock­ing, a form of embroi­dery, into my paint­ings which enables me to manip­u­late the sur­face of a sheet into a bumpy, tex­tured, and pat­terned sur­face. After the hand stitch­ing is done on the reverse side of the sheet, I then care­fully stretch the sheet on a stretcher, keep­ing an eye on what each pull does to the sur­face. Using washes, glazes, and streaks of acrylic, I work intu­itively and impul­sively with brushes, sponges, and squeegees. While paint­ing, I am com­pelled to con­ceal and reveal the dated flo­ral pat­terns that I find simul­ta­ne­ously com­fort­ing and repul­sive. The end result is a mish­mash of paint­ing and crafty tech­niques which trans­form the pre­dictable pat­terns into wrin­kled innovations.

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In Progress: My Embroidered Floral Hand

Sara Barnes

If you fol­low me on Insta­gram, you’ve prob­a­bly seen the embroi­dery I started. It com­bines two of my favorite things to draw — flow­ers and embroidery.

I’ve been play­ing with some dif­fer­ent stitches, includ­ing the long-and-short-stitch that out­lines the flo­ral hand.  Hop­ing to be done with it by next week!

If you’ve ever con­sid­ered embroi­der­ing, I’d rec­om­mend it! it’s a rel­a­tively inex­pen­sive hobby to start and I per­son­ally find it really calm­ing. Like yoga for your brain (Maybe? Sure.).

Sara Barnes detail2-embroidery

Friday Roundup: Cacti I’ve Seen Lately and Liked

As I type this, I’m look­ing at my lit­tle pot­ted cac­tus that I love so much.  I wish that I could own more (real) cacti, but my boyfriend has a strict 5 plant limit to our house­hold. Here are some that desert plants that have recently caught my eye. Fol­low me on Pin­ter­est for more.



Found on Pinterest.

Found on Pin­ter­est.

Lili Scratchy’s Drawings Jump Off the Page and Become Ceramics


It’s safe to say that for years, YEARS, I have cov­eted the work of Lili Scratchy. There are a lot of things I like about her work, but must of all adore the style of her col­or­ful char­ac­ters. They are uncon­ven­tional and imag­i­na­tive, and I’ve always been impressed how well her work trans­lates from draw­ings to ceram­ics. They prac­ti­cally leap off the page and into your hands.

packmountains in my living rroom
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Here are some of her draw­ings. How awe­some is this sketchbook?


Mari Kanstad Johnsen’s Hyperbolic Illustrations

Mari Kanstad Johnsen Col­or­ful and hyper­bolic are two words I’d used to describe the illus­tra­tion of Mari Kanstad Johnsen. Her exag­ger­ated fig­ures grace children’s books, edi­to­r­ial illus­tra­tion, as well as comics and animation.

I really enjoy when she com­bines the hand painted (like tex­tures) with her dig­i­tal illus­tra­tions. The com­po­si­tions can get really chaotic, but hav­ing the crisp edge of computer-aided col­or­ing helps to reel them in.

Also, I think the story of the giant dad and his tiny daugh­ter going ton adven­tures (top image and 3 below) is hilar­i­ous and endearing.

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Louise Weaver’s Crocheted Budgies Wear Fabulous Camouflage

Louise Weaver

I think pom poms are com­ing back (because I just saw a cool look­ing DIY on Pin­ter­est). Or are they already back? Prob­a­bly the lat­ter, because Australian-based artist Louise Weaver was putting them on fake birds years ago (around 2009).

Like Kar­ley Feaver’s assem­blage taxi­der­mied birds, Weaver adds adorn­ment to the stuffed bud­gies. She cro­chets rainbow-colored coats and adds sequins to their plumage. She talks with  about the ideas behind the work, which pri­mar­ily cen­ters around trans­for­ma­tion. Not just phys­i­cally, but through mim­icry and tak­ing on the aspects of what’s around it. Cam­ou­flage, how­ever fab­u­lous it may be.

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The Header Picture Project Featuring Perrin

INTRODUCING a new Brown Paper Bag project! Own a new mini print each month by a dif­fer­ent artist!

So, ever since I redesigned Brown Paper Bag, I knew I wanted the header image to be more than just a brown paper bag. There are so many amaz­ing artists and illus­tra­tors in the world (just spend some time look­ing in the archives) that I thought, “maybe some­one else could illus­trate an awe­some header!”

And thus, the Header Pic­ture Project was born. Every month, I’ll launch a new header image for the top of Brown Paper Bag by a dif­fer­ent artist/illustrator/designer. The best part about this? You can own a mini print of the image that’s featured!

So, with­out fur­ther ado, here’s the inau­gural illus­tra­tor for the Header Pic­ture Project, Perrin!

The print (pre­order it here):

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The header image for Brown Paper Bag: perrin_bpb_web (1) I asked her a few ques­tions about her­self and her work. To learn more, check out her web­site and other beau­ti­ful illustrations.

Name: Per­rin
Loca­tion: Prac­ti­cally in Lake Erie
What was your dream job when you were 7 years old? I wanted to do voice-overs for com­mer­cials.
Your pro­fes­sion now: Mover & Shaker; Picture-maker.
What’s your favorite thing to draw? Any­thing del­i­cate & tedious, maybe beau­ti­ful, but prob­a­bly weird.
What was the inspi­ra­tion for this piece? I was given the blog’s name­sake as a jump­ing off point and wanted to cre­ate a mys­te­ri­ous and nar­ra­tive piece.  I had been look­ing at a lot of vin­tage pho­tos from the 40s and was really attracted to the fash­ions, col­ors, and styling. I knew I wanted to make some­thing in that world.
Who is the guy with the bag on his head? Thats the mys­te­ri­ous part! I really hope to give the viewer room to inter­pret him how­ever the story plays out in their minds. (p.s. if any view­ers want to sub­mit the answer to this ques­tion I would be keen to know what they come up with!)
How did you cre­ate your illus­tra­tion? Was this any dif­fer­ent from your reg­u­lar process? I worked dig­i­tally on a Wacom tablet in ye old Pho­to­shoppe. I built every­thing up in full color before desat­u­rat­ing all the col­ors in the end to mimic the appear­ance of an old pho­to­graph. I left a lit­tle bit of my sketch layer show­ing through to soften things.
and finally: Who is Blanche DuBun? Enlighten those that don’t know: WELL, she is my muse, side­kick, and furry pal. She is my pet rab­bit; a real funny bunny.

Cachetejack’s Illustration Will Make Sure You Have a Happy Friday


No Fri­day round up today, folks. Between vaca­tion and dein­stalling In the Palm of Your Hand, I haven’t had time to peruse the inter­webs as much as I’d like. Next week! I promise!

For now, let’s take a look at the illus­tra­tive work of Cachete­jack. It’s not just one per­son, but the hand­i­work of  Nuria Bel­lver and Raquel Fan­jul, who are Span­ish but now based in Lon­don. As some­one who works col­lab­o­ra­tively, I respect what they’re doing.

Their work is col­or­ful, ener­getic, and funny. Enjoy the fan­tas­tic, busy scenes and have a happy Friday!

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Lauren Satlowski’s Subversive and Saccharine Figures


For some time now, I’ve pined over the works of Lau­ren Sat­lowski. Her tech­nique, the odd sub­ject mat­ter, and the sac­cha­rine col­ors appeal to me in a very vis­ceral way. I hes­i­tate to label her work as a jux­ta­po­si­tion of ugly/beautiful, but that’s the best way I can describe it. Using jewel-toned hues and photo-realistic ren­der­ing, her char­ac­ters some­time remind me of a sur­real ver­sion of Pre­cious Moments fig­urines. They def­i­nitely aren’t as sweet, and are instead subversive.

See Satlowski’s paint­ings and ceram­ics below.

CowboySmall Lauren Satlowski Lauren Satlowski SatlowskiPainting_02-copy LSatlowski_10 Pillow01_small loungertopsmall Ridersmall giftshop_small Lauren Satlowski jesusopt1web



Teagan White’s Magnificent Plumage


I’m back from a much needed vaca­tion and will be here in full force tomor­row. For now, let’s admire the illus­tra­tions of Tea­gan White, shall we? If you shop at Anthro­polo­gie or have been to a book­store, you might have seen her work — col­or­ful, detailed images per­fect for the nature lover. From White’s website:

Her work encom­passes intri­cate draw­ings of flora and fauna, play­ful water­col­ors of anthro­po­mor­phic crit­ters, illus­trated typog­ra­phy, and every­thing in between. Nature’s sub­tleties and rec­i­p­ro­cal rela­tion­ships between liv­ing things inspire her most, and her work typ­i­cally incor­po­rates nos­tal­gic col­ors, dec­o­ra­tive arrange­ments of organic forms, and metic­u­lous detail.

Get lost in all of the beau­ti­ful bird plumage! All images via her web­site.

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Part of White’s port­fo­lio includes children’s book work and typog­ra­phy. Here are a few more pieces!

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