Once again, Kirsten Sims has captured an incredible energy in her paintings that recall the spontaneity of pencil sketches. Her latest series was created for the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg, and they feature vibrant outdoor and indoor scenes that act as a yin and yang—the beauty of solitude, as well as the hustle and bustle of large groups. Each is lively in its application of paint; the colors swirl and mix on canvas, diffusing and abstracting the illustrations. It’s as if they represent one long, fantastic dream… or better yet, a memory!
Illustrator Diana Cojocaru first caught my attention with her collection entitled Human Wings. Using water-based media, she lets the vibrant hues have a mind of their own as they bleed into one another and create a dreamlike feel. Hands are a thematic occurrence in her work, and about the series, she explains it with one single quote by Sanober Khan: “Your hand touching mine—this is how galaxies collide.”
In her Beyond project, Diana was inspired by a passion for flowers, hidden messages, and again—hands!
Diana’s current project started as a challenge to herself.
“I’ve always considered that I’m not able to draw portraits, with everything I’ve created so far revolving around abstract concepts,” she tells me an in an email. “Even though my style is a clumsy one, I want to bring my illustrations into the fashion area and to communicate through the clumsiness itself that every woman has a beauty which is often hidden behind peculiar features, far from the stereotypes.”
I’ve written here before about my penchant for 100 days projects, and artist Samantha Russo has recently completed one that’s full of color and pattern—plus, it’s all contained in her sketchbook. Page after page, she uses paint, markers, and pastels to create vibrant abstract compositions that experiment with scale and texture.
If you’re looking for a project to start 2017 (or finish 2016), this seems like a good one. It makes you focus on play, and I’m sure that elements from these pages will be incorporated into Samantha’s work somehow.
Illustrator Chloe Bristol is a background painter for Disney Junior and Cartoon Network, but she also creates excitement in the foreground of her works. Crafted with a cinematic touch, these vignettes introduce us to many stories and characters whose scenes beg us to fill in the blanks. I would love to see them as animated GIFs—it’d add to the mystique that Chloe has so expertly crafted with setting and color.
And a couple of portraits, just for fun:
We all have our own ways of achieving ~zen~, and for me, it’s witnessing the beauty of grandiose natural landscapes. The vast, seemingly never-ending horizon reminds me of just how big the world is, dwarfing whatever worries occupy my brain. Maggie Chiang captures this feeling with exquisite snapshots of open spaces. Inky and drawn textures mimic desert scenes, rapid waters, and gray skies. In every image, the Earth looks magnificent and makes me want to find the nearest hiking trail!
Jess Phoenix loves color. When she’s not illustrating and designing products for Compendium, she creates electric floral paintings that are adorned with gold and neon paint. Most the bouquets are imagined, she writes, “and act as a vehicle for her to create vibrant color relationships.” I’m sorta glad they aren’t real—that way, we can always enjoy their beautiful arrangements.
Jess sells prints of her work through her online shop.
Hayley Mitchell paints people that you want to meet. Clad in bright colors, the Cubist-inspired ladies are adorned with beautiful headpieces and jewelry. They’re abstract, yes, but still display unique personalities, and the pigments give us some insight into who they are. Wouldn’t you like to know?
Hayley has created prints of these characters and sells them all on Etsy.
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.
If you can’t tell by my posts over the past few weeks, I’m excited for the summer time. After a whole bunch of snow, the thought of warm weather has me over the moon! One thing I love about summer is the pool. Sadly, I don’t make it there as much as I used to, but I still fantasize about riding a waterslide. Joanne Ho’s illustrations depict these sorts of fun times with whole lotta tiny figures enjoying the water. Each painting is from a bird’s eye view, dwarfing the bodies so that they look like ants poking out of fantastic fields of blue.
Joanne sells prints of her work on Etsy.
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.