nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy June! The lazy days of summer are just about upon us. How will you while away the hours — relaxing on a quiet beach, sharing ice cream with friends, or indulging in some midsummer magic with your favorite critters?

Michigan artist and illustrator Gretchen Ellen Powers helps us envision the possibilities in her beautiful pictures. In fact, her debut picture book, Summer’s Call (written by Amber Lynn Hellewell) captures the feeling of a “Michigan summer,” something she’s known well since childhood.

The nostalgic feel and soft, muted palette of Gretchen’s art is reminiscent of Tasha Tudor. I also see a touch of Amy June Bates in how she draws her characters. I like the old fashioned throwback to classics such as Anne of Green Gables and Little Women in some of her pictures — a comforting nod to simpler times. And one of her favorites is Beatrix Potter. 🙂

Prior to Summer’s Call, she created 30 interior illustrations for the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Boxcar Children. She’s also done label and greeting card design and editorial work for such clients as The Telegraph (Stella Magazine), Mollie Makes, Lionheart Magazine, and Creature Comforts.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. April showers bring May flowers! We’re celebrating the merriest of months with stunning images by Japanese artist Shinya Okayama.

I wasn’t able to find much biographical information about him online in English. Wish I could read Japanese so I could have done additional detective work. 🙂

But we do know Okayama was born in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1982 and that he studied at Sokei Academy of Fine Art and Design (2003-2007).

I stumbled upon his work on Pinterest and was immediately taken with his beautiful colors, extraordinary level of detail, and gentle depictions of children and animals, who are portrayed on equal footing and living in total harmony.

He paints an idyllic world, where children are free to explore their surroundings and enjoy wonderful adventures with many wild creatures on land and from the sea. He injects elements of the surreal in some of his pictures, as boundaries between earth and ocean disappear.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello April (come she will)! I see you there on your chaise lounge, totally relaxing with a glass of wine and a bowl of cherries. Who said April is the cruelest month? Doesn’t look that way to Nevada based artist Elaine Cory, whose vibrant, textured paintings transport us to a dream world.

She’s known for her color saturated florals, gorgeous landscapes, and pretty street scenes that make you wish you could be relaxing on a balmy tropical isle or sitting at an outdoor Parisian café right this very minute. Mais, oui!

An Army brat, Elaine lived in Germany and France and traveled to many foreign countries, which opened her eyes to the beauty of the world. Upon returning to the U.S., her family settled in San Francisco, where she frequented museums and art galleries.

She attended San Francisco State College on an art scholarship and worked as an interior designer for about 20 years. All the while, she continued to paint, working in acrylics and mixed media, developing her distinct impressionistic style.

Elaine sells originals at her Etsy Shop, Elaine’s Heartsong. She calls her paintings “jewelry for your walls.”

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy March! We’re looking forward to spring and all things green and floral with Olivia Gibbs’ lovely art. So colorful and joyful!

Born and raised in Spain, Olivia is self taught and currently resides in Augusta, Georgia. She’s been smitten with drawing since childhood, when she’d spend hours creating stories in her sketchbook.

Since art didn’t seem like a viable career option, she studied Business Administration in college and then worked in banking for many years. But when her second daughter was born, she was able to stay at home and renew her interest in art, her true passion.

In addition to drawing and painting, Olivia loves traveling and exploring new places and cultures. She’s also keen on hiking, baking, dancing, finding the beauty in everyday life, and spending time with loved ones. 

Her client list includes American Greetings, Galison/Mudpuppy, Oopsy Daisy, Hallmark, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann Fabric. 

She recently published this book:

For more, visit Olivia’s Official Website, Instagram and Etsy Shop, where you can purchase prints.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy February! We’re celebrating the month of love with some of Lee White’s Valentine’s Day prints and cards.

You may be familiar with Lee’s work as a children’s book illustrator (Kate, Who Tamed the Wind; The Maine Coon’s Haiku, I Lived on Butterfly Hill). He’s also done commercial projects for clients such as Disney, Verizon, National Geographic and Marks & Spencer, and teaches painting via The Society of Visual Storytelling, an online art school for artists of all skill levels.

Lee works mainly in watercolor, but likes to include other media such as ink, colored pencil and collage.

To see more of his work or to purchase prints and cards, visit Lee’s Official Website and Etsy Shop. 

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