lucy almey bird’s gentle, whimsical world

Come and cozy up by the fire – you’re just in time for Sunday tea! Looks like our hosts have set out sandwiches, scones, and a Victoria sponge. Such an inviting scene; it must feel nice to have someone brush your hair.

We previously featured several of Lucy Almey Bird’s paintings in a Cool Things Roundup, but decided she needs to have her own post since she’s created so many wonderful new pieces since then.

Somerset artist Lucy Almey Bird.

A native of rural Somerset in Southwest England, Lucy is a self taught artist who was encouraged to draw and paint from an early age. Frequent trips to museums and art galleries in London ignited her passion for art.

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Michael Sowa: Master of Comic Surrealism

My ongoing search for bear images online often leads to the discovery of some pretty amazing artists. 

Michael Sowa

Take German surrealist Michael Sowa, for example. Years ago, I ran across his painting of a teddy bear sitting alone at a table with a slice of bread and a glass of milk. When I saw that same bear hanging by his ears from a clothesline, that was it – I became a forever fan.

Little did I realize that the paintings were part of a book called A Bear Called Sunday, written by Axel Hacke (Bloomsbury, 2004).  Sowa has also illustrated two other children’s books: Esterhazy: The Rabbit Prince, by Irene Dische and Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Creative Co., 2000), and The Little King December, another title by Axel Hacke (Bloomsbury, 2002). 

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Sarah van Dongen’s Cozy World

Yum! It looks like somebody’s been very busy in the kitchen. Cakes piled up everywhere! And they’ve been at it for awhile –see the curly red-haired girl on the table who’s resting on the pink cake?

Maybe I should volunteer to help them eat some of their creations. Surely they could spare a cupcake or two. 🙂

Amsterdam-based illustrator Sarah van Dongen.
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Steve Hanks, Master of Figurative Watercolors

When I first saw this painting I thought it was a photograph. After I realized it was a painting, I assumed it was done in oils or acrylics. Wrong again: it’s watercolor!

I’m no artist, but I do know watercolor is a difficult medium – especially when it comes to figurative realism. Who is this artist, and how did he/she achieve such incredible mastery in this challenging genre?

Hanks in his Albuquerque studio.

Steve Hanks (1949-2015) was a California native born into a military family in San Diego. His dad was a highly decorated WWII Navy flyer. 

Growing up, Steve was more passionate about sports than art. He particularly enjoyed tennis and surfing along the beaches of Southern California. He would retain a spiritual connection with the ocean for the rest of his life.

Surfing had a strong influence on my paintings . . . The ocean made a strong and lasting impression on me. It was good for the soul to be out in the water—surfing, swimming, or simply getting in touch with its mysterious power.

Early on, Steve’s teachers recognized his artistic ability, but he refused to do the required assignments in his high school art class. To prove he was good, he did a one-man art show and sold his first painting to another art teacher.

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lucia heffernan’s animal whimsy

“Puppy Chow” by Lucia Heffernan

This cute little pup seems a little unsure about that drumstick on his plate.  Do you think he’s trying to figure out how to use that knife and fork? What impeccable table manners!

I was happy to chance upon Lucia Heffernan’s whimsical animal paintings recently. It’s simply impossible not to smile when you see them. She takes anthropomorphized animals to a new level: they’re realistic rather than caricatures, created with panache, elegance, and humor. 

A pig in a top hat? Bunnies driving race cars and shopping for carrots? What about a police bear enjoying coffee and donuts, or a handsome dog shaving? Whatever you do, don’t tell on that kitty who literally spilled the beans. 😀

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