amy rice’s mixed media art: wistful, whimsical and nostalgic

Recently stumbled upon the work of Minneapolis-based mixed media artist Amy Rice, and was drawn to her unique style right away. Since she grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest, it’s no surprise that she favors natural and pastoral themes.

Though she took many art history courses in college, she didn’t receive any formal art training, having majored in sociology and women’s studies. Being a self taught artist has worked in her favor, as she has never felt constrained by any hard and fast rules or the need to adhere to convention.

She achieves her trademark style with non-traditional printmaking methods, including hand cut stencils and a Japanese screen printing toy called a Gocco. She uses spray paint, acrylics, gouache, and ink to print on a variety of surfaces, including wood, fabric, and antique papers (handwritten love letters, envelopes, music sheets, maps, journal pages), and “is most satisfied when I can make a tangible or visceral connection between the materials used and the image rendered.”

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a bit of loveliness: vanessa bowman’s still life and landscape oils

 

Thought we’d brighten your week with some of Vanessa Bowman’s lovely still life and landscape paintings.

Vanessa lives and works in Dorset, England, and graduated from the Winchester School of Art with a First Class Honours Degree in Printed Textile Design. She comes from an artistic family — both her father and sister are also painters.

 

photo of Vanessa by Greg Funnell

 

She works entirely in oils, thinning her paints to achieve the fluidity of watercolors. She loves celebrating the beauty of everyday objects. As a keen gardener and ceramics collector, it follows that her own flowers and found treasures often appear in her still life paintings.

I grow flowers which aren’t usually found in shops – dark, almost black flowers in Tulips and Centaureas, a beautifully marked hellebore in an unusual shade of green and dark Nasturtiums, jewel like Dahlias, fiery Crocosmia, Cosmos with their frond-like leaves and many more.

 

 

She begins her days by taking a walk with her dog, gathering her thoughts as she immerses herself in her beautiful surroundings, noting seasonal changes and checking her garden to see what’s in bloom on the way to her studio. Gentle hills, hedgerows, and regional flora and fauna appear in her landscape paintings — charming depictions of idyllic country life.

 

 

Typical of her landscapes is a detailed foreground of seasonal blossoms or berries that invite the reader into an intimate portrait of the Dorset landscape.

 

 

Her still life paintings center around the colors and shapes of her chosen flowers:

I am drawn to flowers as my main subject matter as I am captivated by the variety of colour and detail they offer. I am fascinated by the elements of colour and shape each flower offers, from the simplicity of a snowdrop to the complexity of, say, a dahlia, with its jewel-like colour and complex petal formation.

 

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jane massey’s pictures make me want to hug myself

Why, hello!

There’s nothing like seeing the world through a child’s eyes.

Position your Cheerios and take a look at these adorable illustrations by UK author/illustrator Jane Massey.

 

 

You may know her from the dozens of children’s books she’s illustrated — books she’s written herself and by many others (Alexandra Penfold, Joyce Dunbar, Dawn Richards, Claire Freedman, et. al.).

 

 

I confess I first noticed her work on Pinterest and Instagram, where she regularly posts THE CUTEST drawings and sketches. I marvel at her childlike instinct. We would expect her art to speak directly to children, but I was also struck by how deeply her pictures spoke to the child in me. I discovered recently that I certainly was not alone in my reaction.

 

 

Not too long ago, I posted the above drawing, called “New Shoes,” on Facebook. People LOVED and identified with it, recalling their own childhood experiences. Comments ranged from “simple and beautiful,” to “I adore this!” to “awwwwwww. . . ” Some of these people had never commented or “liked” any of my posts before. Jane’s art had grabbed them, and for a fleeting moment, they remembered what it was like to be two or three again.

 

 

Isn’t it amazing how something so simple could elicit such a strong emotional response? And that’s what characterizes Massey’s work: a posture, an expression, a nuance of emotion — all the feelings and heart of a child are ever present.

 

 

There are many artists who can draw children well, but not all are able to capture such believable emotion in just a few masterful strokes. This is especially evident in the drawings she posts on Instagram — not necessarily part of a specific book project, yet each subscribes to the “less is more” philosophy — where character is instantly established, and a larger narrative is implied. Brilliant!

 

 

 

 

Look at the Cheerios girl at the top of this post. Don’t you already know her? Can’t you already imagine the trouble she could get into?

 

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charmed by katie almond’s ceramics!

I really don’t know how these cute things keep finding me.

Minding my own business, I hear a little voice saying: “This has got your name written all over it.”

Investigating further, I see the piece that caught my eye was made by a UK artist. Again.

So much talent across the pond!

It’s time we had a good ceramics fix, and no one better to do just that than Katie Almond. You know me, I like charming and quirky.

Katie’s based in Rutland in the East Midlands. Rutland is the smallest historic county in England (18 miles N to S, 17 miles E to W). Tiny! It’s motto: “Much in Little.”

This sort of describes Katie’s work: she includes a lot of beautiful detail on each of her ceramic canvases, a blend of hand-painting + found vintage ephemera.

An honors graduate in Design Crafts from DeMontfort University in Leicester, she set up her studio in 2009 and has exhibited throughout the UK.

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the charmed world of british folk artist anna pugh

“Training the Bees” (2018)

 

It’s always a good day when I stumble upon a new-to-me artist to love. More often than not, the artist in question turns out to be from the UK.

 

“Tea Break” (2017)

 

“Blue Birds Over” (2015)

 

Anna Pugh was born in 1938 and hails from Kent, “the Garden of England.” An esteemed British folk artist, her work shows her deep affinity with plants and animals, both a central part of her life growing up as the daughter of a veterinarian and a devoted gardener.

 

“Flying Kites” (2016)

 

“Burning Off” (2014)

 

“A Doodle Do” (2017)

 

I love the stories she tells in her paintings, whether a scene of the countryside or coast. Her finely detailed and beautifully textured depictions of flora and fauna and the changing seasons are infused with an element of whimsy and the surreal. Alongside a dog or chicken one might find the occasional unicorn. Who would not be charmed with titles like “Hang Gliding in Heels” or “Bugs Do Pilates”?

 

“Hang Gliding in Heels” (2013)

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