rachel grant’s world of serene beauty

 

It’s really pure and simple. Rachel Grant’s art gets me where I live. She seems to know I’d love nothing better than to curl up in one of her paintings, sip a warm cuppa and nibble on a piece of cake while gazing out the window.

 

 

Rachel lives and works in an old Victorian terraced house in “The Potteries” — a creative county in North Staffordshire, England. This area became the center of ceramic production in the 17th century, with hundreds of companies producing everything from tableware to decorative pieces to industrial items. If you’re familiar with Wedgwood, Spode, Royal Doulton, Beswick, Emma Bridgewater — just to name a few, or if ‘Stoke-on-Trent’ rings a bell, then you know about the rich ceramics history of the region.

What a perfect setting for an artist!

 

 

 

It is this love of history, time-worn surfaces, and the consistency of the natural world around them that inspires and informs my work . . . I am always busy collecting and studying vintage ephemera, patterns, objects and images in order to interweave historical references with current and upcoming trends in a wide range of markets.

 

 

 

 

The preponderance of ceramic objects in Rachel’s paintings sets my little china-loving heart aflutter. 🙂 Jugs, teapots, mugs, vases — all appear in her cozy interiors, while her many window views feature quaint street scenes or seaside landscapes.

 

 

 

 

 

What I also noticed in her pictures is how perfectly she captures daylight in England. If you’ve ever visited, you know what I mean — whether sunny or overcast, there’s a certain quality to the light when you’re outdoors — different from being in the U.S.

 

Rachel works with mixed media (gouache, acrylic, collage), assembling various elements digitally to create “detailed, textural compositions that convey a sense of warm nostalgia, whilst retaining a fresh, contemporary feel.”

 

 

Whatever the subject, her overall aim is to create “an atmosphere of peace and harmony . . . quiet and still moments in an otherwise chaotic world.”

Precisely what we all need. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel’s clients include Abrams Noterie, Amber Lotus Publishing, The Boston Globe, Canns Down Press, Pier 1 Imports, Design House Greetings, Martha Stewart Living, Peter Pauper Press, Simple Things Magazine, Taproot Magazine and many, many more.

 

For Amber Lotus Publishing, Rachel designed this beautiful “Birds in a Book,”

 

and this fabulous 2020 wall calendar:

 

 

Rachel is a self described “home bird,” and when she’s not working on her art, likes to garden, bake bread, knit, sew, and watch dystopian films while snuggled under crochet blankets. There is always music in the background while she’s working.

 

 

 

She would like nothing more than to someday live in an old cottage by the sea, embracing a quiet, slow-paced, peaceful life. Her illustrations offer a glimpse of this dream.

 

 

 

Enjoy this video “Blurb Book” to see even more (love her botanicals and fun surface designs!). Just fabulous.

 

 

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Do visit Rachel’s Official Website, her Instagram, and FB Page.

You can purchase original pieces, prints, and blank journals at Rachel’s Etsy Shop, and her images are also available for license and commission for publication, editorial, surface pattern, and more. The Blank Card Company sells her art cards.

 

 

 


Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

claire fletcher: stepping back in time

 

This is probably the first Claire Fletcher painting I ran into several years ago and I’ve been in love with her work ever since.

As usual, I was probably searching for bears and this piece caught my eye because it contains a real bear as well as a teddy. There was much “ooohing and ahhhhhing” in the Alphabet Soup kitchen, so naturally I had to find out more.

Here’s a picture of Claire. Don’t you love her braids?

 

 

She lives in Hastings, a seaside town/fishing port on the southern coast of England. It looks like she collects vintage toys and ephemera. My kind of person!

This is the bio from her website:

 

Whether it’s her acrylic or watercolor paintings, illustration work, or pen-and-ink drawings, I like them all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dee nickerson’s lovely world

 

I like imagining the little stories depicted in Dee Nickerson’s paintings. These ladies seem so content sitting outdoors with their warm beverages, newspaper, knitting, and kitties. And look at those wonderful blue booties and floral print skirts!

Don’t you feel calmer and more relaxed just looking at them?

 

 

 

Dee is yet another of my favorite UK artists whose work is steeped in the English countryside. She was born into a Norfolk farming family and grew up in a rural environment, so it’s no surprise her pictures often show humans interacting with nature and animals in various seasonal settings.

 

 

 

 

She began making and studying art and art history from an early age, and won national school painting competitions. She later attended Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design, and then worked for Liberty retail, where she indulged her love of fashion, textile history, and design.

 

 

 

 

She’s been a full-time painter since the early 90’s and has exhibited widely in her native Suffolk and across the UK. Her hugely popular line of Green Pebble greeting cards has made her work visible to an even wider audience.

 

 

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. There’s nothing ho-hum about Oregon-based ceramicist Sara Swink’s work. She creates human and animal figures that tease our thinking and beg interpretation. She takes something familiar and gives it a dreamlike, bizarre, or even humorous twist. Her distinctive pieces definitely compel us to take a second or third look.

Her love of clay began when she was eight, with the encouragement of a neighbor who was a potter. She learned to throw on a potter’s wheel, hand build and mix glazes in high school, even buying her own wheel with money earned cleaning houses.

Some twenty years later, she began taking ceramics classes, then studied art history, printmaking, drawing, and foundry work at several universities while teaching. Studying with Coeleen Kiebert (whose approach is to fuse artmaking with the psychology of the individual) was pivotal in shaping Sara’s work. Sara’s pieces can be seen as expressions of her inner psyche; there is a personal narrative that runs through all her art.

Sara opened Clay Circle Studio when she moved to the Portland area in 2006 and continues to offer workshops. Find out more about her classes at her official website, where you can also view a wonderful archive of available and past pieces.

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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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