nine cool things on a tuesday

1.  Nothing cozier than settling down in your favorite armchair, book in hand, cat purring, tea and cake at the ready (don’t you love the blue and white china?). 🙂

Self taught UK artist Lucy Almey Bird grew up in rural Somerset, and likes to paint domestic scenes from everyday life. I love the “kinder, gentler” tone of her pictures, many of which show people reading and relaxing, enjoying the fresh air, or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.

Pretty details catch your eye, such as the patterns on clothing or wallpaper, and intricately drawn leaves, branches, or wildflower blossoms. 

The child of creative parents, Lucy was encouraged to draw and paint from an early age. Regular trips to museums and art galleries ignited her passion for art. She works primarily with acrylic on board, and you can order prints by emailing her via her website.

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2. New Picture Book Alert! Just released March 30, 2021: Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari and Felicita Sala (Abrams, 2021)!

A lyrical, gorgeously illustrated look at the majesty of trees—and what humans can learn from them.

Stand tall. 
Stretch your branches to the sun. 
Be a tree!

We are all like trees: our spines, trunks; our skin, bark; our hearts giving us strength and support, like heartwood. We are fueled by air and sun.

And, like humans, trees are social. They “talk” to spread information; they share food and resources. They shelter and take care of one another. They are stronger together.
In this gorgeous and poetic celebration of one of nature’s greatest creations, acclaimed author Maria Gianferrari and illustrator Felicita Sala both compare us to the beauty and majesty of trees—and gently share the ways in which trees can inspire us to be better people.

As someone who lives in the woods, and who’s also a big fan of both Maria’s and Felicita’s work, I am extra excited about seeing this one. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

Be a Tree! has already received **starred reviews** from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, who said, “This book has the advantage of lyrical, accessible poetry and vibrant watercolors from an ever changing palette.”

Sigh. I may have to go outside and read this book to our trees. 🙂

Congratulations, Maria and Felicita!

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the enchanting world of Cathy Cullis

Cathy Cullis’s art invites you to enter a world of serenity, quiet beauty, and sometimes, melancholy. Stone cottages and charming homes, cozy interiors, peaceful gardens, solitary figures, and uncluttered still life compositions are rendered in subdued colors or monochrome, speaking of another time, far removed from the busyness of modern life.

I’m intrigued by the people in her pictures. What are their personal stories? Because so many women are depicted, I wonder whether they are content with their lives or yearn for more. Are they extensions of the artist, or characters wholly spun from her imagination?

Cathy is a mixed media artist, writer and poet based in South London, UK. She’s been “a maker” since childhood — a versatile creative who thrives on tactile activity and producing handmade pieces with a discernible personal thumbprint.

Although she studied art and literature as an undergraduate at Brunel University, she considers herself largely self-taught when it comes to visual art, since her studies were mostly theoretical rather than hands-on.

Since earning an MA in Creative Writing (specializing in poetry) from Bath Spa University, most of her energies thus far have been devoted to art rather than writing. Still, her background in literature is evident in the narrative component of her pieces, and how she establishes a kind of regional, historic context for them.

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claire west: a shot of happiness

If this isn’t joy personified I don’t know what is.

One glance at Claire West’s exuberant splash of colors and you’re smiling, your heart’s beating a little faster, you. are. UP!

Say goodbye to even a tiny case of the winter doldrums as your eyes drink, drink, drink it all in. Wow. Gorgeous. Whoa. More, please.

Claire hails from Hull in East Yorkshire, England. She initially trained as an interior designer at Newcastle Art College before studying part time for seven years to earn her Fine Arts degree from Humberside University.

Claire with her border collie Flossie

She then began doing freelance work for television production companies, who featured her work in TV programs. She’s exhibited her paintings and linocuts all over the UK and also teaches painting and printmaking workshops.

Claire paints because it makes her happy, and she hopes her pieces make others feel the same way. She strongly believes in the power of color therapy to uplift the spirit.

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loving elizabeth price’s whimsical ceramic sculptures

 

Why, hello!

Look who’s relaxing up there on that shelf. She seems to be enjoying a moment of peace and quiet. As long as no one reaches for the sugar, she’s all set. 🙂

 

 

 

 

I was instantly smitten when I first saw Elizabeth Price’s charming ceramic figures. People standing, bending, stretching, sitting, posing — alone or with others — a state of mind, a moment in a narrative, a three dimensional snapshot that arouses curiosity and makes the viewer smile, ponder, or reflect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her pieces are brilliantly emotive; much is conveyed by stance and gestures — some as small as the tilt of the head or a certain set of the shoulders. I also love the soft colors and patterns of the garments! Wouldn’t you enjoy the lovely surprise of finding a small person lounging in your garden, posed on your bathroom sink, perched on your bookshelf?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth is (you guessed it) British. She initially trained as an art teacher but early on ran her own restaurant in Manchester. It wasn’t until she was in her forties that she pursued formal art training and set up a home studio.

She’d always enjoyed working with clay, and after making many cakes with marzipan, she was reminded of just how much. 🙂

 

 

 

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new art crush: jane newland

 

I recently “discovered” UK illustrator Jane Newland while browsing images online. Safe to say that 80% of the time, when something different/exceptional/beautiful stops me in my tracks, the artist turns out to be British. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Jane lives and works in Norwich (the most complete Medieval city in the UK), which is located in Norfolk county.

 

 

 

 

A graduate of Maidstone College of Art, Jane has illustrated children’s books for a number of publishers, in addition to doing editorial/licensing work for such clients as Anthropologie, Times Square Hong Kong, Leonidas Belgian Chocolates, The Art Group, and Vogue. Her designs can be found on greeting cards, baby bed linen, magazine covers, packaging, and a line of handbags for Sakroots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly inspired by the natural world, her work is characterized by gorgeous color combinations and an exquisite attention to detail. She also includes some surprises in her landscapes every now and then — foxes, birds, dogs, people.

 

 

 

 

 

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