Sarah Bowman: In and out of the Window

A cup of tea, a sweet treat, and a lovely view: who could ask for more?

British artist Sarah Bowman is known for her ‘though the window’ paintings, which impart a soothing sense of peace, calm and serenity. 

Sarah in her home studio.

This unique hybrid of a still life in the foreground with a landscape beyond invites the viewer to enjoy a dual narrative, with the chosen objects and the space around them telling one story and the outdoor scene another.

Bowman has said that her landscapes are derived from memory; they’re an amalgamation of places she’s visited such as Cornwall, Devon, the Scilly Isles, and Andalucia.

She actually lives in Ashburton, Devon, where she works at home in an attic studio. She and her husband own the White Space Art Gallery in nearby Totnes, a market town with a thriving arts community. 

Sarah works in oil on board or canvas, using a gentle, muted palette. A harmonious blend of subdued greens, blues and greys with pops of pinks, yellows, oranges and purples speak of idyllic coastlines, stone quays, fishing villages, patchwork fields, quaint cottages and rolling hills dotted with sheep.

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Christopher Corr’s Colorful Joyful World

When asked to describe his work in three words, British artist, animator and writer Christopher Corr said:

“Colourful Joyful World.”

And how! Corr’s pictures make you feel like doing a few handsprings and backflips. Such energy and exuberance! No time for the blahs or even a tiny speck of indifference. Corr dazzles with bold colors, injecting whimsy and humor in his pieces with a naïve, intuitive style.

Christopher Corr lives and works in London.

Equally at home drawing everything from stone huts to skyscrapers, he works in gouache on handmade Indian or Italian paper, as though he’s using a pen. Color is powerful, a language in itself.

Corr loves to travel and wholeheartedly invites us along, inspiring us to open our eyes, open our minds, enjoy, and fully embrace all that the world has to offer: people, places, animals, cities, cultures, landscapes, art, architecture. 

A native of London, Corr earned a BFA in graphic design from Manchester Polytechnic, and an MA in illustration from the Royal College of Art. 

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Marcella Cooper: Beauty in Simple Things

What could be more relaxing than sitting in your back garden with a steamy pot of tea, a good book, and a snuggly feline friend?

British artist Marcella Cooper captures the joy of simple pleasures in her lovely paintings, each an invitation to live in the moment.

photo of Marcella by Sarah Lane

Based in rural Suffolk, Marcella lives with her family in a 16th century thatched cottage. Interested in art since childhood, she had always been drawn to British flora and fauna. 

While living in a quiet village and homeschooling her two children, she was inspired by her picturesque surroundings and began to dabble in drawing and painting. She sold these early pieces to family and friends. 

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mary fedden: beauty in finessed simplicity

I actually came to know Mary Fedden’s work in a round about sort of way. Truth is, her name was so frequently mentioned as an inspiration or influence by so many of my favorite British creators that I simply had to learn more.

Turns out she’s one of Britain’s finest and best-loved contemporary artists, one who painted daily right up until her passing in 2012 at age 96. She’s most well known for her distinctive still lifes, characterized by a bold use of color, odd and inventive perspectives, and flat picture planes. 

Artist, printmaker and illustrator Mary Fedden in her Durham Wharf Studio

She made the ordinary extraordinary with her signature näive yet sophisticated style, elevating the beauty of favorite subjects such as fruits, feathers and plants. Her extensive body of work spanned over seven decades.

Born in Bristol, England in 1915, Mary hated and dropped out of Badminton girls’ school to attend the Slade School of Fine Arts in London at age 16. While there, she studied under Russian scene painter Vladimir Polunin, who had worked with the Ballets Russes and with Pablo Picasso.

After completing her studies, she briefly designed sets for Sadler’s Wells before returning to Bristol to work as a teacher and portrait painter. Polunin’s influence was evident in her opulent palette, reminiscent of the sumptuous colors of the ballet’s sets and costumes. 

With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Fedden served in the Women’s Land Army and Women’s Voluntary Service, where she was commissioned to create murals for the war effort. She later worked as a driver for the NAAFI in Europe.

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Mani Parkes: feel the joy

What could be better than sitting down for a nice brekkie with your best furry friend? 

For me, Mani Parke’s art was love at first bark. Her pictures make me happy — and no wonder, they check all the right boxes: lots of British charm, quaint buildings nestled in villages with narrow, winding streets; restful coastal views, congenial tea drinking, people relaxing and being neighborly, couples (young and old) in love sweet love, adorable dogs (napping, cuddling, snuffling), not to mention all the beautiful BLUES! *sigh*

Her palette is subdued, chalky, refreshing and calming. She incorporates shades of grey, sometimes green, surprising the viewer with an occasional pop of red or pink. The predominance of blue + dogs reminded me of Gary Bunt, but with a decidedly softer, more feminine and detailed touch.

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