annya marttinen: a little bit cute, a little bit spooky

In Annya Marttinen’s enchanting world, books and teacups float in the air, children play leapfrog with real frogs, and rabbits leap over treetops.

Yet alongside these flights of fancy are realistic depictions of simple pleasures such as reading, knitting, yoga, or walking in the woods on starlit nights.

Annya, who just turned 28, lives and works in Ontario.

A native of Canada, Annya’s a graphic design major who currently works as an illustrator using both traditional (watercolor, gouache) and digital mediums. She favors warm earth tones, and many of her pictures include celestial imagery for an added touch of magic.

She’s largely inspired by folklore, mythology, nature, children’s literature, and the cozy comforts of home. She’s an avid reader of fantasy novels and often gets ideas from listening to movie soundtracks.

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karen hoepting’s whimsical world

Go ahead. Reach for a pretty cuppa. I’m sure the butterflies won’t mind. Which one is your favorite? 

What a treat to be able to drink in Canadian artist Karen Hoepting’s rich, vibrant colors and inventive compositions!

Karen was born on a farm in rural Ontario, where, from a young age, she and her siblings wiled away the hours drawing and painting. Living in the country, it’s no surprise that Karen’s favorite subjects were animals, which she tried to draw as realistically as possible.

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Maud Lewis: Painting Joy

The happy childlike paintings of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis belie the many adversities and challenges she faced throughout her life.

Maud Lewis in her Marshalltown home.

Looking at her peaceful scenes of winding country lanes, sleepy boat harbors, and charming cats amongst tulips and blossom-laden branches, it’s hard to imagine she lived most of her life in a cramped one-room house with no running water or electricity, barely able to hold a paint brush with her gnarly, arthritic hands.

Born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1901, Maud Dowley was a solitary child, uncomfortable around others because of her differences. She was smaller than most, and because of birth defects, had hunched shoulders, almost no chin, and painfully deformed hands. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis further reduced her mobility. Teased mercilessly by the other kids, she dropped out of school at age 14.

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dreamy delights: the french canvas studio

love those cups!

 

Bonjour Mes Amis!

Fancy a leisurely drive along the French Riviera, perhaps stopping at a friend’s apartment for coffee and pastries? If her piano’s in tune, she’ll regale you with an exquisite rendition of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” her flamingos, peacock and toucan in attendance.

 

 

 

 

Later, if you’re in the mood for a swim, the two of you can head for the beach, where you can stretch out under a fringed umbrella with a bottle of champagne. Ah, this is the life!

 

 

Canadian artist Lisa Finch loves to create scenes like these, painting stories with a unique vintage voice. Her pictures are perfect for those who appreciate old world nostalgia with a touch of whimsy.

 

 

 

She welcomes visitors to her French Canvas Studio like this:

Imagine you’re stepping into a little studio filled with paints, jars of brushes and lots of canvases, Some with works started, others drying, some just blank, waiting patiently. In the corner you’ll find an old easel, my father’s, given to me years ago when I was just a young woman.

Along the only solid wall in this studio, is a great French armoire with a large mirror on the centre door that I try to avoid looking at when I enter in the morning. It has its purpose, but my reflection is not the one I need. If you open the doors on this antique cabinet, they protest with a moan as they reveal rolls of wrapping paper and packaging for items waiting to be shipped.

Behind my desk, there is a large window that fills this little room with natural light and on rainy days, I turn on an old lamp that I rescued from the side of the road and a makeshift spotlight that holds onto my easel for dear life. It’s through this window that I often catch myself dreaming as I watch the towering maple trees in the yard sway and the squirrels maneuver through their branches like acrobats and where the birds, hidden somewhere in the foliage, let out a song that makes me wish I could sing.

This is where you’ll find me.

This is where I pursue an artful life…

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