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.
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.
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”?
With Richard Adams’s work, it was love at first sight.
I’m such a sucker for British charm and quirkiness.
How I’d love to step right into his paintings and explore the bucolic villages, sample the food at the open markets, stroll along country lanes, peek into thatched cottages, and best of all, chat with some of the fascinating characters who dwell in his halcyon world.
Adams was born in Hampshire (1960) and grew up in Wiltshire amidst the south Cotswold countryside, a landscape that would have a lasting influence on his work. He received a BA Hons in Graphic Design from Leicester Polytechnic, then worked as a freelance illustrator in London for clients such as BP, the Radio Times, and Penguin Books, before moving to Rye in Sussex, where he lives now. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally in Madrid, Washington, Sydney and Bremen.
At first glance, one is taken with the enchanting beauty, brilliant composition, and wealth of detail. On second glance, one catches on to Adams’s puckish sense of humor (he characterizes his work as having “a subtle light-heartedness”). While studying the chock-a-block cross-section of his Dolls House, for example, one might be distracted by the man doing a headstand on the front lawn and miss the naked woman casually sitting on the sofa making polite conversation.
With Adams, a liberated, freewheeling loose boob or two seems par for the course. Why not frolic in the field, mix the playful with the pretty, and surprise the viewer in the best possible way? 🙂
“The land created me. I’m wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I’m more at home in the vacant lots.” ~ Bob Dylan
Since the man is turning 77 today, we’re gonna sing a little birthday blues by featuring some of Dylan’s “bluepaintings” paired with bits of his song lyrics.
Did you know that besides being a 12-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, poet, author, small-batch whiskey entrepreneur, metal works artist, and Nobel, Pulitzer, Medal of Freedom, Oscar, and Golden Globe winner, Dylan is also an accomplished painter?
We first saw his work gracing the covers of two 70’s albums (Self Portrait and Planet Waves), but he didn’t start seriously exhibiting and selling his paintings until 2007. Like many extraordinarily gifted creatives, his output benefits from the cross-fertilization of art forms.
Dylan is that rare person who can move effortlessly between music, word, ink, paint, as if he’s just futzing around with a few different instruments in the studio. Yet again and again he reflects life back to us with a truth and simplicity that defy words . . . seemingly unworried about how something looks, he’s not after artistic perfection, but something larger, a moment, a feeling. The effect is enthralling.
~ Marisha Pessl, New York Times
I love his frequent use of blues, and of course how often he depicts eateries. It’s fascinating to see the world through Dylan’s (blue) eyes 🙂 — he’s drawn to back streets, alley ways, country roads, bridges, train tracks — landscapes and urban scenes “unpolluted by the ephemera of pop culture.” There’s a noted absence of people in most of these paintings, conveying a sense of loneliness and a nostalgia for simpler times.
The other day, in my ongoing quest for art that makes my heart sing, I stumbled upon the work of UK-based artist Vanessa Cooper.
Can you see why I instantly fell in love? Why shouldn’t doggies be treated to a variety of scrummy cakes and a homey checked tablecloth?
Dogs aren’t the only ones who receive special treatment at the dining table. Vanessa also includes lots of cats, the odd budgie, goat, or whatever stray she might happen upon. I love her sense of whimsy.
She’s a Hampshire native who studied at Portsmouth University. She started painting in her teens and her style is defined by her bold use of color, striking compositions, and charming details.