allyn howard’s whimsical world

 

Let’s celebrate the merry month of May with Allyn Howard’s lovely, winsome art. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Allyn is a painter living and working in Brooklyn, NY. I was immediately drawn to her pretty florals and charming animals. One can’t help but feel uplifted by her cheerful colors and playful, childlike designs.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally from Virginia, where she received her BFA from VCU in Communication Arts and Design, she went on to earn an MFA in Studio Art from NYU.

My work reflects my interest in the wonders of nature, often from the vantage point of small curious animals. I use water based acrylics on wood, paper and canvas, merging a decorative style with a colorful painterly one. My work is inspired by friendship, a sense of home and the discovery and sense of wonder observing the big beautiful world.

 

 

 

 

She excels in surface design; her fine detailed work lends itself well to fabrics, wallpaper, gift wrap, and a variety of personal accessories. Of course all her adorable animal friends brim with kid appeal (a selection of fine art prints, perfect for hanging in children’s rooms, is available via Oopsy Daisy).

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

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 I am always busy collecting and studying vintage ephemera, patterns, objects and images in order to interweave historical references with current and upcoming trends in a wide range of markets.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.

 

 

*

 

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.

a breath of fresh air: illustrator and ceramicist polly fern

 

On any given day, you’re likely to find British illustrator and ceramicist Polly Fern in her studio happily painting with her canaries Olive and Morris nearby.

 

 

 

 

Her birdie friends appear in her work, along with other domestic animals, garden flora, and winsome figures from halcyon days, who seem to thrive on the simple, everyday pleasures of rural life.

 

 

Polly grew up in the Norfolk countryside, but now lives in Norwich City, which is the most complete medieval city in the United Kingdom. She earned her BA in First Class Illustration in 2015 from Norwich University of the Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her charming folkloric style is detailed and delicate, inspired by history, local places and childhood stories. Her ceramic vases and platters, which are modern takes on traditional shapes, are all handmade and bisque fired. Her vessels are dipped in a tin glaze before the designs are painted on with oxides and pigments.

I hand paint all of my decoration. I paper-cut a lot of my illustrations and then use the paper resist technique on raw ceramic, painting upon them with slip and peeling away the paper, then working back into the resist shapes with glazes and oxide details. It’s quite a labour-intensive process; with each piece I make taking a lot of time. But the process is important to my work and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if it were straightforward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polly likes browsing antique shops and museums, wandering around market towns, and discovering gardens and buildings with a rich history of craft. Some of her ceramic pieces do look like things you’d find in a museum, and it’s fun to study the scenes she’s painted to ponder the stories taking place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her clients include Marks & Spencer, the MET Museum (NYC), Osaji, Pavilion Books, CARAMEL London, Home and Antiques Magazine, and Little Thing magazine. She’s also designed a line of products for Tonkachi Japan, which includes tumblers, handkerchiefs, notebooks, and iPhone cases. Her work has been displayed in various world-renowned international galleries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to her illustration work, Polly enjoys cooking and dressmaking, and hopes to someday design fabrics and create children’s books. She’d also love to have her own aviary. Her favorite foods include chocolate, figs, and pasta.

 

 

 

 

Find out more at Polly’s Official Website, Instagram, and Facebook Page. You can purchase prints, greeting cards, brooches, ceramic pieces, and other goodies at her online shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this short video of Polly painting dogs with canaries Olive and Morris singing in the background:

 

 


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

cool and quirky: stephanie birdsong

 

Well of course. How could I not love an artist who paints a 24-hour SOUP restaurant? 🙂

At her blog, California based creative director and illustrator Stephanie Birdsong (cool name, no?) describes her picture this way:

Daisy packs up the kid and the dog and hops in the car to get some extra-delicious soup from Ida’s. It’s just down the lane. I started with a painting in my sketchbook, & added a storefront and, of course, a bear!

You gotta love that she thought to add a bear (Mr Cornelius was especially pleased about that).

Much as I love Ida’s, this wasn’t the first of Stephanie’s gouache and acrylic paintings to catch my eye. It was actually this piece:

 

 

It spoke to my inner Brownie (I still have my beanie from when I was six). I like the freckles, the pigtails with a mind of their own, and the general kookiness of the whole thing. It’s called “Kicked out of the Brownies.” 😀

 

 

 

 

Stephanie’s fun and irreverent style reminds me of Maira Kalman and Jessie Hartland — sophisticated and childlike at the same time. Since there’s usually a surprising detail or two; you can’t help but look closer. Both Maira and Jessie have illustrated children’s books — I hope someday Stephanie will too. Long live the quirky!

 

 

 

Continue reading

a peek at monika forsberg’s walkyland

 

These days I’ve been loving Monika Forsberg’s wonderfully quirky art. I’m taken with her vivid colors and interesting compositions, as well as how she blends humor and fantasy with reality.

 

 

A Monika Forsberg design is bold, eye-catching and very distinctive.

 

 

Though she now lives and works in North London, she’s originally from Sweden. She grew up in a northern seaside town where it was almost always winter.

 

 

In her early 20’s, Monika moved to London to study art and animation at the Royal College of Art. Her boyfriend is also an artist and they are the parents of two boys. After the birth of her second son, she decided to pursue illustration.

 

 

Her work appears in books and magazines, on fabric and paper products (gift wrap, greeting cards, planners, stationery), and a variety of children’s products (games, puzzles, backpacks, baby clothes).

 

 

 

Her client list includes Anthropologie, eeBoo, NY Review, United Nations, Gorman Clothing, Oopsie Daisy and Unicef.

 

 

Monika begins her pieces with pen, paint, and paper — drawing by hand while sitting on her bed listening to audio books or radio documentaries. When she’s compiled a stack of drawings, she moves to her computer, where she scans them in before assembling the best ones in Photoshop.

 

Continue reading