Friday, May 15, 2009

Oodles of Whimsey

This is Perched, a bit of whimsical graphic art.

This is a rather a romantic bit of symbolism connected to spring. I am not too sure that the watercoloured leaves and flowers work though. It may have been better to have left the entire drawing unpainted. It is entitled "Contemplating Spring"
The inspiration for this pen and ink image came from Robyn of Art Propelled Blog who illustrates some wonderful art and crafts on her blog. One of the illustrations was of a podlike vessel with a human head inside. I then had the idea that I would like to draw human heads and faces inside natural forms. This is the first of the series and this one is called Dandelion Head. Self explanatory really. The whole of the dandelion is cross hatched in my finest nibbed Rapidograph pen and took quite a few hours to draw.
And here is the photograph of a dandelion by Karl Blossfeldt in my Dover book which gave me the idea. The book is called Art Forms In The Plant World and has some great photos of plants and seed heads. Karl Blossfeldt was born in 1865 and he was a sculptor and art teacher who had a wonderful eye for detail.
You cannot help but fall in love with the images artist Freya Ete produces. Her delightfully whimsical pieces all have intriguing little bits of text which give meaning to the image. Her style is partly folk, partly naive, innocent but also very contemporary. She says that the words she paints come first before she decides on the picture and she has notebooks containing bits of poems, sayings etc where most artists would have sketchbooks full of pictures. Whatever she is doing is certainly working well for her anyway. She is a very successful artist and has an Etsy shop here and a website here with lots more to see.

This angel painting and the lovely linocut below are the work of artist and illustrator Diana Ludwig. You can see more of Diana's lovely paintings and prints on her website here.

I cannot resist any images of people with birds on their heads. It follows, therefore, that I love Christopher Marvell's work. He is a sculptor of some wonderful works which you can find on his website here and also at Ainscough Contemporary Art gallery here. He lives and works in St. Ives and who could be stuck for inspiration in that lovely part of Cornwall. My other favourites are his hares and angels. This is Birdmanhead.
Bronze Owl Woman
I love this drypoint etching of Christopher Marvell's. It is so simple, contemporary and witty.
The two tapestries below were created by Finnish textile artist Aino Kajaniemi. She has a lovely loose technique and some of her tapestries look as if they have been drawn. The lines are beautifully delicate. She has her own website here which is well worth a look. Some of her work can also be found on the FibreScene site here.

This is a bit of intriguing carving that I discovered and photographed on the wall of St. Dunstan's Church, Monks Risborough a couple of years ago. The church has origins dating back to 1150 but this carving is obviously much more recent. There is very little to be found out about it though. It looks very stylised. What I particularly like about it was the lovely sandstone texture.
Guy Taplin has many admirers of his bird sculptures and I have joined the throng with this piece. It represents shorebirds and is wonderfully red and battered looking. I am not normally a fan of the distressed look but this is just right for these birds. The work looks as if it has been left to the elements for several years and has aged beautifully.
The exceptionally talented Jeanie Tomanek is the artist who produced the images below. Her work is full of myth and mystery. I find it quite magical. She is inspired by many things including folklore, literature and myths, feelings and dreams. She explains her work much better than I can on her Artist's Statement on her website here. If you like her work, you will love a visit to her website as she has over 150 paintings displayed in the gallery.

East Of Eden
Small Craft Warning
House On A Hill
Aren't hens and cockerels wonderful? I have always been fascinated by these birds. Such an amazing variety of sizes, feather colour and pattern, shapes of combs and wattles. So much going on with such a common, unassuming bird. They have provided myself and other artists with endless inspiration for all sorts of art and craft works. They are so recongnisable that they can lend themselves to heavy stylisation and abstraction and still we know exactly what they are. They are probably the most drawn, painted, etched, embroidered, linocutted, collaged, woven, sculpted and photographed of all members of the bird world. I think their gentle clucking to themselves is one of the most relaxing of sounds in the animal world. Such a shame we cannot all keep a flock of them at the end of the garden such as happened in times gone by. Until then I will just carry on drawing them.


Anonymous said...

You always find such inspiring things to show us, thank you. How do you find them all?

Caroline said...

Hi Cathy! I like all the whimsy this week. I always enjoy any bird themed art. My favourite of yours is 'perched' , but the Dandelion head is wonderful too - very detailed, can well imagine it took hours - such patience! I look forward to seeing more in this series. Very whimsical indeed! Guy Taplin is a favourite of course, but I hadn't come across Jeanie Tomanek, thanks for introducing her. Oh, and yes, well spotted - that is a Julia Manning 'Corus' print hanging in my workroom! My husband bought it for me when we lived in Somerset. I love it!

Cathy said...

I am glad you think so Sally. I actually spend far too much time on the Internet looking at other artists and There is so much brilliant stuff out there. Etsy is always a good source of inspiration as are the art groups on Flickr. I also have a huge collection of art and craft books and magazines.

Cathy said...

Hi Caroline. I enjoyed doing the dandelion head but it was painstaking and very detailed and my vision is not as good as it was 20 years ago. Same for us all I suppose. I love cross hatching though. It is very repetitive and relaxing. I had never seen Jeanie Tomanek before but I love her mythic style. Julia Manning's work is great of course. Lucky you to have a corvus print.

bunnits said...

Those perched birds are great, including yours. I also like the way you used the color with the black and white in "Contemplating Spring." It make me think of those first few green buds that come out amongst the drab bark and twigs in early spring, giving a sense of renewal to the dormant landscape.

studio lolo said...

Such wonderful work! I'm a sucker for ravens so I must check out Jeanie's website to see more of her haunting images.
I love Perched!" Do you sell your work?

Cathy said...

Thanks Melissa. I like to do pen and ink with a hint of colour. I had wondered if the leaves were toooo green though...ha ha.

Cathy said...

Hi studio lola. Yes, do have a look at Jeanie's website. You will be amazed by the number of lovely images she has there. The idea for Perched came out of similar colours someone had used for an image in one of my art books and just a bit of doodling, and hey presto, there it was.

Holly Zemak said...

Hi Cathy, Your Dandelion head is so original. I can imagine how long it took. Will be looking forward to your other ideas. Perched is great, like the little guy on top. I enjoyed Christopher Marvels work and website, would like one in my garden!

Dolores said...

Again, a great post. I especially liked Aino Kajaniemi's tapestries and will go over and check out her web site. I collect children's books because of the illustrations.

Cathy said...

Same here Holly. They are wonderfully quirky and would look great in a garden.

Cathy said...

I have bought quite a few children's books in the past because of the lovely illustrations too Dolores. Some of my favourite illustrators only design for children's stories.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Hi Cathy,
I'm a little late visiting your blog this week. My visit was well worth the wait. Your new header drawing is delightful. I love the colorful trees and the "one pink goose".
I think your "Contemplating Spring" is my favorite this week. I love the expression on her face.
Thank you so much for posting the artwork of Diana Ludwig. Her angel is beautiful.
I wish that I had your artistic talent. It must be very rewarding to draw and paint.

Cathy said...

Hi Phyllis. I seem to be getter later and later with my blog visits also but not to worry. I thought I needed a change of header but I feel that it is a bit too big and "in your face". I will live with it for a while and see how it goes and then probably change it. That angel is really beautiful. I love angel artwork.

Robyn said...

How did I miss this great post? I'm also dotty about birds on the head and have carved a few and have been sketching ideas to do more. Perched is a delight! Cristopher Marvell is an old favourite of mine. Guy Taplin's red sandpipers are charming. (A new artist for me, whose work I'd like to see more of.)

Cathy said...

Glad you like the artists for this post Robyn. I cannot believe how quickly the week passes and it is time for another post. I am just about to start on the new one for this week now.