gouache

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with gouache



Art Illustration

In Graham Franciose’s ‘Morning Coffee Paintings,’ Dreamlike Watercolor Works Capture the Day’s Unmediated Emotion

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Day 75, “Always There, Always Changing.” All images © Graham Franciose, shared with permission

Many days, artist and illustrator Graham Franciose sits down with watercolor, gouache, and a small sheet of cotton paper to paint a whimsical scene or surreal moment. A skateboarder carries a tree in a backpack, an anxious figure peeks through a colorful monster mask, and an oversized lion snarls at an approaching man. “I like to do these first thing in the morning when I am still not fully awake and start with a blank slate and no preconceived idea,” he tells Colossal.

Dreamlike in style and subject matter, the works are part of an ongoing series simply titled Morning Coffee Paintings. Since Franciose began the ritualistic project in 2019, he’s created about 450 pieces, which reflect a range of moods through mysterious scenarios and quiet, contemplative figures. “I put my phone on the tripod and start the timelapse camera and just start drawing.  I’ve noticed that by filming them it keeps me from second-guessing myself or spending too much time deliberating about choices like color or composition and forces me to just trust myself and my practice,” he shares.

An exercise in experimentation and releasing perfectionism, the paintings are also a visual diary of the artist’s practice and unfiltered emotional states. “Sometimes recurring themes, symbols, or concepts will come up in different ways, and they do evolve and change over time,” he says.

Franciose is currently based in Seattle where he runs Get Nice. Gallery. There are still a few of July’s original paintings available on the series’ site, and you can shop prints at Sebastian Foster, Austin Art Garage, and Bloom. If you’re in New Hampshire, you can see some of his pieces in the Enormous Tiny Art #33 at Nahcotta Gallery early next year. Otherwise, follow him on Instagram for updates on new paintings.

 

Day 76, “How to Be Brave”

Day 78, “Shroom Shade”

Left: Day 66, “You Haven’t Even Mentioned My New Hat.” Right: Day 26, “You Can Take It With You”

Day 47, “Defense”

Left: Day 52, “Onward.” Right: Day 68, “What Your Rings Will Reveal”

Day 71, “Not Rowing Just Going with the Flowing”

Day 23, “What Was and What Will Be”

 

 



Illustration

Enchanting Vignettes Illustrated by Melpomeni Chatzipanagiotou Nestle Inside Small Wood Cuts

July 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Melpomeni Chatzipanagiotou, shared with permission

Encircled in roughly textured bark, thin woodcuts become canvases for the whimsical landscapes and scenes illustrated by Melpomeni Chatzipanagiotou. The Greek artist uses a combination of pen, ink, gouache, and acrylic paint to draw outdoor vignettes cloaked in pattern and cosmic details. Nighttime skies are brimming with snowflakes, stars, and light trails that illuminate the natural subject matter and add a dose of fantasy to the heavily patterned works.

Chatzipanagiotou has a number of illustrations on wood and paper available on Etsy, and you can watch her at work on Instagram. Her third coloring book, Enchanting Earth, is slated for release in February, and the previous two, Circle of Life and Nature Mandalas, are currently available on Bookshop.

 

 

 

 



Art

Graceful Women in Shades of Blue by Hanna Lee Joshi Express a Desire for Autonomy

June 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“All That Has Come Before” (2022). All images © Hanna Lee Joshi, shared with permission

With long, elegant fingers and brawny limbs, the women that define Hanna Lee Joshi’s gouache and colored pencil works move through the unknown and indiscernible with strength. The Vancouver-based artist renders anonymous figures in motion, whether dancing together or gracefully gliding through water, on their search for greater autonomy and fulfillment unobscured by political, cultural, and social impositions. In comparison to her earlier series, Joshi’s most recent pieces rely more heavily on shades of blue and use more subtle gradients to contour a leg or elbow.

A reference to self-portraiture and a subversion of traditions surrounding nude figures, each of the works is  “a means of reflection, a way for me to distill down the tangible and intangible experiences of my life,” she says. “In a way, they are an extension of myself, portraits of emotions, explorations of unanswerable questions, a way for me to grasp at the immensity of life.”

Joshi has a solo show slated for December at Thinkspace Projects, and “Delicate Veil of Being” is available as a limited-edition print in her shop. Explore more of her introspective works on Instagram.

 

“Wild and Free” (2022)

“Every Last Drop I”

“Belonging”

“Every Last Drop II”

“Every Last Drop III”

“Delicate Veil of Being”

 

 



Art Illustration

Flora and Fauna Assume Eccentric Guises in Bill Mayer’s Wryly Playful Portraits

May 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

“The Wakening”. All images © Bill Mayer, shared with permission

Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint.

Mayer continues to work on commissioned projects for recognizable publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and Scientific American. He often shares his varied assignments on his blog, including a collaboration earlier this year with the producers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to submit a painting to the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Duck Judges”—although disqualified from winning the stamp design for technical reasons—raised $25,000 in funds to support the conservation efforts of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Mayer is currently working toward some group shows, and you can keep up with updates on his website, where you can also find prints available for sale in his shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Le Dauphin de Rana”

“Mr. Moostache”

“The Offering”

“Duck Judges”

“Le Magistrat”

“Le Visiteur”

“Mother Opossum”

“Kinky Ducks No. 02”

 

 

 



Art

Vivid Environments by Yellena James Pause Natural Processes to Capture Life in Flux

April 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Ascend.” All images © Yellena James, shared with permission

Following her series centered around the healing properties of Prussian blue, Portland-based artist Yellena James continues to imagine vibrant ecosystems brimming with fantastical life from land and sea. Her delicate organisms appear to float in washes of pastel colors and evoke coral, kelp, and daisies with an unearthly and whimsical twist.

Recently on view at Stephanie Chefas Projects, James’s Origin series works in this vein and explores the most fundamental aspects of existence. “I attempt to capture the instance of inception and freeze it as though pressing pause in the middle of a chemical reaction, and I wonder if these lifeforms are forced into existence by their own needs and desires or the needs and desires of the forces themselves,” she says. Vivid and full of patterned textures rendered in a mix of acrylic, gouache, and ink, the pieces are alluring interpretations of organisms in the midst of change.

James is currently at work on a variety of projects across painting, illustration, and ceramics, and you can follow her latest projects on her site and Instagram. She also sells prints, cards, and other goods on Etsy.

 

“Relief.” Photo by Mario Gallucci

“Sentience.” Photo by Mario Gallucci

“Flurry”

“Silken”

“Strata.” Photo by Mario Gallucci

“Starry Basin.” Photo by Mario Gallucci

“Repose.” Photo by Mario Gallucci

 

 



Art History

Rich with Imaginative Detail, Maria Prymachenko’s Colorful Folk Art Speaks to Life in Ukraine

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Our Army, Our Protectors” (1978), gouache on paper, 61 x 86 centimeters

Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) was a self-taught folk artist known for her renderings of life in the Ukrainian countryside. Her gouache and watercolor works are vibrant and imaginative, depicting symmetrical red poppies tucked in a small vase or fantastical bull-like animals sprouting two-headed snakes. Expressive and consistently advocating for peace, Prymachenko’s paintings are widely known throughout Ukraine and internationally: she received a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1937, when Pablo Picasso is said to have dubbed her “an artistic miracle.”

Earlier this week, Russian attacks northwest of Kyiv destroyed the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, where about 25 of her works were housed. According to the Ukrainian Institute, though, local residents were able to retrieve the pieces from the burning museum before they were lost entirely. The aggression subsequently prompted calls for Russia to be removed from UNESCO, which declared 2009 the year of Prymachenko.

Explore more of the renowned artist’s works and history on WikiArt.

 

“May That Nuclear War Be Cursed!” (1978), gouache on paper, 61.5 x 86.3 centimeters

“A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace” (1982), gouache and fluorescent paint on paper, 61.2 x 85.7 centimeters

“Ukrainian Bull, Three Years Old, Went Walking Through the Woods and Garners Strength” (1983), gouache on paper, 61.3 x 85.5 centimeters

“Red Poppies” (1982), gouache and paper, 85.7 x 61.4 centimeters

“Ivan Gave the Landlord a Ride in his Gig and Fell Inside” (1983), gouache on paper, 61.5 x 86.3 centimeters

“A Coward Went A-Hunting” (1983), gouache and paper, 61.2 x 85.7 centimeters