portraits

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Craft Illustration

Yulia Brodskaya Reveals Her Process of ‘Painting With Paper’ in a New Book

August 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Seeing”

We’ve featured the paper-centric work of Yulia Brodskaya several times on Colossal, and the U.K.-based artist continues to hone her craft with increasingly large-scale portraits. Three recent portraits, Seeing, Seeshall, and Pull to the Light, all feature larger-than-life busts of female subjects in a range of traditional dress. Each figure appears to be focused on a point in the distance, connecting with Brodskaya’s sight-themed titles.

Brodskaya’s signature technique of ‘painting with paper’ is a contemporary interpretation of quilling, wherein the artist folds, bends, and spirals strips of colored paper. Rather than densely filling the entire surface with the manipulated paper strips, Brodskaya also incorporates flat fields of color underneath and between each textural element. This two-part technique allows the viewer’s eye to take in the dramatic shapes and shadows.

After developing and evolving this technique over the last twelve years, Brodskaya has compiled a deep dive into her creative process in a forthcoming book, “Painting With Paper”. She shares with Colossal that her book is not a collection of DIY projects.

It’s an insight into my creative process with practical tips on how to work with my methods in various ways of your own. Learn how to work with colors, the importance of testing compositions, which part of the image to start with, and when to consider it complete. I hope you will find the book inspirational and full of practical ideas for artists and paper art enthusiasts who want to advance their creative thinking, or simply get a better understanding and discover inspirations behind my paper artworks.

You can pre-order a copy of “Painting With Paper,” which is set to publish in September, on Amazon. See more of the artist and author’s multi-dimensional work on Instagram, and peek behind the scenes in her time-lapse process videos on YouTube.

“Seeing” detail

“Seeshall”

“Seeshall” detail

“Pull to the Light”

 

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Art

Romania’s Historic Cultural and Civic Leaders are Brought to Life in Sculptural Metal ‘Drawings’ by Darius Hulea

July 31, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Romanian sculptor Darius Hulea manipulates iron, stainless steel, brass, and copper wires to form three-dimensional portraits of historical figures. Ranging from royalty to poets, Hulea’s work often focuses on Romanian luminaries. The artist has rendered Queen Marie, sculptor Grigore Bradea, and philosopher Mircea Eliade along with many others, carefully recreating each subject’s furrowed brows and flowing hair in metal.

In an interview with My Modern Met Hulea explains, “I hope that people will understand that I do nothing but draw in a new way, in a durable material of the past. I can then explore and research, as an artist, mythical, Renaissance, and modern thinking by finding three-dimensional examples that describe us now in a history of the past.”

Hulea received a PhD in visual arts from Cluj-Napoca Art & Design University. He cites his family as inspiration for his creative life: his grandmother and great-grandmother were weavers, while his grandfather worked with agricultural tools. Hulea is represented by Renaissance Art Gallery in Bucharest, Romania. Peek inside the artist’s studio through his Facebook and Instagram accounts. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Art Illustration

Meticulous Portraits of Young Women by Ozabu Are Eerily Fused with Plants and Feathers

July 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mysterious women are delicately rendered in surreal graphite portraits by Japanese artist Ozabu. Working on warm-toned paper, Ozabu uses a combination of meticulous linework and astoundingly smooth blending to create images that are simultaneously dramatic and soft. Young female subjects seem to fuse with ravens, chrysanthemums, and bonsai trees, blurring the boundaries between human and nature. The self-taught artist refrains from speaking about or explaining her work, instead allowing each ineffable drawing to spark the viewer’s imagination. Ozabu is currently working on an upcoming solo show and regularly posts in-progress and completed pieces on Instagram.

 

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Photography

Unusual Details Upend Brooke DiDonato’s Seemingly Straightforward Photographs

July 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) twists bodies into unusual shapes that lead the viewer’s eye in transfixing circles. The Brooklyn-based artist creates seemingly tranquil images with soft colors and soothing textures. But surreal details, like a pair of stilettos on the sidewalk that melt into a patent leather puddle, or a gender-bending figure seated on a bench, make each photograph an object of intrigue. DiDonato exhibits her work widely and most recently showed at Le Purgatoire in Paris. Stay up to date on the photographer’s eye-catching and thought-provoking work via Instagram.

 

 



Art

Gestural Brush Strokes and Focused Color Palettes Form Watercolor Portraits by Nick Runge

July 13, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Los Angeles-based artist Nick Runge paints watercolor portraits of people and human skeletons in a unique style that blends elements of abstraction with hints of realism. Soft edges of layered shapes and blended flesh and bone tones present all the visual information required to see features, without crossing into the realm of photorealism.

“I do sketch out the composition first, but I try not to have any kind of formula,” Runge tells Colossal about his painting process. “I try to narrow down the colors to ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ as a rough idea. I like to guide the watercolor but let it also do its own thing, to be more abstract.” Muted colors and expressive poses add to the naturalistic feel of the portraits, even when the subject is a jacket-wearing skeleton.

Raised in Colorado by now-retired professional artist parents (a college art professor and a graphic designer), Runge says that he did not study art formally but that he did benefit from having both of their perspectives. After working as an illustrator for 11 years, he found his voice in 2004 through experimentation. “Oil paint and watercolor allowed me to loosen up and step away from the highly realistic, pop type art (done mostly with acrylics and pencils) and let the paint do more of its own thing,” Runge explains, “Also, getting away from celebrity portraits and pop culture allowed me to focus more on HOW something is painted, and not WHAT/WHO I’m painting. Art for art’s sake.”

To see more of Nick Runge’s paintings, follow the artist on Instagram. He also has online and in-person watercolor workshops for those interesting in learning.

 

 



Art

Palette Knife Smudges and Heavy Brushstrokes Form Colorful Abstract Portraits by Joseph Lee

July 7, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Los Angeles-based artist and actor Joseph Lee (previously) brushes and smudges thick globs of oil paint to create multi-colored portraits. Vibrant layers of segmented brushstrokes focus on the emotion of human faces rather than their physicality, with facial features partially or entirely obscured from view.

Lee began painting as a way to channel his creativity after a failed acting audition. “After working on a long project, I needed to protect my energy and be selfish with my time,” he told Shape/Shift Report. “I don’t have any formal artistic training and coming from a theater background, human behavior and emotions were the closest references I had to paint.” Describing his process as “a bit of a blur,” Lee says that he shuts off mentally and fully engages with the work. No two days are the same, and that’s the way he prefers it. “I am not conscious of what I am doing much of this time,” he explained. “Obviously, there are times that call to be analytical and business-minded, but the actual process is to be fully engaged with my piece without interruptions. There are times when I’m just throwing paint around mindlessly, and other times where I find myself staring at a blank canvas for hours.”

To stare more deeply at Lee’s canvas paintings, prints, and clothing, head over to his Instagram.

 

 



Art Photography

Ethereal Portraits Created Using a Desktop Scanner by Maitha Demithan

June 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs courtesy of Maitha Demithan

Artist Maitha Demithan has worked in a variety of media over her career, and in 2009 landed on the use of scanography to create portraits. This process involves using a scanner that comes in contact with the subject but does not expose the intense light source to the sitter’s eyes. The dream-like scanned images have a dramatic focal field, in which the in-contact surface of the subject quickly fades to black, and the subjects’ eyes are usually closed, distancing their inner thoughts from the viewer. Despite the large-scale finished products, Demithan actually works with a desktop-sized A4 scanner. She takes up to 100 images and then digitally layers and stitches them together, playing with the combination of different focal points and textures to create a printable collage.

Demithan has used scanography both with human and animal subjects, including falcons and owls, and she often reflects on themes of family and animal-human relationships in her work.  She shares her approach to image-making:

I let the process of scanning and drawing in the presence of the living being – be it human or animal – define the portrait and the outcome. The outcomes are difficult to categorize or express as the interactions between the ‘sitters’ and between the ‘sitters’ and myself create the moments I wish to capture. These often hold an emotional quality.

The Dubai-based artist has exhibited her digital photo collages throughout the Middle East as well as in Australia and Germany. Demithan offers a selection of her works as prints in her online store, and shares glimpses from her process on Instagram.

 

 

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