watercolor

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Art

Revealing Struggles and Joy, Expressive Portraits Are Superimposed onto Watercolor Foliage

September 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Being true to your nature III.” All images © Àngela Maria Sierra, shared with permission

Spanish artist Àngela Maria Sierra, who works as Riso Chan, explores the human psyche through subtly layered foliage. “I always imagine that they are someone’s soul, what we don’t see, our nature,” Sierra says of the delicate botanical assemblages that she overlays onto her subjects’ faces and torsos. Each portrait begins with a focus on texture and pattern as the artist paints clusters of twigs and leaves with watercolor. She then scans those botanical elements and uses Procreate to superimpose the figure onto the original piece.

Alongside their simple beauty, the pastel paintings, some of which are self-portraits, reflect the narratives and worries that consume the artist’s daily life. She describes her work as “a journal where I express moments or feelings that are important for me during those days. It’s a way to give those feelings space and then let them go.” Tied to both struggles and joys, topics include finding freedom through creativity during lockdown, growing up in an drug-filled home, and the bravery required to move forward.

Based in Amsterdam, Sierra is the founder of Bloom Art House, which hosts creative workshops throughout the capital city. Keep up with her expressive artworks on Instagram.

 

“Freedom”

“Being true to your nature II”

“Spring”

Left: “Turning on the lights inside.” Right: “Being true to your nature I”

“New Path”

“Toxic home”

 

 



Art Illustration

Vintage-Style Illustrations Merge Animals, Insects, and Botanics to Form Bizarre Hybrid Creatures

September 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Mark Brooks, shared with permission

Full of extraordinary creatures, the illustrated series The Creative Specimens seamlessly combines species into unusual hybrids. Similar in color, each organism is bizarre in form. The feathered head of a bird is placed on a tortoise’s body, octopus tentacles sprout from the bottom of a cactus, and speckled coral comprises a deer’s antlers.

Adobe’s 99U Conference spurred the collaborative project as a way to offer a visual language encompassing various creative careers and passions. Inspired by the biological classifications of Charles Darwin and his contemporaries, New York-based art director and graphic designer Mark Brooks digitally rendered the organisms by referencing vintage illustrations. He then passed the project to Joanmiquel Bennasar, an illustrator living and working in the Balearic Islands, who recreated the creatures in watercolor.

Explore more of Brooks’s and Bennasar’s illustrated projects on Behance.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

A Surreal Watercolor by Illustrator Marija Tiurina Captures a Miscellany of Thoughts in Quarantine

June 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Marija Tiurina, shared with permission

If Marija Tiurina’s latest watercolor appears to be a random mishmash of dreamy scenes, that’s because it is. The London-based illustrator (previously) recently completed “The Lockdown Project,” a dense composition inspired by dozens of submissions she collected during the first few weeks of quarantine. Complete with childhood memories, dreams, and colloquialisms, the illustration depicts a rich network of bizarre characters and fictional tales that flow organically between scenes.

In a short video (shown below) detailing her process, Tiurina said she began with a central figure resembling herself before sketching submission ideas in the surrounding areas, aptly referring to the project as “a weird salad where everyone’s thoughts, memories, dreams, and ideas are mixed in a bowl and dressed with my imagination.” Out of nearly 1,0000 contributions, her favorites included a coat snatcher, a pasta-eating man named Anchor, and a floating potato.

You can snag one of the signed prints on Tiurina’s site and follow the illustrator’s future compositions on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Elegant Blooms Float Amid Botanical Watercolor Paintings by Artist Denise Ramsay

May 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Denise Ramsay, shared with permission

Based in France, botanical artist Denise Ramsay renders fleshy petals and pollen-heavy stamen in an exquisite series of watercolor paintings. She focuses on the capitulum, or the head of the flower, to give each lavender lady and glory lily an animated quality. “Corona,” shown below, appears as if it’s ready to scuttle across the otherwise empty work.

By painting less common florals, Ramsay tells Colossal that her Alien Nation series centers on the simple lines and shapes found in nature. “(Watercolor) gives me the fluid and transparent washes of color that I need to create the glow of color, light, and shadows to make each flower look like it floats effortlessly in space,” she writes. “My aim is to show them in new and interesting ways, to take a simple ordinary flower and elevate it.” With a background in fashion, Ramsay said she has a love for dramatic lighting that’s reflected in her floral pieces, which can stretch up to 46 inches.

Keep up with the artist’s refined artworks on Instagram, and see which are available for purchase on her site.

“Corona”

“Courtship”

“Fireworks”

Left: “Flight of Passion.” Right: “Flaming Glory”

“I Come in Peace”

 

 



Art Illustration

Gears and Dials Rendered in Intricate Drawings of Gem-Encrusted Insects by Steeven Salvat

April 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Steeven Salvat, shared with permission

French artist Steeven Salvat (previously) cloaks his beetles and butterflies in an elaborate armor of rotational gears, jewel-toned gems, and muted stained glass. He tells Colossal that the heavily adorned insects merge his passion for nature, history, and science. They’re “an ode to exceptional craftsmanship and luxury houses. I want to showcase a full range of beetles species wearing some highly detailed goldsmith work, gemstones, mechanical gears, and luxury watch dials—in the style of entomologists’ studies,” Salvat says.

The artist soaks each piece of his 300 gsm watercolor paper in black tea before rendering his ornate pieces with a combination of watercolor, China ink, and white ink. “The smallest piece took me more than 30 hours of work, painting and drawing thousands of black lines with 0.13 millimeter Rotring pen,” he writes.

Salvat has two more insects currently in the works and plans to exhibit a few at DDESSIN 2020. Follow the ongoing series on his Instagram, where he also shows progress shots and deeper insight into his process. Check out his available prints in his shop.

 

 

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Art Illustration

Technicolor Animal Portraits Inked in Watercolor Tattoos by Sasha Unisex

April 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sasha Unisex

Based in St. Petersburg, artist Sasha Unisex often begins a bold tattoo concept by painting a prismatic wolf or a cherry blossom-speckled origami crane with watercolor. She fills arrangements of stark shapes and precise gradients with crimson, cerulean, and tangerine hues. When the tattooist recreates her inky animals and florals on her clients’ bodies, the chromatic foxes and cats—which sometimes are outfitted with a plaid hat and pipe—look strikingly similar to the original watercolor paintings.

The artist often shares details about her travels and process, in addition to comparisons of her various wolves, cats, and lions, on her Instagram. If you’re not quite ready to commit to a permanent companion, though, Unisex offers temporary tattoos, prints, and apparel in her shop.

 

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