watercolor

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Art

Wildlife Intertwine in Finely Rendered Mythological Worlds by Lauren Marx

December 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Offerings” (2019), Pen, watercolor, ink, gel pen and colored pencil on paper. 26.75 x 42.5 inches

Sinuous, intertwined wildlife bridge worlds of the living and the dead in Lauren Marx’s intricate multi-media work. Twisting fox heads, disemboweled deer, and lambs bursting with flowers and birds are rendered with watercolor, ink, pen, and colored pencil. Marx often places her animal compositions on semi-abstract backgrounds, awash with grey tones that give a sense of weightlessness to the dense drawings by evoking fog or clouds.

The artist, who resides in her hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri, cites frequent trips to the Saint Louis Zoo, biology classes, and National Geographic television shows as cultivating her lifelong interest in animals. Her latest body of work debuts December 14, 2019, at Corey Helford Gallery. The show, titled Chimera, is an evolution from her previous pieces, combining multiple animals into each artwork to combine their symbolic meanings.

“From Our Flesh” diptych (2015), Pen, ink, colored pencil, graphite, and gel pen, 17.75 x 10 inches

Chimera further explores my concepts of fauna representations of emotions, personal mental health, family, and self,” Marx shares in a statement. “I am creating a mythological world, centered around North American flora and fauna, to better expresses my image of who I am, how I am perceived, my struggles with mental health, and to explore self-healing.”

Marx studied Fine Art at Webster University and draws inspiration from zoology, mythology, scientific illustration, and Northern Renaissance themes. The artist shares with Colossal that in 2020 she wants to continue to challenge herself technically and conceptually, and that works in the Chimera show brought her practice to new levels in terms of scale and complexity.

See Chimera through January 18, 2020, at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, and explore more of Marx’s intricate illustrative artwork on Instagram. The artist also offers prints and stickers on Etsy.

“Honey” (2019) Pen, watercolor, ink gel pen, gouache and colored pencil on mixed media paper, 31 x 37.25 inches

“Self-inflicted” (2016), Pen, ink, graphite, colored pencil, and gel pen on paper, 20 x 20 inches

“Nested Fawn” (2019), Pen, watercolor, ink, gel pen, gouache, and colored pencil on mixed media paper, 25.75 x 40 inches

“The First” (2016), Pen, ink, graphite, colored pencil, and gel pen on paper, 20 x 24 inches

“Snake-Bird” (2019), Pen, watercolor, ink, gel pen and colored pencil on mixed media paper 20 x 38 inches

“The Second” (2016), Pen, ink, graphite, colored pencil, gel pen, and acrylic on paper, 20 x 24 inches

“Lovely” (2018), Pen, watercolor, ink, colored pencil, gel pen, and graphite on paper, 17.5 x 22 inches

 

 



History Illustration Science

All 435 Illustrations from John J Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’ Are Available for Free Download

October 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Pinnated Grouse, plate 186

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to download free high resolution images of 435 bird illustrations, you’re finally in the right place. The National Audubon Society has recently made John James Audubon’s seminal Birds of America available to the public in a downloadable digital library (signing up for their email list is a prerequisite).

Birds of America was printed between 1827 and 1838, and was filled prints created from hand-engraved plates based on Audubon’s original watercolor paintings. In addition to the prints, each bird’s page also includes a recording of the animal’s call, plus extensive written texts from the period of the book’s printing.

Audubon is widely lauded as the individual who brought an awareness and appreciation of birds’ beauty and fragility; the National Audubon Society has been active since 1905. Explore more of the Society’s current conservation efforts, as well as ways to get involved, on their website. (via Open Culture)

Roseate Spoonbill, plate 321

American Magpie, plate 357

Sharp-tailed Finch, plate 149

Sooty Tern, plate 235

Summer, or Wood Duck, plate 206

Spotted Grouse, plate 176

American Flamingo, plate 431

 

 



Art Illustration

Mountains and Rivers Merge with Feathers and Fur in Sujay Sanan’s Finely Detailed Watercolor Paintings

September 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Watercolor artist Sujay Sanan (previously) continues to build his “A Place I Know” series, which melds flora and fauna in delicately rendered paintings. Hummingbirds and whales, owls and tigers, and other land and sea-dwelling animals form the outlines for snippets of natural landscapes. To further enhance the naturalistic feeling of his paintings, Sanan often documents each work in the outdoors, framing the painting with the colors and textures used in its composition.

With a degree and career in graphic design, Sanan began working on fine art projects in 2013, when he moved to South Africa from the Himalayas, and now focuses almost exclusively on his art practice. Originals and limited edition prints are available on the artist’s website.

 

 

 



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.

 

 



Illustration

Corner Shops and Cathedrals Get Equal Attention in Zhifang Shi’s Travel Watercolors

June 12, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Using a combination of watercolor and ink, Zhifang Shi creates vignettes of the places he encounters in his worldwide travels. The Shanghai-based artist works en plein air, painting atop a portable palette to document storefronts, architectural features, boats, and trolley cars. Washes of color add depth and movement to Shi’s loose, gestural contour lines, and his focus on points of entry and modes of transit invites the viewer into the artist’s world. You can keep up with Shi’s wide-ranging travels and resulting urban sketches on Instagram.

 

 



Illustration

Watercolor Paintings of Imagined Trash Structures Packed With Advertising by Alvaro Naddeo

May 19, 2019

Andrew LaSane

“First Class”

Brazilian artist Alvaro Naddeo‘s watercolors imagine a dystopian world left in ruin by overconsumption and littered with the branding and logos of the past. Store walls, rusted out vehicles, and arcade machines gain new value as building materials and are combined with other objects and parts to form pop surrealist stacked structures.

Naddeo tells Colossal that he starts with a loose sketch by hand. He then uses 3D software to help define a plausible shape for his imagined constructions, and creates a reference composition in Photoshop. After years of practice, Naddeo shares that he is able to recreate the texture, color, and shadows of various building materials like brick and concrete from memory. He uses reference photos to help flesh out small detail items, which are similarly rendered in watercolor. As for the specific brands, Naddeo says that he pulls from his youth. “I think about the stickers and posters I used to have in my teenage room or the group of brands I used to like at a certain time. I also research at old magazines and look at the ads that shared a specific era. It’s a very fun and nostalgic exercise.”

In a statement on his website, the artist credits his career in advertising over the past 20 years as the inspiration for his work and for showing him the “duality” of such imagery, “both desirable and despicable.” To see more of Alvaro Naddeo’s work and to learn about his upcoming shows with Thinkspace Gallery, follow him on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

“First Class” (detail)

“First Class” (detail)

“One of a Kind”

“Gambiarra”

“The Flat”

“Escargot”

 

 



Art Illustration

Mind the Gap: A Surrealist Exploration of London Street Life Seen From Above and Below Ground

March 27, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Mind the Gap is a new complexly layered watercolor from the mind of illustrator Marija Tiurina (previously), which melds fictional scenes from above and below ground. The work is jam packed with both realistic and highly imaginative characters that exist in a parallel universe to North London. Cool colors denote what is happening above ground while reds and pinks towards the bottom right corner signal that the work has moved into the London Underground. The work was inspired by Tiurina’s daily commute on the Central line, which is one of the deepest and hottest lines in the city, and is known for its particularly heated rush hours during the summer. Take a peek at other rich watercolor works by Tiurina on her InstagramFacebook, and Behance.