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Discussing Watercolours With Candice Leyland

As an artist myself, I like to know what makes other artists tick. There are so many different mediums an artist can apply to their work, with each having its own distinct characteristics.
 
Watercolour paintings have always been of interest to me because of the relatively light touch they require. I’ve done them, and they are not easy to get right, especially for an OCD-having person like myself.
 
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that watercolours are quite easy to “ruin” or overwork, generally. To produce a stunning watercolour work, I would say is no easy task.
 
Now, for an artist like Candice Leyland, who is specializes in watercolour works of art, she makes it all look rather easy.

Candice is an independent artist who produces and sells her work in my neck of the woods, which is to say south-western Ontario – Kitchener-Waterloo region, to be precise, although she was born in Palmerston.
 
She is a teacher at the local landmark Homer-Watson Gallery, and she is also represented at the Uptown Gallery in Waterloo, ON.
 
As it mentions on her website’s About page, Candice is known for her rather moody, ethereal but at the same time slice-of-life style of painting, featuring very warm-looking and inviting paintings of everyday things like animals, scenery, and flowers.
 
Sort of a cross between Edward Wesson and Norman Rockwell, maybe
 
Speaking of flowers, here is one of her pieces simply called “Tulips” – rather self-explanatory.

In the hands of a lesser artist, these things might seem boring, but as we know from the countless artists from history who have done well with their craft, a great artist can make anything look interesting if it is captured the right way, with the right timing, colours, and, of course, the mysterious X-factor!
 
I could start listing off the many artists who have made the ordinary into extra-ordinary, but I digress. The point is, Candice has that gift herself, and I think you will see it is evident in the work.
 
She has an eye for the little details that makes a piece of art
 
I had a chance to ask her a few questions about how she approaches her work, and her thoughts on watercolour paintings in general. Please enjoy my little chat with Candice Leyland! 🙂


When did you start painting and why?
I had very little interest in art before high school. I remember we had to choose one “arts” course. Since I was shy and was already intensely studying piano, I didn’t want to take drama or music, so I defaulted to fine art class.
 
I had planned to get my “arts” courses out of the way so I could focus on science and math for the rest of high school. It is kind of funny that that one decision had such a huge impact on my life.
 
In art class, we started drawing and the teacher insisted that drawing was a skill that took practice.
 
Many people, even as adults, believe that being good at art is some kind of god given talent that people just “have”, but once I learned that it was a skill I could master and improve, I was hooked and motivated to improve.

I spent every spare minute I had practicing in my sketch book – I loved creating things and experimenting. I did sculpture, pottery, silkscreening, photography, and I devoured every book on art history I could find.
 
I fell in love with the impressionists. I spent lunch hours in the art room listening to music and making art.
 
Are you partial to creating any other types of art?
I play piano and guitar and sometimes draw, but I mostly work in watercolour. I feel it is the best way to express myself. I am addicted to colour.
 
In the past, I’ve worked extensively in photography (both commercial and artistic) and have tried oil and acrylics. I keep coming back to watercolour.
 
When did you start watercolour painting, specifically? What drew you to watercolour?
In Spring of 2016, I picked up watercolours. It felt like forever since I had been creative and I wanted to get back into making art.
 
I was always drawn to the lightness and simplicity of watercolour, but its non-toxicity and portability were the biggest draw factors for me at this point in my life.
 
I had a medically fragile child and lived in a relatively small home. Watercolours allowed me to paint from the kitchen table or even the couch safely and relatively mess free.
 
When I dove into it, I taught myself through books from the library and youtube videos. My colour theory and drawing skills from university were a solid foundation and learning watercolours came relatively easily to me.

Where do you buy your paints and do you have a preference when it comes to brands or quality of the paint itself?
I shop at a lot of places in Kitchener Waterloo. I like to support the small shops like the Artstore on Caroline Street.
 
I tend to use QOR watercolours by Golden. This is a relatively new brand (although Golden has been making Acrylics for decades). I love the vibrancy and flow of these paints. I’m pretty much obsessed with them.
 
Locally, QOR Watercolours are only available at Curry’s I tend to get my paints there. I sometimes use Holbine watercolours or Daniel Smith.
 
What is involved in the process of you sitting down to paint?
I have a very minimalist set up for a studio. My process usually involves printing my reference photo, taping a piece of paper up and getting fresh water. This is one of the biggest benefits to watercolour.
 
There is hardly any set up and take down. No barriers to creativity.

What style of art do you consider yourself to be doing?
I struggle with describing my own work or fitting myself into a mold. I feel like impressionistic florals is an accurate description. My work is moody and ethereal and focuses on light and colour.
 
What type of surface do you generally paint on?
This is where I get snobby. Only Arches brand paper, Only Cold Press: 140 lb or higher.
 
What size of brushes do you generally work with?
Round Sables between 4 and 8 and a big old mop to wet the paper.
 
Do you feel there are any drawbacks to using watercolour you’ve found in your experience using that medium over the years?
The main drawback to watercolours is the expense of framing, but good framing makes a significant difference in preserving and presenting your painting.
 
I have experimented with modern mounting methods such as adhering paper permanently to board or using ground watercolour mediums, but in my opinion, the best way to display a watercolour is to have it professionally matted and framed.

Other than that, I mostly see advantages. People always tell me how “unforgiving” watercolour is. I always hear comments like, “watercolour is so hard!”
 
I will admit that once a painting is ruined it can be hard to go back. But to me, this is not a drawback, it is a strength.
 
Watercolour paintings are often faster to make and can be less expensive to produce other mediums. If a painting isn’t working, you have the opportunity to start fresh.
 
The nature of watercolour forces you let go of control. Don’t get me wrong, with skill and technique you do have a great deal of control over the medium, but the freedom and chance of painting in watercolours is what draws me.
 
It frees up the creative process tremendously.
 
How do you decide when a piece is done?
Someone gave me a great piece of advice about this. He said to sign your painting when your close to being done, and then give yourself a limit to how much you can fiddle with it afterward.
 
After I sign my painting, I allow myself a few tweaks, then walk away. Watercolour paintings are so easy to overwork. When the painting is signed and complete, I post it to social media.
 
I love the relationship I have with my followers. I did have a teacher that once told me, “If you hate a painting – Do it again! If you Love a Painting – Do it again!” which is great advice.

You are always learning and improving. A painting might be done, but you are never done learning.
 
Would you recommend any other watercolour artists for people to check out?
My best friend Lee Angold and her botanical illustrations amaze me.
 

Visit: https://candiceleylandart.ca/

 

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Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia Multimedia Artist Živka Suvić – An Interview

As an artist myself, I am drawn to other artists. When I come across an interesting artist, I look at their work and imagine what caused them to create it. In all cases, the time and place of an artist influences their work, even if it is doing so unconsciously.
 
We are all influenced by our country, our upbringing, experiences, and so forth. Every artist has a story, and it informs their work in intimate ways. This is an obvious fact, but that doesn’t make it less interesting, because seeing an artists’ work is like seeing into their life in some way.
 
When I came across the work of Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia multimedia artist Živka Suvić, I was very interested in her creative process, because there was so much work and it has an intensity and energy that myself, as a Canadian, finds very different from the art I tend to see around here in Canada.

This is only logical. Every country in this world is different, and Serbia certainly has its own character. What that character is, I don’t know exactly, having not been to Serbia.
 
I know Serbian-born people who are living here in Canada right now, but it is not the same as visiting the country or knowing their history in detail. Clearly, Serbia has had its share of unrest, and like it or not, this often breeds great artwork.
 
In my own rather uneducated way, I could sense
 
Working in multiple mediums including assemblage, portraiture, landscape, and even incorporating video, Živka’s work seems to me to be of the sort that comes from a dark, restless soul. At the same time, there is hope in her work.
 
In her portraits, eyes stare back at you, some
 
After checking out Živka’s website, I wanted to ask her some questions about her work. Art speaks for itself, but if you have a chance to talk to the creator of that work, why not?
 
And so, I spoke with Živka recently and got a better idea of what makes this Serbian artist tick. I hope you enjoy our chat!


Q: What inspires you to make art these days?
Art is my path, my way of communicating, my way to express myself. Since I was a child, I enjoyed painting or drawing. Later, I choose art to be my life’s occupation, or maybe art chose me.
 
I don’t know, except to say that this is the way I function. Inspiration is around everywhere…
 
Q: What descriptive words come to mind to describe your own artwork?
Collecting, expression, time, materials…these are some of words. Also…consistency…etc.

Q: How much does Serbian culture influence your artwork?
I’ve finished my studies at the Art Academy in Serbia, and during that educational process, we students were well informed with the world of art history.
 
Art history also covered the national history of art, but the focus wasn’t necessarily on national works. On the contrary, we had the freedom of choice to choose our models.
 
Probably, the national culture has an impact on my work today, perhaps unconsciously, and certainly that social situation plays a big role on my life…
 
Q: How often do you show your work publicly?
I would say often. Last year, I had five independent exhibitions, and this year I have two. In addition, I exhibit in group shows.
 

 
Q: Has a secret patron ever emerged from the shadows who wants to give you a vast sum of money to support you in your endeavours?
No, there was no secret patrons. I have customers, buyers, but patrons…no.
 
Q: Why do you like creating artwork which has a tactile surface?
I use specific materials, and their nature allows me to create artwork which has a tactile surface. I use papers, different thickness, cardboard, and decoupage technique. That’s why the surface is tactile.
 
Q: Do you consider your art messy?
No, I don’t consider my art messy. There is a certain order within what I am doing. Every act of creation requires certain a chaos around it, but within the work there is a line.
 

 
Q: Do you consider some of your art to be “dark”?
Yes, I do, they are probably dark. But they are just some of my works. I think about the effect my work could have on the observer. I can control what I want to exhibit.
 
Q: When painting your landscapes or your expressive portraits, do you paint from memory or prefer to do the work live?
I usually combine the two. Sometimes, I start live and finish my work from memory….or vice versa.
 
Q: What is your special connection to New Zealand?
I spent a year and a half there studying, and New Zealand remained in my good memory. I met wonderful people and made friends there.
 
Q: What is the purpose of an assemblage, in your view?
Specifically, assemblages that I’ve made in New Zealand stayed in the Art school in Dunedin, as an exhibit and demonstration material for future students.
 
I created them through a process of collecting discarded materials which were put in pillows and boxes. Each pillow symbolically represents a dream.

Q: How often do you like to visit the ocean? Do you prefer oceans to lakes?
I’m fascinated by water, in general. Right now, I don’t have any opportunity to see an ocean, but there is a river passing trough the city I’m living in.
 
Q: Do you have any artists from the past who serve as inspirations to your work now?
Yes, I have many artists who are my inspiration, even though their work has no direct impact on mine, like Robert Rausenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Arman. These are some of artists who inspire me.
 
Q: What are your artistic goals for the future?
Goals…I’m working on my new paintings and maybe, in the future, I will develop a story about assemblages. I have a goal to continue working, exhibiting, and selling my work…
 

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Best Painting and Art Making Apps for your Smart Phone – ArtFlow, 8bit PhotoLab, TextArt, and More!

by: A. Martellacci

My art is made from wire, garbage and string.

Until a few years ago, I did not have a smart phone. It seems odd I would bother trying to create art with technology at all. Maybe I’m afraid to be left behind. Maybe my junk art collection is beginning to alienate people. Either way, I wanted some good clean fun.

With no idea where to start, I gamely opened the app store hoping to trip over something interesting. I did so right away because my phone is creepy and can read minds.

ArtFlow, was the first suggestion google curated. It looked just technical enough to be useful and unassuming enough to be immediately comprehensible from its short bio and pics. The reviews were glowing, except for occasional id10-T error reports.

ArtFlow

The user interface is clean… like, blank. Tap the little white dot in the corner to view the toolbars and tap again to hide. I like it. Not all tools are available in free mode (duh), but many of the most useful brushes and pens are there.

Both RYB and HSV colour wheels are free to use, for what it’s worth. It is obviously designed for tablet and slows a bit on the phone if there’s too much going on.

Using just the tip of my finger and the charcoal setting, I was able to create gentle blends without any of the smudges of real life.

Obviously, super accurate sketching was out of the question on my tiny phone screen, but I ended up pleased with a few of the pieces. Building colours with air brushes (standard, shading and foggy) and the round brush was especially zen.

Not being much a fan of markers in real life, I was surprised to find myself enjoying them especially.

Canvas size presets are standard, and therefore useful. Saving is also standard. Save to anywhere. Send to anyone. Zooming in and spinning the canvas works great.

The app’s ability to delineate between brush stokes and the zoom function taps was consistently good; so no accidental mark making

The thing I was sad for but don’t begrudge, is layers can only be added in the paid version… which I have now. The layers work great and don’t cause slowdown on my (crappy) phone.

ArtFlow is the perfect pocket scratch pad. I love sketching with it when I have a spare moment. It will always have a front page spot on my phone.

Never knowing when enough is enough, I went back to the all knowing algorithm interface known as, the Play Store, and scrolled for a long time. Nothing looked immediately interesting. Searched: “art apps”. Scrolled. 8bit PhotoLab. Interesting.

8bit PhotoLab + Bonus App

Holy crap! I loaded an image of Luna. Yes, from Sailor Moon. Wut? My finger must have slipped. I scrolled to the Commodore PET monitor setting and this happened:

This is going to be awesome!

There are a million different settings. Great fun to play with. I finger sketched a cube with ArtFlow.

These are some of my favourite 8bit PhotoLab filtrates of the above cube after spending (a lot of) time messing around.

All kinds of monitor, colour palette and even vector graphics filters can be customized to create the most vintage computing or modernaesthetic effects. I have not reached the end of this app’s free functionality (but I bought it anyway). Oh, and it goes great with another little free app I found.

TextArt

TextArt. Free font selection is limited, though you can upload your own. TextArt, and the endlessly nifty, 8bit Photo Lab, created this delightful abomination.

Notebloc

Not comfortable drawing on a screen at all? Use Notebloc to scan and trim your meatspace sketches (and notes) instead. It does a pretty good job of it. Photographing flat things is not as easy as it seems.

Notebloc proves useful for in situ scanning and saves in pdf. I’ve already used it professionally and am creeping the Notebloc tablets on amazon.

Here are a collection of jellies and aspics. Don’t let their bouncy, colourful looks fool you. One is made from pickle relish, another from tomato soup and I think there’s even some sour cream and mayo in there.

What happens when you mash Notebloc, 8-bit Photo Lab and TextArt together? You get my new forum avatar.

This collection of apps puts a whole lot of fun and functionality in the palm of your hand. They play well together, are either free or cheap and translate well to smaller screens.
 
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need some time alone to fingerpaint.

 

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Creating Digital Artwork with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil – An Interview with Marco Pedrosa

Today I sat down with my buddy Marco Pedrosa, who, as long as I’ve known him, has been drawing.

We met when we were about 11 years old in junior high school, and he was always known as the guy who could draw cool cartoon pictures and stuff of that sort.

Now, about 20 something years later, he’s still drawing stuff, but he’s got a few new toys to play around with.

Namely, he picked up an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, which he has been using to draw / paint stuff digitally, yielding some pretty cool results.

I decided to pick his brain a bit about these drawing utensils, and see how he’s putting them to use. Enjoy our chat!

Marco Pedrosa, digital artist / painter / illustrator

DF: Heyyyy how’s it going buddy?

MP: Goood

DF: Nice. So, you got some kind of new fangled art device thingie?

MP: I guess so. It’s an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. It’s pretty sweet.

DF: Is that a new thing, or maybe I just live in a cave?

MP: It’s newish. This is the second hardware revision so it’s only been out for about 1.5 years. But before the iPad Pro you could us a Wacom cintique to do similar things but those are super expensive.

They’re basically a flat monitor that sits on your desk that you can draw on..It’s what all the comic and graphic design pros use. But the iPad Pro costs a lot less and performs almost as well so a lot of people are digging it.

DF: That’s cool. So why’d you get it? To draw, I presume?

MP: Well I do a fair amount of graphic work (mockups, icons, posters) for my day job so I actually got them to buy me one. It can make certain types of drawing faster and more accurate than using a non screen based pen tablet so they agreed.

On the side I’ve also been using it to shore up my digital painting skills since the apps for that are so awesome these days.

Artwork by Marco Pedrosa using iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

DF: Ah, I gotcha.

MP: It’s been a while since I’ve done any serious painting but this tool lowers the barrier and is faster and less messy. It’s kind of the best of digital and real painting without any of the downsides.

DF: So it’s a less messy sort of painting program app type thing?

MP: Well you don’t wind up with charcoal all over your hands and paint on your face so yeah. Plus you have access to many different brush styles and the layering and limitless undid that you can only get from a digital format and it’s great!

DF: Yeah the stuff looks really cool! I’ll have to share some of it with my readers.

MP: Usually I’ll start with a sketch layer to capture whatever the idea is, then I’ll do a basic color layer to figure out roughly what hues to use where, then I’ll often do an ink layer over top before getting into the real painting.

There can in that every app has its formats but they can all import jpgs and pngs so it’s not usually an issue. If I had to move layers between programs that might be an issue but I usually stick to just one app.

DF: So are there no issues with file formats or what have you? That’s awesome. It does look very painterly.

MP: Yeah! The neat thing is that if one painting attempt isn’t working out you can just hide the layer and try again in another style with some other brushes.

Artwork by Marco Pedrosa with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

DF: So it’s got a bit of photoshop layer-y stuff happening? How much is this stuff costing btw?

MP: For sure! I like to use layers as insurance. If I’m about to try something I’m not sure about I just put in on a new layer and get rid of it if it doesn’t work out.

DF: Specifically, how much is.. the app? The device? The pen? Is the app just free?

so wait.. are you starting off importing some pre-existing pic or you just make it up? I’m not just playing the part of the clueless guy here, I am that guy! lol

MP: I just make it up of course! I’ll often use pics from the internet for reference on colours and details but I’ll always try to compose something from scratch and take it from start to finish.
 
I’ve never been into tracing or replicating exists no work through I’m not above trying to understand a style.

DF: Yeah so you grab a Ralph McQuarrie pic and just sort of use it as a reference? Well i notice your style is your style, really. It’s not like you’re copying the artist’s style..
 
maybe the composition a little bit?

MP: So an iPad Pro goes for around 800$ I think? The pencil is another 120$ and painting apps can go from 5-80$ or some of them require monthly subscriptions.

My fav at the moment is Procreate, which is fairly inexpensive for what you get. I think it’s only 20$ or something. There’s also clip studio paint which is 10$ a month but you can actually make a comic from start to finish with it! Yeah my style is my style. I can’t seem to escape it.

DF: That’s cool.. and it’s super portable yeah? Like you go on vacay, you can just toss this shit in your bag and go. Also, battery life?

MP: Yeah, it’s the size of a clipboard basically! It lasts about 10 hours which is more than enough for me. I’m pretty sure my hand would fall off if I were drawing that long

DF: Yeah might cause an injury! And we don’t live in the days where artists need to work like 160 hours straight for a piece of bread like in the .. whenever that was

MP: Thank god for that.

DF: So we can actually do stuff for fun if we so choose.

MP: Yup. At some point I’d like to get my skill with these tools to the point where I could whip up an image I’m happy with within a couple of hours.

My first few tries over the summer I would call enthusiastic failures but I feel like the momentum is building and I’ve been pretty happy with the last few things.

It’s important not to get discouraged when you’re just figuring out what a new tool is good for. At this point I feel I can probably do a piece digitally about as well as I could if I were doing it by hand so that’s something.

DF: That’s good! You’re pretty in tune with the thing and that’s a good place to be it’s an instrument.

MP: My next thing I think will be figuring out how to escape my “style” since it hasn’t really changed much in a while but I feel it needs to start evolving.

There are lots of things I’d like to get better at in terms of painting but obviously you don’t get anywhere unless you put yourself out of your comfort zone and fail a few times.

Artwork by Marco Pedrosa with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

DF: That’s for sure. And that’s not easy of course. But this tool seems like a pretty versatile one so i guess you’ll be sticking with it. Will you be getting anything new to go with it? Or just explore the possibilities…

MP: I’ll stick with it as it is for now. I’m really only scratching the surface of what these apps can do. At this point my skill, not the tool is the bottleneck so there’s really no need to jump to something new right now.

Although if an iPad version of Affinity Designer came out I’d be all over that. AF is a vector drawing app, as opposed to all these painting apps that are pixel based.

DF: Ah yes, vectors. Tis a whole other thing.

MP: Yup, they’re good for a different set of problems but I like those too.

DF: Well lots to explore then from here. It’s cool that you’ve kinda got this whole thing going. It’s always good to have an artistic outlet.

MP: For sure. I draw all the time professionally so it’s nice to have an opportunity to do some stuff recreationally too.

DF: Totally. Well thanks for stopping by Marco, good to chat!

MP: Ok ttyl!

 

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Bryan Rogers – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

bryan rogers artist

Today I had a chance to sit down and chat with Bryan Rogers, who is a Cambridge, Ontario artist of some repute – ill repute, some might say!

bryan rogers artist

Originally from England (London area), Bryan is a former tool and die maker and, presently, a Fine Arts student at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

Let us begin by sharing one of his untitled portraits, of which he has many, and are usually done in oils.

brian rogers portrait 3

Bryan got his start in the art world a little later in life (he is 76 years of age at the time of this writing), and has been painting for 10+ years while he is currently attending school to earn his art degree, part time. I sat down with him recently to chat with him about his creative process, and generally to shoot the breeze about art and so forth. Here is another piece, also untitled.

weird abstract landscape art

Friend To Man & Beast

Brian is a friend of my family, and can often be found trying to solve some kind of home fixit situation with his buddy, BeachBabyBob. I’ve seen them fixing bikes (including mine), sinks, and all manner of home related issues.

Bryan, for the record, is what you might call brutally honest, in that he is not afraid to share his opinions with you, even if that opinion is slightly jarring or offensive to the overly-sensitive people of the world.

At the local YMCA, some people fear him, lest they receive a tongue lashing the likes of which they’ve never before received. Ah, but I jest! Oh look, here he is pictured below on the right, smiling for the camera.

Our conversation was of a similarly no-holds-barred nature, although I was, luckily, never spoken of blithely during any of his diatribes. No topic is particularly off limits when you talk to Bryan, and he has a knack for weaving a great and whimsical yarn as quickly as he can verbally horsewhip someone, based on all his worldly experiences thus far.

Here is a painting he did of some sunflowers, with more sunflower paintings out of frame, congregating in his basement.

bryan rogers sunflowers painting

Growing up in England in the groovy 1960’s, Bryan was lucky enough to catch all sorts of sights and sounds, including many concerts in the local area. He saw the best, and more!
 
He even saw the Beatles before they were famous! Rightly, Bryan loves to talk music.

When we spoke, Bryan was laid back as ever, and we hung out on his patio, where the weather and surroundings were quite agreeable. By the way, you will find our audio conversation is at the bottom of this article.

But first, some more info about the artist…

The Artist’s Lair

In visiting Bryan at his home in Cambridge, Ontario, I got a glimpse into his world as a painter, getting a tour of his studio and hearing about some of his works, which are all over the house, either on the wall, in his studio, or stored away.

Here is another untitled portrait conjured up by Bryan, which we hauled out from the depths. The woman pictured here – who I do not know – Bryan only mentioned that she her general disposition matches how she looks.
 
Take from that what you will. I presume it is for sale, also.

Although his house doesn’t look much different from any other house on the street from the front, Bryan’s inner environs gives itself a way as the lair of an artist with a lot on his mind, with supplies and paintings everywhere, piled high from floor to ceiling.

In taking me on a tour of the domicile, Bryan explained the stories behind many of his works as we walked, and took me deep into the caverns of his abode to show me where he does his work and what new works were coming down the pipe.
 
Cluttered is one word some people might use to describe such a place, although to me it looks fairly normal for an artist. The trick is to sell your paintings faster than you create them, and, often, this is a difficult situation to attain – especially in Cambridge, Ontario, where most people by their art at Wal-Mart.

Below is one of his painting rooms, packed full with stuff, including a new painting of Keith “Keef” Richards on the bottom right. Even in this early stage, the subject is quite recognizable (to me, at least).

keef painting

Influences – Pollock, Kandinsky

In terms of his artistic styles, Bryan does not stick to one strict style or aesthetic. His aesthetic is very much informed by his tastes for particular artists, such as Kandinsky, and Pollock, who are two artists he told me he really likes and takes influence from. This influence is fairly obvious from some of Bryan’s works, which are direct almost copies of both Kandinsky and Pollock, although not exactly. This one below is definitely inspired by Pollock, but goes in its own direction if you care to look closely.

pollock inspired art

Here is another abstract painting below that bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain Kandinsky work. Bryan does this knowingly, as almost a technical exercise. This type of exercise dates back to his days of measuring and copying when he was a tool and die maker, where many of the tasks he performed were exacting and focused on making things in a specific, almost carbon-copied, way.

kandinsky painting copy

Technique and Toil, Plight of the Art Student

According to Bryan, he isn’t exactly concerned about artistic originality so much at this time, as he is still an art student and absorbing new styles and working on his craft. I can vouch for this, having been to art school.
 
Sticking to the various formulas is the name of the game, if you want to get good marks, and not fail or draw the ire of certain fickle profs. Here is another work, if you please.
 
Soccer players in action…

soccor players painting by bryan rogers

If you’ve been to art school, you may have done an assignment or two where emulation of a particular artist (often the professor) is the key, and often your grades depend on that. As such, Bryan often sticks close to the source material when that is what is required of him for an assignment, but he also strays from it more and more lately as his work continues to evolve.

Here is one of his more Pollock-inspired work. Although clearly inspired by Pollock with its paint-splatter effect, Bryan puts his own twist on the technique.

pollack knock off 1

Portrait Artist, Capturer of Moods

As I said before, Bryan Rogers has done a many portraits – many many, actually – based on people he has met, and there is definitely no shortage of those when I visited his studio. Having been all over the world, and having met many people – some of whom he likes, some of whom he dislikes – he always has an opinion about who he meets, and he might even share it with them!

I’m not sure who this next guy is, but it’s one of those creepy paintings that always seems to be watching you.

creepy guy

Bryan has a keen eye when it comes to sussing out people and I think his paintings certainly reflect that. In terms of portrait style, there is no one style that dominates them all. Here is another portrait – as you can see, all the portraits have their own flair.

bryan rogers portrait 1

I would say, that of all his work, I like his portraits best overall as they seem to capture all sorts of moods inherent in their subjects. Capturing the moods of a subject, some might say, is the main goal of a portraitist.
 
Bryan excels at this, and he chooses his subjects wisely as they usually having captivating traits in one way or another.

In terms of representationalism (real vs. not real), his portraits lie somewhere in the middle ground between realism and abstraction, so they are hard to categorize. Also, stylistically, Bryan Rogers’ portraits don’t remind me of any one particular artistic influence, which is cool.
 
Bryan also took part in The Many Faces of Cambridge portrait project, which took place years ago, which featured portraits from across the region.

Here is a portrait Bryan did of a homeless guy he saw in France. The homeless are much more stylish in France, I suppose.

homeless guy portrait

Bryan’s eye for capturing interesting subjects is probably what I enjoy the most, although I am curious to see where his more abstract work goes over time.

Here is a portrait he did of his daughter, which, again, shows that he has a discerning eye in terms of what he wants to say about a particular subject. This one is not for sale, as it was given as a gift.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably ready for my interview I did recently with Bryan Rogers. We cover a lot of ground, although none of it was particularly mapped out. I hope you enjoy our talk, featured below.

If you want to get in touch with Bryan to inquire about a painting or to talk about soccor, find him here on Facebook.



 

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Oh Miss Bailey – New Artist Feature

oh miss bailey flowers and dreadlocks

Today I met an artist who goes by the name Oh Miss Bailey, who is a technically a resident of Paris, Ontario, but comes across to me more like a wandering spirit of the cosmos who is brimming with creative energy and radiates light everywhere.

oh miss bailey
Image source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

At the tender age of 20, she is someone who clearly doesn’t fit into simple categorization, and probably won’t be found sitting in a cubicle anytime soon. A self-described adventurer, Oh Miss Bailey creates what I’d describe loosely as playful “psychedelic” paintings done in watercolor and mixed media that are both down-to-earth and cosmic at the same time.
 
Actually, she creates other things too, like little charms made from found or discarded objects, or various other styles of art (see her Instagram for more), but what I saw first was the slightly trippy stuff.

 

oh miss bailey experimentation and tentacles
Image source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

I first noticed Oh Miss Bailey’s art when I was getting my mountain bike fixed at this repair shop called Wheels and Deals in downtown Paris. The artwork seemed a little out of place amongst all the bike gear, so it immediately got my attention while also being a bit puzzling as to why it was even there in the first place.
 
I think a sign that art has something special going for it is that you can see it and instantly feel a connection to it. Everything that I saw was of a fairly collectible size – around as big as your average piece of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, or smaller.
 
I didn’t see any mammoth canvases lying around. Instead, she had small sized, colorful works that were placed here and there, hiding behind bike tires and such. I purchased one of her works with some tentacles morphing into a hot air balloon as well as one of her personalized sketchbooks.

 

ohmissbailey
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

You see, Paris, Ontario, is not the kind of town you would immediately associate with ground-breaking and ultra-modern artists who are going to blow your mind with their wild imaginations. It is foremost a quaint little town that has been referred to as one of the prettiest towns in Ontario, not to mention the “Cobblestone Capital of Canada”.
 
There is a lovely river running through Paris, and one might expect the river or the surrounding natural beauty to be the subject of most of the artwork there. Many of the buildings there are older, and the whole place seems rather dreamy, especially on a pleasant day as it was the other day.
 
Kayaks and canoes regularly reach Paris as their destination point, and everyone walks around at a relatively slow and relaxed pace. You almost can’t help it. To me, the idea of someone like Oh Miss Bailey making her style of kind of off-the-wall art and selling it around this charming old world town was rather curious to me.

 

astronaut sketchbook
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

Talking to Oh Miss Bailey in person, I learned a few things about her thoughts behind her art. One is that she is very connected to music, and many of her works are inspired by a particular artist, or song.
 
Music is a big part of what inspires her, it seems. I think she said Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes was an inspiration for at least one piece, for instance, but we didn’t go into great depth on this topic.
 
That said, I’m sure there are countless musical influences that seep into her artistic musings and I feel like I can see that in her work. In turn, her work has a musical quality about it.
 
She also mentioned she sometimes sneaks in those F-holes you find on violins into her work. Of course right now I can’t seem to find any of her works that have them in it, but I’m pretty sure I saw a few of these symbols here and there.

 

doodle from dublin
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

Another thing Oh Miss Bailey mentioned is that she thinks that realism is somewhat over-rated, in that she doesn’t feel compelled to paint in a purely realistic manner herself. She said that when she draws or paints someone or something, she depicts not exactly what she sees, but rather *how* she sees it.
 
This is not unlike the way the expressionists did things. For Oh Miss Bailey, it’s not about 100% photo-realistic accuracy. That’s ok, since there are numerous artists around nowadays who excel at this type of hyper-real rendering style.
 
I’d say that her renderings fall somewhere between caricatures and cartoons, with most of her work being fairly kaleidoscopic and ignoring of the basic laws of physics.

 

yoga meditation crystals entrepreneur
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

Similarly to music, Oh Miss Bailey mentioned that poetry is connected to her through her sister, and this is another quality I can see in her work – it has a poetic and free-spirited feel to it.
 
You might be able to argue that all artwork is poetic in its own way, but I think there is something different about the work of artists who actually take poetry to heart (eg.
 
actively read or write it), in that it adds an extra emotional dimension to the work, and makes each work almost like a window to a tiny world. To me, poetry or compelling written work does this.
 
It creates a window for a viewer or reader to see through into someplace else. Her work definitely has that effect of luring you down the rabbit hole and providing a portal into another world.

 

homesick for london
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

A few of the themes that I can see in Oh Miss Bailey’s work include that of travel, tentacles, and umm.. hot air balloons. Not sure what they mean but they do recur. Also, lots of faces.
 
I find that her use of watercolor adds a very whimsical quality to the work, and giving things a light touch. The cool thing about watercolor is that it is very useful for hinting at things, and creating atmosphere.
 
I think that she definitely has a knack for small scale works – like pages out of a sketchbook. In fact, this might even be the case – I don’t know.

The smaller scale of her work, to me, makes a few different statements. One is that this is work she can do while being out and about, allowing her to draw influence from her surroundings.
 
I also think this work emphasizes the importance of smaller things, and is in some way a rejection of following certain rules (this is pure conjecture on my part). That is to say, artwork doesn’t have to be huge to have an impact.
 
The linework of much of her work makes me think of animators, because the lines seem to have a life of their own, and for some reason I think of Chuck Jones sitting down to draw something, minus the cartoon violence he might typically add.

 

progressive morning oh miss bailey
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

Speaking of violence, I get an opposite vibe from Oh Miss Bailey’s work. It is very friendly, peaceful, and suggests the tranquil side of nature. This may have something to do with her currently living in Paris, I’d wager, were I a betting man.
 
If I had to decide if Oh Miss Bailey’s work was good or evil, I’d say its definitely on the side of good, with maybe a bit of mischief thrown in just because. Even the tentacles don’t seem very threatening to me, and tentacles, if you’ve ever been grabbed by one, can be quite terrifying!
 
Some of her pieces do seem a bit dark, in some ways, but I think there is still something quite buoyant about them. As mentioned earlier, she does more than just paint. She is also a creator of jewelry, using small found objects.

 

little charms
Image Source: Oh Miss Bailey Instagram

One more thing I learned by talking to Oh Miss Bailey is that she’s not short on ideas, and she’s determined to get herself out there as an artist. That means, there’s probably more coming, so you may want to connect with her.
 
With a firm grasp on social media, she’s not too hard to find if you search her up. You can quickly connect with her via her Facebook page or her Instagram.
 
If you like the pieces used in this article, most of her work I believe is available as prints. Thanks for reading!

 

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Three Contemporary Surrealists You’ve Got to See

Charitable Octopoda

Surrealist art is a movement that began in the 1920’s and is still quite lively today. Surrealist art aims to capture the imagination of dreams, is often free of reason and convention, and plays on our perceptions of reality.

Surrealism followed Dadaism and inherited its anti-rationalist traits, but Surrealism is much lighter and playful in its execution.

Remedios Varo, Exploration of the Source of the Orinoco River, 1959
Remedios Varo, Exploration of the Source of the Orinoco River, 1959

Surrealism can be traced back to 1924 in Paris with André Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism. Spanning nearly a century now, Surrealism is still alive and well with many artists around the globe.

Some think of surrealism as a movement which has already come and gone, but in truth, it is still very much here with us.

Here are three new surrealist artists you’ve got to see to believe. Each of them has their own unique style, and each one of them is an exemplary example of a contemporary surrealist artist.

Rob Gonsalves

Rob gonsalves contemporary surrealist artist

Canadian born Rob Gonsalves is as much a magician as he is a painter. Using his preferred medium, he turns acrylic on canvas into unimaginable landscapes that serve as a window into another world.

Over the years he has perfected his craft to create illusions that defy the laws of our universe yet appear that they could exist as scenic detour that’s a part of our life.

surreal-optical-illusion-paintings-by-rob-gonsalves-2-2
Visit Rob Gonsalves on Facebook to find out more

There are real moments of magic in our world, you just need to be open to them and Gonsalves helps to bridge that gap. Gonsalves began painting in his teenage years and studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.
 

He then moved on to work in architecture: studying and then working in the field for five years before returning to painting.

His decision to return to painting came from an enthusiastic response to his work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 1990.

contemporary surrealism rob gonsalves
Visit Rob Gonsalves on Facebook to find out more

His time as an architect comes across in his paintings, many of which prominently feature architectural design. In addition to exhibition work, Gonsalves has has authored a number of books including: ‘Imagine a Night’ (2003), ‘Imagine a Day’ (2004), and ‘Imagine a Place’ (2008).
 

His book, ‘Imagine a Day’ has won the 2005 Governor General’s Award in the Children’s Literature – Illustration category.

Watch this short documentary about Rob Gonsalves to find out more about the man and how he approaches his work.


Eugenia Loli

eugenia-loli-surrealist-artist

Globe-trotting collage artist Eugenia Loli has lived many lives in many countries.

Her art she has been referred to as “modern vintage” and “surreal collage”, but the term surrealism is not hard to apply to her work, once you see it.

Rising Mountain
Visit Eugenia on Tumblr

Born in Greece, she has lived in Germany, the UK, and is currently residing in California.

In addition to having lived in so many places, she has also worked a number of careers, having worked as a nurse, computer programmer, technology journalist, and film maker.

Charitable Octopoda
Visit Eugenia Loli on Tumblr

As fascinating and compelling as her life may be, the works she creates are even more so.

Having already been inundated into art through animation, Eugenia became experimenting with collage in 2013 when she scanned images from vintages magazines and old science textbooks which she then compiled into collages.

Eugenia believes it is important that her work has something to say so she creates collages with meaning behind them which tease at a visual narrative.

She likes to think of her collages as a frame in a surrealist movie and encourages her audience to dream up whatever story line they believe would best go with her work.

Prior to her work in collages, she had an interest in animation. Her work has been featured in a number of publications, and is also readily available online as high-resolution images.

Her work is something to behold when set to music as well, such as the music of the band Tortoise.


Laurie Lipton

laurie-lipton-at-la-luz

Laurie Lipton was born in New York and after spending many years living abroad in Europe she has moved back to the USA and is currently living in Los Angeles, California.

While living in Europe, her time was spent living across a number of different countries: Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, as well as the UK.

laurie lipton the carnival of death
Visit Laurie’s website to find out more

She began drawing at the very young age of four is and is the first graduate Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Fine Arts Degree in Drawing (with honors to boot!).

Lipton was inspired by religious paintings Flemish School and wanted to teach herself to create art in the style of the Dutch Masters.

And while she considers that a failed attempt, the artwork she created now is detailed and complex, building up tone and texture using very fine cross-hatch techniques.

laurie-lipton-contemporary-surrealism
Visit Laurie website to find out more

One thing that stands out about her work is the distinct lack of color. She chooses to create her art in black and white using pencil. She feels that her image is what’s important and color would distract from the images she creates.

Additionally, she wants to create haunted, disturbing, otherworldly paintings which appear to frozen in time and believes that adding color to her work would ruin the atmosphere she is trying to create.

Lipton has exhibited extensively in the United States and Europe. Recently, film maker James Scott has released a short documentary on her called LOVE BITE: Laurie Lipton and Her Disturbing Black and White Drawings.

Here is a video showing Laurie giving a talk at La Luz de Jesus Gallery back in 2013 about her book of drawings called “The Drawings Of Laurie Lipton”. La Luz gave birth to “pop surrealism”, FYI.


While each of these artists have their own distinct style, medium, and methods; their art shares the common thread of surrealism. Each artist manages to capture our imagination and offer up images with a dreamlike quality that is out of this world.