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Primal Expression: Brenda Hope Zappitell

2 May

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m far from a wild child.  I tend to be calm, controlled, even-tempered.  Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to abstract expressionist work like a moth to a flame.  And the work of Delray Beach artist Brenda Hope Zappitell is a fire this little moth can’t resist!

In Search of Sunrise II, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 42x42

In her work, Zappitell “surrenders control to the paint, the brush and a visceral process of creative discovery” [sic].  She works spontaneously and rapidly, following the paint as it dances across the canvas.

In Search of Sunrise I, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 42x42

Taking her inspiration from the energy of nature, her palette builds from light, delicate tints to saturated rapid-fire strokes of bold color.

A Matter of Perception, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 48x48

Squiggles and strokes that could almost be graffiti-like still retain their softness, like a flourishing garden in the middle of an urban metropolis.

Embracing Uncertainty II, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 30x36

Reverie I, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 48x48

To see more of Brenda Hope Zappitell’s work, please visit her website.  You can see her work in person at several galleries across the US– be sure to check her website to see if there is one near you!

Featured image is Translation, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 60×30.  All images are via the artist’s website.


Serene Strength: Claire Sherman

26 Apr

There is a quiet power that abides in certain landscapes that compels us to humilty.  No cell phone reception, no internet, no traffic whizzing by.  Nothing to make us believe we are the center of the universe.  Just earth and rock and water and light.  It is in these places that the earth is welcoming, yet can be strong and unyielding.  The work of New York artist, Claire Sherman captures the essence of the quiet, raw power of our natural world.

Boulders, oil on canvas, 86x78

Sherman’s overall cool palette, tinged occasionally with warm tones conveys the earth’s reticent beauty.  It wants us to explore and appreciate its wildness, but fears the mark our hand often leaves.

Butte, oil on canvas, 72x84

Ravine II, oil on canvas, 84x96

This is still a dangerous place.  We often forget, wrapped safely in suburban cocoons, thinking we are master of all that we survey.  Yet still in many places, one wrong step and we may become prey to the earth’s power.  The artist’s linear, often jagged brushwork reminds us to tread carefully.  She is beautiful, yes, but we must never forget her untamed nature.  Try as we might to use her up, certain parts of the earth will always remain wild and inhospitable to man.

Holes, oil on canvas, 72x60

Trees III, oil on canvas, 78x84

These places are for her renewing and for moments ours, but they belong to her.  That we will do well to remember.  To see more of Claire Sherman’s work, please visit her website.  Her work can be seen in person at the Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago.

Featured image is Pile of Rocks, oil on canvas, 72×78.  All images are via the artist’s website.

All That He Surveys: Thomas D. Aaron

25 Apr

Living in places with so many wild areas, whenever we go out hiking, we’re still very aware of man’s impact on the landscape.  Salt Lake City artist Thomas D. Aaron brings attention to the natural landscape and the effect of man’s hand upon it.

20, mixed media, 48x48

Bend, mixed media,66x72

Aaron uses PLSS ( Public Land Survey System ) imagery as the jumping off point of his mixed media works.  Focusing on manmade grids imposed upon the landscape and the paradigms they create with the natural order of the terrain.

Two Canyons, mixed media, 24x24 each

The painterly textures mimic the natural terrain and in some, dominating brushwork overpowers the landscape, just our infrastructure has done the same to natural wild spaces.

New Blue New, mixed media, 68x60

Like the Sea, mixed media, 68x60

To see more of Thomas D. Aaron’s work, please visit his website.  To learn more about the motivation and ideology behind his work, check out his interview with Ellen Caldwell on the New American Paintings blog.

Artist found via New American Paintings.

Featured image is Lakeside Clouds, mixed media, 36×24.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Multi-Faceted Abstractions: Jackie Tileston

17 Apr

I love work that speaks to me on several levels.  ( Yes, I can hear the artwork talking to me! )  The work of Philadelphia artist Jackie Tileston seems to communicate to us from several worlds at once.

No Matter Where ( Not Pictured Here ), oil and mixed media on linen, 72x60

Atmospheric foundations hint at other-worldly landscapes filled with mystery, while pops of graphic color and pattern create a layer of modern visual language.

Untitled ( Green ), oil and mixed media on linen, 48x60

Linear color leads the eye to dance across each composition against backgrounds of painterly texture.  Tileston’s surfaces fairly crackle with excitement and visual energy.

The Transcendent Who Superintends Reality, oil and mixed media on linen, 60x72

Phenomorama, oil and mixed media on linen, 72x60

To see more of Jackie Tileston’s work, please visit her website.

Featured image is Auspicious Circling of Mad Utopias, oil and mixed media on linen, 72×60.  All images are via the artist’s website.

April Facebook Featured Artist: Steve Williams

16 Apr

When I launched the Artsy Forager Facebook Featured Artist program this month, I was thrilled when Steve Williams agreed to be my inaugural artist. Like me, Steve is a native of our hometown, Jacksonville, Florida and has long been a fixture on the art scene there.  Steve, along with his then gallery partner, Jim Draper, encouraged a young Artsy Forager  to continue painting just out of college.  Even though I allowed myself to get sidetracked, I never forgot their kindness.

Marco Polo, mixed media

As he splits his time between being president of his family’s successful sign business, Harbinger Sign, the gallery he has created at the business’s headquarters, Florida Mining, his own work as an artist AND being a devoted father of three, Steve is a busy soul.  Which makes it all the more amazing to see the quality of thoughtful work he creates.

Jackson, mixed media

His experience in the sign business is evident in the strong graphic quality and balance evident in his compositions.  His most recent Money series ( images above ) explores currency as symbolic of all that we strive for as a society yet ensnares and imprisons us.

Into the Goodly Land, mixed media on panel, 60x72

While I love this current direction, my personal favorite works of Steve’s are those that incorporate layers of texture and color in which graphic signs and images are enshrouded.  These works, as well as the Money series, invite us in, asking us to look more closely at not only the world around us, but the motives and desires within us.

TV Exploration of Mars II, mixed media, 12x12

Revolutionary Exploration: Shallow Discovery, mixed media, 11x19

I hope you’ll check out more of Steve Williams‘ work on his website.  And do yourself a favor– don’t miss his blog, Making Cheddar, or his Twitter feed.    He’s as hilarious as he is insightful.

Featured image is Grant, mixed media, 60×36.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Beautiful Accidents: Caroline Wright

11 Apr

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans..”is a favorite John Lennon quote of mine.  Often, it’s those unexpected moments that bring the most joy.  Austin artist Caroline Wright’s work is full of incidental beauty.

Icarus, acrylic on rice paper, 72x39

Abstract painters like Wright know that these happy accidents contribute to the rhythm and spontaneity so many of us love about abstract work.

Fragments for Sappho

Her work has wonderful little punctuations of color that keep the eye moving across the surface. But it’s the unintentional drips and marks that really make each piece soar and create tiny little compositions waiting to be discovered.

Tropicalia, acrylic on rice paper, 72x39

Even in her quieter compositions, such as the watercolor & mixed media below, the accidents are more subtle.  The way the colors are delicately placed and soak into each other create soft, exquisite transitions.

Longing Floats, watercolor, ink, acrylic and graphite on paper, 24x18

Dog House, acrylic, watercolor, ink & pencil on handmade watercolor paper, 30x22

To see more of Caroline Wright’s work, please visit her website.

Featured image is Rain Poncho, acrylic, watercolor and pencil on handmade watercolor paper, 30×22.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Artsy on Escape Into Life: Laura Gurton

10 Apr

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the beauty of the natural world lately.  As the weather warms, the hubby and I are getting out and doing more hiking ( we may actually be hiking when you read this! ).  I love the natural, microcosmic beauty of Laura Gurton’s work being featured over on Escape Into Life today.

From the Unknown Species series #56, oil & alkyd on panel, 24x36

If you get out exploring, take a close look at the small worlds happening around you!

Laura Gurton on Escape Into Life