Holly Exley is a young British illustrator with some big clients under her belt including Marks and Spencers, Stylist Magazine, Lonely Planet and The Wall Street Journal. Pursuing her natural talent with watercolour painting, Holly has been commissioned to work on projects from illustrating music apps, wildlife and cooking books, and city and charity campaigns. Her illustrations have an uplifting aesthetic with colour washes of wonderful hues, with an emphasis on light and contrast. I really like her food illustrations…food never looked so good! Holly has a blog, website and also a YouTube channel where she talks about her work and the life in the world of illustration.
Future posts here we go! I am usually not this organised when it comes to blog posts but I’ll try for a month and see how it goes. I have a huge stack of artists that I want to ‘collect’ and share with you on my blog, hopefully to inspire and give you something interesting to look at that you haven’t seen before. Below are some snippet images to give you an idea about the artists I will post about next so stay tuned.
If this is the first time you have come across my little blog I like to talk about all sorts of artists and not just sticking to one discipline or style.
Odilon Redon is one of the lesser known french artists who contributed to the nascent years of modernism. Part of the 19th century avant-garde circle – although he never considered himself as part of this modernist group, Redon is an artist with diverse sources of inspiration. From Poetry, to music and the natural world to fantasy, Redon’s work is beautiful and strange, bordering on the bizarre. Monsters inspired by folklore creep into enchanting scenes with angelic figures, showing the discontinuity between light and dark.
Redon’s dark charcoal drawings and lithographs evolved into vibrant pastel and oil paintings in the early 20th century. You may have already noticed from his golden colour hues and flat uses of colour, Redon was an admirer of Gustave Klimt and was also influenced by Japanese print.
Had a lot of fun doing this piece. I wanted to change the header on my blog for a while and came up with the idea of doing a simple stationary illustration since I love stationary! Perfect for this little art blog.
When needing inspiration I often look at one of my favourite art mediums and go from there. Watercolour painting is a versatile and flexible medium that allows artists to create their own colour opacity. It’s a fantastic practice in that it’s unpredictable and can be experimented with in so many ways, from technique to the materials used, to how much water is left on the brush. I always feel overwhelmed painting in watercolours because there are endless possibilities in what you can achieve with them.
Lourdes Sanchez uses watercolour to produce harmonic forms of colour across the paper. Reaching intensely rich colours, light to dark with her ink staining technique expressing serene to sombre emotional tones. Working on silk, Sanchez explores control and acquiescence up to a point where she lets the inks seep into one another.
See her website for more of her work.
Take A Look
I recently went to The Royal Academy of Arts block buster Exhibition, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. It is worth seeing if you are interested in the Impressionist artists or if you just love floral paintings as it’s full of them. The Exhibition covers the main Impressionist artists, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists of the early 20th century, thematising around the modern garden. Monet’s masterpieces being the highlight including his infamous Water Lilies painting, The Agapanthus Triptych. This piece finalizes his career brilliantly – got me a bit teary as they are overwhelmingly beautiful and reflective of Monet’s mental state at the end of his life.
An impressionist artist who’s work really grabbed my attention in the Exhibition was Emil Nolde. He was a German-Danish painter who supported Nazi Germany from the 1920s and believed that Expressionism was a distinctively Germanic style. Hitler considered this art movement ‘degenerative’ and banned artists like Nolde from painting and removed his work from public display. He secretly produced a massive series of water colour paintings that are known as the ‘unpainted pictures’. Nolde painted portraits, landscapes and flowers as his subjects. His brush strokes are vigorous and textural producing expressionistic, luminous paintings – often with sombre undertones, fascinating to see up close.
Dan-ah Kim, a Korean film maker and artist who’s work really captures what illustration is all about. Her work reminds me of eastern folk tale illustration. Her paintings have an emotive presence through composition, colour and narrative appeal. These mysterious, beautiful illustrations often put the viewer in a voyeuristic position as though we are looking in on something that we shouldn’t. Kim often paints on wood panels, beginning with pencil and paint, then layering with other medias such as paper and thread. Check out her website to see more of her work.