Category Archives: Artists

Bottle Cap Art

 

Mary ellen Bottle Cap Art

Mary Ellen Croteau, Tsunami,©2014, 5’X8′

Mary ellen 2 Bottle Cap Art

Mary Ellen Croteau, Jia, Uppsala ©2015, 29″x39″ framed

Mary ellen 3 Bottle Cap Art

Mary Ellen Croteau, Endless Columns, detail, ©2010 – 2015


Continuing with the theme of recycled and found object art from previous posts, this week’s featured artist is Mary Ellen Croteau of Chicago. She creates art with bottle caps to help bring awareness to the impact of waste on the environment.

Regarding her piece Tsunami (above), Mary Ellen states on her website:

“Tsunami is made mostly of water bottle caps. I personally think that single-serve plastic bottles are a major curse on our environment, and most especially water bottles. Most of us do not need to have bottled water at hand. Getting people used to spending more money for water than they spend for a gallon of gasoline is devious and disastrous for the future of the planet; letting corporations control our water sources is evil.”

I first came across her work in 2012 at Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Her Endless Columns, inspired by the sculptures of Constantin Brancusi, were vibrant towers amongst the greens of the plants and flowers. My 4-year old was very impressed, and from this, we discovered our love of collaborative art making with bottle caps. We will be posting some ideas for bottle cap art projects for kids soon!

To view more of Mary Ellen’s work, please visit her website at maryellencroteau.net.

Found In Nature

Barry rosenthal 2 Found In NatureBarry rosenthal straws Found In NatureGreenbottlesv2 Found In Nature

Continuing with the theme from the previous post, Barry Rosenthal is a Brooklyn based photographer also working with beach plastic. His photo series “Found in Nature” is a collection of discarded objects found on the beaches of New York. The colorful and well-designed artworks make us forget for a moment that the truth behind his work is quite disturbing. Our overuse of plastic has lead to an abundance of waste that keeps going long after its original use. To learn more about Rosenthal’s work, visit his website at www.barryrosenthal.com.

“I am a collector. The beach is my flea market and found objects my inspiration.”

– Barry Rosenthal

 

All Images ©2013 Barry Rosenthal www.barryrosenthal.com

Beach Plastic

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This blog will often feature art made from recycled objects and other non-traditional materials. I was excited to come across the website of artists Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang. Their work is an excellent example of using non-traditional materials.

In 1999, the Langs began to collect plastic debris washed ashore at Kehoe Beach, located in Point Reyes National Seashore in California. They have been visiting the same 1,000 yards of shoreline to gather their materials.

Using the discarded objects, the Langs create art ranging from large-scale sculptures to small jewelry. They even embellished a car with found plastic objects. Their work has been in over 70 exhibitions.

Through their work they hope to bring awareness to plastic pollution and its devastating effect on the environment, while also transforming otherwise useless objects into beautiful and imaginative works of art.

Below is an enjoyable and informative video about their work.

To see more of their artwork, visit their website here.


Image Credits: (top to bottom) Bosky Dell, Shovel Bands, Chroma Purple via the artists’ website:  One Beach Plastic.

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Séraphine

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Séraphine Louis (1864 – 1942), also known as Séraphine de Senlis, was a French self-taught artist. She was from the town of Senlis, north of Paris, and worked as a house cleaner. She struggled with mental illness most of her life and seemed to find solace in her paintings.

She worked in solitude by candlelight, creating colorful and whimsical paintings of flowers and plants based mostly on her imagination. In order to afford paint, she made her own pigments using household and plant items, such as red wine, flowers, and candle wax.

Séraphine was discovered by German art collector Wilhelm Uhde in 1912. He was a collector of Henri Rousseau and Pablo Picasso’s work, among other notable artists of the time. Uhde came across a painting by Seraphine at his neighbor’s home where she worked as a cleaner.  Uhde did his best to support her work as an artist and included her an exhibition held in Paris in 1928, called “Painters of the Sacred Heart,” The other artists included: Henri RousseauAndré Bauchant, and Camille Bombois.

In 2008, a film by Martin Provost was released about Seraphine’s life. You can view the trailer here.


Image Credit: Séraphine Louis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikipedia

The Still Life Paintings of Holly Farrell

9 pumps 2014 holly farrell1 The Still Life Paintings of Holly Farrell2009 couch1 The Still Life Paintings of Holly Farrell2013 bowl lr The Still Life Paintings of Holly FarrellHolly Farrell was born in 1961 in North Bay, Ontario. Farrell is self-taught and has been a full-time painter since 1995. She turned to art making as a hobby to de-stress from her work at a group home for teenagers experiencing developmental and psychological obstacles.

Farrell mainly works with oils and acrylics. Her use of color creates a calming effect. Her subjects, which are familiar everyday objects (including many vintage items), seem to be elevated to a higher level, conjuring up a peaceful feeling amongst the chaos of daily living. They are almost portrait-like, asking you to see their personalities.

Personally, I was drawn in by her work due to my photography interests. I often photograph objects that have been discarded or lost in hopes that their former beauty or meaningfulness in someone’s home can reveal itself again. I see some of that in Farrell’s work, too.

“When the objects started to take on a character of their own, I realized I was really painting portraits without any people in them.”

-Holly Farell
(From Garde Rail Gallery)


Image Credits (top to bottom): ©Holly Farell
Bowl, acrylic & oil on masonite, 12 x 16 inches.
Couch, 2009, acrylic & oil on masonite, 18 x 28.
Phone, 2016, acrylic & oil on masonite, 18 x 14 inches.

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The Evocative Art of Harry Underwood

Flame vine of florida 11 The Evocative Art of Harry Underwood

Harry Underwood, Flame Vine of Florida. Pencil, latex paint, wood. 36″x 42″.

The pepsi principle of refreshment 42x48 2013 harry underwood The Evocative Art of Harry Underwood

Harry Underwood, The Pepsi Principle of Refreshment. Pencil, latex paint, wood. 3’x 4′.

Sit The Evocative Art of Harry Underwood

Harry Underwood, Sit. Pencil, latex paint, wood. 26″ x 26″.

Harry Underwood is one of my favorite painters. I first saw his work at the Outsider Art Fair in Chicago about ten years ago and immediately purchased a piece (which was a rare occurrence back then). It’s hanging above me as I write this.

Harry was born in Florida in 1969 and currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a self-taught artist who began painting in 2001 while working as a flooring installer. Harry dedicated his spare time to working on his art, and his persistence eventually paid off. His work is represented by several notable galleries and has been in shows in the United States, France, and England.

Harry’s paintings evoke a sense of nostalgia and are slightly surrealistic. They conjure up feelings of simplicity, summertime vacations, childhood memories, and a longing for another time or an imagined place. The nostalgia is enhanced by his use of beautifully subdued and expressive colors.

His process involves outlining his painting on plywood using a mechanical pencil and then filling it in with latex house paint. The pencil marks become part of the picture, adding an extra element to them. He also layers poems and words onto his paintings, and has referred to his work as “illustrated poetry.”

“And there’s no truer sound than a sound never found from the shy, the innocent, and the unknown.”

-Harry Underwood

Merritt Wallace

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Today’s featured artist is Merrit Wallace. Wallace was born in Japan in 1963 and was an artist at the Creative Growth Center in California from 2005 to 2013. Creative Growth is a non-profit studio art center that supports the work of artists with disabilities. Wallace’s lively drawings begin as black and white lines and end up covered with bursts of spontaneous colors and movement.

In the below video, the artist describes his work and process:

CGAC Featured Artist: Merritt Wallace from Michael Hall on Vimeo.

Michelle Stitzlein’s Butterflies & Moths

Moth10web Michelle Stitzlein 8217 s Butterflies amp MothsMoth3web Michelle Stitzlein 8217 s Butterflies amp Moths

Moth6web Michelle Stitzlein 8217 s Butterflies amp MothsMichelle Stitzlein is an artist from Ohio who works with found and recycled objects. She uses unexpected materials to create her artwork, such as bottle caps, garden hoses, shards of china, old piano keys, and license plates. She has a great sense of color and design and knows how to transform the discarded items into intricate details that make her work come alive. Her butterfly and moth series is striking.

Product thumbnail1 Michelle Stitzlein 8217 s Butterflies amp Moths

Michelle is also the author of two art books for children, Bottlecap Little Bottle Cap and Cool Caps! Her website has several great examples of bottle cap art projects.


 

The Linoleum Art of Bill Miller

Bill miller The Linoleum Art of Bill MillerBill flowers The Linoleum Art of Bill MillerBill landscape The Linoleum Art of Bill MillerArtist Bill Miller was a founding member of Industrial Arts Co-Op in Pittsburgh, a group that created large-scale sculptures made of discarded materials found at abandoned industrial sites. The goal of the installations was to bring attention to the damaging impact of industrialization.

While constructing the sculptures, Miller came across an unusual art material: vintage linoleum scraps. He has been creating linoleum masterpieces for over 20 years. His collage-like linoleum paintings are made using only recycled and vintage flooring, no extra paint is added.

Miller’s artwork has been exhibited in several museums and galleries.  To view more of his work, please visit his website at billmillerart.com.


Image Credit: © Bill Miller, billmillerart.com

Birds, Cats & Amphibians

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Jonathan campos amphibians color pencil on paper 2016 Birds Cats amp Amphibians


For the past several years, I have been a fan and advocate of studio programs for artists with disabilities. I have had the honor of visiting and volunteering with several studio programs in the U.S. The work being done by many of these organizations helps de-stigmatize developmental disabilities and mental illness. The participants are given the encouragement and resources they need to develop their own artistic visions and build confidence while gaining a supportive community.

I recently came across the work of Jonathan Campos. I love the repetition and color in his work. Campos is a participant at Pure Vision Arts (PVA) in New York City.  Pure Vision Arts was started in 2002 by a non-profit called The Shield Institute and is dedicated to helping individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities find opportunities for artistic expression. Their website includes a gallery of other talented artists worth checking out.


Image Credits: © Jonathan Campos, Pure Vision Arts
1) Birds, color pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″. 2016
2) Cats, color pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″, 2016
3) Amphibians, color pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″. 2016