“I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace, I like to paint simple things that are a little strange.”
I am excited to share the work of one of my favorite artists, Gertrude Abercrombie. I can’t get over her color palette! It’s gorgeous and moody. We have a painting of an owl and cat in our collection, and it is always a pleasure to view it. (As you may know, I am obsessed with owls.)
Here’s some background information on Gertrude Abercrombie. She was born in Texas in 1909. Her parents worked for a traveling opera company. She and her family briefly lived in Germany until World War I broke out. They relocated to Illinois, where she remained until her death in 1977.
Abercrombie was involved in the Chicago art and jazz scenes. She was a painter and pianist. She loved hosting salons in her apartment with appearances from notable musicians, such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
Are these paintings not balm for the soul? These are part of the series, Illusion of Risk, by artist Rachel Berkowitz. Rachel is an emerging artist living in Los Angeles. We recently got acquainted with Rachel and her work, which focuses on the spiritual elements behind risk-taking, fate and chance “using natural landscapes as a primary creative resource.” She is a painter, printmaker, and photographer. Rachel shares thoughts about her artwork and process below.
Hello folks! We are excited to launch a new artist interview series today. Our goal with this series is to provide a platform for artists to share their process, advice, and inspiration in their own words. We recently interviewed Kat Brandao, a self-taught artist who lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more about her below, and get the added bonus of a Fall recipe!
Uncommon Canvas: When did you start making art?
Kat: I started making art about seven years ago. In my first attempt at painting I thought I was going to paint a poem, then I quickly fell in love with colors which led me to try abstract paintings. Once I started, I was hooked.
Uncommon Canvas: What are your favorite materials to use?
Kat: I really enjoy experimenting with different materials. I use acrylic as my base and I like to incorporate wax crayons, painting markers, charcoal, graffiti, and anything I can get my hands on, really. I also like to try using different materials for mark making. For example, I have used leaves and wood that I’ve found during hikes in some of my paintings. I’ve also used the plastic wrap covering my canvases as an art tool.
Uncommon Canvas: What inspires you when making art?
Kat: I find inspiration in everyday events where emotions are present; some examples are my walks in nature, my interactions with others, my dreams and my reality. Seeing, listening to, and making art in other forms also informs and supports my painting process. I find baking very inspiring, as an art and a connection with my grandmother, who taught me how to bake.
I instantly fell in love with these paintings! The patterns are so intricate and the female subjects have so much to say to us their bold stares. Sofia Bonati (1982 – ) is a self-taught artist and illustrator from Argentina. She was raised by two artists and learned a lot from observing them. She arrived at her own artistic career in 2013, shortly after moving to England. Her work quickly gained recognition from galleries and collectors. Working with gouache or watercolor, she creates these striking portraits of female subjects.
“At first, I drew men and women alike. I’m not sure why I ended up creating mostly female portraits. My style used to be caricature-like and surreal; discovering other artists, their techniques and style helped me develop my own.”
“I am growing flowers that are not grown anywhere else.”
Anna Zemánková from “The Dawn Drawings of Anna Zemánková” by Jo Farb Hernandez in Raw Vision, No. 14, Spring 1996. 40-45.
Anna Zemánková is a self-taught artist known for her beautifully abstract and imaginative botanical drawings. Anna (1908-1986) was born in Olomouc, Moravia (now the Czech Republic). She loved making art as a child but was told to focus on more practical pursuits. She became a dental technician, married an army officer, and devoted her time to raising her children.
From the outside, Anna’s life appeared full with the busy activities of family life, yet she often felt like she was missing something. She still carried sorrow from the loss of her first born son and began to feel more depressed about the state of her life.
In her early 50s, needing a positive outlet to manage her depression, she turned to art again. One of her three sons was a sculptor, and he happily encouraged her to channel her sadness into art. He helped her buy art supplies and from there her creativity took off. She worked on her drawings in the early morning hours while the house was quiet and still. In the 1970s, Anna expanded her exploration of art, adding collage and embroidery.
Over the years, Anna hosted art showings or “open house” exhibitions. Her work gained the recognition it deserved after being viewed by French painter and sculptor, Jean DuBuffet. (DuBuffet coined the term art brut.) He included several of her pieces in the Collection de l’Art Brut Lausanne, which is the world’s most notable collection of outsider and self-taught art. Zemánková was also included in a show at Hayward Gallery in London in 1979. Since then, her works have been widely exhibited and cherished by many collectors.
The Uncommon Canvas is an arts blog that focuses on increasing visibility for artists. We also hope to bring awareness to mental health in the arts. This blog includes interviews, artist spotlights, and art history beyond mainstream narrative.