Artists Around The World Blog Hop!!!

Before I went away, I was very pleased to be invited by my friend Melissa Iwai to participate in a blog hop called 'Artists Around The World'.  Unfortunately it's taken me more than a month to do my part as I was away for the first few weeks then came back to a back log of work to catch up with.
However, here I am finally doing it!  First I want to tell you about Melissa and show you her work.  You can see more on her website here -  and her blog here
Melissa is an illustrator and author of children's books. She very kindly gave me signed copies of two of her books at Surtex and my children, aged 3 and 9, adore them, especially the one she wrote herself - Soup Day.
The piece below is something Melissa developed from the cuckoo clock assignment in Lilla Rogers' Bootcamp.  Look at the stunning colour palette and the magical, dreamlike quality it lends to the piece.  There is so much to love about this - the rounded, perfectly proportioned characters, the depth created by the tree in the foreground, the soft, pink blurry clouds and the delicately patterned hill in the background.  And the crooked houses!  There are so many well-thought out, beautifully executed elements to this piece.  It's so original - I adore it.



This is Melissa's business card and I think was her submission piece for the cuckoo clock assignment.  Again, the palette is to die for (the orange hair and dusky pink sweater), the character beautifully appealing and the concept ingenious.



And look at the animals too.  It's obvious why her artwork is perfect for children's books.  I also think it would translate in a heart beat to so many other markets but from what I can gather she's so in demand, she's barely had time to consider them!!  I think it's on the cards though!




So the next bit is me answering some questions so here you go!!

1. What are you working on?
I started embroidering this Summer and decided to do one of the Bootcamp assignments (based on cups and drinks) in applique and embroidery.  I enjoyed it so much that I started a group of four pieces and as yet haven't finished them.  That will be my first priority this Autumn.


2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
Oh - I don't know.  I think my work is quite sophisticated, even when the subject matter is young.  I tend to use quite grown up womenswear palettes as I was a fashion textile designer for years.  My taste is definitely very feminine but not delicate.  I like bold colour and imagery.  I'm also drawn to vintage references because of my history with textile design.  I love vintage fabric (the embroidery above is made with old bed sheets and tablecloths) and I love mid-century modern illustration - the crisp graphic styles that work so well with Illustrator.

3. Why do you create?
Because I can't not!  When my children were very little I made a point of being available for them a hundred percent for at least the first year and didn't work much at all.  I loved being with my babies but by the time I was able to find time to work again I was craving it.   If I was stuck on a desert island I'd start weaving bits of grass and leaves together, drawing in the sand and decorating pebbles before long  - and I'd be sat starving and freezing in my very nicely decorated shack!

4. How does your creative process work?
My creative process ranges from chaotic to militantly organized.  I don't keep routines well but am forced to by my children's school hours.  If I could choose I'd get up at midday and work through the night.  But I can't.  My husband takes my kids to school so as soon as I leave I start checking email, Facebook etc on my phone.  Then I get dressed and try to be in front of my computer by 10.00am.  I work right through until 4.00pm everyday, taking a break to eat lunch, read a book, or just lie around staring at the wall for an hour at some point.  I desperately need to incorporate exercise into this routine so next week I'm joining the gym.  Aaargh!  Let's hope it doesn't turn into a monthly charitable donation and that I actually go!!
I write myself a to do list every Monday and tick it off during the week but I don't have set tasks for each day.  I just do whatever's a priority or what takes my fancy.  I also try not to leave trailing ends anywhere. If I start something I like to finish it before I move on.  That's where I'm militant.  I'm also very organized with storing information and artwork.  It's all very regimented and thoroughly backed up.  I don't plan automatically but when I do, I make very comprehensive, no stone unturned, type plans.

So that was me!  The next bit is to tell you about two other artists and their work.  I've chosen my two good friends Bari J Ackerman and Wendy Brightbill.  They are both painters but approach their artwork very differently as you'll see.

First Bari!  The words that spring to mind most when I see her artwork are 'cornucopia' and 'abundance'.  Bari is a designer for Art Gallery Fabrics and her paintings translate beautifully to her collections.  She's somehow managed to create a magical blend of impressionistic floral imagery, digital imagery and contemporary fabric design that's uniquely hers.  Just look at the palette in the second painting!  Stunning.  Below is a picture of her striking booth at Surtex and once again you can see the abundance of colour and pattern in the peacock and the complementary patterns. You can see more of her beautiful work on her website here and her blog here.





Now Wendy!! Wendy's paintings (so far) are more abstract but she is starting to create more figurative pieces that are beautiful too.  She often combines delicate lacy or geometric motifs with great, joyous sweeps and swirls of color and texture.  Her palettes tend to be very sophisticated and the overall effect is  layered and explorative.  The two stunning pieces below are typical of the gentle, layered complexity of her work and I can imagine either of them as wall art in a very contemporary but feminine setting.




Wendy also designs digitally and you can see how her palettes and overall style are consistent even while the commercial subject matter is wildly different.  I really love this design. Those animals are just like real children. You can see more of Wendy's beautiful work on her website here and her blog here.