Sara L’étrange

While on a search for something terribly specific, I ran across this amazing piece by Sara L’étrange. It has absolutely nothing to do with what I was looking for, but it is fantastic, and that is the kind of day it has been.

Sara L'trange

Sara L’étrange works almost exclusively with gel pen, and her artist statement has some really wonderful language about the nature of working with a medium that can’t be painted over, erased, or moved once it’s down. I really kind of love her take on it, it’s well worth a read.

Mark Chadwick

Did you miss me? I missed the artwork, but I am back for the last day of the work week with this fantastic piece by Mark Chadwick.

Mark Chadwick

While I often enjoy abstract artwork, I’ve found it particularly difficult to connect with abstract paintings via the internet. Sculptures seem to translate a little better for some reason. But this piece caught me and pulled me in without asking any questions first. Mark Chadwick uses machines to create this flowing pieces of artwork. In his artist statement, he admits to even leaving the studio altogether and letting the art form itself. That seems hopelessly existential to me, and yet I kind of love that theory. I’ve often said that visual art helps me get out of my cognitive, narrative driven mindset, and this seems like one more level removed from that black and white space. In any case, the result is lovely and profound.

Jim M. Berberich

Art nouveau is not a new phenomenon, but it’s really been since I got on board with Pinterest that I really started to love the form. I’m really entranced by the relationship of structure and spontaneity in the form, the long elegant lines that stretch out in seemingly unpredictable patterns, but always form just what the artist had in mind. And so I bring you, Jim M. Berberich, stained glass painter.

Jim M. Berberich

Stained glass is not (in my very limited research) a typical medium for art nouveau, at least not as typical as oil paint, ink, or metalwork. Berberich puts all that is elegant and provocative about art nouveau into a painted window. This piece, inspired by Alphonse Mucha, caught my eye in particular because it is clearly art nouveau, but the color palate is very different from the warmer, duskier colors you usually see in this type of work. I love the black hair, the greens, blues, and reds in this piece. It adds a sensuality and depth of color to an already pretty sexy art form.

Artist Profile: Matthew Hamblen

Matthew Hamblen, the wonderful surrealist that I featured last week, has agreed to do an artist profile for me. I am really enjoying getting to hear from all these artists about what inspires and drives them, and this one is no exception. I hope you enjoy this look into Hamblen’s artistic world, as well as the lovely images he’s generously agreed to display here.

What do you love about your medium?

Everything. I can’t really state anything specifically here. I guess I was just born to paint, as it’s my #1 thing in life since a very early age.

Matt Hamblen 1

Describe one piece of artwork that you find superficial or boring.

You know when you go into a modern art museum and you see a huge wall-sized painting that’s just one color (usually white) ? Yeah, I’m with you on that, as I just don’t get it either. I mean, minimalism is one thing, but…. (??)

When did you first call yourself an artist and why?

Well, I grew up with a Father who’s an oil painter, and the family lineage is all about art on his side of the family for many generations, so to me it was no big deal, I guess.
I’ve always felt that no one grants you “permission” to be an artist. You have to call yourself one at some point. Precisely when that happened to me, I’ve really no idea. I think we all have it within us, as a lot of it is psychological, as are many things in life.
We’re taught to believe that to be an actual “artiste” one must be a certain “something” that’s oh-so-special, or have a list of accomplishments that would make jaws drop, and I just don’t buy into any of that, nor do I buy into the whole “art world” game, really, as it’s all about “who you know” and “where you’ve hung” which inherently rubs me the wrong way.
Art is about creativity and perhaps quite a bit about rebellion as well, so that’s my POV on the whole thing.
When I was young, an artist I admired advised me to just go and paint if I wanted to be an artist, so that’s just what I did. Simple.

Matt Hamblen 2

Describe a piece of artwork and/or an artist that you find consistently inspiring.

This might sound terribly egotistical but it’s not meant to be. To get fresh ideas on what to do or where to go next, I actually go back to my own older stuff nowadays. I’ve always referred back to what people want of me, and what they’ve purchased in the past, as I enjoy painting what others like, and I enjoy making people happy with my artwork. The inspiration is just melded in there automatically, as I love what I do, and it always inspires me on it’s own. I used to glean inspiration from tons of artists and various places, and still do on odd occasion if I see something that just blows my mind, but nowadays, I mainly stick within my little niche.

Matt Hamblen 3

What is your unique purpose for creating work?

Just making people happy, and hopefully inspiring others to create. I’m grateful beyond words to be in a position to do that.

Matt Hamblen 4

Matthew Hamblen

Today I’m leaning a little on the angsty artist side. As I was scrolling through page after page of Angry Birds fingernail paintings, hoping to find something that expressed my particular brand of ennui, I stumbled across the sweeping surreal landscapes of Matthew Hamblen.

I love the mood of this painting, especially today. Matthew Hamblen manages to capture this subtle sense of beauty, risk, and otherworldliness. Most surrealist artwork depicts a world that I would immediately want to escape from. This piece is a world that intrigues me even as I sense its danger and strangeness.

There is a great Etsy store here with a lot of Matthew Hamblen’s paintings if you’d like to peruse.

Ivey Hayes and Alaagy

Today, when I need a little more vibrance in my day, I’ve chosen to show off the lively painting of Ivey Hayes.

Pecan Pickers

I love this piece for its amazing color palette, for the simplicity of the moment it captures, and the long elegant lines which I’m now realizing are a very common feature in artwork that I like.

When I first saw a collection of Ivey Hayes’ work, I thought I might already have a piece of his work in my home, because this piece has a similarly warm, vibrant feel to it.

The Rhythm of Life

But it turns out this is the work of Alaagy, a totally different but also fabulous artist from Ghana whose work I also love. Bonus artist for your viewing pleasure today, enjoy.

Manuel Nuῆez

Today’s selection comes from Manuel Nuῆez, an artist who’s done a lot in the commercial world, but who caught my eye with these striking paintings in the style of religious icons. The one I saw first is still my favorite, the lines so sharp and elegant, it’s burned into my memory and I love it.


I love the gold leaf in these kind of paintings, it adds so much dimension and lustre to the image. I think what I love about this image in particular is that instead of being an image that begs to be worshipped, it’s an image of a woman in the act of worship. There’s a big part of me that wants to be that woman, with that dramatic look, completely lost in the awe of God.

Happy Women

After my slightly ranty art update on Wednesday, I did receive several images depicting happy or laughing women (with faces). They are fantastic, and they were all discovered for me by the wonderful Kristina Miller. Thank you, my dear friend.

Old Woman Studying the Alphabet with a Laughing Girl by Sofonisba Anguissola
Old Woman Studying the Alphabet with a Laughing Girl by Sofonisba Anguissola
Laughing Himba Woman by Diana Lee
Laughing Himba Woman by Diana Lee
Laughing Nude Woman by Martin Miller
Laughing Nude Woman by Martin Miller
Laughing Woman by Susan Weinberg
Laughing Woman by Susan Weinberg

Now that is some art that’s good for the soul. Admit it, you smiled too.

Xi Pan

In my now extensive travels through the artwork on Pinterest, I’ve started an entire board just for pictures, paintings, and sculptures of embrace. I honestly can go to that board, look at the pictures, and feel loved. It’s gorgeous. One of my favorite pieces from that board (although it is hard to choose a favorite) is this delicate painting by Xi Pan.


This is one of those images that make me feel I’m not alone. This image is so utterly true to my life, I can feel my daughter’s baby cheek on my shoulder when I look at it. I love that it illustrates how mothers and children are built to fit together just so, and how peaceful and comforting that one fact can be.

Xi Pan is a very impressive painter, well worth spending a few minutes exploring. She does these really lovely, slightly surreal female nudes; the painting I’ve chosen is actually not very representative of her work. So you should go check out the rest, because it’s awesome.

Victor Figol

Today’s artist is Victor Figol, whose work I absolutely love, but who can only be found on the internet in the form of his paintings. The link just now is to the google image page you’ll find under his name. In my totally unprofessional opinion, Figol’s work is modern impressionism which is marked by vivid color palette. I like his work because the world he creates feels so alive to me, you can almost see the picture breathing. It’s a great example of work that the artist has brought to life so it just can’t sit on the page. Enjoy.