medium /// contemporary

courtney wotherspoon


YUM. The portfolio of Toronto based artist/illustrator Courtney Wotherspoon is filled with all sorts of wonderful things… portraits, quirky collections, gorgeous lettering… so I had a really hard time deciding which pieces I should write about. And then I found these delicious painted/drawn beauties. Yep, they were screaming my name on this very hot August day. I’ll take one of each, please! Happy weekend.

ps. congratulations to Courtney on becoming a mama for the second time, only two days ago… get that woman some ice cream STAT.

kaye blegvad


Elegant ladies and delicate hands ~ sigh ~ this is the lovely work of London-born, Brooklyn-based artist/illustrator Kaye Blegvad. I suddenly feel like burning some incense and doing yoga all afternoon… nude. Hm. Maybe not.

meg hitchcock


Oh my. This is the insanely detailed and thoughtful work of Brooklyn based artist Meg Hitchcock. Most of her work combines different religious texts, but I just had to include that first stunning piece which is made up of excerpts from her grandmother’s diary and letters cut from the Kama Sutra. Amazing! Here are Meg’s words about this beautiful work:

“In my text drawings I examine and dissect the word of God. I deconstruct a sacred text by cutting its individual letters, and reassemble them to form a passage from another holy book. The Koran is transformed into the Bible, the Bible into the Bhagavad Gita, and so on. I discourage a literal reading of the text by eliminating punctuation and spacing; a sentence from one text merges with a passage from another. By bringing together the sacred writings of diverse religions, I undermine their authority and speak to the common thread that weaves through all scripture.”

Beautiful. What a different world it would be if we could all just appreciate the common threads that connect us.

{A few of Meg’s pieces are currently showing in “Summer Breeze” at Margaret Thatcher Gallery in New York – 539 West 23rd Street – until the end of this week.}

jessica wohl


Have you seen the movie, “Fur:An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus”… I absolutely loved it, and these sewn drawings by American artist Jessica Wohl make me want to watch it over and over and over again. Alright, that last piece {titled “Sparkle Face”} wouldn’t quite fit the fur theme, but it was just too good not to include in the post. Love!

joe yorty


My first thought was, ‘this must be digital’. Nope… vintage wallpaper and vinyl contact paper on cotton rag. What? Yep. My second thought was, ‘I’d be covered from head to toe in sticky contact paper if I tried this.’  Well somehow San Diego based artist Joe Yorty does it, and I love it all! There’s a vintage IKEA-esque feel to those chunks of unassembled furniture, which makes a lot of sense when you find out that his work “largely addresses the anxieties and absurdities of American domestic culture.” #allenwrenchanxiety

{Some of his work is available on Little Paper Planes}

“modern frescoes and micro evolutions”


Modern watercolor frescoes, suitcases full of striped socks, and a mutual love for Swatch watches. Yep, this is what went down on today’s episode with American painter Ali Cavanaugh. I was so curious about her process – she paints on panels coated in a thin layer of clay!? Obviously I asked her all about that. I also had a question that read as follows, “arms, legs, striped socks… why?” Well, she told me! You can listen right up there under the dot-covered arms of that lovely redhead, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s begin with a few arms ‘n socks. I’m sure you’ll recognize this work – it was all over the interweb a few years ago {including my site of course}:


I love them oh so much. Not only are the stripes and compositions absolutely fantastic, um, these are watercolors! Stun. Ning.

Ali mentioned moving from oils to watercolor as an experiment. For those pieces – pieces that basically changed her life – she only used one color for each painting. These are not the exact pieces, but they’re from her “monochromatic” portfolio so that you can see what they look like:


Again, I must reiterate… these are watercolor paintings!

Alright, and now, onto the legs! This is where the striped socks began:


So feminine, so absolutely lovely… as was her reason for starting these swinging legs in the first place.

Oh, now this series is beautiful, on so many levels. Here are just a few paintings from the “Milly” series:


A teenager with a very aggressive form of cancer who became Ali’s inspiring, light-filled muse for the series. And in case you haven’t listened to the episode yet, I’m very happy to report that Milly is in full remission! Ali has painted her several times since, and yes, these pieces are insanely beautiful too:


I mean, come on. GORGEOUS. Also, I want Milly’s haircut.

From oil, to watercolor, to washy watercolor… the micro-evolutions that keep Ali’s work fresh. These are some of her latest portraits:


Dreamy, yes? Sigh.

I had to include this, even though it makes me sad. This is the portrait Ali was asked to paint by a mother whose baby was stillborn. She wanted an image of him that was filled with life and love:


Beautiful. And heartbreaking. And beautiful.

And finally, a peek into Ali’s brand new studio. I found these images on her lovely instagram feed:


Gah! That light… are you kidding me!? She’s got everything she needs in there – big windows, lots of space, and a few cute kiddos to keep her company.

Ok, and before we wrap things up, Ali took a few photos of her insane sock collection for us:


And that’s just a few of them! Yeah, that’s alotta socks. Thanks so much to Ali, a fellow Swatch lover, for taking the time to chat with me; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode; high fives to for making my new book into an audio book – and for letting me narrate?! To preorder a copy of the audio book FOR FREE, along with a 30 day free trial at Audible, you can use my fancy link:

… and last, but certainly not least, thank YOU for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Kendall College of Art & Design
  2. Affordable Art Fair, New York
  3. Milly’s work
  4. L.Ross Gallery, Memphis
  5. Swatch!
  6. Short film about Ali… so good!


beccy ridsdel


Dissected ceramics, peeled back layers, and roses ‘n baby animals as far as the eye can see… oh yeah, I’m in! This is the work of UK based artist Beccy Ridsdel. This series is under the title of “art/craft” in her portfolio, which I find quite interesting. There’s something about the whole art vs. craft thing that totally intrigues me. Apparently it does the same for Beccy… here’s her description of this work:

“The installation takes the form of an observation of a surgical experiment in progress. The ‘surgeon’ is dissecting the craft object to see what is within. He finds craft through and through. He tries the experiment again and again, piling up the dissected work, hoping to see something different but it is always the same.”

{via Colossal}

scott sueme


I just wrote about the abstract work of Vancouver based Scott Sueme from his 2016 portfolio … but for some reason I didn’t click past the 2016 section of his site. Um, good thing I went back because this is his mixed media work from 2015. How fantastic are these sporty pieces?! I love the simple, flat compositions… not to mention the fact that I totally have Olympic fever right now. Yes, these are perfection.

hollie chastain


SUMMER! I want a homemade popsicle while I sit in a tree with my friends! Sigh, good times. I always love the work {mixed media collage on vintage book covers} by American artist Hollie Chastain, but when I saw these summery beauties, well the kid in me freaked out a tiny bit. Love.

{All of these pieces are available as insanely affordable prints in her Etsy shop, and even more beauties can be found in the shop on her site.}

sydney bella sparrow


Photographs of vintage thread spools… except that they’re OIL PAINTINGS!? This is the stunningly realistic work of American painter Sydney Bella Sparrow. Now, she does paint other things {flowers, fruit, found objects}, but there’s something about these rainbow-hued beauties that tug at my heart… my grandmother’s sewing box perhaps. These lovely gems, in most cases, are no bigger than 5″x5″. I cannot even imagine being able to make paint and a tiny brush do this. Gorgeous.