holly leonardson

Gasp! I wish I could pack a bag and stay in one of these pieces for the weekend. These hand-cut collages are the work of Australian artist Holly Leonardson, all of which are from her lovely 2019 series, “Spring Time 4”:

“The inspiration behind these works stemmed from my early morning routine of stretching and then walking or jogging to the beach. Dew drops that had been captured on petals and leaves would capture the light as the sun began to rise, and easily became a visual treat that I looked forward to experiencing every clear Spring morning.”

Ahhh, dew drops on petals… I might put some yoga pants and a lotus candle in an overnight bag, just in case. Happy Friday.

adrienne elise tarver

Acrylic, fabric and wood veneer on board. What!? LOVE. This is just one of many bodies of work by Atlanta / Brooklyn based artist Adrienne Elise Tarver. The series is titled “In The Dark”, and here’s why:

“… with a practice that spans painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and video, her work addresses the complexity and invisibility of the black female identity in the Western landscape — from the history within domestic spaces to the fantasy of the tropical seductress.”

Okay, I dove into the “domestic spaces”, but I bet “tropical seductress” caught your attention! Take a peek at “Mirage”, Adrienne’s series filled with greenish-blue watercolor wonderfulness.

{via Artsy}

martha haversham aka smallditch


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If you want cold hard proof that inspiration can come from ANYWHERE… you’re lookin’ at it! Ah, this is the brilliant, innovative, and hilarious work of UK based artist @smallditch aka Martha Haversham {doesn’t that sound kinda royal/Bridgerton-ish!?}. I’ve been following Martha since her foraging/collaging journey began a few years ago, and I never get tired of seeing her “found fashion”. Um, can we talk about the cat!? I mean, COME ON! Pure gold.

jon koko

Okay, I was already missing traveling, but now I want to go traveling and then go swimming when I get there. These quiet, dreamy ink wash paintings are the work of Swedish artist Jon Koko. Yes, Swedish… but with a deep love for Japan:

‘After my first encounter with Japan, something indescribable happened inside me. You could say that my life changed completely from that point. The Japanese aesthetic and art became my main source of inspiration, while at the same time I was experiencing a sort of spiritual awakening.” ~ via Pen Magazine

The final piece above, titled Blå Vass {Blue Reeds}, definitely feels like a spiritual awakening to me. Love.

Some of Jon’s work is available in his online shop.

maya varadaraj

Be still my collage-loving heart! This is the gorgeous {and beautifully cut!} work of New York based, South Asian artist Maya Varadaraj. In all of her work, Maya “engages South Asian material culture to redefine feminine narratives and representations.” I came across her work because some of these collages are currently included in a group show, curated by Nico Wheadon, at Sapar Contemporary in New York. Here is the gallery’s description of “Home Body”:

In ‘Home Body’, Elia Alba, Baseera Khan, Sola Olulode and Maya Varadaraj offer visions of personhood that transcend the labels, limits, and roles prescribed on Earth. Here, the body is not merely a vessel for participation in the material world. Instead, it is what poet Rupi Kaur describes as a colony of miracles—a home, or interior world, to return to and find refuge in. As we approach a year of learning to live with social distance and self quarantine, a reimagining of the body as sanctuary has never felt more timely or essential.

Ah, so well said. Happy Monday.

“paint chips” with martha rich

PAINT CHIPS. Two artists eating chips while talking about paintings? Yep! My two passions coming together! And who better to have along for the very first episode of this new experiment than my good friend – who’s always up for pretty much anything – Philly based artist / illustrator / educator Martha Rich. Martha sent me some chips from Pennsylvania, UTZ Honey BBQ to be exact, we both picked a painter we wanted to talk about, and then we hit RECORD. It was weird, but fun… and isn’t that the whole point? You can listen right up there under that artsy paint chip, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, Martha’s pick… Surrealist Leonor Fini {1907 – 1996}:

See? This is why I suggested popping over to here to see what we were talking about. Cats and ladies on shelves, a wrinkly beautiful portrait, and a scene that inspired quite a few questions from both of us. Speaking of a lot of questions, here’s my pick. American painter Amy Bennett:

Whaaaaat?! Yep! Look at the worlds Amy creates before she even starts painting. Crazy amazing. Clearly, I have to get her on the podcast to hear all the ins and outs of these possible crime scenes. Okay, most of them aren’t crime scenes… but I’ll still take the case!

Finally, a peek at Martha’s in-progress cut-outs, my clay cigarettes, and the super cute UTZ girl to wrap things up:

Awww, isn’t she cute?! So, there we have it. The very first PAINT CHIPS episode is “in the bag”. Get it? Yeah you do. Here’s to many, many, many more bags of chips {maybe some dip next time}, and a bunch of conversations about fabulous artists! Thanks so much to Martha for always saying yes to my weird suggestions, thanks to my hilarious husband Greg for not only coming up with this idea but also editing every single episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR {it’s so much work but he does it happily every week!}, and as always, thanks to YOU for listening! There will be a brand new episode next week. ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Martha Rich on Instagram
  2. Leonor Fini, Artist
  3. Amy Bennett, Artist
  4. Georganne Deen, Artist
  5.  Mike & Tom Eat Snacks, Podcast
  6. Henri Rousseau, “The Sleeping Gypsy” 1897
  7. Matisse’s Cut Outs via SFMoMA
  8. Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC {where Martha teaches}
  9. UTZ Snacks!


dan gunn

Ahhh, sipping coffee in the studio while admiring these colorful, patterned blankets draped on hooks. Or not. They’re wood… flat, hard, unable to flow! And if you want to get really specific, here’s the materials list: Dye, UV absorbent lacquer, on plywood with nylon cord and wire {no cloth!}. Oh my word, this is the fabulous work of Chicago based artist and educator Dan Gunn. Some of his work is included in “The Shallow Act of Seeing” currently showing – until May 16th – at John Michael Kohler Arts Center {Sheboygan, WI}. “Pushing against the very qualities that define their medium, artists Dan Gunn, Bayne Peterson, and Rachel Beach defy the physical rigidity of wood and confound expectations of its use.”  They sure do! Happy Friday.

woody de othello

Okay, it’s a three-way tie between the scrambled pink phone, the giant yellow fan, and the nose light. So. Good. This is the weird and wonderful ceramic work of Haitian born, Miami based artist Woody De Othello. Here’s a description of his work via Jessica Silverman Gallery:

During his childhood, Othello saw these household objects as intimate presences, used to alter physical states and offer temporary comfort. Moreover, born and raised in Miami to a family of Haitian descent, the artist was enamored by the power of ceramic pots used to contain and overcome negative energy and bad spirits.

Using a hand-building technique called “slab construction,” Othello builds his ceramic sculptures up about six inches at a time. “The clay takes over; it has a mind of its own,” he explains. “It is a conversation and there is always space for me to react.” Othello pushes the forms up to a point where they are near collapse, working the unfired clay to a point of precariousness, giving each piece a psychological weight, a sense of movement and individual emotion. The glazes are then layered with many pieces being fired multiple times to achieve the depth of color and texture that Othello desires.

‘The clay takes over’ … love, love, love!

*Bio photo via Cultured Mag by Aubrey Mayer

gerard mas

Beautifully made work that also makes you laugh? LOVE! This is the gorgeous/cheeky work Barcelona based artist Gerard Mas. After scrolling through his portfolio, it appears that Gerard sculpts in any medium he can get his very talented hands on … from wood and alabaster, to clay and in this case, resin.

Gerard Mas is a Spanish artist (Sant Feliu de Guixols, 1976) who approaches his sculptures with an exceptional sense of humor. The statues resemble busts from the 15th century Florentine period, but in the very contemporary vision of Mas. With his sculptures he creates a dialogue between tradition and modernity. Mas is particularly interested in the visual image and less in its historical meaning, perhaps as a paradigm of our current society in which image increasingly replaces content.

Although his work shows a great aesthetic affinity with the traditional – which is also evident in the use of his favorite materials: marble, alabaster, wood and resin – changing the invisible code of ethics is an important key in the artist’s process. The sculptures of the ‘Dama’ series are a good example of absurd and grotesque combinations.

The women’s faces are sweet and charming, soft and delicate, often with a pearly white skin that implies innocence, but at the same time, for example, a cheeky, inflated gum ball breaks through the illusion and idealistic perfection of her beauty, as in the ‘Dama del Chicle’ busts , and a surprising shock effect is created. ~ via Absolute Art Gallery, Belgium

The sunburn is my fave… or the bubblegum… ooh, or the nose-picker. Tough call.

sarah ball

Ahhh, I will never ever get tired of seeing portraits painted by UK based artist Sarah Ball. These are few of her recent paintings from 2020, and just like every other post I’ve written about her {2013 and 2015}, I’m smitten. Such quiet softness, both in technique and mood. Here is a description of her work via Stephen Friedman Gallery:

“Sarah Ball’s meticulously rendered portraits explore themes of gender and identity. Demonstrating an acute sensitivity to the psyche of her subjects, she emphasises physical characteristics that define how we outwardly portray ourselves to the world.

Ball uses source material such as newspaper cuttings, archival photographs and social media to inform her portraits. Often depicting people who celebrate self-expression and contest traditional binary norms, Ball highlights physiognomy, hairstyles, clothes, jewellery and make-up that reveal the idiosyncrasies of her anonymous, often unknowing sitters. Set against flat planes of colour and confined within closely cropped compositions, the artist lends the people within her work a surreal, timeless quality by denying the viewer any form of narrative about their identity.”

Beautiful. Follow Sarah on Instagram, and find her available work at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.