365 Postcards for Ants was a yearlong project, from January 1 to December 31 or 2013, in which South African artist Lorraine Loots set out to paint one miniature painting per day.
Along the way, her process evolved into a kind of collaboration with visitors to her site who would “reserve” a painting, and suggest a topic that was of significance to them. Loots felt this brought the center of meaning for the work outside herself, and placed it between the artist and collaborative buyer.
After the full year, Loots found herself so engrossed in the process that she continued a new series into 2014 — this time with an overall theme relating to her home city of Cape Town, which is celebrating its designation as World Design Capital 2014.
Most of the paintings are done on squares of watercolor paper, perhaps 4 inches (10cm) square, in a space roughly the size of a US quarter, about 1 inch or less across (28mm). Her website has an ongoing showcase of the 2014 paintings, many of which are photographed with a commonplace object on the paper next to the painted area.
A full retrospective of the 2013 project and 2014 project to date is available on her Tumblr archive. She is also posting recent paintings to Tumblr as she goes. There is a video intro on her About page that goes into her process a bit.
As interesting as the project and her approach are, more to the point are the paintings themselves — done in watercolor and perhaps touches of gouache, and for all their size rendered in a fresh, naturalistic approach.
These videos on YouTube show an interesting approach to brushwork, in which the artist varies pressure on a large loaded brush to make a stylized dragon’s tail in a single stroke — albeit a slow one.
There are several videos, but they lack identification for the artist, and though the style and approach is similar, I’m uncertain how many artists are represented.
This dragon is multi-color, with a brush preloaded with more than one color (if you’re short on time, the tail stroke starts around 1:40).
The process may be clearer in this one, in which the painting is monochromatic (tail stroke at 3:40), and in this one, in which you can see the brush being loaded with multiple colors (at 3:20), of what looks to be gouache, or possibly thickly applied transparent watercolor.
Details are, of course, added in additional strokes; it’s the tail that is done with the single flourish.
While it may seem a bit of a trick technique — meant to please onlookers as much as be an efficient way to render the image — I think the process shows some interesting capabilities of brush loading and variations in the timing and motion within a single brush stroke.
Vladimir Gvozdeff (Gvozdev) is an artist from (if I’m not mistaken)
Slovenia Russia [I was mistaken, see this post’s comments], who works in both two and three dimensional media, often combining them in the same work.
On his website, I found two series of particular interest. One is of mechanisms — clockwork animals drawn out as plans in various stages of finish. These are sometimes presented in elaborate frames, or even more elaborate assemblages, that combine the drawings with various mechanical and pseudo-mechanical objects, like keys, buttons, gears, wheels, calipers, slide-rules and various measuring instruments. The effect is one of viewing an alternate reality museum exhibit presenting the history of the development of these now familiar objects.
The other series I particularly enjoyed, while not a combination of two and three dimensional art, does deal with dimensionality — but in a different way. These are paintings in which open spaces within cityscapes, like harbors or plazas, take on the form or animals or other objects.
[Via Cory Doctrow on Boing Boing]