The Charming & Exotic Oils of Tatiana Suarez (nsfw)

Tatiana Suarez‘s exotic paintings are filled with elements of nature and beautiful dreamlike creatures, all blended with rich oil paint.

Leopard - Oil on wood 2011 by Tatiana Suarez

Leopard – Oil on wood 2011 by Tatiana Suarez

The eyes of the girl above are hard to ignore. While they’re large and pretty, the bags underneath them give her a jaded and cynical expression. The creature around her neck, a combination of lizard and snake, is drawn to her floral tattoo. Despite this she seems comfortable, almost starting to smile.

Kooka Burra, Oil on Wood 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

Kooka Burra – Oil on Wood 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

I really like the composition of this painting, with flowers growing up from the bottom and a bird’s feather framing the girl’s head. All the different elements of this work flow seamlessly together. Tatiana mixes a more tattoo-style art, with thick outlines and flat shading, with a more realistic method of painting best shown in this girl’s lush pink lips. The light source in this work is particularly interesting with the backdrop being a glowing pink, and the light against her face being warm yellow.

Suki - Oil on wood 2008 by Tatiana Suarez

Suki – Oil on wood 2008 by Tatiana Suarez

Tatiana’s paintings are a strange cross between pinup-style models and cartoon characters. The exaggerated facial features and her rich palette of nature-esc colors give her subjects a twisted fairytale vibe. As I mentioned earlier, there looks to be a lot of tattoo inspiration in her paintings but she’s pushed it a step further, giving her subjects far more depth. Again, the background in this piece is luminious and beautiful, almost like a landscape that’s out of focus.

Miami 2011 Tati x 131 (by Tatiana Suarez)

Miami 2011 Tati x 131 (by Tatiana Suarez)

She doesn’t limit her work to canvases; she does murals as well! Her work seems suited to larger surfaces where she’s free to add as much detail as she wants whether it’s flowers, creatures from the forest or elements of the sea. She’s also able to push the painting further out than a normal tattoo-sized piece would allow. The blue details in the back really make her pink and orange tail stand out on the wall. I like that, rather than ignore the pipe on the wall, she’s painted right over top of it. The art takes over this space.

Boyrá - Oil on Machete 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

Boyrá – Oil on Machete 2012 by Tatiana Suarez

This is the first time I’ve seen a machete used as a painting surface; what a unique idea! I really like the psychedelic color palette used here. Complimentary colors of pink and green are balanced by her flowing neutral hair. Working on a surface like this really forces you to be aware of your space, and to be careful of your composition.

Tatiana Suarez has a definite style that she’s able to use to explore a lot of different themes, and her website has tons more to look at. Her style is a kind of jumble of illustration, tattoo and cartoon which makes for very interesting pieces to look at and admire.

Doodling & Flowers

My first week at NSCAD was fantastic, better than I could’ve hoped for! It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by other artists and really encourages me to up my game in terms of skills. I thought we’d be starting with basics for drawing, but we were assigned pretty detailed homework, and I’ve got over 3 hours of drawings due next Thursday. I may share some sketches when I’m done if I feel they’re up-to-snuff, but won’t be sharing every single thing along the way, simply because there will be so much to photo/scan. I will have hundreds of drawings by end of semester.

In our studio class we were introduced to an exercise called Zentangle. You basically divide up a small piece of paper into several sections, and fill each of those sections with doodles/patterns. It’s extremely relaxing and creatively soothing. I highly recommend it to everyone! It’s great for creative block as well, since it’s more intuitive and doesn’t require a lot of thought. Check out the website for techniques and for videos of other people zentangling.

Doodling with black & white oil pastels.

Doodling with black & white oil pastels.

This is a larger version of that sort of doodle done with black & white oil pastels. I’m not a huge fan of pastels as I find them hard to use and blend, but the longer I worked on this, the better I felt about it. I’ve never really been confident working in black and white (with paint and pastels) but the only way to conquer that is to practice practice practice. Hopefully with more practice I’ll get better at pastels and feel more comfortable working with them.

Having fun with zentangling.

Having fun with zentangling.

This is a photo out of the moleskin journal I got for xmas last year; I finally have a use for it! It’s so much fun to doodle and not worry about the outcome. It’s also a great way to kill time if you’re bored! I predict that I will go through dozens of micron pens for this kind of thing. Maybe I’ll involve color soon as well. These kinds of doodles could be a great jumping-off point for a painting, as well.

Gorgeous multi-colored Hydrangea at Public Gardens.

Gorgeous multi-colored Hydrangea at Public Gardens.

On Saturday we went downtown so I could get some architecture sketching in, and walked through Public Gardens. Tim pointed out these hydrangea and I was immediately taken by their beautiful subtle shifts of color. I would love to paint these sorts of flowers and colors.

Alright, off to more drawing homework! Take care everyone!

The Candy Girls of W Magazine (Korea)

It started with me seeing colorful fashion photography that immediately caught my eye and inspired me. Back in January I bought a huge (24″ x 36″) canvas with no project in mind, and it wasn’t until April that I began laying down the first sketch. Now, I’ve finally finished the most ambitious painting I’ve done to date! VOILA!

Candy Girls from W Korea by Jess Lingley

Candy Girls from W Korea by Jess Lingley, oils on 24″ x 36″ stretched canvas

I learned so much through the process of this painting along every step of the way. When sketching, don’t use pencil that’s too dark. When working on the under-painting, be careful to keep layers transparent and thin so there won’t be ridges of paint left over. Give yourself a break every half an hour or so to stretch or your back will hate you. If you’re stuck on something, sleep on it. The list goes on and on.

Throughout the painting, to help keep myself on track, I made lists of things left to do or things I needed to fix. As I finished those things and crossed them off the list, I could see how much progress I was making. I could have spent forever fixing things and trying to make them perfect; this painting is riddled with imperfections, but the point of this painting was not hyper-realism. In fact, the differences and imperfections are what help make the painting mine (as much as a painting studied from a photograph can be). I wanted to paint something huge, something colorful, something where I could learn more about skin tones, anatomy and fabrics. I wanted to challenge myself.

This painting felt like a “final project” in a lot of ways. I spent the past few years studying and preparing a portfolio to get into art school (first day is tomorrow!) and this is the culmination of all the self-discipline and things I taught myself. My favorite parts to work on were the faces and background fabrics, and the parts I like least were the hands and the dress in the middle.

With this painting now hanging in our living room and off my easel, I feel like I can go to school with a (mostly) clean slate.

Happy Labour Day!

Feeling Better After a Restful Week

Hawaiian Punch at Jack Astor's

Hawaiian Punch at Jack Astor’s

We had some family visit us this week (my dad and my bro-in-law), and having the company was wonderful! It allowed me to break the monotony of my regular routine which has been, for the past few weeks: get up, read blogs, coffee, read blogs, stream hgtv, take nap, and maybe some chores in between. Being able to talk to people (besides my husband of course) and go out for some fun really helped me feel better about myself and get distracted from the creative block I’ve been having. A few nice meals and some shopping later, I jumped back into painting with great results!

But first, I helped my husband Tim out with a photo-shoot for his brother & girlfriend. They make a lovely couple and were tons of fun to hang around with. I missed them the minute they left. 😦

photography by Tim Lingley

photography by Tim Lingley

The shoot ended up being a lot of fun, and Tim got some amazing shots out of it. It’s days like these where I can really appreciate that he’s into photography; with both of us being creative, we can inspire each other when we’re feeling low.

Last night I started a project that was sort of the opposite of the models painting: something simple that I could throw together without a lot of detail or planning ahead, with bright blocks of color and thick black lines. As a bonus it became a project for the small triptych canvases I bought a year or so back. The designs are penciled on the canvas and I’ve started in on the color on one, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it before starting school next week: that’s okay. It’ll be something I can turn to when I’m tired of studying.

sneak peak of triptych project

sneak peak of triptych project

And now to show that I’ve officially gotten through my creative block! My models painting is turned away no more!

peak at the models painting

peak at the models painting

I’m not posting the whole thing because it’s really close to being done. I got up this morning and had a really good solid few hours of painting on it. There wasn’t any swearing and on the whole it was a positive experience! The week of rest and company gave me a bit of perspective and reminded me why I began this whole mess of moving my life out of province in the first place (art is my passion!). I really enjoyed my painting time today and look forward to more of it over the next few days. With any luck, I’ll be showing off the finished painting sometime on Monday.

Which leads me to the posting schedule. I’ve been doing Mon-Wed-Fri for awhile now, but because I start at NSCAD soon (Tuesday is orientation!) I can’t promise that I’ll be able to keep it up. Between school and an editing-gig on the side, I’ll be very busy for awhile. As much as I love posting about interior design, fashion, and artists I admire, the nature of this blog may change over the next little while.

Fear not! I at least intend to keep it updated with photos of whatever I’m working on, whether it’s sketches, paintings, or even sculpture work. There’s a lot of change on the horizon for me, good change, for a change! I am so ready to start at NSCAD, meet other artists and push the boundaries! Cheers!

palette and new art-school-pants

palette and new art-school-pants

Realistic Beauties Painting Roundup

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about traditional media painters as opposed to illustrators, so I’ve decided to give them some love, especially since I’m working on a piece of my own at the moment (that is VERY close to completion save a million little things left to fix). As much as I’m fascinated with the effects that digital painting has, there’s just something about putting a brush to canvas that excites me, completes me, something rich and organic that’s hard to reproduce.

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

If a hyper-realist approach is taken with painting, the composition becomes so much more important because simple still lifes that are rendered realistically may fall flat for some people. With the oil painting above, it’s almost impossible not to look at it. The pinup model with an animal’s head is intriguing, especially set against this backdrop set with the addition of the pixelated effect. Beautiful Decay has an article on Emily that explains the various aspects of her works, including objection of females and its progress over history as well as many other things that I can’t explain as eloquently as she does. She’s found a way to bring seemingly completely unrelated elements together in a striking way.

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

The attention paid to the creases of fabric flowing over her curves is painstaking. I love how she’s laying against a wash of colors with dramatic stripes of shadow playing over her face. The blending here is really well done for an acrylic piece. The color palette is romantic and pale, almost relaxing, but the ominous shadow over her tells a different story.

The Passage by Markus Akesson

The Passage by Markus Akesson

I can’t get over the expertly painted reflections in this beautiful scene. The pool bar on the right goes from industrial straight, dissolving into beautiful swirls of color in the water. The further down our eye travels in the painting, the more wavy and distorted our subject gets. I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking about as she sinks back in the water.

Autel by Till Rabus

Autel by Till Rabus

This painting is another example of hyper realistic techniques paired with interesting compositions, this one a lot more creepy than what I’ve posted above. The colors drew me into this piece initially, but my questions about how this composition came to be kept me around to look at the artist’s other works. The bright colors in the dismantled toys and CDs stand out against the cool palette of the forest background. It looks like some kind of alter, or maybe a trap? It’s funny how these objects on their own look perfectly normal, but put together in this context look super creepy. Really nice work here.

I’m hoping that taking advanced art courses will teach me technique as well as composition. I’ve had fun painting still lifes so far but would really like to take it up a notch and find out how to give them depth and emotion.

New Studio and Finally Some Painting!

Last weekend we finally put away the boxes that were piled up in the middle of the 2nd bedroom. We’d piled them in the middle because a) it’s like the first place to pile boxes when you get in the door and b) so we could easily paint the walls. They’re not exactly unpacked yet (we just moved some to the dining room lol, but those are Tim’s boxes!) but the important thing is that we both have space to work. Rather than him or me taking the entire room, we settled on sharing it. Without further ado, here’s the tour of our new studio!

Here's our brand new studio!

Here’s our brand new studio!

Drafting table by the window cast in a nice light.

Drafting table by the window cast in a nice light.

Tim's photography corner, still in progress.

Tim’s photography corner, still in progress.

We chose a coolish grey for the walls so that anything we hang, be it photography or paintings, would have colors that really pop. The other great thing about a neutral for the walls is that anything looks good as an accent: black, white, silver, gold, polka dots, neons… anything! We’re going to have some fun with colors for the bookshelves!

Shelf full of books. We have so many books.

Shelf full of books. We have so many books.

My art corner! Drafting table by the window, computer desk right beside it for references/blogging.

My art corner! Drafting table by the window, computer desk right beside it for references/blogging.

Since there’s now space for me to paint, paint I did! I haven’t done much art since getting here; I dug out the sketchbook on Saturday night and forced myself to draw, just because I haven’t in… weeks. Ugh. I’ll confess that painting felt a bit foreign today. I’m confident, though, that if I keep at it regularly it’ll come back to me pretty quickly.

Every inch of canvas is now covered in paint!

Every inch of canvas is now covered in paint!

Hair Colors

Hair Colors

I’m happy to finally have the entire under-painting covered! I still have a lot to do, so I made a list of all the things I saw that needed work, off the top of my head. I decided to start by painting the hair, something easy and fun to get me back into the spirit of painting. I really enjoyed painting those brights colors over the browns and look forward to refining them further when these coats dry.

From here on out I’ll likely be jumping all over the place, as there are so many little details that I need to work on. I’m hoping to have this finished before I head to NSCAD in September (3 weeks to go!) so I can start back to school with a clean slate.

The other reason it’s so important for me to get in the habit of drawing/painting every day is that I’ll be doing that and more at school. In order to improve I’ll need to eat and breathe art, so I’m trying to condition myself to it now so that it won’t be such a shock when I get there and have 10-20 sketches due for homework.

The settling in part of moving is still in progress, but having a dedicated space for art really helps.

The Cool & Sexy Illustrations of Babs Tarr

Babs Tarr’s style is a funky mix of fashion and cartoons, with lots of sharp lines and curves to bring her subjects to life. I love how animated her figures are and all the bright color she uses, along with line-work and splotches of texture that look traditional, even though most of her work is digital.

toothpick by Babs Tarr

toothpick by Babs Tarr

The limited color palette in this image helps draw attention to the figure, grey/green among the pink and blue. Tarr’s grasp of anatomy is excellent, allowing her figures to almost strut across the frame. I love how many little details she includes, like the girl above chewing away on a toothpick, the script tattoo on her arm and the tooth through her ear lobe.

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

This screams 80’s and rather than being cheesy, it really pops! Unlike the first drawing, this one doesn’t any thick black outlines, allowing the neon colors to really show through and sort of burn your eyes the way neons did back then. The pink cheetah-skin skateboard with bright green wheels is just hilarious! She uses white in subtle ways to brighten the area around the subject, through the cheetah pattern and finger prints.

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

The chunky brush textures here remind me of a pastel or pencil crayon drawing, though this is digital. It becomes obvious pretty quickly that Tarr puts a lot of effort into the fashion aspect of her work. In fact, in the above drawing of her very own outfit from the 4th of July, she lists off each piece of clothing and and where you can buy them, on her deviantart page! I thought this a really nice touch and love that she shares her style with everyone.

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

This gets me excited for the new James Bond movie coming in November! Tarr’s subjects are beautiful and flowing but she’s also able to create breath-taking and narrative backgrounds. I struggle with making my subjects really fit into the background, but here the flow is effortless. I love the way the bright pink explosion lays a pink light on everything. I’ll be honest, I just love that there’s a bright pink explosion.

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

Though she does a lot of illustration and more cartoon-y work, she has a background in oil painting techniques as well. The above is an oil self-portrait, from a photograph her sister took of her at the MoMa in NYC. I particularly like the way she painted the windows in the buildings across the street. Her shapes are well blended and shaded in a very life-like manner.

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The symmetry of the subjects here is really cool. This work is another one of her oil paintings. The clouds are vibrant and flow in such a way to draw your focus around the two subjects. The girls’ black clothing really stands out against the richness of the colors in the sky and clouds. It’s impressive that she painted the individual bits of zipper in the jackets, and links in the chains they’re wearing. The texture in the jeans is very nice as well. Her deviantart page for this drawing mentions that the shoes are inspired by Alexander McQueen.

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Drawings on their own are one thing, but making the illustrations appropriately spaced for text and information is another skill all together. The figures above flow in such a way to draw your eyes to the text at the bottom. I love the sketchy-feel of this piece.

To be a successful illustrator, I think you have to have the fundamentals of art down: be awesome with a pencil, know your lighting, be comfortable with anatomy and know how to make a great composition. She has all of these skills in spades and it really shows. Great work, Babs!