Inspired by… Madeline Denaro

There You Go, 2014

Over the past year or so I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to abstract art and painting. I have enjoyed abstract painting for a long time but recently it seems to have gained a real hold on me, perhaps even just because it has become an ever more frequent trend on my Pinterest feed as of late. I have become captivated by artists’ work like Madeline Denaro‘s and as you can probably see it has begun to heavily influence my own work and how my tastes have evolved in the last year. I appreciate art in many forms and do believe figurative painting can be just as beautiful as abstract but there is something about the pure focus on colour and texture in Denaro’s work that sucks me in and has so much more of an emotional pull.

Nora's Green, 2011

I think that the reason for this surge of emotion most likely comes from the root of each paintings’ creation. Madeline explains how the process of her art is uncontrolled “Working intuitively, I enter a realm of the unknown where there is more of a following than any real choice” and I believe that much as you can feel the emotion in the words of a soul singer, you can really feel the raw emotion when viewing the brushstrokes of an abstract artist. The deep layers of colour and varying pressures and speeds of each mark fill me with wonder. As a creative myself I naturally find myself wondering how did she create this beautiful texture and depth? What tool made that mark on the canvas? How can I create something so purely beautiful as this? Works like these inspire me more than anything to create because there is such an emotional drive behind it.

Plum Loco, 2011

Crimson and Clover, 2012

My love for art like this transfers directly to my passion for textiles in that all that really seems important is the beauty of the colour and the texture. The way Denaro uses a heavy pulse of vibrant crimson balanced against misty greys and dusky pinks in the artwork above titled ‘Crimson and Clover’ for example has such a satisfying calming sensation. The bubble like textures overlaying patches of dense maroon and flurried contrasting marks fighting for space beneath fill me with so much intrigue. Each of her paintings feels like a world to dive into and discover… so beautiful and so mysterious. I feel desperate to get painting myself now, if only just to feel that rush of emotion that it brings.

The New Sky Siouki Collection – ‘Flight’

This week was very exciting for me as I finally got to launch my brand new collection of designs after a long time coming! I’ve spent many weeks articulately drawing birds of prey and botanicals and spraying lashings of oil and acrylic paint to canvas boards and so it feels amazing to have now produced some final products just in time for Christmas. The new designs are currently available as linen cushions, A3 giclée prints and stone coasters although there may be more to come in the new year.

Cushions

I can’t believe I started planning this collection all the way back in June. There have been a few obstacles along the way as there tend to be in life but I’m so pleased to have got there in the end. The process really made me realise how limiting the project deadlines at university were and although I would never take back anything I did during my degree, I never could have produced a collection like this at uni because of the high expectations for quantity of work. I feel so much better about having four strong designs that I put my all into and didn’t rush than if I’d produced 20 quick and easy designs that meant little to me. These designs seemed to come together so much more naturally than ever before and I’m not sure if this was because I wasn’t under pressure to tick all the boxes on the marking scheme or perhaps just because it’s been so long since I created something new that all of my enthusiasm just fuelled me forwards.

Jackal Buzzard Cushion

After much deliberation I’ve named the collection ‘Flight’ highlighting the central focus on birds of prey but I also really liked that this word seems to suggest ideas of feeling uplifted and weightless. The collection has quite a natural, fresh look and the paintings used are very expressive and dynamic all of which I felt the word Flight emulated well as it relates to nature and movement. It is simple but creates impact, as does the composition of the designs.

Coasters

When I set out to design this collection I made a conscious decision to move away from the look of my previous work and create something more subdued in colour, less kitsch and more elegant. I didn’t originally intend to only draw birds of prey but once I’d drawn one, the rest sort of just followed. I’ve always loved birds and birds of prey in particular make me feel incredibly awed and empowered so I decided since it was working to just go with it.

Since I started Sky Siouki my tastes have changed a fair bit which I think this collection reflects very truthfully. I hope that it still sits well alongside the Curious Kingdom collection since my style of drawing tends to be quite recognisable but I also would be encouraged to know if customers can distinguish the change in direction I have taken. Anyway, this has been quite a wordy post but hopefully an interesting insight into my design process and the journey designing ‘Flight’ has taken me on. I hope the journey isn’t over yet!

You can have a proper look at my new products available in my online shop and I post little insights into my working day everyday on Instagram too.

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In love with… Shilo Engelbrecht Textiles

Since I’ve been researching abstract painting and ideas for a new collection of painterly designs, the work of a favourite textile designer of mine recurrently comes to mind… Shilo Engelbrecht. Shilo’s collection is branded Älv Textiles featuring a stunning range of digitally printed table linen, cushions, bags and scarves as well as fabric by the metre for furnishings. The designs are taken from Shilo’s vibrant, expressive oil paintings and printed onto linen and silk. The fabric accentuates every bold brushstroke and colour contrast fantastically showing off the beautiful texture within her work in an explosion of colour.

Alv Textiles by Shilo EngelbrechtShilo Engelbrecht Table Linen

Expressive painterly textile prints seem to be hugely popular at the moment and looking at Shilo’s work it’s easy to see why. I find looking at her textiles so invigorating and inspirational – each piece just injects so much energy into a space, they really are a must have. To see more of my favourite textiles designs you can follow my Patterned Wares Pinterest board and if you’re also an Älv Textiles fan I’d definitely recommend following Shilo’s Instagram too.

Shilo Engelbrecht Paintings

Inspiration from Abstract Painting

With plans of designing a new cushion collection ahead of me I’ve been getting really into my research lately. I’m hoping to produce some designs with a slightly darker edge than the original Sky Siouki collection using abstract painted textures as a predominant design element. So recently I’ve been totally engrossed in Pinterest looking at beautiful abstract paintings full of thick expressive brushstrokes and exciting bursts of colour. Below are a few of my new favourite artists and their work…

Heather Day

Heather Day – I love the simplicity and boldness of Day’s paintings. Using just a few high contrasting colours she creates an expressive statement that really grabs you.

Sam Lock

Sam Lock – There is a wonderful level of depth within Lock’s work, creating an aged and decayed feel to his paintings. I find the rough uneven textures and subtle variety of tones in his work incredibly absorbing.

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly – Not quite as recent but a long time favourite of mine is Cy Twombly. I prefer some of his pieces a lot more than others but the Quattro Stagioni series and this particular painting from the Hero and Leandro series have always moved me since seeing them exhibited at Tate Modern.

Lola Donoghue

Lola Donoghue – Donoghue’s paintings are somewhat prettier than the other artists I have featured here due to her use of feminine pastel shades. I love the tonal blends of colour within her work creating very soft transitions between hues.

Patricia Sadler

Patricia Sadler – Sadler’s work is derived from more literal sources than the other artists in this post but I think she abstracts her subject wonderfully creating intense dark and moody scenes that move way beyond figurative depictions of landscapes.

Can’t wait to get painting more myself! Watch this space! But in the meantime, see more of my artistic inspiration on my ART Pinterest board here.