Depicting the Details by Matt Tomko
That style continues to feed my soul in a very deep way and I try to elicit that same feeling of awe and appreciation for details from the people who view these pieces. “Cardinals and Dogwoods”, 12” x 16” is just that kind of piece.
Tiny feathers, the highlights in an eye, or the stamens in a flower are all there. For one who enjoys seeing things up close, this piece offers those rewards.
In the past, my need to “get out of the box” has sometimes led to a twist on boxes as in a series painted for the Golden Belt Artists’ annual 12×12 show. “Bull City Pride” from this series is a good example of me both literally and figuratively breaking out. Each painting featured a brightly rendered background treated as a screen with a square window. In the window you see the subject realistically while through the screen you see only shadow.
At other times I find the need to paint in an even looser style with broader brush strokes and less reliance on being true to life while relying more on the movement and colors to trigger a response from the viewer.
This recent rendering of a dragonfly, 11” x 14”, was done in a more graphic style where I played up the color, size and lines. Colors are more vibrant, lines are more exaggerated and the dragonfly itself is many times larger than real life.
Occasionally, I can tolerate no boundaries and just feel the need to paint color and lines and shapes alone, as evident in this set of “Organic Blue Abstracts” in the center of a wall filled with realism. I find that even my abstract pieces have a very natural and earthy feel to them.
After playing and experimenting in the other realms, I suspect I’ll always return to realism, but hopefully with new knowledge picked up along the way. You can see my work in Studio 123 during the open studios night at Golden Belt in Durham every third Friday of the month. You can also find me at Lazy Daze in Cary in August and Centerfest in Durham in September.
Bookish Art by Clay Carmichael
I sent my newest young adult novel Brother, Brother out into the world today, or rather my publisher did. I delivered the manuscript nearly a year ago and uncorrected review copies have been circulating for months, but like the robin fledging that left its nest outside my studio over a week ago, my book’s truly soloing today, completely on its own.
Delivered is the verb publishers use for the successful hand off of finished manuscripts from author to editor, as for the birth of a baby. Book gestation takes time (think elephant gestation in my case), but the similarities mostly end there. When I’m writing or illustrating a book, my real work—the multitude of changes, the sleepless nights, the awkward phases—takes place well before the book is, as publishers so unmaternally say, launched. (Mix those metaphors in your mind.)
So really, Brother, Brother’s long delivered, fledged, gone. Except for email confabs with Birgitt Kollmann, who’s translating Brother into German, I haven’t looked at the complete text in months. I’ve been flirting with a new book and characters and creating new art for my November open studio. And yet. But still. The new art, below, speaks volumes.
Like the robin fledging that flitted back through the yard yesterday, both my new book and the one yet to be delivered are clearly much on my mind.
Clay Carmichael is a Writer & Illustrator who lives in Carrboro, NC. To find out more about Clay, see her website.