Still Life: Mary Jane Ansell

Do you ever wonder what it might be like to be the subject of a painting? Would you be content to let the artist interpret you as you are or would you try to clothe yourself in your own chosen persona? The subjects in the paintings of UK artist Mary Jane Ansell seem to be playing dress-up, yet we are left to wonder, is this who they are or who they wish to be?


Girl in a Cocked Hat II, oil on panel, 19.8x 19.8



Girl in a Naval Cap, oil on panel, 10.6×14.1

In these quiet paintings, we are offered a glimpse into a moment, a fleeting feeling, a pause in the life of the subject, the life of the artist and one of our own.


Anima Animus, oil on panel, 48×60


The Loved One, oil on panel, 99×99 cm


Girl Reflected, oil on board, 42×30 cm

They are quiet, contemplative portrayals, yet within each is a sense of anticipation. The stillness and peace that comes just before we discover something amazing. Perhaps it might be within ourselves that we find the revelation.


To see more of Mary Jane Ansell’s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s representing gallery, Fairfax Contemporary.

Article by Lesly Frenz of …

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Pretending Portals: Noemie Goudal

Growing up in the 70′s in a working class family, much of the time we used what we had and lots of imagination in our daily play. My brother & I would regularly create “cars” out of cardboard boxes and I distinctly remember creating an entire make-believe floor plan out of fallen leaves. The work of London based photographer Noemie Goudal reminds me of how easily our imaginations are transported as children.


Passage, color photograph, 111×140 cm

Goudal’s work recalls the magic of blanket forts and tin can telephones. Taking us back to a time when just a shape or a line sparks our senses to conduct us into a new fantasy world filled with possibility.


Les Amants ( Cascade ), color photograph, 168×208 cm


Les Amants ( Jetee ), color photograph, 168×190 cm

The artist uses simple props and imagery to create imaginative installations that seem to capture portals into a completely different world, a world that seems to leak out, blending the imagined with reality in the same magical way we did as children.


Flood, color photograph, 111×140 cm

 To see more of Noemie Goudal’s work, please visit her website. How did your imagination shape your own childhood play?

Make sure you check out more of Lesley Frenz’s art finds over at

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Abject Extraction: Jen Garrido

For many artists, the act of creation isn’t just about projecting an image onto a canvas.  Artists like Jen Garrido understand that often, it’s more about pulling a hidden entity out of the mist.


Garrido’s images straddle the line between abstraction and representation, which creates a beautiful tension in her work.  With their stark and white, yet heavily textured backgrounds, the colors and lines feel like the emergence of spring after a long winter.



The way she molds shapes and textures together leave her paintings with a sculptural quality, bringing them to life in a way that makes them seem almost alive.


To see more of Jen Garrido’s work, be sure to check out her website.

Artist found via Anthropologie.  All images are via the artist’s website.

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Alien Nation: Fidencio Martinez

Clandestino, acrylic paint and newspaper, 12×12

Clandestino, acrylic paint and newspaper, 12×12

Living the way we do, Mr. Forager and I are no strangers to feeling like outsiders in a new place.  We try to make a new town home every three months.  I can only imagine how difficult it must be to move to a completely new country, where perhaps you don’t even speak the language or where you noticeably stand out due to the color of your skin.  The work of Mexican-born Memphis artist Fidencio Martinez deals with such feelings of social alienation, assimilation and isolation.

Although Martinez’s figures tend to be Latino or indigenous, we’ve all likely experienced some level of isolation.  Yet do we really have any idea what it might be like to be live in a place fraught with danger, one you flee in order to be able to live your life free of fear?

A Coup Beneath Meek Flores, mixed media, 12×12

A Coup Beneath Meek Flores, mixed media, 12×12

Nos Caimos Como Balas, mixed media, 12×12

Nos Caimos Como Balas, mixed media, 12×12

What if, when all you wanted was to be able to live a quiet, happy life in your new world, you were constantly met with hate and prejudice?  Would you be able to accept such treatment with a sanguine attitude?

La Cosecha de Su Vida, mixed media, 24×36

La Cosecha de Su Vida, mixed media, 24×36

Can you relate to Martinez’s work?  When do you feel like an outsider?  You can see more of Fidencio’s work on his website and be sure to check out his Etsy shop for his available work for sale!

Artist found via Clair Hartmann.  Featured image is Teal Fields in Skin Seas, mixed media, 12×12.  All images are via the artist’s website.

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Saturated Skies: Eric Cahan

While living on a lake in Northern Idaho this summer, I swear I have never seen skies soooo blue.  Every day around lunch time, I take a break from blogging work and walk outside to text my hubby ( danger of living in the boonies, spotty cell reception ) and almost every day as I look up above the canopy of trees and into the sky, it is the most impossible shade of blue.  A blue so deep and saturated and perfect that it would be impossible to capture, at least for this amateur photographer.  New York artist Eric Cahan seems to have a similar obsession with sky, but where my own limitations keep my from even trying, his skill and talent beautifully capture the simple magnificence of the expanse above us.

Bridgehampton, NY Sunset 7:48pm

His work focuses on the pure joy of color that the sky and landscape affords, breaking the vast space and complexity of the natural world into simple gradients of color.

Tri-Color Diptych Gradient Window Wedge, cast polyester resin, 30x8x4

Pink Gradient A-Frame, cast polyester resin, 20x80x20

In his sculptures and photographs alike, we are left to revel in the pure liquidity of color and environs.  We forget the chaos on the earth below and are transported to the space above.

Gardiners Bay NY Sunrise 6:28am

To see more of Eric Cahan’s work, please visit his website.  Eric represents just one of the many talented artists and photographers I’ve found via Pinterest.  It’s not just shoes and recipes!  Check out the Artsy Forager Pinterest board, Artsy in Living Color, for more found photographic talent.

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Carved Into Memory: Diem Chau

Storytelling Crayons, installation view, carved crayons and wood base

For most of us, Crayola crayons were our very first artistic tools. Whether it was those thick, fat ones perfect for uncoordinated, chubby little hands to grip or the de-luxe 64 pack with the built-in sharpener, those colorful little sticks were our first glimpse into the world of artistic expression. Seattle based artist Diem Chau takes those original tools, carving them into tiny figures reminding us of how they shaped our own young imaginations. Storytelling Crayons, installation view, carved crayons and wood base That distinctive scent, the waxy texture, peeling the paper down so that more of the brilliant color could sweep across the paper.


Girl and Dog, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×2
Yellow Girl, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×3

My most distinct memory of Crayolas happened on a summer road trip with my grandparents. A long trip in the car, of course, meant bringing along plenty to keep us busy. For me, that meant books, crayons and paper. My crayons ended up strewn all over the back deck of my grandparents’ green Impala and were promptly forgotten about when we stopped for a bit. We came back to a colorful mess! I don’t think my Mimi & Papa were ever able to completely clean the wax out of the upholstery. Oopsie!

Boy and Girl, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×3

What memories do Chau’s crayons bring back for you? Please visit her website to see more of her work. She’ll be showing at the Elvistravaganza during Bumbershoot in Seattle or if you’re on the other coast, you can see her carving crayons LIVE at Saks 5th Ave on Sept. 6th from 6pm-10pm.

All images are via the artist’s website.

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Article by, Lesley Frenz of Artsy Forager.

Contemporary Muses: Hope Gangloff

There are certain times, especially when he lays on the floor for a power nap, that I long to break out my charcoal and sketch my husband. I’m moved to capture the beauty of his face and his peaceful position. As I’ve mentioned, figure drawing took me a while to master but once I did I truly began to see the magic in the body of each person. Our expressions, our posture, our countenance is all unique to who we are. The paintings of Hope Gangloff capture every day moments of ordinary people, rendering them in an extraordinarily beautiful way.


Her figures in repose, bear stylistic resemblance to masters such as Schiele, Matisse, Cassatt and Toulouse-Lautrec.


But these are contemporary muses, this is the way we live now. Friends come over and take their shoes off and relax with us, the parlor has been replaced by the kitchen and the patio. Conversations remain unchanged– we talk politics, relationships, art and music.


Gangloff’s figures are familiar. They are our friends, our neighbors, our world. To see more of Hope Gangloff’s work, please visit her website.


Artist found via Booooooom. All images are via the artist’s website.

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Article by, Lesley Frenz of Artsy Forager.