These are not photos. That’s right, you heard me. These are drawings that had me doing a serious double-take when I first came across these hyper-realistic colored pencil illustrations by Laura Hardie. Read more
A self-taught artist, Michael Ward captures what British-born philosopher Alan Watts called “the mystery of the ordinary” in his acrylic paintings of things we often overlook in our daily lives. Based on photographic images, his neo-realistic interpretations of unspectacular environments and people in the world around us are composed and rendered in such a way as to bring out the beauty in what one might have previously considered mundane, if not ugly.
Here are several of his paintings:
Biography (courtesy of the artist):
I began my artistic career doing pen and ink renderings of historical architecture. I began painting in 1980, first in gouache, then in acrylics. Artists whose work I admire and draw inspiration from include Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Richard Estes and Vermeer. I am most interested in depicting what Alan Watts called the mystery of the ordinary; the workaday world we live in without seeing until we are forced to focus upon it, as in a painting.
Nearly all my paintings are based on photographs I have taken, primarily of Southern California scenes, over the years. Though it was never my intention to depict nostalgic scenes, many of the images I have painted have disappeared or been radically altered in the ever-changing landscape that is Southern California. Thus nostalgia is thrust upon the works. But what I am really after is bearing witness, and making people stop what they’re doing and pay attention, to something they may have never seen before, but that makes them feel “I know this.”
I am currently working on a series of house paintings. These simple, ordinary, unnoticed places have hidden interior lives, though they do not reveal them to us. The houses are from a variety of locations in the United States and Mexico. They are the place you grew up in, a place of nurture, experience, trial, memory and forgetting. They are all a common size, to symbolize our shared experience of being human.
Phyllis Lutjeans, Museum Educator and former curator, has said of my work: “Although Michael Ward may be called a neo-realist painter his work can ultimately be described as abstract realism. The picture image is photographically realistic, but within the context of the painting his compositions are complex and almost abstract. Deciphering the work section by section one sees how a multitiude of individual complete compositions are put together to form the entire work. For me the viewer is confronted by a realistic image that puzzles us and clearly tells the story simultaneously.”
As a painter, I am self-taught.
A book of his works is available here on Blurb
Other galleries that represent Michael Ward:
789 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
18001 Skypark Circle, Suite R, Irvine, CA
Contact the artist directly here.
above: graphite drawing in progress by Kelvin Okafor
Kelvin Okafor describes himself as a “Passionate penciled artist. Highly interested in detail and precision.” I’d say that’s an understatement once you see the phenomenally realistic graphite drawings created by this UK Illustrator. As astounding as the finished pieces are (it’s truly difficult to discern whether or not they are photographs until you look extremely closely), the evolution of the drawings shown on his blog, and as videos on his YouTube channel, will blow your mind. Read more
When I first came across these, I found it so hard to believe they were actually wood burnings. The intricate rendering of texture, the detail and the overall appearance seems as though it’d be virtually impossible to create with a pyrographic tool. Julie Bender has shown me otherwise. Read more
Sarah Fey and Justin Colt, New York graphic designers and graduates of Penn State University, have conceived of a new way to make your gifts even more desirable with their mouth-watering gift wrap. Read more
Trey Friedman’s most recent series of paintings, Trees On A Line, was inspired by a particular tree lined road in rural Connecticut which he isolated to 170 trees he routinely returned to render and observe. Read more
From Wax Lips and Gummy Bears to Pez and Pull-toys, Margaret Morrison paintings capture nostalgia on canvas with her photo realistic oils of candy and toys from our childhood. Read more