A Blast of Winter

Illustration by Cornelia LiI have been rather behind with keeping the Scrapbook running in the last few months, so here is a blast of winter Frankie calendar images all at once! (Wouldn’t it be nice if the cold months could pass by as quickly?)

I love the June calendar page, by Cornelia Li, because it is so apt for what Melbourne’s winter has been like this year. The image is titled ‘Isolation’. It’s not clear on Li’s website what medium she uses, but I suspect there is a mixture of traditional and digital media (going by the halftone dots spotted in some of her images), with brush, pencil and crayon or pastel strokes visible.

Cornelia is Toronto-based, and is interested in the interaction of people with their surroundings, seeking to capture this relationship in her drawings. See more of her work on her website.

Illustration by Sandra EterovićMelbourne illustrator Sandra Eterović specialises in painting in acrylic on wood or paper, in an unpretentious folk art style that is alive with texture and colour, which puts me somewhat in mind of Frida Kahlo. July’s fisherlady with her colourful catch is charming. Check out her blog here.

Illustration by Ashley RonningAshley Ronning, illustrator of August’s calendar page, is another Melbourne-based artist. After studying graphic design, she moved into set dressing and prop-making before she settled at last on illustration and risograph printing.

For those who don’t know, riso printing uses Japanese technology from the 80s – a digital printer that uses real ink (like an offset printer, and unlike a conventional photocopier) – which makes it a less expensive method for producing high-volume print runs than modern office photocopiers or laser and inkjet printers. Riso prints have a very distinctive and appealing look, much like Ronning’s work.

I really like the jungle atmosphere in this personal piece in Frankie’s calendar. Check out more of her work on her website.

Only one more month of winter to go – hurrah!


I See Unicorns!

A little while ago I was doing some picture research on vintage advertising on Pinterest, and I came across this priceless piece of advertising for ‘Magical Musk’ (the fragrance of hidden flowers), brought to you courtesy of Max Factor. Because how else would you advertise a floral musk cologne except with a rearing unicorn wreathed in mist? The perfume bottle itself reminds me of a soft-serve ice cream cone! … A unicone, as it were.


The Eyes Wander Paths

I discovered the naïve art of Olaf Ulbricht through a friend of mine only just the other day: I was charmed by a picture he shared of one of Ulbricht’s village scenes, seen from overhead (above).

Typically, Ulbricht’s paintings depict rural scenes of people interacting with the landscape in daily life or festivities. From the ‘simpler compositions in his earlier work, Ulbricht’s pictures became steadily more colourful and elaborate in detail, and more static. While in his earlier work musicians and houses might float around a church in the autumn breeze, today his pictures tell little stories’. These are stories that are a joy to meander over, like a tourist discovering a new town.

A rich and vivid colour palette is a consistent characteristic of his paintings, which Ulbricht achieves using acrylic paint on wood, and the application of multiple layers of lacquer; the lacquer gives the bright colours a brilliant finish. The irregularity and individuality of the woodgrain are integrated into the painting as much as possible.

For a definition of Naïve style, I can’t go past that from The Gallery of International Naïve Art:

‘Naïve art is characterised by a refreshing innocence and the charming use of bright colours, child-like perspective and idiosyncratic scale. It portrays simple, easily-understandable and often idealised scenes of everyday life. The naïve artist – often self-taught - treats us to a uniquely literal, yet extremely personal and coherent, vision of what the world was, is or should be. It offers us, often in painstaking detail, a timeless and optimistic depiction of an ancient story or Biblical tale, an ordinary occurrence or current event, a special ceremony or daily activity. The naïve painting bustles with colour and excitement, brims with wry humour and candour, bubbles with unbridled empathy and love.’

Ulbricht is also a wood carver; discover more on his website, most of which is in German with some translation into English, portions of which are quoted above.


Graveyard of Dreams

I had stumbled across images of the Neon Boneyard before online, but the other day I had to do some picture research at work on neon signs, and I was reminded once again of the fairylandish wonderland that is the Las Vegas Neon Museum.

The Museum is located in a desert strip not far from Las Vegas, and first opened in 2012 with its first restored sign, the Hacienda Horse and Rider. Since then it has amassed over 200 signs in its Boneyard, nine of which are fully restored.

The gallery includes the Lucky Cuss Motel, the Bow & Arrow Motel, The Silver Slipper, Society Cleaners, Binion's Horseshoe, the Normandie Motel, the Hacienda horse and rider, the Landmark and 5th Street Liquors. Just the names are evocative enough to send me daydreaming of travel.

How I would love to go there! It would be glorious to wander amongst all these decayed and decrepit relics of history. One can only wander on a guided tour however, and they offer both day and night tours. During the latter, the restored signs are lit up, and the others are illuminated with dramatic lighting. I would be compelled to book both!

These great photos – appropriately vintage-looking – are by Pam Sattler, found on The Coolist.


Alpaca Day

Today is May Day, and according to my Frankie calendar, it is also Alpaca Day! I was charmed when I turned the page over and saw this illustration by Monica Ramos. Born in Manila, Ramos now works in New York. Executed in mostly watercolour, her work is lovely and whimsical, reminiscent of yardage design (and indeed some of her work has been produced in textiles) and displaying a wonderful sense of humour. Her line work also reminds me of Henri Matisse.

The alpaca painting is such a joyful, comforting work, depicting crowds of the cuddly creatures joining a group hug with the lone human. They are social creatures, but can be aggressive, and like llamas, they also spit (sometimes at humans). A few years ago I saw a competition at an agricultural show, and it was delightful to walk amongst their pens afterwards and see them close up.

You can see more of Monica Ramos’ equally delightful work at her website, or on her blog. Have a wonderful May!