Artist Windy MacNaughton creates the most interesting illustrations, and this travel one — per Nellie Bly — is especially good. Gotta love a woman who travels with a flask, (3) veils and an ink stand.

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The food of love

Feb 12, 2013

When you just can’t find the words, say it with food.


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Illustration by the amazing Wendy MacNaughton.

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Some of my favorite books as a child were literal picture books – no words, just pictures. Every time you “read” the book you make up a different story to go with the pictures.

This is kind of like that.

Yusuke Oono created a cut paper book that captures a bit of Christmas.

I love this so much, it is beautiful and delicate, elegant and festive, a perfect snippet of Christmas.

I can imagine using this book to invent a story, maybe a new one each year.

I also love how tiny it is – just a little snippet, small enough to fit in a pocket.


Have a magical Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

all images from here

via My Modern Met

Categories: Books, illustrations | 4 Comments »

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Hi there, it’s Naomi Bulger from Messages in Bottles. Today I wanted to share with you some happy mail that I’ve been sending out to readers of my blog. I love to draw little pictures on the envelopes, and I try to make them as special as possible with string and wax seals and different things. I like to imagine what it must be like to receive something like this in the mail, instead of just the usual bills (if your mailbox is anything like mine).

I have a couple of pen pals and receiving mail from them makes my day (week, month). And in sending out these packages, I’ve learned just how many more of us out there long for the old days of snail mail. There is something so special and tangible about actually getting a real letter in the mail. Taking your time with it. Sitting down with a cup of tea and reading it slowly.

Plus, every time I send out more packages with pictures on them like these, it makes the lady in the post office smile.

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 19 Comments »

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Getting Lost

Dec 04, 2012

I just spent a pleasant 10 minutes getting lost in these amazingly complex drawings – intellectually I can understand that colored pencils could create such detailed images, but this amount of beauty is astounding to me.

These are from new-to-me local LA artist Art Venti.

If you are looking for a gift for the art lover on your list I would like to point you to Saatchi for holiday present needs.

You can buy original fine art or prints like this one:

or this one:

Have a beautiful Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


All images from Saatchi Online (I don’t work for them I just like the art)

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This year autumn seemed to hold off for several weeks later than usual. This weekend it got cold and so I find myself bundling up and drinking lots of tea.

For some reason I tend to think of Alphonse Mucha as a cold weather artist. He was from what is now the Czech Republic and I think of Prague in the winter as well.

His work is so intricate and detailed, it takes a while to take it all in, so maybe the slower pace of the winter seems to suit his style.

He could draw like a thousand angles. I once saw a film of him drawing – the speed and accuracy of his line was astounding.

He pretty much invented and popularized the Art Nouveau style in Paris in the 20s. He started his career painting theatrical scenery, and got his big break in Paris by painting a poster for a Sarah Bernhardt play. As a theater kid, I feel a bit of kinship with his story.

He painted many advertisements and posters, but his master work was his Slav Epic. It is 20 enormous canvases celebrating Slavic history. Each one is at least one story, most depict several story lines.

Mucha is one of my favorite artists. Although I have visited Prague several times (my parents even lived there for a couple of years) I never got to see the Slav Epic, which was displayed in a small town in the Czech countryside. It has since been moved, so it is a little easier to see. However, it is still on my “someday” list.

Browsing through his paintings I am struck by his mastery and the beauty that he found in the world. He even makes the cold look lovely.

Have a cozy Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


All images from the Mucha Foundation website and

Mucha’s Wikipedia gallery

Categories: illustrations | 4 Comments »

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In Another World

Nov 06, 2012

I am so in love with these images by Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez.

He creates an entire magical world in with his work.

I want to live in a world where such magic is possible.

Have a fabulous Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez’s website

he also uploads work to his flickr stream

Categories: illustrations | 3 Comments »

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At first glance these look like they might be intricate ink drawings, but look a little closer and they are revealed to be incredibly fine paper cuts.

This is the work of Hina Aoyama, a Japanese artist living and working in Paris. On her website she says:

“I am trying to create a mixture of the traditional and modern styles and to produce my own world through super fine lacy paper cuttings.”

She makes her work with a simple pair of scissors. The patience and vision that go into her work is stunning.

Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Hina Aoyama’s flickr page

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Music to Image

Oct 16, 2012

It is no secret that I love cut work art. Cutting away the unwanted (the negative) and revealing an image (the positive) is a lovely marriage of sculpture and drawing.

I recently came across the work of Erika Iris Simmons, she makes several different kinds of composite art, and my favorites are her sheet music pieces.

I love the idea of taking music and sculpting it into an image.

Have a musical Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Erika Iris Simmons flickr stream

Erika Iris Simmons website

Categories: illustrations | 5 Comments »

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Artistic Maps

Oct 02, 2012

Maps are almost always informative and interesting, but these art prints by Michael Tompsett are so lovely they transcend simply exchanging information.

My favorite is this tube map.

It is amazing how only a few visual cues can make up a recognizable world map.

Have a wonderful Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

all images from Michael Tompsett’s esty page; his artwork is also available here

Categories: illustrations | 7 Comments »

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Subtractive Art

Sep 11, 2012

Much if not most art is additive. We add paint to canvas, we add ink or pencil or marker or pastel to paper. Art installations are almost always about adding work to a space. Much sculpture is additive, but some is subtractive. I was struck by the delicate beauty of these leaf cut-outs, true subtractive art.

The artist, Lorenzo Durán, has made a beautiful, yet common, leaf into art with the strategic removal of bits and pieces. He makes this amazing work with only an exact-o knife and a plan, although he does admit to crumbling many leaves to dust in the process of learning how to do this thing he does.

My favorites are the geometric shapes.

Lorenzo Durán worked in construction for 20 years before deciding he needed a job he could love every day. He decided to be a painter and then transitioned into cut work.

It’s an inspiring story; finding your life’s work is not necessarily easy. Sometimes it takes trying several paths before one path turns out to be the right one.

Have a beautiful Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Lorenzo Durán’s website

via This is Colossal

Categories: illustrations | 4 Comments »

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Piercing Eyes

Sep 04, 2012

I don’t spend a lot of time looking at (or for) portrait painters, but these watercolors seem like something special.

I love how the edges of the figures seem to drift away. Not all the lines need to be filled in to see the  strength and beauty in the figure.

In fact, leaving a little white space gives the figure room to change, room to grow. A picture is just a snippet of a lifetime, but these portraits leave possibilities open.

This is the work of Australian artist Ray Domnic. You can buy prints of his paintings on Saatchi.

There is not a lot of information about him online, but in looking through his portfolio I was very drawn to his images of women. Their eyes draw me in.

Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from here

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Finding these beautiful faces painted directly onto a newsprint collage has been the highlight of my week thus far. The features seem to float in front of a fog of text and photos behind them.

I love finding beauty juxtaposed with the ordinary.

These paintings are by South Korean artist, Shin Young An. She now lives and works in New Jersey. In her artist statement she writes “Often, world and national events impose an emotional response on the artist, who is otherwise powerless to influence such events. The canvas can become the artist’s vehicle of expression.”

Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah From Design Flourishes

all images from An’s website

Categories: illustrations | 5 Comments »

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Patterns in Volume

Aug 24, 2012

I have only recently become aware of the vast beauty of paper cutting. There are so many artist working in paper, not on paper, but with it.

Maud Vantours is a French artist living and working in Paris. In her artist statement she describes her work as “original graphics of multicolored and dreamlike landscapes.”

I love the way she can make a simple rose so complex.

She creates these colorful, deep paper cuts both as fine art and as commission pieces for a very impressive client list. This is a piece she did for the Prada Parisian showroom.

Part of what I love about her work is the texture. Painting and printing have their own low profile texture, but these paper cuts are combining flat surface art with sculptural depth.

Vantours is working with a supplier to create some consumer products as well, cell phone cases, bags and the like. It is awesome when artists can cross over and make their work available in more affordable forms.

Happy Friday!

Sarah from Design Flourishes

all images from Maud Vantours website

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 1 Comment »

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Like stained glass, I don’t often think of mosaic as an exciting contemporary art medium. These works by Laura Harris however, might make me reconsider.

I love her use of watch parts and beads mixed in with the more traditional ceramic pieces.

These are whimsical mosaics, they transcend the geometric pattern that I expect from mosaic.


Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Melon Head Gallery

via My Modern Met

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 3 Comments »

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Often I post about artwork that is more inspirational than aspirational. Today I am so excited to feature an artist who sells prints of her work on Etsy.  You too, can have these beautiful images hanging on your wall.

Yellena James is the artist, currently living in coastal Oregon, but she is originally from Sarajevo.

In her featured seller interview on Etsy she writes about how her art education helped her through the dark days during the siege of Sarajevo.

“I was born in Sarajevo and lived there until the end of the civil war, in 1995. During the war, I had to sneak past numerous snipers to attend a high-school that was dedicated to the arts. That’s where I really grew passionate about my own art. The school had electricity most of the time, which meant heat and music, and similar-minded people who just wanted to create and get away from the horrible outside world.”

I love how complicated her work is, the line work draws me in and my eyes keep traveling.

She sells the originals in galleries but has a wide selection of prints on Etsy. Right now she is running a sale on her prints buy 2 get one free! Happy Shopping! All images from Yellena’s shop


Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

Categories: illustrations | 4 Comments »

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Drifts of Color

Jul 24, 2012


I am so amazed at creative couples who can work and live together and make amazing art (presumably) without bloodshed. Such is the case with Kate Tedman and Eric Siemens. Together they are Kate Eric, a married couple and artistic collaboration, he from Oregon and she from Oxford, England. They began working together in 2000, and although their earlier work is interesting, the most recent paintings are simply amazing.

No No Uncle 4

They are able to achieve an amazing saturation of color. Against a stormy background the colors just sing.

Melon of the 20 Thieves

Bug War Over Two Blue Mountain

Bug War Over Two Blue Mountain - detail

Many of these paintings are huge, “Bug War” is 90 x 180 inches. That is 15 feet long! I imagine they must be nearly overwhelming in person.

Feeder in Bloom

Frayvs Frizzle

Looming the Hive

This might be serious art, but there is a sense of play about it too. It is a fabulous mix of abstraction and surreality.


Have a Lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

images from Kate Eric’s website and the Leila Heller Gallery’s website

Categories: illustrations | 3 Comments »

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Jul 17, 2012

As the seasons turn over on each other I love seeing the way that nature moves in predictable patterns. We sometimes think of nature as random and messy, when it is actually mostly predictable and precise.

Russian artist, Tatiana Plakhova’s work takes photographs of natural forms and overlays them with geometric patterns of dots and bits of light.

The result is a mix of shimmering, yet systematic, forms. The heavily controlled and the seemingly random are both beautiful.

Some of her work is more abstract than others, but the kaleidoscope of light and shadow is similar. She says that her work takes elements and inspiration from science, energetics, space, various kinds of “nets”, as well as biology.

I can see all those influences in this work, as well as something a little extra.

Her computer-generated images seem to radiate with life. It is both beautiful and a little eerie.

Have an otherworldly beautiful Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


All images from Tatiana Plakhova’s website

Categories: illustrations | 3 Comments »

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Golden Leaves

Jul 10, 2012

When I saw these paintings by Brad Kunkle my jaw dropped. They are so beautiful and seem nearly too perfect.

He used a mix of oil paints and gold leaf. The bits of real, metallic gold shimmer within the images. In an interview he says this about the gold leaf in his paintings:

“As one walks across a room or dims the lights, they are affecting the painting and the painting is affecting them.  The paintings become a living, breathing thing to me when the leaf is shifting and the oil is quiet.  The art literally becomes interactive and can give the work a supernatural quality.”

I love how the figures are completely encased in the leaves; they look something like water, or air made visible. His limited color palate gives the paintings a dreamlike, antique feeling.

This is truly romantic work…


Have a Lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

All images from Brad Kunkle’s website

Categories: illustrations | 6 Comments »

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Dark Flowers

Jun 12, 2012

As spring warms into summer the delicate early flowers turn brown and fade away. The summer flowers are larger, hardier, and darker.

Linn Olofsdotter’s work seem somewhat tropical, there is nothing flimsy about her flowers.

I love how complicated and dense her illustrations are.

Her work is graceful and elegant but by no means dainty.

Have a marvelous Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

All images by Linn Olofsdotter from here

Categories: illustrations | 3 Comments »

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Morning friends. It’s Lelanie from of Beauty and Love here, to usher you into Monday morning. How was your weekend? We had a great one. It was pretty cold, so we just huddled inside. But it was restful and nice. Today I would like to share two of my current obsessions passions with you. I don’t know where they have come from, but for some inexplicable reason I am gravitating towards Flamingos and Typewriters of all things. Does that even make sense? I find both stunningly beautiful in their simplicity. There are so many beautiful pics of both doing the rounds that I couldn’t resist sharing these with you.

This wallpaper by John Lewis is sure to brighten up your morning. There will be no getting up on the wrong side of the bed with this cheery print.

As you know winter is upon us here in the Southern hemisphere, and Johannesburg gets pretty cold. I am really jealous of your summer. Maybe that’s why I am drawn to the brightness of the Flamingo’s. Wouldn’t a flamingo scatter or print just spice up any studio or home office? Maybe even an outdoor area?

I adore these prints by Cozamia. The abstract design and muted colour takes the edge of. Making this print suitable to use anywhere in the home.

I found this vintage painting on Etsy. It’s so quirky and bright. Give the frame some TLC and it will look amazing.

This graphic print caught my eye- both for the colour and the design. This would look great in a neutral space that’s painted white or light grey. It could even be paired with a pink to make a bold statement.

Who wouldn’t want to receive a card like this? Cute stationary like these flamingo cards  makes correspondence a joy.

This flamingo inspired palette by Design Seeds, is ideal for a Summer table setting or a party theme. The soft ice-cream colours look simply good enough to eat.

I have to be honest that I have actually always had a penchant for Vintage typewriters. Whereas the flamingo love is a new one. They have so much character and seem to be infused with secrets from times past. I always wonder what has been typed on them? When I see one, I get the urge to sit down and write and murder mystery. How quirky is the wallpaper coming out of this one?

This is a beautifully styled shot. Inspiring to. What would you type at this workstation?

We will soon be moving into our new house. (In about six weeks actually). It would be amazing if I could find a mint green vintage typewriter to pair with a  flamingo print for my studio, like the above two images. From here and here.

What do you think of this combo? Too much or just enough fun?

Have a lovely, bright and happy Monday.

Ciao, Lelanie.

Categories: illustrations | 5 Comments »

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This spring, I can’t seem to get enough butterflies. I keep finding them everywhere.

This is the work of English artist Rebecca J Coles. She creates these lovely, three dimensional, pieces from bits of discarded paper. In her artist statement she writes:

“Each shape is hand drawn and then intricately hand cut from carefully selected paper, focusing on recycling a medium that would otherwise be discarded and lost. I dissect small details of colour, imagery and text into silhouettes that are then re-sculptured, pinned and encased. My aim is to transform an every day object into a piece of work that invites the viewer to see beyond its original source.”

The finished work is beautiful, but I love seeing the details, and noticing the bits of scenes printed on the paper.

I so enjoy art that takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

all images from Rebecca J Coles’ website

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 6 Comments »

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May 24, 2012

I never quite know what book will start that tightness in my throat, the tension in my chest, the eyebrows rising and brow furrowing as moisture builds in the corner of my eyes.  Nor do I know how it’ll happen, or what will make me cry, or when–will I weep through a few pages, or will the book haunt me later, when I go to sleep?  When I read Where the Red Fern Grows in fourth grade, I pitched it across my bedroom at the end, then went to find my mother and sob in her arms for a little while; when I was even younger, I tried to read Old Yeller and couldn’t bear it.  Even now, a lost or dying animal kills me inside, which I realized reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

It’s not just the loss of a pet that brings me to tears, of course.  Maggie O’Farrell’s After You’d Gone and The Hand That First Held Mine both left me a teary mess, as did Jane Eyre, when I read it a second time in college.  I think it’d be crazy not to cry a little while reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, but a few unexpected and bittersweet tears snuck up on me during The Night Circus.  Loss is what drives me to tears in novels, whether I know it’s coming or not, and yet loss does not always make me cry, even when I feel it deeply.  Take, for example, Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love or Lisa See’s Peony in Love, two books that broke my heart and yet never moistened my eyes.  Even though some made me cry and others didn’t, each of these books are among my favorites, and I have felt these books within my heart.  Great books should make you feel, no matter how expressed that feeling needs to be.

When I read a book like this, and especially when I finish, I need a few quiet moments alone with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, a place to tuck my knees under my chin, and my journal and a pen.  Sometimes I have a few words to say, a moment of expressing the thoughts that a book has inspired in me; other times, I sit with a blank page and sip my tea until it’s gone and the world is okay again, and I return to my life.

So, dear readers, what books have broken your heart?   What do you do when you’ve encountered them?

Until next Thursday,

Katie (unwritten, untitled)


[image 1: Once Upon A Time… painting by Peter Käuflin/image 2: silent emotion print by Kelly Rae Roberts/image 3: Everything is going to be OK print by Jen Renninger]

Categories: Books, illustrations | 21 Comments »

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